Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bermas for Governor!

I found this radio interview of Jason Bermas linked on the Loose Change forum. I about fell off of the couch listening to this part:

And I really don't want to go into politics, but, you know, I live in New York, and if I had to, I would consider running for governor, if no one is going to do anything. Because, at least you can do something at a state level. I am not saying I could win, but I could get out there, especially if the movie is as big as it is going to be. We need somebody who is going to challenge the norms, and really go after these guys and make them he held accountable.

We can only hope. Heck, I think I would donate to his campaign just to have the opportunity to hear him trying to explain his economic plan.

Run Jason, run!


The Case of the Casual Confessor

Perry Logan pointed this out on JREF:

Conspiracy people have a few strange ideas stuck in their brains. One of them is that the bad guys always confess.

In the Bizarro World of conspiracy theorists, the perps are forever spilling the beans and blurting out the truth.

But no one can perceive it except the conspiracy guys.

We've seen this mental glitch too many times to ignore it. The CTs think Silverstein admitted that he blew WTC7. They think Cheney confessed to shooting down one of the planes (or something). They think the bad guys had a TV movie made to give away the plot. It's all right there. It's all terribly obvious.

But only the conspiracy guys see it!

As I noted, a few posts later:

We gotta come up with a term for this. It's like they've watched one too many episodes of Perry Mason or Columbo where the real killer always breaks down and confesses when confronted with a tough question, but it's even worse than that because these folks think the real killers break down when asked simple questions.

Well, after looking through some old comic books, I've found the perfect name for this: It's a Merry Pason Confession:

Merry Pason confessions that we've noted so far:

Larry Silverstein's "Pull it"

Donald Rumsfeld seems to make a habit of Merry Pason confessions:

That Flight 93 was shot down:

"I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."

That the Pentagon was hit by a missile:

Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filed with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center. The only way to deal with this problem is by taking the battle to the terrorists, wherever they are, and dealing with them.

And of course the missing $2.3 trillion:

More money for the Pentagon, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.

"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.

President Bush did his own Merry Pason confession by claiming that he had witnessed the first plane hit the World Trade Center:

Well, Jordan (ph), you're not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card -- actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot." And I said, "It must have been a horrible accident."

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Get Physical With Kevin Barrett

The Feathered Bastard posts another update on his Sunday at the 9/11 conspiracy conference:

Next to her, unbeknownst to me at first, was Prof. Kevin Barrett, who kept acting like he wanted to get physical with me. He grabbed my tape recorder a couple of times, but I wouldn’t let go. And he kept bumping into me on purpose as I walked next to him. Basically he called me a piece of crap, worse even than Sean Hannity! (Sniff.) He seemed to get even more ticked as laughed at his insult. By that point we were in the lobby of the hotel, with plenty of witnesses around, and I would’ve loved for Barrett to take a swing at me, because then I’d be able to defend myself without worrying about him lying about it after the fact. Though he’s tall, he’s also soft and nerdy. Any physical confrontation begun by him wouldn’t have lasted long. And it certainly wouldn’t have concluded in his favor.

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Rosie O'Donnell Endorses Loose Change

Gotta love it:

Hey, if Rosie endorses it, it's passe.

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Loose Change Assigned in Propaganda College Course

Reports one of our readers, Geoff Burch:

Now, here comes the most outrageous and disturbing part of this story. The professor asked us to watch "Loose Change," a pseudo-documentary that claims the U.S. Government organized and carried out the attacks on September 11th. I know it's hard, but please contain your anger until you finish reading, then you will have plenty of anger to take out on something that's not alive or valuable to anybody. "Loose Change" is made by some college students with a fervor for conspiracy theories. Now, does the professor say, "I am reluctant to show 'Loose Change' because I'm worried you'll believe our own government murdered 3,000 of its own innocent people, and you won't trust our own country." Nope. She doesn't. I guess she is completely content with us watching a film that does nothing but lie, misrepresent the truth, and exploit the people who lost their lives on 9/11 and their families. The film is disgustingly deceitful. It dedicates itself to those who lost their lives on 9/11, but then goes as far to say that the calls families received from their loved ones on that day were hoaxes!

Excellent post! At least the college is being honest in saying that Loose Change and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth are examples of mass media as propaganda.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Planter's Peanut

Pointed out by Do-Over Boy himself at the Loose Change Blog:

Anyone ever heard of Laura Knight-Jadczyk? How about her husband, Arkadiusz? Well...


Re: George Monbiot’s statement, "These conspiracy idiots are a boon for Bush and Blair as they destroy the movements some of us have spent years building"

Dear Guardian,

As a historian and author, and wife of a physicist, I am going to ask that your paper publicly apologize for calling me, my husband, and literally millions of other people - many of them well-qualified experts who have spent a great deal of time researching this matter - "idiots."

Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Well, commenter Matt thought he'd look into Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Turns out that she may not be an "idiot", but she's certainly a kook:

In front of the group, she laid out the basics of her story. She said she was a psychic, a channeler and a hypnotherapist who had worked with people who had possibly been abducted by aliens; in passing, almost as an afterthought, she mentioned that she was also an exorcist. As if that weren't enough, she said that she and her children had once seen two UFOs, gliding across the sky over their house in New Port Richey.

And that's the normal crackpottery; the David Icke stuff is just plain weird:

This was overwhelming enough for Laura and her mother. Other episodes were far more frightening. Once, at age 3, Laura woke from a nap with a sensation that something was about to happen. She heard footsteps approaching on the gravel outside the house and wondered if she should run to the closet or crawl under the bed. Before she could move, a strange face appeared at the bedroom window, a face similar to that of a large lizard. In her mind, she heard the face talking to her.

"There's no point in thinking about hiding," it told her. "When the time comes, we will find you, no matter where you go or what you do."

Similar incidents followed during Laura's childhood. Once, she saw her bedroom window opening, as though something was trying to get her. Another time, she woke with a start and saw a vision in which frightening creatures -- lizard creatures, just like the face at the window -- took her into the woods and showed her a shallow grave holding the corpse of a baby, with its hands and feet severed. The creatures warned her that she could easily end up the same way.

According to this webpage, she's formed a cult:

This was Laura Knight-Jadczyk and her channelled material came from a mysterious source: "We transmit "through" the opening that is presented in the locator that you represent as Cassiopaea, due to the strong radio pulses aligned from Cassiopaea, which are due to a pulsar from a neutron star 300 light years behind it, as seen from your locator. This facilitates a clear channel transmission from 6th density to 3rd density."

These beings apparently communicated with Ms Knight-Jadczyk through the means of a Ouiji board and with the help of another individual, Fred Irland, whose name, curiously enough, can be found nowhere in the published Cassiopaean material. At first, the communications were the ordinary sort of thing expected from ouiji aliens. But as they got better at it, the answers began to take on a life of their own.

And this is somebody that Dylan points out to prove that 9-11 Deniers aren't "idiots"?

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CNN Got the Press Release Too!

As you can see, Aaron Brown reported that WTC 7 has either collapsed or is collapsing, when the building was still standing, right behind him!

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Troofer Math

I am constantly amused with the truther misuse of statistics, which Pat has commented on before. I took stats in grad school last year, and I don't remember it being done this way. In this example James Redford on looks at the 6 cases of people with Arab names similar to those of the 19 hijiackers having connections to US military bases, and calculates the odds of these occurences being mistaken indentities of 1 in 21.7 billion. His misuse of statistics, however, is cringe inducing.

First his methodology. I am not going to repeat everything he did, so click on the link to read it if you want all the details, but to summarize he finds a list of the frequencies of Arab surnames, and comes up with a rough estimate of number of Arabs with the 4 surnames in question and comes up with 570,000 each for the names Ghamdi, Nami, or Atta (although he doesn't actually know because they aren't listed) and 1,860,000 for the surname Omar (which is listed). He then calculates the percentage of Arabs with these surnames out of the total, which he estimates at 300,000,000 Arabs.

