July 5, 2007

Journal of 9/11 Studies Letter: Correspondence from James Bennett to Laurie Manwell with Responses

Journal of 9/11 Studies Letter:

Correspondence from James Bennett to Laurie Manwell with Responses

(06/17/07 to 06/17/07):

James Bennett [of “screw loose change”]:

I was reading your paper published at the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and I was wondering why you misrepresented the Angus-Reid poll on page 16:

“An Angus-Reid poll comparing responses from 2002 and 2006 found similar results, and that in 2006, only 16% of Americans believed that the government is telling the truth about the events of 9/11[16].”

If you go to the poll, which you footnote, you find that that question does not even ask people whether they believe "the government is lying about the events of 9/11":

“81. When it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States, do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?”

On the contrary, it very specifically asks people whether they believe that government was lying about warnings of terrorist attacks, not the attacks themselves. This becomes even more obvious when you read the previous two poll questions, which ask whether they believe the Clinton and Bush administrations paid enough attention to terrorism. So I have to ask, why did you entirely change the premise of the question for your paper, and are you going to issue a correction?

Laurie Manwell:

I must respectfully disagree with your interpretation. I did state in my paper that it was regarding the "events of 9/11" which, in fact, includes prior knowledge of the attacks. I would also argue that this fact itself, foreknowledge of the attacks, is the single most important fact, because if properly dealt with, all of the events of 9/11 could have been prevented.

Moreover, it speaks to the fact that the majority of people believe that George W. Bush is lying about many things and consider such behavior to be above the law. Below are some of the other questions that I also considered in making my statement. Misrepresentation of the events of 9/11 – both before, during and after – have been well documented and many people are becoming more and more aware that the official account of the events of 9/11 is full of lies.

Considering that I cite the actual poll for people to review for themselves, I stand behind what I said and do not intend to print a retraction. I hope this answers your question satisfactorily. If not, and you are genuinely interested in discussing the paper, I would invite you to continue correspondence. I do appreciate that you took the time to read the entire paper and consider the main overarching message before rushing to judgment based on one poll. Part II should be out in July which may also help answer any questions you may have.

James Bennett:

Thanks for the response, but I think you are being somewhat disingenuous. No honest person is going to think that "what they knew prior to 9/11" and the "events of 9/11" are synonymous. In fact even you indicate that you think they are two different issues when you state that with prior knowledge of the attacks "all of the events of 9/11 could have been prevented." If you actually regarded these as interchangeable, that statement would be illogical.

Incidentally that logic is also based on the assumption that the attacks were carried out by a third party, not by the US government, as one does not receives "warnings" from oneself, which seems to contradict your main thesis.

Laurie Manwell:

It seems that you have an agenda here rather than open discussion of the topic of my paper. Nowhere do I say that the US government "did it" and nor is my main thesis that. All research is subject to interpretation and I include all of my sources for verification. If you strongly disagree I would encourage you to write a letter or article for submission to the Journal of 9/11 Studies where we can debate this issue within an academic - rather than personal - domain, as I am not sure what your point is other than to attack me personally by calling me disingenuous.

If you wish to discuss the research professionally that is fine but I am not interested in responding to questions regarding my character, especially since we do not even know each other.

James Bennett:

Actually I would argue that you have a personal agenda, otherwise you would not have changed the wording from "what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001," to "the events of 9/11". There is no reason to do that except to advance an agenda.

I have already had letters posted on the Journal. I have no interest in having any articles posted to what is essentially a crackpot echo chamber without academic or intellectual standards. Why don't you submit your paper to an actual established psychology journal, I know there are plenty out there?

Laurie Manwell:

Again, I must respectfully disagree.

In the second paragraph I explicitly state the purposes of my article and repeat them in the final paragraph. I state that "we need to find ways to encourage awareness of all of the events related to 9/11, along with open discussion and debate."

Having an "agenda" usually refers to motives which one tries to hide. I state right from the beginning what mine are and provide documentation for independent verification and objective analysis for anyone who either disagrees or is interested in further evaluation. This is the true spirit of scientific debate.

I am honestly quite interested in your view point and would be more than willing to listen to your perspective if you would be so kind as to share it with me. I did read your letter to Steven Jones and have visited your website. I'm not sure I understand your views but would be open to hearing them.

As for your suggestion about submitting the article to a mainstream psychology journal that is the intention once Part II is completed. Unfortunately, time is always a moderating factor as I do have 2 papers currently submitted for peer review and publication. As soon as they are accepted and this one is finished I will be following suit with it as well.

James Bennett:

Then I have to ask once again, why did you change the wording of the poll question from "what they knew prior to 9/11" to the "events of 9/11", if it were not to insert your viewpoint?

Laurie Manwell:

I was discussing evidence pertaining to the fact that many people believe the government is lying - period.

According to the American constitution that's wrong, no? It is only one poll used as a source out of over 100 other sources I also cited, not including the hundreds of other sources I have also investigated.

What about the rest of the paper? What about finding and prosecuting the perpetrators? Is that something we can agree upon?

From your website [http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/] I get the impression, which you can correct me if I'm wrong, that 9/11 was a horrible event and that you feel strongly about people who would exploit it for publicity or personal gain. Yes, that upsets me very much also. And yes, there are people who would do so.

But does that include everyone who would ask questions that have as of yet been largely unanswered?

What if we could all put personal bias aside and work together to bring the criminals to justice, in a court of law, and for a jury to decide.

What are your thoughts James? Could that be a possibility at least?

James Bennett:

You are ducking the question. You were not referring to your general impression of people's opinions of 9/11, you were referring specifically to that poll (84%). That poll did not ask people about their impression on 9/11 events in general, it was very specific.

Tell me this, if I am writing a paper on how people distrust politicians, and I come across a poll that states that "80% of US voters distrust Hillary Clinton", is it honest for me to then footnote that poll and say that "polls show that 80% of US voters distrust politicians"?

Laurie Manwell:

I have forwarded your concerns and my responses to Prof. Jones.

As such, I would ask you to kindly direct any further questions to the Journal of 9/11 Studies as I do believe that I have tried to answer your question and it does not appear that you are satisfied.


At this point, I would like to make a request to all psychologists who have read my paper and find it credible to contact me in regards to further peer-review and letters of support for submission for publication in a mainstream psychology journal.

Thank you, Laurie Manwell.