Progressives and 9/11: A Response to Chip Berlet’s paper, “Toxic To Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating” by Ed Ciaccio

by Ed Ciaccio
Dandelion Salad
Featured Writer
August 4, 2010

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

Louis Freeh Charges 9/11 Commission Cover-Up

9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon

9/11 panel distrusted Pentagon testimony

New Book Alleges 9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow Minimized Scrutiny of Bush Admin Failure to Prevent al-Qaeda Attack

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 and Osama bin Laden, among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”: Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11?

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).

See Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really Believe in Miracles?

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

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.

See Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?

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.


9/11 Truth Truth by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really Believe in Miracles? by David Ray Griffin

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16 thoughts on “Progressives and 9/11: A Response to Chip Berlet’s paper, “Toxic To Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating” by Ed Ciaccio

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  5. Great review thank-you. One of the most divisive issues in the 911 truth movement has been the the no-planes-hit-WTC issue. So much so, that the most respected advocates in the 911 Truth often need to dissociate themselves from this camp in the media so they don’t get tarred with this broad brush.
    But actually there’s some great new evidence to suggest that some hidden technologies may have been used in the WTC demolition. In particular a “ball” was seen hitting the South Tower in the live NBC footage shown here:
    It clearly was NOT a plane in this video. It appears to me that there was indeed secret technologies used on that day, and since they are so outside the box- it becomes easy to target investigators trying to uncover the truth.

    I agree with Diana – it is very disheartening at times to try to get to the truth here. Richard Gage, Steven Jones and David Ray Griffin and many others are to be credited for their persistence. It is a long road indeed. Did freedom die with JFK? It certainly seems so at times. All I can say is we must continue to persevere!

  6. The Democrats and Republicans stand united in covering up this act of false-flag domestic terrorism.

    (They stand united on a lot of other issues too, like denying Americans universal health coverage.)

    The solution is to simply not vote for them. The Green Party doesn’t accept ANY corporate money, and represents CITIZENS’ interests — not corporate interests.

    5% of the vote will get the Green Party matching Federal funds, and will put the corrupt corporate-funded Democrats on notice that their business-first agenda will cost them votes. (This fact is never mentioned by the corporate media, who want people to think the Green Party needs 51% of the vote to make any progress.)

    It’s time to start taking our country back from the corporations — VOTE GREEN!

    • Excuse me – I’m not sure about the USA – but in the EU is every party excluded from elections or prohibited as “unconstitutional” (?) (against the constitution) , if their goal is not the “eternal growth of the economy and consumption”, the international finance markett, and the ruling of the imperialism and greed!. The left party is continually observed, spied and examined for their loyality to the constitution and the KP is forbidden since they voted against the rebuild of the Army in 1956, the Green party is voting for war and greed and bought and bribed like the others, since they are at power. And I remember well the McCarthy era – In my opinion the US has no right to vote besides between the fire and the hot pan!
      Additional is in the 50 – 60 years since McCarthy the main media grown in strength. It has turned into the “public opinion” and the public education was reduced to a step for idiots, who go to other countries to make the masters stronger and the weapons more deadly and thei are proud for dying in Asia or Africa.
      If FOX tells them, that dep sea drilling and the blow up of the Mountains for mining is good for them – they will vote Palin! And you KNOW, that these people will attack you, if you try to keep them off of the destruction of their homeland! They never will vote Green or left!
      Excuse my English – I hope, you’ll understand my mode of expression.

      • Jakob –good to get a Euro view. America is n ot a right/left country . its a republic/democrats protecting the American Empire , and the 3rd partys on the hard right and hard left running in a Quixotic fashion . the media is in collusion with the 2 party system . the so called debates were privatized in the 90’s .
        we are under corporate occupied territory .

        clarification on Palin . she will be drowned out in the primarys by other forces that have bigger political machines.

        i worked with the Greens in 2000. john Eder got a house seat in the state of Maine . the Greens are getting lots of seats but it has not gone federal like it did in Germany in 1986.

