Truth and the 9/11 Truth Movement
By Richard Curtis, PhD
A speech to the Seattle branch of the “ 9/11 Visibility Movement”
July 1, 2006 – Bellevue Public Library
“My fellow Americans: Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor. This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.”[i][i]
President Eisenhower went on share this thought:
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted, only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
You all have heard this speech, or at least this part of it before. Yet, we as a people seem not to have taken President Eisenhower seriously. Did we not believe him then? Do we not believe him now?
He was a politician, of course, and we have grown deeply skeptical of politicians. But that speech was given January 17, 1961 – before Nixon taught us to expect Presidents to lie. Yet, we did not believe Ike.
He was also not completely honest, we know that now too. All of the available evidence indicates that the Soviet Union never attempted to build an offensive military capacity[ii][ii], so when Ike said, “…we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…” he was not telling us the whole truth. Indeed, America was not compelled by the Soviet Union to develop a “permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” America built this industry of its own accord. But America is not Americans. We Americans, the American people did not decide that we needed a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Someone decided, or more properly a group of people decided and they worked very hard to then convince the American people – through an unfounded fear – to support this military-industrial complex.
Fear is an old and often used political tool:
"Of course the people don't want war. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."[iii][iii]
Herman Goering said that.
Now it is quite possible that there was a shred of truth to Eisenhower’s claim that “we” were compelled. Perhaps he was not so willing a participant in that decision. Perhaps we were compelled, but it was not the Soviet military that provided that compulsion. Perhaps, there is a deeper truth in the rest of the quote that explains who compelled us to do this to ourselves.
Eisenhower said, “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” And added, “We should take nothing for granted….” We should take nothing for granted when confronting this misplaced power. Eisenhower called it “The Military-Industrial Complex,” another national leader invented his own term for it – Fascism.[iv][iv]
But fear requires an object, and with the absence of the Soviet Union to at least appear as a plausible threat something had to take its place. As I, and others, have argued before, that something is terrorism. And there really are terrorists and terrorist acts, of which we ought to be afraid. But just who are the terrorists?
On September 23, 2001, National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice said, …”the U.S. has evidence of bin Laden’s role in terrorist acts that it will present in due time.” The implication of that phrase was that the act in question was 9/11, but the U.S. has no such evidence. At least according to the FBI, which has recently admitted that it has no hard evidence linking bin Laden to the events of 9/11.[v][v]
In fact, as you have seen from the details presented earlier today, there is no evidence to support the commonly held belief that 19 Arab religious fanatics were responsible for the attack of 9/11. And further, the evidence we do have strongly supports the alternative theory that the attacks were actually an inside job. So when Dr. Rice failed to provide that evidence, she was so insistent that the U.S. government had, it is now obvious why. She was lying. Of course, since Dr. Kissinger’s work for the aforementioned pathological liar Nixon we have learned not to trust what National Security Advisors say either.
This is an odd state of affairs. Our public culture assumes that Dr. Rice was telling the truth and we seem to behave as if that claim was valid and has real impact on our lives. And there has been a real impact on our lives, but not because the claim was true, but because we are expected to believe that it was true and all of our public media and public officials at least pretend to behave as if it were true.
But do we, do we behave as if that claim were true? Certainly that obviously false claim and other more obviously false claims have been used to justify illegal wars, and have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. So in some ways we do behave as if the lies were true. But in other ways it is clear that we do not take them seriously. My own favorite example of this blatant hypocrisy is that we are subjected to multiple time wasting searches when we try to fly, this is allegedly to prevent other would-be hijackers from smuggling weapons onto airplanes. But it is easy to smuggle weapons onto airplanes. In fact if you want a lethal weapon on an airplane you do not even have to smuggle it aboard yourself, the airlines provide them – in the form of glass wine and beer bottles, which when broken become incredibly lethal weapons.
More ominously, the government now spies on us much more extensively than we previously realized, and this is done on the basis of those false claims. However, the spying cannot really be intended to catch would-be terrorists, according to experts in these sorts of things. As Paul Craig Roberts has put it:
“Floyd Rudmin, a professor at a Norwegian university, writing at CounterPunch.org applies the mathematics of conditional probability, known as Bayes' Theorem, to demonstrate that the NSA's surveillance cannot successfully detect terrorists unless both the percentage of terrorists in the population and the accuracy rate of their identification are far higher than they are. He correctly concludes that ‘NSA's surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists’. The surveillance is, however, useful for monitoring political opposition and stymieing the activities of those who do not believe the government's propaganda."[vi][vi]
There are obvious implications to be drawn from all of this, but most Americans rarely express or act upon these obvious implications.
There is a standard rejoinder to systematic critiques of government behavior such as I have been offering, and it runs along these lines. “Well, these are huge bureaucracies that are staffed with people who are not always good at their jobs or lack the proper resources. Sometimes things just go wrong; there are accidents.” Those holding to this theory would say, “The NSA really is intending to catch terrorists, they are just imperfect or incompetent.” Really, they are incompetent? They don’t know that this system of spying won’t catch terrorists?
