Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Suffering Cockburn: 9/11 and the Left's Collective Unconsciousness

Two weeks ago, Alexander Cockburn collapsed into a pile of rubble. Today, that pile is still steaming:

"It's as dismal a political landscape as I can remember in thirty years. Yet some discover a silver lining. They find it in the 9/11 conspiracy cult, which I have discussed here in recent weeks. A politically sophisticated leftist in Washington, DC, wrote to thank me for my attack, but added, "To me the most interesting thing (in the US) is how many people are willing to believe that Bush either masterminded it [the 9/11 attacks] or knew in advance and let it happen. If that number or anything close to that is true, that's a huge base of people that are more than deeply cynical about their elected officials. That would be the real news story that the media is missing, and it's a big one."

"I'm not sure I see the silver lining about cynicism re government," I answered. "People used to say the same thing about the JFK conspiracy buffs and disbelief in the Warren Commission. Actually, it seems to demobilize people from useful political activity. I think the nuttishness stems from despair and political infantilism. There's no worthwhile energy to transfer from such kookery. It's like saying some lunatic shouting to himself on a street corner has the capacity to be a great orator. The nearest thing to it all is the Flying Saucer craze. 'Open up the USAF archives!' It's a Jungian thing."

Jungian, schmungian; Alexander Cockburn is an amateurish amateur psychoanalyst. But does he have the capacity to be a great orator? Not if this feebly demagogic performance is anything to go by. Within a single peevish paragraph (which pleased him so much that he chose to reprint it), Cockburn complains of "nuttishness ... despair ... political infantilism ... [and] kookery" while haughtily disdaining to construct a rational argument or even address any relevant facts. What's roused his ire is the plebs' refusal to toe the party line on 9/11. It was imperial blowback, you see -- the guys at The Nation had that all worked out for us by the afternoon of the very same day. Whodunnit? Mad Muslims of course, all on their own; and no goddam wonder, for didn't we make them mad? Case closed.
Shockingly, though, a large and growing number of people still won't take Cockburn & Corn's word for it. In New York City alone, 49.3% of the population is nuts. (Notoriously unsophisticated, those Manhattanites.) The poor rubes on the street persist in their cynicism re government by refusing to swallow Corn & Cockburn’s account of that incomparably handy crime (an account identical to the government’s). Even worse: they also think it matters that their government might be lying to them, especially since The Handiest Crime in History has provided Bush, Cheney and their successors with a universal and imperishable casus belli. And those clueless rubes are still insisting that the US ruling class should not be allowed to get away with it.
What kookery!
Alexander Cockburn, by contrast, is politically sophisticated. Marshalling the profound wisdom that comes only with age, he informs those youthful activists that their cynicism re government is equivalent to a nutty obsession with invaders from Outer Space. The grand old man of the American left clearly feels that this argumentative strategy is kinda kewl, for he never tires of deploying it. Other than that, he offers them (and us) an irrelevant quote from Adorno about occultism; a useful reminder by Richard Aldrich that the US government routinely engages in sophisticated perception-management; and a plausible observation by Chuck Spinney that people should not be wasting their time with all that no-plane-at-the-Pentagon stuff.