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  8. We have been talking this into the ground for years, and years, now. Nothing no longer needs to be said. Everything here you have pointed out has been hashed and rehashed. Over and over we go… no truth in sight.. Ignorance and indifference continues in all my groups of freinds, except We are Change. The story is very hurtful, and tired. When can we go home with comfort in our minds?

  9. Great art., thanks for writng it. This is a general subject close to my heart, i have spent a lot of time this last year researching it. Here is my conclusion:

    The movement is being deliberately attacked by “psy-ops”, to inject things like “anti-zionism” and “weird science” into the mix … In the hope of creating schisms and to turn off thinking people from the MAIN TOPIC. We need to make sure these distractions stay OUT OF IT, and we focus on the MAIN GOAL: Getting new and independent investigations… that is what they fear most 😉

    Lol, the only good thing from the 8 or 9 deliberate dis-info psy-ops “games” that they constantly played in the the Free Energy genre over the last 3 years that i am aware of, is that i have learned to recognize their modus operandi, because they use the same “tricks” and tactics over and over, like they are lazy or are reading from some “shills manual” 😉

    > Create straw men that can be easily debunked. This allows the actual valid points/data to be ignored. The difference here between the usual straw men in “debate”, and this use is this: A whole fake event or claim of “conspiracy” is put forward, and propagated all over the web.. With specially created You-Tubes, web sites, and multiple posts to “back” it (but of course, there never is anything like evidence to back them).

    > A common way of doing this, is to inject absurdities into it. Deliberately make them so thinking people will reject them out of hand as “ridiculous”, and “with luck”, so reject the entire concept.. which actually has nothing absurd or ridiculous in it 😉

    I suspect that some of these are designed to later be used as “evidence” on nationally-televised TV programs to debunk the entire subject. Naturally, these programs will NOT talk much about the actual viable subjects; only the deliberate or known frauds that were deliberately perpetrated.

    The way to defeat this, and what i have often done, is post to give a permanent record showing that they are indeed frauds; and red herrings… self-regulation and criticism from the genre. I believe it should be directly confronted whenever seen; and i have had some successes in running them off with their tails between their legs.

    This is because, they HATE the subject of deliberate psy-ops and paid shills to be brought up at all, because it is a meme to people that will cause much more critical thought to be done when new things like that pop up… and eventually this will make their job impossible to do. There is danger of being wrong, and not everyone who does these things are shills of course. However, careful observation of behavior works very well in telling the diff 😉

    > Also attempt to add in divisive and polarizing issues… That usually have very little or nothing to do with the actual issue. Inject “Race”, “Bi-partisan politics”, or highly-polarizing social issues when possible (such as illegal immigration, gay marriage, Zionism, Holocaust Denial, etc). When you see these things being added into the mix, you can usually BET it is a paid shill doing it… and the point of it is to turn off people looking into the subject for the first time. Some of these may be important issues, but they have very little, or nothing, to do with the central issue being “attacked”.

    But perhaps the one thing that is most universal, is the “First Law” for strategy behind “tackling” these issues: If they cannot be plausibly denied, IGNORE them totally, NEVER mention them. If they can be, by use of either logical arguments (rarely done, because there usually are NO viable arguments anyone will believe lol), or the above straw men tactics…. then do so. Sometimes they will bide their time for years, until they create the proper straw man to use against a topic they consider “dangerous”. We have seen “9/11” mainly ignored until this year, when a large and concerted effort do run these kinds of games has been started, and i predict. will grow greatly…. At the same time as another attack from the so-called “liberals” which will attempt to paint 9/11 Truthers as “dangerous”… but you will notice, that they WILL NOT attempt to tackle the issues raised, only use derision and fear to label the proponents of an new investigation 😉

    • And Dick Cheney will be the grey shadow master of the investigation!
      And if he meets Rumsfeld and M.Albright at evening, they cannot fall to sleep because heavy laughing attacks! – If the truth publishing is declared as terrorism …. they can even declare ice as hot matter and fire for stable cold substance!
      “It takes nothing to do but to tell the people are being attacked, denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and claim that they were endangering the country .” (Hermann Goering – in 1941 Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy , sentenced to death for war-crimes in Nuremburg trial)

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