As readers may or may not know, there has been a remarkable silence amongst many of the "leading" voices on "the left" -concerning the "official explanation" for what happened on Sept. 11th.
There has, indeed, been much valuable criticism of the so-called "war on terrorism," the invasion of Afghanistan, the "Patriot Act," and so on, (publications such as Znet, The Progressive, DemocracyNow...); yet in terms of the day's actual events, very few questions have been raised.
In the words of Stan Goff, former soldier in U.S. special forces, "the left... has [accepted] the [gov't] framework... for what happened."
There appears to be numerous reasons for this, which we shall attempt to explore here.
For those of us who have taken the time to look at the evidence behind the day's events, (Unanswered Questions amongst others) it's quite clear that the failure to question the "official" explanation is a serious error in judgement: a reflection, perhaps, of where "the left" is "at" in certain important respects; and an opportunity, here, to gain some critical insight into the broader movement for change.
To the credit of the cautious observer, it's certainly understandable that they/we would want to be careful in approaching this subject; for to question the "official" story implies either:
negligence/incompetence, (on the part of U.S. officials)
tending to be of far less significance than the fact that
the main support for global terrorism/violence, (and "blowback") comes from
the most-powerful global governments, militaries, and the corporations they serve.
complicity, (on the part of U.S. officials)
something far more sinister,
than the usual machinations of the world's leading imperial power
Would it be fair to say that the "far more sinister" scenario would seem so incredible to most people that they would not even want to give the subject a hearing?
Would most people assume that the degree of negligence/incompetence was not extreme -simply because the trauma involved would tend to make it seem more extreme than it actually was? Or too sensitive an issue to pursue?
If so, we who consider ourselves intelligent observers cannot allow the assumptions of others to serve as an excuse for us to avoid an open-minded review of the concrete facts.
The supposition that 'No one would believe it,' or, 'it's not a politically feasible position to take,' is insufficient grounds for refusing to critically examining the "official story." This should be second nature to those who presume to think independently.
Until we examine the evidence, and find the "more-sinister" scenario untrue, it's simply dishonest for us to discount it altogether -no matter how much it may upset our assumptions of human nature, the state apparatus, or whatever.
Until then, we don't know how serious the negligence may have been. The possibility remains that a combination of the above two scenarios is at hand; and, if/or when such negligence crosses over into the realm of official cover-up/deception, then complicity in the deaths of thousands -we can only determine that by impartial examination.
Now, we should not feel obligated to consider every theory put forward, that's true; yet this only grants us the right to suspend a judgement, temporarily -not to pass judgement without a reasonably thorough review.
At a certain point, such caution must give way to a willingness to consider; otherwise, we open ourselves to a selective ignorance, into which an unknown quantity of denial may flow... eventually leaving us far astride from the truth; and further, given the shocking nature of the event, and the past history of government deception, manipulation, it would seem only logical to at least question the "official" story... to critically assess it in the light of logic and historical precedence.
The jury's still out on the darker scenario; yet already, the evidence we've gathered together clearly shows that the negligence of the Air force, Pentagon, and the pResident himself was of a most extreme, disturbing nature indeed.
Much of "the left" seems to be unaware of this.
In the early days after Sept. 11th, credible, significant evidence was hard to come by, (swimming in the midst of shock, confusion, then some wild accusations, fuzzy logic, etc.); yet this is often the case with investigative reporting: a "case" for review literally does not exist, (in most people's eyes) until a few instinctive, enterprising reporters follow a hunch and gather evidence together.
Critics of government policy should understand this, support the process of inquiry; and it is instructive to note when and why otherwise intelligent, progressive people choose to rule out certain questions before they/we have taken the time to ask them.
In most "leftist" publications, there has been a sustained unwillingness to publicly question the "official" description of what happened -sometimes turning into an open attack and ridicule upon those that do.
A notable exception to this has been the work of the Portland,
and Hamilton, (Ontario, Canada)
Independent Media Centres.
Also, noted author William Blum, (http://members.aol.com/bblum6/American_holocaust.htm) has been one of few amongst his peers to publicly express doubts about the "official" explanation. In his Foreward to the latest edition of, "Rogue State," he questions,
"the failure of air safety and air defence systems to carry out long-standing, well-practiced, routine procedures and shoot down the second and third planes, perhaps deliberately choosing not to do so; substantial insider trading shortly before the attacks based on the expectation that the stocks of American and United Airlines would plunge along with their planes; US covert meetings with and support of the Taliban for years; the ties between the Bush family and the bin Ladens; and much more"
"It strains credibility to believe that the FBI, CIA, NSA, et al. were unaware, at least in some detail, that a significant terrorist operation in the United States was in the offing."
Only after revelations about U.S. intelligence failures began saturating the mainstream press in late May, 2002, did major "leftist" publications begin publicly discussing the "official story," (offering important insights missing from the mainstream coverage) as exemplified by the following interview on FAIR's "Counterspin."
On June 7th, the important progressive radio program, "Democracy Now" featured an interview with British-based journalist, Greg Palast, wherein he said,
"What we're all shocked about [in the U.S.] now, [the ignored intelligence warnings] is old news in Europe, because we've been broadcasting it on the BBC for seven months now."
(Among many other interesting points made in this interview, Palast says, "Did you notice that the FBI Agent Rowley did not say, 'If only we had a new department in the Cabinet we would have been able to prevent this.' There's not one agent that I've spoken to in my investigations of what happened before Sept. 11th (what the President knew, and when did he forget it).... not one said, 'Gee, if we only had a different set of laws, if we could only fingerprint immigrants, have a new office of homeland security... Every one of them said, 'if I could just get the guys sitting in the desks above me to get their foot off my neck, I could get my job done.'")
Simply open up your Real Player, and copy/paste above address; or go to www.webactive.com -and click through to "Democracy Now," June 7.
As many readers may also know, there has been active discussions on many "leftist" discussion boards;
May this be an indication, that the grass-roots will always find a way to keep its leading lights honest.
We begin with the framework of our discussion, provided by the harsh criticisms levelled at Michael C. Ruppert.
For those not familiar with Mr. Ruppert's work, I provide a constructive evaluation of what I believe to be it's strengths and weaknesses, here: More Thoughts on Research.
His website is here,
The "left-wing" attacks on Ruppert begin with David Corn, associate Editor of "The Nation" magazine.
and Michael Ruppert's reply.
"I won't argue that the U.S. government does not engage in brutal, murderous skulduggery from time to time. But the notion that the U.S. government either detected the attacks but allowed them to occur, or, worse, conspired to kill thousands of Americans to launch a war-for-oil in Afghanistan is absurd."
Yes. It's true. The thought that some elements within the U.S. security apparatus could have intentionally facilitated such a crime seems absurd. (We would truly be living in an absurd society, if such was the case, wouldn't we?).
Equally absurd, however, (for those of us who have now taken the time to actually look at what happened on Sept. 11) are the government explanations for the absent Air force, the Pentagon performance of "we didn't know," and the FBI's litany of lies.
Does David Corn appear to have made himself aware of the concrete evidence for what happened on Sept 11? -and the absurdity of the "official" explanations?
By the above article, it would seem not. Instead of refuting the claims of the "conspiracists," (by giving evidence to support why the "official" explanation is reasonable) he prefers to focus on the de-bunking of "conspiracy-theories," in general, by suggesting that the "[CIA, and assorted agencies are neither] "good enough," [i.e. smart enough] nor "evil enough" nor "gutsy" or numerous enough in their rogue-ness to pull such a thing off.
As such, we are left off where we started: discussing so-called "conspiracy-theories," with little more reliance on the concrete evidence.
Corn then singles out Michael Ruppert, and his treatment of the Delmart "Mike" Vreeland case, (see below/link above) as an example of someone whose facts do not match their claims.
Ruppert, in reply, accuses Corn of "a blatant disregard for facts you so incorrectly reported." He goes on to describe the nature of the "Vreeland" case in some detail.
"Your criticisms focus on the case of Delmart "Mike" Vreeland, a US Navy intelligence officer imprisoned in Canada who, by admission -- in court -- of Canadian authorities, wrote an accurate warning of the September 11th attacks. That warning, which is now an official part of the court record in Canada, was placed into the sole custody of Canadian jailers on either August 11 or 12th, a month before the attacks. A copy of it (obtained directly from court records) is available on my web site at: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/01_28_02_vreeland.jpg The stamp admitting the document into evidence is clearly visible in the upper right hand corner of the document. Therefore the document itself is a bona fide source."
Among other points, Ruppert also says,
"... you attempt to discredit Vreeland by innuendo. You state that he is in jail on fraud charges. True enough, but did you also mention the fact that it was his own credit card? For a man such as yourself, with such great expertise on the CIA... I am surprised that you did not recall that during Iran-Contra a number of well documented intelligence sources were controlled by their respective agencies through the use of criminal charges connected to their areas of expertise."
At this point, it would appear that Corn's analysis of the "Vreeland" case is not as thorough as Ruppert's.
Then it turns out that Michael Ruppert is being removed from his scheduled appearances on public radio station KPFA; due, in large part it seems, to an internal memo from Normon Solomon, an influential associate of the media watch-group FAIR, and of KPFA itself, (as I understand).
Ruppert had appeared on KPFA many times before.
In fact, the sale of his videotape/seminar, (on the events in and around Sept. 11) have been a major source of fund-raising for numerous public radio stations. This popularity was partly responsible for Solomon's challenge, as you can see below.
"Ruppert's web site (www.copvcia.com) highlights his keynote piece, titled "A timeline Surrounding September 11th -- If CIA and the Government Weren't Involved in the September 11th Attacks What Were They Doing?" In the third paragraph, Ruppert states flatly that the timeline he assembled, "listing crucial events both before and after the September 11 suicide attacks, which have been blamed on bin Laden, establishes CIA foreknowledge of them." But the timeline and statements that he presents do not "establish" any such foreknowledge. Instead, he has hammered together fragments of reports from various sources and used them as a springboard for a gigantic leap -- to conclusions that aren't supported by what he cites."
Rupert's account of these events can be reviewed here,
As I have already acknowledged in my commentary, More Thoughts on Research most of the evidence Ruppert provides in the article in question is circumstantial; and beyond this, I offer constructive criticism as to how and why his online research is generally not as compelling as his "live" presentations; but this is a far cry from saying, "the timeline and statements that he presents do not "establish" any such foreknowledge," (my emphasis) or that his "conclusions aren't supported by what he cites."
If you look at the Ruppert document, (previously cited)
I'm sure you'll see that there is considerable food for thought here.
It's not airtight. There are fragments; yet there's also an intelligence behind the fragments which is unique and noteworthy -for its capacity to organize them into a meaningful picture of what may be happening.
Solomon goes on to say,
"Some of the problem is in how he characterizes news reports. These citations can be narrowly factual yet presented in a misleading way..... At first glance, Ruppert's written description of the point is impressive: "August 11 or 12 -- U.S. Navy Lt. Delmart 'Mike' Vreeland, jailed on Toronto on U.S. Fraud charges and claiming to be an officer in U.S. Naval intelligence, writes details of the pending WTC attacks and seals them in an envelop which he gives to Canadian authorities. [Source: The Toronto Star, Oct. 23, 2001; Toronto Superior Court Records]."
"But just as easily available were subsequent articles published in the Toronto Star shortly afterward. On October 27, under the headline "Judge Nixes Spy Story," the same newspaper quoted the presiding judge, Archie Campbell, referring to Vreeland: "There is no independent evidence to support his colossal allegations."
As Ruppert had previously pointed out, (in his response to Corn, above) the significance of the earlier citation from the Toronto Star was more that it concerned an actual court document, proceedings, etc. rather than the citation of The Star itself.
Soloman then questions the credibility of some of Ruppert's sources; Ruppert, in turn, says that Solomon "implied that I am a right-wing racist, accused me of being sloppy, and again failed to discuss a single one of the documented facts I have reported on since September 11th."
The debate, indeed, appears to be getting muddier.
Let's see if we can wade through it briefly, and bring some clarity to the matter without distracting ourselves too greatly from the larger question at hand.
We continue by way of a Znet "commentary" that Solomon writes on March 27th, (sent to all Znet "subscribers," a feature of Zmag, online, one of the most influential of alternative news sources).
"those who, with good reason, refuse to trust the corporate media are scarcely better off when they lower their standards to buy into dubious claims from alternative sources... A case in point is the story -- much ballyhooed via the Internet -- that a man behind bars in Toronto wrote a "warning note" before the Sept. 11 events...
But Vreeland's notations, introduced into evidence in a Toronto court last October, amount to an ambiguous mish-mash. The phrase "water supplies" appears in an unexplained list of landmarks and cities including not only the World Trade Center, White House and Pentagon but also sites in Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto and Malaysia.
'Let one happen, stop the rest,' Vreeland scrawled. Below are first names and random words like 'Vladivostok' and 'bilateral.' The only dates are 2007 and 2009. To call it a "warning note" about the events of Sept. 11 is preposterous."
If we consult the document in question,
we can clearly see, indeed, that the "evidence" is rather ambiguous. In his letter to KPFA, Ruppert describes this as an "accurate warning."
According to a three hour interview between Michael Ruppert, Jeff Rense, and himself, Vreeland says that the above note was the scribbled summary of a thirty-seven page letter he was writing to the Director of Naval Intelligence. This letter, in turn, was his response to the "less than fifty" documents he says came into his possession in the course of a covert action he was involved in, which took place in Russia in Sept. 2000. Those documents, he says, were instructions for various operatives... detailing the planned attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Solomon replies by way of saying that Vreeland's own lawyers admitted, during a live discussion on Station KPFA, (between Solomon, Vreeland, etc.) that the note was NOT a warning.
Both Vreeland and Ruppert appear to have since backed away from the claim of it as a warning -save that it is the summary of documents within which the capacity to have made an accurate warning is implied. This claim rests upon the act of making those documents public, which Vreeland has promised to do; yet the most recent evidence suggests that this is not likely to happen -for the reason that Vreeland may not be who he says he is.
An important service, in this debate, has been provided by the hosts of a radio program called "International Connection," on station CKLN, out of Toronto, Canada.
which provides an extensive list of radio interviews done between the hosts, Vreeland, Michael Ruppert, Normon Solomon, and a number of people who say they have had encounters with Vreeland in the past.
[As they are in MP3 format, listeners may have to be prepared for a long download time for each piece; or you can open Real Player, select on "file," "open," then type in the location of the file -which will begin immediately, yet be plagued by frequent, lengthy pauses in the feed].
An abbreviated transcript of these interviews can be found by clicking here.
The long and short of all this appears to be that, on the one side you have Delmart "Mike" Vreeland claiming he was with Naval Intelligence; on the other side you have a number of credible-sounding people who say they knew him, that he is a remarkably brilliant con man, with an extensive criminal past; and in between, you have Michael Ruppert, who claims that it is not unprecedented for undercover operatives to be involved in various criminal activities, as a cover -then Normon Solomon and David Corn, who are using the Vreeland case to try and discredit Micheal Ruppert's work, (and the 9/11 investigation) as a whole.
Now, there is little doubt that undercover operatives often do fraternize with organized crime, in drug-related and other activities -as cover, during investigations. Only slightly less well-known, is that such covert operators often participate directly in such criminal activity, in order to raise funds for unofficial "black" ops. Also, the covert culture itself is not one known for repelling odd, eccentric, manipulative characters.
As such, Vreeland's criminal record, and his deceptive behaviour are not, in of themselves, sufficient evidence to disprove his claims. There are also interesting discrepancies in the "official" record of his Michigan incarceration.
There are some claims which Vreeland makes which appear to be true, others which seem to be flat-out falsehoods. It seems near universally agreed-upon that he is a master story-teller. Readers may find his 3-hour interview with Jeff Rense, (above) quite interesting. Whatever "role" he is "playing," he appears to be playing it well.
Vreeland likely has a huge ego, making him a difficult person to work with.
He appears to have had some effect in bringing the murder of Marc Bastien to light. While his "memo" cannot claim to be an "accurate warning," in of itself, (and while anyone familiar with the subject knows the World Trade Center, Pentagon, etc. to be likely terrorist targets) neither can it be denied that, as a note sealed by jailers on Aug. 10th, and opened by them on Sept. 14th, then introduced into court as such, it holds some significance.
It remains possible that,
1) Vreeland is a brilliant con man and an intelligence operative, where it's difficult to distinguish between fantastic truth and fantastic lie.
2) Vreeland is a brilliant con man, sufficiently adept at telling stories, remembering dates, facts, people, etc. to convince Michael Ruppert of his story's veracity -that Vreeland observed the 9/11 events, (from jail) -somehow followed the discussions involving Ruppert- and made a play for sympathy to get himself out of jail.
3) Vreeland is a brilliant con man and an intelligence operative, who has been intentionally planted, (by his superiors, who knew the attacks were coming) in order to act as part of a post 9/11 disinformation campaign, to bring discredit to whomever the most-dangerous voices of dissent eventually turned out to be.
Whatever scenario is true, the fact remains that,
Until Vreeland makes public the supposed "official" documents he claims to be holding, we cannot really tell which scenario is true, and whether this "story" bears closer scrutiny. The more time passes, however, (without him making such documents public) the more the story falls on dubious ground.
The long and short of all this is that the truth or untruth of the Vreeland story has very little to do with the legitimate questions concerning the "official" explanation for what happened on Sept. 11th.
Normon Solomon is quite right to question the value of such an ambiguous note, and the act of calling it an "accurate warning." Both he and David Corn should be acknowledged for bringing various elements of Vreeland's past to light, (which subsequently helped the "International Connection" hosts to do their interviews).
The problem with Corn's and Soloman's criticism is that it's not constructive.
They are using weaknesses in Ruppert's analysis to reject his contribution altogether.
As I have acknowledged in my previous report, Ruppert's written research is sometimes not as "tight" as it could be. Sometimes he makes claims which he may sincerely believe to be implied in certain facts, but which are not so obvious to the observer. Perhaps this is the case with his claim about Vreeland's "accurate" warning.
If so, he has shown himself capable of admitting his errors before. Such a mistake would not automatically make the rest of his research equally suspect. In fact, this should only encourage those of us who have been impressed by his insistence and example -that we take more responsibility to think for ourselves- to continue raising the standard of diligent, credible research; and further: we should not be afraid to apply the same standards of criticism to ourselves, Ruppert, etc. and question any tendency within us -that would have us raise Ruppert, (or anyone else) to the status of infallibility and worship.
Michael Ruppert appears to remains a sincere, and valuable investigator in the search for the truth.
It may be, in fact, that it was David Corn's and Normon Solomon's attacks on Ruppert as "conspiracy-theory" which may have compelled Ruppert to defend Vreeland more than he otherwise would have.
The basic principles of "left-wing" grass-roots organizing -unity in action, coalition-building, leading by example, compassion, etc- do not seem to be in effect, in their comments.
Solomon likens Ruppert's approach to that of a "selective vacuum cleaner -pulling in whatever supports a thesis and excluding context and perspectives that undermine it."
... if a newspaper in India or an Indian intelligence service is the attributed source of a report linking a high-up Pakistani official or Pakistani intelligence agency to the hijackers, it won't do to acknowledge that Indian sources would have a strong motive for pinning terrorism on Pakistan. Yes, the newspaper printed such a report -- but what does it really mean?"