Naturally, Cockburn entirely misses the point: Yes, the refusal to release video evidence from the Pentagon exemplifies precisely the kind of distraction tactic described by Richard Aldrich; but no, this is no argument at all against the rational, evidence-based belief that they are using this issue to distract people from far more serious anomalies in their account. It is merely a further reminder that cynicism re government should include wariness about what they want us to focus on - a fact noted by rational and conscientious cynics re government long before Cockburn mounted the pulpit and cleared his throat.
What else does he have to offer us? Well, that's it. No, seriously. Apart from lots more invective, that's Cockburn's entire case against cynicism re government. He devotes the final third of his tirade to rumpling his nose at the plebs by reprinting a rude, confused, angry email received by a colleague from someone called "art guerrilla aka ann archy". It’s certainly a very noisy missive. But does it clinch Cockburn's argument against cynicism re government? By no means. It merely demonstrates that some young people are rude, angry, and confused; but of course we knew that already. And some old people are no better.
The most striking thing about the whole performance is its air of wounded vanity. Cockburn’s entire subtext is: Why won't these people listen to me? A rude and angry person might say that he sounds like some lunatic shouting to himself on a street corner. That would be wrong. In fact, Cockburn resembles a Tory taxi-driver bemoaning the abolition of hanging.
This is the American left in 2006, and it's simply not good enough. To state the obvious: the case for cynicism re government does not depend on there having been no plane at the Pentagon (a claim dismissed by most sceptics), nor does it depend on there having been explosives in the Twin Towers (though this is what the government and the corporate media would like us to believe). It does not depend on no cynic re government ever uttering a foolish or untrue word about the 9/11 attacks. It does not depend on ann archy’s ability to control her use of block capitals, expletives and exclamation marks. It does not depend on any rube or group of rubes successfully emulating Miss Marple.
It depends only on attention to the obvious: that the burden of proof lies with the Bush Gang, who alone have full access to the evidence they couldn't destroy or delete, who have refused to testify under oath or on record, and who have singularly failed to substantiate their own remarkably convenient and truly world-shaking coincidence theory. The Bush Gang had the means, the motive and the opportunity to commit or permit that crime of mass murder, as well as a record of lying and conspiring as long as Cockburn’s face. Five years on, the evidence is mounting that Cheney, Rumsfeld and others were at least complicit in a crime that claimed only dispensable victims and that served only those who exploited them. Their threadbare, reluctant and belated account of 9/11, compiled by a committee of hand-picked toadies after Kissinger had turned down the job, is indeed a scam, a whitewash and a fraud.

On all this, Alexander Cockburn has not a word to say. Instead, he prefers to lambast the perceived defects of a few carefully selected "cynics" who have the temerity to distrust their government. We could cite Brecht here, and his modest proposal that the government should dissolve the people and elect another. But, under the circumstances, let's stick with Jung:

"All neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering."

The Cockburnite left's response to 9/11 was a paroxysm of premature smugness: "Imperial blowback! We told you so!" Five years on, we are all still paying for the neurotic indifference to reality manifested in that evidence-proof response. In the face of an oxymoronic War on Terror now rechristened "The Long War" (or "World War III", as the President would have it), something better and more rational is required. Something more effectively anti-war. Something more persuasive than opportunistic pseudo-omniscience. Something more sophisticated than rash acceptance and stubborn de facto support of a notoriously mendacious right-wing government's most indispensable myth. Something lefter than narcissistic laments about the gaucheries of carefully-selected proles.

It is in fact available. As Cockburn's anonymous "sophisticated leftist" points out, "a huge base of people ... are more than deeply cynical about their elected officials." That "cynicism" is entirely justified - and incomparably more rational than Alexander Cockburn's real or simulated credulity. That "huge base of people" is also the natural constituency of the left. So Cockburn would do well to listen to those people, to learn from them, to support them in their efforts to hold their warmongering leaders to account, and to help them avoid red herrings like the Pentagon missile yarn.

If that means apologising for his shameful attitude hitherto, then it might constitute a blow to his vanity. While Alexander Cockburn ponders whether such a blow would be endurable as legitimate suffering, the rest of us may wonder whether the left, and the world, can afford to ignore the deeply counterproductive effects of such vanity for very much longer.

[ Further links to be added later.]


  1. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Faux left gatkeeper corporatist lackies like Cockburn are no less traiterous than their right wing demagogue co-travelers. AC has won himself a spot at the front of the line for public guillotining after The People regain the American Bastille.

  2. As a reasonably long term subscriber to counterpunch, I really wonder why perfectly natural scepticism re the extraordinary events puts so much sand in their crack.

    Doug Henwood is another who has been driven almost demented by his anti conspiracy feelings.