Well, this of course is a very rough estimate, and probably overstating the target population, since these hijackers came from countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which would be heavily represented in the ranks of foreign officers training in the US. Unlike, say, Iraq or Syria. But this is the least of his problems.

What happens next though, gets really hilarious:

570000 (number of Arabs in the world with a surname of Ghamdi, Nami, or Atta) / 300000000 (total number of Arabs in the world) = 0.0019 (0.19% of the population of Arabs in the world with a surname of Ghamdi, Nami, or Atta)

1860000 (number of Arabs in the world with the surname of Omar) / 300000000 (total number of Arabs in the world) = 0.0062 (0.62% of the population of Arabs in the world with a surname of Omar)

300000 (total number of Arabs trained on U.S. military bases on U.S. soil) * 0.0019^5 (0.19% of the population of Arabs in the world with a surname of Ghamdi, Nami, or Atta, raised by the power of five, for the five individuals with one of these names) * 0.0062 (0.62% of the population of Arabs in the world with a surname of Omar) = 4.60554414 E-11 1 / 4.60554414 E-11 = ~ 21712960935.8168

For much of this, I am even struggling to figure out was his logic is. For starters, he is ignoring what his base population is. There were not only 6 hijackers, there were 19. Thirteen of the 19 hijackers names were not found in the population he is comparing to, but he is ignoring this. And out of the 6 names he picks, only 3 of them were actually found among the names of the military, the other 3 simply had addresses on their drivers licenses which they themselves picked to be military related. He cannot compare them to the estimated population of military students, since they were never found in this population to begin with.

Regardless, he is still screwing this up. By raising the percentage of the population to the 5th power (.0062^5) he is not calculating the odds of those names occuring in the population (300,000) he is calculating the odds of those 5 names appearing (in order) in a selected population of 5 people, that is then sampled 300,000 times. The actual method of calculating the odds is rather complicated, and I don't feel like working through the math at the moment, but if .0019 of a population of 300,000 is expected to have certain names, that means we can expect 570 people in that population to have those names. Not to mention the expected 1,860 people who would have the surname Omar (.0062 * 300000). So you can see that the odds of picking 6 out of 19 surnames out of that population, would not be that difficult, and certainly not 1 in 21.7 billion.

This is actually a common misunderstanding of probability. A famous example of this is the birthday paradox. If you have a room of 40 people, and wonder what the odds of 2 people sharing the same birthday are, the instictive thing is to figure it is the number of people out of the number of days in the year, 40 out of 365 (or 366), or a little over 10%. This is incorrect though, the correct probability is over 90%, because you are comparing every person, not against one other person, but against every other person in the room.

Update: I ended up in an exchange of opinion with the author on 9/11 Blogger on this issue. Unsurprisingly, his response was to claim my logic was wrong, claim I did not understand the situation, and then rant on about how the Turks killed lots of Armenians (I am still trying to figure out the relevance of that). In any case I finally decided to sit down and work through the math of this, which I am reposting below if anyone is interested:

Incidently, if you want to actually work this out mathematically, you need to take the exact opposite approach. You need to calculate the odds that there is NOT someone with the surname in the target population. The reason you do this is you only need 1 person to prove the hypothesis false, it doesn’t matter if there is 1 or 500.

So to use your assumptions (I am not saying they are correct, but I am trying to keep this simple so that you understand). You estimated that the odds of a single Arab having the surname of Omar is .0062. If we reverse this, that means the odds of a single Arab NOT having the surname of Omar is .9938.

So if we then take your population of 300,000 Arabs, and line them up, this is how we calculate it. Take Arab #1, the odds are .9938 that he is NOT named Omar. Take Arab #2, the odds are also .9938 that he is not Omar, so the odds that both are not named Omar are .9938 * .9938. Now go to the third guy, we now see the odds of all three not being named Omar are .9938 ^ 3. So the odds for going through all 300,000 of our Arabs and NOT finding a single guy named Omar are .9938 ^ 300000, which is an insanely small number that I can’t even get Excel to calculate.

So rather than being extremely unlikely to find a name as you calculated, the odds of going through and NOT finding a single person with this name are very high.

This is of course a vast over simplification of the real world, since you are not accounting for first names, and the 300,000 population is probably a little high, but the point still stands that your approach is completely opposite the correct way.

Additionally to really calculate this, you would have to individually calculate the odds of each of the 19 hijackers, and then figure out the odds that at least 3 of those 19 names would be found.

The News of My Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

The truther frenzy over the BBC's premature announcement of the collapse of WTC7 got me thinking of other press errors. It is ironic that truthers regularly condemn the mainstream media, except in those rare occasions when it benefits them, then they are suddenly convinced of their infallibility. Anyway, one of the most famous errors was when CNN incorrectly posted a webpage announcing the death of President Reagan, among others. Looking this up I found that this was such a common event that Wikipedia has an entire entry dedicated to the subject of "Premature Obituaries". Did you know that, for example, Pope John Paul II was declared dead on 4 separate occasions, the first 3 obviously being incorrect. There has to be a conspiracy in there somewhere...


Anybody Know Which Countries Don't Have Extradition to US?

Sheesh, I'm getting out of Dodge! Our bosses in the New World Order screwed up yet again in a way that can be revealed on Google Video and YouTube. Turns out that the BBC Division of NWO Enterprises announced the collapse of WTC 7 over 23 minutes before the building actually collapsed! Yeah, yeah, everybody knew it was coming down beforehand, but we embargoed that press release until 5:20 PM Eastern Time.

Seriously, the CTers are convinced that this is the Smoking Blunt, I mean, Smoking Gun that will bring the Troof to the Masses.

Dylan starts out cautious:

There needs to be a time-stamp on here somewhere. Unless we can absolutely verify this was broadcast at or before 5 PM, it's going to be a straw man.

Of course, he doesn't have a clue what a strawman is (probably because he's listened to Alex Jones say Mark Roberts uses strawman arguments), but at least he's recognizing that more verification is needed.

But then he verifies it:

Date: 2001-09-11 20:54:47 UTC
Air Time: 2001-09-11 16:54:47 EDT
Length: 0:41:41
2001-09-11 20:54:47
2001-09-11 16:54:47 EDT

Television News; September 11 Terrorist Attacks; 911 Terrorist Attacks
[curator][/curator][date]20070218204203[/date][state]un-dark[/state] was broadcast at 4:57. There's no disputing that now.

Somebody reasonable shows up:

Many people at Ground Zero were aware that WTC7 was going to collapse almost three hours before it actually did. There are many quotes to support this.

It sounds like the BBC is guilty of sloppy reporting, not accidentally leaking the conspiracy plot. They didn't bother to verify which building actually was WTC7 and if it had collapsed yet or not.

Dylan shows his crack debunking the debunkers skills (no doubt learned from LCFC Script Editor David Ray Griffin):

Wow guys. Did I call it or what?

As you might imagine, this revelation is treated a bit more skeptically by the JREFers. Assuming that the time this was broadcast is correct, and that we were looking at a live shot of WTC 7 over Jane Standley's shoulder, both of which appear to be true, Firestone points out there are two possible alternative explanations:

1. Somehow the BBC misunderstood reports that WTC 7 was about to collapse, and reported that it had actually collapsed. Jane Standley and the anchor had no idea what WTC 7 was, so they didn't get it that they were looking at the supposedly collapsed building.
2. The conspirators who for some reason had to secretly destroy WTC 7 by CD also found it necessary to release a statement about its collapse to the press. This statement was released a little too soon.

Perry points out that this fits in perfectly with the Troofer view of reality:

Conspiracy people have a few strange ideas stuck in their brains. One of them is that the bad guys always confess.

In the Bizarro World of conspiracy theorists, the perps are forever spilling the beans and blurting out the truth.

But no one can perceive it except the conspiracy guys.