Solomon's example here is a useful one.
This is the report that the head of Pakistani intelligence was removed from his post after it was revealed that he had wired Mohamed Atta, (presumed number hijacker #1) $100,000 two weeks before the Sept. 11th attack.
It's true that any claim coming from India about Pakistan would be somewhat suspect; yet the quality of this particular report increases when we are told by the Wall Street Journal that this information was confirmed by American officials, (hence, the removal, which Solomon does not mention); and the quality goes up again when we consider Michel Chossudovsky's well-referenced report, where we find that this same official, (who would suddenly be removed two weeks later) was engaged in lengthy meetings with top Administration officials in the ten days before and after the attacks.
What does such evidence prove? As far as the events of Sept. 11th are concerned, not much, yet; largely because the entire matter has been dropped by the mainstream and alternative "western" press like a hot potato. Another glaring, potential shocker of a story has not been adequately pursued.
Insofar as our discussion is concerned, all of this illustrates a few, basic things:
how difficult it is to present a convincing case in the smallest of matters;
how statistics and analysis can be used to support just about any contrary view;
and how much time can be spent discussing what we think would be a minor matter, distracting our attention from the real issues that already appear to be staring us in the face.
In the instances discussed above, Solomon and Corn can be accused of the same thing they accuse Ruppert of.
Solomon accuses Ruppert of a "vacuum cleaner approach," while taking Ruppert's weak points and brandishing his entire presentation with the same brush.
Solomon uses contradictory logic to accuse Ruppert of making logical "leaps." He says, "Many listeners will be understandably put off, and as a result some are likely to question the station's overall credibility" just after admitting that "Ruppert's tape raises a lot of money... as a fundraising premium." (Obviously, many listeners seem to recognize a credibility to Ruppert's work that Solomon does not. Maybe Solomon should watch the video).
The memo continues,
"such programming, when it is "successful," encourages people to fixate on the spectre of a diabolical few plotters rather than on the profoundly harmful realities of ongoing structural, institutional, systemic factors."
In other words, Soloman is suggesting that Ruppert's "flashy claims" are distracting us from the more-tangible crimes that are already staring us in the face. A very good case could be made here that the tide of verbiage we are presently having to wade through, (in order to set the record straight on Ruppert, Corn, Soloman, etc.) is a far greater distraction than one Ruppert may be creating; and for this, Solomon and Corn must be held responsible.
A clue to why Solomon and Corn may be so stubborn in relation to Ruppert, may be found in Soloman's closing line:
"Aren't the well-documented crimes of the U.S. government and huge corporations enough to merit our ongoing outrage, focused attention and activism?"
Here we have the paradigm of reasonable resistance, the point at which the critic feels there already is ample reason for people to resist, and so the "should" suffices to explain, (or rather, deny) the fact that people are not responding to such crimes in a way we hope human beings would.
Solomon makes the mistake of assuming, (because the crimes are sufficient cause for his own outrage) that the reason more people are not "getting it" is because of people like Ruppert, distracting attention; when, in this instance, it's the attitude of Solomon and Corn that is cutting into the lifeblood of a healthy discourse, narrowing its scope to the weakness of a case before exploring the questions.
One may wonder how such narrowness may be reflected in other, hitherto unseen ways, suggesting opportunities not taken in the larger movement for change.
The fact that a Michael Ruppert sees a deeper, more-diabolical force at work does not mean he's wrong -simply because he cannot "prove" the conspiratorial underpinnings as well as one can the unpaid taxes of an Enron. This may partly explain why Ruppert is not wary of using bold phrases to get his point across. He sees a need.
If Ruppert were to believe that "the well-documented crimes of the U.S. government and huge corporations," (as outlined by Solomon) have not, as yet, been "enough to merit [the] ongoing outrage, focused attention and activism," (of the general population, sufficient to stem the present tide of retreat and decay) would we disagree?
Have these "well-documented crimes" also not been accompanied by an unprecedented social malaise?
(Watching Ruppert's "Portland Seminar" video, one cannot miss the emphasis he places on the audience members -calling them/ourselves to shake off the shackles of complacency, to a greater, more-fully human sense of responsibility).
One may reasonably ask: How bad do things have to get before the general populace in "western" society wakes up? And how successful does the elite apparatus have to be in manipulating world events, mass consciousness, etc. before "the left," "the movement" breaks through the wall of victories enjoyed by the status quo?
Is it reasonable for us to suggest that our social situation will not significantly change unless there's also significant change in how "the left" operates?
A number of worthwhile articles on this debate can be seen here,
and in particular,
Now, as we ourselves should be, the many "leading voices" on "the left," are generally consistent in their emphasis on a positive outlook for the future; specifically, many suggest that, in spite of mainstream polls which show widespread support for a gun-toting pResident, there is far more grass-roots questioning of elite doctrine than ever before. Chomsky, in particular, says that the pResident of today could never get away with the secret bombing of a Nixon, Kennedy, or Eisenhower.
In some way this is true, in other ways not; and we must be careful that our "positive" outlook not become a short-sighted means of masking over our own unwillingness to look at the naked truth.
Elite power is also more centralized and concentrated than ever before. The face of fascism looks more familiar than it has in a long time. Though the MaCarthyite "witch-hunts" of the 1950's have not yet returned in full swing, neither is the labour movement more than a shadow of its former self. The government is utterly bankrupt, yet permitted to borrow as much money as it needs to buy weapons to protect the company store.
What we see here is more of a spiral of escalating awareness and depravity, (than a linear progress in a single direction): a sharpening of contradictions; and it does not bode well for us to assume that we can keep going on in the same way, when most of what is feeding the grass-roots resistance is the virtually unmitigated advances of the Elite.
Such were the unspoken assumptions of many German anti-fascists in the 1930's -just before they were rounded up into concentration camps, never to return: an entire nation, continent, plunged into the darkness of unprecedented horror.
In the concrete terms of people, associations, and ideas, we don't know where things are going to end up; and there is certainly much room for debate as to whether certain developments represent "positive" or "negative" implications for "the movement."
In this light, we may also be able to look closer and see why the "left leadership" might have an extra incentive in maintaining a certain vision of what that "movement" is.
What's "Left" to talk about?
Before proceeding, it may be helpful to briefly step back and review what we mean by the terms "right" and "left"; for they do serve as the context for what we are talking about; and while some people may think such terms perfectly clear, there are, in fact, almost as many interpretations as there are observers.
In many cases, clear agreement exists on only the most-general of positions, though the desire for a sense of unity appears to be very strong.
Given this, it may be difficult to characterize the "right/left" paradigm accurately, without upsetting some people's sense of identity; and obviously, it's something best articulated through a dialogue involving numerous voices. I can only try here, to present this in as balanced a manner as I know how -in the hopes of stimulating a deeper sense of our common interest in this, our debate, and as a critical understanding of where, (if at all) my presentation of it has gone askew.
In a society/civilization/culture marked by widespread corruption, exploitation, oppression, it seems routine for there to be strident divisions between people, based on skin colour, language, custom, sex, and so on. These divisions are central to keeping "we, the people," from recognizing our common interests, in relation to the relative few who control the means of controlling the many.
One of the principal divisions in our modern era, is that which stands between what is known as the "left" and "right" political spectrums.
Before getting into the specifics of the two "positions," it must be apparent to the sober observer that neither "side" in this debate is absolutely free of blame, imperfection, or the need to grow.
As with practically all disagreements in life, even where one side is far-more at fault/error than another, the relatively-minor "fault" or flaw on the other side still tends to have its critical importance.
Now, in terms of the actual ideas between "right" and "left," it must be clear to the unbiased observer that the "right-wing" perspective is far more wrong than it is right. The "left-wing" perspective is far more considered, thought-out, real.
This is because the "right-wing" ideology is borrowed from a platform of privilege, (i.e. "white," "male," "western," etc.) which resists self-examination; whereas the "left" perspective arises out of a lack of privilege, and cannot escape self-examination -save that it becomes manipulated to resonate with the upper echelons of left/liberal institutions.
The foundation of this "right" privilege is an allegiance, (unconscious or not) to corporate capital, (money).
At the same time, even the colossal crimes of "right-wing" corporations cannot justify a refusal of leftists to look them/our selves in the mirror -to continually re-commit to the opportunity for honesty, growth and learning.
In this, the experience of many "leftists" may be likened to that of being in an abusive relationship; that is, the experience of oppression, deprivation, loneliness, alienation wounds us, weakens us, corrupts our perceptions. The deeper the wound, the more intense the denial; and hence, the greater the tendency for something to weave its influence into our lives.
Even as we struggle to elevate our experience through idealism, community service, (in search of a positive alternative) the emotional ocean we harbour inside ourselves is not so easily contained. The more-honest we are, the more-often our theorems and "solutions" leave us on the edge of a precipice -plunging into ever-deeper realizations of just how inhuman our modern experience really is.
Courage, in this world, means being willing to open our hearts to the more-tender of sorrows.
Not only do we need to be aware that an oppressive social apparatus exists, and that "another world is possible" -we need to continually re-examine how that oppression has affected us -and, more specifically, how we may collude in the continuation of that oppression, even as we think we are struggling against it.
This manifests itself on so many layers and patterns of perception that it would be impossible to adequately describe it here -without going into book-length detail.
Suffice to say: in an abusive relationship, beyond wanting and believing in something better, the victim must be willing to examine whatever beliefs and assumptions that still may exist within them/ourselves, which once allowed us to believe that the situation was acceptable; for unless we do, we will tend to seek out similar relationships with different faces on them; and further, our focus on the other, will interfere with our capacity to bond with our own, creative power, the basis upon which we are ultimately able to transform the relationship, and be "victims" no longer.
In contrast to the daily murders of campesinos in towns and villages around the world, it may seem irrelevant and unfair -that we be asked to go through the emotional pain, again and again, until true healing is at hand; and it's really only as we persevere through it, that we become conscious -of just how deeply connected our internal transformation is to that of the planet, and of humanity as a whole.
In this, we should also be careful not to totally internalize the oppression; for here, we run the risk of drifting off into an isolated, emotional experience fraught with delusion, (often as an extension of privilege).
So long as the oppressive institutions and forces exist in the world, they should continue to be the focus in our efforts for change. We must not confuse the concrete culpability, the criminals at the core of our collective deception, with those who unconsciously collude in their/our own increased pain; we must not lose sight of where the main gears of oppression are housed; yet we must also be careful NOT to separate that outward struggle from our own, internal one; rather, we must grasp the bitterest truth, and recognize in it a vehicle, of our creative transformation, that we may truly change.
If we use the crimes of others to distract our eyes from our own fears, doubts, limitations, then our shortcomings will only surface in other ways, (often in relation to those we are supposedly marching in solidarity with).
It is perhaps especially for those "leftists" who might claim that 'our shortcomings are insignificant compared to theirs' that we attempt to come to a better understanding of them here.
One of the main streams of our realization on "the left" follows from how we treat our colleagues in the struggle against the "right" Elite; and another, is in trying to understand the motivation of those on the "right," the "other side" -especially given the fact that the feelings and beliefs of the people at the grass-roots level of both right and left are usually far-removed from the actions of those in positions of leadership.
That is: the division between "left" and "right" generally corresponds to the division between "we, the people," and the corporate/institutional Elite. When people take a stand as either "left" or "right," we/they generally align ourselves to the forces supporting one side or the other; yet many can and do so unconsciously -in contrast to their/our real social condition, interests; and it is a major motivation of the various Elite institutions to sew confusion along these lines.
Many of you reading this will recognize that there is what we may call the left "facade" of mainstream corporate media, (so-called "liberals") and the "authentic" left: those seriously engaged in a critical evaluation of corporate power, (with whom we still may have disagreements, on this or that issue).
Thus, we see here various levels of "leadership" within each community, of varying degrees of closeness and connection to the grass-roots. This network of interwoven leadership and community constitutes the basic fabric of our political life.
The cherished values of those on "the right," (traditional morality, family, religion, simplicity) are mouthed and manipulated by the very forces which are most responsible for undermining them; that is, corporate capitalism. The leaders on the (mainstream) left," in turn, pay lip service to the notions of "social justice," "human rights," "the environment," etc. in order to win a sympathetic ear amongst its grassroots contingent.
In mainstream politics, the "right-wing" roughly corresponds to the Republican Party, and the "left-wing" to the Democratic Party; yet in actual fact, both parties serve the grass-roots of neither "right" nor "left"; rather, they serve one another, by ensuring that the system of privilege, (in which they each enjoy a big piece of the pie) remains unchallenged.
The "Republicrats" play the card of "hard-ball free-enterprise," "law and order," "back-to-basics morality," and find ample ammo in the corruption of the Democratic party, the meddlesome bureaucracies of big-government, and the apparent increase in violent crime.
The "Demoblicans" find ample ammo in the insane policies of their opponents: the ongoing march to war, the slovenly embrace of corporate welfare, the barely disguised contempt for women, and so on.
Both of these parties are disgustingly corrupt; yet what sustains them both is the illusion amongst the populace that either one represents a real choice from the other.
What most of us would consider to be the authentic left -"led" by such voices as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Michael Albert, publications such as ZNet, The Progressive, Covert Action, and various organizations- are so-thoroughly shut out of the mainstream (corporate) media as to be all but the invisible "left" to much of the American population.
So in discussing the "left/right" schism, we must first be careful to discern between:
the slogans and analysis which prevails in the upper ranks of both,
and the genuine sentiments of the people at the grass-roots level, (who may be unconsciously manipulated, to associate their values with fast-talking charlatans in chameleon-like cloth).
Once this is taken into account, we must acknowledge that both sides of this "left/right" division are partly "wrong," and partly "right," although "they" ("we") who are "wrong" or "right" are not so for the same reasons; and it is these distinctions which are critically important for us to discern.
As I believe our review here will show, "western" society is now moving to a point in its historical discourse, where the insights of the "right-wing" grass-roots is beginning to penetrate into the limits of the "left" perspective. Once this is embraced and understood by the grass-roots "left," the grass-roots "right," in turn, shall find itself transformed.
This is only in its' infancy; there is much bridge-building, dialogue, that remains to be established; yet the relentless increase in the concentration of elite power is clearly causing a continual expansion in the grass-roots dis-empowerment on both the left and right, which is bringing about a common recognition of the term, "anti-globalization."
It's also bringing about a common understanding of the term, "conspiracy-theory," which directly pertains to our subject-matter: the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the response of various "leading" voices on "the left."
Buddy, What's The Paradigm?
In many aspects of life, when we work hard at something, and see some success, it is often tempting for us to think we can continue on in the same way, even when there may be indications that the "success" is of a limited kind; for, when we invest our time and energy into something, we have that much more to lose if conditions should begin to change.
This may be especially true within social movements, where any setback, change, disruption, dissension, and dis-unity may imply the continued suffering of many. (In the mobilization of communities, momentum is very important).
Sometimes, in order to open to a larger vision of "success," we must let go of the old tactics which brought some success; and here, the still-unanswered needs of people in pain can make this doubly hard for us to do.
Thus, those at the "head" of a movement, the most well-known, articulate voices of where a movement is "at," may sometimes be among the last to recognize the need for an underlying change.
One of the fundamental signs of -and challenges to- "success" in democratic movements is the ability to maintain a basis of unity.
Precisely because the strength of democratic culture derives from a respect for diverse opinions and forms of expression, an underlying basis of unity is both, the most critical means of supporting such a dialogue, and the most vulnerable point of contention.
The basis of unity could be described as the reason why people "come together": based on common geography, workplace, or shared social condition, interest, etc.
It provides a focus by which we measure the value of our association, make progress toward a goal, define the contours of conversation, (when to speak or not speak) and so on.
The basis of unity can change. Sometimes it must; yet usually only through struggle; for our need, as individuals, to know where we stand in the midst of an association, is fundamental to that association's continued existence.
In political struggles, we often see that the basis of unity is created in opposition to something else: an exploitative employer, industrial polluter, corrupt politician, etc.
This is largely because, in the modern era of industrial capitalism, the traditional, rural, extended-family ties that have existed since time-immemorial have been rent asunder. In the relative absence of sustained communities, there is little ground upon which to sustain a stable, positive, (creative) basis of unity.
Thus, this "negative" basis of unity is the pre-requisite for the re-creation of more-enduring, sustainable communities; yet until such communities are firmly established, the political associations we form are fragile indeed; for, so long as our unity is based on an intellectual, critical analysis, (an agreement to disagree with others) our internal relations are destined to constantly be undergoing re-examination; and it is for precisely this reason that it's so important for us to maintain a constructive attitude in our criticism of one another's positions.
Given this movement towards stability, the basis of unity in our democratic organizations remains extremely vulnerable to the influence of tyranny, fear, and ignorance.
In contrast to the rigidly-controlled, hierarchical, private tyrannies of a corporate, moneyed, or military kind, the public discourse can be extremely vulnerable to disruption and disarray.
Even well-meaning, (unaware) people can easily de-rail a democratic discussion, simply by not listening to what is being said. Such a dialogue is like a living organism: it breathes by honest expression, and also by voices being heard; it is fed by those who see the line of input, and offer their/our contribution -in order to move it this way or that, while leaving room for others to express and explore their own interpretation. In short, it demands a high sense of social responsibility.
A society's democratic culture, as a whole, has a life-span, a historical line of maturity, just as does a single conversation.
In general, the more-carefully the participants listen to one another, the more-empowered each will be to express themselves; yet in the beginning, the early stages, the quality of the conversation tends to be reduced to the lowest common denominator, to the one least willing to listen and support the overall dialogue.
The contours of the "conversation" are largely constructed around the input of those ("leaders") who most-strongly feel a responsibility to move the discussion, the group consciousness, in a certain direction.
Though our ultimate goal is for ALL people to enjoy a share in the powers of expression and responsibility, we must also recognize that there is an important role for "leaders" to play, along the way.
Thus, the principle question in a "free dialogue" is usually one of control.
There is a constant, ongoing tension, between the input of "leaders," who provide a starting-point, a reference, an impetus -by which other voices are drawn together- and the willingness of those leaders to call upon, invite, and support the input of others.
This "willingness" is ultimately the result of participant's insistence to be heard, (that the "leaders" must listen); and yet, because the "leaders" may be seen to serve a legitimate role, and because the participants may not all feel sufficient confidence to speak, that "insistence" may be insufficiently loud for even the best "leaders" to hear; hence the ongoing tension.
Add to all this, the fact that this occurs within the context of an authoritarian culture.
Here, our commitment to an abundance of empathy, time to listen to others, is daily stabbed in the heart by the heartless demands of the dollar, the time clock, the lords of church and state who rule with an efficiency, almost enviable.
"Law and order" candidates: prolific as cockroaches. The dank odour of fear looms 'round most every headline; and so there is, in the movement for change, an element of suspicion for those who would "lead."
The pages of most history books have been so-thoroughly bleached clean of the bloody crimes committed on "we, the people," that we often don't see the need for such tender discipline, that we may come to even the simplest of agreements.
The grand theft upon which our cultural bankruptcy is based, as yet, has no clear, common name; so neither do our visions yet sound a smooth harmony. (To help clear the air, I recommend Howard Zinn's, "A People's History of the United States").