    I like what they do in general,but I fear their railing against a few harmless sceptics is a terrible displacement activity, distracting them from the important work of documenting the unending wickedness that mars the country they love while they await the emergence of..something.

    I can live with them and the sceptics, why can't they?

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  4. Anonymous2:43 PM

    the evidence is thick on the ground that Cheney, Rumsfeld and others were at least complicit

    So where is it?

  5. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Cocksucker... ahem Cockburn is crapping his pants for some reason. Not sure why but he pulls out all the buzz words (kook, nutty, paranoid) to demonize anyone who looks at the official 9/11 story and says WTF.

    He's a shill for someone/something. Only a shill feels a need to be so all out in demonizing people who are simply asking questions.

  6. Here's the real reason the buildings fell from counterpunch no15 vol 13 and it is extremely thin stuff

    From what I can gather all opera singers should be rounded up forthwith

    Now for Manuel Garcia, Jr. Manuel wrote an interesting piece for our site last year on the collapse of the levees in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. He's a native New Yorker who works as a physi-cist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California with a PhD in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, from Princeton. His technical interests are generally in uid ow and energy, speci -cally in gas dynamics and plasma phys-ics; and his working experience includes measurements on nuclear bomb tests, de-vising mathematical models of energetic physical effects, and trying to enlarge a union of weapons scientists. Today, he believes an immediate shift to green en-ergy technologies should be the highest political and technical priority, to both quench the global class war and to quickly achieve the UN's Millennium Develop-ment Goals. Like his father, also Manuel is an amateur poet. Here's his take, as out-lined in his letter to me:

    Garcia's Theory of Why the WTC Buildings Fell"

    Your piece, The 9-11 ConspiracyNuts, was right on target, to my way of thinking. It is so easy to spin conspiracies when you ignore Occam's Razor and pile on assumptions to preserve an underlying bias, despite facts and historical experi-ence. As you note, anyone who has read any military history will know how easily it is for plans to be scrambled by human failings, the unexpected forces of nature and what can only be called the caprices of fate. Robust plans are really very sim-ple and they rely on individuals who are well trained to be able to apply that train-ing, and the resources at their disposal, as the opportunities of the moment allow, in order to advance a tactical objective.

    "One item I have thought about is the contention that the WTC buildings collapsed at terminal velocity (free fall), and that this must indicate the use of pre-placed explosives, as in building demoli-tions. The assumption in this claim is that the collapse 'should have' been slower if the frame below the descending collapse front was intact and thus 'resisting'.

    "I think it possible for shock waves to have run up and down the buildings, bouncing between the collapse front and the foundation, and these shock wave could have weakened, possibly at points broken, the bolts and rivets holding the joints of the framework.

    "This is not an esoteric idea, it would occur in auto crashes (tests and accidents), and can probably be observed in computer simulations. Modern autos are designed to have crushable ends, to absorb the energy of impact preferentially, thus sparing the passenger compartment. It is unlikely that any such consideration went into the de-sign of the metalwork of the World Trade Center buildings. Their frames were prob-ably of a uniform rigidity, and a sharp im-pact anywhere would necessarily send out stress or shock waves, as the transient re-sponse of the structure seeking to equili-brate to the force of a new loading.

    "This is like striking a bell. It 'rings'at a frequency characteristic of its rigidity and shape, and it eventually spreads the stress of the new load throughout itself, as an additional stress if it is a constant load (like a new weight), or an added amount of heat -- what the bouncing vibrations devolve to -- if the load was a transient blow. So, it might be that the WTC build-ings 'shattered', perhaps not perfectly like a bullet through a glass pane (imagine see-ing one of Egerton's high speed lm clips) but more like the shattering of the safety glass of an automobile windshield (with plastic sheeting bonded between layers of glass).