We've seen this mental glitch too many times to ignore it. The CTs think Silverstein admitted that he blew WTC7. They think Cheney confessed to shooting down one of the planes (or something). They think the bad guys had a TV movie made to give away the plot. It's all right there. It's all terribly obvious.

But only the conspiracy guys see it!

And here we go again. Once again, the bad guys have slipped up and given the game away. It's just so obvious...

...but only the conspiracy guys are smart enough to get it, natch. Do Truthers ever perceive this pattern in their own thinking?

Silly question.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll catch up with you folks again once I get settled in Havana.

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Shoah Shirker's Sales Soar

Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times went back for another round with the Deniers.

Holocaust denier Eric Williams was present and he did have a booth where he was selling his T-shirts, DVDs, and books — all but his infamous The Puzzle of Auschwitz. I spoke to him, and he informed me that he was planning to re-release his Shoah-shirking tome due to popular demand. He also told me he’d made a nice bit of scratch at the conference, and I believe him because one guy was writing him a check for some merch as I approached. He seemed quite proud of the fact that conference keynote speaker Meria Heller had quoted him so glowingly during her Friday address.

Fatty Arbuckle remains the last person whose career suffered from too much notoriety.

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The "Scholars" at the Conference

Members of the various scholars groups appeared at the recent conference in Arizona. First Jim Fetzer hilariously narrows down the list of possibilities as to what destroyed the World Trade Center:

Speculation is the second stage of science, we have to consider the full range of alternative explanations. These can include natural causes like earthquake, hurricane, tornado, human causes, conventional, air crashes, dynamite, RDX, thermite, thermate. Human causes unconventional, mini-nukes, atomic, hydrogen, micro, directed energy weapons, HARP, lasers, masers, plasmoids. And then you need a catch-all hypothesis, maybe you haven't actually figured out the whole range of alternatives. So you need another H4, other alternatives not yet considered.

Gee Jim, you sure you didn't leave anything out? Does he really think we need to consider the possibility of a tornado?

Later on he gets downright offensive:

Look at the extent of the devastation, it was very selective. This was not the sort of thing a hurricane or tornado would bring about. It is as all or only the World Trade Center buildings were targeted.

Uhh genius, they were targeted. Even so, when looking at this, "selective" is not the first word that comes to mind of most people.

Later on Steven Jones actually does a fairly good job refuting Fetzer's arguments. Too bad he doesn't use such rigorous scientific thought regarding his own "research".

Before the Q & A session Kevin Barrett gives a short bit, in which he uses some Orwellian logic to explain how the scholar's schism is a good thing:

People have been pissing and moaning, or as we scholars saying "urinating and ululating" about the break-up of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. It is not a break-up, it is a split into two groups. People ask me, "Why did they split?" and I say, "because there are so many of us, one group can't hold us anymore. And that's actually the truth. This always happens to groups, when they get big they split off.

Yeah, sure Kev. With all those "scholars", you guys must have like... 20 PhD level structural engineers by now, in each group! I can understand how it must be difficult to get things done with all those MIT trained engineers tripping over each other...

In the Q & A, Fetzer humorously gets a bit testy:

Steve was exhibiting a kind of premature conclusion, because neither Judy, nor Morgan nor I are committed to a "space beam" hypothesis, in fact the very use of that phrase is so denigrating that it is inappropriate.

Uhh, Jim, have you taken a look at Judy Wood's website lately, where right there at the top it has Star Wars Beam Weapon? This is hardly something someone else has dreamed up.

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BBC Producer: There Was No Sympathetic Piece on the Deniers

In the week or so before the BBC aired their wonderful show on the 9-11 conspiracy theorists, Alex Jones tried to convince people that the Beeb had prepared two versions of the show; one sympathetic and balanced, and the other a "hit piece". Of course, according to Jones, the NWO insisted that the "hit piece" be aired.

According to the producer, there was no sympathetic piece and the one that aired was balanced.

Only trouble is there weren’t two versions, no-one bothered to check with us and, what's more, we worked very hard to make sure the programme was fair and balanced.

We didn’t find anything conclusive proving the conspiracy theories. Instead we found a lot of evidence which supported the official version and contradicted the various conspiracy theories.

Where there was some evidence of a conspiracy after the event to cover-up intelligence failures, we included that in the programme, together with an interview with Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired a Congressional Inquiry into 9/11.

Hat Tip to an emailer who will remain anonymous for now.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Meria Heller's Keynote Address to the Kooks

Lots of amazing bits in this address. At 20:49 she quotes from a "great book" called The Puzzle of Fascism, which of course is one of Eric D. Williams' efforts. Apparently one of the aims of the conference is to rehabilitate Eric's name.

All I can say is that I hope they succeed in convincing 9-11 Deniers that, as more and more people at 9-11 Blogger are claiming, Williams is not a Holocaust Denier. Hey, folks, I have his book, from the brief period that he had it available for free on his website.

Meria spends a fair amount of time talking about the Holocaust; but she talks about the Holocaust in Iraq and Afghanistan, about the "silent' Holocaust of Global Warming, about the Holocaust of Arizona's desert which is being developed at the rate of an acre an hour.

More nuttery than you can imagine. At 22:45 we discover that Meria's got something in common with the John Birch Society:

"We have flouride in our water, which is a mind-control drug."

At 23:20:

"We have contrails and chemtrails poisoning our skies. We have polluted fish, intersex fish (?), fish with Ebola and kidney disease."

Who knew fish had kidneys?

At 30:08:

"We have leaders and members of this administration with dual citizenship with other countries. Well, whose agenda are they following?" (A helpful member of the crowd says, "Israel.")

At 36:15:

"We need to account for Operation Paperclip, which enlisted the worst Nazis in our NASA and our CIA. Whose agenda are they following?" (Mercifully nobody suggests "Israel.")

At 38:30 she puts on a V for Vendetta mask. This seems to be the hot new movie for the crackpots.

At 45:12 (talking about the morning of 9-11):

"Bush was not protected by the Secret Service, nor was his exit route changed. His plane took off from Florida without any fighter jets protecting it. Why not? What did they know? Did they know he wasn't in any danger? Dick Cheney right away was smuggled into a hole like Punxatawny Phil."

Uh, pardon me for pointing this out, Meria, but wasn't Dick Cheney also in no danger? So why was he "smuggled into a hole"?

"Flight 93 supposedly went down in Shanksville, even though no plane parts, passengers, luggage or anything else was at the scene; maybe the government shot it down."

Also, check out the parody she does of the Star Spangled Banner at the end.

Update: BG points out in the comments this email (scroll down a bit) exchange he had with Meria about Richard Andrew Grove.

Grove's one of my favorite 9-11 figures; the clip that Meria played on her show was memorable indeed. He must have rambled on for 45 minutes and while he entertained, at the end of the show you were left trying to figure out exactly what he said and saw.

As I remember it, some companies had prepared software for other companies and he was involved and discovered that this software was being used to launder money, and he was supposed to be in the Twin Towers on 9-11 to confront some manager at Marsh & McClennan but he had been fired so he was just going back to the office as a favor to other people and so he was a little bit lackadaisical about getting there on time and as a result he survived.

James wrote a great post here in July about his appearance at the Chicago Trutherfest.

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Search in Vain

I was amused by this request for information by a dilligent 9/11 conspiracy theory researcher over at the Loose Change Forum:

Im Going To Post Some Stuff At The Hannity Forums about 911 being inside

Okay heres what I need

1) I need a list of news articles dealing with the hijackers being trained at U.S. military bases. Hopefully a few of those articles contains quotes from the soldiers saying basicaly "Yes I trained that hijacker, at a military base"

2) I need a list of news articles dealing with Firefighters, Police OFficers, and First responders saying "I was told by my superiors to get back because building 7 was going to be blown up or demolished or brought down, and I followed my orders and then the building fell.". Hopefully with quotes and name and position of person giving the quote.

