It seems Webster Griffin Tarporley really has outgrown Lyndon LaRouche, as this tweet on the alleged perpetrators of the Boston bombings illustrates:
It seems Webster Griffin Tarporley really has outgrown Lyndon LaRouche, as this tweet on the alleged perpetrators of the Boston bombings illustrates:
The Boston terrorist attacks and their dramatic aftermath has demonstrated that truth activists, when in situ, are still capable of taking the ball and running with it. In this case, in ever decreasing circles.
This brief article will focus on one example of this - the linking of private security company Craft International to the attacks, most prominently on the Info Wars website run by arch American conspiracist Alex Jones. This appears to be conducted solely on one tenuous strand - that two men were seen in the crowd at the Boston Marathon carrying rucksacks and one is wearing a logo on his clothing of Craft International.
Alex Gucciardi, who wrote the 18 April 2013 Infowars piece, produces within it pictures of two men carrying rucksacks in this notorious article. A plain white skull on a black background is apparently seen on one of the men's caps:
The first problem with this approach is that it is not exactly the same logo as that of Craft International. Here is their logo:
Perhaps anticipating this, Gucciardi also informs us that Craft International's Chris Kyle sports the exact same logo in this picture from the Craft International website:
It is not exactly the same, but even if he does. So what?
Just to show that Twitter can be used for countering, as well as spreading nonsense, I am grateful to @tanith for informing me that the logo on the man's cap is that of The Punisher comic book hero. Here is The Punisher logo:
Something very similar is also used by several figures in the music business. Consider Underground Resistance or Metalheadz:
We might even add video game Resistance 3:
Of course Infowars does not state that Craft International carried out the Boston bombings. They do not need to - the inference is enough, in conspiracist circles, to set that particular hare running. And all the evidence needed to do this?
One man, carrying a large backpack, wearing a logo that is similar to Craft International's. And Resistance 3. And Metalheadz. And Underground Resistance. But that is actually the logo of The Punisher.
Having childcare responsibilities this afternoon, I decided to watch a bit of TV in the hope the boys would fall asleep.
They did not, but I still managed to watch the whole of Anthony J Hilder's film 9/11 The Greatest Lie Ever Sold. Those of you with satellite packages can go to Channel 200 and watch Controversial TV, where hours of this type of pap is available. I tweeted some comments as I watched it, but all the usual 'truth' standbys were here. Take casual racism - we were informed the 19 hijackers could barely speak English and were more used to riding camels than driving a car. Yet 15 of these men were from Saudi Arabia, the wealthiest and most developed of the Arab nations. Leader Mohammad Atta was far from being a rural hick but an Architecture student who spoke Arabic, English and German. I doubt we can say the same for Mr Hilder.
Hilder pushed repeatedly the need for the left and right to come together (and he calls others fascist!) in this instance ideological unity is required, not against the Bolshevik menace but the New World Order. Indeed so curious was Hilder's world view that he thinks that China is still a Communist country - in case he has not noticed, China's capitalist economy is outstripping even that of the United States.
Some big names from the world of conspiracy turn up - Jim Marrs, with Lydon Larouche probably deserving the long service award in this field - but I was particularly impressed by a new name to me - Will Thomas. He states that no fewer than seven of the 19 9/11 hijackers are still alive.
I offer a simple challenge to 9/11 'truthers' - both in the West and the Arab world. I will close this blog if you can achieve an interview with any living 9/11 hijacker. Surely one of the seven is willing to make his fortune by coming out to the world's press?
I have just completed a one hour lecture on Terrorism and Conspiracy Theory, and followed it up with three seminars to undergraduates on the same subject.
The main things I wanted to get across to students were the historical scale of conspiracy theories, that they can be accelerated by secrecy, government dishonesty and incompetence and that the Internet has allowed them to go in a thousand and one different directions. I then focused on the 9/11 Truth Movement, looking at some of its core beliefs, MIHOP (that the US government made the attacks happen on purpose) and LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) and the uses that are made of the following quote from the neo-Cons Project For A New American Century:
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbour" (2000, 51).
This of course 'proves' that the Bush administration either allowed 9/11 to happen or arranged it! I also covered some issues around race, religion and conspiracy theory, and that whilst black American groups such as the Nation of Islam may be paranoid, that has not always meant that in the past that no one was out to 'get' black Americans!
In the closing part of the lecture I covered some of the responses to 'truth' activism - the papers of groups such as Demos, writers like Jon Ronson, David Aaronovitch and Damian Thompson, and the belated responses by the US government. Concluding comments centred on whether there is a 'template' of conspiracist ideals - core elements that can be found in all arguments, and whether we can see in this, glimpses of future conspiracy theories. Most of all I hope students took away the impression that the Internet, as well as being a tool for good, can also retard debate. Look around some workplaces at lunch or break times, and instead of talking to workmates, many people are sat there playing with their I-Phones and Blackberrys. What happens when most people, get most of their news, most of time, from the Internet?
