Spectacle and Belief

To a 9/11 truther, headlines and top paragraphs of news stories on page 1 of today’s New York Times seem eerily apropos of happenings in a national emergency nearly two decades ago. Here goes:

Headline and subhead:FLOOD OF FAILURES LET MOB RAMPAGE THROUGH CAPITOL: Ignored Warnings, a Lack Of Preparation and a Slow Response to Danger.” First two paragraphs of story by five reporters: “WASHINGTON — Huddled in a command center, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington and her aides saw a photograph on Wednesday afternoon [Jan. 6] of blood stains on the temporary grandstands at the Capitol, a makeshift structure built for the inauguration of a new president in two weeks. / The enormity of the deadly failure sank in.”

Headline:How Leaders Bend Reality With Big Lies.”  First two paragraphs of story: “MOSCOW — In a cable to Washington in 1944, George F. Kennan, counselor at the United States Embassy in Stalin’s Moscow, warned of the occult power held by lies, noting that Soviet rule ‘has proved some strange and disturbing things about human nature.’ / Foremost among these, he wrote, is that in the case of many people, ‘it is possible to make them feel and believe practically anything.’ No matter how untrue something might be, he wrote, ‘for the people who believe it, it becomes true. It attains validity and all the powers of truth.’’’

The reporter, Andrew Higgins, goes on to say that Kennan’s “insight … now has a haunting resonance for America” because many believe a “truth,” which Higgins writes was “invented by President Trump,” that Joseph R. Biden lost the November election and is president-elect only through fraud. (Trump “invented” the whole stolen-election thing all by himself?)

Noting that “lying as a political tool is hardly new,” Higgins quotes the 16th-century Italian diplomat and philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli that “one who deceives will always find those who allow those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

Headline:A Web Haven For Trump Fans Faces the Void.” The story by two reporters relates how the Parler “free speech” social network, to which millions who doubted the legitimacy of Biden’s victory had hoped would give them a voice after Facebook and Twitter started censoring their posts, had itself been bottled up by Apple and Google and “was set to disappear from the web on Monday.”

Like the storming of the Capitol last week, the extent of the murder and destruction of the 9/11 attacks of September 2001 has been attributed to a flood of failures, ignored warnings, a lack of preparation and a slow response to danger — in addition to the evil genius of Muslims in Afghanistan. Both historical events were spectacular, seen over and over on TV and computer screens. 

Somewhere in heaven another Italian, the playwright Luigi Pirandello, may be cheering. What’s transpiring down here on earth illustrates why in 1934 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for has abilities to “turn psychological analysis into good theatre.” The title of Pirandello’s 1917 play “Così è (se vi pare),” translated as “So It Is (If You Think So),” fits the 2021 world to a T. I like to think he would see through much of what’s going on.

— Mark Channing Miller

Notes, 1-6-21

2020 Taught Us How to Fix This” was the headline over a late December column by David Brooks in the New York Times and any number of other newspapers and websites.  

In 2020, Brooks wrote, “millions of Americans seemed impervious to evidence.” The year “called into question the very processes by which our society supposedly makes progress.” “[T]he key to change is education. We can teach each other to be more informed and make better decisions.”

I’ve taken his words out of context. The column is about racial diversity training and reasons it is not working in the United States. But  parts apply to the challenge “truthers” face in fighting the lies about the September 2001 terrorist attacks fed to the public by the executive branch of the federal government and news media including the Times.

Millions of Americans are impervious to evidence about those attacks because news media managers have barred evidence contrary to executive-branch mythology wrapping the attacks. They effectively tell readers, viewers and listeners, “You don’t want to know.”

If the key to change is education, the news media are playing hooky.

Although the column is about flawed diversity training, Brooks notes that it’s only one topic to which some of his examples apply. What can truthers learn from the idea that “our models for how we change minds or change behavior are deeply flawed. … [I]f you tell someone their facts are wrong, you don’t usually win them over; you just entrench false belief”? Or the idea that “people don’t like to be told what to think, and may rebel if they think they’re being pressured to think a certain way”?

With luck, the years 2002 through 2020 will teach us how to fix this. 

   

A news story over the byline of Carol Rosenberg in the New York TImes, headlined “Pandemic Delays Start of 9/11 Trial at Cuban Base,” included this: “Hijackers seized control of four commercial airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a Pennsylvania field, killing 2,976 people.”

Among the dubious elements in the sentence are that four commercial airliners were what crashed at the four sites, and that the crashes alone caused the deaths of nearly that number of people.

   

In a column about troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, Mark Shields or an editor at Creators Syndicate stated as fact that on 9/11 “al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four commercial U.S. airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000.” (The column left the Pennsylvania part out but, unlike the Times news story, tacked blame for whatever happened in the airliners solely on al-Qaeda.)