    The collapse of the heat-weakened frame (blast and heat from airplane fuel tank explosions and res, fed by plastic furnishings in the of ces) at the impact zone would be the onset of an impulsive load on the lower structure, as the descending mass of the top oors collapsedthe impact zone. The sudden imposition of the momentum of the top oors --our hammer -- onto the structure below the impact zone was too sudden for the structure to resist by a uniform increase in the stress throughout the body of the metal framework, impact zone-to-bottom. So, the entire force of resistance would be carried by a short length of structure (perhaps only a few oors, even one) im-mediately below the impact zone, and this might have fatally ruptured local joints -- our shattering effect. This local stress concentration would race along the struc-ture, moving the high stress condition to fresh material.

    Conspiracy ravings and other distractions into irrationality sap energy.

    "Thus, each section of the lower struc-ture would experience a brief time of ex-tremely high stress as the wave passedthrough it. On reaching the foundation, it would shake the ground, basically an earthquake, and part of the energy would also re ect back up the structure. In this way, the shrinking length of the lower structure would be experiencing a likely increase in both the average level of stress, as well as more frequent passage of shock waves across any given oor. The nal impact of the collapsed mass into the foundation would send the en-ergy radially outward through the ground as an earthquake (the de ection of the ground in resistance to the momentum of the fall).

    "I think WTC7 could have collapsed as a result of weakening by res, caused by falling burning debris, and the earth-quakes from the collapse of the tall tow-ers.

    "I am sure these effects can be cal-culated, probably by engineers and sci-entists who study the mechanics and dynamics of complex structures under earthquake loading. To offer this hy-pothesis as a "proof" would require such calculations, which could be veri ed by others. I am not able to produce that level of veri cation, so I leave this as a sug-gestion, within the spirit of Occam's Ra-zor, of seeking explanations for the WTC building collapses that require the fewest number of ad hoc assumptions (e.g., no conspiracies).

    "The essential point here is that buildings, bridges and other extended structures can be seen as antennas that pick up and transmit mechanical vibrations. A famous example is the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1937, by the action of wind vortexes shed at the resonance frequency of the bridge (you can nd the lm clip on the internet). Like any bell, each structure has its natural frequency, and if a force strikes it in harmony with that frequency (synchronously, or at the resonance frequency) then the transmis-sion of energy from the load to the struc-ture is very ef cient (mathematically, it is perfect at resonance).

    "During the sequence of forcings that occurred during the collapse of the three WTC buildings, there may have been some nearly resonant transfers of me-chanical energy, and these may have cre-ated 'explosive' levels of stress at enough joints to shatter the framework suf cient-ly that the collapses we observed were of already broken buildings.

    "Your larger point is most important. Conspiracy ravings and other distractions into irrationality and fantasy sap energy and focus that could be used to better effect, both personal and social. There real-ly are some conspiracies out there, but the worst ones are all too easily seen -- power does not depend on subtlety."

    Sorry to take so long to reformat it, but at least some non subscribers of counterpunch will sleep easier with this information and perhaps all the nutters will go home and do something useful, whatever that may be.

  7. On re reading Garcia's theory I figure he must subscribe to the chuck jones interpretation of physics, as his sequence of events would not be out of place in a roadrunner cartoon.

  8. forgetting211:33 PM

    Great rebuttal.


    (Came here from RI)

  9. the problem with the theories of the WTC collapse is they do not involve actual explanations, because the rubble could not be examined, just theories of how such a building might possible collapse, and they are all very unlikely. Possibility is nice and all, but a rational person has to address likelihood and dsimply admit the more likely is more likely in the absence of evidence. From what we know presently, it is just much much much more likely there were explosives. Doesn't mean there were explosives, just that it is much much much more likely.