In the first 7 responses (some by the original poster), there are of course no actual sources. I am curious how long (if ever) it will take him to realize that he isn't talking about a "list of news articles" where soldiers are saying, "Yes I trained that hijacker, at a military base". Every single one of these "training hijackers" myths originates from the same Gannett wire report, not about training hijackers, but about people with some of the same names being trained at military bases. The second story is based largely off of one anonymous e-mail, and one Alex Jones article.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Kudos to Jenny Sparks

For pointing out that somehow we picked up a Holocaust Denying Debunker. Paul Revere's comments are in the process of being removed from the blog. Thank you for pointing this out to us, Jenny.

New Debunker to the Blogroll

Kudos to 9-11 Truthiness, a new (to me) blog battling against the farces of dorkness. I particularly like this post, for reasons that will be pretty apparent.

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Kevin Barrett Gets to Heart of U.S. Anti-Muslim Bias

I was listening to Kevin Barrett on Alex Jones' radio program, from last Thursday, when I came across this amusing part. Maybe someone should explain to him that this is just a "myth".

Barrett: It is not just the Nazis Alex, you know Walt Disney put out this cartoon, I believe in the early 30s or late 20s of the three little pigs, and the Big Bad Wolf in that cartoon is a tall hook-nosed Jewish stereotype. A lot of people don’t know about this, but Disney was apparently a little anti-Semitic himself.

Well, fast-forward a little bit, and when was it, in the 80s? Actually early 90s late 80s when Aladdin came out they put out this exact same exact caricature, it is almost a reworking of the big bad wolf. But now it is Jafar, this evil Vizier in this Middle Eastern country. It is like they have taken this anti-Jewish stereotype, and they have flipped it upside down and now it is this anti-Arab Anti-Muslim stereotype.

Jones: Absolutely.

Jafar from Disney's Aladdin

No word yet if Barrett is going to denounce the anti-English-exotic-fur-coat-loving-women bias of Disney's 101 Dalmatians

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Uncle Fetzer on Holocaust Denial Part II

Uncle Fetzer decides that maybe Holocaust Denial really is like 9-11 "Truth" after all.

Friday, February 23, 2007

151-Proof Troof; My Afternoon With the Deniers

Update: See also Stephen's terrific and much better written summary of the event.

Okay, just got back from the Chandler 9-11 Accountability Confab. So that I don't get accused of burying the lede, Eric D. Williams was there! So much for him being disassociated with the event. In fact, one of the conference organizers (a very nice guy named Lloyd) told me that Eric has a table in the Vendors' room to sell his tracts. Presumably The Puzzle of Auschwitz has been left behind in favor of The Puzzle of 9-11.

(Click pix to enlarge)

Fortunately, I went with Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, because otherwise we would never have gotten into the press conference, which was filled with "Truthers". As it worked out, Stephen was the only "real" media at the event; unless you consider the Idaho Observer real media.

The panel taking the questions were (reading from left to right): Meria Heller, Jim Marrs, Steven Jones, Janette McKinlay (9-11 artist), Sander Hicks, Kent Knudson (local knucklehead) and Uncle Fetzer. Stephen didn't waste any time asking them how they could talk about "Accountability" without being accountable for having a Holocaust Denier. A groan rose from the crowd. Amazingly, Janette McKinlay said, "Well, Eric's right here! Let's ask him! Do you think that horrible things happened to a lot of people in World War II?" When Eric dutifully acknowledged this meaningless assertion, she appeared to consider the matter settled.

Fortunately Stephen was not to be deterred with this. He asked about the credibility of sources; did people think that Eric Hufschmid is a credible source. Fetzer got on his high horse and declared that while Hufschmid's Holocaust musings were indeed unfortunate, when it came to 9-11, Hufschmid was an "exemplar in excellence in research."

Bob McIlvaine (9-11 father) introduced himself prior to asking a question, and got a round of applause, leading Stephen to ask if this was a press conference or a pep rally. I winced at this, but obviously Stephen didn't know the circumstances. Jon Gold gave some heated comments.

At this point the crowd drew restless. "Throw him out!" By this point I had separated myself from Stephen physically (not from fear, but to make sure one of us could at least remain as an observer). A man who identified himself as hotel security arrived and started escorting Steve out the door. Fortunately, cooler heads (including Phil Berg, who was the moderator) prevailed and after a minute or two he was allowed to remain.

There was a lot of "what can 'we' do" to hold the government accountable for 9-11, which was a pretty good clue that these were not media people asking questions. Berg finally asked how many real working media were in attendance, and about 3 people raised their hands, including the guy from the Idaho Observer.

I got a chance to ask one question, so I tried to make it a zinger without appearing to be a Debunker. Was the 9-11 Truth Movement being infiltrated by the government and/or cults? I pointed out the Haupt/Jamieson dustup video that I'd seen at 9-11 Blogger. Fetzer took the bait, talking about how of course that the FBI was trying to infiltrate them, but that Haupt was not a agent, he was just a nut. Ah, an opening! So I quickly asked why, if he felt that Haupt is a nut, did Fetzer link to 9-11 Researchers at the top of the (new) Scholars for 9-11 Truth site.

Fetzer just about turned purple. Was I accusing him of guilt by association? No, I said, but the link is very prominent at the top of his page and I asked aren't there some things, like the Star Wars Beam Weapon from Space that are dead ends? Well, I threw in the "from space" bit intentionally because I knew that would set him off on how Judy Wood had never said it was from space, to which I retorted that she was the one who called it a Star Wars Beam Weapon, of course people were going to assume it was from space.

Fetzer did a spiel on how areas of research couldn't be closed off without study that this was how science advanced, and (getting back onto the guilt by association thing) that just because one was a kook on one thing you couldn't assume they were a kook on another, and he pointed out that Sir Isaac Newton belonged to some weird cult--I can't remember what it was--and that did that mean his theory of gravity didn't hold. And I did the nodding head thing to assure Fetzer that I was being swayed by his argument and sat down. Fortunately Jones wouldn't let the slander against Sir Isaac Newton go uncorrected; he had personally seen the great scholar's bible or something during a trip to England and was absolutely sure that he was a Christian, not a member of this weird cult that Fetzer was claiming. And as for the Star Wars beam weapon, Greg from the DC group was submitting a paper to JONES on the possibility. So I brown-nosed the teacher by piping up that "It's an energy issue, right?" and he said, well actually it's power, but he gave me a nod of approval. So I felt I had pretty much pulled of a pretty good imitation of a Jones groupie, not a debunker.

Stephen did get to ask the panel members whether they felt Flight 77 had hit the Pentagon. No big surprises. Jones averred that the subject needed more study while mostly thinking it was AA77; only Sander Hicks said he had no doubt it was Chic Burlingame's plane. Fetzer and the rest were firm in the "no-plane at the Pentagon" camp.

After the conference a guy came up to me and asked if I was Patrick Curtiss. I said no, looking at his badge. It said 'Lloyd" and I remembered that a guy by that name had mentioned me on Air America. He asked again, was I Patrick Curtiss from Screw Loose Change?

Well, no, I was not Patrick Curtiss, but I was from Screw Loose Change. So we talked for about ten minutes, and he absolutely thanked me for exposing Eric, saying that the movement had to absolutely dissassociate itself from characters like him, that he absolutely felt they needed solid criticism from people like me. I mentioned how stunned I was when they pointed him out in the crowd, and he just about floored me when he mentioned that Eric still had a booth in the Exhibit Hall. I mean, the only thing dumber is if he turns out to be selling the Puzzle of Auschwitz along with his 9-11 Denier books.

And then a very nice and somewhat scary lady from the LA Truthers engaged us for awhile with the six hijackers are alive, there's no fire in this one picture at the Pentagon and the clocks stopped at 9:31 not 9:37... ad infinitum. And we'd point out the BBC story was early, that if the Loosers wanted to make a mint on their next movie they should go over to the Middle East and find one, that yes, there are many pictures showing the fires at the Pentagon, that there's nobody who says there was a bomb that went off at 9:31. It was all very entertaining, but as I pointed out, why, when I had the answers for 37 straight bits of BS did she think that the 38th was either going to stump me or convince me that 9-11 was an inside job. I think the Truthers are like the IRA; they think the Debunkers have to be right 100% of the time; they only have to be right once. As if there isn't a little thing called credibility that is used up after 37 tries.