The history of "the left," (as opposed to "liberalism") is a long one, of brute struggle against seemingly "impossible" odds: illiterate, debt-stricken sharecroppers and factory workers, trying to organize themselves into a union, unarmed, facing the guns of the "company men," spies, vigilantes, the KKK, the "noble church" and state. We can see it in the ranks of peaceful marchers on their way to Montgomery, Alabama, being set on by guard dogs, billy-clubs, and fire hoses. We have the long list of assassinations, our visionaries imprisoned, silenced; and beneath this, (our struggle) we have the often unspoken cancer of racism, sexism, within our own ranks.
We have had to struggle tooth and nail for every victory we could get: and when authorities finally seem to grant an advance in one aspect, they undermine it another; so today, the anti-globalization movement: asking people to make great sacrifices, to face tear gas and riot police, in the name of protesting complex, hard to define issues and forces.
So it is understandable, what with the great difficulty in building and sustaining a grass-roots movement, in the midst of all the forces pitted against it, (with the weight of an enormous propaganda machine bearing down on our minds) that some of those most-dedicated amongst us, (committed to giving a "voice" to this movement) would be extremely sensitive to any speculation which could take our eyes off the already unsteady target.
The 'last thing "we" need,' [many of the leading voices on the left seem to be saying] 'is a lot of "conspiratorial speculation" [about the events of Sept. 11th] 'which only serves to distracts us from the facts which are staring us in the face: the U.S. military, as world's leading "terrorist" organization, the brutal invasion of Afghanistan, and so on.
As already indicated, what may be painfully obvious to informed citizens clearly may not be obvious to a large majority of the population -who apparently do not see in such an analysis, a reason to doubt the need to fight "terrorism."
So while there are advances to be made, in saying no to war and racism,
we need to be very careful about assuming:
1) that this is the sum total of our necessary resistance,
2) whose voice of dissent is a "legitimate" one, and
3) what area of investigation is a threat to our larger basis of unity.
We need to be especially careful of this, in light of the historical experience of "the left"; namely, the tendency to drift toward authoritarian control in the midst of crisis, the horrible nightmare of the Soviet state, and the "vanguard" mentality still prevalent amongst some of the most disciplined, (and well-organized) "left" groups.
It's one thing to say, "It's pointless to make speculation until we've seen the evidence," (or had a chance to gather the evidence together); it's quite another to pass judgement on doubts about the "official investigation," (and the speculation rising from it) as "absurd," (David Corn) or "idiotic," (Michael Albert) before taking time to look at the evidence.
All of this is significant, for it begins to give us a picture of where "the left" is "at," and where the larger "movement" for change stands, in turn.
Another figure who features prominently in the above discussion is Chip Berlet. He's the author of "Right Wing Conspiracism in America," and an associate of "The Public Eye: Website of Political Research Associates,
which describes itself as "an independent, non-profit research center that studies antidemocratic, authoritarian, and other oppressive movements, institutions, and trends." (It's also a source for links to Solomon's memos).
Featured on this site is a page, apparently written by Berlet, detailing the "conpiracism" surrounding 9/11.
A look at the page, indeed,
shows little more then the most "conspiratorial" aspects of this case: remote-controlled planes, bombs in the World Trade Center. (NOTE: Whether or not such questions deserve a closer scrutiny still remains to be explored, [as far as this writer is concerned].
Berlet mentions "the failure of the U.S. government to scramble jet interceptor aircraft in time," but fails to mention the well-known Emperor's Clothes series, or my own, 140 pg. report, "Unanswered Questions," which both describe in great detail the shocking abandonment of routine procedure in airforce response.
In other words, Berlet includes a factually-based, non-speculative element in with more-speculative ones, then offers no evidence to support it; thus suggesting, by association, (unconsciously or not) that it is equally suspect.
(A recent comment from Berlet shows he may not be adverse to dipping deeper into this particular pit of ignorance, in order to sound convincing. He says,
"Why weren't there plans in place to scramble jets… if you research... what you find... not on the web, but if you go to government repositories, you'll look at documents, and they'll say things like, 'You don't scramble planes until you've made contact with the hijackers.' Now why? Because the assumption, which turns out to be false, is the hijackers are either going to make a demand or want to land. And that if you hijack [sic] planes before you're talking to them, they could freak out and shoot the pilot. So you don't want planes flying next to hijacked airliners until you're talking to the hijackers. Now is that a bad idea, in retrospect? Sure it is, but it goes back 7 or 8 years."
Until Berlet identifies the "documents" of which he speaks, it remains uncertain, but likely -that he's making this up out of thin air.
Our research, (on the web, from mainstream and government sources) indicates that the scrambling of fighter-intercepts, (in the case of lost transponder and/or cockpit contact, even before a hijacking occurs) is a routine procedure. The image of civilian air defense, timidly waiting for a hijacker to communicate with them -before putting planes in position- is worthy of a laugh going back 7 or 8 years.
[It may also be helpful to note that the first section of "Unanswered Questions" was e-mailed to dozens of websites with which Berlet would likely be on friendly terms, Znet, DemocracyNow, Webactive, etc. (As we shall see later on, Michael Albert of Znet is quite aware of the "emperor's clothes" website). The fact that Berlet does not mention it here is likely due to the fact that the bulletin was dismissed, either by himself, and/or by the vast majority of them)].
Nor does "Conspiracism 101" mention the legitimate doubts raised by the appalling FBI investigation, the Pentagon's repeat lies, denial of responsibility, and so on, (all well-documented by this author and others).
Also featured here is www.skolnickreport.com, which this writer has already rejected as a credible source on this matter -due to insufficient references and documentation, see Thoughts on Research
The clearest exception to this list of questionable sources is the Michael Ruppert piece, "World War III - This Was Not An Intelligence Failure."
This article is well-written and well-referenced. It may raise as many questions as it answers, (as credible documents often do); yet there is no question but that it adds to the clarity of why doubts about the official 9/11 story are worth exploring, rather than confusing the basis for questioning the "war on terrorism."
It's interesting that Ruppert's piece would be included in such a list.
Berlet himself admits that "Michael C. Ruppert is a tougher call."
" He calls himself a “truth seeker,” rejecting the idea that his theories are rooted in right-wing lore, and seeks open alliance with the left. Ruppert, however, makes sweeping claims that cannot be verified at a time when there is some much verifiable wrongdoing by the government and corporations that the outcome, no matter how unintentional, is that Ruppert’s allegations serve to distract from serious progressive opposition to the status quo and sometimes even discredit it."
So instead of speaking to the specific "sweeping claims that cannot be verified," (as opposed to the ones that can) Berlet makes the above sweeping statement, suggesting that Rupperts claims are so exaggerated as to "distract from serious progressive opposition to the status quo."
The very example of Ruppert's work that Berlet cites here cannot stand accused on this account, save by an extremely narrow lens on what "serious progressive opposition to the status quo" means.
On a specific page discussing Ruppert,
Berlet first disavows any impression that an earlier comment of his may have made, suggesting that Ruppert was a right-wing racist, then says,
"I do believe that the articles on Mr. Ruppert's website are rooted in longstanding right-wing conspiracist theories about secret elites."
Here we seem to have a skewed characterization.
The fact is, "longstanding right-wing conspiracist theories" are rooted in the disenfranchisement of people, as Berlet's own "Conspiracism 101" suggests, ("Conspiracist thinking... symptoms, not causes, of underlying societal frictions").
Such theories do tend to be loaded with mis-information and half-truths, yes; they obscure the concrete nature of Elite power, in some ways, while revealing them in others, ("All conspiracist theories start with a grain of truth": C. Berlet).
Categorizing everything "right-wing" as illegitimate, and then categorizing everything which falls outside of one's own framework of "legitimacy" as "right," is a circular way to avoid a credible examination of both.
As far as Ruppert's work is concerned, it should be easy for us (by now) to distinguish it from much of what is discussed on "Conspiracism 101."
There is nothing in Ruppert's work about "longstanding... secret elites."
As far as his work being "rooted in... right-wing conspiracist theories," let's briefly look at how "Conspiracism 101" defines "right-wing."
One of the authors described here as a "right-wing conspiracist" is the author, Jim Marrs.
Berlet provides an interesting link to a review of Marr's work, where the writer, Bill Weinburg, says,
"Marrs has been going from wacky to wackier throughout his career. His 1990 book Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, was a comparatively legitimate work, and provided much of the source material for Oliver Stone's movie JFK. But he followed it with 1997's Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us, which opened: 'The controversy over the existence of UFOs is over. UFOs are real... The questions now are 'What are they?' and 'What do they want?' What is the alien agenda?'"
Mr. Weinburg goes on to point out some very interesting questions about possible connections between what may be called the rightist takeover of Pacifica Radio and the Jim Marrs perspective; yet a question here arises:
Exactly what is it that Weinburg finds "wacky" about the above statement? That "aliens" exist? Is it "wacky" to believe that other "intelligent" life exists in the universe, beyond earth? at a higher stage of evolution or development? Capable of visiting earth? Is that a categorical impossibility?
I do not ask this question in order to distract from the issue at hand. The "alien" question is certainly one of those most prone to dis-information and far-out speculation; yet it has also attracted the attention of some pretty intelligent observers, and the attempted collation of vast amounts of data, photographs, evidence, etc. (see www.disclosureproject.org).
I ask this question merely to ask a more basic one: What constitutes "wacky"?
How do we distinguish between questions which may appear secondary to the question of social justice, (yet which may ultimately hold underlying significance, beseeching an open mind) and that which is so ridiculous that we can confidently state that it will never win our sympathetic attention, (i.e. flying pigs, fascism, etc).
Mr. Weinburg goes on to describe the "racist" component of Jim Marr's work.
He first quotes Marr's attempt to distance himself from anti-semitism,
""While it may be true that secret organizations in the past were built along both racial and religious grounds" and "[a]lthough many international financiers are of Jewish descent," it is unfair "to accuse the Hebrew race of an international conspiracy... [yet] "the broad brush of anti-Semitism frequently has been used to besmirch anyone offering a conspiratorial view of history."
This does not appear to be sufficient for Weinburg, who goes on to mention Marr's reliance on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and a number of questionable sources.
The reference to the Nazi sympathizer, Eustace Mullins, is important; and still, could this simply be an example of sloppy research on the part of Marrs? not fully examining his sources?
As far as the "Protocals" are concerned, (at least, the version I have read) all one has to do is substitute the word "rabble" wherever the word "goyim" appears, and you have such a pure expression of cynical ambition as to suggest a human relevance; and, if true, what better way to hide its true intent/origin, than for it to be racially-coloured?
(Marrs's "[admission]" that it's a "forgery," notwithstanding).
What better way to discredit a "leaked" document, than for it to become a part of the Nazi lexicon?
Rather than going by what some commentator thinks, I suggest that readers look at the document for themselves. (A "google" search turns up about a dozen results, variously slanted. This one, http://www.subgenius.com/bigfist/evils/kookhate/X0002_ZION.html appears to include the complete document, (including the racial terminology, which I suspect is long-standing disinformation).
Weinburg describes a number of the claims that Marrs makes which do seem far-fetched. Indeed, Marrs appears to be dipping into pools of information where the careful researcher would not care to go.
At the same time, Marrs provides an excellent criticism of the "war on terrorism" on his website, including a comprehensive list of the U.S. invasions/overthrows of sovereign governments over the last half-century, (http://www.jimmarrs.com/view/view102301.html).
If this is what constitutes "right-wing" conspiracy research, I'm glad to know that this is what some people on the "right" are reading.
In his analysis of Marrs, Weinburg describes the earlier book Marrs wrote, "Crossfire," (concerning the assassination of JFK) as a "relatively credible" work. It may be interesting to note that many of Weinburg's colleagues on "the left" consider anyone who questions the "Oswald as lone assassin" theory to be utterly lacking in credibility, (which we shall briefly touch on below).
Further, although some of the claims by Marrs about the "Rothschilds," "Jewish financiers," may be exaggerated, and/or insufficiently substantiated, his claim to not be against "the Hebrew people," while strongly criticizing some of its community members, is neither unreasonable, nor without precedent, or credible company. On April 16, 2002, what may be described as one of the flagships of "left" political commentary, "DemocracyNow," led a program discussing the crisis in the Isreal/Palestine with the caption: "Is Criticizing Israel Anti-Semitic? A Debate." (Archives, http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow.html).
At present, this question of the relation between "the Jews" and imperial power is a controversial one across much of "the left," and of society. Whether or not this has ever been legitimately true in the past may be debated; but it's certainly not accurate to label someone as "a peddler of the most vulgar anti-Semitic conspiracy theory" when they qualify their controversial comments with "[it is unfair] 'to accuse the Hebrew race of an international conspiracy.'"
At the same time, it's possible that Marrs is a paid agent of dis-information, or an unwitting dupe. This remains a question to continue asking of every writer, dear reader, including yours truly. :)
So alongside this characterization of "right-wing" conspiracy-theory, the casual observer might be moved to characterize "left-wing" anti-conspiracist theory as being accurate in some respects, full of unknowns in others, while brandishing a brushstroke of arrogant assumption across the entire landscape -while having virtually nothing to say about the content on Michael Ruppert's website.
Returning to "Conspiracism 101", we may now be moved to inquire as to Berlet's other accusation; namely, that Ruppert's articles "are rooted in longstanding... theories about secret elites."
Even though the content of Ruppert's site shows nothing about "ancient societies/masons," and though Berlet's documentation of such material does show it to be largely speculative, unsubstantiated misinformation, we may be moved to ask:
Is the concept of "ancient, secret societies" entirely irrelevant to our modern condition?
Is it not possible that powerful organizations pre-dating industrial capitalism survived the transition of power from land to industry, and represent another layer of intrigue into the way society today operates?
Surely the basic question of social power, control, underlies every other issue?
Without being simplistic, is it not absolutely necessary for us to develop a simplified understanding of society, through which we can see the multitude of parts, (including the science of control) as a single, working whole?
Why is it "the left" which seems to have virtually ignored this vantage point?
Why has it been consigned to the realms of "right-wing conspiricism"?
Apart from its wildly speculative side, is the avoidance of this basic question by "the left," healthy?
Again, such questions are not intended to "distract" us from the issue at hand, merely to inquire into the ease by which someone may hold up flimsy expressions of a given viewpoint to form an easy target, thereby discrediting what still may be legitimate questions.
All this merely goes to show that, while it's essential that we critically evaluate the contributions that writers/analysts make, (comparing sources, placing works in their social context) we should be very careful in how we categorize people as "right-wing," "racist," "conspiracist," etc. when this may only serve to isolate those whose positive contributions could far outweigh their negative ones -and, even more importantly, initiate a slide down a slippery slope, where others feel afraid (or unable) to observe, reflect, and evolve.
People are complex creatures.
A very moral person, a capable investigator, outraged at some crime, may unwittingly get themselves tied up with a "right-wing" or racist front organization like the "Liberty Lobby," simply because no "left" group shows any interest. Perhaps they are naive politically.
Does this completely deny the validity of their contribution? Not necessarily.
Perhaps they are not a racist at all and haven't been shown the full regalia. Perhaps denouncing them as "a racist" will be the critical factor causing them to have some sympathy with the front-group's claim of "persecution".
Perhaps a serious investigator may appear on a rather "wacky" radio show, because it's one of the few places to get the word out.
The "movement" for change is very large, diverse, and full of contradictory currents. No one can predict the effect of all the various influences.
It's a mistake to assume that increased militancy, radical resistance, or determination to resist fascism is inversely proportioned to a generosity of spirit.
Insofar as our basis of unity is concerned, we need to understand that there are two essential components, though it may often appear to us as if there is only one.
The situations we find ourselves in present to us the necessity for clarification.
Through criticism, our analysis narrows, takes shape: clarity of direction and purpose unfolds, detracting and attracting other voices. The community expands, as a smaller core of committed people, supporting the influx of others; and we may think it a linear progression, singular in direction, where, all we need do is continually refine the analysis, narrow the focus, and more adherents will appear.
We must remember that what feeds the development of new community is the movement of real people in society, -at the core of which lies, the search for a greater experience of freedom. Here, the desire for clarity is accompanied by a desire to explore, and the need for room in which it can occur.
In our creation of community, (alongside the refinements of thought) there must be a space for mystery, a generosity of unknowns, a broader invitation to inquire; otherwise, we slowly stifle the discourse in more-and-more sterile, purified formulas, blinding ourselves to their sectarian effects, only revealing a stagnant membership long after the cancer of arrogant certainty has found a secure home.
The movement of people, (the search within) will remain; yet it will no longer channel in towards our own particular association as before -not when the credentials of language and theory are so strict and stale as to inhibit but a small percentage from breathing freely.
So long as the disempowerment of the people continues to grow, there will be a ready supply of seekers to keep the ranks of various sterile associations alive, allowing many to believe that significant progress is being made -all the while, that the larger movement remains but a patchwork of isolated islands, with a sea of individuals, tentatively aligned, ever on the move, still in search of new, more-satisfying relations: the greater-good floundering, in the face of the more-organized Elite.
Nor is this to suggest an absence of structure or discipline. In fact, it is particularly because we "moderns" tend to have so little experience in democratic culture, empowerment, that we are often attracted to charismatic leaders, programmes with clear answers, confidence, that this question is so important. We need to increase our organizational discipline; yet in such a way that also enriches the process and experience of liberation -including the capacity of individuals to incorporate mystery/exploration into their/our lives.
The ebb and flow of community life appears as inward-looking criticism at one moment, outward invitation to debate the next; when, in fact, they are co-existing, simultaneous, each impulse feeding the other; and we need to find a way of supporting the overall process, by which our movement's organizational expansion can be sustained on a permanent basis.
Rather than relying on the destitution of our condition to maintain an ongoing supply of new adherents -by which we may continually repeat the same, sectarian mistakes- we can choose to recognize the simple chemistry of unstoppable community growth.
Yet this comes at a price, a humbling remembrance that we have no final answers as to the nature and meaning of our political condition. The certainty we experience through criticism is limited and temporary. On the other end of the spectrum are the infinite mysteries of a mass movement: multiple layers of perception, character, association, technology, which we cannot comprehend in whole, save in the most general of terms, (i.e. human beings are ultimately "good," love larger than hate, truth shall prevail, etc).
To acknowledge the mysterious nature of the movement for change, we make room for a little silence in everything our critical eye sees; not to mute our measured words; rather, to give them a little more time to mature, a broader platform in which to germinate new connections -that we may seize the day with that much more vigour, when the moment comes to claim a more-willing response.
In between this drive to "figure out" "what's goin' on," and the illusive, inescapable will of a mass movement, there lies an ongoing dynamic, a beautiful tension.
One way we can align ourselves to a greater, growing discourse, is by balancing of our criticisms of one another: acknowledging the positive connotations, wherever they occur.
There are, of course, practical limitations to this. There is very little that is "positive" in the development of a fascist organization, or a so-called "Patriot Act" -save that it may signal to some the necessity for change, resistance, etc.
A commitment to see the positive alongside the negative is a question of degree; and yet, by the degree of our commitment, there lies the tendency to open up (within ourselves) hitherto unseen avenues by which we may find common cause and transform our divided movement to a more unified power.
In our discussion thusfar, for example, we acknowledge whatever positive connotations there may be to various so-called "right-wing conspiricist" theories, even as their defects are made quite clear: we see the willingness to question government pronouncements; the reflection of grass-roots disempowerment, indicating seeds of opportunity and change, etc.
