Thursday, September 27, 2007

Notes from Dark Morning

My sleep cycle is off kilter. Usually I go to sleep at 9 pm, wake up at 5 am. Eight hours. But the night before last some things happened that caused me to only get three hours sleep. This in turn caused me to go to bed last night at 7 and wake up at midnight. I tried to go back to sleep, but spent the next two hours trying to get back to sleep. Finally I gave it up, got up, fixed my coffee, and came in here to my studio.

At 2 am, when I first came in here, there was still a steady flow of traffic outside. Light, but steady. But after awhile the traffic slowed to a trickle, with long silences on the highway. The paper hadn't arrived yet, so I turned on the computer. I checked my email and saw that a friend had sent me this link. Seems military operations have already started in Iran. Someone else sent me a link to this Greg Palast article, Dan Rather: Tased and Confused. After reading that, I started browsing the news sites, read various stories, and watched some videos, including John Cusack's interview with Naomi Wolf about her new book Shock Doctrine. Then I went to Infowars, Propaganda Matrix, What Really Happened, and other websites I check every day, and after that started checking out various blogs, including my friend Brian Roper’s File 23. Then I wandered over to Metafilter where I found a link to a story about the old Greater Southwest Airport in Fort Worth. I figured this would interest Brian who shares my interest in the old, vanishing places of Fort Worth, so I sent the link to him.

Finally, I went to Boing-Boing where boy genius Cory Doctorow has linked to one of those “skeptical thinker” sites which attempt to prove that no conspiracy ever happened in history. This particular “skeptical thinker” has put together a list of Stupidest Conspiracy Theories which mostly consists of the obvious crazy ones that no one takes seriously (Stephen King killed John Lennon, for instance) mixed with a few that should be taken seriously, such as the dangers of aspartame, flouride, and vaccines, or the use of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast as a study in psychological warfare (see my article Television and the Hive Mind). Elsewhere on his site he denigrates various researchers, such as Jeff Wells and my friend Adam Gorightly, and declares that there is not one fact in Oliver Stone’s JFK. What a fucking idiot.

I stopped reading and started listening to KCLW-AM in Hamilton, Texas, which at this hour plays continuous music. As I sat in my dimly-lit studio, looking out at the empty highway, enjoying the music, sipping coffee, my mind went back to the article about the Greater Southwest Airport. It always fascinated me, this big lavish airport that was so much better than Love Field in Dallas, but due to political squabbles was rarely used and eventually fell to ruin. It was the strangest place. Last time I saw it was in 1977 when a friend and I went there. We made some black-and-white 16mm film footage of the decaying art deco buildings and cracked, weed-grown parking lots and runways. The footage was transferred to videotape several years later. I should dig it out and look at it. Nothing at all remains of the airport now. It was demolished and the land put to some other use.

Around 4:30 I got hungry. Seems my eating cycle is as off-kilter as my sleep cycle. I didn’t want to wake up my wife by banging around in the kitchen, so I went across the street to the Tiger Mart.

What a pleasure it is to move around in the world at that hour. It’s so quiet, and the air so soft, and you can cross the street at a leisurely pace because there’s no traffic. Inside the store, there was only one other customer, leaning on the counter talking to the clerk. I bought a sausage-egg-and-cheese biscuit. As I walked back across the street to my apartment, I saw the moon was full.

I’ve been writing for about 40 minutes. The paper has now arrived, and outside the traffic is gradually increasing. But it’s still dark outside. Dark Morning, good old Dark Morning. Usually at this hour I’m just getting up, but today, despite four cups of coffee, I’m starting to feel sleepy …

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wackiest Conspiracy Theory Ever

There is a new 9/11 conspiracy theory making the rounds of the Internet and it is the wackiest one yet.

It builds on another wacky theory which you have probably already heard--the one about the Al Qaeda operatives who, armed only with boxcutters, successfully hijacked four airliners on the same day, losing one in Pennsylvania, but managing somehow (with minimal flight training) to crash another one into the Pentagon and the remaining two into the World Trade Center, bringing down both towers and another building that wasn’t even hit. The theory makes a lot of other wild claims, but as I say, you’ve heard them before. Therefore, I’ll just skip to this new claim, which you may not have heard. Yet.

It comes from one Douglas Rushkoff, who builds on the Magic Boxcutter theory by postulating that persons who subscribe to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration are “government operatives” spreading propaganda for ... the Bush administration!

Rushkoff writes (italics mine): “Yes, I believe that 9-11 theorizing [his term for 9/11 truth-telling] debilitates the counterculture. It robs us of some potentially creative thinkers. [sniff] It replaces truly important questions with trivial ones. [sob] It marginalizes more constructive investigation of American participation in the development of Al Qaeda as well as its subsequent aggravation. [boo-hoo] And perhaps worst of all, it is precisely the sort of activity that government disinformation specialists would want us to be involved with.” [boo-hoo-hoo] and [hoo]

You see the problem here—the problem with Rushkoff’s logic. It is like a used car bought from Honest John. It breaks down the moment it reaches highway speed. Breaks down, careens off the highway, and wraps itself around a tree. Big problem.

He tells us we are wasting our time investigating the “trivial” slaughter of 2,000 people on 9/11—time better spent investigating our government’s “participation in the development of Al Qaeda.” He says this, you notice, serenely unaware of the flaw in his logic, namely that if it can be established (and it has) that the CIA created Al Qaeda as a proxy for its nefarious activities, then it is reasonable to suspect that 9/11 was one of those activities.