Sander Hicks came over after hearing us debating and he was also very pleasant. I should have given him a complete profile, but when I asked him if he thought Mohammed Atta was on Flight 11 he said yes, he was the lead hijacker. He did go into the ISI connection and had some interesting things to say, but I didn't really get why he thought the US had supposedly had the head of the ISI fired if they were behind the operation; surely they should have thanked him for helping out?

He offered me a copy of his book, The Big Wedding, and even autographed it: To Pat: Screw Loose Facts. Then he was out and we were back with Lynn from LA who had a dozen other bits that she wanted to try out on us. At one point she felt compelled to tell us some really bizarre story about how the stone on one of her rings was squeezed out from the hand of a statue of a saint or maybe it was from her hand, and that she had witnessed ten miracles in her life. Stephen got that on tape, I think; I'll ask him to transcribe it because it was the only time all day I didn't have a rejoinder.

She got into the cellphone calls, and she tried all the gambits--Barbara Olsen, Mom, this is Mark Bingham, cellphones don't work at altitude. Finally I turned to Stephen and pointed out that she could go on like this all night and we packed it in.

I took some digital movies as well and will see about getting that up. I got some of Fetzer's ire on tape.

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More Shoddy Journalism

Now if the media wants to run articles on conspiracy theorists, that is fine, controversy sells papers. But it is just bad journalism to promote their causes without even asking the most basic questions. In this case the Arizona Republic runs another puff piece promoting the Chandler conference. It included this gem:

Marrs, who has written about the Kennedy assassination and other topics, said there are problems with the official story of Sept. 11.

"No one has offered up any proof of who these hijackers actually were," he said. "According to the European media, half (of the alleged hijackers) are still alive in the Middle East, meaning their identities were stolen."

It is now up to half? Jim Fetzer insists it was 5,6 or 7. You would think the fact that they can't even agree on a number would indicate the credibility of their claims.

Update: The Feathered one takes on this story too. He calls up the reporter and gets an interesting response, err... non-response:

If Scott or any of her editors at the Repugnant had bothered to use the Google search engine on their ‘puters, they might have discovered information on the conference’s anti-Semitic ties, the controversy over Eric Williams being involved, and the origins of some of the fables being peddled by the 9/11 conspiracy crowd. But both Scott and her editors are LAZY JOURNALISTS! I called Scott, and all she could muster in response was “I don’t like to comment on my work.” Don’t like to comment? What sort of pathetic excuse for a reporter are you? How can you be a member of the fourth estate and not be prepared to defend your reporting, or lack thereof? What a joke.


The PentaCon Video

Is here after long anticipation. They manage to find a few witnesses who claim AA77 flew north of the Citgo station, and from this they manage to "deduce" that the plane actually flew over the Pentagon. Unfortunately for their "deduction" they did not manage to find any witnesses who saw the plane fly over the Pentagon.

Update: What a trainwreck of a movie! They try fruitlessly to get people to say that they saw the plane fly over the Pentagon, which causes no end of consternation from the witnesses. The witnesses contradict each other on the color of the plane, the markings, etc, but they want us to believe they're absolutely right when it comes to where exactly the plane was. It amazes me that they claim this took them months to put together; that either tells me that film editing is not as easy as it looks, or that they're extraordinarily slow.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Here's A Hopeless Task

A Buzzflash contributor asks the 9-11 Truthers to join the "legions of the left".

Can we persuade conspiracy buffs to drop their 9/11 speculations and join forces with the legions of the left? It would certainly be advantageous to have them by our side as we struggle to defeat our common foes on the right.

This is something that I have to admit I did not understand adequately when I started blogging on 9-11. The notion that all or even most Deniers are leftists is wrong. Some are certainly of the left, and certainly they bitterly gripe about the "Lefty Gatekeepers" enough to make it clear that they think that their natural allies are on the left.

But a very large number of "Truthers" don't fit comfortably on the right/left line, which is one reason why there are virtually no Democrats or Republicans who support the 9-11 Denial Movement. Alex Jones is so far right I'd almost call him a survivalist. Dylan Avery certainly appears to be a little lefty, but Jason Bermas, his colleague, is well to the opposite side of the spectrum. These nuances can be tough to pick up in all the Bush-bashing that the Deniers engage in, but certainly if you listen to Bermas and Avery talk about Global Warming, for example, it's not hard to figure out that their political orientations are quite different.

And this is just plain laughable:

These conspiracy theorists are usually very bright, but they have an emotional weak spot. They reacted to the events of 9/11 with a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, which generated anxiety and fear in them. Their emotional priority was to scramble for safety, which they found in the world of fantasy. In self-deception, they developed a conspiracy fiction that they soon transformed into non-fiction and proclaimed to be absolute certainty. Religious fundamentalists, too, use rigid beliefs to develop certainty about the nature of the world. In both cases, the certainty doesn't have to be rational; all that matters is that the belief has a stabilizing, calming, or grounding effect, like that of nicotine or alcohol.

I think the idea that the CTers are usually "very" bright is laughable. I mean, they follow Alex Jones, who pronounces the word "naked" as "nekkid"! Jones is an old-fashioned populist in the Huey Long tradition. There are some intelligent Deniers, but polls have consistently shown that Truthiness goes down as education level goes up. If you compare the level of discourse at, say, the Looser Forum to the JREF forum, it's not hard to see the difference. Count the spelling errors, not even counting the ur for you're (or your), and you'll be appalled at any notion that CTers are bright.

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Barrett & Gold Discuss Bigotry and Holocaust Denial

Ignoring the first rule of holes, Kevin Barrett post this exchange with Jon Gold on his MUJCA website. Most of this exchange leaves you shaking your head.

From: Kevin Barrett

That's why the 9/11 scriptwriters wrote in "stewardess stabbings" -- they wanted to trigger the lynch-mob reflex by planting a fantasy of swarthy darked-skinned ay-rabs violently penetrating innocent American (i.e. white) womanhood all part of the attempt to psychologically condition people into thinking it's okay to kill and torture arabs and muslims

Bringing in the "white womanhood" issue in regards to the "stewardess stabbings" is an interesting approach, especially considering the 2 flight attendants involved, who are most known to the public, due to their phone calls being recorded (or scripted as Barrett would argue) are CeeCee Lyles and Betty Ong.

CeeCee Lyles

Betty Ong

Later in the exchange Gold argues for the big tent approach to 9/11 truth:

I do not believe Eric William's, Eric Hufschmid's, Christopher Bollyn's, etc... "work" should be apart of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Well, I don't like racism or bigotry of any kind. I kicked Kaminski off my show for bad-mouthing Jews, and would do the same for anyone else. But that doesn't mean that nothing Kaminski writes has any value, any more than Rabbi Lerner's pride that his son fought with the IDF (to a Muslim, that's like being proud your son was in the SS) invalidates his good work. America's greatest humorist, H.L. Mencken, was an anti-Semite, as were TS Eliot and Ezra Pound, while almost all white Americans in the 19th century, and most in the 20th, were racists. For that matter, lots of wonderful, accomplished Jews have been prejudiced against goys. Lots of people have unfortunate prejudices and loonie ideas about one topic, while having something valuable to say about another topic. Exactly when someone's bigotry crosses the line to the point that you have to shun them entirely is a judgment call. I don't know enough about any of these three guys to be sure--though Williams' book sounds pretty dubious, and Hufschmid's remarks about Jews on one occasion were way over the top. But Hufschmid did do a great book and an excellent video, and Bollyn seems to have done some good journalism. I say let's try to speak the truth fearlessly, blast any bigots when they express their bigotry, but celebrate good work even when it's done by bigoted people. Heck, if I had to shun every anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bigot, there'd be hardly anybody in this country left to talk to. I'd have to cancel all my mainstream media interviews--and where would I be without Hannity and O'Reilly ; )

See you in Arizona.


