Cosmos interviews Jim Hoffman of 911 Research: Discussion of Disinformation, Disruption, and the Kennebunkport Warning Controversy
[Edited for brevity and clarity]
[Cosmos opens with discussion of Every 11th Day of the Month Activism for October 11, 2007]
Cosmos: Our guest tonight is Jim Hoffman of the long running wtc7.net site… We met in early 2003 before he got the site up and he was showing people video clips of the towers demolition on his laptop at meetings and getting some fliers together… let me welcome… Jim Hoffman.
Jim Hoffman: Thank you for the introduction. I heard the reports of the ongoing [every 11th day of the month campaign], that’s great.
Cosmos: There’s growth all over the place… especially with this October 11 action… Why don’t we talk about how you got involved with 9/11 research… what you thought of the events? Were you questioning from the beginning?
Jim Hoffman: On the day of the attack I tuned in on TV… I just watched it with my mouth gaping, “what was this all about?” [I had] suspicions right away. “This is all too convenient—what are they going to do, attack Afghanistan? This whole next pretext for a war”… the attack on the Pentagon—the wing that had just undergone blast resistance… and they so quickly uncovered the trail of the… villains—the rental cars with the flight manuals…
Cosmos: That was one of the things that really kicked it in for me… [I thought] “this stinks”.
Jim Hoffman: …It wasn’t until the spring of 2003, that I went back and looked at the events again with fresh eyes and looked at the buildings coming down… there’s an article that came out in 2001… “Muslims suspend the laws of physics”. All of a sudden I just had this “aha” moment—it became glaringly obvious that the buildings were blown up. I couldn’t even see it the way I had previously assumed… [or continue going] along with the official explanation. I had seen the NOVA series, “Why the towers fell” and just bought it “hook, line, and sinker”… It changed everything for me, because from that point forward, I felt that I had to tell people about this… I started passing out fliers… within a few months I got the website going, by late 2003, I had 911research as part of wtc7.net, and 911review.com…
Cosmos: You personally were the one who really got me looking at what happened at the Trade Center with those clips that you started collecting and were showing people…
Jim Hoffman: I noticed that if… I could actually get people to look at [footage of the WTC destruction]—most people would have the same basic understanding of it that I did… When you immediately see the explosiveness of those events, or I would just show them building 7 …because it’s such a fundamental thing to come to grips with—to change your view that… these towers collapsed [due to fire], or something entirely different—that the towers were blown up. Building 7, you can take that out of context and show it… people… say “that’s obviously controlled demolition.” …the Twin towers… are the heart of the whole event… the core of the psychological trauma. The thing that put people so deeply in shock to the point that they would accept anything that was explained to them. That’s certainly the effect it had on me—I was just in this uncritical state… even though I had suspicions about who was behind the attack. I didn’t even think rationally about how those buildings came down… until 2003.
Cosmos: It’s really amazing the [effect] that blowing those buildings up had on so many… and their ability to deal rationally with this topic about 9/11… I cannot look at that without saying, [it’s] being blown up right in front of our eyes. At the time, I just took it in—“Whoa—that’s not right”, but not really registering… it really is a hurdle for people. Although it seems so obvious for us.
Jim Hoffman: …Watching the NOVA documentary “Why the towers fell”, the floors collapse inside the building—that was all done with animation. They didn’t actually show any of the actual imagery of the event… One of the first things I started doing was just collecting all of the photos and videos I could find of it, and archiving them on the site, as a way of creating an archive of that evidence to look at. At least the visual evidence of that event survived—there’s a lot that can be determined just by that. Those visual records of that event are physical evidence.
Cosmos: …To this day, wtc7.net is one of the best sites for 9/11 research. It’s right up there, it’s always one of the first that I recommend to people who are looking into [9/11] for the first time. You’ve also done a lot of work in the study of disinformation and disruption. I’d really want to talk about [this]… a long overdue topic in the [9/11 truth movement]. Some of us have started giving it attention and have come under severe fire. I know that you’ve been attacked yourself for just being involved in critique of different work. Also, for the first time, I am going to be documenting for the first time on this show the full outrageous and ongoing attacks against myself and other activists from TruthAction.org that have been going on for over a month now. It’s pretty crazy. I’ve sort of avoided dealing with this on this show, because I generally just want to focus on getting people out there and getting active. But, in reality, if you’re involved in activism… disinformation and disruption is a key topic that needs to be addressed, because… if you have the potential of being successful, you become a target for disruption, and this is documented throughout history…
Jim Hoffman: It’s unfortunate that you’ve been… experiencing all of these kinds of attacks… but it’s also an opportunity to kind of bear how this whole psyop [and the cover-up of 9/11] works. This can be extremely valuable. It’s a measure of your success [the 11th day of the month campaign], that you’re getting these kinds of attacks.