— Mark Channing Miller

Here’s to 2021!

Nineteen years and 114 days ago the United States and the world were terrorized by the most brazen and murderous one-day massacre of civilians* in most people’s memory. And the terrorists of September 2001 succeeded. Billions throughout the world saw on television saw what they were told were hijacked civilian airliners commandeered by Muslim extremists (quickly identified as al Qaeda members) armed with box cutters flying the craft into two World Trade Center skyscrapers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

The head of al Qaeda, Osama bin laden, didn’t take credit but rather repeatedly denied involvement. Officials and news media didn’t buy his denials.

Even if the news media managers wanted to comprehensively question the nascent official story, news operations were hampered from doing so by a second terrorist event that began one week later, the anthrax attacks against civilians. Alhough these killed only five people, these attacks sickened 17 others and appeared to target two U.S. senators. The anthrax episode competed with the 9/11 atrocity for the news media’s resources, as well as for the attention of people following events in the news. 

Together the two terrorist events were a one-two punch to the American psyche. Preparations for the 9/11 attacks had to have been under way since well before the 2000 election was decided, and perhaps the anthrax attacks were as well.

The official stories of both don’t stand up, and are being progressively challenged. The evidence put forward by challengers—primarily through Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry—is not openly acknowledged by the political class or news media powers. It is not deemed invalid; instead it is treated as if it does not exist. Whatever breakthrough successes challengers achieve are not recorded outside of a handful of Internet sites and on social media.

Results of any research by journalists have not yet been shared with the public by news organizations—showings on PBS of the trailer for the documentary “Seven”** were paid for by money raised for the showings. In any case, distractions from the crime of the century, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, abound; the public’s attention has been consumed by election campaigns, the “Great Recession,” an erratic showman president (a professional actor), the new coronavirus, a new severe economic recession, the development and rollout of new vaccines, and the wars begun shortly after the September 2001 attacks. 

“Good riddance to 2020” has been a common refrain over the last week as if 2021 just has to be an improvement and “things,” with luck, will “get back to normal.” For us 9/11 “truthers” normal would be a continuation of 19 years of willfully ignoring challenges to official accounts of the crime of the century. Normal amounts to institutional and societal whistling past the graveyard. This truther is hoping for an abnormal year ahead.

— Mark Channing MIller

   

* The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 may not count. The United States and Japan were at war and the bombing was done openly by the U.S. military and geared toward (a) ending Japan’s participation in the war quickly and (b) warning the rest of the world, especially the Soviet Union, that the United States could do the same thing elsewhere another time. If the bombings of those cities count as two separate geopolitical events, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were the third most murderous one-day massacre in most people’s memory in 2001. Brazen? No. It was wartime, there were factories in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the cruelty of Japanese against Allied forces’ prisoners of war may have been a factor.

** See past and future entries about “Seven” in this blog.

A Look at ‘Seven’

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks of September 2001 people who with good reason questioned government accounts have had difficulty gaining much attention. Each year, though, efforts by independent researchers and analysts have built upon those of previous years to begin gaining critical mass—this in the face of near-total refusal of news-media managers to acknowledge the validity of their work. 

The most heartening development of 2020 has been the completion and beginnings of dissemination of the 45-minute documentary “Seven.” I looked at it this afternoon. It focuses on more than four years of intensive study of the collapse of Building 7 at the World Trade Center, a 47-story skyscraper that—unlike either of the Twin Towers nearby—was not reported to have been struck by an airliner.

“Seven” was released on Dec. 8. True to form, mainstream news outlets have not acknowledged it. The only review I have come across so far is Kevin Ryan’s, HERE, in the OffGuardian. Titled “Seven, AE911Truth’s new documentary about groundbreaking new study on WTC7,” it hit the Internet yesterday. Because Ryan has been for years allied with the challengers of the official accounts, as Bruce Henry* and I have, his piece is not so much as review as a promotion of it, an ad for it.

This is another such promotion, by someone who is neither a film critic nor schooled in any discipline akin to those of the authorities who speak in “Seven.” So I can’t be said to be objective about it. I can say that the film is superb and will probably help tremendously toward unearthing truths that have been buried for the past 19 years. 

Here are some facts. “Seven” is presented by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which has been in business since 2006 and raised the money for it. It was directed by Dylan Avery, creator of the 2009 film “Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup.” It is narrated by the actor Ed Asner. It revolves around the University of Alaska Fairbanks study of the Building 7 collapse and structural engineer Leroy Hulsey, the professor who led it. Other key speakers are civil engineer Roland Angle, fire protection engineer Scott Grainger and structural engineers Kamal Obeid and Tony Szamboti. 

I may add some quotes from it another time.