Further, in our observations of Berlet, Weinburg, Solomon, etc. we recognize many worthwhile concerns -and also how, in the interests of winning the argument, they cast a crude judgement across a wide net of targets, and muddy the waters upon which our reflection could go much deeper.
Whether or not said groups acknowledge the validity of the constructive criticism, the critical factor is in the determinations of the many looking on -you who may see in the commitment to an open-ended, principled discourse, the opportunity to think through the various questions, and contribute something authentic to your own experience/perception.
We see here a relation between two elements.
Clarification, criticism draws to it diverse opinions.
Diversity insists that we give our established basis of unity over to the search for a deeper, underlying vision, found in the surrounding relationship between two or more differing opinions.
In our strengthened trust, we sense the permission, the necessity, to zero in on the smaller details of the equation, (to pinpoint exactly who did what, with what painstaking precision) -then to open again, to a hitherto unseen dynamic.
Basis of unity becomes... as a vehicle for a living movement, rather than static prop of self-identity.
Narrow "certainty" ignites an expanding mystery, an invitation to a process of empowerment, where rules, assumptions, analysis serve as well as judge.
The basis of grass-roots unity demands both, a withering criticism, and a generosity of tone.
When the criticism is too harsh, severe, exclusive, then the mental scope becomes far too complex, (and, oddly enough, simplistic) to be socially empowering. The influx of new input, ideas, experience stifled, yet critics continue to find meaning in forming a tighter circle 'round them/ourselves, blinded to the currents of a movement which they/we unconsciously stand in growing antagonism to: all the while, more-certain that they/we are right.
We know that those who engage in strident categorizations, such as bigots, racists, etc. do so, (in part) out of an emotional insecurity; likewise, we can see that "left-wing intellectuals" who engage in strident political categorizations -isolating people into various "isms"- do so largely out of a sense of insecurity for the movement.
Here, an assumption of 'fighting the battles we can win' serves to reinforce a narrow paradigm of who "we" are. Years of marginalization, scarce resources, cutbacks -leave us taking an ever-harder stand, on a shifting field of play... constantly losing ground... ever more-desperate to define what's goin' down: denying uncertainty, and the room in which to grow.
Necessary as it is for us to pay attention to the smallest details, we must not do so at the cost of developing a broader, more-inclusive vision; rather, we may think of such details as simply the points of engagement, which we should feel free to approach from an infinite number of directions... to seize upon, verify, then let go; for, in truth, the greater unity is already in formation; we are already there as individuals, within it, if we allow ourselves to be, as such: free, in our own thoughts, that we align ourselves to the greater movement, sufficient to see it, as well.
The cost of cutting the human community into fragments is a slippery slope of self-perpetuating isolation and partial answers, pieced together in a more-and-more clinical conundrum. This threatens to invade our temper at any time. No one is immune. Only an ongoing conscious observance of mystery can serve as tonic.
Wherever possible, we need to leave the door open, that others may learn, grow, even as we offer criticism.
We need to distinguish a contributors best work from their weakest, while leaving their human capacity to change unmarked.
Some will refuse this. Some authors intentionally float legitimate criticisms in order to draw attention to their racist platforms -such as the ex-KKK "grand duke" David Duke, and his sudden sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians.
Sometimes an author is just not sufficiently careful with their words, (Skolnick) or has not done his/her homework on the subject of which they speak; then, "the whole thing" falls beyond the ken of our consideration; yet that does not mean they wholly deserve our denunciation; on the contrary, the positive effects of their work may still be legion.
In the interests of coalition-building, leading by example, etc. we try to emphasize a constructive criticism, and leave others to assess their opportunity to respond.
Beyond a certain point, where someone is clearly a committed racist, fascist, etc, there may be no point in trying to persuade them; however, we still may need to be prepared to engage them in debate, from the point of acknowledging the roots of the disempowerment of which they speak, in order to speak to the many who may looking on, (as yet, undecided).
In this case, our greatest hope lies in exposing the true intentions to the light of day, that "the many" will be moved to disassociate, and leave such combatants so thoroughly isolated, as to deprive them of their ill-gotten power.
Disclaimer:) Hey, Kids, don't try this "at home," (i.e. in person). Don't bother trying to debate the leader of a fascist movement in person, for if they, (and their band of cut-throats) recognize in you a voice that could pose a serious threat to their base amongst the masses, they would have no ethical problem in attempting to kill you. I speak here specifically of debate over the internet, which affords us a little more distance, space, etc. within which to air out our views without being trampled upon.
Returning to our "Conspiracism 101" page, we can see that there is a wealth of information provided; and that, on the whole, there is a thread of intelligence and care running throughout much of the content.
Insofar as the investigation into the events of 9/11 is concerned, this page is badly mis-informed. Does this mean that we should discard the rest of the information on "right-wing conspiracism"?
No. It means we should use what is valuable and criticize what is not; and in recognizing the difference, we may come to understand the reason for the inconsistency.
This is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of such a well-documented page; yet perhaps a few examples may serve to illustrate the reasoning behind the refusal to openly question the "official" explanation for what happened on Sept. 11.
The page is constructed around the distinction, the dichotomy, between what is called "conspiracism," and what is referred to as a "structural, systematic" approach.
"Conspiracism tries to figure out how power is exercised in society, but ends up oversimplifying the complexities of modern society by blaming societal problems on manipulation by a handful of evil individuals. This is not an analysis that accurately evaluates the systems, structures and institutions of modern society."
Micheal Albert of Znet says much the same thing, in an article posted on the above page, ("Conspiracy? Not Again" 1992).
Quoting an article he wrote six months before, ("Conspiracy? Not) he says,
"I argued that conspiracy theories largely 'disregard the structural features of institutions' pinning all causal responsibility on conspirators themselves. 'Personalities, personal timetables, secret meetings, and conspirators' joint actions claim attention. Institutional relationships drop from view.'"
From that earlier article, he says,
"conspiracy theory is often compelling and the evidence conspiracy theories reveal is often useful. More, description of the detailed entwinements become addictive. One puzzle and then another and another need analysis. Conspiracy theory has the appeal of a mystery--it is dramatic, compelling, vivid, and human. Finally, the desire for retribution helps fuel continuing forays into personal details.
Second, conspiracy theories have manageable implications. They imply that all was well once and that it can be okay again if only the conspirators can be pushed aside. Conspiracy theories therefore explain ills without forcing us to disavow society's underlying institutions. They allow us to admit horrors, and express our indignation and anger without rejecting the basic norms of society."
This seems accurate. Albert acknowledges that "the evidence conspiracy theories reveal is often useful." It also seems reasonable to note that without a structural analysis alongside, such theories ultimately serve to distract attention from, and conceal the real power relations.
(We should point out, of course, that the "conspiricists" have a structural analysis; "structuralists" would simply say that those structures are overly-simplistic).
"It would be bad enough if endless personalistic attention to Irancontra, the October Surprise, Inslaw, etc., were just attuning people to search after coteries while ignoring institutions. This was the effect, for example, of the many Kennedy Assassination theorists of past decades. At least the values at play would be progressive and we could hope that people would soon gravitate toward real explanation of more structural phenomena."
In other words: critically support the attempt to uncover the facts, and encourage investigators to see the facts they uncover within a larger, structural context.
This only makes sense; for, to investigate a given event, (i.e. the Kennedy assassination) it is not necessary for us to have an expanded "structural" analysis -simply to have a hunch and gather together evidence, facts, reports. It is in the act of organizing and deriving meaning from the facts that our structural analysis becomes a barrier or a boon; and this is why even narrow-minded, a-political, or "right-wing" investigators can sometimes uncover facts important to a 'left-wing structural analysis.'
This is why there may be many sources of quality information, though there may be only a relative few who can put that information together in a meaningful way.
Let a thousand blossoms bloom.
This is why an investigation into the facts, and an expanded structural analysis, should feed into and serve one another -that we may enter into an investigation with a certain view of how society is structured, and find that view undergoing a radical transformation with the facts we uncover.
Such was the case with District Attorney Jim Garrison, in his mammoth investigation into the assassination of JFK. He entered the fray as a "patriot," former FBI, long-standing member of the National Guard, and discovered that the power of his elected government, the FBI, etc. had been eclipsed by an internal coup d'etat of the security apparatus. Along the way, he was forced to consider that much of the media, the banks, and the corporations were "in" on the deal, to the extent that they were serving the institutional exercise of power.
This has been the case with many who have seriously investigated that event: it has challenged people's structural analysis of society, (though not to the degree, perhaps, that Albert, Berlet, you, or I would like. There is still much to be done).
Albert appears to be acknowledging the "progressive" nature of questioning one's own government -even if it falls short of an informed, structural analysis.
I might add that "conspiracists" are at least willing to admit that something is wrong; and this is an important starting-point. They may, indeed, vastly over-simplify the structural reality of modern society; but this is characteristic of people on the early steps of a long journey.
However, Albert appears to take a different tact in his closing comments.
"LEFTIST INSTITUTIONALIST theorists generally ignore conspiracy theorists as irrelevant. To confront their arguments is to enter a miasma of potentially fabricated detail from which there is no escape. Nothing constructive emerges. But perhaps this view needs some rethinking. When Holly Sklar, Steve Shalom, Noam Chomsky or any of many other left analysts talk about events, even about Irancontra or the October Surprise, they pay attention to proximate facts but also the institutional context. That's as it should be, but apparently it's no longer good enough. Now, those who have an institutional critique may have two additional responsibilities. First, perhaps they should point out the inadequacy of left conspiracy theory, showing that at best it does not go far enough to be useful for organizers. Second, perhaps they should debunk and castigate rightist conspiracy theory, removing its aura of opposition and revealing its underlying racist and elitist allegiances."
Hmmmm.... could this be the founding cry for the creation of "Conspiracism 101"?
In his next article on the subject, (six months later, "Conspiracy? Not Again," cited above)
Albert zeroes in on the work of sometimes Pacifica radio host David Emory.
"Emory eloquently runs off a long string of events and connections that sound plausible on the road to these types of conclusions. So if you're listening in your car it sounds pretty damn good. Who can dredge up counter-evidence under such circumstances? Who is going to think. wait a minute, if George Bush is trying to promote gun control so he'll be able to impose martial law, why does he oppose gun control? Why does he refuse to ban assault rifles? If the CIA is running the gun control lobbies. why would the have Colby openly support those lobbies, thereby attracting everyone-s attention to their secret? If we're heading toward Latin America-style inflation, as Emory claims. how come inflation has been steadily dropping over the last ten years? The problem is, once conspiracy theories get our attention, we can all too easily get caught in the details, until the forest disappears for the trees, and then, worse, even the trees disappear and we are left only with fabricatio
Without getting into the details of Emory's program, we can see that the main problem Albert seems to have here is that, "once conspiracy theories get our attention, we can all too easily get caught in the details...."
Meaning, if we could continue to ignore these "conspiracy-theories," we would; but when they actually sound credible enough to garnish a "progressive" audience?
And look at what Albert seems to find most irritating: "we can all too easily get caught in the details...." From his earlier document, "To confront their arguments is to enter a miasma of potentially fabricated detail from which there is no escape."
So on the one hand, Albert, (and I presume Berlet) are wary of the "miasma" of "details"; yet look at their respective websites: massively detail-orientated. We can only assume that they want us readers to consider a greater attention to detail in our political investigations -yet only some details, and not others.
Ordinarily, we would assume that if one took the time to thoroughly investigate any political viewpoint, (even a pro-fascist one) that the truth would eventually come clear; that is, if we were to trust our own capacity to think.
And this seems to be the hurdle that Albert cannot cross: he doesn't trust that people can think for themselves enough, to make their/our way through the fog; and so he calls upon the likes of "Chomsky, Shalom, and Sklar" to provide the appropriate doctrine: if we cannot control the contours of the debate, then we must isolate and remove those that interfere.
Now again, this is valid -to a point. Every discussion has to have boundaries. Every discussion has to have a thread, and a commitment to follow n' feed it. The need for some basis of unity is legitimate. What is unnecessary and inappropriate, is the attempt to control what kind of information is acceptable -for the purposes of research and debate.
For many people who have had personal dealings with Micheal Albert, (amongst other "left" intellectuals, I'm sure) it's clear that he's quite comfortable with quantities of information; and he uses those quantities as a weapon in debates, (often to constructive effect); he seems to have no doubt in his mind that he can argue down "corporatist," racist, reactionary positions with little difficulty.
Yet so soon as he is faced with a situation where the lines are not so clearly drawn, where the overlapping layers of discord and agreement are so complex, that the ensuing quantity of info., (the "miasma") threatens to overwhelm him, he calls for new levers of control, and proceeds to attack those who threaten his preferred position.
The strength and weakness of Albert's Znet.org, of Chomsky, and a whole host of "left" writers is reflected in this quantification of truth which, taken as a whole, is solid as a rock, about as tasty -and perhaps, almost as difficult for many to digest. Even the sound of Chomsky's monotone voice is enough to make ordinary mortals run for a rock tune on the radio -not to miss the merits of the man. It's not that there is brilliance lacking therein; rather, that the adherence to quantified theory curtails the colour, overall, and masks a stifling of debate which few have felt bothered to question -'till now.
Getting back to Dave Emory:
I have listened to some of his programs, and found them interesting, though difficult to follow. Since I feel no direct competition between Emory's audience and my own, I see no reason to describe his work as "convoluted... divorced from reality"; and if I did feel the necessity to engage his work, (as Micheal Albert seems to) I would tend to say, 'His claims may be largely accurate, but I don't see enough documentation, or a sufficiently coherent narrative to make an accurate determination, at this time. I will listen when I can, and perhaps will glean some useful information here and there. My time is largely occupied with work that is clearly referenced.'
For those who may wish to review Emory's work, click here,
To put it another way: let's say, (hypothetically) that only 40% of Emory's claims of who is doing what is strictly accurate; is it not still possible that his core analysis of how society operates is generally true? (i.e. the relations of power) -and that, the overall benefit of his influence is far more positive than not?
Emory is obviously a dedicated dude. He may be marred by paranoia; or then again, maybe not. If he is not a mouthpiece of disinformation, hired by the security apparatus, then he deserves our critical support.
The point is, there are many ways of contributing to the awakening of people's consciousness. Yours may be different than mine. We can offer one another critical suggestions and still not agree entirely -even while we benefit from another's contributions and work towards a greater goal. Wherever it is possible, we serve our movement far better by supporting people's positive contributions while offering criticisms -than by simply issuing the call to quarantine their thoughts from our own, because they refuse to submit to the format that we feel the political dialogue needs to take.
Recently Micheal Albert has weighed more-directly into the 9/11 debate, bestowing his "conspiracist/structuralist" analysis upon it.
This appears to be an exceptionally ponderous work. In typical "structuralist" fashion, the authors begin with a long introduction to the concept of "conspiracy-theory," (covering six points) -apparently, to prepare the reader, that we may be more-fully prepared to swallow what follows.
In his listing of the "leading 9/11 conspiracy theories," we find the vast majority of them are indeed, of the more-difficult to believe, and/or dubious kind: remote-controlled planes, explosives in the WTC, machinations of the Mossad.
Mixed in with this questionable list, is the relatively reasonable possibility that elements of the U.S. and Isreali security apparatus had sufficient fore-knowledge to stop the attacks -and didn't, in order to serve their imperial policy ends. Admittedly, a disturbing concept to consider; yet surely on a different scale of believability than "remote-controlled planes."
Interestingly enough, this "foreknowledge theory" is the one put forward by Micheal Ruppert; thus, we see that Micheal Albert's approach is exactly the same one as that taken by Chip Berlet; that is, hold up a list of flimsy or incredible viewpoints to form an easy target, thereby discredit what may be legitimate questions that you don't want to deal with.
Noticeably absent from this list, (yet surely implied in it) is the viewpoint that there are so many startling inconsistencies with the "official" explanation for what happened on Sept. 11th, as to justify an open, careful debate.
From this point on, however, all such considerations are lumped in with the thoroughly-loaded term "conspiracy theory" -and, I dare say, any of you reading this document, with the label, "conspiracy-theorist."
Readers already familiar with the large amount of credible evidence gathered in this case, may recognize in Albert's approach the mark of one not seriously interested in a discussion: he picks off the weakest, most peripheral elements, (INS student Visas, Richard Reid, unchanged airport security) slanting them into insignificance; he resorts to ridicule, repeatedly likening questions about 9/11 to "turtles, all the way down," (a tactic we will see later with Chomsky); he selectively ignores the point made by one of the few investigators he bothers to reference.
For example: He quotes Bykov and Isreal, talking about how Dick Cheney admitted on national TV that the Secret Service and the FAA had "open lines after the world trade enter was [hit]."
'There is only one explanation for the Secret Service allowing President Bush to take the deadly risk of going to the Booker School on the morning of September 11th.
George Walker Bush knew the plans for 9-11. And because he knew those plans, he knew that nobody was going to attack the Booker School'
From this, Albert says,
The premise here is that anyone aware that the Twin Towers were struck would know that the president and the country were in immediate danger.
No, Michael, not anyone: the secret service (who were aware, [along with the FAA] that the plane which crashed into the WTC had been hijacked, that another plane, 175, presently in the New York City area, had been declared hijacked, and that another out of Washington one was suspected, 77) they would have known that the pResident and country were in danger; unless of course.....
But then why didn't the Secret Service demand to rush Bush to safety?
Good question Michael, (One would think that's the point, right?).
If Bush were going to overrule his Secret Service team, wouldn't we have seen some evidence of it between 9:05 (when Tower 2 was struck) and 9:30?
Whaaa??? Overrule?.... wait a minute..... What kind of twisted... logic is this?
First of all, anyone reading the article in question would know that the central point is this: the secret service is obligated to protect the pResident; in times of danger, they typically tell him what to do; they fully knew about the danger; and Bush admitted that he knew what was "going on" before he left his hotel. The article is suggesting that the secret service knew that Bush was in no danger, and that the reason Bush did not overrule his secret service team was because he knew what was going on as well.
Can you see how ass-backwards Albert's logic is? What secret-service directive exactly, was Bush supposed to overrule -for which Albert seeks "evidence"?
Again: The point that Bykov and Isreal are trying to make, (as I understand it) is that the standard secret-service directive (to protect the President) was overruled, in not getting the President to safety; the "evidence" is in his decision to sit in a school classroom for half an hour and do nothing.
I've spent the last twenty minutes trying to figure out how Albert managed to miss the point on this one.
Anyone else have a clue?
Then Albert says,
Or, if the Secret Service is in on it -- could the plotters really be certain that they all would maintain perfect silence about a mass murder plot?
Can you see the sawed-off shotgun approach Albert is using? (Or maybe we should call it the "Solomon-vacuum-cleaner"). First he totally misreads the point of the article he is criticizing; then, when he comes close to the point, he brings in an unsubstantiated piece of political speculation to keep us from looking at the matter.
According to Albert, collusion between Bush and the secret-service is supposed to imply some kind of "leakage." That's possible. There are also others.
Ever hear of the chain-of-command? Ever hear of various groups within a security apparatus acting with various degrees of impunity? -where one hand often doesn't know what the other is doing, and they don't care, so long as the security apparatus itself benefits? so long as "we, the people" don't find out? Ever hear about mutual understanding of shared interest? How about "the culture of power"?