    It is also much much much more likely that the financiers of this caper, who are deep state members of the global elite, had some reason to feel sure they wouldn't be apprehended and executed when found out. Otherwise their participation is unaccountable unless we can prove them insane.

    the real problem is "al qaeda' itself, for which there is only one good explanation (as a paramilitary network run by secret services). Otherwise its just historically inexplicable; this network was created by and has always been run by secret services; all similar networks have been run by secret services; there has never been an organisation like this independent of secret services; there has never been this sorty of media event terrorism, unaffiliated with any popular movement, except sponsored by secret services. If there was this window of independence for ten months or so in the years 2000-2001, it's a unicorn and it's too much to believe it wasn't discovered by the normal management.

    But I'm beginning to think the hysteria of the believers is due mless to wanting to preserve "us" in the person of John Negroponte as in a kind of attachment to this American fable of the bad news bears. These 20 or so little men, totally isolated, with no affiliation to a political movement, who could change history, who could beat the pentagon. the little petit bourgeois entrepreneurs that could. It's an American fable - when you wish upon a staaaaaar! 19 little men, insignificant men, ordinary guys, altered the course of history with an example of their belief in themselves, "Creative visualisation". Even if they have to be villains in the piece, it's still "Rocky", but bigger, Political Rocky, and maybe this is what Cockburn can't let go of, because he too is a little man, an insignificant little man, who bemlogns to a little group of little men, without a big political movement, and perhaps he'd like to think it's poissible that he too will lead "the little clique that could". Without "the masses". It is our age's Petit bourgeois jacquerie, this dream of the Seven Samurai Clerks, beating the pentagon in battle!

  10. because here these 20 little men, these petit bourgeois men, did what the most powerful force on earth, the hyperpower's ruliong in circle, could not do for themselves, despite decades of planning and avid desire. so that's maybe the attraction; doubting this is like saying all those myths that are so central to american petit bourgeois individualism are lies; the little guy can't beat the system just because of his passion and sacrifice (the villainous side of this feature of petit bourgeois underdogs triumphant being 'suicidal fanaticism' but it's the same thing).

  11. I mean, there was a kind of perhaps hope inspired by the story of Atta and his troupe of practically teenage misfits defeating the US government and military. Everyone likes that stoyr, and if you strip the 911 tale of its value arrangements, it's a hollywood underdog wins the big game story. Which is always irresistible, especially to other underdogs.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. and the dwelling on the insignificance of it, the drone of "'it doesn"t matter who did it", reveals a callousness to the victims, real indifference, that suggests there is this hidden sort of reduction of this to a contest between little guy hijackers and big guy military...

    what should not be overlooked is that 911 is in fact a version, pretty damn close, of the final sequence of the first Star Wars film. Luke blowing up the death star, using "the force" (his faith) to fire the shot from his plane, flying basically blind.

    trying to wrench that awxay from Cockburn...well, he's going to have a kniption of course, because he is luke skywalker too, isn't he; don't we all want to believe in that.

  14. warszawa8:08 AM

    This is from the "polite and temperate" piece by JoAnn Wpyijewski - the article that provoked the angry email response quoted by Cockburn:

    "I mentioned to one young kid that it sounded as if he'd watched too many episodes of "24", to which he responded tetchily [sic]that he'd never heard of "24" -- one of the most popular shows on television the last four years -- and didn't own a TV.

    Maybe so [sic], but then "24" is in the air conditioning system of the culture, and this kid and the others have breathed deep because their imagining of what it takes to actually move something in a bureaucracy is totally shaped by it."

    Now this is really nasty. This is antithought in pure form. Unlike Cockburn and Wpyijewski, that nameless "kid" tries his damnedest to resist an unprecedented TV and corporate-media shitstorm for five whole years, only to be rewarded by that sophisticated leftist's
    observation - de haut en bas - that his thoughts are wholly owned by the TV anyway.

    The email response from "art guerilla aka ann archy" begins to look admirably polite and temperate.

  15. Another problem with al queda is that they didn't claim this fantastically pyrrhic victory, they were just immediately credited with it.

    The perfectly executed first strike and the protagonists disappearance in a puff of smoke has for me a disturbing parallel in the london bombings.

