Chip Berlet’s 57-page paper, “Toxic To Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating,” provides a useful warning to progressives that the “conspiracism” mindset can lead to demonizing as well as scapegoating groups such as Jews, and become a “tool of fear” which would easily be “used by cynical demagogic leaders to mobilize a bigoted mass base”, as he says.
But, in lumping together all those such as Prof. David Ray Griffin, many family members of 9/11 victims, many scientists, engineers, architects and firefighters, and credible progressives who all call for a true, independent, objective, thorough investigation of the events of the 9/11/01 terrorism as “conspiracy theorists” who blame Jews and imagine fantastic scenarios on that day, he not only does a disservice to those of us who are NOT given to such ludicrous fantasies, but also neglects the most important factor in a democracy: truth based on facts.
Unlike anti-science “faith-based” conservatives/creationists, progressives usually take science very seriously. That’s why lumping Webster Tarpley, who believes anthropogenic climate change is a “hoax”, with Prof. Griffin, is both unfair and very misleading.
Here are the facts of 9/11/01 which Berlet never mentions but which progressives who call for a new, true investigation of 9/11 keep in mind:
1. It took 9 months for George W. Bush to finally call for an investigation into 9/11/01, and only after extraordinary efforts by family members (such as “The Jersey Girls”) to persuade him.
2. Bush then chose Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission, but Kissinger resigned after protests by 9/11 victims’ family members about his obvious conflicts of interest.
3. Though former Governor (Republican) Tom Kean then officially replaced Kissinger, Philip Zelikow, who was strongly connected to Bush, Karl Rove, and Condi Rice, actually guided the Commission’s direction.
4. Former Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission, charging it with a “cover-up”.
5. The two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, stated years later that they were lied to by the Pentagon.
For details of points 3, 4, and 5, see the following:
“The White House Has Played Cover-Up”– Former 9/11 Commission Member Max Cleland Blasts Bush http://www.democracynow.org/2004/3/23/the_white_house_has_played_cover
Louis Freeh Charges 9/11 Commission Cover-Up http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/11/17/122900.shtml
9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101300.html?sub=new
9/11 panel distrusted Pentagon testimony http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/08/02/9-11panel.pentagon/index.html
New Book Alleges 9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow Minimized Scrutiny of Bush Admin Failure to Prevent al-Qaeda Attack http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/5/new_book_alleges_9_11_commissioner
The 9/11 Commission Doesn’t Believe It: Why Do You?
6. The Taliban who ruled Afghanistan on 9/11/01 offered to give up Osama bin Laden to a third party nation if Bush provided proof that bin Laden was behind the 9/11 terrorism. Bush refused. To this day, the FBI does NOT list the 9/11/01 terrorism as one of bin Laden’s many crimes because the FBI does NOT have strong enough evidence that he was involved.
See http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/laden.htm and Osama bin Laden, among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”: Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11? http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3246
7. World Trade Center Building 7, which was NOT hit by an airplane, collapsed into its own footprint at free fall speed (finally acknowledged by NIST).
8. Evidence of nanothermite, an explosive used in controlled demolition, was discovered in WTC dust.
See Video: Danish Scientist Neils Harrit On TV: Nano-Thermite Behind Collapse of WTC Buildings On 9/11, Not Planes – 6th April 2009 http://loveforlife.com.au/content/09/04/14/video-danish-scientist-neils-harrit-tv-nano-thermite-behind-collapse-wtc-buildings-
9. The following credible, respected progressives (among others) have doubted the “official conspiracy theory” contained in the 9/11 Commission Report:
Howard Zinn, in a blurb for 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (edited by Prof. David Ray Griffin), stated:
“Official versions of historical events should always be questioned. This book, dealing with 9/11 and much more, does just that, and from various points of view.”
Mark Crispin Miller said, in 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out:
“For far too long, the very reasonable questions raised by 9/11 have been ignored and even ridiculed by America’s press and politicians, who treat the subject with the sort of willful blindness that suggests a wish not to find out unpleasant truths. We, the people, therefore owe the editors of this important new collection our warm thanks for their intelligent and unrelenting work.”
Ray McGovern, praising 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, said:
“It has long been clear that the Bush-Cheney administration cynically exploited the attacks of 9/11 to promote its imperial designs. But the present volume confronts us with compelling evidence for an even more disturbing conclusion: THAT THE 9/11 ATTACKS WERE THEMSELVES ORCHESTRATED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION PRECISELY SO THEY COULD BE THUS EXPLOITED [emphasis mine]. If this is true, it is not merely the case, as the Downing Street memos show, that the stated reason for attacking Iraq was a lie. It is also the case that the whole ‘war on terror’ was based on a prior deception. This book hence confronts the American people-indeed the people of the world as a whole-with an issue second to none in importance and urgency.”
Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative and a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury during the Reagan administration, states about David Ray Griffin’s book Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, that:
“This new book destroys the credibility of the NIST and Popular Mechanics reports and annihilates his critics.”
Jack Keller, emeritus professor of engineering at Utah State University and member of the National Academy of Engineering, said this about the book 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press by Prof. David Ray Griffin:
“This book describes in very straightforward and non-technical terms some major inconsistencies to the government’s official story about the events on September 11, 2001. It points out many attempts in the 9/11 Commission’s report to cover-up evidence… As an engineer, I am especially troubled by the cover-up of evidence relevant in the collapse of the three major World Trade Center buildings. I hope that Congress and the public will heed this call for a full and impartial investigation to determine what really did happen on that fateful day.”
10. As of this writing, 1227 architectural and engineering professionals and 8853 other supporters, including Architectural & Engineering students, have signed the petition demanding Congress conduct a truly independent investigation of 9/11/01.
11. The nine-year war on Afghanistan is now opposed by a growing majority of Americans, especially since the recent Wikileaks’ release of 92,000 documents showing all the failures in that war, despite President Obama, Congress, and the corpstream media. Because the 9/11/01 terrorism was the initial justification for this illegal, endless, unwinnable, budget-draining war, it is vital, more than ever, to finally have a true investigation of that day. All opponents of the Af/Pak quagmire should be demanding a new, thorough, independent investigation of the alleged pretext of that quagmire.
Chip Berlet is correct to be concerned that “conspiracism” as the basis of political and cultural analysis is “toxic” to democracy, for the many reasons he spells out in his paper.
But even more toxic and fatal to democracy is the neglect of the full truth about a history-changing event.
Credible progressives in the 9/11 Truth Movement do not want to demonize Bush, or Cheney (who have done more than enough to demonize themselves), or scapegoat Jews (we should, instead, denounce the Jew-haters in the movement, while being justifiably critical of the violent, intolerant Likud government in Israel), or invoke other alleged conspiracies, true or not, such as the massive, undeniable, disproportionate, undemocratic, and oligarchic influence of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
We only want a thorough, rigorous, truly independent investigation of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, and then a complete follow-up wherever that investigation leads, and whomever it implicates.
Without that truth, democracy here is a sham.
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