These are only a few of the possible aspects that come to mind -to explain how a massive, complex government structure actually operates. This, in itself, constitutes a hugely important question, worthy of careful consideration. Whichever explanation you're partial to, dear reader, I simply submit that there is room for legitimate debate here, and that Albert is using whatever angle he can -to keep from honestly looking at the evidence.
Earlier on, Albert had said of (slick) Dick Cheney's slip of the tongue, (on national TV)
So here is Cheney, who has just successfully plotted to incinerate thousands of Americans, and, if we pay attention to this sort of discussion at all, we're supposed to believe that he didn't prepare his cover story well enough to avoid blurting out too much.... But if Bush and Cheney really had just plotted the murders of thousands of people, why would they "ask" Daschle to limit the probes? If he is intransigent, why wouldn't they just arrange for him to have a little "accident," thereby throwing control of the Senate back to the GOP (since South Dakota's Governor, who would appoint a replacement, is a Republican)? Why weren't nosy reporters who've tried to find documents relating to what Bush knew accidentally struck by trucks? Here are some of the most ruthless and devious murderers in history, we are told, and they "blurt out too much" and "ask" their foes not to probe too deeply.
and all this, in the same document where Albert accuses the "Conspiracy theorists [for endowing] their enemies.... with immense powers and near infallibility."
Isn't it interesting how often people are guilty of the very things they accuse others of? Albert repeatedly complains here that such conspiracy theories are such a "miasma" of incoherent, contradictory arguments, as to not be worth the time wading through; and this is just the feeling I'm left with -trying to find my way through his arguments, which make up in arrogance, what they lack for in coherence.
Alas, it seems... what with Albert's position in the movement, a point-by-point response to this badly-flawed article is in order.
Readers may find a reasonably thorough response here,
(though the opening sections may seem quite wordy. Readers may wish to scroll down to the analysis proper).
Returning to the "Conspiricism 101" page, we find two other authors that I have already found to be of value in the search for the truth: herein described under the same, "nutty," "absurd," "baseless" brushstroke of choice: John Judge, and J. Fletcher Prouty.
These are only the first two I managed to come across; and I won't bother to go into the details of Berlet's charges. You can, if you wish.
You may also wish to check out some websites pertaining to the individuals in question. Judge for yourself.
Writings of John Judge,
Audio Interview with John Judge concerning Sept. 11, 2001,
2001 archive, show #51
J. Fletcher Prouty,
Book based on interviews with J. Fletcher Prouty, ("Understanding Special Operations")
Perhaps one of the most glaring, disturbing inconsistencies with Berlet's left-wing "anti-conspiricism" is how perfectly it seems to dovetail with what may be the single-most "popular," contemporary slogan of "right-wing" derision today; the most-prominent phrase directed toward virtually any criticism of institutional power; that is, "conspiracy-theory."
Who hasn't heard this phrase a hundred times? Hollywood felt compelled to make a movie by that name about fifteen years ago. (Standard procedure for reactionary phrases becoming part of common prejudice). It has even eclipsed "politically-correct" as the number one slogan of the silk-suited sycophants of "right-wing" radio and print, praising the status-quo.
When Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney first made public her doubts about the 9/11 "story," it was to phrases like "grassy-knoll society" that spin-specialists like press-secretary Ari Fleischer so-cynically turned.
This is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of this most conspicuous campaign; yet it seems almost cowardly of such dissident luminaries, (Berlet, Albert, etc.) that they would step into a ring, charged with such deception, and throw similar labels in the direction of others who are criticizing government, already vulnerable to attack.
While it is understandable that we would want to resist the realm of the "conspiracy-theory," we should also not confuse this with carefully referenced research, nor a narrow mind with the capacity to put the pieces of a larger whole together, in body, spirit, and mind.
As Barrie Zwicker suggests, "[at a certain point,] the term conspiracy-theory becomes just an excuse not to do your homework."
Hopefully, after having discussed all this, we can see that the writers of the "Conspiracism 101" webpage do offer a valuable service -and that, it would be wrong of us to deny this because of it's badly flawed presentation of the 9/11 investigation, Michael Ruppert, amongst others.
Those of us who are aware of the impressive contributions of Michael Albert at Znet should see his comments in a similar light; and by extension, Norman Solomon, long-standing associate of FAIR, KPFA, etc.
The fact that such established voices of the democratic movement could be so arrogant in their dismissal of other voices should not cause us to dismiss the value of theirs. Nor should this surprise us.
Although it's understandable that Michael Ruppert would be upset about his treatment by Solomon, Berlet, and others, his charge of "censorship" and "gestapo-like tactics" seems exaggerated.
The fact is,
so long as scores of impoverished peasants are getting their faces blown off on a daily basis, and women raped as a matter of course, by vicious death-squads armed and financed by "western" elites,
so long as civil liberties are torn up as so many pieces of paper, while drug-money worms its way into every facet of a fraudulent and flailing economy -chugging out its endless exhaust fumes onto an exhausted planet,
so long as disinformation churns out from virtually every quarter
we who feel thoroughly-committed to the cause of fundamental change may also feel perfectly justified in assuming a "take-no-prisoners," "hard-ball" attitude, where we "take no shit" from anybody we feel is "distracting attention" from the real issues, or misrepresenting our efforts.
This is precisely why it's so important that we maintain a constructive tone in our criticism of one another; or rather, why it's so difficult for us to do so, in the light of the pressures all around -and why, it's important for us to remain diligent in our adherence to it.
In contrast, it's so much easier for us to be abrasive, to win points in the skirmish, and lose potential allies in the process.
Two more brief examples may round out our illustration nicely.
Here is Jared Isreal, (of Emperors-clothes.net) lambasting Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and other "leading leftists" for their misrepresentation of the Serbs, and their so-called "atrocities."
These people like Chomsky and Vuk and Mike Albert of Z magazine - fill political spaces and by right of occupation head off debate and action. They function to impede, like fat in an artery. By misdirecting and demoralizing opposition to US and German policy they have made themselves accomplices in the break-up of Yugoslavia in general and the fascist takeover of Kosovo in particular.
I realize these are harsh words. I mean every one. Am I impolite?
If the reader takes a look at the above document, one may be moved to feel that Jared Isreal has a right to be upset. Those of us aware of the "left" ignorance (and sometimes hostility) towards the "unanswered questions" of 9/11, may be especially sympathetic. Yet is it fair to characterize such people as Chomsky, Zinn, Albert, as "fat in an artery"? On the whole, no -just like it's not helpful to treat them like saints.
Is Jared impolite? Yup, though this does not take away from his remarkable contributions to the 9/11 investigation, amongst many others.
Might we sympathize with Chomsky for having to deal with such combative correspondence? Probably.
I'm reminded of an interview Chomsky gave some time ago, with Alex Jones of www.infowars.com
I was pleased to hear of the interview because, as I understand it, Jones is a fierce critic of the American government, (New World Order) from a "right-wing" slant, Chomsky from the left; and it seemed both parties were willing to take a step towards a common understanding. The interview went well, (talking about propaganda) then it ran aground when they started to talk about gun control. Chomsky sensed a tension rising in Jones's voice, and suggested a few times, "this is something we can work out," (i.e. 'let's not allow this to get in the way of what we DO agree on). Two seconds after Chomsky was off the phone, in a vicious tone of voice, Jones called Chomsky a "shill of the New World Order"; and I'm sure Chomsky's associates told him what Jones said, and that Chomsky would be less-compelled to open up to any such doors in the future.
(Examples of Chomsky intransigence follows below....)
So can you see, dear reader, how important it is that we maintain a constructive attitude in our criticism? Can you see how much easier it is to just lay into somebody? Spew vindictive when they do something we see as causing pain -than to try and creatively sustain some underlying basis of unity?
Can you see how our unity in action sometimes requires an extraordinary patience? -a willingness to give way to a less-than-complete description of the truth, (in the short term) that we may build on a deeper understanding (in the long)?
Who here does not know the maddening call to remain calm and confident in the midst of atrocities? -the heavy weight of words, piled high, on page after page, in debates such as these, while all around us, the world spins into deeper dimensions of fear and fanaticism?
Ultimately love, generosity of spirit, and cooler heads shall prevail; but not before being tested in the fire of this, our great internal struggle.
If it's no accident that such mis-understanding should exist between such committed activists, of far greater significance is that those of us who have yet to come to the fore in this, our movement for change, realize our historic necessity -and help bring about what others may now only speak of in embryonic form.
It is no condemnation of those leading voices amongst us, that they cannot "be" everything that is needed; for, reflected in the mirror, is a greater path unfolding.
In all this seemingly fruitless impasse, we may see an underlying significance, in the "left-wing" avoidance of what happened on Sept 11, 2001.
Here's what Noam Chomsky had to say, when asked about the 9/11 attacks, (Znet "Sustainer" forum).
"I must be missing something here. Usually I have no problem following your
logic. This time, I'm confused. How can it not be an important question.... [discusses benefits of the attacks for the military/industrial complex...] I don't think your critical mind gives them the benefit of the doubt about
any other issue. Why this? Doesn't your sharp nose pick up some funny smelling
things? The squelching of investigations, the laughable stuff like koran's &
flight manuals in cars at the airport, the two towers falling straight down in
two neat piles when demolishing buildings is supposedly an art form, the failure
for the most routine of air force defense practices to have been used when
pilots first stopped communicating with the controllers, routine practices that
occur thousands of times each year? I think there’s credible stuff out there,
for example, that would lead one to conclude that there was a stand down order
given to the airforce, necessarily by the highest levels of gov’t, so that they
failed to even perform visual inspections of these clearly hijacked planes, WHEN
VISUAL INSPECTIONS ARE COMMON AND ROUTINE WHEN EVEN THE SLIGHTEST PROBLEM IS
PERCEIVED, WELL BEFORE IT IS KNOWN THAT A PLANE IS HIJACKED. ARE YOU READING ANY
OF THIS STUFF?"
"Many questions would be important if there were grounds for taking them seriously: e.g., the question whether Osama bin Laden is responsible for global warming (think how much he could gain by using it as a threat against the infidels). But they are not important if there are no such grounds. That's what seems to me the case here.
The logic is straightforward enough. The issue reduces to a question of fact. It's worth bearing in mind that even carefully constructed scientific experiments leave all sorts of unexplained curiosities; have a look at the letters pages of any technical journal, say _Science_, and you'll find plenty of examples. Real world phenomena are so complex that they are sure to be surrounded by myriad uncertainties, confusions, and apparent implausible effects. The question is whether they are to be taken seriously.
The only "benefit of the doubt" I think we should give is to the facts."
As should be quite clear to just about any observer here, Chomsky's response constitutes little more than articulate avoidance.
He reminds us that there are facts to prove anything, to cover over the fact that he's choosing not to look at them in this particular case.
The questioner has posted some compelling reasons why Chomsky should look into this, (though to be fair to Chomsky, no substantive links were provided); and he has chosen to ridicule the suggestion of evidence by equating it to blaming Bin Laden for global warming.
The complexity of "real world phenomena" always has an underlying simplicity to it. The simplicity here is that Chomsky doesn't want to seriously respond to the question, while trying to appear otherwise.
It's one thing of course, to say, "I can pass no opinion because I haven't had time to read the information; it's quite another to pass dispersion and ridicule on the idea of looking into it, when one hasn't done so.
This is not the first time that Chomsky has shown himself capable of using such sophisticated abstractions to mask an unwillingness to inquire.
In his 1996 book, "Dirty Truths," (pgs. 172 - 191) acclaimed author Michael Parenti discusses Chomsky's refusal to look at the evidence concerning the JFK assassination, and of "The Conspiracy Phobia on the Left."
"Chomsky says that it is a 'curious fact that no trace of the wide-ranging conspiracy appears in the internal record, and nothing has leaked” and “credible direct evidence is lacking' (Z Magazine, 1/93, and letter to me, 12/15/92).
Chomsky is able to maintain his criticism that no credible evidence has come to light only by remaining determinedly unacquainted with the mountain of evidence that has been uncovered.
It is an either-or world for those on the Left who harbour an aversion for any kind of conspiracy investigation: either you are a structuralist in your approach to politics or a “conspiracist” who reduces historical developments to the machinations of secret cabals, thereby causing us to lose sight of the larger systemic forces. As Chomsky notes: 'However unpleasant and difficult it may be, there is no escape from the need to confront the reality of institutions and the policies and actions they largely shape.' (Z Magazine, 10/92).
I trust that one of the institutions he has in mind is the CIA. In most of its operations, the CIA is by definition a conspiracy, using covert actions and secret plans, many of which are of the most unsavory kind. What are covert operations if not conspiracies? At the same time, the CIA is an institution, a structural part of the national security state. In sum, the agency is an institutionalized conspiracy.
As I pointed out in published exchanges with Cockburn and Chomsky (neither of whom responded to the argument), conspiracy and structure are not mutually exclusive dynamics.
Conspiracies are a component of the national security political system, not deviations from it. Ruling elites use both conspiratorial covert actions and overtly legitimating procedures at home and abroad. They finance everything from electoral campaigns and publishing houses to mobsters and death squads. They utilize every conceivable stratagem, including killing one of their own if they perceive him to be a barrier to their larger agenda of making the world safe for those who own it.
G. William Domhofff points out: 'If ‘conspiracy’ means that these [ruling class] men are aware of their interests, know each other personally, meet together privately and off the record, and try to hammer out a consensus on how to anticipate and react to events and issues, then there is some conspiring that goes on in CFR [the Council for Foreign Relations], not to mention the Committee for Economic Development, the Business Council, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency.' After providing this useful description of institutional conspiracy, Domhoff then conjures up a caricature that often clouds the issue: 'We all have a tremendous tendency to want to get caught up in believing that there’s some secret evil cause for all of the obvious ills of the world.” Conspiracy theories “encourage a belief that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.'
To this simplistic notion Peter Dale Scott responds: “I believe that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to a few bad people but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.” In sum, national security state conspiracies are components of our political structure, not deviations from it.
Chomsky claims that the Nazi-like appeals of rightist propagandists have a counterpart on the Left: 'It’s the conspiracy business. Hang around California, for example, and the left has just been torn to shreds because they see CIA conspiracies . . . secret governments [behind] the Kennedy assassination. This kind of stuff has just wiped out a large part of the left' (Against the Current 56, 1993). Chomsky offers no evidence to support this bizarre statement.
The left critics’ hatred of Kennedy clouds their judgment about the politcal significance of his murder. They mistake the low political value of the victim with the high political importance of the assassination, its implications for democracy, and the way it exposes the gangster nature of the state.
Instead of seizing the opportunity, some left writers condescendingly ascribe a host of emotional needs to those who are concerned about the assassination cover-up. According to Max Holland, a scribe who seems to be on special assignment to repudiate the JFK conspiracy: 'The nation is gripped by a myth
. . . divorced from reality,' and 'Americans refuse to accept their own history.' In Z Magazine (10/92) Chomsky argued that 'at times of general malaise and social breakdown, it is not uncommon for millenarian movements to arise.' He saw two such movements in 1992: the response to Ross Perot and what he called the 'Kennedy revival' or 'Camelot revival.' Though recognizing that the audiences differ, he lumps them together as 'the JFK-Perot enthusiasms.' Public interest in the JFK assassination, he says, stems from a 'Camelot yearning' and the 'yearning for a lost Messiah.'
Throughout the debate, Chomsky repeatedly assumes that those who have been troubled about the assassination must be admirers of Kennedy. In fact, some are, but many are not.
Having never read the investigative literature, they dismiss the investigators as irrelevant or irrational. To cloak their own position with intellectual respectability.
Erwin Knoll, (former editor of the Progressive) talks disparagingly of the gullible U.S. public and says he 'despises' Oliver Stone for playing on that gullibility.
Surveys show that 78 percent of the public say they believe there was a conspiracy. Both Cockburn in the Nation and Chomsky in Z Magazine dismiss this finding by noting that over 70 percent of the people also believe in miracles.
In any case, the comparison is between two opposite things. Chomsky and Cockburn are comparing the public’s gullibility about miracles with its unwillingness to be gullible about the official line that has been fed to them for thirty years. If anyone is gullible it is Alexander Cockburn who devoted extra column space in the Nation to support the Warren Commission’s tattered theory about a magic bullet that could hit both Kennedy and Connolley while changing direction in mid-air and remaining in pristine condition."
Parenti uses numerous quotes and sources to show that Chomsky's position that JFK was not intending to limit American involvement in Vietnam is on very thin ground....
As an example,
"Chomsky argues that the CIA would have had no grounds for wanting to kill JFK, because he was a dedicated counterinsurgent cold warrior.
He closed the armed CIA camps that were readying for a second Bay of Pigs invasion and took a number of other steps designed to bring the Agency under control. He fired its most powerful and insubordinate leaders, Director Allen Dulles, Deputy Director Charles Cabell, and Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell. He tried to reduce its powers... jurisdiction... set strict limits as to its future actions... appointed a high-level committee to investigate the CIA’s past misdeeds."
Suffice to say, anyone who believes that there was no conspiracy in the assassination of JFK has simply not looked into the massive amount of credible evidence on the matter.
For those still unsure, yet willing to investigate, here are a few credible sources to get you started.
J. Fletcher Prouty, (former "focal-point" liaison officer between the CIA and The Joint Chiefs, under Kennedy, cited above)
This site features almost weekly updates on the JFK investigation.
The above two sites hold a vast amount of information. I recommend you make use of the audio files wherever possible, to lessen eye strain and facillitate retention of vital information. Of particular value in this regard, may be Ed Asner's reading of Jim Garrison's book, "On the Trail of the Assassins." (Go to: blackopradio.com, click on "archives," 2001, then program number 54).
(Also previously cited above)
"Understanding Special Operations," (book based on interviews with J. Fletcher Prouty)
Writings of John Judge,
The point of Parenti's comments seem well-founded:
There is no inherent contradiction between a theory of "conspiracy" and a "structural" analysis. They are part of a single whole.
Many otherwise radical people on "the left" have avoided discussing the assassination of JFK, and sometimes even participated in disinformation campaigns in order to shut people up.
They have mistaken a rose-colored memory of Kennedy for "the high political importance of the assassination, its implications for democracy"
They have cloaked the reality of people's interest in the case into an "emotional" messianic longing.
Like many half-baked homilies, (as Chip Berlet notes in his criticism of the "conspiricists") these points by Chomsky and others have a grain of truth; yet they have been used to stifle debate and keep people misinformed.
Chomsky goes so far as to say that "the left has just been torn to shreds [my emphasis] because they see CIA conspiracies . . . secret governments [behind] the Kennedy assassination. This kind of stuff has just wiped out a large part of the left."
It must be obvious to the reader that, if anything, it is Chomsky's version of what "the left" is which has been "torn to shreds," not "the left"; and he doesn't seem to want to recognize that it may have been the stubbornness of he and his colleagues, (to not give this case, and perhaps others, a fair hearing) which may be partly or largely responsible for this.
A "google" search on Chomsky turns up the following link,
(Essential points summarized below, if you don't want to read the entire piece).
