Is the Truth out There?

September 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm (Uncategorized)

And on this, the tenth anniversary of the September 11 bombing of the World Trade Centre. There’s been a lot of talk about the way the world has changed since that grey September morning. And of course it has, but in many other ways it hasn’t. Capital still grinds along.

The New York Times this morning devoted an entire section to 9-11 events. Media both left, right and liberal have churned out stories ad nauseam , all tweaking the events to fit their own political perspectives, so that 9-11 has now left any semblance of reality and become the stuff of legend. Which is very handy if you have an agenda to advance.

Earlier this week in the Toronto Globe and Mail,  former McMaster university professor Graeme McQueen gave an interview about an upcoming conference on 9-11 to uncover the truth behind the day’s events. I met McQueen once or twice when I was an undergraduate at McMaster over twenty years ago, so I hope for his sake that the Globe  deliberately edited the interview in a way that made him look stupid.

McQueen’s defense of his contention that the 9-11 bombings were the result of a conspiracy seemed to take on the tactics of a “no it isn’t”to whatever question the interview posed:

There is a group called al-Qaeda. They had 19 hijackers. They commandeered planes. They smashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

No. There was never strong evidence for what you just said.

How is this even questionable? The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed says, “I did this.”

Khalid Sheik Mohammed was suffocated by water over 180 times. What do we know about what he really said?

Al-Jazeera had him on TV a year before his capture, saying, “I’m very happy about this operation.”

Well, I would have to see the interview.

You don’t accept al-Qaeda did it?

Who is al-Qaeda? The term wasn’t used very much before 9/11. There are a lot of questions about who al-Qaeda is and who they work for.

Do you accept that planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?

Large planes obviously hit the World Trade Center. We have them on video. We have many eyewitnesses. The Pentagon is very complicated – let’s not even go there right now.

If not al-Qaeda, then who?

A very good question. We’re not going to try to solve that in these hearings

Uh huh. A number of writers have argued that the rise of the “Truther” movement is a positive thing because it has eroded people’s trust in the government. In actual fact, it’s an elaborate smoke and mirrors where everything is forms a part of the conspiracy  (at the end of Bob Dylan’s John Birch Society Paranoid Blues, with one left, the character began to investigate himself – “sure hope, I don’t find anything.”)

I don’t know if the bombing of Pearl Harbour ever produced a significant movement of people who wondered if the U.S. let it happen (there has never been any argument that Japan actually committed the raid), but the mother lode for this was the assassination of JFK.

The Kennedy Assassination produced an entire industry of books, magazines, newsletters and an army of “researchers” identifying suspects such as the CIA, the Nazis, the mob, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Lyndon Johnson, or some bizarre cabal with elements of some of all.

You see something of the same illness among the truthers or “Birthers” today. Each with their own little version of the truth. And when a fellow researcher differs, it can only be that they have become a part of the conspiracy., and must therefore be denounced.  

But even beyond that, there’s also the notion that politics make strange bedfellows. Beyond the agent baiting, there are documented proofs. L Fletcher Prouty, Bo Gritz and others who were lionized in ostensibly leftist conspiracy journals for their warnings about the ‘military industrial complex’ and the dangers of fascism have very often been involved with rightist militias or associations seeing the hand of communism or Zionism behind the world’s great events.  

Alexander Cockburn ran an interesting article about the dead-end of conspiracy politics and posted on Counterpunch, but the site doesn’t seem to be available today – I’ll post the link later.

I don’t want to simply tack on an orthodox ending here, but if the powers-that-be are indeed as powerful and all-controlling as the conspiracy theorists would have us believe, then nothing can be done. We’ve lost (it’s puzzling though why the repeated need for coups – JFK is said to be one, then Bush’s victory in 200 and 9-11 a year or so later). The power to change the world doesn’t lie with crusading researcher exposing powerful elites, but rather in the social power of the collective worker.

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