The Lies (and misconceptions) of the "'truth' movement"

Intro (scroll down for entries)

I readily admit that I have no doubts that most members of the “truth movement” sincerely believe all the nonsense that they spout. I even think that most of the “leaders” of the movement, the ones who run the sites and write the books make the videos etc believe all of what they purport. However far too many of them present the facts in a less than honest fashion: quotes are taken out of context, contrary information omitted, rumors are reported as fact etc, others are too blinded by their preconceived notions to see the fallacies of their theories. I did want a blog title that would garner attention and ‘The Misconceptions of the Truth Movement’ just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

I will address specific errors made by leading “truthers” in this blog and will erase any generic replies that have nothing to do with the entry topic. In other words if the entry is about Amanda Keller contradicting herself replies going on about the debris from flight 93 or Silverstein’s “pull it" comment etc. etc. will be deleted. Personal attacks and insults whether directed at me or other commenters, whether made by “truthers” or “debunkers” will be deleted as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hidden History of 9-11-2001

OK it been quite a while, I’ve busy with other things. I hope to be able to post here at least weekly from now on.

In 2006 a lengthy truther tome titled The Hidden History of 9-11 was published by Elsevier a respectable scholarly press based in the Netherlands. It was edition # 23 of a series of books on “political economy”. Due to the respectability of the publisher, the fact that most of the contributors were university professors and claims some the articles (chapters) had been peer reviewed the books released garnered enthusiasm on ‘truther’ websites. However due to its prohibitively high price, until recently over $ 100, almost no one read it. That changed a few months ago with the release a $ 15 paperback. It can also be read for free on Google Books.

Despite its prestigious publisher and the claims of peer review and the number of authors with PhD’s it suffers from the same poor scholarship of all other truther books, movies, websites etc and is basically yet another repackaging of the same claims previously repeated ad infinium elsewhere. Very little of it was new even in 2006.

Interestingly at least one truther agrees with me about the book.
“J.W.K” from Nagano, Japan a Amazon “Top 1000 reviewer” who has given several other “truther” books and videos 5 stars, gave it 2 stars and wrote, “The scholarship is shoddy and unfocused. The book contained nothing that wasn't already more clearly presented in THE NEW PEARL HARBOR by Professor David Ray Griffin”

As I have noted elsewhere there is something about conspiracy theories in general and 9/11 "truth" in particular that transforms otherwise rational and intelligent people into fools. Normally this foolishness is in a subject matter distant from their areas of specialty. Though not related to 9/11 Arthur Butz is a perfect example, he teaches electrical engineering at Northwestern, one of the best universities in the US, but he is a Holocaust denier. The most obvious examples relating to 9/11 are Griffen and Fetzer, respected professors emeritus of theology and philosophy who have spewed so much rubbish about events that morning that many in the movement no longer take them seriously. Though claims have been made that part of the material has been peer reviewed none of the authors are wrote about subjects related to their areas of specialty.

Getting off to a bad start - numerous errors in the 1st Chapter

The first chapter is a case in point, I only skimmed through it but that was enough to discover numerous errors including long debunked canards.The author claimed that, the “passenger lists” “released by the airlines” didn’t have any Arab names.But the lists on CNN and other media outlets were clearly labeled VICTIMS lists which obviously would preclude the perpetrators. He cited the CNN lists which even have the word “victims” in their urls. If that didn’t make it obvious enough the page the lists were linked from is clearly labeled a “memorial”.

Nothing on the CNN pages or similar ones indicates the source of the names was the airlines, CNN only cited AP, the pages contained personal information the airlines would not have. They were based on MEDIA reports not info from the airlines as the CNN Memorial “about this site” page made clear:This memorial lists those who died in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania when terrorists hijacked four U.S. planes on September 11, 2001. The list includes those listed as "confirmed dead" and "reported dead" by the Associated Press which defines the terms as follows:

• CONFIRMED DEAD Includes victims who have been confirmed dead by a coroner's office or the Defense Department. It also includes those a court has declared
legally dead, even if no body has been recovered. Once the court has made such a
finding, a death certificate can be issued.

• REPORTED DEAD Includes those whose deaths have been reported by family, employers, mortuaries, places of worship or by the airlines that listed them as aboard one of the four flights. Includes people for whom memorial services have been held, even if their bodies have not been recovered or positively identified. (Those identified by federal authorities as the hijackers are not included). Personal information
accompanying the individual records comes from CNN reports, newspaper obituaries
and information submitted by friends and family. The photos were submitted to
CNN by friends or family of the victims or used with permission from media
partners as noted on each photo. The site was archived in August 2004.

He claimed that the passenger manifests were never released but as reported by CBS the Boston Globe released those of the two flights that originated in their city two days after the attacks.And all four lists were released by the government for the Moussui trial either before or just after press time for the first edition but well before the supposedly revised paperback edition.

Kolar wrote:

In an early, September 12, 2001 disclosure, CNN reported being provided with a
list of 19 hijackers from the flight manifests which the FBI presumably
possessed.(15) This particular list of 19 is instructive for the kinds of errors
it contains and for the four names the FBI had quickly changed. Two of these
corrections involved the deletion of Adnan and Ameer Bukhari who were called
brothers in most press releases (for example, Allison, 2001). (16)

Adnan and Ameer Bukari it turns out weren't brothers and weren’t on either flight, one died earlier and the other was questioned by the FBI and eventually cleared but neither of the cited sources (articles in CNN and the St. Petersburg Times) said the Bukharis were suspected hijackers let alone they were on the flight manifests. They were just two of many Arabs who had pilot training in Florida 2000 – 2001 that the FBI looked into. The CNN article did say:
“We would like to correct a report that appeared on CNN. Based on information from multiple law enforcement sources, CNN reported that Adnan Bukhari and Ameer Bukhari of Vero Beach Florida, were suspected to be two of the pilots who crashed planes into the World Trade Center.”
But there is no indication their names came from the flight manifests or any “press releases” or that CNN claimed to have been “provided with a list of 19 hijackers from the flight manifests”

An earlier CNN article which said the Bukaris were suspects because they were tied to a car found at the Portland (Maine) airport said its source for the names was the Portland police not the FBI so it doesn't seem to have come from the flight manifests. According to Wikipedia (no citation) “later reports continued to suggest that Adnan Bukhari fell under suspicion because of documents found within the car” that would fit with the Portland police being the source.

Further undermining Kolar's claim is the fact that 2 "truther" esays on the Bukhari discrepancy, one by David Ray Griffin and the other on What Really Happened make no mention of such a list with their names on it. But cite several news reports from the day following the attacks, neither claims that the FBI said they were among the hijackers or that they or anyone said they were on the manifests. The sources seem to be local law enforcement as yet another CNN story indicates. The supposed FBI list including the two Saudis seems to be a figment of Kolar's imagination and poor scholarship.