  16. warszawa8:25 AM

    Paul, thanks for taking the trouble to reprint "the real reason the buildings fell". It is indeed appallingly thin stuff. "Would ... could ... might... I think... possibly..."
    If I see one more lazy powerworshipping fantasist airily namechecking Occam I am going to puke.


    anonymous : "So where is it?" (the evidence that Cheney, Rumsfeld and others were at least complicit)

    Follow the links. Neither of the two named have a reasonable explanation for their very peculiar behaviour on that fateful morning. Look at the unprecedented alterations in the chain of command shortly before and shortly after the attacks. Cheney refused to testify on record or under oath. They had means, motive, opportunity, precedent, and the crime benefited them. They have never been properly questioned. They should be on trial.


    Colonel, yes: Star Wars, Rocky and "hollywood underdog" tales are also "in the air conditioning system of the culture", and Cockburn and Wpyijewski would do well to examine their own susceptibility to infection by media microbes.

    - Really pushed for time here, wish I could respond at greater length.

  17. Cockburn doesn't seem to know what's happened to television since the 80s; the audience has fragmented; the top show has the distinction of NOT being watched by 86% of the audience; it's not like when he was a stupid kid himself.

    "24"'s presence in the air conditioning is alas due to critics and academics, who like it and write about it, especially psychoanalytic theorists. These people are the air conditioners. After all it is Cockburn who seems to actually belong to the unfortunate minority who has consumed it.

  18. but here you see the problem at work:

    cockburn is making a judgement iof reality based on what he sees in his spectacle niche, which is the pervasiveness of 24 references and consumers: there is actually about a 1 in 5 chance this kid has seen 24. But for cockburn, it's possible he has seen it, everyone cockburn knows watches it, and therefore not only it is likely the kid has seen it, it is true that he has seen it, whether he has or not.

    the clerks and their mirrors.

  19. admittedly day one it was kind of an open question, you wait and see what people do, if anyone cmlaims rtesponsibility, if things come out, etc, but after five years, everything that has happened and not happened, at this point it is just obvious that it was in fact biz as usual and not some brand new kinda thing. Doesn't mean it will ever be proven, but I agree it is radicalising that people havbe realised this IS biz as usual for capital and the state. Just about everyone I know who is not a believer does more politicalluy unrelated to 911 than the believers, who mostly are professional indoctrinators of youth working in universities or at newspapers. That charge - that it is a distraction - is a lie concocted by clerks who themselves have limited sphere of activity and want to justify confining themselves to producing print matter ; its a good excuse now for why they can't be active politically beyond the lecture hall or journal: they can say every project is so tainted by unbelievers - paranoids and populists - they would be soiling themselves to join.

  20. feerie9:20 AM

    I've been completely surprised by Counterpunch/Cockburn's focus on 9/11 "conspiracy" , and how much they hate it!

    I used to read counterpunch.org daily! Then Cockburn started with all the "HOLY CRAP 9/11 HAPPENED EXACTLY AS THE MEDIA AND GOVT SAY" articles, along with some of the other contributors. I was completely caught off guard ; what the hell?

    Its one thing to just disagree with the possible theories on 9/11, I'd say you were wrong, but hey, people can disagree. But he's off on a tangent to completely discredit a HUGE proportion of the US and international left! Its horrible.

    People are becoming involved in actual left politics for the first time in their lives through doubts over 9/11 shattering their image of the Great and Grand Free America. To dissmiss or demonize this segment of people, even if you think they're wrong (they're not) is horrible.

    It can only lead one to guess that Cockburn is (or has become) some sort of agent provocateur for the state ; here to lecture us horrible "fellow" lefists on why we shouldnt be so cynical towards the government and just shut up and believe the media and state. Ugh.

    Also tossing in "UFO" stuff is ridiculous. Personally I think there is some sort of truth to UFOs, but what it is I dont know at all. But all the secrecy surrounding that issue begs the question, to be sure. Same with 9/11. Whats wrong with the possibility that the government, collectively, across administrations, is keeping secrets? What leftist would disagree with that?

