With the official opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, media attention is being focused once again on the so-called 9/11 “truth” movement, the political agitators and publicity-seekers who insist that Muslim terrorists flying planes were not responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. A group called Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth is distributing 9/11 “truth” propaganda at the museum this week, insisting the attacks were an “inside job” by various forces.
Emily Bazelon of Slate was on Jake Tapper’s CNN show referring to the “fringe right wing” and “anti-government” forces allegedly behind these kooky claims. Tapper did not dispute her characterization of the movement somehow being on the conservative side. He neglected to point out that Van Jones, the “former” communist who is now a co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire” show, had signed a 9/11 “truth” petition suggesting that the Bush administration deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks to happen so the U.S. could go to war against Muslims in the Middle East. This, and stories about Jones’ communist background, forced him out of his White House job.
David Corn of Mother Jones magazine had noted the 9/11 conspiracy theories “emerging on the left,” and he had written several pieces decrying them. He added, “The 9/11 conspiracy theory was just too tempting for many Bush critics. Van Jones says he was not fully aware of what he was signing when he put his John Hancock on that 9/11 petition. This might be true. But I can see how Jones and others on the left—without thinking too much—might have easily said, sure, sign my name to any call for any investigation of Bush and Cheney. And that sloppiness—if that’s what it was—has cost him his job.”
Tapper said on his show that people have a “capacity for believing crazy things,” but that the 9/11 “truth” movement demonstrates “insensitivity” to the families of the 9/11 victims.
What the families want are answers. The 9/11 attacks were entirely foreseeable and preventable, and legitimate questions remain. The record shows that the Bush administration ignored warnings that an attack like 9/11 might occur. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had already declared war on America, and the Able Danger military intelligence unit had identified al-Qaeda terrorist cells in America before the attacks. But this information wasn’t investigated thoroughly enough by appropriate officials in our intelligence agencies. It is truly mind-boggling that President Bush gave George Tenet, CIA director at the time of 9/11, a presidential Medal of Freedom.
To make matters worse, this intelligence failure was followed by another, when the post 9/11 anthrax attacks were falsely blamed on various U.S. scientists and not on members of al Qaeda, the likely culprits. One of those falsely blamed, Steven Hatfill, collected millions of dollars in damages from the U.S. government when the FBI tried to ruin his reputation and frame him.
This intelligence debacle is another reason why the 9/11 “truth” movement has completely lost sight of the truth.
As we said in a 2006 column, “If the Bush Administration carried out 9/11, a monumental undertaking of planning and coordination, why couldn’t it have blamed the post-9/11 anthrax attacks on Muslim Arabs as well, thus giving greater impetus to the alleged desire to go to war in the Middle East? In fact, there was evidence of a foreign or al-Qaeda connection to the anthrax attacks, but it was glossed over by the FBI, which came under pressure from liberal Senators Patrick Leahy and Thomas Daschle to find a right-wing culprit, based on the mistaken belief the anthrax could only have been manufactured in a U.S. military laboratory.”
Taking this one step further, if U.S. officials couldn’t even successfully plant evidence of weapons of mass destruction in 2003, in order to justify the war in Iraq, how could they have engineered and staged an elaborate 9/11 attack on America only eight months after Bush took office in January 2001?
If we are to believe the 9/11 “truth” movement, the Bush Administration put the plot together and finalized it in a short period of time, secretly using drones, missiles or explosives to attack the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in the Washington, D.C. area.
The record of 9/11, before and after the attacks, demonstrates incompetence, stupidity, a failure of political will, and even cover-ups of evidence. But this doesn’t mean there was an overarching “inside job” conspiracy to blame radical Muslims for conduct we know they are capable of—and have continued to carry out ever since.
History will judge whether the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq turned the tide, or fueled the fire that continues to threaten us. Evidence already suggests, however, that the Iranian regime has benefited from the American intervention in the region. Was this somehow planned by Bush and Cheney, too? Or is the outcome a result of the Obama administration changing sides in the War on Terror, with a nuclear-armed Iran and Benghazi massacre the inevitable results?
On top of the actual 9/11attacks, according to the kook theory, an elaborate cover-up was engineered, with at least the connivance of top Bush officials, in order to keep the public in the dark, so that Muslims could be blamed and America would go to war against them. This part of the theory is what attracted fringe characters such as Van Jones, predisposed to believe the worst about Bush and Cheney. The letter signed by Jones demanded an investigation into whether the Bush administration “deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”
But not even Marxist academic Noam Chomsky believes that. More than most, he understands and sympathizes with America’s Marxist and Islamic enemies.
What needs to be investigated is the 9/11 “truth” movement, its members, and those abroad who continue to promote it. Such an inquiry initially leads to convicted con man Lyndon LaRouche, a political extremist who has a history of Russian and Arab connections. He questioned whether Muslims had staged the attacks almost immediately after they occurred.
LaRouche, who ran for president as a Democrat many times, started out as a Marxist, and in a 1976 lecture, titled, “What Only Communists Know,” declared his desire to bring into being “a new Marxist international…” LaRouche and one of his former top associates, Webster Tarpley, became leading advocates of the “inside job” theory, along with radio host Alex Jones, who is heard on dozens of radio stations and on the Internet across the U.S. Conservatives, who should know better, appear on his show.
In fact, LaRouche and Tarpley have appeared regularly on Jones’ show, with LaRouche telling Jones in 2011 that 9/11 was “a total inside job,” whatever that means. Jones’ followers, many of them marijuana advocates, lap it up. He makes sense of the world for them.
The “inside job” theory of 9/11 is appealing to those holding a Marxist or anti-Semitic view that American foreign policy is secretly manipulated by “imperialist” or “Zionist” agents. On other occasions, the puppet-masters are “global elites” or members of secret clubs. These theories preclude serious thinking about why America is under attack and by whom. Facts and evidence don’t matter when a theory about sinister secret agents with no names makes more sense.
Not surprisingly, as we have previously reported, Al Jazeera has been a reliable vehicle for the 9/11 “truth” movement, since blaming the U.S. government for the attacks conveniently shifts the blame away from the Arab/Muslim world.
An examination of the website of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth reveals something else that is very interesting—a Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) broadcast promoting the theory. They seem proud that Moscow is signaling approval of their efforts.
This is not new. Like Al Jazeera, Russia Today television has seized on the 9/11 “truth” movement in the past, even running a series by one of its own “reporters” about the attacks being an “inside job” by certain unnamed officials.
The Kremlin and Arab propagandists must be laughing out loud at the thought that some Americans actually believe the U.S. government engineered an attack on itself on 9/11. They understand that the controversy distracts from the need to identify and defeat America’s real enemies.
It is important, therefore, for a respected journalist like Jake Tapper to seriously analyze the nature of the 9/11 “truth” movement, not leave it to a liberal reporter to make an off-hand comment without evidence that seems to identify unnamed conservatives as being somehow responsible for promoting crackpot theories in New York City this week.
If Tapper wants the truth, perhaps he should interview his colleague Van Jones about why he got involved with the lunatic fringe.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.