"I haven't read the Parenti transcript you mention or what he has published on the same topic (I understand that there are articles, also a book, if I recall). You asked me to comment on his statement that (1) neither Cockburn nor I "knows a damn thing about the assassination" and that (2) we "are looking at the issue from a left wing perspective..." I can't answer for Cockburn, but for me, statement (1) is close to true and statement (2) is gibberish, neither true nor false.
On (1), it's true that I know very little about the assassination. The only thing I've written about it is that the claim that it was a high-level conspiracy with policy significance is implausible to a quite extraordinary degree. History isn't physics, and even in physics nothing is really "proven," but the evidence against this claim is overwhelming, from every testable point of view, remarkably so for a historical event.
Given that conclusion, which I think is very well founded (that I have written about, a lot), I have no further interest in the assassination, and while I've read a few of the books, out of curiosity, I haven't given the matter any attention and have no opinion about how or why JFK was killed....
Given the plain facts about (1), I think it is clear why (2) is gibberish. Parenti or anyone else who reads what I have written can readily determine, if rational, that (2) is gibberish, because of the plain facts about (1).... The evidence is so overwhelming that questions of interpretation hardly arise. If someone can show that they do, I'll gladly look. But what I have looked at on this question (for example, various elaborate theories about JFK's alleged intentions on Vietnam, or policy changes resulting from his death, or similar things about Cuba, the Cold War, etc.) simply does not begin to withstand rational inquiry.
That's true even of work by personal friends who are serious scholars on other issues, but who become so irrational on this issue that they cannot even read the words that are before their eyes, sometimes in the most remarkable ways. As for whether "power elites perceived JFK to be a threat to the status quo," the statement is close to meaningless. If someone can produce some coherent version of the statement, and then some evidence for that version, I'll be glad to look at it. I don't know Parenti's work well, but most of what I've read is quite good and useful, except on this topic. That's not unique to him. The JFK assassination has engendered a kind of cult-like reaction, and ordinarily rational people act in what seem to me very strange ways.
Professor Chomsky says "I know very little about the assassination," and prefers to keep his comments to "the claim that it was a high-level conspiracy with policy significance... implausible to a quite extraordinary degree... the evidence against this claim is overwhelming."
He says, "If someone can produce some coherent version of the statement, ('power elites perceived JFK to be a threat to the status quo,') and then some evidence for that version, I'll be glad to look at it."
In other words, unless someone shows Chomsky evidence on the aspect of the case which, admittedly, (on the surface) seems contradictory, he is unwilling to look at the massive amount of credible evidence which has been gathered in the case from every angle imaginable: the open windows on the parade route, the changing of the parade route, the "magic-bullet" theory, the immediate washing of the presidential limousine, and on and on.
Only after critically-examining the "official" story -against the evidence of the act, and of standard investigative procedure- does it then become a plausible, inescapable explanation:
even a member of the ruling Elite, at that time, could have become sufficiently antagonistic to the apparatus of hidden authority, (between and beneath the pillars of class, race, gender) as to necessitate his removal.
The juxtaposition of a vain, ambitious politician, who felt himself entitled to a certain authority, (as the elected head of state) and the machinations of an un- elected arm of the Oval office, (which had become too strong too accept the censure of that office) could have been seen coming from a long way off.
Naturally, dear reader, I don't expect you to agree with the above explanation, without an opportunity to look at the facts. I simply offer it, (as a possibility, the result of many years of research and reflection on the matter) to show how a viewpoint, (which is, admittedly) frightening to contemplate, necessitates a prescription for change which is deeper than those who don't want to look at such facts... want to go.
At the same time, we must also go beyond the temptation to cast aside the contributions of those who only want to go so far in their understanding of power.
Perhaps now it is undoubtedly clear.
Perhaps now we can come to no other conclusion but that, (at best) Corn, Solomon, Berlet, Albert, Chomsky, (and others) are unwilling to look at certain bodies of evidence because of a tactical, strategic decision they have made with themselves, (unconsciously or not) as individuals, and in association with one another.
Given that we are all human, and all prone to limitations, this is only natural, in a sense. As these "leading voices" on "the left" play a crucial role in the conscious self-reflection of the movement for change, it is of particular importance that we understand this blind-spot; namely,
They assume the "social consciousness" within "the movement" for change to be at a certain level of development, bordered by certain concrete conditions of global oppression and domestic, ("western") alienation and misinformation.
They believe there already is sufficient, provable evidence to justify fundamental social change; and that, notions of power beyond the pillars of class, race, gender, imperialism, etc. only distracts us from the necessity before us.
Implied in this outlook, is a recognition that the role which covert elements play in the exercise of power may be significant, but that we should stick to the battles 'we can win' (i.e. which are 'provable').
Although this approach may seem quite reasonable, (on the surface) our discussion thusfar surely shows it to be only half the picture -used to reject questions of power and possibility beyond a certain, safe perception of where people are "at": obscuring the need for a much more fundamental transformation, than that which can be suggested by horrifying statistics and dry, sardonic wit alone.
As already stated, such criticism should not be taken as a rejection of the positive contributions that a limited body of thought gives us. Of Chomsky, in particular, one would be hard-pressed to find a more-dedicated, effective advocate to the cause of social justice over the last forty years. To make an informed criticism of Chomsky's position, one must at least review the vast body of insightful, well-referenced information he has produced.
Here we simply note that human beings are imperfect, and that the best of us ultimately reveal blind spots which it is the duty of the rest of us to go beyond, (at some point in time).
As also indicated, it is, in some ways, only natural that those who establish a place of leadership and influence within a movement are sometimes the last people to recognize the full implications of their taken positions. This is part of the role "leaders" play: mirrors for the many, that we may be nourished, encouraged, then stymied, and ultimately moved to take on more of a leadership role for ourselves.
Rather than continuing on with further speculation about the motivation of Chomsky here, (and others) for their intransigence in this or that case, it must now be clear to the reader that we are talking about a refusal to entertain information and input which has been going on for many years: continuing up to this day, with attacks on Michael Ruppert, "Conspiracism 101," the equating of questions about 9/11 with "blaming Bin Laden for global warming," and so on.
This is but a symptom of the state of our movement for change, reflected not only in the irrational avoidance of questioning the "official" story surrounding 9/11, but in a whole host of divisions we find, pre-existing, in a society governed by elites: "right vs. left," male vs. female, racism, youth vs. elders, etc.
Although such noted "leftists" may believe that they are doing everything they can to break down the walls of such divisions, it is my contention that they/we will not be successful until "we" come to recognize the nature of one social division in particular.
Perhaps we may describe this as a doorway into the other "half" of the picture.
In the simplest terms, I would describe this as the division between the
The "Intellectuals" and "we, the People"
Before proceeding, it may be helpful to review the meaning of our terms.
If this appears excessive, I ask for your forgiveness in advance, and your patience, that it might soon become clear: what potential misunderstandings may reside within our linguistic assumptions; and the necessity that we proceed with care, (especially here, in the beginning).
1) Reservations on the Use of Certain Terms
2) A Paradox
3) General Definition
4) Basic interpretation of that Definition
1) First of all: some might object to the framing of the term, "intellectual," in relation to "we, the people"; in that, this implies some kind of separation between the two; and, by extension perhaps, a notion of superiority -as if "the people" are not "intellectual."
Such assumptions are understandable, given the fact that, in society today, there is indeed an artificial separation between those who carry on what might be called "intellectual" work, (writers, critics, commentators, the so-called "fine arts,") and those engaged in work of a more-practical, hands-on nature (i.e. carpenters, cooks, mechanics, etc.); and further, this schism is often accompanied by notions of superiority, in keeping with the fact that those who earn a living through such "intellectual" work often enjoy salaries and privileges far beyond what their service to the "working" people entails.
This privilege is grounded in the division between "the people" and the ruling Elite, where an Elite few sit atop a system by which the oppression of the many is sustained -making of education, literacy, and intellectual pursuits the relative privilege of a select minority.
So let's clearly agree that this kind of separation is illegitimate, unproductive, and damaging to a healthy social discourse. All people are intellectual. All activity has an "intellectual"/creative component to it.
At the same time, only a self-absorbed (usually "left-wing") "intellectual" would argue that there is no such thing as work of a more-intellectual nature, or that a strata exists in society which could authentically be called "intellectual"; and here we must make a distinction.
Beyond the restrictions imposed by Elite society, people are drawn to different types of work, activity, as a reflection of their unique, individual characters. Some activities, (i.e. writing, reading) tend to involve a higher degree of abstract thought, while others are more-fully grounded in physical effort, the expression of ideas through action, sensual experience.
Does this mean that there is less intelligence involved in one carrying out the more-practical, concrete duties of a carpenter? cook? mechanic?
Not at all. The notion of "intelligence" as being a function of the intellect is a product of Elite society, (and those who jump to the above conclusion are walking elitists, though they may talk an egalitarian game). Intelligence is reflected in the intelligent relationship between thought and matter, body and mind. It is an intelligent society which recognizes that, if anything, it is an excess of intellectual knowledge which is the storehouse of stupidity.
(I can just see a thousand "left" bookworms, livid, hair standing on the back of their necks, with that one:).
Some might ask, "Are you suggesting that the more or less "intellectual" work is more or less important?
At certain times and situations, one form of work may be more important than another; but taken as a whole, each form has its place; and none stands out as decidedly superior or inferior. (Again, if there is any occupation which is more-clearly and universally associated with stupidity and uselessness, it may be that of the so-called "intellectual").
Nor is it healthy that a rigid division of labour be imposed upon our individual inclinations -such that, the cook has no time for poetry, the carpenter no time for music, the typist no time for sports, and so on.
Certainly, our ultimate goal must be towards the enrichment of the entire human experience, and the allowance for each individual to enjoy a greater interchange/balance of intellectual and physical activity.
On the whole, the vast potential within each person suggests that we are more alike in talent and capacity than we are different; yet this does not negate the fact that, given an infinite diversity of choices, people will still be moved to choose certain paths over others, (out of their/our own free will, and the limitations of space/time). We should not confuse here the internal distinctions of talent, perception, and interest, (upon which we are able to celebrate our uniqueness as individuals) with the brutal, social distortions of distinction into strident, narrow, categories of work and being.
In the name of the latter, we should not deny the former.
This is especially true, given the present situation we find ourselves in, in which the undue separation of "the thinkers" from "the doers," (in our society) finds us looking for a way back towards a more holistic transformation.
In other words, I'm suggesting that there is a legitimate, authentic basis to the term "intellectual"; and, in society today, we who tend to involve ourselves in an intense measuring of ideas, words, theories, etc. -aware of the privilege this implies- find ourselves in a unique position within it; that, in fact, we represent a unique community, with a unique contribution to make; and further, it is hoped here, that by a greater understanding of this, we may begin to overcome the division that presently exists between the "intellectuals" and "we, the people," and help initiate a dramatic transformation in our movement-for-change as a whole.
2) Paradoxically, it seems, the task of overcoming the division between the "intellectual" community and "the people" must begin with us first recognizing that such a division, an isolation, exists; and in so doing, may make that division seem more-pronounced.
For example: you who have persevered to continue reading these words can surely recognize that you stand as one amongst few in number: from the percentage of the population willing to question the "war on terrorism"; the even smaller percentage who question the "left leadership's" refusal to question the "official" narrative of Sept. 11; the smaller number still, willing to wade through the debates of a Michael Ruppert, Corn, Solomon, Berlet, Albert, Chomsky, to grasp the meaning of our terms; those not too incensed by my admonitions of the "left bookworm"; then to arrive here, holding aloft the question of identity, commitment, community, in the midst of all, there is surely no confusion as to the numbers involved.
(Whether such narrowness in numbers represents a certain intelligence, skill, focus -or a capacity for self-delusion- is a question for each individual alone, to decide for his/her self).
The recognition of this isolation, in turn, implies the need for those who see it to make ourselves known to one another, to dialogue, develop a broader and deeper plan than any one of us can manage alone; and in gathering ourselves together, we (temporarily) exacerbate the division between ourselves, (the "intellectual" community) and "the people."
Here, we must cross over the boundary where one individual "intellectual" declares him/herself as "one" with the people, largely in theory, into the realm where a number of individuals consent to communicate on the subject -thereby admitting that a division exists, and express a willingness to let it be magnified it, in appearance, that we may overcome it, in substance.
This may necessitate that we cease to be concerned, (for a time) about making ourselves relevant to the whole of society, (even though the attempt to understand the whole of society may be precisely the contribution we are intending to make).
Here, the cry of "elitist" may rise from the mouths of some.
I merely suggest that IF, dear reader, you sense a resonant intelligence between these words and your thoughts, then the question of an authentic necessity for "intellectuals" to communicate with one another simply revolves around the issue of one's intent to make a contribution that is relevant to the rest of society.
If we agree to deal in a language which we know the vast majority of people have little interest in, now, our progressive instincts should soothe our self-doubt long enough, that we can at least offer ourselves time to test the language out -before deciding whether it leads us further away, or to a closer union with "we, the people."
Certainly, we should not be unduly charged by the meaning that others attach to words; even the word, "elite," should not cause us to shirk in fear; for "elites" per se, are not negative in of themselves. There are "elite" rankings amongst carpenters, doctors, mechanics, athletes, educators, and so on -earning a certain status by virtue of effort and talent, (though this be badly distorted in a society driven by money, and the privilege it bestows). When earned authentically, such status bestows as much responsibility as it does privilege. Such ranks routinely communicate with one another, in order to support their work within their own communities, and solidify the direction of the larger whole. Here, the greatest reward is one of service -the satisfaction that accrues in helping others to help the community in turn, as an ongoing cycle of exchange.
If such a label were to be levelled here, it would accompany no tangible status. We seek no power, only clarity. Few in number are those that care which conscious minds caress these pages, today; and if in time, such a dialogue as this comes to be of value to many, it will only be because those who saw something that could be of value to others, later on, laboured to transform it to a more-useful shape. This must be done without thought of recognition; and the question of accountability to "the people," (in the beginning) must be answered by ourselves alone; wherein one only knows if one's allegiance to all is true.
So let those who stand in judgement of others remain on the shore, where it's safe. Those prepared to embrace the "slings and arrows" of real being may wish to dive deeper; and so read on.
Because the term "intellectual" has come to have an elitist connotation in an elitist society, this should not cause us to disregard the term "intellectual," as a guide to self-understanding and action.
One may ask: why not simply use the term "writer"? -when this is a highly intellectual activity, and the one most commonly-associated with the term "intellectual"?
One reason is precisely because of the elitist nature of the term "intellectual" -the very use of which compels us to acknowledge the existence of Elite privilege, and the necessity for its transformation; that is, we cannot change something simply by denying its existence; sometimes, we need to deny its value altogether, (i.e. racism); more often, we need to don a tattered cut of cloth, before we can express a way of wearing it well.
We can only transform the term "intellectual" by first recognizing the innate, legitimate distinctions of character between people which, though distorted by the boundaries of Elite society, finds us standing in a certain "position" within it, with certain, unique tasks in front of us, a need to understand them, to communicate, and to use terms by which we can identify ourselves.
The other main reason for the use of the term, "intellectual," (as opposed to "writer") has to do with the necessity of understanding the role of the intellect itself, in relation to our individual, emotional and spiritual experience, (which then becomes reflected in the written word). This rather abstract challenge does not concern writers alone, but also readers, those who are focused on the creative arts, the patterns of consciousness, and so on. We discuss this at some length below.
3) Now, given our understanding of the above social distortions -and the unique position "we" appear to find ourselves in, (within society)- I would say that the authentic relationship between the "intellectuals" and "the people" finds its most-general expression in this:
the "intellectuals" attempt to give expression to the whole of the human condition, (we, the people") as an abstract concept.
There are obviously many expressions of so-called "intellectual" activity, providing valuable analysis of various kinds -in ecology, biology, architecture, administration, aeronautics, industrial and creative arts, etc. The meaning of the term I use here is quite specific: those who are primarily concerned with attempting to understand and reflect back to "we, the people" the whole thing, the big picture, the unity of a species.
I'm suggesting that this conceptualization represents a needed activity, service, just like endless other forms, (though it's true that, with this, we attempt to take all others into account).
Some may consider this overly ambitious. Others might be outraged that one 'presume to abrogate to oneself the over-arching eye on the human condition.'
I make no claims as to my own capacity in this regard, only to the necessity that such a vision be articulated.
In ten thousand+ ways, this process is already at work; I merely speak of it in a specific, ultra-abstract sense, for the purposes of discussion; that we may begin the process of first distinguishing the most basic, authentic concepts from that of popular prejudice... then ever more-confidently move into the realms where common sense prevails.
Thus, in speaking of the term, "intellectual," we have, first, distinguished its authentic from its elitist connotation, acknowledged the need for communication, identified the specific sense to which it is being referred to here, (i.e. the most-general).
Now we can proceed with a more-concrete understanding, and a clarity as to what must be done.
It seems quite clear that the various nations, cities, villages of the world, (including the emerging New World Order) are organized around certain concepts, articulated by various "leaders" who recognize, in the conditions surrounding, various necessities -to which other forces gravitate, in allegiance.
The fact that we are compelled to discuss such events as Sept. 11th, the so-called "war on terrorism," Enron, etc. is a clear indication that such "leaders," (and the Elite interests they represent) are utterly bankrupt -in their capacity to articulate the interests of "the people."
Further, the unending expansion of war and conflict between nations clearly suggests that, until a significant percentage of the population comes to a sufficient understanding of humanity's condition as whole, then we will continue to be the unwitting pawns of those who control the levers of nations, from fraudulent means.
4) Ultimately, I believe that the way that we understand and give expression to this big picture must be relatively simple in form, though the strands of experience and perception we describe may be vastly complex indeed: many layers, parts, permutations. It seems, in fact, that only through such a simplicity -underlying all things- can we begin to comprehend the vast complexity contained therein.
At the same time, the simplicity of an abstract concept can never accurately reflect the true complexity of things, save as a temporary guide to action, always subject to change, review.
Having said this, I would venture to define "the intellectuals" in society as those who, to varying degrees, have the,
2) interest, and
To become articulate observers of the relationship between "we, the people" and an exploitative Elite.
In my opinion, this relationship is the simplest, clearest expression of the most fundamental dynamic which characterizes and explains the present state of human society.
The "intellectuals," I submit, presently stand in between.
I may be wrong. You may have a different assessment. This is the framework in which I present the term, "intellectual," and the basis upon which I proceed.
As previously stated, the division between "the intellectuals" and "we, the people" is grounded in the division between "the people" and the ruling Elite. The Elite few sit atop a system by which the oppression of the many is sustained -making of education, literacy, and intellectual pursuits the relative privilege of a select minority.
The lives of the vast majority are consigned to physical drudge work and endless repetition; and even the highly educated amongst us rarely experience knowledge, training, etc. as a source and expression of freedom, (beyond very narrow parameters).
In general, the "intellectuals" are those amongst "the people," who have the opportunity and inclination to become especially conscious of the relationship between "the people" and the Elite; and as such, the Elite does everything it can to keep the "intellectuals" from allying their interests with that of "the people."
The intellectual prostitutes, (who cover their allegiance to the status-quo in a haze of elevated rhetoric) are many enough in number, and voluminous in their outpourings.... so as to give the term "intellectual" a polluted connotation, (in the minds of many).