Yeah, OK. See you in Arizona.

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Look It Up

One thing that becomes more and more apparent, is that to debunk 9/11 conspiracy theorists does not require any great investigative ability, worthy of a Bob Woodward. In fact it usually requires nothing more than just looking up the source that the theorist is citing, or a quick check of the supporting facts. Some of our frequent commenters have provided us with some good examples.

First, while arguing against the NIST report, BG posts the following:

British engineers strongly disputed official American claims that the towers became more vulnerable to collapse after the hijacked aircraft scraped vital fire protection from their steel frames.

While this is an accurate quote, another commenter points out that he is leaving out is the following:

We have carried out computer simulations which show that the towers would have collapsed after a major fire on three floors at once, even with fireproofing in place and without any damage from plane impact." Lane said the difference of opinion was significant because clients had begun to demand that designs had NIST-compliant fire protection (NCE 30 June).

So in reality, rather than supporting the controlled demolition hypothesis, these engineers argue even more strongly against it than even NIST did!

Our second example comes from Swing Dangler who posts the following, while arguing that it would be out of character for Al Qaeda to not claim responsibility for a terrorist attack:

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for arming Somali factions who battled U.S. forces there in October 1993, and who killed 18 U.S. special operations forces in Mogadishu in October 1993
Source:CRS Report for CongressReceived through the CRS Web
Order Code RL33038
Al Qaeda: Profile and Threat Assessment

August 17, 2005

I found this interesting, because I remember following the events at the time, and read the book Black Hawk Down, as well as watching the movie. I even remember reading Mark Bowden's original newspaper series on the events. I don't recall any mention of Al Qaeda claiming responsibility at the time. In fact the term Al Qaeda was not even in widespread use until the 1998 embassy bombings.

A quick web search backs this up. Osama bin Laden did not claim a connection to the attacks until 1997, 4 years later:

In October 1993, 18 U.S. servicemen involved in the U.S. humanitarian relief effort in Somalia were killed during an operation in Mogadishu. One soldier's body was dragged through the streets.

Bin Laden was indicted in 1996 on charges of training the people involved in the attack and in a 1997 interview with CNN, bin Laden said his followers, together with local Muslims, killed those troops.

For comparison, bin Laden stated that Arabs were responsible for 9/11, in an interview only a few months after 9/11. Interestingly enough, in this same CNN article, bin Laden also denies a connection to the embassy bombings:

On August 7, 1998, eight years after the U.S. deployment in Saudi Arabia, a pair of truck bombs exploded outside the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Bin Laden has denied responsibility, but prosecutors allege his culpability is evident on faxes sent by his London cell to at least three international media outlets. They also point to incriminating statements by certain alleged embassy bombers who are admitted al Qaeda members.

So much for the theory that Al Qaeda always takes credit for its attacks. In fact, it is easier to find cases where they deny responsibility.

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British Denier MP to Stand for Prime Minister

Not that he's got a chance in hell of winning:

The former environment minister Michael Meacher today launched his bid to succeed Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party under a banner promising "peace, social justice, climate survival".

Mr Meacher insisted it was not a "foregone conclusion" that Gordon Brown would be the next leader, and said he was "fully confident" of receiving the 44 MPs' nominations needed to get on to the ballot paper alongside the Chancellor.

Launching his bid at Westminster, he unveiled a policy platform including complete withdrawal from Iraq and no involvement in any military action against Iran, opposition to Trident and nuclear power, a £7-an-hour minimum wage and measures to reduce the difference in pay between the richest and poorest.

Meacher of course has been probably the most prominent 9-11 Denier in UK politics. He has appeared in several 9-11 kook films, including Terrorstorm and (IIRC) 9-11 Mysteries. He was the MP who planned a parliamentary screening of Loose Change, although in that case he apparently came to his senses.

Here he highlights the Pakistani ISI connection, which Do-Over Dylan is going to feature in Loose Change Final Cut:

He repeats the claim that the wire transfer has been confirmed by the FBI, which is nonsense, based on one unsourced article in the Times of India.

Meacher was apparently a rising star in the Labour Party in England in the early 1980s, until he decided to sue a newspaper for supposedly libeling him, when it claimed that his father became a farm labourer by choice after being an accountant.

Meacher lost the trial, became something of a laughingstock, and worse still, had to pay the newspaper's attorneys' cost, all of which pretty well scotched his ambitions for higher office.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I have long maintained that the key feature of conspiracy theory logic, is you can conclude that evidence supports a conspiracy, no matter which way it goes. I have found another example. The 9/11 deniers insist that the fact that no clear video exists of the planes that crashed into the Pentagon or in Shanksville, indicates that there was a conspiracy.

Well, there is video footage of both planes which crashed into the World Trade Center, so we could logically conclude that this is strong evidence against their theories? Wrong, that too is sign of a conspiracy.

Calculate the odds. Two French filmmakers, the Naudet brothers, are filming a documentary about a young, probationary fireman, Tony Benetatos, on September 11, 2001. Before the awful events yet to come, Tony is left alone at the 100 Duane Street fire station while Jules Naudet, the firemen and truck swing left from station, drive to the first corner, turn right onto Church Street, and drive seven blocks north to Lispenard Street and Church to investigate the report of an exterior gas leak.

Then, while the fire team is investigating, Jules Naudet doesn’t film them. For some reason, he turns his camera south, carefully finds a clear view, past the 440-foot high AT&T building, of the Twin Towers. Then, with a nano-window of six seconds in which to catch Flight 11 stream from behind the AT&T building at 450 mph, he catches perfectly the last two seconds of the hit into the North Tower at 8:46.30 am, what’s commonly known in the film business as “The Money Shot.” So, calculate the odds.

This truther even manages to indict the firefighters along with his speculation that these filmmakers were part of the plot. It should come as no surprise, whichever way the evidence points, they will continue their nonsense. As Dylan Avery said, their beliefs are not falsifiable.

The Word from the Bird

Our buddy Stephen Lemons is back with an amusing wrap-up of the events at the 9-11 Accountability Conference since we dropped the Zyklon-B on them about Eric Williams' Holocaust Denial. Kevin Barrett and Sofia come in for special delousing:

Though Barrett proclaimed to this heron that he's not a Holocaust-denier, his off-color commentary on the Final Solution was cited by Dylan Avery as one reason he wasn't attending. In an e-mail published on the Web site, Barrett said he could not dismiss the propaganda of Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Ernst Zundel, the latter of whom's currently doing five years in a German clink for anti-Semitic agitating.


Half-baked Hufschmid additionally asserts such drivel as "The Jews created anti-Semitism in Germany to drive Jews out of Europe and into Palestine, and to unify Jews, and to bring pity to Jews." Such repulsive opinions aside, Hufschmid's a major source for 9/11 deniers, specifically for the video 9/11 Mysteries, whose director, known only as Sofia, will be present at the conspiracy confab.

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Well-Written Nonsense...

Is still nonsense. Kurt Nimmo takes on George Monbiot:

Not unlike his brethren, most notably Noam Chomsky and Alex Cockburn, Monbiot buys the Ward Churchill version of events in regard to the attacks of September 11, 2001—that is to say Osama and a small number of cave-dwelling Wahhabi fanatics magically made NORAD stand down and defied the immutable laws of physics, thus delivering one to the conclusion a piece of paper cannot be slipped between Monbiot and the moonstruck followers of the neocons, as they all buy the same Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

I would venture to say that you cannot slip a piece of paper between Monbiot and the neocons on the law of gravity, on the fact that the earth rotates around the sun, on the fact that the sky is blue. I note the usual "cave-dwelling" comment about Al Qaeda; they were not living in a cave prior to 9-11.