Well, Sigmund Freud and his reasons for denying that there are accidents not withstanding, there are better reasons for dismissing this pathetic defense of the status quo. Some years back I developed what I call “The Accidental Theory of History.” The Accidental Theory of History occurred to me after the start of the first Gulf War. Many people have forgotten, or never heard, that that war was actually started by the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq at the time, one April Glaspie. It seems the Ambassador had some crucial facts “wrong.” We are led to believe she was just incompetent when she told Saddam Hussein that the U.S. government did not have a position on his dispute with Kuwait, which at the time was stealing Iraqi oil through a practice called “slant drilling.” Saddam, being a one time useful idiot, actually believed this and went on to invade Kuwait, and then after some particularly compelling but deceitful testimony before Congress, we invaded Iraq for the first time.
Those who knew about all this in the media claimed that it was all just a misunderstanding, an accident. But only a fool would still believe that the beginnings of the U.S. drive to control the Iraqi oil fields was an accident, although it has been justified by an astounding series of lies. Big lies.
A different fascist leader wrote this:
“All this was inspired by the principle — which is quite true in itself — that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”[vii][vii]
A shorter, although falsely attributed version of this runs:
“The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. Especially if it is repeated again and again.”[viii][viii]
This, of course, is the situation in which we now find ourselves. The government and our media have endlessly repeated a Big Lie about 9/11. The official version of this lie was published in a book called The 9/11 Commission Report. This is a book that David Ray Griffin refers to as a 571 page lie.[ix][ix]
We live in a time of lies and yet we seem to behave as if this is not the case. We refuse to “believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” So it is true, the masses of people accept the big lie, and then worry about small ones. The War on Terrorism is a Big Lie; the justifications for the war and occupation of Iraq are small lies. So people talk about the small lies that led to war, even the media, but they cannot seem to find the wisdom or courage to confront the big lies, the lies of 9/11.
Those of you who watch the TV show “Boston Legal” might remember the way this state of affairs was captured by one of the main characters: “There are no facts anymore, only good and bad fiction.”[x][x]
I am afraid that the public culture, even though polls indicate a deep seated suspicion, regards the Big Lie of 9/11 as good fiction – it is a compelling if utterly false story. The truth, of at least the only logical conclusion based on the available evidence, that 9/11 was an inside job strikes many as bad fiction. It is a bad story that would show up in some low budget movie plot, but hardly the stuff of real life. Real government leaders would not have the “impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Would they? Of course they do and we have example after example of this from history. It was the approach advocated by Niccolò Machiavelli in his famous little book, The Prince. It is the guiding philosophy of the Neo-Conservative movement and, as I will argue in a moment, of Neo-Liberals as well.[xi][xi] When the lies involve attacks on a people that are falsely attributed to some enemy we even have a special term, they are called “False Flag Operations.”
What is the proper response to all this? What is the effective response? I want to suggest that even though one might cynically see these as two questions, that they are in fact the same question. The response, both proper and effective, is the truth.
Well, that is too simple – the truth is out there for people to find, even journalists should you find one who actually investigates anything anymore. On the one hand we need to communicate the facts, as far as these facts can be determined. On the other hand we need “good fiction” to help with this presentation. But of course, it is not good “fiction” that we need, but a good narrative. We have enough of the truth to make the point, but what makes a good narrative?
I would suggest that a good narrative for our purposes is a consistent one. The Big Lie achieves its status of good narrative through the twin features of being a Big Lie and through being endlessly repeated, or more commonly by simply being assumed, in the mainstream media culture. What ought our – the 9/11 Truth Movement’s – approach be to be consistent?
I believe this narrative must have two elements, first a strong emphasis on facts and the confrontation of lies. Dr. Griffin suggests focusing on the official Big Lie, and unmasking the lies and distortions that are the 9/11 Commission Report. Second, I believe we need to develop and articulate a political analysis that honestly responds to the logical implications inherent in this Big Lie being bi-partisan in nature. That is this Big Lie is told by both Democrats and Republicans, and we must come to terms with the implications of this.
This may seem a strange thing to suggest, but the best way to start this political analysis is to understand the influence of a German-born Political Philosopher named Leo Strauss, who died more than two decades ago. This is strange because we seem to have an administration that is both apparently “intellectually challenged” and chock full of PhD’s.
Those people, both in and out of government, who follow the teachings of Strauss are called Straussians, and they are the intellectual elite among the so-called Neo-Conservatives.[xii][xii]
Strauss was an interpreter of Plato and other ancients. Most scholars believe that Strauss’s interpretations of Plato were wildly off the mark. Yet, Strauss has followers who, regardless of the falsity of his interpretations, accept and use the “wisdom” Strauss taught them.