Cosmos: …[We’ve got to] turn it around and turn it into a positive thing. [Commercial break]
Cosmos: Jim’s also done a lot of work in the study of disinformation. What is that? …so many movements have been disrupted, some destroyed by disinformation campaigns. To think that you can be an activist or promote activism and not have to deal with this topic at all is very uninformed, wrong-headed, and quite frankly dangerous. If you focus on disinformation… all these people will say… “this is distracting, don’t talk about it”—I just want to read a quote from my colleague Arabesque, who is a brilliant researcher and great writer, very meticulous, and also in possession of what my friend Scott Nobel calls “superhuman civility”. He says: “The official story of 9/11 is disinformation, which means that the subject of disinformation is a vital and essential topic of 9/11 discussion. The opinion that disinformation is ‘extraordinarily low’ in this movement misses the mark by a long-shot since the very purpose of our movement is to expose the disinformation of the official story of 9/11. We cannot avoid the subject of disinformation.” I think Arabesque says it very well right there.
Hoffman: I think it’s useful to put it in a little broader context… if you look at the history of disruption in [other movements] in the past, the disinformation component isn’t as large or as important as it is in the case of 9/11… articles about COINTELPRO list… infiltration, psychological warfare, harassment through the legal system, extra-legal force and violence—those are the types of tactics that were more prominent in those operations. With 9/11… the facts of the attack are so important just disinformation… takes on a much bigger component… the main [purpose of this disinformation] is to ridicule sceptics of the official story. It becomes less viable to do really nasty things like killing people… that would actually give us more credibility. That puts all the more emphasis on the necessity to muck things up by promoting false theories, bad information, muddying the waters—all kinds of disruption to create a hostile environment in which rational critique is not possible… shrouding the verifiable evidence, clear case for an inside job—a key component of the cover-up of 9/11.
Cosmos: I would suggest that what we’re facing in terms of disinformation and disruption is way more than other movements have faced… this is a very touchy topic, because if you are dealing with people who are intentionally disrupting, it makes it very difficult to deal with, because just by talking, addressing it, the potential is there to create more disruption. There’s some key things to focus on [to get around this problem]. The answer is not to ignore this, because then we’re screwed… if we’re willing to continue supporting people who engage in vicious attacks on others, people who pass on bad info repeatedly. The way to deal with this, is not to focus on individuals, but to focus on the form and content of what people are doing. To focus on civility. A key component of disinformation and disruption is ad-hominem attacks.
Hoffman: Civility, having guidelines of behavioural norms, that there are some things that are over-the-line… If people are going to inject racism or ad-hominem attacks, and disruption—why do we waste our time opening our forums to people who do that? There should be these basic guidelines, norms that we follow, and I’ve seen so much resistance to establishing that kind of environment from some of the leaders of the movement. [It’s essential to have a] civil environment in which we can [critique each other] and show that 9/11 was an inside job.
Cosmos: I hesitated to really pull everything out on this show… but I think it’s irresponsible to continue promoting activism without giving out good information about what’s going on in terms of disinformation and disruption. [Commercial break]
Cosmos: How do we deal with [disinformation and disruption]? Education, and activism. We can’t ignore the disruption attempts—some of the quite successful, some of them busted. Michael Wolsey has put together a compilation of information on disinformation and COINTELPRO… then there’s the aspect of dealing with the actual disruption as it’s happening in the movement. The key… is civility because [those] who are [trying to create disruption] spread a lot of ad-hominem attacks. Not discussing things civilly. Stirring things up and creating disruption. By example, we are going to address the attacks against a number of activists, namely myself, TruthAction activists, Michael Wolsey, Arabesque, Col. Jenny Sparks for the last month. Ongoing for the last month. We’re building a case here, we’re documenting it—I’m basically at the point where it’s so outrageous, it’s getting more and more vile… I announced three 9/11 truth resolutions:
1. We have a really solid case, we don’t need extraneous stuff
2. Keep a clean house: Dealing with disinformation, misinformation, and disruption. Avoid naming names.
3. Keep Kicking Ass.
This all started with Webster Tarpley, Bruce Marshall, and Craig Hill and the Kennebunkport Warning… this was spread everywhere. Then word started coming in that [Cindy Sheehan and others] claimed that they didn’t sign it. They weren’t making a big deal of it. The response to this [by the Kennebunkport Warning Promoters] was to heap abuse on these anti-war activists: “wretched individuals”, “appalling liars”. I took issue on this and reported [what happened] on my show, and I didn’t even mention names. I was disgusted that someone representing themselves as a leader of 9/11 truth [said they were building bridges] with anti-war war leaders, and then [heaped] abuse on them. I really took great offense… so I brought it up on the show. What happened next was the onslaught of attacks—non-stop, to this day by Webster Tarpley and his associates, just getting more and more ridiculous as time goes by. It started off with him calling us COINTELPRO agents. This is slander, this is a lie. Then he said we founded by the Ford Foundation. Another lie. He commissioned a very professional kind of political cartoon with FBI [marching orders and FORD Foundation] money in our hands. He took the opportunity of the 6th anniversary speech in New York, [to include] a slide show… we have an entire list of accusations [by them] and it’s really quite hilarious if you read through it. But the ridiculousness of it doesn’t take away from the viciousness. It’s wrong, it needs to stop. [Commercial break]
Cosmos: Slander, Libel and Harrassment… you try and summarize but it’s just so huge, so ridiculous and ongoing to this day: “COINTELPRO”, “Funded by the Ford Foundation”, “Chechen Rebel”, “Jenny Sparks is a Man”, Political Cartoons, Hit Pieces, vile and vicious hate mail from Tarpley’s protégé warning me not to look into this. It’s degenerated into this new kind of psy-op, using YouTube to attack activists. This reeks of a professional operation because there’s about 50-100 of these videos with Webster Tarpley and Eric May… trashing us, saying that we’re Al Qaeda cell members. It’s time to speak up about this, and get some kind of response from our movement.
Hoffman: It’s so clear. What possible motive would there be someone to go making these vicious characterizations of these really well known peace activists like Cindy Sheehan… When people like [Cosmos], Arabesque, and Wolsey report on it, to be viciously attacked by Tarpley with all these ridiculous accusations of COINTELPRO…? Very entertaining to watch, very vivid, just lurid—it’s ridiculous. It’s all just completely concocted, he makes it sound like you, and Wolsey and these people that he’s saying are COINTELPRO just popped up in the last year is just an utter lie. I think it’s a really good test of whether people are really in this in the benefit of our movement: are we going to tolerate this sort of thing? Where are the voices of the alleged leaders of the 9/11 truth movement about this and similar incidents? I think the silence from some quarters is deafening.
Cosmos: When people who are respected just stand by when people are viciously attacked, we saw this happening with Steven Jones all through the year. When people just stand by… with the veneer of non-partisanship.
Hoffman: Or make excuses for it: “I don’t want to get involved, it’s just a personal conflict”, completely smearing over the details of it. The effect that it’s having is to alienate other groups that should be our allies with the most vicious stuff. It’s completely irresponsible not to address it—worse, to make excuses, or even worse, to continue to promote the people involved in this. So-called Captain May… do a little googling on him and you’ll find all these associations to anti-Semitism.
Cosmos: Captain May has been involved in slandering and stalking activists from truthaction.org, [saying:] “we are trained COINTELPRO professionals”. Five days later… videos start showing up attacking us on a bunch of blogs, with encouragement to [harass] us. I [question why] these supposedly prominent people in the truth movement who wish to remain silent and sweep this under the rug, and watch these kinds of attacks go on. If you want to see a truth movement be strong and continue to grow, you won’t let that happen. I’ve given my whole life to [9/11 truth action]. It’s hard enough to do this without being viciously attacked, slandered, and harassed. If you want to see people to continue to give everything they got to exposing 9/11 truth, then you won’t stand by and watch as they are attacked.
Hoffman: And you’ll educate yourself about the whole issue of COINTELPRO and what the nature of this cover-up is—to inject nonsense into the investigation, surround our valid analysis of the attack that can be used in straw-man attacks in the Media, and to create this culture within the movement that is hostile to critique. Our challenge is to create a culture that has these guidelines that doesn’t accept this over-the-line, outrageous [behaviour]. What people are making excuses for it, and what people are pointing it out? Maybe that’s a better indicator of who should be recognized as who is really contributing to this movement.
Cosmos: If you support disruption, and you abide by it, and you keep promoting people who are disruptive, then you become an accessory to it. That’s at odds with “we want unity”. [One of] the tactics [from the 60-70’s employed to allow disruption] that they’ll throw at you is “you’re dividing the movement”. That’s hilarious. People who stand by and watch people get attacked and not do anything about it in the name of unity.
Hoffman: At the same time, you [get] attacked for merely reporting on things, for critique—as if that’s the same thing as an ad-hominem attack. You see people who are making the worst kind of ad-hominems, conflating ad-hominem with critique. That’s a key tactic to shut-up the kind of critique we need to really hone our case. [Pretending that] there’s no such thing as critique, to disagree or to discuss something—[claiming criticism without ad-hominem is] all attack—it’s ridiculous.
Cosmos: The key is civility. That is our weapon in dealing with disruption because that is the heart of disruptive efforts.
Hoffman: We’ve just scratched the surface. It’s so interesting to see this happening to you—it’s just, I’ve seen this, almost like a whole different era. Obviously you’re doing good work to be getting this kind of flack.
Cosmos: We’re just going to take it as encouragement. [End of Show]