Also common are the arbitrators of intellectual arrogance, who absorb a cynical contempt for "the people," even as they dispense an equal disdain for the "so-called" Elite, (so as to elevate their own small worlds).
Then there are the so-called "left" revolutionaries -so attached to their intellectual critiques of social privilege, as to shiver and shake with indignation at the mere mention of the word "intellectual."
The "left intellectual" tradition, in large part, represents the outer shell of thought within the general movement for change; and as we have seen with some of the issues discussed above: there are tendencies, weaknesses, hurdles to overcome, reflective of a movement in a certain stage of development.
Let's see if we can look at this more closely.
Despite the best of intentions, honest intellectuals, (we who recognize the call of justice for all) are confronted with a tangible division between ourselves and "the people."
On the one hand, we have been trained to use language in isolation from the interests of "the people" who "work."
That is, the abstract formulas, methods, systems, culture, history, and heroes we absorb, (in order to function within society) draw us in to an experience in which people are little more than functions: a form of "cooperation" handed down and controlled from above. Those of us who try to use our intellectual training to express possibilities beyond the functions handed-down, are confronted with the need to earn a living ourselves, and so have to continually reproduce, in part, the very relations we are trying to transform.
Around us, those who use technical or artistic language as a primary means of earning a living have, in general, little sense of community -beyond what a secluded work environment and privileged economic status provides. As such, they tend towards an apolitical silence.
In our "education," the critical role that the controlling Elite play is left largely unexamined, and the expressions of working-class solidarity, (in lieu of an alternative, community-centred cooperation, i.e. trade-unions) are consigned to the embryonic sidelines.
On the other hand, our experience does differ somewhat from "the people," to the degree that we see the relationship between "the people" and the Elite. The more clearly we see the manipulation, in fact, the more-distant we tend to stand from those who do not -or rather, from those whose view of it remains unchanged. From there, different possibilities, expectations, strategies arise.
This cannot be expected to change, until a majority recognize the Elite relation in a pivotal way, so as to initiate a transformation in society as a whole. Until that time, the political outlook of those amongst "the people" who are aware of the Elite designs will continue to evolve in contrast to the general population -even as we strive to forge a closer relationship.
In truth, we are as one with "the people," yet insofar as a division between the Elite and "the people" characterizes the core of our social condition, we recognize this unity more in theory, as dynamic tension, act of becoming, transformation -than as simple fact of being.
Only when the Elite are no longer a private caste standing above and beyond the accountability of all, shall we cease to feel ourselves as different from "the people," and simply take our place as human beings who write, read, reflect, amidst many other shared activities.
It is our task to assist in this direction: to bear witness to a growing division between ourselves and "the people," on the one hand, while forging links by which to fortify our deeper, underlying connection, on the other.
So today, in spite of our best efforts, we may find it very difficult to speak to -and of- "the people" at a level which both, reflects their/our daily experience, and looks beyond it, offering a reflection of something more.
We who become conscious of this fundamental relationship, have a role to play in helping to bring about change; but first, we need to be able to talk our way out of a paper bag.
That is, we need to be able to overcome the illusory, deceptive quality of words, language, etc. in order to help put the power they imply back into the hands of "we, the people."
We must pierce through to the purity of the thought, and it's relationship to the emotional, social, material world.
First, we find that language and education is often mired in the maintenance of a select community, where technical jargon serves as the gatekeeper, to keep those who feel moved to ACT, out.
Perhaps the most literal guard against such exclusion is an appreciation for the simplicity which underlies complex relations.
Let us keep this in mind.
Second, through patriarchy, racial, and other discrimination, the unique experience of women, diverse communities and culture are submerged in barriers of language which it is our task to overcome, through coalition-building, and concrete measures taken to pass the microphone around.
This has constituted much of the struggle and advance of "the left" over the last forty years; and where work still remains to be done, we cross over into the proximity of the next hurdle.
The "left" intellectual tradition is largely a product of the "western" industrial age: the "age of enlightenment."
This represented a theoretical break from the age which preceded it, dominated by the religious, spiritual doctrines of the Catholic "christian" church.
Here was a call to "cull the living flower," to shake off the false creation of corrupt institutions, and soberly embrace the concrete conditions of material and social life.
We have reached a point now in our development, where this call, alone, is not sufficient to realize our goals.
Beneath this historical transfer of allegiance, from Church pew to Hall of Reason: a shift in actual power, from the land-owning elite, to the merchants of industry.
In the rejection of the morally corrupt religion: science, elevated to strip away every vestige of pretence, privilege and prejudice.
In the hands of the new Elite, this reliance on the reasoning mind went so far as to eliminate room for anything beyond: everything reduced to what could be grasped in an equation.
This, in turn, was reflected in the dissident "marxist/socialist" movements which -though they stood in opposition to the Elite power base, ("workers" vs. "capital")- agreed to place their primary emphasis on the mechanisms of controlling that power; that is, "capital" relied on position and privilege to provide a framework for the application of science; in the absence of that position and privilege, the dissident movements had only social-criticism, sociology, strategy, the intellectual framework; and those that controlled that intellectual framework, (it was believed) ultimately controlled the movement.
Though this tendency has been criticized amongst the feminist, anarchist, afro-american movements, and others, (at times) it has also, (and ultimately) been emulated by them.
Thus, the foundation of the "left" intellectual tradition is critical reason, analysis. This is both, its strength, and its fatal flaw.
Let's look at this a little more-closely.
The critical mind gives us the capacity to temporarily put the world on hold, to grasp various real phenomena as isolated abstractions, that we may comparatively study them -thereby allowing us, perhaps, to penetrate somewhat beneath the surface appearance, to their underlying essence, (which we can only then verify, by testing its application in the real world).
In a certain sense, the mind is a mechanism of control. By receding from the world, into the mind, we may gain insight into how the world works, and thereby increase our control over it.
In this, there may seem to be virtually no limit, as to how much information can be gathered to explore a given issue; and thus, imply our ever-increased control over it. Yet there is a limit, to how much information a mind can contain, (at any one point in time) and still intelligently apply it to real phenomena.
This is because our minds do not operate in a vacuum. Our perception of the world occurs within the context of our larger being; our being, in turn, exists within the context of the larger world in which all beings, things, phenomena exist. This larger being, world is what compels our ideas to come forward; and it also provides the ultimate measure of their worth.
As is true with any tool, it is necessary that we use our minds wisely. Because the mind is such a powerful tool, capable of exerting a great influence over our entire being, (and the planet) we must be especially aware of the potential for self-delusion -and, by extension, how such delusion may become entrenched in the billions of minds contained within society.
In short, it's not only possible, it's quite easy for us to drift into the use of our mind as a way of maintaining control, such that we lose touch with the vital connection between the real world, and our thoughts, -especially so, if this obsessive mentation is reflected in the society around us.
For this, no amount of thought can offer a cure, save that we cease thinking, per se; and instead, act, experience, feel.
At a certain point, the quantity of information we take in can become an inhibitor of insight, a wall of justification for positions which fly in the face of real experience. This is where we may unconsciously don the mask of arrogant conceit, find the fuel for endless argument, hone the skill for making the mark and missing the point; herein lies the whirlwind where the science of misinformation, disinformation, eventually moves some to dismiss information altogether.
As a mechanism of control, the mind is but a limited part of a larger whole.
Information, intelligence, and wisdom, are not the same thing, (though they may correspond quite closely).
Now, if quantity of information alone is not a sufficient indicator of the truth; if the amount is not a sure measure of the quality of understanding, then on what basis may we approach such a higher quality of understanding?
The answer may be quite simple; and it is this simplicity which may be the most-difficult thing for our minds to grasp.
Every concept of mind, every concrete measure, every sensual experience stands in relationship to something else: a movement, flow, process, which ultimately remains mysterious, in whole, (though perhaps not in part).
The process of articulation requires not only the narrowing powers of mind -but also the space in which the mind may operate.
Admittedly, this space is much harder to define, identify -than the tools of articulation with which to fill it- (which necessity seems to present to us, as a given); and yet, it is this inability to see the context, the need for space in the midst of certainty, which guarantees that human society go through its various phases of confident growth, only to fall into doubt, stagnation, despair.
The age of industry/enlightenment may be characterized as one in which it was assumed that the discoveries of the physical sciences occurred in an unending line of more, with no boundaries to impede it, no limited platform of support, no finite pasture in which to run.
It is the consciousness of space, (within and without the drive to define) which now presents itself as necessity, if the movement for change in the new millennium is to move beyond our long-standing impasse, and finally embrace a state of being without unwanted limitations, (beyond those dynamic ones which lovingly embrace us).
A concept of wholeness places our reasoning mind in a context of being, and shatters the illusion of technique, behind which the governing Elite hides its hand; yet it also must shatter our sense of certainty of who we are, and what we are doing. Neither can the mind's isolating power be denied its place; and so, rather than run beneath the roof of reason for protection from the vast unknown, or completely surrender our need to know, without a fight, we must allow our vision to become impregnated with a space for mystery, a seed of silence, that the two may flourish alongside, and flower an invitation -a call for all to contribute something more.
Not simply a plea for more-inclusive language; rather, it is this inclusive, open, spacious language alone which is capable of sustaining a more-exact, authentic description of our common condition.
I contend that we can see this more-dynamic, rich interchange -between defined certainty, and mysterious trust- unfolding, reflected, in the "anti-globalization" movement: a vast maze of inter-connected, sometimes contradictory political currents; environmentalists, opponents of war, genetically-modified foods, advocates of national liberation, civil liberties, the homeless, unemployed, trade unions, women, youth, and so on.
amongst many, many more.
For many participants, it is no single issue that keeps us engaged; rather, the various issues serve to feed our commitment to a deeper, underlying cause, (as yet, perhaps, vaguely defined beyond the confines of individual being, and small, intimate association); in between, we see space, wherein our conscious connections find room to germinate.
We are walking expressions of inter-connection, of lifestyle and community -in formation.
An interesting discussion of such multifaceted values, perceptions, may be found here,
Conspicuously subdued in this culture of resistance, is the old-style "left" "vanguard" leadership, (a central organization enforcing discipline from the top down). In the open space to question, create, collaborate, there is also, (as yet) the vague basis of unity, generally understood as a resistance to corporate power.
A broader, more exacting basis of unity may partly be forged in those open spaces between the issues, where a specific language, from two or more distinct points, may be elaborated. This calls for a simplifying treatment, a pull back from the endless streams of statistics, towards a common essence, often found in close proximity to the heart, emotion, spirit.
At the same, there are elements in the movement which are more "open," spacious, in of themselves -spiritual, cultural. These groups and trends must be challenged to apply their philosophical flexibility in more-and-more concrete, tactical, social ways.
Conversely, hanging over this largely undefined movement, like some informal canopy of consensus, are the theories, attitudes, assumptions of what we may call the "left intellectual" tradition.
In many respects, this network of ideas provides us with a guide, a path to deeper understanding; and in other respects, it acts as a blanket, smothering our free exchange and inspiration.
I offer here a few impressions, to illustrate how I believe the outer shell of "left" assumptions may be helping to keep us from realizing the social breakthrough we long for. Whether or not you find my viewpoints closely reflecting your own, I offer them less as a point of possible agreement -more as a recognition of the open spaces which may exist around many of our predominant political assumptions: therein, the opportunity to debate, discuss, and develop new ways of inviting more voices into our gathering song.
As previously discussed above, we must be very careful, in our categorizations of ideas as "right" and "left," and watch our tendency to isolate whoever falls into the "wrong" category; for "we, the people" are neither "right" nor "left."
It's true that, by our ideas, we, (consciously or not) position ourselves in relation to a governing Elite, and to the positions taken by our fellow citizens; yet our ideas of where we stand can often run contrary to our actual position; and it is the central task of the Elite to maintain a rigorous campaign of confusion, as to the true relation.
People are either hoodwinked or awakened to the designs of our corporate/legal/religious masters, and/or to where our fellows stand: hoodwinked on "the right," to believe that the source of the division in society is not the cabal of capital, but those ("liberals," "lefties,") who complain, and who seem to downplay the crimes of the malcontents; or hoodwinked on "the left," to believe that a "compromise" with capital is possible, (the so-called "liberal" reforms) or that legitimate dissent could ever be isolated to the marginalized "left"; or perhaps we may find ourselves awakened to the necessity for something different than the division between "right" and "left."
It is the illusion of choice between the two faces of a single coin which serves the continued division of society into two halves, and hides the corporate heads bobbing in behind.
"Left intellectuals" need to take a long, hard look at the tools that the corporate "right" is using, and how and why it is having a significant influence on the population.
It is not sufficient to simply say, "it's all a propaganda machine..." "they tell a lie often enough...." Recognize well-financed and researched PR campaigns, with slogans specifically developed to take advantage of the weaknesses in the "left" paradigm: there is your mirror.
The Welfare State
Perhaps now, many of us have resigned ourselves to the recognition that the so-called "welfare state" has become so thoroughly "bankrupted" in the eyes of the nation -as to place its piecemeal, unrelenting demolition as a fait d'accomplis, before our eyes.
Before answering the question, "how has this come to pass?" we must first shake off the thick skin of lies which has accompanied its birth, life, and death, compliments of a well-financed propaganda campaign, (and its accompanying illusions).
The reality is that our modern society is more-than wealthy enough to provide basic food, shelter, and employment for any citizen that does not have it. This is a right that every human being should expect of his/her society, in return for the willingness to work. Conversely, the desire not to work, (to "get something for nothing") -on the part of the poor- is far more a result of a society in which unearned privilege rules, (than it is its cause); and yet, at the same time, we must recognize the pivot upon which the corporate Elite, ("the right") has rolled back the concept of compassion: the fact that the "welfare state" was bankrolled on borrowed funds.
Whether or not the corporate Elite daily re-affirms its cynical contempt for "the people," by borrowing billions for the programs IT thinks are worthwhile, (armaments, surveillance, mega-mergers, bailouts, stock-market speculation) while slashing programs which directly benefit the poor and middle classes in the name of "fiscal responsibility," "debt-reduction," (medicare, food stamps, housing, education, etc.); beyond the fact that the vast bulk of debt accumulation was in the form of corporate welfare, the "right" Elite won the "welfare" propaganda campaign with a stacked-deck.
Beginning in the late 1970's, the Elite apparatus initiated an all-out assault on the populist elements of the "welfare state," and on the relatively well-established public sector unions. This was led by Ronald Reagan in the U.S., Margaret Thatcher in England, precipitating an unending role-back of "progressive" government intervention into a monopolized marketplace; referred to, today, as "reform."
The justification for this was the rather sudden announcement of a massive government debt, the interest payments of which were growing by exponential degrees. The pivot of this debt is a fraudulent monetary system which was mathematically designed to bankrupt the national (and global economies) after a lengthy period of gestation. In hindsight, the Federal Reserve system, (created in 1913) was a brilliantly conceived mechanism for handing over the levers of the public purse to private banks. Between then and now, it allowed the government to buy its way out of crisis; and this is why, although the unemployment and social assistance programs begun in the mid 1930's were largely a response to a massive, grassroots campaign for change, they ultimately served as a lever by which the capitalist hierarchy protected itself.
That is: concessions to trade unions in the 1940's, 50's, etc. served to "buy off" certain sections of the working class, isolate them from others, and create a perception of privilege towards them, (amongst the populace) -ultimately making them vulnerable to attack. At the same time, the piecemeal, (largely nickel-and-dime) community welfare programs served to create a massive government bureaucracy -famous for its susceptibility to fraud, and for the ghettoization that followed from the "charitable" nature of the programs, (rather than real, community empowerment).
That the cry of "government beyond its means" was a cynical ploy by Elite mouthpieces is now abundantly clear, with the fact that the headlines by the year 2000 were all about "balanced budgets"; when, in fact, virtually no progress had been made towards reducing the public debt. "Balancing" the yearly expenditures with revenue has no appreciable impact on the principle -nor the interest which continues to increase exponentially. Yet the desired effect had been achieved: the organized movement -and public sympathy- in support of government interventions into the marketplace, as a reflection of "the people's" power, had been broken.
This is why, though it's still relevant to protest the privatization of everything from electricity to education, (showing the statistics which refute the corporate claims) it's useless for us to think there is any power behind the call to enforce the old, (and sometimes still standing) legislation -unless, and to the degree that, we build a new movement; and this new movement must be based on the understanding that more-fundamental change is necessary than piecemeal, government "relief."
Poverty, hunger, homelessness are growing. Two tiers in education, healthcare, services, are towering ever more-clearly above the national landscape. The call for basic minimum standards must be sounded; yet we must seek something more; and to this end, an appropriate slogan may be: "An end to corporate welfare." "The public debt is a fraud."
The source of our understanding of the fraudulent monetary, (and tax) system is primarily coming to us from "the right."
This is partly because "lefties" like Chip Berlet and co., ("Conspricism 101") make every effort to discredit the "right-wing" slant; such that, the information does not come to light, and the sifting out of the "right-wing" errors does not take place. It's otherwise due to the fact that, because the average "conservative" is unaffected by the "liberal" doctrine of sympathy towards government assistance to the poor, they can easily see that the "welfare state" is a smokescreen for a self-serving government. Even with their own twisted terminology, their bullshit detector is lighting up all over.
It has taken a long time for the "left" to begin coming to terms with the issue of violence.
Now, after Sept. 11th, 2001, with the "Patriot Act," (and with the decline of the "Patriot" movement after the Oklahoma City bombing) it has become quite clear to many in the movement for change that there's no point in waging a violent, physical confrontation with the state. "They" have things just about sewn up: financing for a virtually unlimited supply of weapons, a willingness to use them, monopoly of the press, and acquiescence of the general public.
Let's be clear about this, by way of an example.
A parent saying "no" to their child is a violent act, of sorts; it is an infringement of one person's will over another; yet we recognize within certain relationships and to varying degrees, a legitimate realm where one party has authority over another, (to the benefit of both, though the second party may initially resist). If authority is exercised, by one, with the aim to ultimately empower another -to their own independence- there can be no fault found in teaching them a sense of responsibility to others that goes along with it. If a consistent pattern of discipline/expectation is employed ("firm/flexible/fair") then physical force is rarely, (if ever) required.
The act of a population de-throning a ruling elite is a violent, militant act; but if it's done en masse, smartly, it can be less violent than the routine violence which accompanies existing Elite authority; and it is one firmly founded in the hallmarks of justice.
Given the fact of the Elite military might, there is still the question of force. Which force is more-powerful? their guns? or "we, the people"?
A people united.
The question of whether we shall ever need to reach for guns shall be answered by the strength, the physical force of this unifying movement. The larger, more inclusive, the more unified, the greater our ability to commit the ultimate violent act without lifting a finger.
For, if they have the guns, but we run the workshops, factories, farms, clean the streets, fix the pipes, push the paper, tap the keypad, there is only so much of an army to control us all, should we simply stop work, stay "home," call a "general strike".
We are the lifeblood of networks and systems which a managerial elite manipulates, but cannot control.
(The Elite, of course, simply play with quantities of capital, and take a cut of the ongoing transactions).
At the same time, every major social revolution in the past has been brought about through some alliance between members of the armed forces and the civilian movement. (For a vivid account, see Volume 1 of Leon Trotsky's "History of the Russian Revolution").
