Ten Questions For 9/11 Coincidence Theorists
Friday, September 22nd, 2006
I often visit the CounterPunch.org site because I enjoy reading the many interesting articles I find there. However, on my last visit, I was somewhat surprised to see Alexander Cockburn’s article on “The 9/11 conspiracy Nuts,” which is a brutal assault on those who believe in the complicity of the Bush administration in the 9/11 attacks.
Not that I hadn’t run across the “our-President-would-never-do-that” viewpoint before (which I do not claim are exactly Mr. Cockburn’s words). It’s just that the gullibility  of Alexander Cockburn and other such folks, and even more importantly, their total lack of inquisitiveness, about these criminal attacks are always a source of amazement to me.
PERTINENT QUESTIONS FOR THE COINCIDENCE THEORISTS.
With utmost respect for Mr. Cockburn and his journalistic work, I cannot help but ask him, and those who share his viewpoint, the following ten questions:
1) Who are the real 9/11 guilty parties, and exactly how are the “9/11 conspiracy Nuts” letting these guilty parties off the hook? Please explain a little about how these “conspiracy Theory Nuts” are sparing Rudy Giuliani or corporate America. Also, if one believes the U.S. government was in any way involved in the 9/11 attacks, even through passive complicity, is it so strange to be holding the President and the Vice President of that government responsible (on whose watch this occurred)?
2) Are the U.S. government documents on Operation Northwoods  “imagined clues” and hallucinatory creations from the minds of “conspiracy Theory Nuts”?
3) Is it a fabrication of the “conspiracy Theory Nuts” that George W. Bush and Tony Blair discussed disguising U.S. jets as United Nations planes in order to get Saddam Hussein to shoot them down as a prelude to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Would you not, in all honesty, agree that it is quite right to call this a conspiracy  ?
4) Was the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (even though it was not hit by any planes) the result of the hallucinations of “conspiracy Theory Nuts” or a real event? Would it not in the least bit arouse a grain of curiosity in your mind, and prompt you to ask at least some questions?
5) If the US Secret Service were truly unaware of the nature and source of the 9/11 attacks, would it not have been essential to immediately relocate and hide the President, instead of allowing him to continue with his reading of “goat story”? How did they know some other plane was NOT targeting him at the school, as well as other key targets? 
6) For the sake of argument, let us assume the impeccability of the official explanation of the 9/11 attacks. How would you explain the subsequent anthrax attacks, particularly threats against the Democratic opposition in Congress? Were those perpetrated by Osama bin Laden as well, or are they just the fairytales of “conspiracy Theory Nuts”?
Speculating about the objectives of the latter (i.e., the anthrax threats), they potentially posed as serious a threat as the airliner attacks, especially if the anthrax attacker’s objective might have been to intimidate and silence certain members of Congress. Have any of you “sane and reasonable” persons on the “left” ever attempted to question or analyze these events? Are you even in the least bit interested in these questions, or is it safer to avoid them altogether in favor of politically-correct generalities ?
7) Is the Pentagon trying to assist the “conspiracy Theory Nuts” by refusing to release anything more than a few frames of the security video, such as the crucial and yet inexplicably withheld frames that actually show Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon ?
8) If you have ever heard of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and I’m sure you have, do you have any reaction to it, to the PNACers’ admission that they would need a “new Pearl Harbor” to carry out their plan for a forcible makeover of Iraq, or to the connections between its members and the current U.S. administration, or is all of that just a coincidence?
9) Do you think that an administration that has slaughtered over a hundred thousand Iraqis, and that indefinitely holds U.S. citizens without any rights as “enemy combatants,” would have any reservations about killing a few thousand Americans if it thought it could get away with it undetected?
10) And finally, I am really curious to know: what political objective are you trying to achieve by writing this piece? And I am asking this as an honest question and not necessarily implying anything. I am simply trying to find out what you think you are achieving by stating an unknown (e.g., that Kennedy was killed by Oswald – why, how) versus the popularly-believed view (e.g., that Kennedy was killed by the ruling class because he did not fit in – no matter how true or false this might be). As a progressive political being, what goal would the assertions in your article achieve?
PERTINENT REBUTTALS TO THE COINCIDENCE THEORIST ATTACKS.