He doesn't really have an argument with the substance of what Monbiot writes, so he concentrates on arguments that Monbiot is serving his corporate masters. It's the usual refrain from those whose ideas are so crazy that they can't even get the far Left to endorse them.

Nimmo writes well, but in service to a lousy cause. I note that he has more than the usual share of nutbar websites on his blogroll, including Ziopedia, World Socialist Website, What Really Happened, Wayne Madsen, American Free Press and Prison Planet. Looks like he's yet another Lefty Jew-basher.

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Kook Panel on 9-11 in Vermont

Burlington Vermont, which has succeeded in becoming the kook capital of the United States, has a ballot proposition this year on a new investigation into 9-11. Tonight, a local "educational" channel will air a panel on the proposal:

A panel discussion on the ballot items in Burlington and Lincoln asking for a new investigation of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, will air at 8 p.m. today on Regional Educational Technology Network, Channel 16. It will air simultaneous online at

RETN asks viewers to participate in the discussion by phone or e-mail.

The panel will include proponents of a new investigation: Kyle Hence, executive director of 9/11 Citizens Watch and producer of the documentary "9/11: Press for Truth"; Burlington writer and musician Mark Estrin; and former City Councilor Doug Dunbebin.

No mention of skeptics on the panel; apparently they couldn't locate any.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Church Sign Wars

Designed by Reality Bites from JREF.

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Messages from Osama bin Laden

While I unfortunately missed the actual broadcast, I was interested in Kevin Barrett's interview, discussed here, with Bruce Lawrence, described by Barrett as "America's top bin Laden expert". So I decided to look into this professor, and see if he is really who Barrett claims he is, and if he really backs up Barrett's claims.

First of all, he is a professor of religious studies at Duke University, although for whatever reason, he is not teaching currently. Looking up his university webpage bizarrely forces you to his personal website, without allowing you to stay at the original. His personal website appears designed to sell books more than anything.

Unlike most of the Scholars for 9/11 "Truth" (Lawrence doesn't appear to belong to any of the 3 splinter groups) he appears qualified in a relevant field. Although his rather out-of-date C.V. shows degrees in religious studies, rather than language or history, he does appear to have a fair amount of experience, some abroad, in the study of Islam, and even the Arabic language. Claiming that he is America's top expert on Osama bin Laden might be a bit of an exaggeration though, as far as I can tell Dr. Lawrence has not actually written a single book on Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. The closest he has come is a 1989 book on Islamic fundamentalism titled "Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age". Perhaps this just speaks to the lack of academic work in this area by American scholars?

What Lawrence has worked on, however, is as the editor of a book titled Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden. Aside from the 21 page introduction though, he did not write the book, it is just a compilation of bin Laden speeches. In fact he didn't even translate it, that was done by a man named James Howarth. It is still a work worth further research though, so I endeavored to search the dusty leather-bound tomes of Suzallo Library for a copy.

What I found was rather interesting. In this book, Dr. Lawrence does not question the authenticity of any of bin Laden's speeches, in fact the only mention of this issue is by Howarth, who wrote the following in the translator's notes:

Nevertheless, although the question of authenticity inevitably arises when ever a message is released in bin Laden's name, the 24 statements in this collection, issued over a 10 year period, have all been accepted by a majority of the experts who have examined them.

Additionally, not a single one of the 24 statements published in this work include any denial by bin Laden of complicity in 9/11. The two incidences where Barrett claims that bin Laden denied involvement, are completely absent from the book. In fact at least 4 of the statements included, explicitly state that the attack was carried out by Arabs. Starting with an October 21st 2001 interview (page 112):

These repercussions cannot be calculated by anyone, due to their very large - and no less than $1 trillion by the lowest estimate, due to these succesful and blessed attacks. We implore God to accept those brothers within the ranks of the martyrs, and to admit them to the highest levels of Paradise.
Continuing in the same interview, from page 119:

As for the World Trade Center, the ones who were attacked and who died in it were part of a financial power. It wasn't a children's school! Neither was it a residence. And the general consensus is that most of the people who were in the towers were men that backed the biggest financial force in the world, which spreads mischief throughout the world. And those individuals should stand before God and rethink and redo their calculations. We treat others like they treat us. Those who kill our women and our innocent, we kill their women and innocent, until they stop doing so.

Later, from a December 26th, 2001 statement titled, "Nineteen Students" (from page 149):

It was not nineteen Arab states that did this deed [9/11]. It was not Arab armies or ministries who humbled the oppressor who harms us in Palestine and elsewhere. It was nineteen post-secondary students - I beg God Almighty to accept them - who shook America's throne, struck its economy right in the heart, and dealt the biggest military power a mighty blow, by the grace of God Almighty.
From a February 14th, 2003 statement (page 194):

One of the most important positive effects of our attacks on New York and Washington was to expose the reality of the struggle between the Crusaders and the Muslims, and to demonstrate the enormous hostility that the Crusader feels toward us.
From an October 29th, 2004 statement (page 242):

For example, al-Qaeda spent $500,000 on the September 11 attacks, while America lost more than $500 billion, at the lowest estimate, in the event and its aftermath. That makes a million American dollars for every al-Qaeda dollar, by the grace of God Almighty.
He continues later to mock President Bush on the same page:

For your information, we agreed with the general commander Mohammed Atta, may God bless his soul, to carry out all operations within twenty minutes, before Bush and his administration could be aware of them, and it did not occur to us that the Commander-in-Chief of the American armed forces would leave fifty thousand of his citizens in the two towers to face this great horror on their own, just when they needed him most. It seems that a little girl's story about a goat and its butting was more important than dealing with aeroplanes and their butting into skyscapers. This gave us three timess the amount of required time to carry out the operations, praise be to God.
There are even more speeches where bin Laden praises the attacks, although he makes no mention of who carried it out, presumably though, if bin Laden were actually denouncing the attacks, or thought it was carried out by the Americans in order to blame him, he would not be praising them. There is, however, no denial or any indication by Lawrence that any of these admissions are fraudulent.

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Assorted Nuts

The Feathered Bastard lays one on the chin of an East Valley Tribune reporter who wrote the piece AP picked up a couple days ago on the 9-11 Accountability Conference in Chandler while somehow missing the whole story about Eric D. Williams.

But even if Markham was unaware of Williams’ Holocaust-denying book The Puzzle of Auschwitz, and did not know that several scheduled speakers have flaked on the kook convention since the Williams debacle broke, why pen a story that treats 9/11 conspiracy buffs as if they’re no more controversial than Civil War reenactors? Doesn’t the guy have Google on his ‘puter? Check this typical passage:

There are plenty of differing theories on what happened on Sept. 11. One is that government-planted bombs, not terrorist-hijacked jetliners, brought down the Twin Towers. And another is that an air-to-air missile shot down United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

At no point is someone quoted dismissing or criticizing such crackpot views, even though conference spokesperson Pete Creelman admits (after the jump) that “he doesn’t have proof of the government’s complicity.” Huh? Then why interview this guy without asking him any tough questions, like “Why do you believe in something you have no proof for?” Seems like a logical line of inquiry to me.

In fairness, the mainstream media may just think this stuff is self-evidently crackpottery.

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More Loose Change Forum Idiocy

I am just now catching up on recent events. I was at the beach with the family for the weekend, so I haven't been posting. Many thanks to Pat for keeping up his prodigious work and keeping you all informed. I was reading through the idiocy over at the Loose Change Forum and came across these gems for you entertainment.

First, from a thread, rather optimistically titled, "The Bbc Hit Piece Was A Good Thing, For the 9/11 Truth Movement":

It was sloppy, it was unfair, it was baised, it was incorrect at times, but overall I think the BBC Hit Piece was a boost for our movement.

Many people in the UK have never even heard of Loose Change or Alex Jones or even the idea that some people don't buy the official story.

Sure, some will buy right into the movie's premise, that ALL conspiracy theories are wrong, and the official story must be the correct one. But MANY, especially those who are skeptical of the mainstream media anyway, will probably get online and start researching these things for themselves.