This is partly because the soldiers on the lower and middle ranks of the army are watching what's going on too. They see a crises in society. They see some contradictions; and they're not all sure whether their superiors are worth dying for.
The failed Venezuelan coup in early 2002 clearly expressed this.
These ranks count themselves largely on "the right"; and, without forgetting the significant racist, fascist element within the armed forces, (nor mistaking the militant nature of fundamental social transformation) we isolate the "right," the "patriot movement," etc. at our own peril.
Nor should we resist engaging with the militants on the "left" -members of the so-called vanguard groups- even as we reject their adherence to centralized control, (and the belief that the modern state can be overcome through a reliance on open, physical confrontation); for these are among the most well-organized and disciplined elements of the movement for change; and they promise to be among the resolute ranks at virtually every level of activity.
In 1973, days before the U.S.-backed coup d'etat in Chile, (which would see the army murder thousands of civilians, and impose a fascist siege for twenty years) 500,000 citizens marched by the presidential palace in downtown Santiago. It took them four hours to pass, and the most common chant was: "give us guns." If they had been given guns, the army would have quickly capitulated; for when the people are united, en masse, even the intent to use force has the firm effect of resolving disputes which the justness of one's cause alone cannot.
So the challenge before us: how can we establish common understanding amongst and across the widest segments of the population? -so that we are all willing and able to act in unison, along less-turbulent, yet strategic avenues of resistance? I submit that it begins with a core of people, here and there, taking it upon them/ourselves, to express with others what they/we see here within.
One clear example of this self-recognized power, rising, may be seen in the "anti-globalization" movement: the growing emphasis on creative celebration, which turns their shutting us out, into them needing an invitation from us, as to whether or not we choose to let them in.
That is: standing at the gates, shut out of the consultations, communities in tatters, the planet gasping for breath, we have the choice of: trying to meet the brigades of riot cops with physical force, (which immediately results in a few self-proclaimed "revolutionaries," police provocateurs, a mass of distant by-standers, and a divided movement); or, amassing a unified physical presence, outside the gates, with no intent of provocation, save to generate an internal solidarity that, eventually, cannot be ignored.
Of particular significance, in this regard, may be the resurgence of drumming at public demonstrations.
This is an unprecedented phenomena in modern "western" culture: intersection point, between a culture becoming personal again, and the pulse of the African drum.
Drumming is loud: a powerful tool of self-expression; as a means of many coming together in common song, its capacity is without peer; and it provides the perfect platform for the voice, heart, and hips of thousands.
Here is a militant tool, a potent weapon for channelling anger in the streets into a joyful reclaiming. A transformation at hand: subtle, tender interplay of many ears listening; fibres of souls reaching out to feel our human community once more; a loving thunder that no legion of horses will cross.
Acting as if the power to unite is already within, it is only a matter of time before it is reflected outward, in the movement as a whole.
One more example.
In the struggle to ensure that women and men have adequate access to information about sexuality and reproduction -and, in particular, that women be allowed to terminate their own pregnancies if they so choose- many brave and determined people are having to face the threat of bombs and bullets, (beyond the bullshit of an ignorant status quo).
Under such circumstances, there is a tendency in many health clinics, and in the "pro-choice" movement in general, to downplay the brutal nature of the abortion process, the sacred nature of conception, and so on.
Now, this observation cannot be considered a cause to deny a woman the right to choose, nor to silence the need for more information, dialogue, healing; on the contrary, this is to say that it's not enough, simply to provide women with access to safe abortions; rather, women must be empowered to a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of their bodies; and in the health clinics themselves, this means providing far more counselling, (for those going through the abortion process) than is generally provided now.
Without such counselling, recognition, ritual, many women experience the abortion process as a need to silence what occurred, as a form of denial, a further reduction of their body to some kind of machine.
Now, given the reality of cutbacks, threats, etc. this might seem like a "pipe-dream." One could make a similar plea for more services surrounding the birth process; and if we do not expect hospitals and clinics to show more compassion to the internal process of patients and clients, then it is all the more important that we incorporate such considerations into our own lives and work.
In the clinics, it's not so much an economic consideration, as it is one of addressing a qualitative shift in the way we understand the entire healing process -the sanctity of the cycle, the intuitive powers of earth and womb, creation, the spirit which leaves the body when the embryo is taken out.
Such a recognition would not likely have an effect on placating the anti-abortion fanatics. It would certainly have a positive effect on the many people who are sympathetic to a woman's right to choose, yet troubled by the invasive nature of the procedure, and of the technical solutions substituted for a process they/we would like to hold as sacred.
More importantly, such a shift would help those directly involved in the experience to more-deeply personalize their healing, and express it on a planetary level.
Reviewing these issues, I'm suddenly struck by what seems to be a basic distinction between "right/left," "conservative" and "progressive": the conservative resists change, and the progressive, (radical) seeks it out.
We on the left are familiar with the negative inference of resistance to change, (fear, reaction, privilege); yet what about its positive connotation?
It seems to me that, at the heart of the conservative vision, is a longing to return to a sense of continuity, sustainability, permanence, that many of us may only know of in part, yet feel its presence in the cycles of familyhood, tradition, the earth, spirituality.
Perhaps we in the "progressive" community should try to carry with us in our work, a sense that where we are coming from and going to contains a continuity, a permanence -that, in fact, we already are where we need to be. As we call on people to resist the designs of silk-suited hypocrites, perhaps it is not so much to unveil the new; but rather, to cease supporting the pillars of deception -by which, our eyes were blinded to the truth which has been here all along. Could it be that, in our struggle to let go of our allegiance to such forces, that they may might serve as a vehicle for us to allow a fuller expression of the truth to step into the light?
Again, the above comments are not placed before you as a request for agreement; rather, to illustrate that there may be many spaces, holes -in between the supposed assumptions of the prevailing "left" critique, that we might consider them more as opportunity for growth, realization, than portents of resistance alone.
You may have noticed that I chose three examples from very different points on our political spectrum: welfare, violence, abortion.
Consider the whole picture, and the holes within, as breathing space, of inspiration -confirmation, that our movement has reached the point where we are ready to move beyond the parameters of marginal outsider. In order to complete the move, we must allow the whole of ourselves to participate in the transformation.
As we have discussed, the intellect provides us with a remarkable tool. Its' various concepts serve as the outer basis of unity for our associations. It alone is able to embrace the whole of our human condition, to provide a unifying picture -yet only as abstract concept. In order for concepts to be remotely accurate, useful, meaningful, they must be grounded in real human relationships, and they must be lived.
Human relationships, (community) demand that our guiding concepts hold space for interpretation, dialogue, debate.
In the larger spirit of inquiry, where the space between the words is able to breathe an untellable tale, we read between the lines. Perhaps we may speak of poetry and song, sorrow, and celebration: humor, hope, and a hearty appetite for staring at the stars in awe -like Katzanakis's "Zorba," who dances conversations when words will not suffice.
It is not enough that there be poets, and artists of every description -though we cannot do without them. It must be that we "intellectuals," we who attempt to strip away every pretence of form and colour to capture the concrete foundation of our common condition, must find a way to put that "pretence," that flavour, back in, so as to turn the wheel of communication another notch, renew the cycle of grass-roots experience, and return the seed of wisdom from whence it comes.
We cannot cease stripping away the cloak of deception and obscurity, nailing down every statistic and reference as to who did what on such and such a day; only now, we must do so, while leaving room for something more, something creative, mysterious, and somehow uplifting.
Carefully peel away the sheen of "right-wing" concepts covering the corporate core; analyse the contradictions, with dispassionate, cruel precision; logically cut through to the bone of the fascist face, sneering in behind; yet neither can we seek to isolate our emotions in the static corridors of the mind; the fire of pageantry and feeling, upon which the "right" Elite rallies to sway the population, (primarily through fear, which we now leave largely to the side) must be allowed to enflame our sense of BEING, that the mind may recognize a power beyond -and benevolent to- its own.
This emotional intensity is what the Nazis fed the masses on, stealing hearts as well as stomachs. We ignore a day-by-day display of passion at our own peril.
Say it with simplicity.
The unwillingness of many "leading left" luminaries, publications, to question the "official" Sept. 11th chronicle represents, I believe, a watershed in the larger movement for change: the beginnings of a transformative phase.
On the table now, are serious questions as to how the security and government apparatus actually works. We are entering unto a new level of sophistication in our dialogue, towards a new depth of insight, and a more potent basis of unity.
If I have asked much of your time, here, and cast a large quantity of words across your view-screen, I hope you can see that is for no love of cloaking the vast universe in language, that I have laboured to lay down what, ultimately, is a plea for simplicity.
Of a concrete, political platform, I have said little. If anything has been achieved, perhaps it may be found in a sense of space -in the midst of many things- that we can look forward to the process of articulating our common concerns, more-fully: each time, saying it with fewer and fewer words, more heart, more truth, understanding, and justice.
What just is.
Notes on Vreeland
Vreeland audio series,
MP3: long download times, "Open" Location in Real Player, (under "file").
Interview with Vreeland, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602vreeland.mp3) is less extensive, (and interesting) an interview than the one done by Jeff Rense, (http://playlist.yahoo.com/makeplaylist.dll?id=1033401&location=dallas) -covering much of the same material. Vreeland states that he has rarely been convicted of anything, and that all the Canadian charges have been dropped. "I was writing a 37 page letter to Adm. Vernon Clark... the note you see is nothing more than a note to myself... containing all the relevant issues... did not put them in any specific order... 'cause I didn't want anyone grabbing and finding out was in the letter.... people don't know exactly what was in [it]... like pieces of a puzzle..."
Interview with JR Nyquist, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602nyquist.mp3) is an exercise in disinformation science. Amidst an air of journalistic integrity and strange turns of logic/language, one may be moved to visit his website, (http://www.jrnyquist.com); and here, the voice becomes thoroughly discredited. Amongst a heap of garbage, "truths revealed," (worldnetdaily) blah, blah, blah, is a link to the work of David Horowitz, one of the most mean-spirited, noxious, servants of mistruth in our present incarnation. This interview, I believe, is significant for giving us the opportunity to listen to a liar at work. He's later described by one of the "international connection" hosts as a "renowned expert in geopolitics and international relations"
I don't think so.
Interview with Michael Ruppert, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602ruppert.mp3) who describes how there is a "very strong and consistent pattern in [Vreeland's] life experience" suggesting that he is an intelligence operative. Ruppert is apparently speaking from his experience, as documents on his own website show. Interesting.
Interview with Judy Horigan, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602judy.mp3) salesperson in "high-end furniture store." She says that Vreeland once arranged to purchase about $30,000 worth of goods. When the goods were delivered, Vreeland was $10,000 short, "so we didn't deliver." Vreeland returns to store and makes a fuss. Vreeland's step-dad co-signs for the $10,000. She says Vreeland later didn't make the payments and stiffed his step-dad. She says "Delmart is a computer genius" and very persuasive...
Then, a second time in store, Vreeland bought $40,000 worth of goods, ($3,000 Christmas tree). Bill came back from credit card company months later, stiffing the store. Horigan went to the local Detroit newspapers, tv, and hired a private investigator, "Al Booze," who apparently discovered a long list of fraudulent, and incomprehensible behavior -and an uncanny ability to talk his way out of trouble.
Horigan seems genuinely distressed about the incident, though she may be misjudging Vreeland in some respects. For example, her claim that he sold people computers to people and never delivered "any" is refuted by Vreeland's half-brother Weems, (who says that he helped build them, while also being a strong witness against Vreeland).
Interview with Frye, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602frye.mp3) a police officer investigating Vreeland's criminal charges; seems credible enough, though not likely to reveal any significant insight.
Interview with Normon Solomon, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602m19solomon.mp3) He comes across as a reasonable, confident speaker -yet a little more interested in winning the argument, (with two talkers less-skillful than he) than he is in bringing matters to light.
At one point, host tries to inquire into the possible credibility of Vreeland's warning note, by linking it to his claims about murdered Canadian diplomat. Solomon replies, "Does this have anything to do with whether or not this document is an accurate warning note?" Host backs down, says "no"; when, in fact, the intimation is that it may, (by way of credibility, other documents to come). Solomon says, "My main focus is on whether this note is a warning.... I'm not interested in discussing other aspects of Vreeland's claims," (which a thorough investigator would not do). He proceeds to demolish the host's position. Solomon is adept at isolating weaknesses in the position of others, which can cause him to sometimes lose sight of his own.
The best piece on this page, International Connection, May 19, (http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602m19edit.mp3) is a full-length expose, largely on evidence dug up by the hosts themselves. Also serves as a very good overview.
Hosts discuss some of the details of the Vreeland "memo," the words: "navy peer" Sears Tower? Chicago World Trade Center White House Pentagon? World bank Malaysia(3 ref.) Water Supplies, Scotia Building, Parliament buildings, Toronto or Montreal.
"Vreeland contends this is two pieces of paper folded together so that he could hide it in a book.... 'they will paint me crazy, call me a liar, let one happen, stop the rest.'
Written Aug.11, 2001 as verified in court as "Exhibit N," unsealed by jailers on Sept. 14, 2001.
The dates, 2007, 2009: Vreeland says this has something to do with Chinese getting the Olympics.
1996-97, CR: claims this has something to do with a bilateral arms agreement between China and Russia.
Marc = Bastien. The hosts discuss an article in the "Toronto Sun," about Marc Bastien, Canadian Diplomat, whom Vreeland claims to have worked covertly with in Russia. Apparently, Bastien's ["body was in such bad shape that the family didn't identify it for themselves... 7 days after his death... a friend at the funeral home did... Bastien had been murdered by poison... heavy anti-depressant. Why was his body in such bad shape? Bastien was 35yr. old when he died. Why did Government contend he died of natural causes for a full year?"]
Hosts continue: "All of the Canadian charges have been dropped... very easy to find information about Vreeland's criminal past.... Mr. Vreeland and his lawyer, Slansky, didn't show up this morning for our interview with him.... after [above] interview with Ruppert... call went through to Vreeland from Ruppert, saying the interview was "negative" warning Vreeland not to come on the air.... Lt. Vreeland's family has a long history in the military.... We verified great grand-father was first Director on Military Intelligence...
type Delmart Vreeland into search engine... criminal history.... Macombe daily.... story about a guy named Bobby Moore.... Mr. Moore's co-conspirator in supposed arson, Delmart Vreeland.... $10,000 arson.... judge found little credibility in Vreeland's testimony... L.A. called upon to be a friendly witness in Cocaine bust....
Especially interesting: "Michigan Department of Corrections... discrepancies... was incarcerated anywhere between 1988-1996.... 1984 offense, 1988 in detention, released in 1996... earlier in 1989 another one in another county, Grant traverse County... another in Macombe County, 1991.... when he's already supposed to be in jail.... on Metro Detroit's most wanted list... long list of offenses, larceny, fraud, unlawful flight, forgery, etc."
"Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff's dept. site.... article is about two different people Daryll McGee, Vreeland... 27 different aliases picture is quite different from any of the other photographs of Vreeland.... once inquiries were begun by "International Connection" investigators... secretarial run around... article was taken down from the website."
"Solomon alleges that Nick Prawn of the Toronto Star says there was no corroborating evidence to back up Vreeland's claims.... when in fact, numerous significant pieces of evidence were submitted.... didn't actually say things, as Solomon says, first met Vreeland... when he was supposed to give evidence in the alleged plot to assassinate a judge."
Interview with Terry Weems, claiming to be Vreeland's half-brother,(http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/052602m19edit.mp3). Credible sounding... does not lead the interviewers.... patient... relaxed.
Grew up together... Detroit area.... brother-in-law of Bobby Moore, (see arson trial above) Vreeland's earliest criminal acts about the time I moved to Florida.... we were all getting into drugs, petty crime... I had to get out... most of my friends ended up dead or in jail... Bob Woodberry (policeman) raised us.... [in answer to Harigon observation, above, that Vreeland grew up wealthy] dad worked at a cider mill in the fall... had a lot of kids.. lot of mouths to feed....not dirt poor not wealthy.
I don't recall any of his boyhood interests, in particular. He used my social security number when he joined the navy. I was under the impression that he was discharged [a while ago] from the navy... always in trouble... I was on the base once when the MPs arrested him
Dell's the type of person ... if he's doin' somethin' he's going to tell people about it... he never told me about his ONI connection... first time I heard about it was after the Canadian thing.... he personally defrauded me on several occasions.... stole a number of my cheques on a closed account... used my wife's credit and changed her credit report
arrested in Virgia after he left here.... visited me in a recording studio I was working in (Muscle Shoals, Alabama) came in at night stole a whole bunch of equipment.... pawned it off... [Oakland County Police officer say Vreeland was dressed as a woman when he was arrested on Dec. 6] yeah, we read that on the website.... pulled a scam on my father-in-law (Vreeland's step-dad) Tony had faith in dell that he was going to make this computer business work.... ended up costing Tony a lot of money buying his way out Dell using Tony's name through this computer company.... the computers did exist... I put a lot 'em together myself... I was working for him for awhile (came up there for a summer after I got divorced)
how much time in jail?... not sure exactly, I know for ten years he didn't spend a single Christmas at home... Dell's good at identity theft.... was wanted by police [under aliases] ... eventhough he was not in jail.... I know he's been to Bahamas several times.... he's got an adopted son, Danny... he went to Amsterdam in 96/97.... He was with us until Sept. 2000... he's the kind a guy who can tell you something you know is not true.... and by the time he's done talkin', he's got you feelin' sorry for him.... Delmart has asked for back pay from the Navy... antics in Indiana... after furniture store incident... took a stolen navigator.... broke into a porsche lot... left the navigator with all kinds of fake ID... was drunk... crashed vehicle.... he may have found out about the warning, or stole the documents, but I don't believe he was in Naval Intelligence... Dell says I met Marc Bastien, but I don't remember it.
Weems says that he admires Michael Ruppert for some of the good reports he has produced, and fears that Vreeland has conned him. He doesn't believe Vreeland's ONI connection; yet says, "It's possible that Dell stumbled across some documents, or heard about them from somebody while he was in jail.." [and proceeded to make a story up to get himself out of trouble.
Interview with Cameron Sexton, (http://www.radio4all.net/stream.php/stream.m3u?sf=http://radio4all.net/pub/radio/061202sexton.mp3&data=) short-term associate of Vreeland. Offered to help him, by way of an interest in Michael Ruppert's work.
May 20, first e-mail correspondence... defense fund website
he gave me administrative access to his website... visited Vreeland in Canada... 30th May
he said he wanted me to sneak him across the border, [later said that was just a cover]
my intention was to see whether he was credible.... at first, Vreeland seemed very intelligent, thoughtful, credible, persuasive... enjoyed some wine... same batch as supposed poisoning... not shabby apartment... his computer system not up to mine... interesting phone gadget took tons of calls while I was there.... I saw a document while I was there.... russian communique, K. Hussein to Putin, it had a Microsoft 2002 copyright on it
he offered me a job... he asked me to show him my bank debit card.... he said, "no problem, we owe them... you'll be working for us.... we can set up a gifting fund...."
Sexton became uneasy about contradictory remarks, secrecy, ended relationship when Vreeland asked him to pose as someone else online.
A short discussion follows, on the attempts to close down the message board connected to Vreeland's site.
He remains an admirer of Michael Ruppert, and confident in the work he is doing, beyond the matter of Vreeland.