I also have some responses to various points raised, and questions posed, by Mr. Cockburn in his article:
1) Regarding the issue Mr. Cockburn raises about the “Arabs in caves” – I have oftentimes stated that “a fundamentalist zealot on kidney dialysis living in the caves of Afghanistan could not have carried out an operation of this magnitude”. This is a response to accusations from the Bush administration (not us) that the 9/11 culprits were “Arabs, led by Osama bin Laden, residing in the caves in Afghanistan.” Contrary to what Mr. Cockburn is trying to imply, I did not mean that “Arabs live in caves,” or that “Arabs are not smart enough to carry out attacks”. However, I reiterate that an attack of these proportions could not have been carried out by non-governmental Arabs, or any other non-governmental group. And there is nothing racist about such a pronouncement.
2) Mr. Cockburn cites a number of historical events and then asks: were these CONSPIRACIES, too? My response is this: any good detective would view all of these events with an open mind as to the possibility of conspiracies, and then attempt to investigate each event on a case by case basis. Moreover, democracy is not about blind faith in the government but rather about prudent distrust and imposing accountability. Particularly when you are dealing with such a treacherous administration. Would Mr. Cockburn readily accept the Bush regime’s words when it claims it is only targeting “the terrorists” while it eavesdrops on the phone calls of millions of American citizens? If so, then he is too naive to be taken seriously as a progressive pundit.
3) Mr. Cockburn erroneously asserts that “they disdain all answers but their own,” whereas what I really disdain is apathy, lack of curiosity, and intellectual dishonesty. Let’s be real. Isn’t it really you folks who routinely disdain and dismiss the testimony, letters, and reports of myriad FBI and CIA agents, and other governmental whistleblowers, as mere “anomalies” or “coincidences”? It is not so much that we are conspiracy theorists with overactive imaginations as it is that you and your ilk are willfully blind COINCIDENCE THEORISTS, for whom the dots may never be connected.
4) Concerning Mr. Cockburn’s comments about the Kennedy assassination, Jim Garrison posed some very interesting and forceful questions in his final arguments (“Would the mob be capable of … ?”) in response to those who accused Oswald or the mob of being the ultimate culprits. For this, I refer you to Jim Garrison’s book: “On the Trail Of The Assassins.” Interestingly enough, the same questions should be asked about 9/11: Would the 9/11 attackers be capable of … ?
5) Concerning the alleged crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon - wouldn’t it make more sense to publicly publish all of the photos of Flight 77 arriving at the Pentagon that you claim exist, and thus make us all shut up for good?
6) Why blame Osama instead of Saddam? I am surprised Mr. Cockburn asks this question because the answer is very simple. First, Osama is their man but Saddam was not (at least not entirely the way the neocons wanted him to be). Second, the neocons needed to implicate Osama to justify invading Afghanistan. Third, they invaded Iraq by conflating Osama and al-Qaeda with Saddam in their propaganda, and that is not the end of the story. Fourth, they have subsequently made several attempts (and will continue in the future) to conflate al-Qaeda with Iran and Syria. Saddam is gone, but as you can see from the recent videos and pronouncements, Osama is still quite useful to them.
7) “The ‘conspiracy’ is always open-ended as to the number of conspirators, widening steadily … Tens of thousands of people, all silent as the tomb to this day,” states Mr. Cockburn, attempting to ridicule his straw-man “conspiracy Theory Nuts.”
In rebuttal, I need only note that Standard Operating Procedure inside the intelligence community is to “compartmentalize intelligence” , which means that a small group of people can manage a project that involves hundreds of people, organized into small teams which know only exactly what they are supposed to be doing, without knowing anything about the overarching big picture. That is how the CIA could be assassinating people and torturing its victims in secret prisons while the majority of the staff at Langley continues to think the Company is busy building “democracy” around the world.
Having stated all of this, I am nonetheless a strong supporter of diverse opinions and healthy polemics, so not everyone has to subscribe to what I believe in, and I don’t have to accept what others have to say. This is how we grow authentic democracy on the left. However, I do try not to lose sight of the big picture, which is the immorality and destructiveness of this system, and I do try not to confuse friend and foe.
