Who Controls the Information Space and Why

Source: Who Controls the Information Space and Why

Who Controls the Information Space and Why
By Jean Perier – New Eastern Outlook – 28.05.2017
Recently behind-the-scenes rules and restrictions being used by Facebook have fallen into the hands of Guardian reporters. According to their report, moderators employed by the tech giant are entitled to decide what exactly the 2 billion users of this social network can or cannot publish on their pages. This report has provoked a massive discussion on the absence of any ethical norms that could prevent the tech giant from exercising censorship, along with disputes about the determination of US intelligence agencies to spy on their citizens in violation of the USA Freedom Act.

The fact that the US created the Internet as a tool of exercising control over information space, as a convenient environment for espionage, collecting dirty facts and spreading lies has been established long ago. For those naive few who refuse to believe the facts, one can only be reminded of the old saying: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But who owns the allegedly free Internet? Who created it and why?

According to Reuters, last year alone the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted 151 million phone calls of American citizens, in spite of the fact that Congress has allegedly limited the ability to exercise surveillance for intelligence agencies by adopting the USA Freedom Act, according to which courts must decide when to allow intelligence agencies to collect information about a person suspected of criminal activity.

However, the all-encompassing control of US intelligence services over the world’s information space has been uncovered by an unending stream of publications in American and foreign media sources, showing that the United States is grossly violating even the most basic human rights, by creating a system of electronic interception and processing of all sorts of data about users on the Internet.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that every aspect of our day-to-day lives is being controlled: phone conversations, short text messages, everything we write on social media networks or send via email. Thus, the British Guardian confirmed the existing exchange of information about intercepted electronic messages of both US citizens and British citizens established by US intelligence agencies and the British Government Communications Headquarters. Even British courts recognized that such cooperation that existed for at least seven years is unlawful, since they were carried out in violation of international conventions on human rights.

In addition, the Guardian has also revealed that phone tapping that Mi-5 and Mi-6 authorized in order to intercept private consultations between UK citizens and their lawyers in a bid to guarantee the authorities an upper hand during trials, constitutes a violation of both national laws and international norms.

The Intercept has also revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British partners from the Government Communications Headquarters stole the encryption keys of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer – Gemalto, situated in the Netherlands. This allowed intelligence agencies from both nations ever since to tap all sorts of phone conversations and intercept any data sent via a mobile device carrying a SIM card produced by Gemalto.

In late 2014, the Wall Street Journal has also revealed the practices that allowed US intelligence agencies to record information stored on millions of cell phones across the US through the use of special spyware. Additionally, Wikileaks released CIA documents that show this agency is capable of intercepting messages sent via encrypted message apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

It should be noted that US intelligence agencies have been pretty methodical in the collection of information that in one way or another could be used not just against ordinary citizens, but even against leading political figures. When in October 2013 a scandal erupted with the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, it turned out that the NSA had been carrying out such intrusions for more than ten years by that time. Back then, the scandal was downplayed and no actual changes in those malicious practices were pursued.

So how many more revelations about the total control that US intelligence agencies exercise over information space should be published before Washington’s open mockery of human rights and freedom of speech is finally challenged and stopped?

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East.

 

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US Policymakers Openly Plot Against Venezuela

Source: US Policymakers Openly Plot Against Venezuela
The US media has been paying increasing attention to the unfolding crisis in the South American nation of Venezuela. As the US media has done elsewhere, it is attempting to portray the unfolding crisis as a result of a corrupt dictatorship fighting against a “pro-democracy” opposition.

In reality, it is simply a repeat of US-driven regime change aimed at toppling Venezuela’s independent state institutions and replacing them with institutions created by and for US special interests.

The “opposition” is comprised of US-backed political parties and US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) many of which are listed on the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website.

The UK Independent in a 2016 article titled, “Venezuela accuses US of plotting coup as Washington warns of ‘imminent collapse’,” would even admit:

…observers of the region point out that the US has a long history of seeking to interfere in the politics of Venezuela, as well as elsewhere in Latin America. In addition to supporting those who ousted Mr Chavez in 2002, the US poured hundreds of thousands of dollars to his opponents via the so-called National Endowment for Democracy.

To understand America’s actual role amid Venezuela’s unfolding crisis, one must read policy papers produced by organizations called “think tanks” which devise and promote US policy.

The Brookings Institute is a Fortune 500-funded policy think-tank. It is populated by policymakers who represent the collective ambitions of some of the world’s most powerful corporate-financier interests including big-oil, defense, agricultural monopolies, pharmaceutical corporations, media interests, and more.
Image: Just some of the Brookings Institute’s corporate-financier sponsors.
Brookings and think-tanks similar to it have regularly produced policy and media guidelines later disseminated across the Western media and Western legislatures through public relations firms and lobbyists. Think tanks are where the real agenda of the West is agreed upon and promoted from.

A recent piece featured upon the Brookings Institution’s website titled, “Venezuela: A path out of crisis,” lays out a 5-point plan toward escalating Venezuela’s already precarious situation (emphasis added):

1. The United States could expand its assistance to countries that until now have been dependent on Venezuelan oil, as a means to decrease regional support for and dependence on the Maduro government.

2. The United States could increase monetary assistance to credible civil society organizations and nongovernmental organizations able to deliver food and medicines to Venezuelans. By doing so, the United States should make clear that international pressure aims to support democracy, not punish the Venezuelan people.

3. The United States could support efforts by the opposition in Venezuela to build an “off-ramp” that would split moderate elements of the government away from hardliners, encouraging the former to acquiesce to a transition to democracy by lowering their costs of exiting government.

4. The United States could coordinate with international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to offer financial incentives for holding free and fair elections in 2018, and for the opposition to unify and compete in those elections. Such coordination would also involve developing and publicizing a credible plan to restart Venezuela’s economy.

5. As a last resort, the United States could consider raising economic costs to the government through an expanded sanctions regime that aims to limit Venezuelan earnings from oil exports and block further financing. This policy is risky, given that the Maduro government would be able to more credibly shift blame for the economic crisis onto the United States, and should be accompanied by well-publicized efforts to deliver humanitarian aid through credible civil society and nongovernmental organizations.
It is a prescription for further economic isolation, US-funded political subversion, and with its reference to “a transition to democracy,” an oblique call for regime change.

The US media – particularly organizations operating from under right cover – have portrayed Venezuela’s economic crisis as primarily related to “socialism” and corruption. In reality, factors that would have only impeded the full realization of Venezuela’s economic progress have been intentionally compounded through US sanctions, economic sabotage, and political subversion to precipitate the currently unfolding socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis.

Venezuela would not be the first nation the US targeted for economic implosion in South America.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its own online archives available to the public under a section titled, “CIA Activities in Chile,” would admit (emphasis added):

According to the Church Committee report, in their meeting with CIA Director Richard Helms and Attorney General John Mitchell on 15 September 1970 President Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, directed the CIA to prevent Allende from taking power. They were “not concerned [about the] risks involved,” according to Helms’ notes. In addition to political action, Nixon and Kissinger, according to Helms’s notes, ordered steps to “make the economy scream.”

These Cold War attitudes persisted into the Pinochet era. After Pinochet came to power, senior policymakers appeared reluctant to criticize human rights violations, taking to task US diplomats urging greater attention to the problem. US military assistance and sales grew significantly during the years of greatest human rights abuses. According to a previously released Memorandum of Conversation, Kissinger in June 1976 indicated to Pinochet that the US Government was sympathetic to his regime, although Kissinger advised some progress on human rights in order to improve Chile’s image in the US Congress.
With violence increasing in the streets of Venezuela and many of the rhetorical tactics used to set the stage for violent regime change and humanitarian catastrophe in Libya and Syria now being used to topple the government in Caracas – the world must get ahead of the propaganda and begin exposing this open conspiracy against yet another sovereign nation.

Venezuela’s political system is for the Venezuelan people themselves to decide – without US interference. A government dominated by US-backed opposition members will leave Venezuela as an extension of US corporate-financier special interests, not an alternative or check against them This only serves in inviting further abuse by these interests not only in South America, but all around the world – Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Ukraine for example – where America’s unwarranted wealth and influence is sowing instability, conflict, and catastrophe.

