Ever since the events of 9/11, the American Left and even ultra-Left have been downright fanatical in combating notions that the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks or at least had foreknowledge of the events. Lately, this stance has taken a turn towards the irrational.
In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky has made an incredible assertion: [There's by now a small industry on the thesis that the administration had something to do with 9-11. I've looked at some of it, and have often been asked. There's a weak thesis that is possible though extremely unlikely in my opinion, and a strong thesis that is close to inconceivable. The weak thesis is that they knew about it and didn't try to stop it. The strong thesis is that they were actually involved. The evidence for either thesis is, in my opinion, based on a failure to understand properly what evidence is. Even in controlled scientific experiments one finds all sorts of unexplained phenomena, strange coincidences, loose ends, apparent contradictions, etc. Read the letters in technical science journals and you'll find plenty of samples. In real world situations, chaos is overwhelming, and these will mount to the sky. That aside, they'd have had to be quite mad to try anything like that. It would have had to involve a large number of people, something would be very likely to leak, pretty quickly, they'd all be lined up before firing squads and the Republican Party would be dead forever. That would have happened whether the plan succeeded or not, and success was at best a long shot; it would have been extremely hard to predict what would happen. ]
More recently, Ward Churchill, under fire for his comments following the 9/11 attacks comparing the people in the WTC towers to “little Eichmanns”, took a somewhat different turn to the irrational. This comes via an email from a friend. [I went to the Friday (3/25/05) night event which was organized by the so-called 'anarchist' AK Press people who in 'true anarchist spirit' only allowed written questions which they selected (i.e. censored) and handed to Churchill to read one by one. Needless to say my question as to how he reconciles the fact that his 'roosting chickens' thesis is consistent with the 'war on terror' mythology was not asked. A badly phrased 9-11 question did get through. He first said "as to what actually happened on 9-11, I'm open to different theories, I have not seen any evidence" (to which I would of course say - well look at it you idiot!) - or something to that effect - at this point there was scattered clapping - and then he added "But, the problem with the idea that it was an inside job is that it suggests that brown people are not capable of such feats and gives all the credit to the white man, another master race fantasy". Many people seemed to like this silly analysis - although a couple of people shouted loudly "that's ridiculous!". Anyway he clearly illustrated what a dolt he is, his past work notwithstanding.]
This happened in Oakland. The following day, while Churchill was speaking at the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco, someone yelled out to the effect that the people who are after Churchill are also the real perpetrators of 9/11. He paused for maybe two seconds, and responded to the effect that this was the same racist crap about brown people not being able to defend themselves. The audience gave him a standing ovation. Such a viewpoint parallels an article in New Left Review from Summer ‘04 in which a (self-styled) situationist group named Retort from the San Francisco Bay Area claimed the 9/11 attacks are evidence that outside groups can still strike at the dominant spectacle from the outside. The Reverend Chuck-O of Indymedia omnipresence, always on the prowl for anyone daring to discuss 9/11 skepticism and acting when he can to quickly end any such discussions, has also endorsed this view.
With all due regard to Chomsky and Churchill, and an absolute stance against any effort at censorship, we must not let respect for their past achievements or current efforts at repressing them stand in the way of clarity and the insistence on the truth. Chomsky condemns the actions supposedly undertaken by “Arab terrorists”, driven by the injustices of U.S. foreign policy, though he also condemns the “reaction” of the US government to these attacks as opportunistic moves to legitimate imperialist expansion, a perspective widely shared in the American “Left” and even “ultra-Left”. On the other hand, Churchill implicitly endorses these attacks as blows against the empire, something others like Retort are more willing to say outright. But both perspectives fully accept the official story as to who carried out the attacks.
To begin with, this shows an amazing willingness to fully accept the government story on the part of people who generally instinctively distrust anything coming from official sources, especially given the proven unprecedented tendency of this particular administration to lie, and especially given the extraordinary nature of the events of that day. And this belief comes in spite of the utter failure of the U.S government to present any real evidence to support its version of events. For example, it still uses a list of 19 alleged suicide hijackers whose ranks include several people who have come forth to say they are still alive.
But there is something even more deeply wrong. Brown people could no more accomplish what was supposedly done on 9/11, as claimed by the official story, than white people could, even super wealthy ones. The evidence from that day shows that the official account violates the laws of physics. Videos clearly show that as the WTC towers collapsed, material from the upper floors fell down through the remaining steel and concrete of the lower floors as fast as it fell through the adjoining air, requiring steel and concrete to provide no more resistance than air. Even if you can come up with some far fetched explanation how that’s possible with a gravity-driven collapse created by the plane collisions and fires, you would have to explain why the upper floors meanwhile were turning to dust and small pieces, which would indicate they were facing massive resistance, assuming they were merely free-falling. Only demolition explains both phenomena simultaneously.