Applying those principles to this case, I think it would be a travesty of justice to allow a premature foreclosure of thought , and thus not to have a fully independent investigation of the 9/11 attacks (including the anthrax attacks and threats), and not to fully prosecute those who are in fact guilty of the crime. Furthermore, I do believe the ultimate culprits are members of the Bush regime, top echelons of the Pentagon, and heads of the media. Evidently Mr. Cockburn believes the culprits are Rudolph Giuliani, Motorolla, and other contractors and corporations involved in the building of WTC buildings. To which I say: Let’s fully investigate, then let the chips fall where they may!
 In the USA, the government’s “official” story is always characterized as “true” (i.e., 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, etc.); so it is wise to take the official 9/11 story with a grain of salt, and realize that those who believe the alternative theories are always defamed as “nutcases”. See Alexander Cockburn’s 9/10/06 CounterPunch article, “The 9/11 conspiracy Nuts”: http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09092006.html
 According to the official U.S. government documents on “Operation Northwoods,” the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff planned to fake terror attacks on U.S. citizens in order to create support for a U.S. war on Cuba: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/northwoods.html
 Amazingly, what is reported in the corporate-controlled media is readily accepted (such as this item) and no one there is accused of being a “conspiracy Theory Nut.”
 The real meaning of a conspiracy theory is to say that an event takes place as the result of a plan. Obviously, not all plans succeed, and if a plan does not succeed, it does not mean that there was no plan (or conspiracy) behind it. We all plan many aspects of our daily lives, and so do the ruling elites. The mere fact that the ruling elites have resorted to brutal measures to hold on to power does not mean that they don’t plan.
The opposite of the conspiracy theory is the “COINCIDENCE THEORY,” implying the radical view that everything is merely a coincidence, and that elections, wars, coup d’etats somehow just happen without any preconceived plans.
Here in California, when every election rolls around, I go to the polls to vote for or against a number of propositions. Only naive fools (and of course “reasonable leftists”) think that these propositions (such as “English Only” initiatives, those opposing Affirmative Action, those favoring developers, etc.) just fall from the sky and are not the result of careful planning, which is to say conspiracies, by interest groups to have their way with the general public.
 I can only speculate on Alexander Cockburn’s response: bureaucratic incompetence. This, however, is mega-incompetence. Airport security was incompetent. The FAA was incompetent. NORAD was incompetent. Fighter jet pilots were incompetent. The DOD was incompetent. The Secret Service was incompetent. The FBI was incompetent. The CIA was incompetent. The White House was incompetent. The entire executive branch was incompetent. And all with complete simultaneity! Seriously now, you think WE are the “conspiracy Theory Nuts”? Or it is YOU who are the Coincidence Theory Nuts?
 As I have mentioned previously, the forensic issues concerning the 9/11 attacks are not all that a major section of the left tries to ignore. They also avoid the issue of election fraud like the plague, and there are many other examples. One of the more pathetic reasons for this is that they are scared to death of being discredited by the right-wing’s charge that they are “conspiracy Theory Nuts”! But aside from that moral cowardice, the traditional left has always preferred to deal in the abstract generalities of historical processes and concepts, rather than in tangible specifics like hard evidence that can be comprehended by the general public. Perhaps those are the two reasons for the state of disarray in which they find themselves today.
 The Pentagon released only a few frames of videotape (and not the entire video) from a security camera that revealed very little about the allegedly incoming Flight 77. Later they announced the release of “the video” (with a great deal of fanfare); however, that release turned out to be the same few frames (showing only the front tip of a nosecone). Why don’t they make the “conspiracy Theory Nuts” shut up by releasing the full set of frames?
 The intelligence community even has a technical term for this practice, which escapes my mind right now. Anyway, this is a quite elementary and common practice in corporate America. Indeed, I myself did this in a corporate management context a few years ago, when I was working with people who complained like hell (e.g., about simple things like the long hours, the top-down management pressure, etc.) in private but would never dare to speak out publicly, despite knowing that if they rattled their cage doors too loudly in corporate America, they would only get fired, and not fried.
 The physical evidence alone is enough to justify a completely independent 9/11 investigation. Read BYU Physics Professor Steven E. Jones’ internationally-acclaimed, extremely-popular paper, “Why Indeed Did The WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?”, in which he explains why the physical evidence implicates the use of thermite in what must have been the controlled demolition of the WTC’s Twin Towers and Building 7: http://tinyurl.com/s3jub