    Just wanting to know what those secrets are is curiosity! Not something horrible.

  21. close resemblance between believer propaganda and pro-eu constitutional treaty propaganda: we can say nothing in defense of even a single provision of this treaty but you must be evil and insane to distrust us.

  22. Counterpunch does indeed seem to be taking a hysterically stern line, todays front page article

    Now some of Alex Cockburn's critics will think that Autocarterization is a conspiracy being run by Rumsfeld, an evil genius, but these readers might want to consider the fact that the man is simply an incompetent tool of the Military--Industrial--Congressional Complex or MICC
    The seamlessness of this well-structured way of life is not only a good for the courtiers in Versailles on the Potomac, the contractors, the supporting cast of thinktank "intellectuals," and an enervated mainstream media which recycles old news as new news, its orderliness will keep Alex Cockburn's anti-conspiracy crusade in business for years.

    While the author does not care to consider that Rumsfeld might be up to his nuts in this jiggery-pokery

  23. warszawa9:56 AM

    "therefore not only it is likely the kid has seen it, it is true that he has seen it, whether he has or not.

    the clerks and their mirrors."

    The Triumph of Reason: Something that kid said reminds me of something I once saw on TV. Therefore, that kid got those thoughts of his from the TV. He couldn't help it, because the TV controls us with its invisible rays, even when we're not watching it. I can diagnose that kid's illness because I myself am immune to those rays. And I'm telling him: You're not a sophisticate like me, kid; you're a nut.

    Anyway, everyone knows exactly what happened on 9/11. We all saw it on TV.

  24. The baffling is that watching 24 would only make you think that the terrorist pimpernels did exist, and that the dedicated, almost caring too much, agents of the security state can defeat them with monotonous regularity.

    Still, the dismissives version of how things are wouldn't make great television, terrorist pimpernels running rings and wreaking destruction around keystone like cops.

    "I guess we fucked up again, agent jack"
    "We're only fallible human flesh, agent jackie"
    "Damn those crafty terrorists, do you think they'll ever make a mistake?"
    "Not on my watch!"

    FADE as our heroes walk away from yet another burning, demolished building

  25. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Here's a theory, what if the 9/11 hijackers and the 7/11 London terrorists were actually framed up. That maybe they were drug runners being told to follow certain routes on buses or planes that had already been rigged to crash/explode?

  26. Oarwell7:39 AM

    Who the heck watches tv anymore anyway? I occasionally watch a few innings of a ball game, and (when I'm lucky) Jon Stewart and Colbert. Dramatizations? Puh-leeze. But as Jacques Ellul wisely noted in 'Propaganda,' it is the "intellectuals" themselves who most crave the propagandistic emanations from the mother-state. Lacking a coherent belief system themselves, they find their lives given meaning by the superficial gloss of official pronunciamentos. For Cockburn, with no science training, to heap his supercilious scorn on those who wonder out loud why WTC 7 collapsed in what seems by visual inspection to be a controlled demolition, is rather telling.

    Reluctantly, I've recently added Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com to that column. Justin, "Mr. Hyperlink" himself, is willing to yak endlessly about Israeli art students and focus with obsessive glee on a single Fox News statement from 5 years ago, but look at his column of Sept. 11, 2006: nothing but boorish blandishments, without substance or rigor.

    Could both writers be Mockingbirds? Why not? Both seem to offer anti-establishmentarianism, but never can quite bring themselves to identify the authors of their shadowy nemesis. Search their writings for mention of the crooked financial underpinnings of our society, something on the order of William Engdahl's book "A Century of War": nothing there! One finds only an essentially meaningless mish-mash of hackneyed liberal or libertarian thinking. Rothbard was braver, actually writing a book about the Federal Reserve.