This is the same hilarious spin they put on the South Park episode. Yeah, OK, they spend the entire time saying you are idiots, but hey, all publicity is good publicity! Sorry guys, we are not laughing with you, we are laughing at you.

The second one is from a thread Dylan Avery started on a video clip of Mark Roberts AKA "Gravy" talking with Dan Wallace. Apparently Mark is a real jerk because he asked Dan whether he actually knows what is in the NIST report. One poster hilariously commented:

Gravy cant control himself clearly.He looks very hard though. Im guessing ex military, maybe ex special forces....

Unconfirmed photograph of Mark Roberts in a previous job.


The Incredible Shrinking Loose Change Conspiracy

I've always held that those who thought that Dylan Avery was really backing away from MIHOP in Loose Change Final Cut had to be crazy, but it certainly sounds like it. In the BBC special the other day, Dylan started out by saying that:

"My bottom-line thesis is that the our government was either a) criminally negligent in its response and its awareness of the 9-11 attacks, or b) our government was directly involved in the preparation and planning of the attacks."

Well, a) isn't even LIHOP!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Yes, George Monbiot Is On Our Payroll

Sheesh, it took me long enough to find the accounting code for Left Gatekeepers, but now that I look, I do see George and Noam and Alex and Matt down there. Hey, when you're paying off 75% of the structural engineers in the world it can get tough to find the mere columnists!

You did this hit piece because your corporate masters instructed you to. You are a controlled asset of the new world order ... bought and paid for." "Everyone has some skeleton in the cupboard. How else would MI5 and special branch recruit agents?" "Shill, traitor, sleeper", "leftwing gatekeeper", "accessory after the fact", "political whore of the biggest conspiracy of them all".

These are a few of the measured responses to my article, a fortnight ago, about the film Loose Change, which maintains that the United States government destroyed the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Having spent years building up my leftwing credibility on behalf of my paymasters in MI5, I've blown it. I overplayed my hand, and have been exposed, like Bush and Cheney, by a bunch of kids with laptops. My handlers are furious.

Hey, George, we're only pretending to be furious so we can negotiate a better deal when your contract comes up next quarter. The Loose Change boys are insisting on a bigger cut this time around and it's gotta come out of somebody's pocket!

Why do I bother with these morons? Because they are destroying the movements some of us have spent a long time trying to build. Those of us who believe that the crucial global issues - climate change, the Iraq war, nuclear proliferation, inequality - are insufficiently debated in parliament or congress, that corporate power stands too heavily on democracy, that war criminals, cheats and liars are not being held to account, have invested our efforts in movements outside the mainstream political process. These, we are now discovering, are peculiarly susceptible to this epidemic of gibberish.

Climate change? George, we own climate change. You haven't noticed that Halliburton controls 90% of the solar power industry?

Many of those who posted responses on Comment is Free contend that Loose Change (which was neatly demolished in the BBC's film The Conspiracy Files on Sunday night) is a poor representation of the conspiracists' case. They urge us instead to visit websites like, and, and to read articles by the theology professor David Ray Griffin and the physicist Steven E Jones.

Concerned that I might have missed something, I have now done all those things, and have come across exactly the same concatenation of ill-attested nonsense as I saw in Loose Change. In all these cases you will find wild supposition raised to the status of incontrovertible fact, rumour and confusion transformed into evidence, selective editing, the citation of fake experts, the dismissal of real ones. Doubtless I will now be told that these are not the true believers: I will need to dive into another vat of tripe to get to the heart of the conspiracy.

Heheh, welcome to our world, George! In the first few months of 9-11 debunking I was always concerned that we were going to butt up against the hard cases sooner or later, the folks who really knew their stuff. Now I know why Gravy's so confident; there are no hard cases.

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First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh At You, Then They Fight You...

And then you lose because you didn't clean house back when you were being ignored. The Deniers are discovering sudden mainstream popularity comes with a cost; every stupid little thing you've said and done suddenly comes under the microscope.

Take Kevin Barrett, for example. We've already discussed his comment about the Holocaust as it is taught in the United States being a hideously destructive myth. Turns out Mr Barrett has an email newsletter that he sends around to his fanbase. (Update: Online version posted here at Barrett's Mujca site).

In the latest instalment, Barrett hypes the supposed identification of the Bin Laden confession videotape as "bogus" according to a Bin Laden scholar appearing on Kevin's show.

Is the famous "confession video" genuine? Despite Bush's insistence that the tape is authentic, America's top academic Bin Laden expert has finally gone on the record, joining numerous other experts. "It's bogus," says Professor Bruce Lawrence, head of Duke University's Religious Studies program.

Lawrence, author of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden, offered his historic debunking of the administration's lie in an interview with Kevin Barrett ("Dynamic Duo,", 2/16/2007, first hour). The interview marked Lawrence's first major public statement since he made headlines last year by suggesting that recent Osama tapes are hoaxes and that the real Osama Bin Laden may be dead.

Nothing particularly vile there; obviously we disagree with him on the authenticity of the Bin Laden tape (for an excellent video on this check here). But Barrett goes on to cite some other sources:

by Carol A. Valentine

October 16, 2001-- An interview with Osama bin Laden was published in a Karachi-based Pakistani daily newspaper, Ummat, on September 28, 2001. In this interview, bin Laden says of the September 11 attacks in the US...

Carol A. Valentine? Gee, who are they? I'm pretty versed by now on the big names in 9-11 Denial but these were new ones on me. So I surfed over there:

Ah, nice to see that somebody's standing up against the "American Coup D'Etat and the War for Jewish Supremacy". And hey, how convenient to have a set of links to historical revisionists (sic) websites that examine the stories of World War II atrocities. And yep, quite a few of our old buddies are listed there, including the Institute for Historical Review, Zundelsite, the Barnes Review, and the source that Dylan cited more than any other in Loose Change, the American Free Press:

Now the interesting thing is that aside from Carol Valentine's sterling commentary, Barrett could have gotten the story about Bin Laden denying his involvement in 9-11 from an number of non-Holocaust Revisionist sites, like:
Prison Planet

None of those sites are particularly credible to me, but of course they have mountains of credibility compared to Carol A. Valentine.

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AP Misses Story on Chandler Conference

You'd think they'd pick up on the mention at the bottom of the front page of the confab's website:

As a result of the controversy surrounding Eric D. Williams, he has stepped down from involvement in the 9/11 Accountability Conference. The 911 Accountability Conference does not support Holocaust denial, nor does the 9/11 Truth Movement. No speaker listed here is known to have published works related to the Holocaust.

But no, they run a straight piece on the Deniers:

Theories on what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, include one that the government planted bombs to bring down the World Trade Center towers and another is that an air-to-air missile shot down United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

"We don't believe we've been told the whole truth about what happened on that dreadful day," said Pete Creelman, a member of 911 Truth of Arizona, based in Phoenix.

The local group is one of many nationwide that have sprouted since the attacks. The group meets twice a month in both Phoenix and Mesa. Nearly 300 people have bought tickets to the conference. Organizers are hoping to double that with tickets sold at the door.

I don't have any benchmarks to compare that to; IIRC the LA conference got about a thousand attendees, but it's hard to say whether getting 50% of your attendance in walk-up traffic is normal. I believe Creelman is the guy who's supposedly been trying to get in touch with me for a "Dialogue with Debunkers"; apparently his investigative skills (see update) are up there with Dylan Avery's, since the email addy's up there at the top right.

Update: Creelman and I exchanged a few reasonably pleasant emails this afternoon, and he forwarded to me an earlier email which did look to be correctly addressed to me, so either I or my mail server screwed up. Either way, my crack about his investigative skills is unfair.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

BBC Show

Excellent stuff.

Can't seem to get the first part up but here are parts 2-7. A little too focused on failures rather than a system-wide failure of imagination perhaps, but otherwise rather solid. I love Dylan Avery telling Popular Mechanics to go back to reviewing tractors.

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