In the seminars, I asked students to consider two things. What questions did they have outstanding with regards to 9/11, and to what extent should opinion formers, polticians and government seek to respond to 'truth' theories. To stimulate some debate I distributed photocopies of an A5 'truth' leaflet from 2006 "It's 5 Years Since the Attacks on 9/11" - this largely focused on the argument controlled demolition brought down WTC 1, 2 and 7, plus provided suggestions witnesses heard explosions before the towers came down.
Some of the 'celebrity' supporters of 9/11 truth that were listed - Charlie Sheen and David Shayler - had not stood the test of time very well, all three groups roared with laughter at the mention of Mr Sheen. Answers on the first question were few and far between (most student's were clearly sheeple, as they seemed to broadly agree Bin Laden did it) whilst the second brought more mixed answers.
The difficulty of 'responding' to truth arguments was stressed, as was the lack of any named sources for the 'scientific' evidence presented. On one level I was left feeling slightly more optimistic than I had expected to be - students appear to want to discuss evidence and to see named sources for claims that are made - freeze framed pictures of 'premature' explosions did not seem to impress them.
This may be a protest generation. But on this evidence at least, it is unlikely to go up the blind alley of 'truth' activism.
Spencer Sunshine has written an interesting summary of the occupy movement and some of the less savoury characters which have appeared in its slipstream.
Focusing on events in the United States, and placing them in an historical context, occupied with conspiracy theories appears courtesy of the ever informative Shift magazine.
Well, you have to hand it to the BBC (for once!)
For those of you not out and about for the May Bank Holiday Monday, you can tune in to a new programme in the Conspiracy Files series, this time devoted to 9/11 ten years on. It is scheduled for 9pm on Monday 29 August. As I write this, the Conspiracy Files section of the BBC website has not been updated, so there is little indication concerning the detail of this programme.
One thing we can be sure of - no matter what the BBC come up with, the 'truth' movement will be far from satisfied..........
Any visitors to this blog who subscribe to my Twitter feed will have noticed I spent a good hour yesterday morning arguing the toss with the anonymous individual behind the Twitter feed of the British Freedom Party.
A splinter from the UK's largest fascist organisation, the British National Party, British Freedom has provided a home for BNP members who have fallen out with BNP leader Nick Griffin, either in personal spats or in disgust at Griffin's financial incompetence. As any follower of developments on the far right will be aware, British fascists have rather switched their enmity in the past decade, from traditional scapegoats - Jews and Communists, to Islamists and even Muslims per se.
All the more surprising then yesterday to find British Freedom's Twitter feed pushing standard 9/11 truth theories about false flag terrorism. This quickly mutated into links promoting former Larouchite Webster Griffin Tarpley with even Alex Jones getting a mention. So much for defending Britain from the menace of Al Qaeda inspired terrorism, in the world of British Freedom everything is the fault of hidden hands manipulating those simple dark folks, who are obviously incapable of doing anything themselves. Better still when challenged on some of this guff, the anonymous person behind BF's twitter feed then decided I was working from MI5, secondly that I did not actually exist (news to my wife and kids!) and thirdly that my Twitter account was actually a fake, set up by the CIA. As evidence of this, he or she cited a Guardian article from March, on how the Americans are looking to manipulate social media.
If we are relying on this shower to save Britain from whatever threat it is the country faces, we may as well all go home. British Freedom my arse! Still, it is nice to see that no matter how hard fascists try to paint themselves as 'nationalists' or defenders of long held liberties, the same old paranoia and bile still seeps through. No matter how hard they try, we can always spot the bastards.
The Screw Loose Change bloggers have been doing their sums.
They have added up the amount of gun attacks mounted by those influenced by 'truth' theories since 9/11, and compared them to successful Al Qaeda attacks in the United States.
The 'truthers' win hands down.........
As well as noting the danger from the forces Sarah Palin has been stirring up in the United States, we also need to consider some of the broader political currents the alleged Tuscon gunman Jared Loughner may have been influenced by.
Early indications are Ms Giffords shooter was concerned with currency issues, the loss of the gold standard, poor grammar and America having 'lost' its first constitution. Much of this is standard conspiracy theory belief, and the US has now seen several incidents where gunmen, seemingly influenced by on-line conspiracy theorists, have carried out attacks. Other reports have suggested the possibility of a fascist link, via the American Renaissance group.
Spend 5 minutes on the David Icke forums today, and you will see the usual response to a terrorist attack of this type - it is an 'inside job', the attack has been carried out by Zionists, it all a put up job etc etc. Perhaps the sickest comments focus on the death of a 9 year old girl in the attack, Christina Taylor Green, - the fact she was born on the day of the September 11th attacks leads to the inference this whole incident has been staged.
Leading 'Truth' activists such as David Icke and Alex Jones appear incapable of recognising the effects that their world views can have - particularly on damaged or isolated individuals. The view that all answers to virtually all political problems can be found on the Internet, and that society, rather than being a complex series of class and economic relations, is instead manipulated by a handful of hidden figures, is sadly getting stronger, not weaker.
Until these ideas are not only challenged but refuted, there is every indication that we will see more Jared Loughner's. And that can only end badly.
This blog has covered before one of America's fastest growing 'truth' movements - the birthers.