    Antiwar.com lately has become a sounding board for government agitprop: count the number of times they've touted the "Iraqi civil war" meme, which is clearly, at this late juncture, what those Brit SAS laddies were fomenting when captured.

    One can only wonder why Cockburn is so animated about 911 doubting Thomases. "Me thinketh he doth protest too much" is a valid suspicion, when someone so clearly unqualified vents so much vitriol, expressing Victorian amazement when the hoi-polloi earthily protest. Mutatis mutandis, he seems not bothered by UFO cultists; they can imagine all the green men they like, it doesn't bother Cockburn in the slightest. Does it "drain energy away" from more useful endeavors? Perhaps, but it seems more obvious that it drains nitwits away from the rest of us. Why be bothered when people don't buy into your own belief system? Cockburn and others are acting more like Torquemada than truth-seekers.

  27. Oarwell9:37 AM

    Or, in the words of Dave McGowan:

    "Prominent among those heaping derision on 'conspiracy theories' is The Nation's David Corn. Among other inanities, a piece penned by Corn makes the rather remarkable claim that: "Simply put, the spies and special agents are not good enough, evil enough, or gutsy enough to mount this operation ... Such an operation -- to execute the simultaneous destruction of the two towers, a piece of the Pentagon, and four airplanes and make it appear as if it all was done by another party -- is far beyond the skill level of U.S. intelligence." (5)

    No ... an operation of that sort would clearly require a loosely-organized band of poorly-equipped cave-dwellers."

  28. "and four airplanes and make it appear as if it all was done by another party -- is far beyond the skill level of U.S. intelligence"

    mebbe it was a wee little smidgen beyond their skill actually because there was a cockup of some sort, four buildings, four planes, but one of the expected planes didn't arrive to hit one of the buildings which fell down without it, and so they got found out. so it wasn't the perfect caper, but they evidently figured they'd ride out little bungles, brave it out like peachy and danny want to do when they are escaping kafiristan after everyone discovers danny isn't a God, but they figured correctly so far.

  29. Remember, its racist to suggest that these people couldn't do such a thing as quair fellows like chip 'bolton doppelganger' berlet are quick to remind us.

    But,if it is beyond the levels of the reassuringly incompetent US intelligence, and it is these knockabout international criminals who trained them, where did they learn the unique skill set that allowed them to perpetrate these events? Its not like you can practise these things in a cave.

    If only life was like the movies, a one eyed, indigent bush ending up toting a shopping bag containing cheney's severed head in in some desolate dubai shopping mall

  30. warszawa6:38 AM

    "Remember, its racist to suggest that these people couldn't do such a thing "

    And of course it's not racist to suggest that they would, 19 of them in unison, without a qualm - or rather, to insist that they did, on the basis of practically no evidence at all. Young Arab Males? Capable of anything, that lot. On this essential premise, the Nationite left and the Bushite right can agree. I wonder why.

  31. Anonymous12:10 PM

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  32. "Faux left gatkeeper corporatist lackies like Cockburn are no less traiterous than their right wing demagogue co-travelers. AC has won himself a spot at the front of the line for public guillotining after The People regain the American Bastille."

    HEIL THE NEW LEFT! I don't see much difference between loose change morons and their Fox news watching opposition.

  33. "Cocksucker... ahem Cockburn is crapping his pants for some reason. Not sure why but he pulls out all the buzz words (kook, nutty, paranoid) to demonize anyone who looks at the official 9/11 story and says WTF."

    Thanks for your insight, cocksucker. Nuts and kooks deserve our respect as well! Clearly you don't read what you write!

    “He's a shill for someone/something. Only a shill feels a need to be so all out in demonizing people who are simply asking questions.”

    Yep, that “Cocksucker” is demonizing people " if he doesn't believe in this fucking shit about holographic planes and Thermite! You're simply" "asking questions"

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  35. any alternative source for that Harpers 'whitewash' article? most sites i'm entirely unsurprised to get 404s this far down the road...

  36. answered my own question, duh: