January 30, 2008

Karl Rove, Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission and Mythmaking

Karl Rove, Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission and Mythmaking

By Arabesque

Some new details about the 9/11 Commission are seen in a review of the book The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation:

In a revelation bound to cast a pall over the 9/11 Commission, Philip Shenon will report in a forthcoming book that the panel’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, engaged in “surreptitious” communications with presidential adviser Karl Rove and other Bush administration officials during the commission’s 20-month investigation into the 9/11 attacks... Karen Heitkotter, the commission’s executive secretary, was taken aback on June 23, 2003 when she answered the telephone for Zelikow at 4:40 PM and heard a voice intone, “This is Karl Rove. I’m looking for Philip.” Heitkotter knew that Zelikow had promised the commissioners he would cut off all contact with senior officials in the Bush administration. Nonetheless, she gave Zelikow’s cell phone number to Rove. The next day there was another call from Rove at 11:35 AM. Subsequently, Zelikow would claim that these calls pertained to his “old job” at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
According to Wikipedia, Philip Zelikow
worked with Ernest May and Richard Neustadt on the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking. They observed, as Zelikow noted in his own words, that "contemporary" history is "defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public's presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of 'public presumption'," he explained, "is akin to William McNeill's notion of 'public myth' but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word 'myth.' Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community."
The creation of public myths? Interestingly, Mr. Rove is alleged to share this specialty and was believed to have said this in 2002, just before the opening of the 9/11 commission:
“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore… We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

January 28, 2008

Steve Alten's Perceptive Criticism of the 9/11 Truth Movement

Steve Alten's Perceptive Criticism of the 9/11 Truth Movement

By Arabesque

In an interview with Michael Wolsey, Shell Game author Steve Alten supplied a relevant and important criticism of the 9/11 truth movement. Wolsey's asked, "Do you personally believe that the attacks were allowed to succeed... or do you believe that there was participation... 'inside job'... and if the latter is the case, did you intentionally tone that down to invite other people in who might be hostile to that idea?" Alten criticized the 9/11 truth movement while supplying his answer:

Steve Alten: "...My take on this is that if a real investigation were to happen--a real one, that the trail of evidence would lead directly back to the white house... they would be found guilty of treason. For me to say "let it happen" versus "made it happen"... my objective is to stay above the fray of the 9/11 truth movement.... the 9/11 truth movement, for the terrific work it has done is fragmented. That doesn't help anybody... We need to spread this information out to the masses... let's put it this way. A crime happened. The biggest crime in the history of the world. The perpetrators got away with it so far. The trap has been placed within the movement... I've had people email me and... I've been attacked on blogs... 'Alten doesn't believe in this and Alten doesn't believe in that, so how could we possibly support his book?'... That's a trap.

Michael Wolsey: If you don't agree with everything I say, you must be bad... I've been attacked ruthlessly for that, so I can relate.

Steve Alten: ...it doesn't solve anything to force your opinion on one group or another where you have to accept everyone's opinion... A crime happened. There was a reason for that crime....
The 9/11 truth "it must be bad because you don't agree 100% with what I believe, therefore you are a shill" syndrome is very apparent in some quarters. Ultimately, if the book can get people asking questions and doing research (along with presenting credible facts of its own), I think that would make it successful for what it is. Ultimately, we need many types of media getting people to look at the facts for themselves and get educated.

As I wrote in an essay on the false MIHOP/LIHOP dichotomy:
Clearly, the 9/11 attacks were both ‘made’ and ‘allowed’ to happen in a carefully planned, complex, psychological operation—they would have been impossible without the use of both of these components. The misleading and false LIHOP/ MIHOP paradigm avoids the obvious and meaningful subtleties of reality. As Blogger Jeff Wells comments, “Binary thinking is a mind cancer that retards insight, and unfortunately flourishes in conspiracy culture. The beginning of wisdom,said Terrence McKenna, ‘is our ability to accept an inherent messiness in our explanation of what's going on.’”
This false dichotomy in my opinion could be deliberately exploited to control and disrupt the 9/11 truth movement by creating fabricated divisiveness through the inaccurate and misleading use of language, as I detail in my articles Disinformation and the False LIHOP/MIHOP Dichotomy and 9/11 Truth and Division: Disinformation, Agent Provocateurs, and False Adversaries.

I came across Michael Ruppert's praise of Atlen's Shell Game on Amazon.com:
Steve's absolute genius is in his ability to make the unpalatable irresistible. It lies also in his ability to separate research "ice cream" from research "bs". "Children", hucksters and some with more sinister motives have hijacked the so-called 9-11 "truth movement." That clear thinking is what makes "The Shell Game" slice through consciousness and reach the soul like a hot scalpel through butter.
Mr. Ruppert's opinion is respected by many and I know that he does not give praise easily. According to Alten, Mr. Ruppert met with him after reading his book to advise him on the dark aspects of the 9/11 truth movement and the dangers of speaking out for 9/11 truth. Not too long after the announcement of his book, Alten was attacked by dubious "members" of the 9/11 truth movement. Ruppert's praise was enough to encourage me to get a copy and I will write a review of Alten's Shell Game after I get a chance to read it.

January 24, 2008

The NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign

The NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign:

Our Mission

The NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign is committed to a thorough, transparent, and non-partisan examination of the facts surrounding the crimes of September 11, 2001, to be accomplished through the creation of an independent, investigative body, a Citizen’s Commission, staffed by competent, professional individuals of the highest caliber. The Commissioners will be mandated to search for the truth, wherever that search leads, without prejudice or preconception, and to recommend the best course, as they see it, to achieve justice for all those involved in, and affected by, the 9/11 terror attacks.

We neither endorse nor espouse any theories or conclusions other than those that will grow out of a responsible, thoughtful, judicious, and comprehensive examination of the facts. We welcome and encourage the support of all Americans, as well as concerned citizens around the world.

We are sponsoring a November 2008 General Election ballot initiative which will allow the voters of New York City to mandate, through public referendum, directly and democratically, the formation of a new Citizen’s Commission to Re-Investigate 9/11. Armed with subpoena power, the Citizen’s Commission will re-examine the facts and the hundreds of unanswered questions surrounding the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and their aftermath.

We do so because we firmly believe that the victims of the 9/11 attacks have yet to receive proper justice. We firmly believe as Americans we have a moral obligation to take the necessary steps to obtain that justice.

We assert as fact that no authorized, sanctioned body at any level of government has properly investigated the crimes of 9/11, nor the environmental aftermath of the World Trade Center collapses. The extent to which these environmental consequences have negatively affected the health of first responders and others exposed is well known. The fact that almost none of the more than $1.5 billion allocated for the healthcare of our nation’s heroes has been utilized for its intended purpose is a national disgrace. Our heroes deserve better than this. They need medication, not litigation; respect, not neglect.

We believe that Congress and our politicians have forsaken us. Now is the time for all patriotic Americans to unite-in-action in order to secure justice for our fallen, justice for our heroes, and justice for our country and the world.

And we can.

New York State Home Rule Law #37 allows for the citizens, through ballot referendum, to vote directly on whether or not a new investigation will take place. In doing so, it allows for the creation of a Citizen’s Commission to Re-Investigate 9/11.

We, of the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative, have initiated a petition drive in order to secure the required number of signatures of registered voters necessary to get the referendum on the November 2008 New York City ballot. We have until May 1, 2008 to do so.

About the investigation:

How will a new investigation proceed?

This investigation will be non-partisan and independent of government control. A panel of Commissioners will conduct hearings to evaluate evidence provided by teams of researchers including new evidence since the termination of the Kean/Hamilton Commission. These teams will compile evidence on every possible category of investigation. They will question witnesses, experts, and issue subpoenas when necessary. The scientists, legal counsel, researchers and investigators who make up the commission are all committed to finding the truth, following the trail of evidence, wherever it may lead. Finally, the Commission will publish a one or more reports.

Does this investigation support a 'conspiracy theory?'

No. The 9/11 Ballot Initiative is committed to an independent, thorough, transparent, and non-partisan examination of the facts surrounding the events of September 11, 2001. The Commissioners will be mandated to search for the truth, wherever that search leads, without prejudice or preconception, and to recommend the best course, as they see it, to achieve justice for all those involved in, and affected by, the terror attacks upon the United States.

The quest for truth and justice is our sole agenda. We neither endorse nor espouse any a priori theories or conclusions other than those that will grow out of a responsible, thoughtful, judicious, and comprehensive examination of the facts. We welcome and encourage the support of all Americans, as well as concerned citizens throughout the world.

Will a new investigation work to obtain justice and necessary benefits for 9/11 First Responders and others who were at the scene?

Yes. Up to 70% of First Responders and others afflicted have become ill or died, or will likely become ill in the future. There are also reports of birth defects in children of the afflicted workers. The illnesses that have been reported in workers include cancers of the lung, throat, tongue, testicles, breasts, bladder, kidney, colon, intestine, and rare blood cancers, as well as other cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma. The government has yet to allocate the necessary funds to deal with this health crisis, consistently refusing to acknowledge that any of these people are sick because of 9/11. Congress allocated $1 billion to a fund for First Responders and other injured parties, under the name World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company, but so far, none of the over 8,000 sick and injured workers claims filed toward this fund have been granted. To make matters worse, many have suffering terrible financial losses from medical expenses and inability to work.

The Petition:


1. The title of this local law is “Act to Create a Temporary Independent Commission to Investigate 9/11”.
2. An independent, temporary NYC commission (the “Commission”) is hereby created to conduct a comprehensive, fact-driven investigation into the events that took place on 9/11, as well as to thoroughly examine related events before and after the attacks, including any activities attempting to hide, cover up, impede or obstruct any investigation into these 9/11 events, following wherever the facts may lead. The Commission shall publish one or more reports of their findings.
3. The Commission shall consist of up to 15 Commissioners including Dr. William Pepper (international attorney), Ralph Schoenman (historian), Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14 astronaut), Lincoln Chafee (former Senator), Splitting-the-Sky (Mohawk tribal member), Lorie Van Auken (9/11 widow), Ed Asner (actor/activist), Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Roman Catholic) and others to be appointed by majority vote of the Commission members to bring the Commission up to as many as 15 members and to fill any vacancies thereafter from nominees proposed by any member of the Commission. The Commission shall have a duty to maintain the number of Commissioners at no less than nine and to fill vacancies promptly.
4. The Commission shall act by majority vote, adopt its own Rules of Procedure and shall choose its Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
5.The Commission shall have the power to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony, take and record testimony, and to apply to the appropriate federal, state, out-of-state or foreign courts for the issuance of subpoenas, Letters Rogatory, or Applications for Mutual Assistance, for service upon persons, corporations, agencies or other entities beyond the subpoena power granted to the Commission.
6. The Commission shall have no authority to act beyond 3 years from the date of their creation by the voters of NYC, except by extension of term and financing through NYC legislation enacted by the City Council or Mayor, or by vote of the electorate at a general election, pursuant to appropriate statute such as Section 37 of the Municipal Home Rule Law or Section 40 of the New York City Charter or other law.
7. The Commission shall have a budget of $10,000,000 per year, for the conduct of its investigation and related activities. Financing shall be entirely drawn from private contributions. No public funds shall be requested or accepted. Pledges and/or promissory notes of specific contributions from wealthy private individuals are being obtained with payment subject to enactment of the Initiative by the voters of New York City. A substantial five figure seed money fund has been established as of January 2008, and a world wide internet fund raising campaign has been launched. In addition, four prominent citizens have pledged substantial matching fund contributions. Celebrity parties, concerts and other fund raising gatherings and activities are also being planned to take place throughout the months of the Petition drive. Cumulatively, these sources will provide for the funding of the investigation.
8. Commission disbursements shall require the signatures of at least two Commissioners serving under the Treasurer on the Commission’s Finance Committee which shall consist of a total of three Commissioners appointed by the Commission. The Commission’s finances and accounts shall be audited each year by an independent public accounting firm appointed by the Commission.
9. The Commission will also endeavor to consider the effects of the 9/11 attacks on the health and well being of police, firefighters, the enormous numbers of other first responders, local residents and others affected, and examine ways and means of alleviating the health care crisis which afflicts many of the above through the enforcement of their the right to health care services and compensation.
10. As a law-enforcement agency, the Commission shall have the right not to publicly disclose activities of a secret or confidential nature and shall have the duty of recording the taking of testimony by film or video, and the duty of providing an opportunity for CSpan and other television networks, stations and programs to broadcast Commission proceedings on a live or other basis.
11. Each Commissioner shall be paid a base annual salary of $112,500 (or such other base salary as is then being paid to members of the New York City Council) and the same benefits received by such members, plus reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses actually incurred on behalf of the Commission, economy air and train fares to and from a Commissioner’s residence outside of New York City.
12. Commissioners may come from any part of the world and shall not be required to maintain a residence in New York City or New York State.
13. The Commissioners are not required to devote 100% or substantially all of their time to the work of the Commission and it is expected that Commissioners will be able to continue with non-conflicting activities.
14. The Commission by a majority vote shall have the right, to seek indictments in any relevant Court located in the City of New York, or elsewhere and, at its discretion, to work with existing prosecutorial agencies or to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor under Section 701 of the New York County Law.
15. Accordingly, the Commission shall have the power to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor anywhere within New York State or in any other State, country or jurisdiction.
16. The Commission as a temporary investigative office of New York City shall, during its lifetime, enjoy the same immunities, privileges and prosecutorial discretion granted under law to elected prosecutors.
17.No New York City employee, past or present, shall have the right to avoid testifying before the Commission based on any prior agreements not to disclose or testify with any officials or agencies of New York City or other governmental agency; the Commission has the power to maintain secrecy and confidentiality of testimony or other disclosures where appropriate.
18. The Commission shall have the power to hire and fire clerical and other employees, attorneys, accountants, paralegals, experts, consultants and others in performance of their respective duties.
19. The Commission shall have the power to enter into contracts; and to create and enforce its rules.
20. This law shall be construed liberally to enable the Commission to conduct an independent investigation into 9/11, and issue one or more reports on the Commission’s investigation, and create one or more websites to provide public information about the work of the Commission.
21 If any provision of this law is held to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions shall be in no manner affected thereby but shall remain in full force and effect.

source: http://www.nyc911initiative.org/PetitionFinal-01M.pdf
Dr. Pepper talks about this Ballot initiative near the end of this Hartford, November 3rd, 2007 presentation:

January 23, 2008

Jenny Sparks on 'no-planer' Arabesque

The so-called 9/11 "debunkers" are well known for their snarky comments in responses to commentary by 9/11 "truthers". In some cases their enthusiasm for debunking causes them to play loose with the facts. Ironically this is one of their main charges against 9/11 "truthers".

As Jenny Sparks notes, I was called a "no-planer" (someone who believes that planes were not used on 9/11):

Take a moment to enjoy the hilarity of a "debunker" calling a real 9/11 Sceptic a no-planer because he couldn't bother to do 2 mins worth of research by reading through the article. And Alex isn't the only one with this problem. Patrick Curley is a terminal case. These days he's reduced to being Nico Haupt's stenographer because he's incapable of researching his way out of a paper bag. So, in addition to being dishonest merchants of twaddle, the disinfo crew is just a bunch of lazy old sods.And here's me laughing me arse off at the lot. Now who's clueless, Our Alex?

Anyone who visits my blog can view my compiled list of eyewitness testimony on the Pentagon attack. Let's just say the amount of effort that I put into this and other articles makes the false "no-planer" accusation hilariously insulting.

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.