Put simply the birthers do not believe Barack Obama should be American President, claiming he is not eligible on the bizarre grounds that they do not believe he was born in the United States. The right wing nature of this movement is perhaps self-evident - oddly whenever America has had a white President no such movement has emerged.....
Such a pattern continues with US Army Doctor Lt Col Terrence Lakin. There are many grounds by which a soldier may decide to refuse service in Afghanistan - invading other nations is generally a questionable act, the government of Hamid Karzai is both corrupt and disreputable, and US soldiers have been involved in scores of unsavory incidents in the country. Lt Col Lakin has however found a novel reason not to travel to Afghanistan - that Barack Obama has no right to be Commander in Chief on the grounds he is not a natural born US citizen.
Just as the birthers usually fail to convince anyone outside of the rabid right, so Lt Col Lakin failed to impress his court martial - he now faces a military prison and dismissal from the US Army. Here he is in action on You Tube:
Sadly we have probably not heard the last of Terrence Lakin.
One of the first 9/11 truthers was the long term US right winger Lyndon Larouche, and amongst the most prominent of truth 'heavyweights' has been a former follower of Larouche, Webster Griffin Tarpley.
One case you won't find too many 'truth' activists digging into is the 2003 death of a young Londoner from Golders Green, Jeremiah Duggan, who was killed in extremely suspicious circumstances following his attendance at a Larouche event in Germany. The current Jewish Chronicle covers, both in an article and an editorial, the inability of both German and UK police to make progress on this case.
We await similar coverage from Larouche and WGT disciples in the UK and Germany..........
In the meantime, the Justice for Jeremiah website can be viewed here.
Being commissioning editor for Press TV must be a thankless task.
You are running the Islamic Republic of Iran's main propaganda tool with the west, and yet half the good stories that emerge from your own country, you cannot touch. The rest of the world wants to know why Iran is hanging homosexuals, stoning women to death, crushing dissidents, flogging trades unionists or developing nuclear weapons, yet you have to fill a news channel with 24 hours worth of positive stories!
One way of avoiding real stories such as the above, is to fill your schedule with distractor flares. This week Press TV has been serialising a 2008 9/11 'truth' movie, The Elephant In The Room, by a young English film maker, Dean Puckett.
The Elephant is a curious film, and in football parlance very much a game of two halves. In part it tells the story of the collection of conspiracy theorists that make up the 'truth' movement, who reject the narrative that Al Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks in New York. Overlapping with this curious belief set is another story entirely - that of the medical and emotional problems suffered by New York City's first responders - those who entered the twin towers on the day, as firemen, police officers and medics. Many have suffered a series of problems ever since. Quite how linking the latter to the former is in anyway beneficial to the cause of first responders is beyond me, but for some reason Dean Puckett chose to do so. Why not simply make a film about first responders?
A further issue emerges. If you criticise 9/11 'truth' theories or those who propagate them, abuse is never far away. Standard responses are to allege that you are on someone's payroll, that you are a Zionist, spook or dis-informer, that the 9/11 Cultwatch blog is paid for by the CIA or some other dark forces (Actually it is not, I have just paid Typepad for the renewal via my own credit card!)
So - that's the fiction. A fact would appear to be that the Elephant In The Room has been sold to the Iranian government, via Press TV.
Perhaps Dean Puckett would like to give some of that dirty money to the Iranian dissidents who daily work to lessen the abuses of the Mullah's in Tehran? Perhaps the next time the Revolutionary Guard break up a protest using deadly force, or go round a University dormitory attacking students, Mr Puckett may like to ask himself which side he is on? And what the fuck he was doing getting into bed with Press TV?
American truther Webster Griffin Tarpley has carved himself a profitable little niche on Russia Today, where he is a regular talking head.
Whilst keen to have a platform there, visitors to Webster's website will find that once he has given us one of his pearls of wisdom, he tends to pull up his drawbridge - all comments are closed.
What are you scared of Webster?
The case of Californian John Patrick Bedell comes as little surprise to 9/11 Cultwatch.
Take a damaged individual, encourage their paranoia, construct a world view that centres on both weakness and an over powering system, then having lit the fuse, step back and watch them explode. Bedell, a 9/11 'truther' travelled from his home in Hollister all the way to the Pentagon, where on 4th March he opened fire on guards outside the military complex, before being shot himself.
There will be others.
Future incidents like this are as good as guaranteed and those in the 'truth' movement need to think long and hard about what they say, what they do and how they say it, especially when dealing with individuals with mental health problems.
Sadly, the chances of such responsibility being displayed by the likes of Alex Jones, David Icke or Webster Griffin Tarpley are extremely low.
Over in the States, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is seeing Jews conspiring everywhere - in this case conspiring against Barack Obama.
Perhaps in keeping with this viewpoint, Minister Farrakhan has also been traveling on UFO's, and sees the earthquake in Chile as a warning to America. He is also turning his attention to 9/11 - and heyho - it was an inside job.
With friends like this, does the truth movement need enemies?
Outside of the Muslim world, the area that has perhaps been the most eager importer of 'truth' doctrines, has been Russia.
