Editor’s note: This is a revised article from last year followed by recent podcasts and videos on the topic.
One of the ways corrupt people and institutions retain power is by discouraging criticism and discussions that could lead to organized opposition. A classic tactic is to vilify targets as unpatriotic, disloyal, traitorous, heretical, dangerous, crazy, etc. Think about what happened to critics of capitalism during the peak of the cold-war hysteria. George Orwell’s 1984 depicted how governments could also manipulate language, history, media and other information in order to diminish critical thought (which leads to critical speech and organizing) and to control thought. The creation of a Big Brother-style police/surveillance state is another way to create a climate of fear and foster a culture which discourages the sharing of knowledge about certain topics and prevents people from taking action.
This should be kept in mind when discussing 9/11, because those who still have complete faith in government and corporate media (an increasingly shrinking number), have been conditioned to ignore, deny or dismiss any information that would lead them to question the official story. The most common knee-jerk reaction is to defend the official story by labeling all alternative narratives “conspiracy theory”. Though this argument is not as convincing today, when political scandals and crimes are almost a daily occurrence, the association between “conspiracy theories” and negative terms such as “crazy” and “wacko” are deeply ingrained in the culture, and not by accident.
The term “conspiracy theory” was not used as an ad hominem attack until shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Documented evidence shows the CIA needed to develop new and more effective ways to attack and discredit those who dared to question the Warren Commission Report. So when one counters questions about the official narrative with “That’s just a crazy conspiracy theory” they’re actually using a psy-op attack developed by and for a conspiracy. Because of experience and greater proliferation of information through the internet, fewer people are naive enough to deny extremely wealthy and powerful people would conspire to protect their position and interests. History and hard evidence shows it would be crazier to suppose that they don’t.
Another common argument is “The government is too incompetent to pull off something of that scale and keep it a secret”. It’s true that aspects of the government are incompetent, but the incompetence is generally limited to things they care little about such as medical and educational systems, the food system, domestic infrastructure, safety, financial regulation, disaster relief, fair elections, etc. When it comes to things they prioritize such as wars, bailouts, black budgets, black ops, cronyism, crowd control, surveillance, propaganda, etc., the US government is extremely effective. And the higher up the hierarchy, the easier it is to keep secrets. All it takes is a relatively small number of people in key positions, and through division of labor, compartmentalization, formation of policies conducive to conspiring, and covert actions and communications protected under the cloak of “national security” (with help from a mass culture of conformity, credulity and fear). One should also keep in mind that governments are not monolithic and are comprised of factions with conflicting interests which can be used, manipulated and/or compromised by players involved in the conspiracy (not just within U.S. government but in foreign governments and the private sector as well).
Some simply can’t accept that individuals and factions within U.S. government could intentionally cause an attack such as 9/11 or let it happen. This speaks to the power of corporate media and establishment propaganda on different levels. It shows how a significant majority of Americans can be kept completely ignorant of decades of violent imperialist policy around the world and how false flags have been used to start wars through history. There’s also a long history of state violence against its own people and on American soil going back to the genocide of Native Americans, murders of countless slaves and people of color, multiple massacres of labor activists, assassination of leaders such as JFK, RFK, MLK, Black Panthers, and MOVE, the 93 WTC bombing, WACO, OK City bombing, etc. There’s also ample documentation proving the US government has at least considered actions not dissimilar to 9/11 such as Operation Northwoods and Project for a New American Century. What this argument presupposes is that powerful and wealthy (mostly) white men are inherently more trustworthy, empathetic, and righteous than “Muslim fanatics” or any other “enemy” most Americans have been conditioned to fear and hate.
Other attacks against independent 9/11 researchers include dismissals like “9/11 is no longer relevant” and/or “there’s more important problems to deal with so we need to move on”. I would argue that when such crimes occur that have harmed and killed vast numbers of people and is responsible for countless casualties and elimination of civil liberties more than a decade after due to policies supposedly justified by the event, we have a moral obligation to uncover who did it and why. There’s no peace without justice and no justice as long as the truth behind such nation-changing crimes remains suppressed. Of course there’s always plenty of immediate and equally important issues to address, but those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. More specifically, those who benefit most from historical events such as 9/11 are motivated to repeat it while those who only know a distorted version of history while remaining ignorant of the truth are more likely to let it happen again.
Because of the work of “conspiracy theorists” we are now more aware of the scope of government/corporate criminality and connections between government, wall street, war-profiteers, and the criminal underworld. For example, without the work of independent JFK researchers we wouldn’t be aware of Operation Northwoods which many now view as a false flag template used for 9/11. Gaining a better understanding of how and why 9/11 happened helps us put current geopolitical events in context while providing insight into how such operations work and how they can be counteracted.
There’s also the “straw man” argument which creates the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing an argument with a superficially similar yet non-equivalent proposition and refuting it without ever having refuted the original position. This is particularly easy to do with complex high profile incidents such as 9/11 and the JFK assassination, where there can be a wide array of theories and speculation due to the complexity of the narrative, widespread interest, deep secrecy and disinformation or misinformation from “useful idiots” and/or those who would benefit from keeping crucial information hidden.
Discussing controversial subjects is never easy but it’s always rewarding when people turn out to be more receptive and thoughtful than one might suspect. Though corporate media does its best to defend the official stories, more people than ever are waking up. On this 9/11 anniversary with the potential for another war on the horizon, it’s as good a day as any to talk about it, share this information and help others wake up.
On the 9/3/14 episode of “Guns and Butter” Tod Fletcher uses a contextual approach to analyzing events at the Pentagon, explores origins and elements of the hijacker story (ie. telephone calls from the planes, analysis of eyewitness reports, physical debris, photo/video evidence, black boxes and FBI involvement) and investigates means, motive and opportunity.
This episode was followed by the 9/10/14 Guns and Butter: “9/11 and the Politics of Deception” with Christopher Bollyn.
Project Censored 9/8/14: With the anniversary of the September 11 attacks at hand, Peter and Mickey speak with Ken Jenkins, organizers of the annual 911 Film Festival in Oakland, California, about questions that still linger 13 years after the attacks. Then Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee talks about the scope and implications of the ongoing federal surveillance activities against Americans, and how to resist them. The program concludes with Robbie Martin of Media Roots, speaking about his new documentary “American Anthrax.”