Indeed, the very notion that fires could have caused collapses is negated by the evidence. Testing by federal agencies found almost all columns experienced temperatures not in excess of 450 degrees F , well short of the 1022 degrees required to even weaken unprotected structural steel, let alone melt it. Videos show the fires burning fiercely for only a short period, especially in the second-hit South Tower, where the plane almost missed the building, hitting only a corner. Various photos and videos clearly show people standing in the impact zone, not something anyone could do in the midst of a steel-weakening inferno. Firefighters on audio tapes specifically talked of finding just small fires in the impact zone of the South Tower (WTC2), minutes before the collapse. Few people now realize that not only was Trade Center 2 hit less directly than building 1, but the jet-liner collision with building 2 occurred nearly 20 minutes after the day's first crash, the strike on WTC1. The simple fact that WTC2 was hit both less directly and well after WTC1, yet somehow still collapsed first just doesn’t fit with official government explanations of "gravity driven structure-wide 'pancake' failures generated solely by commercial airliner impacts and the resulting fires” as the only causes. Think about it— common sense is something you don't have to get from official expert sources. Much, much more evidence exists, references are provided at the end.
Any rational discussion of the evidence would have a hard time concluding that the official explanation of the events makes any sense. But Chomsky’s statement (referred to earlier) tries to write it all off as “unexplained phenomena, strange coincidences, loose ends, chaos,...” as if quantum theory trumps the laws of mechanics even in the case of bodies far larger than the sub-atomic particles this theory is pertinent to. Meanwhile, the Churchill perspective simply ignores the facts and attacks doubters as racist for implying brown people are not capable of the super-human feats that had to take place for the official account to be true, as if anyone is. To me, this shows a high degree of desire on the part of many icons of the left and even ultra left to want to believe that what happened on 9/11 was exactly what we’ve been told happened. Is this conscious participation in official lying? Is this an attempt to fit reality into some sort of package which conforms with an analysis which is deemed to be beyond questioning, a sacrosanct agenda? Is this conspiracy theory aversion run amuck, as if the ruling elites never meet behind closed doors and, yes, conspire to formulate policies and decide upon actions to deal with problems in the system’s operation? Is this the left deciding that a niche on any ship is worth keeping, even if it is the Titanic?
Whatever the reasons are, to me they indicate a deep sickness within both the left and the ultra left. Denial of the irreconcilable contradictions inherent in the "official explanations" for the events of 9/11 works to legitimate the phony “War on Terrorism”, based upon utterly false pretexts. The left cannot accept the official story for the events of 9/11 and at the same time mount an effective opposition to the war, let alone act to promote the basic social change essential to human and planetary survival. The only viable global terror organization is that of the United States. This "war that will not end in our lifetimes" is at base a thinly veiled pretext for continued expansion of US geopolitical influence. We inhabit a country whose exploitative way of life is the centerpiece of a terminal and lethal world social structure. We more than any posses the means and motivation. Terror is the tubercular blanket we proffer to the world— conceived, funded, generated, and controlled from "Global Ground Zero," The United States of America. The events of September 11 and their far reaching consequences are an assault upon human-kind and the world itself. Meanwhile, the suspension of fundamental civil liberties here in the United States is but the first step in the systematic erasure of any trappings of the world's noblest 'democratic experiment' which has been from its inception a disingenuous exercise in genocide, biocide, and self-effacing hubris.
In the past, institutions which proved themselves sclerotic in the face of historical changes were bypassed by those desiring a new world. This is what happened to the Second International after World War I, when its various national components endorsed participation in the grand imperialist slaughter. It happened again to the “Old Left” in the ‘60s. And maybe it’s time it happened to the anarchist and libertarian socialist movements as well.
References: (no particular reason to the order, nothing and no one is perfect)
(select nerdcities/guardian Main index link, several excellent articles on the WTC collapses as well as the Pentagon)
(excellent articles on the airliners supposedly involved on 9/11, Pentagon witnesses, physics of Pentagon attack, and conspiracy theory)
(lots of good stuff on all things 9/11)
(excellent stuff on WTC demolition, including many videos)
(amazing photos of WTC. Also check out News Junkie Scott’s daily list at Baltimore IMC, best daily news summary blog out there)
(very interesting stuff, on the cutting edge, good links list)
(video of appearance in Madison by David Ray Griffin, author of The New Pearl Harbor)
(articles on the history of al Qaeda as a CIA operation, especially good pieces by Michel Chossudovsky and Chaim Kupferberg)
(good articles on WTC, Pentagon)
Jack Straw, May 4, 2005