Here a long standing opposition to and suspicion of the United States can be combined with a historically deep anti-semitism - fertile soil for truth theories. Flick around on your satellite package and you may come to Russia Today, an English language Russian station, that regularly plays host to the old Texas snake oil salesman himself - Alex Jones.
This Monday Jones was to be found regaling viewers on Obama and his puppet masters, followed by some David Sahyler-esque paranoia about how those powers that be wish to snuff him out. Just as Shayler expects us to believe he survived more assassination attempts than General De Gaulle, so it seems Jones is forever in the sights of the snipers bullet.
You can't help wondering that if anyone could find a way to combine being assassinated with still having access to the subsequent increase in book sales, Alex Jones would do it.............
Following the unpleasant discovery of a turd in the urinal, Cartman and the boys get into some serious investigation of 9/11........
Sometimes, there is no escape from the 'truth' movement.
There I was, in my night gown and cap, enjoying my cup of cocoa and listening to Matthew Norman on Talk Sport (an excellent substitute for Ian Collins) when who should pollute the airwaves but none other than one of the biggest 'stars' of the 'truth' movement - Webster Griffin Tarpley.
Clearly Talk Sport had not been properly briefed about just who Tarpley was prior to the interview (or perhaps they believed WGT's spin about himself) as Norman began the interview by stating that unlike the ludicrous right-wing birthers in the US, WGT attacks Barack Obama from the left.
I nearly spat my cocoa at this point, as describing a long term follower of Lyndon Larouche, and believer in all manner of whacko theories (that the US attacked Serbia in 1999 as Al Gore wanted to impress Prince Charles being the funniest) as 'on the left' is a travesty. WGT however happily agreed with Norman.
The gist of what WGT wanted to say was that Obama's health care reforms (lambasted as socialism by the US right) are in fact nothing of the sort, but are simply a federal bail out for the insurance companies. The way forward is to nationalise the central bank (politics WGT saw as straight out of New Deal era America) something he saw as entirely possible, as he styles America as a centre-left country. As he made that comment, it was Matthew Norman's turn to spit his cocoa everywhere!
As with many 'truthers' WGT's approach is to fire a volley of statements at the audience, often one's that appear weighty and may intimidate someone without a detailed knowledge of the subject. Twice during the interview Norman had to intervene to remind WGT he was speaking to a late night UK audience without a detailed knowledge of American domestic politics.
It is also likely that something stirred in Norman's subconscious when WGT stated that what was behind Obama was the Trilateral Commission, Rockefeller and the Rubin clique at Goldman Sachs. Suddenly his guest was not sounding quite so left wing at all, and Norman finished the interview with a bouncer Andrew Flintoff would have been proud of - what did WGT have to say on the 'birthers'?
WGT was on the spot. We rely on the US constitution he stated, something Bush had trampled on. Obama has refused to provide his birth certificate. Here I hoped Norman would ask WGT if he had ever campaigned to see George W Bush's birth certificate, but Norman followed up his bouncer with a yorker - "Do you believe this"? he asked. WGT was in uncomfortable yes or no territory - "We want to see the original" he insisted.
So there we have it. A 9/11 'truther' reinvents himself as a 'birther'.
Of all the books promoted by the truth movement in recent years, one of the weakest is Dr Kaasem Khaleel's "Wrongly Blamed".
Two interesting debates to be found on the Anarchist Black Cat web site.
Oh the joys of Facebook!
Hello to everyone I met at the Make Wars History public meeting in Norwich last night. A report shall appear on this blog in due course!
During a fascinating exchang of views before the meeting, Annie Machon complained that 9/11 Cultwatch takes a tabloid approach to the truth movement. Well, coming from someone who has had a working relationship with the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday for over a decade that is a bit rich, but at least Annie is not backward at coming forward.
A second complaint was about our series of photographs 'The Players' where we feature some of the doyens of 'truth' thinking and activism. According to Annie it is an example of our 'tabloid approach' that we only feature "the nutters".
Looking through our pictures I see Annie Machon, Annie with David Shayler, Shane Collins, David Ray Griffin, William Rodriguez, Dr Mohammed Naseem, 'Sister' Yvonne Ridley, Alex Jones, to name but half.
Annie may think they are all nutters, as the saying goes "I could not possibly comment........."
Here's a light hearted look from a US writer on how the truth movement across the water is gearing up for President Obama.
Nice to see she did not even feel the need to mention Webster Griffin Tarpley's tedious tome on Obabma.....
One of the more despicable habits of the 'truth' movement is its tendency to refer to any radical who does not agree with them as a 'left gatekeeper'.
One person thus abused is the US activist and journalist Amy Goodman, arrested last week whilst protesting at the Republican convention. You can read her account of this here.
Cor blimey, I see our friends across the water are getting a bit excited!
It seems that over at Prison Planet, they are getting their knickers in a twist about 9/11 Cultwatch addressing the Anarchist Studies Network conference in September.
Oddly, posters at Prison Planet seem to think 9/11 Cultwatch is portraying 'truth' activists as Anarchists. Cobblers! 9/11 Cultwatch wishes to see 'truth' ideologies kept as far away from progressive movements as possible.
I wish they would get it right!