But of course—I forget—silly me: 9/11 is a trivial matter. Therefore, investigate something else. Investigate the CIA’s creation of Al Qaeda. Which begs the question: If Al Qaeda’s grandest achievement, 9/11, is trivial, then why investigate Al Qaeda at all?

Oh, it makes the mind spin, trying to make sense of the strange logic of the Douglas Rushkoffs of the world. It makes the mind spin and spin and spin and spin, and all to no purpose. It is a useless activity, like diving for pearls in a sewer—useless and profoundly unpleasant.

Try using Occam’s razor on one of the Douglas Rushkoffs of the world. No, on second thought, don’t try. Don't let them anywhere near Occam's razor, or any sharp object for that matter, because the moment you tell them the simpler explanation for 9/11 they will go crazy. And what is that explanation? It is this: that the reason a CIA proxy would attack the US on 9/11 is because 9/11 was a CIA operation. That is not a difficult concept, is it? Not for you. But for a conspiracy theorist like Douglas Rushkoff it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He’ll yank Occam’s razor right out of your hand and try to use it against you. I kid you not. Then he’ll start raving that “blowback” is the simplest explanation—blowback being the excuse the intelligence community always uses when it's been caught with its pants down. Blowback—also known as the limited hangout ...

"Yeah, it/he/she/they (fill in the blank: Lee Harvey Oswald, Sara Jane Moore, Jim Jones, Red Guard, Al Qaeda) was/were one of ours, but it/he/she/they got out of our control. We're not responsible for what monster we create in defense of your freedoms ..."

Blowback. It's the fallback position of all criminals, all Mafiosi, all Nazi creeps and CIA stinkbugs, all tyrants and human shitballs in general. "Duh ... we didn't know ... duh ... we don't remember ... duh ..."

And it is the fallback position of their apologists and enablers, too—by which I mean conspiracy theorists such as Douglas Rushkoff.

You cannot argue with them. You cannot make them listen to reason. They are immune to reason—and immune to evidence as well. Just try showing them the US government’s long, documented history of false-flag operations. Just try citing Operation Northwoods. They’ll deny it's real, no matter how rock-solid the evidence. And don’t use the “cui bono” argument either. Don’t even try pointing out to the Douglas Rushkoffs of the world that no one, least of all the Islamic radicals, benefitted from the 9/11 attacks, that only the neo-cons, so badly in need of a “New Pearl Harbor,” stood to gain. Don’t even try, because that will only cause them to start name-calling to win their argument.

Like all conspiracy theorists of this stripe, Rushkoff resorts to name-calling. You’re a “racist,” he says in his article, if you don’t believe “that our big bad government can really be so swiftly outfoxed by a dozen relatively untrained Arab guys.” You're a racist. That is why you have turned away from the Light and embraced the “comforting illusion” that the US government did it.

There are two things that must be said about this strange twist of logic. First, it has been widely reported for several years that nowhere on earth is it more fervently believed that 9/11 was an inside job than in the Middle East. So, is Rushkoff suggesting that Arabs practice anti-Arab racism? Perhaps he is. After all, this is the genius who boldly declares it is the Bush administration who is promoting the idea that the Bush administration was behind 9/11.

Second, Rushkoff, like so many conspiracy theorists when nothing else will support their wild claims, plays psychologist and comes to the conclusion that those who believe 9/11 was an inside job must find it “comforting” to believe our government would murder us. Where is the evidence for this claim? What psychological study is he citing? He does not cite one, therefore we must conclude that he is basing this on his own research. But if that is the case, who in the 9/11 truth movement told him they felt this way? Who did he talk to? He sure didn’t talk to me, because I can’t imagine anything less comforting than the knowledge that the US government is willing to murder me to get what it wants that being the pretext for war in the Middle East and a police state at home.

In the absence of any evidence to support Rushkoff’s claim that we in the 9/11 truth movement take comfort in some sort of paranoid delusion, I can only conclude that Rushkoff and his ilk are suffering from what Freud called projection. That is, it is they, not we, who are afraid of the truth. It is they who mewl and blubber and wet their britches in the face of truth and take comfort in the sad delusion that, bad as it might be, their government would never do anything so bad as kill them. That is the horror they dare not acknowledge, for to acknowledge it would mean they must grow up and do something about the horror.

Or, could it be that (gulp) there is a more sinister motive for the “think” pieces written by the Rushkoffs of the world? Could it be that it is not us, but they who are the “government operatives"?

No, I will not go down that road. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I deal in facts. I do not indulge in paranoid speculation like the Rushkoffs of the world.

Here is the link to Rushkoff’s silly little article.

I found this article by way of a post today by Boing-Boing’s boy genius Cory Doctorow. He quoted generously from the article and linked to it with no other comment than to crow that Rushkoff “called bullshit” on “alternative theories about 9/11.”

In the 90s, I was a frequent contributor to the print version of Boing-Boing. It was a good magazine. I am disappointed to see that in its current, and more influential, web incarnation it has become a habitual debunker of 9/11 truth, primarily through the posts of Doctorow and his fellow NPR regular, Xeni Jardin. Incidentally, Douglas Rushkoff is heard frequently on NPR as well. Spokespersons for the counterculture? Boing-Boing? Hardly.