Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just The Facts, Ma'am

Jon Gold tries the Joe Friday approach:

That being said, we have not proven it beyond the shadow of doubt. We do not have documentation that shows they planned it. We do not have a signed confession from someone.

Well, I certainly agree with the first sentence there, and the second and the third. However, it isn't long before Jon goes off the rails:

If we could somehow download all of our knowledge to every person on the planet, this fight would be over tomorrow.

You download information from something; you upload to. But beyond that, note the presumption that if everybody just had access to the information that the Troofers have, everybody'd be a Troofer.

But Jon, being a rigorous internet prosecutor, decides to present a list of "facts" that nobody can deny which prove 9-11 was an inside job. The list is mostly familiar stuff. For example:

Dick Cheney was the CEO for a company called Halliburton. During his tenure there, he gave a speech at the Institute of Petroleum that said, "while many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow." On 10/11/2005, it was reported that the shares that Dick Cheney claimed he no longer had with Halliburton, rose 3281% in one year.

Well, the link under the claim that Halliburton shares rose 3281% goes to Gold's own website, where he links a story from the Carpetbagger Report (second only to the New York Times in credibility) that paints a slightly different picture:

...the value of Cheney's Halliburton stock options rose in value 3281% in one year.

Stock options, stock, it's all the same, right? But note also that bit about "Cheney claimed he no longer owned". In point of fact, Dick Cheney did own those stock options. But he had already pledged to donate any profits from those options to charity:

Democrats pointed out that Cheney receives deferred compensation from Halliburton under an arrangement he made in 1998, and also retains stock options. He has pledged to give after-tax proceeds of the stock options to charity.

Cheney's aides defended the assertion on NBC, saying the financial arrangements do not constitute a tie to the company's business performance. They pointed out that Cheney took out a $15,000 insurance policy so he would collect the deferred payments over five years whether or not Halliburton remains in business.

And in fact Cheney did donate the proceeds to charity, which caused a minor controversy itself:

It appears that the VP is a major beneficiary of the Hurricane Katrina tax relief act. In particular, he claimed $6.8 million of charitable deductions, which is 77% of his AGI -- well in excess of the 50% limitation that would have applied absent the Katrina legislation. The press release indicates that the charitable contribution reflects the amount of net proceeds from an independent administrator's exercise of the VP's Halliburton options -- apparently, the VP had agreed back in 2001 that he would donate the net proceeds from the options to charities once they were exercised.

Yep, the poster was complaining that Cheney donated too much to charity!

So what are we left with? Dick Cheney saying that there was a lot of oil in the Middle East. Stop the presses!

It isn't long before the "weasel words" appear:

Fact #8
On the morning of 9/11, there were several military exercises taking place, some of which allegedly mirrored the events taking place that day.

Fact #9
From the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), Dick Cheney allegedly monitored Flight 77 from 50 miles outside of Washington D.C.

Fact #13
The heads of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, Sen. Porter Goss, and Sen. Bob Graham, along with Sen. John Kyl, met with an alleged financier of the attacks on the day of 9/11.

Apparently, Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani ISI, someone who met with U.S. elected and appointed officials in the weeks before 9/11, on the day of 9/11, and in the days after 9/11, ordered possible MI6 Agent Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to wire transfer $100,000 to Mohammad Atta.

Allegedly? Apparently? I thought this was just the "facts"?

The rest of the list is a hodgepodge of noncontroversial stuff like:

Fact #10
On the day of 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld started planning the Iraq War. DoD Staffer Stephen Cambone took down several notes with regards to what Rumsfeld was saying. "Best info fast... judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time - not only UBL [Usama Bin Laden]" [...] "Go massive... Sweep it all up. Things related and not." [...] "Hard to get a good case."


Fact #11
Between 9:30pm and 10:00pm on 9/11/2001, Bush says, "this is a great opportunity. We have to think of this as an opportunity." He does so again during his State Of The Union speech on 1/29/2002. Karl Rove said, "sometimes history sends you things and 9/11 came our way."

Okay, so the administration took advantage of 9-11 to accomplish some things they already wanted to accomplish. If a guy takes the inheritance he received from his mother and goes out and buys the Ferrari he's always wanted, does that mean he killed her?

We get the stupid Troofer claim that Nicholas DeMasi and Michael Bellone located three of the four FDRs from Flights 11 and 175. Never mind that Bellone is a fraud, maybe DeMasi's reported claim (it appears only in a book and DeMasi has reportedly declined interview requests) is true.

And inevitably we get the dancing Jews:

Fact #21
On the morning of 9/11, a homemaker by the name of Maria will notice a group of people sitting on top of a white van. She says, "They seemed to be taking a movie" at the time of the first impact. She calls the police. At 3:31pm on 9/11, the FBI issues a BOLO (be on the lookout) that says, "White, 2000 Chevrolet van…with ‘Urban Moving Systems’ sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center…. Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion. FBI Newark Field Office requests that, if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals." At 3:56pm on 9/11, these individuals are arrested. On 9/14/2001, the owner of Urban Moving Systems flees to Israel. Because of great pressure in late October 2001, the arrested men, allegedly Israeli spies, are released in November 2001. One of the men claims "our purpose was to document the event."

Note in particular that claim about how Maria said they were taking a movie at the time of the first impact. This would indeed be pretty strong evidence that they knew about the attacks in advance. But trace the story back to the original ABC News report and it's just a tad different:

Maria, who asked us not to use her last name, had a view of the World Trade Center from her New Jersey apartment building. She remembers a neighbor calling her shortly after the first plane hit the towers.

She grabbed her binoculars and watched the destruction unfolding in lower Manhattan. But as she watched the disaster, something else caught her eye.

Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. "They seemed to be taking a movie," Maria said.

So Maria looked out "shortly after" the first plane impact. She has no evidence that they were filming "at the time of the first impact", because she wasn't looking out the window then. Note also the curious timing of the FBI's BOLO. According to the ABC News report:

She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.
(Italics added for emphasis)

"...before long"? But the BOLO did not go out until 3:31 PM, over six and a half hours later. Once again, we seem to be dealing with a timing problem. When did Maria really see the dancing Jews? Was it almost immediately after the first plane impact, or was it awhile later? The question is crucial. According to this NY Times account, it certainly sounds like it was well after the impacts:

Besides the cash and the passports, one man had fresh pictures of the smoldering wreckage of the trade center in his camera, images he had captured by standing rather conspicuously on the roof of the van.

Smoldering wreckage? That sounds like after the collapses of the towers, which would fit better with the BOLO timing.

At any rate, read through the list for yourself and see if there's anything which really constitutes evidence of LIHOP or MIHOP. I don't see it, but maybe that's because Jon Gold has been unable to download his paranoid worldview to me.