— Mark Channing Miller

   

* Bruce re-introduced me to the 9/11 puzzle around 2015 by lending me his copy of a study coauthored by the Danish chemist Niels Harrit on the World Trade Center building collapses. Years before I had read David Ray Griffin’s first book on the attacks, The New Pearl Harbor, but had found no interest around me in the topic. In spring 2018 Bruce and I walked across Massachusetts from Provincetown to the New York State line with phosphorescent “9/11 TRUTH” signs and this blog began.

On December 26th

It’s still Christmas in the Christian calendar and will be until the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. So here, just below, is Madeleine L’Engle’s poem “First Coming,” which I learned of during Advent through a retired Episcopal priest, David De Smith. It may be an inspiration for “truthers” of all stripes. The Jesus of Scripture was a truther as well as a great pragmatist. “He came when the need was great.”

Following the poem will be another view of Christmas, a chiding one, pointing out the paradoxes and hypocrisies of the season.

“First Coming” is from the 2007 book The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle

–   –   –

He did not wait till the world was ready, / till men and nations were at peace. / He came when the Heavens were unsteady, / and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time. / He came when the need was deep and great. / He dined with sinners in all their grime, / turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure. / In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. / To a world like ours, of anguished shame / he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh, / to heal its tangles, shield its scorn. / In the mystery of the Word made Flesh/ the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane / to raise our songs with joyful voice, / for to share our grief, to touch our pain, / He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

–   –   –

Courtesy of The Intercept, the meditation linked HERE is by Jon Schwarz, who sees the observation of Christmas in the United States as the negation of Jesus’ birth, “a berserk bacchanal celebrating an Opposite Jesus.” It’s headed “On Christmas, America Celebrates the Birth of Reverse Jesus: What if we were to actually use the life of Christ as a basis for Christmas?” Click on the link and see if it clicks with you.

Here’s hoping that either view, or both, might stir readers, just once more before Jan. 1, to contribute to an outfit dedicated to getting this country to the bottom of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and other matters the facts of which need to come to light.

Congress in Focus

“The suspects are still at large,” writes David Meiswinkle of the Lawwyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry about the perpetrators of the anthrax attacks. In a year’s-end letter asking for funds (quoted just below) he reminds readers the Committee has petitioned Congress to investigate the attacks.

“Shortly after the  9/11 attacks, anthrax sent in the mail killed five individuals, injured 17, and targeted two US Senators for assassination. Recently, the Lawyers’ Committee completed their investigation into these anthrax attacks and submitted to Congress a 76-page Petition with 69 Exhibits  requesting a new anthrax  investigation. The Lawyers’ Committee found that the FBI’s investigation was greatly flawed and deceptive, an innocent man appears to have been scapegoated and blamed for the crimes and more likely suspects not considered. There is a conflict of interest for the FBI/Justice Department to investigate itself. The suspects are still at large. Congress needs to get involved and address these crimes. Any donation will help continue this investigation and others related to the crimes of 9/11.

“Opinion polls show many believe important questions raised after the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, have not been addressed. Excessive government secrecy contributes to a growing loss of trust in our institutions and undermines democracy. The Lawyers’ Committee pursues government accountability, including release of classified and other key documents through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as doing investigations which gather evidence for Grand Jury Petition submissions and  for strategic litigation to create the transparency required to restore a trustworthy democracy.”

Meiswinkle, president of the Lawyers’ Committee, expands on the letter in this SHORT VIDEO message. It contains a GoFundMe link for those so inclined to donate to the organization’s year-end appeal. In it he reminds viewers that “the [antrax] killers have never been apprehended.” He notes that the New York Times and the Washington Post have editorialized strongly in favor of an independent investigation. 

‘In the Moment’

Below is a transcript of the end-of-the-year fundraising appeal Attorney Mick Harrison of the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry makes in the video described in the entry of earlier today. He emphasizes that the committee’s efforts are not about merely “historical” occurrences of the “9/11” attacks and the anthrax attacks, both in 2001, but rather about their ongoing consequences and U.S. government corruption related to them that affect Americans “in the moment.”

–   –   –

I’m Mick Harrison, the litigation director for the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry. The Lawyers’ Committee is a non-profit. We’re dedicated to transparency and accountability regarding the tragic attacks of 9/11, the crimes that were committed leading up to 9/11, the crimes that were committed during 9/11, and the crimes that have happened because of 9/11, which are ongoing, and our investigation of the anthrax attacks shows that there was government corruption involved. 

Our goal is to bring the full truth out about those crimes, to hold the wrongdoers accountable, which hasn’t happened yet, and hopefully in the process eliminate these unjustified wars on terror and compromises to our civil liberties.

The unique aspect of the Lawyers’ Committee in our work, so far, has been, one, our independence and integrity, which lets us go where no one else is willing to go, politically, and to bring the truth out.