Derek Jameson presses the flesh at the 2007 9/11 Cultwatch fund raising dinner.
It would be trite to assume that all those supporting, or in the orbit/thrall of the 9/11 cult, are intellectual charlatans. Some have interesting things to say, and in this category comes former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott. The originator of the term 'parapolitics' (which describes both the Notes From the Borderland and Lobster tradition here in the UK) Dale Scott's research into 'deep politics' predates 9/11. He is important both for this and because he uses past (and legitimate) research in a way that does not challenge, and in effect drums up support for, the 9/11 cult. In doing so (and this is difficult to prove) he has compromised his intellectual and political integrity to a degree, at least, by evading key evidential issues or skipping lightly round them. Well illustrated by a recent article on the Global Research web-site entitled 9/11 Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics.
To what extent Dale Scott himself has actually become a cultist is unclear--he says he is merely offering "a hypothesis for further investigation: that the American state is somehow implicated with al-Qaeda in the atrocity of 9/11". The phrase "somehow implicated with" is extremely nebulous indeed: perhaps intentionally so. Dale Scott is important, and shaky, because he continually equates past events with current ones on the basis of flimsy evidence or mere assertion--referring to the "simulated 'surprise' of the Bush administration to the 9/11 attack" as "indeed analogous to the simulated 'surprise' of the Truman administration to the outbreak of war in Korea on June 25 1950". Was Bush really not surprised? Or Richard C Clarke? Dale Scott doesn't prove his point, merely asserts it. As too in his reference to COG (Continuity of Government Orders) before 10 am on 9/11 having "constitutional implications" albeit that "what COG means in practice is still largely unknown to us". Very helpful (not). That said, he is right to say that 9/11 has been used to centralise power by the administration, with little check by Congress or a compliant media.
Dale Scotts solution to the problems he raises is not just pitiful, but symptomatic. He advocates "internet politics" putting pressure on electoral candidates in support of various (eminently desirable) political demands as regards oversight, document release etc. Not only will the internet alone never overcome the powerful ruling class forces and secret sate agencies operating in society, the internet itself is no neutral medium--this 'Devil's Harp' is in a very important way responsible for precisely the debasement of politics among the 'Google Generation' (see previous post by Paul) that the 9/11 Cult exemplifies. Tellingly, Dale Scott criticises Alexander Cockburn's attack on the 9/11 cult by way of misrepresenting him, claiming that Cockburn only took exception to the "displacement of coherent Marxist analysis" by 9/11 'Truth' activists--yet Cockburn's critique (and ours) is far more wide-ranging. His 'answer' to Cockburn, that there are both continuities and divisions within powerful US circles is, fundamentally, irrelevant to Cockburn's concerns. And not likely to have been accidentally so--perhaps Dale Scott just lacks the moral courage to attack the cult, and wants (a bit like Robin Ramsay I might say) to hedge his bets on 9/11 by being all things to all people. Not something we at 9/11 Cultwatch could ever be accused of...
Dale Scott's overall work, available in various books, is well worth detailed examination and scrutiny--which we will give it--however the internet is not the place for that. I just wanted to point out, for the record, he is an important and worthy opponent who we rate more highly than charlatans like Webster Griffin Tarpley & the holy snake-oil salesman David Ray Griffin.
Congratulations to the makers of "Unfastened Coins" for drawing our attention to the conspiracy behind the sinking of the Titanic!
Always the most ponderous of 'truth' theorists, David Ray Griffin has had six of the best, trousers down courtesy of Ryan Mackey.
To quote the author
"....we examine the claims of Dr. David Ray Griffin regarding the NIST investigation into the World Trade Center disasters, and find those claims to be unfounded. All 18 major claims are discussed and rigorously dismissed, and a further analysis of the text reveals an overwhelming density of factual and logical errors."
You can read the full report here.
Today saw the launch of "The Elephant In The Room" at the London Independent Film Festival at the National Film Theatre on the Southbank. Of the 85 documentaries submitted for inclusion in the festival, this film was one of only four selected to be shown - a considerable achievement.
The first thing to say is this is a proper film, made by a team who clearly knew what they were doing. This is not some grainy truth movement snapshot destined for 5 minutes of fame on YouTube or Google video. Dean Puckett and his cohorts have produced what is in effect a film on two different subjects. The first is about the 9/11 'truth' movement's activists, and their actions. The second, very different film, is about the experiences of New York's "first responders" those who went into the Twin Towers and/or worked at Ground Zero in the following weeks. A health disaster of epic proportions now appears to be emerging.
Doing The Business
9/11 truth activists have sought to work outside the staid paradigm of traditional politics. This has included the use of direct action, and the film shows an imaginative action where an East Anglia activist, resplendent in a Tesco shirt bought on ebay, manages to sneak into his local superstore and announce over the PA system that 9/11 was an inside job. Imaginative yes, amusing most certainly - but how many people were actually influenced is another matter entirely. Direct action without a popular mandate can very easily be dismissed as the action of a few eccentrics, or worse still lead to a cycle of legal difficulties with little or no public solidarity.