Strauss believed that most people are not capable of living up to the demands of participating in a democracy, and are hardly prepared to manage their own lives in the face of the meaninglessness inherent in the modern world. Strauss believed that it is a sort of modern nihilism that most threatens societies when they try to be democratic – which was his interpretation of what happened in Germany in the 1930’s.
Strauss suggested two strategies for dealing with this problem. First, religion – Strauss said that most people need the structure of religion to guide their lives, even when their beliefs are unjustifiable and likely false. Following what Plato called a “noble lie,” Strauss said that societies need the “pious fraud” of fundamentalist religion. Notice that both parties are vying to appeal to fundamentalists these days.[xiii][xiii] And they both have what I am sure they regard as a Pius Fraud in the Big Lie of 9/11.
Second, Strauss said that states need war. War gives people a sense of meaning and purpose that is otherwise absent from the modern world. This means the state must have an enemy. For a long time, this worked well. We called it the Cold War. But then the Cold War ended and America was adrift, unwilling to forge a truly egalitarian society American elites looked for new enemies.
Importantly, Strauss said that if an enemy is not at hand, then create one. Thus, as mentioned before, astute observers of the American scene have noticed that terrorism came to occupy the attention of our media and culture in a new way just about the time the Cold War ended. Today, 9/11 and the so-called War on Terrorism, which we are told will never end, have conveniently provided the government with the endless war it wants.
This increase in terrorism seems to be very convenient. Some, myself included, believe that this is not coincidental. There exists a substantial body of evidence that indicates that what we call “Al-Qaeda” is simply the CIA organized “Mujahadeen” gone global, keeping in place their supply and financial operations. The financial side includes money from arms and drug sales especially, but also nefarious financial ties to Western intelligence services.[xiv][xiv]
What we in the 9/11 Truth Movement need to explain to people is that Neo-Conservatives and Neo-Liberals (the ideology of the Democratic Leadership Council and its major names like Clinton and Kerry) share essentially the same ideology and the same history of tangled financial ties to known branches of Al-Qaeda.
The “neo” in Neo-Conservative refers to a change in right-wing ideology from believing that tradition and religion can best inform the present, to simply using religion and tradition as a way of controlling people. The old conservatives actually believed the things they said. Just as the old liberals believed the things they said, where the Neo-Liberals simply use that older liberal ideology of equality and rights as a way of organizing their base. For them it just as much a “pious fraud” as religion is for the Neo-Conservatives.
Today both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are run by Straussians, at least implicitly.[xv][xv] Let me be perfectly clear here: Straussian means fascist, so my analysis is that both major parties are variations on the Straussian version of fascism. Both parties use lies to manipulate their respective bases, but in the final analysis it is the same empire they are building and this is seen most obviously in the degree to which both major parties cooperate on extending the empire through war and the cultivation of fear among the population by first developing and then endlessly repeating the Big Lie of 9/11.
We, in the Truth Movement, have to offer a compelling narrative that explains this general feature of cooperative deception at the highest levels of government. We also have to break through the media’s self-imposed gag rule on asking critical questions about 9/11. We must speak truth to power!
Revisiting President Eisenhower’s words:
“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted, only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
The noted Political Scientist, Dr. Michael Parenti has a related observation that is worth noting here:
“The ruling class throughout history has only wanted one thing: Everything. If you know that but nothing else, you know more than if you know everything else but that.”
Democracy demands truth and its most formidable enemy is this pathological acceptance of a culture of lies. We are a Truth Movement, because the truth matters, it matters to our freedom and most importantly to democracy. There is no higher calling for a patriot and advocate of the radical idea that is democracy than truth telling.
[ii][ii] See Fred Kaplan’s Dubious Specter: A Skeptical Look at the Soviet Nuclear Threat (Institute for Policy Studies, 1980).
[iii][iii] Herman Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief, at the Nuremberg trials, April 18, 1946
[iv][iv] Benito Mussolini
[vii][vii] From Hitler’s Mein Kampf, details at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler
[ix][ix] See Griffin’s 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions for details.
[x][x] “Boston Legal” air date June 27, 2006.
[xi][xi] See the work of Shadia Drury on Leo Strauss and his influence on prominent Neo-Conservatives.
[xii][xii] For example: Abram Shulsky, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, William Bennett and John Podhoretz
[xiii][xiii] Most recently on the Democratic side in a speech by Sen. Barack Obama.
[xiv][xiv] See the work of Nafez M. Ahmed
[xv][xv] Compare the nearly identical “vision” of the Project for a New American Century, the major Neo-Con think tank with the “vision” put forth by a big name Democrat like Zbigniew Brzezinski in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard. Both advocate military control of energy resources and both recognized that a catalyzing event like a New Pearl Harbor would be needed to convince the American public to support this increased militarism.