Because we bring the force of the law to bear on these issues, which really no other 9/11 group has done until now, we’re able to bring the pieces together not only from a scientific and investigatory venue but in terms of what they mean legally, and what are the legal implications and how can they be acted on legally.

As part of our investigation, not only did we interview a number of Army officials who were very knowledgeable about [the anthrax attacks], we talked to the former FBI project director of the anthrax investigation, which they call “Amerithrax,” Richard Lambert, and he did review our petition—we asked him to look at it, the petition we submitted to Congress—and he basically said it was the most thorough and competent work on the subject that he’d seen so far. And given that he was the FBI investigator in charge for four years, you know, it means something.

What we bring that’s unique to the task of exposing the truth about what happened and correcting the problem is bringing the power of the law to bear. And as a lawyers’ organization we can not only put the pieces of the puzzle together in terms of an investigatory effort and the evidence, but we can see how the law applies to the evidence and how we can use legal tools to hold the wrongdoers accountable, to force more evidence out that has been kept secret by the government, to work with Congress and to use the laws to fix the problem.

It’s important to realize that this is a problem of the moment. It’s not a historical problem. Our organization has “9/11” in the title, but we’re really not just focused on 9/11. We’re talking about government corruption, the need for transparency and accountability in the moment. We’re talking about ongoing wars that are unjustified in the moment. We’re talking about compromises to our civil liberties in the moment.

The problem I think we’ve seen in the last few years is how far the government of the United States can go astray if we don’t do what we need to do to hold it accountable.

We hope we’re entering a new era where we may have a chance to get back to what America should be. And the Lawyers’ Committee is doing what we can to move us in the right direction by exposing the corruption of the past that is still influencing our present and our future.

And we need your help to solve the problem. I hope you all will do what you can do to help us, and we’ll do what we can to help you.

   

At the end of Harrison’s presentation these words appear:

Please visit our homepage at 

LCfor911.org 

and donate as generously as you can.

Thank you for your consideration.

“Let Your Voice Be Heard TODAY”

Harrison, Briefly

Attorney Mick Harrison is litigation director for the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry. HERE, he talks about the committee’s work in seeking justice for the crimes of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the deadly anthrax attacks that quickly followed.

He does not try to summarize the legal efforts (which would take much longer than four minutes) but couches them in terms of an orderly quest for the transparency and accountability needed in government to expose the kind of corruption the perpetrators of the murderous 9/11 and anthrax attacks exemplified.

It’s an end-of-the-year appeal for money to keep the legal work going. Much more information can be found at the Lawyers’ Committee’s website, https://www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org. (Ideally, there will be a transcript of Harrison’s presentation, which may be the only way to do it justice in print.)

Below is a brief professional bio of him from the website:

   

Mick Harrison, Esq., Director of Litigation, is a Public Interest Attorney, graduate summa cum laude of the University of the District of Columbia School of law. Attorney Harrison has a national practice focused on cases that involve whistleblower protection, government accountability, corporate fraud and false claims, and dangers to public health or the environment.

Over the last 25 years he has worked in partnership on such cases with The Government Accountability Project (GAP); Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER); the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG); the National Sierra Club; Greenpeace; and Vietnam veterans organizations, among others.

Attorney Harrison is licensed in Pennsylvania and admitted to practice before the U. S. Courts of Appeal for the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Life Is Complicated

I know about interrogation. I’ve done interrogations, and I can tell you this: by extracting information under torture, you make a fool of yourself. You obtain information that isn’t true, you receive names of people who are supposedly guilty and who aren’t, and you land yourself with a wild-goose chase and miss what is being handed to you on a plate, and that is the possibility of bonding with someone and engaging with them. — John le Carré in an interview

   

I have just read the New York Times obituary of spy novelist John le Carré and hasten to recommend it. The headline “Author of Cold War Thrillers / Defined by Moral Ambiguities” over the portrait of his life and works by Sarah Lyall (great last name for someone writing about le Carré) only begins to do it justice.

The obituary and others should sell untold millions more of Le Carré’s books and spur a like number of borrowings of them from libraries.

Naturally, I wonder what he thought about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, how they were crafted, who “did it.” The extent to which Le Carré touched on matters related to “9/11” or the waves of murder ignited by it may (or may not) be found in his later novels. With luck, this will lead readers to buying and borrowing books that, unlike his, never get reviewed in newspapers or displayed in bookstores.

— Mark Channing Miller

A ‘No’ on Morell

In THIS piece for Consortium News, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern advocates against president-elect Joe Biden’s appointing former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell as CIA director. It is titled “Why Michael Morell Cannot Be CIA Director.”

(Before becoming a CIA analyst, McGovern was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer. A specialist on Russia, he also prepared and delivered The President’s Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. In retirement, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.)