Moving on from the shop floor of the truth movement, it was next time to wheel out one of its 'stars'. Step forward the former magicians assistant, William Rodriguez, who was both interviewed and shown proselytising for the cause. With Mr Rodriguez the devil is very much in the detail.
Good showman that he is, it is simply inaccurate to say that 9/11 has led to a "war against Islam" - after all if the US government merely wanted a war against Islam, it would have left Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq, where his boot had been firmly on the throat of Iraq's Islamists for a generation. Far from attacking Islam, the invasion of Iraq, the Provisional Authority and even the creation of Iraq's 'democratic' government have allowed its resurgence. Rodriguez's comments may play well to western Muslims, but they have little grounding in reality.
Rodriguez was also given a platform to complain that ABC News edited an interview as soon as he began to talk about hearing explosions before any planes had hit the Twin Towers. Whilst ABC may have pulled a fast one here, it is tempting to comment that if they really wanted to undermine Rodriguez, a cursory glance at some of the interviews he gave shortly after 9/11 would have proved very embarrassing, both to the man himself and some of his truth movement supporters.
A second former WTC employee, Scott Forbes, is also interviewed. Forbes presents the 'news' that there was a power down in the South Tower the weekend before 9/11, and the revelation that he saw many people wandering about the Towers at the time. Whilst many viewers will be tempted to shout out "And your point is caller?" during this interlude, for the devotee of 9/11 truth, no point is actually needed - the power down will have allowed explosives to be rigged inside the building, and the 'engineers' were no doubt the culprits. Case closed!
It Was Not Us, So It Must Have Been You
One of the areas where the 9/11 'truth' movement is dangerous, and its ginger headed stepson the 7/7 'truth' movement even more unpleasant, is the message it sends out towards Muslim communities, and indeed the wider Muslim world.
Put simply Islamist extremism is not a problem, because Islamist terrorism does not actually exist. In one of the films most depressing sections, a succession of British Muslims trot out to basically repeat this line. It is hard to think of anything more likely to encourage negative views of Islam than the wholesale adoption of such views by Muslim communities across the UK. For social cohesion alone, we should hope that any inroads the 'truth' movement has made into the mindset of British Muslims are not as deep as this film implies.
Getting Some Stick
Anti-truth movement views do get an occasional airing - as can be imagined, some New Yorkers object rather strongly to the 'truth' message. Street arguments aside, some have clearly paid a penalty for asking hard questions about 9/11. Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney is shown visiting the UK from her US base, and actually comes across as having greater gravitas than many would expect. Her core premise is arguably a strong one - how can a trillion dollar defence system that the US taxpayer has provided, have failed four times on 9/11?
The US military-industrial complex has been skilfully critiqued over the years by left leaning researchers (even though the term itself originates with President Eisenhower) it is hard to add Alex Jones to this list, and hearing Jones yelling to 9/11 truthers in New York, it is easy to conclude that the military-industrial complex itself is probably quite satisfied to see dozens of young activists addressed by this southern foghorn than by someone with the political perspective of Noam Chomsky or Christian Parenti.
A Strange Kind of Glory
Often with major events, the aftershocks are as significant as the initial impact. It is well known that the Vietnam War led to more casualties amongst traumatised soldiers returning to the US, than the number of US dead in Vietnam. It is not impossible that Britain's Vietnam, the war in Northern Ireland, had a similar effect, but British stiff upper lips have been more successful at closing down debate on the effect of war in the UK's last colony (Ally Renwick is one of the writers thus far to break through this wall of silence).
Given this, and what we now know about the medical effects of the first Gulf War on those serving, it is hardly the shock of the century to discover that many 9/11 first responders have suffered debilitating health effects from their service, whilst politicians deny any such problems exist. Whilst Rudy Giuliani swans the world stage as a 'hero of 9/11' the reality, for many of those who really did see action, is a world of medication, unemployment, lung disease and eventual early death.
This at least is a story that most be told, and The Elephant In The Room deserves considerable credit for the work done here. Let us hope that this part of its message at least is not lost.
What No Spooks?
There is of course something missing.
If you are going to present a film to the radically minded on issues like these, it is probably best not to feature two people whose career it was to spy on radicals. The MI5 officer David Shayler, who is probably Britain's best known 9/11 'truther' does not feature in the film at all, save for a thank you in the after film credits. Given Mr Shayler now claims to be the messiah, it is perhaps to avoid confusion, rather than secular leanings, that the producers do not thank God in those credits!
Whilst the hawk eyed will spot the other MI5 officer-cum truther, Annie Machon, in the background of one William Rodriguez interview, it is apt that Ms Machon remains, not for the first time, in the shadows. The films credits however, do list her as "Associate Producer". With the possible dissolution of the UK 9/11 Truth Movement - could a new career be beckoning?
Pick And Mix
As outlined above, The Elephant In The Room is two very different films. It is skilfully put together, lasts the right amount of time, and gives a partial sample of what the 'truth' movement is about. The issue of 9/11 and public health, with particular regards to first responders, has been flagged up with precision, and this is a cause that deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.
Lets hope it is clearly heard above the shouts of "9/11 was an inside job"............
Victor Thorn appears to be keen to step up as the most 'Jew-wise' of the 9/11 cult's many anti-semites.
His "9/11 Evil" is billed as the most 'dangerous' 9/11 truth book ever written. What he really means of course is the most anti-semitic.
With ecstatic reviews already from the fascists of the American Free Press, Thorn is certainly full of himself on his Wing TV website.
Interestingly Thorn appears to be willing to act as a bridge between contemporary 9/11 conspiracy theories (for want of a better word) and the old 1990s stories about Bill and Hillary Clinton that we are a staple of the US far and not so far-right.
Whilst there is plenty to criticise the Clinton's for in office, as usual with this genre ''Hillary and Bill - The Sex Volume" is anything but substantive.
Sex sells, but in this case, who is buying?
Some interesting research is now beginning to emerge about the global 'truth' movement.
Back in August 2007 Peter Knight, an academic at Manchester University, published a strong critique entitled "Conspiracy Theories About 9/11". What we particularly liked about Knight's study is that he illustrates that for all their distaste of the Bush regime, 9/11 conspiracy theorists have a lot more in common with Dubya than they care to admit.
The article does not appear to be on-line yet (this ensuring no one in the entire 'truth' movement will read it!) but it has the ISSN No. 1754-2839 and is part of the Centre for International Politics Working Paper Series, No.34, August 2007.
It is well worth a gander.
One of the fascist groups most frequently targeted by anti-fascists in recent months has been the Barnsley branch of the BNP.
Clearly all those blows to the head have had an effect.
What tops the page in the links section on the Barnsley Nationalist blogspot? (For some reason they always call themselves nationalists, never fascists) Well low and behold it is a link to US 'truther' Alex Jones.
They are welcome to each other!
When we saw Webster Griffin Tarpley speak in London last month, a few of his comments reminded us of his political ancestry - he was once a keen follower of US anti-semite Lyndon Larouche.
In the UK Larouche is perhaps best known for his rather eccentric views on the British royal family. Whilst many criticisms of the royals are valid, few would seriously accuse them of involvement in major drug dealing! Larouche has long attacked what he sees as Britain's unhealthy influence on world events.
Although WGT is no longer (as far as we believe) a Larouchite, it seems he is still more than influenced by his old masters tune. How else do you explain his truly barking comment in London that the US attacked Serbia in 1999 as Al Gore wanted to impress Prince Charles? Such rubbish is straight from the Larouche textbook.
Recently a website called Larouche Planet has been good enough to link to link to 9/11 Cultwatch's report on WGT in London. Interestingly, when referring to WGT, they call him an "ex" Larouchite. They define Larouche not as a political figure but as a cult leader, and the site is run by former Larouche followers. Why not check it out yourself?
I forget I had this little snap of the Powerpoint heading for Webster Griffin Tarpley's talk in London on 5th November.
So, that's four hundred years with none of the actual motors of history - economics, religion, class struggle, war, culture - instead all are written off.
And he has the nerve to say he is part of a truth seeking movement?
Tuesday 13 November sees a major Spanish examination of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, to be screened on BBC4, at 10.30pm.
Last week in London, leading 'truth' activist Webster Griffin Tarpley commented that the attacks were actually carried out by NATO. Can we therefore expect a detailed rebuttal of this programe from either WGT or his supporters?
Or are we just expected to take his word for it?
Now the Stalinist regimes have mostly found their rightful place in the dustbin of history (North Korea apart) it is unusual to be treated to such a monologue as Webster Griffin Tarpley (WGT) offered us on Bonfire night, in the splendid Georgian surroundings of St John's Church, Waterloo, the first stop on his European tour spreading enlightenment (and selling merchandise) to anybody willing to stump up the readies (£5/£3). Larry O'Hara and Paul Stott dissect his talk.
This week sees one of the leading US 'Truth' movement activists, Webster Griffin Tarpley on a speaking tour of the UK.
Rumour reaches us here at 9/11 Cultwatch that suggestions were made to the great man that hosting a meeting in London on 5 November may not be wise - all the fireworks presumeably would be outside the hall, not inside.
Not easily put off, WGT insisted that the 'show must go on', and he is therefore due to speak at 7pm on Monday 5 November at St. John's Church, Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY by Waterloo Main Line Station.
This quote, from the Webster Tarpley myspace site, shows just how determined some people in the "truth" movement are to isolate not only themselves, but radical opinion.
"Attacks on Bush that do not include 9/11 truth are simply impotent, and will not be effective."
We would really like to think the person who first said that was joking, but knowing what we do about the "truth" movement, it is very unlikely they are.
According to the old joke, the Welsh make great soldiers providing they have white officers.
One of the core elements of the "Truth" movement, in both the US and UK, is their refusal to accept that Al Qaeda could have done what they appear to have done on 9/11 - to attack the greatest military power on earth, on its own soil, using its own planes as weapons. Former American servicemen like Jim Fetzer, who came to fame heading "Scholars For Truth" are agog at the idea that a man "living in a cave" could have humbled America, using men armed only with craft knives and their own fists.
Whilst we should note the implicit racism here (why should Arabs or Asians not be as militarily capable as the west?) there is nothing new in this attitude. During the rebellion against British rule in India 150 years ago, a similar idea took root amongst Britons. The historian Rosie Llewellyn-Jones comments:
"Complacent Britons simply did not believe that the rebel soldiers could have fought so well and so bravely unless they were under the command of Europeans"
Rose Llewellyn-Jones, "The Great Uprising In India, 1857-58: Untold Stories, Indian and British".
One of the things to consider when looking at the "Truth" movement is that whilst it might style itself as a broad church, it is characterised by division, paranoia and hostility.
This US article, courtesy of the Wisconsin Times, outlines this perfectly.
Still, coherence - an overrated concept!
One of the stars of the US Truth Movement, and an icon to many in the UK 9/11 truth scene, is Alex Jones.
A new blog takes a critical look at Jones, his right wing beliefs, inconsistent approach and highly selective use of 'evidence'. As the blog points out, Jones has been ranting about the 'new world order' for so long that if he was right, we should all be living in Nazi Germany by now!
Why not check out Alex Jones Exposed!
What motivates the 9/11 'Truth Movement' and particularly some of its leading players in the US?
Reading reviews of Roger Rapoprt's biography of Michael Moore one quote stands out:
"Investors in Moore's last film, Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) got more than a 36-fold return on their $6 million investment. One dollar invested in the same summer's Spider-Man 2 wouldn't quite have got you four dollars back."
Christopher Bray's, Daily Telegraph Review 21/7/07.
Read those figures again.
Whilst Moore's work is a notch above those who have followed him in analysing Bush and 9/11 (and in our view is motivated by strong political principles) are Alex Jones, Webster Tarpley Griffin and Jim Marrs totally unaware of them?
The long running chat room Urban75 has a fascinating thread about the current star of the 9/11 "Truth" movement, the mild mannered janitor himself, William Rodriguez.
It seems slick Willie has not always been too careful about who he associates with, and that there are more than one or two gaps and exaggeration in his story.
I won't link directly to the thread here, as you have to register as a member to view threads on Urban75, but it is free to register, then just go to the announcements section, and watch the "truth" activists and de-bunkers in full flow.
Namaste magazine is one of those glossy green/New Age magazines cluttering up most of the bigger newsagents.
It first came to our attention due to one of the worst articles yet on 7/7 - a rambling monologue linking the attacks to Freemasonry and numerology that any decent editor would have filed in the bin. (See Vol 9 issue 1 to understand what we are on about)
The current issue, Vol 9 Issue 4 turns to 9/11 with a three page piece by an American, Debbie Lewis.
The motivation behind the article appears to be disgust at the BBC's February 18th "9/11 Conspiracy Files" programme. The article starts badly - it seems with this documentary "The BBC Joins The Ranks of The Untrustworthy United States Media". As if the BBC had never made a mistake in its history, or never been used by non-progressive forces! And there we were thinking the BBC had vetted their staff for generations to keep the 'wrong types' out. Once again we see the 9/11 "truth" activists acting as if history began on 11 September 2001.
As with any 9/11 "thinker" Lewis is keen to push a documentary - 911 In Plane Site. She does give some credence to Senator Bob Graham - interviewed in the BBC programme - but naturally shows no interest whatsoever in his concerns re the Saudi involvement in 9/11. Next up is standard US racism - as evidenced by both Dr Jim Fetzer and Jim Marrs - 'how can these 19 Arabs do this to us, under the control of a man in a cave, when we have so much money and power?'. It is that feeling of incredulity that fuels much of the 9/11 "Truth" movement.
Oh and the need to sell videos to one another - at the end of the article we find out that Debbie Lewis is the wife of William Lewis - who produced 911 In Plane Site. Small world!
There's no doubt which forthcoming book we are most looking forward to.
May sees publication of David Ray Griffin's new book "de-bunking the 9/11 de-bunkers". Whether or not he turns his gaze across the Atlantic towards 9/11 Cultwatch is not yet known.
All we can say to the Reverend of conspiracy theory is - come and have a go if you think you are hard enough!
E Karsh: Islamic Imperialism: A History
Former Israeli Defence Force adviser gives us the hardly startling revelation that Islam is an imperialist doctrine. Takes one to know one Efraim!
Hamid Enayat: Modern Islamic Political Thought
Useful background reader, especially on the Shia, and on Egyptian religious authorities.
Ian Henshall: 9.11: The New Evidence
Don't forget - this is about as rational as it gets with the 'Truth' movement.
Robert Schroeder: Cults: Secret Sects and Radical Religions
In search of context......
Abd Samad Moussaoui: Zacarias Moussaoui: The Making of a Terrorist
The brother of the '20th hijacker' puts his thoughts to paper.
Thomas H. Kean: 9/11 Report: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the USA
It would be interesting to know what percentage of 'truthers' have actually read the report they object to so much. 10%? 5%?
Annie Machon: Spies,Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair: M15, M16 and the Shayler Affair
Think 9/11 was an inside job? Not according to this book!
Yvonne Ridley: Ticket to Paradise
A book this particular 9/11 'truther' would rather forget having written........
Rudolph Giuliani: Leadership
What he says can sound impressive, but is the key what he does not comment upon?