January 14, 2008

A Response to "Arabesque's False Unity Crusade" by Real Truther (a.k.a Gretavo)

A Response to Arabesque's False Unity Crusade by Real Truther (a.k.a Gretavo)

By Arabesque

I will answer several points in a response to my article 9/11 Truth and Division: Disinformation, Agent Provocateurs, and False Adversaries. Real Truther begins:

Arabesque is currently riding high as an authority on what is disinformation and COINTELPRO in the 9/11 Truth Movement. Arguments over this kind of claim to authority is one of the things that made Real Truther persona-non-grata at 911blogger, so its resurfacing with a veneer of sober objectivity begs for some good-ol' fashioned "disunifying" critique.

To my knowledge, I have never made such a claim that I am an "authority" or "expert". Obviously, Real Truther must think highly (enough) of me to put such effort into writing this factually challenged piece, and for that, well thanks—I’m flattered. I won’t dispute the fact that others have valued my work, but I can’t control what others think or write about me.

This pretense to sanctity on behalf of certain individuals, groups, or events is to me a fairly reliable red flag.

I do not disagree, but slander, false insinuations without evidence, and personal attacks are ad-homienm. However, if something can be proven it is fair game.

Truth is inherently immune from debunking, so why would anyone who knows that they are right feel threatened by questions, as opposed to relishing the opportunity to establish (as many times as necessary) the validity of one's position?

Indeed. But any good politician knows that you can smear your opponent with a false line of questioning and insinuations without a shred of evidence. This is a classic character assassination technique. It is helpful to look at the facts, rather than the man who is talking about them. After all, many times it is a diversion when it is the facts that are at issue, not the man.

Naturally I agree with Arabesque that COINTELPRO and disinfo are both real issues that must be acknowledged and dealt with.

I agree. This means that everyone has a right to discuss the relevant issues without falsely being labeled (even by those in disagreement with you) as “experts”. Unless it is meant as a compliment, of course.

But I would go a step further and point out the danger of simplifying the practice of determining who or what is and isn't. Arabesque's thesis centers around the premise that unity is good for the movement, that divisiveness is sown to derail it, and that the disinfo crowd does the sowing. I won't disagree, but I would say that we would be foolish to put unity above truth.

The key word here is “truth”. Who decides what is “truth”, and by whose “authority”? Here Real Truther reveals his hidden hypocrisy. He accuses me of a “false unity crusade” and of being an “authority” (when I have never claimed such a thing), and then he makes the statement we shouldn’t put “unity above truth” with the obvious, but hidden assumption that Real Truther knows the truth by virtue of his own "authority". This is very clear since his confidence in his own "authority" leads him to prolifically name “shills” based on their perceived heresy.

"Putting unity above truth"? This is a key point that is misunderstood by Real Truther. To explain, I would never advocate “unity by agreement”, since such a thing is impossible even in concept within the 9/11 truth movement. Instead, I am actually advocating “unity by common cause” with disagreements approached with civility. This is the main thesis of my article which Real Truther clearly misrepresents. Not surprisingly, if the “truth” is controversial there will always be disagreement. Free debate and acknowledgment of differing views without personal attacks and baseless character assassination can only help us get to the actual truth by focusing on the actual issues rather than the people advocating them. Mostly, this is a diversion--unless of course, some believe that the "purpose" of the 9/11 truth movement is to endlessly gossip about its members—not get criminals prosecuted and named for their obvious and blatant crimes.

Does 9/11 Truth really need the same kind of rhetoric? Are the democrats and republicans in any way overtly united?

Indeed, the 9/11 truth movement does not need rhetoric of any kind. We certainly don't need the personalized ad-hominem attack rhetoric campaigns of the kind commonly seen in many 9/11 forums. Aside from this point, the above statement is another false analogy unless it is assumed the 9/11 truth movement is not united in the desire for another investigation or agree with the basic premise that a crime was committed and that the true perpetrators were therefore not held accountable.

Indeed, my premise is that we don’t need the rhetoric that only certain members of the truth movement “have the truth” by some divine “authority” to name anyone who disagrees with this “obvious and unquestionable truth” a “shill”. Indeed, to complain about “authority” while calling people who disagree “shills” while naming oneself "real truther" is the ultimate form of "authoritarian" hypocrisy that I could possibly imagine. I offered the suggestion that we can treat each other as equals and discuss disagreement with civility. The result of this "suggestion" was to be called a "shill" by "Real Truther".

Moving on to the Pentagon, Real Truther writes:

Absent any conclusive evidence of a 757 having crashed into the Pentagon, evidence that should exist in spades given the video surveillance cameras all over the Pentagon, the burden of proof rests on those who claim that a 757 did crash there.

Of course, I don’t have a problem with this statement. Nor do I have a problem with anyone who is “agnostic” about what happened at the Pentagon. The US Government should end this intentional controversy and release the videos. Of course, how we get them is the real question--not who believes what happened.

The subtext is clear--let's leave the Pentagon out of our discussions...

I never implied that the Pentagon shouldn't be discussed. Another straw-man.

…or if we must discuss it, let's avoid making anyone look like a fool for supporting the OCT on that score. Let's pretend that it does not raise suspicion when people seem so willing to take on faith one aspect of the OCT but not others.

Not on “faith”, but “evidence”. Sometimes evidence is ambiguous and the truth is not obvious. I dare apologize for questioning Real Truther's divine “authority” over my “faith”, but many of the most credible 9/11 websites and researchers advocate pro-757 arguments. Of course, let's not get into arguments from authority, as that is an obvious fallacy already much discussed here. But it is interesting that even former hardcore "no-757" theorists like the Loose Change filmmakers and David Ray Griffin have changed their tune to “agnostic” from their previous and clear-cut “no-757” point of view. Why would they change their minds unless the evidence was far from conclusive?

When Arabesque talks about ‘divisive issues’, in other words, he seems to be referring to issues that should not be divisive.

That’s the point I was trying to make.

Why is he trying to make us think that those are divisive issues then? …Certainly he doesn't think that people will stop discussing them, does he?

What I actually meant is that ad-hominem attacks (i.e. “you friggin shill!!!!” --see below) and fighting that occur over disagreements are divisive, not the issues themselves. People, not ideas fight with each other. I already explained above that I don’t believe in “unity by agreement”. This is yet another straw-man in which Real Truther confuses “unity by agreement” with my thesis of “unity by common cause”.

Surely he can't believe that confronted with indisputable evidence that we were lied to about 9/11 in such a monumental way that the existence of disagreement on certain aspects is going to cripple the movement with disunity, or does he?

In fact, this is exactly how COINTELPRO has worked in the past to render movements ineffective. A major part of this strategy was to intentionally create hostility within activist groups to halt progress towards movement goals.

For the definition of an ad hominem argument, Arabesque just happens to find the
perfect source in a site defending the official holocaust narrative… as far as authorities on disinfo and dishonesty go, Arabesque has just joined John Albanese in the Pantheon of Self-Referential Experts.

I have to admit I was very puzzled by this comment. Perhaps, I should have known better to accidentally and carelessly quote a website which discusses Real Truther's “Self-Referential” area of “Authority”--the Holocaust.

And finally, a word to Arabesque--kiss my divisive ass, you friggin' shill! [Helpfully written in a size viewable for the elderly and reading impaired.

My apologizes to "Real Truther"--the name of a self-appointed "authority" if there ever was one, but I don’t kiss burning straw.