Why eastern Syria is essential to containing Iran

by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
May 26, 2017
http://www.meforum.org/6717/eclipsing-caliphate-the-fight-for-eastern-syria

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Originally published under the title “Race for the Ruins.”
Islamic State lacks the manpower to defend its diminishing territory in eastern Syria, as suggested by this U.S. military propaganda leaflet.
Events taking place in a remote stretch of southeast Syrian desert in recent days reveal the current direction of US Middle East strategy.

An observable ratcheting up of US and allied air and special forces activity in eastern Syria is currently under way. This in turn appears to derive from a new, hard-nosed understanding of the nature of the strategic game in the large, strife-ridden area covering what was once Syria and Iraq.

On Thursday, May 18th, US aircraft launched strikes on a column of Assad regime vehicles including tanks and earth-movers, 18 miles from the town of al-Tanf, on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The strikes took place after the vehicles entered an agreed deconfliction zone around the town. US and British special forces are currently training “vetted partner forces,” i.e. Syrian Sunni Arab rebels, in the town.

This was the second occasion in recent weeks that US aircraft have directly engaged against Assad’s forces. On the first occasion, the target was the al-Shayrat airbase. That raid took place on April 6. It was a clear retaliation for the regime’s use of sarin gas at Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. The Shayrat raid was generally interpreted as a belated attempt to enforce the American “red line” against further regime use of chemical weapons. As such, it was not widely seen as indicating a more general change of policy.

The attack on the column near al-Tanf, by contrast, was not preceded by any unusual regime activity, apart from the approach of the column itself, and its too close vicinity to Western forces. On Monday, the pro-opposition website Syria Direct quoted an un-named US military spokesman as saying that “if pro-regime forces move further south or east from their current positions, this will be considered a threat.” The website also reported that regime forces are preparing to move toward the Badia area, a stretch of desert to the north east of al-Tanf.

The battle for the territorial holdings of the Islamic State in Syria is reaching its final phase.

What is the significance of this butting of heads?

The battle against the territorial holdings of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is reaching its final phase. The re-conquest of Mosul is almost done. The assault on Raqqa city, the capital city of the Caliphate is about to begin. It is set to be a hard and bloody fight. But its eventual outcome is not in question. Islamic State as an entity controlling ground will be destroyed. At which point the movement will revert back to its former status as a clandestine terror network. As the eclipse of the Caliphate draws near, the race is opening up to inherit its former domains.

The competitors in this contest are Iran and its various allies and proxies, and forces associated with the West and the Sunni Arab states.

The Iranians and their allies want to penetrate IS territory from west to east – with the Iraqi Shia militias pushing westwards from Tel Afar and Assad regime forces and pro-Assad militias (including Hizballah) probing east.

The regime forces nosing around in al Tanf are in the process of seeking to seize border areas with both Jordan and Iraq. The US is determined to prevent that. The town of Deir al-Zour and the surrounding oil rich areas will form an important part of the prize.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor, Syria.
Pro-Western forces, meanwhile are pushing north from Jordan and south from the Kurdish-controlled area north of the IS enclave. The forces engaged on this side are the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the Kurdish YPG, and the Maghawir a-Thawra (Commandos of the Revolution, formerly the New Syrian Army) rebels, supported by the US, UK and Jordan, from the south.

The outcome of this contest is of strategic significance, despite the remote and arid nature of much of the territory concerned. The Iranians want to create a contiguous line of territory controlled by themselves and their allies stretching from Iraq into Syria, and thence to the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Israel.

Islamic State has formed a buffer against the achievement of this goal. But Islamic State, in the usual manner of Sunni Salafi organizations when they control territory, declined to be satisfied with the stewardship of a small domain. Instead, the Sunni jihadis elected to declare war on the West, using the territory as a base to hold and execute captured Western prisoners, to prepare attacks against Western civilian targets, to administer a regional network of franchise groups, and to attempt genocide against a non-Muslim population, the Yezidis. As a result, the West, unsurprisingly, made it a goal to destroy the Islamic State.

Iran wants to control a contiguous line of territory stretching from Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s borders.

The question now is who will inherit. The Americans, it appears, have understood that to stand a chance of re-establishing influence and standing in the region, and beginning the process of turning back the Iranian advance, it is necessary to have skin in the game, i.e., to develop reliable proxies and have them control ground, in this pivotal area.

Only thus can a contiguous line of Iranian control from the Iraq-Iran border to the Mediterranean and Israel be prevented. Only thus will the US be able to prevent an eventual outcome in Syria and in Iraq entirely favorable to the Iranians. Hence the development by the US Department of Defense of the relationships with the YPG and elements among the Jordan-supported Sunni Arab rebels in the south.

It is worth also noting that the outcome in eastern Syria is not of primary interest to the Russians. Russia wants to preserve the regime in existence and to keep its naval investments in Latakia Province. Neither of these interests is threatened by events further east. Controlling the east is an Iranian and Assad regime goal only.

The outcome in eastern Syria is not of primary interest to the Russians.

The outcome of this emergent contest will be of deep interest also to Israeli strategic planners. While some recent analysis has suggested that Israel favors or should favor allowing IS to continue in existence as a quasi-state, it is obvious that this is no longer an option. Syria as a state has largely ceased to exist. The question now, as it is parceled out into zones of influence, is who will gain and who will lose.

Alongside the military jockeying on the ground, the diplomatic processes in Astana and Geneva will sputter on. Their eventual outcome, though, will depend on the balance of forces on the ground. Iran wants its contiguous line not least in order to move weaponry and fighters both in preparation for and no less importantly in the course of a future war with Israel. Preventing this is an Israeli national security interest par excellence.

This emergent US strategy has not yet been officially confirmed. Indeed, Defense Secretary James Mattis was quoted by Agence France Presse after the al-Tanf strike as denying that the raid heralded any “increased role” for the US in the Syrian war.

The pattern on the ground suggests otherwise. The US administration has defined the Iranians and the Sunni jihadis of IS as its main adversaries in the region. Eastern Syria is an area where the defeat of the latter by pro-Western forces will constitute also a setback also for the former. This is a game which is now afoot. Much depends on its outcome.

Jonathan Spyer, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

Canadian Missionaries in Africa and the NGO Model

Source: Canadian Missionaries in Africa and the NGO Model
By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | April 24, 2017

For more than a century Canadians have gone abroad to do “good” in poorer parts of the world. Whether they spurred positive change or simply became foreign agents should be of interest to international non-governmental organizations.

Last week the Globe and Mail reported on the Canadians Christians who set off to proselytize in China in 1891. Focused on their medical achievements, the laudatory story hinted at a darker side of their work. It quoted a missionary who was “critical of the lifestyle most of the missionaries led, with their large houses, many servants and imported comforts which contrasted with the far lower standard of living of their Chinese fellow Christians.”

Of more consequence than their opulence, Canadian missionaries aggressively supported colonial officials, as I discovered researching Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation. By the end of the colonial period 2,500 Canadian missionaries were proselytizing in Africa and Canadian churches raised large sums to support mission stations across the continent.

Four Québec Jesuit fathers left for the Zambesi Mission in southern Africa in 1883. Alphonse Daignault rose through the ranks of the Catholic male congregation to become Prefect Apostolic of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Then Superior of the Jesuits’ Zambezi Mission, Daignault backed the British South Africa Company’s invasion of Mashonaland (Zimbabwe) in 1890. With their evangelizing shunned by the Ndebele people, the Jesuits and other foreign missionaries supported the “destruction of [the] Ndebele system.”

Granted a charter from London in 1889, Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company offered white men in Kimberley, South Africa, 3,000 acres of land and mining rights if they joined the Company’s fight to conquer part of today’s Zimbabwe. Daignault offered the invading force chaplaincy services, mobile ambulances and nurses. The British South Africa Company paid the Jesuit nurses’ costs and compensated Daignault’s mission with conquered territory, including a major piece of land on the outskirts of today’s Harare. In A History of Christian Missions in Zimbabwe C. J. M. Zvobgo writes that the Harare “farm which consisted of 12,000 acres, beautifully surrounded by hills, was given to the Jesuits by the BSA Company in recognition of FR Alphonse Daignault’s service to the [Company’s] sick.”

The Québec Jesuit leader worked with Rhodes and British officials for years. He also supported the colonial authorities’ efforts to drive Africans from their traditional economies into wage work. Reflecting the settler community’s attitude in 1897, Daignault told the deputy administrator of the city of Bulawayo in 1897 that the “natives of this country… are but grown-up children” prone to “idleness”. “Men in authority who have the true interests of the natives at heart ought to treat the natives not only as children but are also to do all they can to make them acquire habits of work. As this cannot be obtained by mere moral persuasion, authority must necessarily be used.”

To the north, dozens of Canadian missionaries helped the colonial authority penetrate Ugandan societies in the early 1900s. The preeminent figure was John Forbes who was a bishop and coadjutor vicar apostolic, making him second in charge of over 30 mission posts in Uganda. A 1929 biography of the founder of the White Father in Canada describes his “good relations” with British colonial authorities and the “important services Forbes rendered the authorities of the Protectorate.”

In 1918 Forbes participated in a major conference in the colony, organized by Governor Robert Coryndon in the hopes of spurring indigenous wage work. The Vaudreuil, Québec, native wrote home that “it’s a big question. The European planters in our area, who cultivate coffee, cotton and rubber need workers for their exploitation. But the workforce is rare. Our Negroes are happy to eat bananas and with a few bits of cotton or bark for clothes, are not excited to put themselves at the service of the planters and work all day for a meager salary.” British officials subsidized the White Fathers schools as part of a bid to expand the indigenous workforce.

During World War I, Canadian White Fathers Ernest Paradis and Wilfred Sarrazin helped Brigadier General Edward Northey conquer German East Africa. Serving as civilian transport officers, Paradis and Sarrazin focused on organizing African carriers, who were generally press ganged into service. Paradis became Senior Transport Officer for all British forces east of Nyasaland and North of Zambesi in today’s Malawi and Zimbabwe.

By volunteering to join the war, the White Fathers sought “respectability … in the eyes of planters and government officials.” Afterwards, Paradis used his heightened status to gain the colonial administration’s support for the White Fathers’ educational work.

Paradis evangelised in Malawi for several decades. He led the White Fathers campaign to supress “the Nyau”, a religious belief among the Chewa and Nyanja people that included elaborate dances. In May 1929 Paradis wrote an East Africa article titled “Devil Dancers of Terror” that claimed Nyau dances were seditious.

Another Canadian missionary engaged in the White Fathers’ efforts to outlaw Nyau customs in Nyasaland. Father Superior David Roy called on colonial officials to criminalize their dances and in 1928 Christians in the Likuni district, which he oversaw, killed two Nyau.

Thomas Buchanan Reginald Westgate was a Canadian missionary who joined the Church Missionary Society in German East Africa in 1902. With the support of the Ontario branch of the Church Mission Society, Westgate remained in Tanzania for over a decade. The Watford, Ontario, born missionary translated parts of the Old Testament into Cigogo, the language spoken by the Gogo nation in the central region of the colony.

Westgate worked with the colonial administration. His son, Wilfrid Westgate, authored a book about his father’s life titled T. B. R. Westgate: A Canadian Missionary on Three Continents. In the biography, Westgate writes: “Governor [Heinrich] Schnee looked upon the mission as an asset to this part of the German colonial empire.” German soldiers protected the Canadian’s mission post when the population rose up in 1905 against the colonial authority. Dissent was sparked by measures to force Africans to grow cotton for export, and an uprising known as the Maji Maji rebellion swept across the vast colony. It lasted two years. During the rebellion, Westgate coordinated with German Captain von Hirsch. Westgate’s wife, Rita, later wrote, “at times we feared the Germans could not suppress the rising.” The Germans succeeded, however, and the Westgate’s fears did not come to pass. In The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, Isabel Hull writes that 15 Europeans and 389 allied African soldiers were killed by the rebels. By contrast, writes Hull, whole areas of the colony were depopulated with 200,000 to 300,000 Tanzanians killed between 1905 and 1907.

Another Ontario native by the name of Marion Wittich (later Marion Keller) felt called to missionary work while working as an Anglican schoolteacher in Parry Sound, Ontario. She set off with her husband to proselytize in Tanzania in 1913. Her husband died in Tanzania and several years later she remarried a man by the name of Otto Keller, a German born US émigré, who the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada sponsored to set up a mission station in western Kenya. In 1914 Otto Keller claimed that “here [Africa] we see the power of the devil in an astonishing form, almost beyond belief. The noise of drunken men and women, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh come to our ears. All seemingly bound and determined to fulfill the cup of their iniquity.” By the time Marion Keller died in 1942, the socially conservative Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada had over 200 branch churches in Kenya.

An official history of the Canadian church attacked the anti-colonial movement in Kenya as “a resurgence of primitive animism.” Published in 1958, What God Hath Wrought: A History of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada notes: “Unfortunately, sinister forces were bidding high for the souls of Kenya’s millions. In the 1950s there was to be a resurgence of primitive heathenism which had as its aim the expulsion of the white man from Kenya and the extinction of everything Christian in their land. This was the Mau Mau uprising.” In putting down the uprising the British killed tens of thousands.

In 1893 Torontonians Walter Gowans and Rowland Victor Bingham founded what later became the largest interdenominational Protestant mission on the continent: the Sudan Interior Mission (Though SIM initially focused on modern- day Nigeria, at the time “Sudan” generally referred to the area south of the Sahara and North of the equator from the east to west coast of the continent.) Head of SIM for four decades, Bingham described “facing millions of people in the darkness of their heathenism” and “seeing the people in all their savagery and sin.”

In the 1950s SIM described growing Nigerian nationalism as “dark and threatening”. Adeleye Liagbemi writes that “the nationalist upsurge of the post Second World War era engendered a new spirit of independence and experimentation; positive, forward-looking, purposeful and militant. The situation sent chills down the spines of some Christian missionary organizations in the country — including the S.I.M.” In response SIM ramped up its literature output, deciding to “take the offensive out of Satan’s hands”, which it felt had “been winning the war of words among the new literates” of Africa.

Official Canada generally supported these Christian activists. Missionary leaders were well-regarded and received sympathetic media coverage. Leading business people financed mission work and Ottawa sometimes looked to missionaries for advice.

Most of the Canadians who proselytized in Africa were “good Christians” who saw themselves as helping to “civilize the dark continent”. While formal colonialism is over and paternalism has been tempered, Canadians supportive of international NGOs should reflect on missionary history.

Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

The American left and the reality of 911: Beyond their wildest dreams

Source: The American left and the reality of 911: Beyond their wildest dreams

The American left and the reality of 911: Beyond their wildest dreams
end .entry-author
end .entry-header
by Graeme MacQueen, from sott.net

Noam Chomsky: Bastion of the intellectual left in the US – and hopelessly ignorant of 911
On November 23, 1963, the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Fidel Castro gave a talk on Cuban radio and television.[1] He pulled together, as well as he could in the amount of time available to him, the evidence he had gathered from news media and other sources, and he reflected on this evidence.
The questions he posed were well chosen: they could serve as a template for those confronting complex acts of political violence. Were there contradictions and absurdities in the story being promoted in the U.S. media? Who benefitted from the assassination? Were intelligence agencies claiming to know more than they could legitimately know? Was there evidence of foreknowledge of the murder? What was the main ideological clash in powerful U.S. circles and how did Kennedy fit in? Was there a faction that had the capacity and willingness to carry out such an act? And so on.
But beneath the questions lay a central, unspoken fact: Castro was able to imagine—as a real possibility and not as mere fantasy—that the story being promoted by the U.S. government and media was radically false. He was able to conceive of the possibility that the killing had not been carried out by a lone gunman on the left sympathetic to Cuba and the Soviet Union, but by powerful, ultra-right forces, including forces internal to the state, in the United States. Because his conceptual framework did not exclude this hypothesis he was able to examine the evidence that favored it. He was able to recognize the links between those wishing to overthrow the Cuban government and take more aggressive action toward the Soviet Union and those wishing to get Kennedy out of the way.
In the immediate wake of the assassination, and after the Warren Commission’s report appeared in 1964, few among the elite left leadership in the U.S. shared Castro’s imagination. Vincent Salandria, one of key researchers and dissidents, said:
“I have experienced from the beginning that the left was most unreceptive to my conception of the assassination.”[2]

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad challenged the official narrative at the “9/11 Revisited: Seeking the Truth” conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2012.
I.F. Stone, a pillar of the American left leadership, praised the Warren Commission and consigned critics who accused the Commission of a cover-up to “the booby hatch.”[3] The contrast with Castro is sharp. Speaking well before the Warren Commission’s emergence, Castro mocked the narrative it would later endorse. Several other prominent left intellectuals agreed with I. F. Stone, and declined to criticize the Warren Commission’s report.[4]
Noam Chomsky, resisting serious efforts to get him to look at the evidence, said at various times that he knew little about the affair, had little interest in it, did not regard it as important, and found the idea of a “high-level conspiracy with policy significance” to be “implausible to a quite extraordinary degree.”[5] He would later say almost exactly the same thing about the 9/11 attacks, finding the thesis that the U.S. administration was involved in the crime “close to inconceivable,”[6] and expressing his disinterest in the entire issue.
Not everyone on the American left accepted the FBI and Warren Commission reports uncritically. Dave Dellinger and Staughton Lynd, for example, encouraged dissident researchers.[7] In fact, several of the leading dissident investigators, such as Vincent Salandria, Mark Lane and Sylvia Meagher, were themselves, at least by today’s standards, on the left of the political spectrum. But they were not among the elite left leadership in the country and they were, to a great extent, unsupported by that leadership during the most crucial period.
Chomsky’s use of the terms “implausible” and “inconceivable” has stimulated me to write the present article. I have no new evidence to bring to the debate, which is decades old now, as to how his mind and the other great minds of the U.S. left leadership could have failed to see what was obvious to so many. My approach will assume the good faith of these left leaders and will take as its point of departure Chomsky’s own words. I will explore the suggestion that these intellectuals were not able to conceive, were not able to imagine, that these attacks were operations engineered by intelligence agencies and the political right in the U.S.
Why would Castro have had less difficulty than the U.S. left leadership imagining that the assassination of Kennedy had been carried out by and for the American ultra-right and the intelligence community?
What we imagine to be true in the present will surely be influenced by what we have intimately experienced in the past. Castro’s imagination of what U.S. imperial powers might do was shaped by what he had witnessed them actually do, or attempt to do, to him and his country.
Castro referred in his November 23 talk not only to the economic warfare against Cuba, but to the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. But, of course, the CIA’s Operation Mongoose had been active in the interim between these two latter events, and he was familiar with its main lines. Perhaps he was not familiar with all its components. As far as I am aware, he did not know on November 23, 1963 of the 1962 Operation Northwoods plan, endorsed by the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to create a pretext for an invasion of Cuba through a multi-faceted false flag operation that included terrorist attacks in Miami and Washington, to be falsely blamed on Cuba.[8] Had he been familiar with this scheme he might have cited it on November 23 to bolster his case.

Castro: questioned JFK and 9/11.
Castro was certainly familiar with many plans and attempts to assassinate him, which were eventually confirmed to the U.S. public by the Church Committee’s report, “Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders.”[9]But, to the best of my knowledge, he was not aware when he gave his November 23 talk of an assassination-planning meeting that had taken place the previous day. On November 22, the day Kennedy was killed, while Castro was meeting with an intermediary who conveyed Kennedy’s hope that Cuba and the United States would soon be able to work out a mode of peaceful coexistence,[10] members of the CIA were meeting with a Cuban to plot Castro’s death. The would-be assassin was not only given poison to use in an assassination attempt; he was also promised support by the CIA for a shooting, such as was taking place at that very time in Dallas. He was assured that “CIA would give him everything he needed (telescopic sight, silencer, all the money he wanted).”[11]
The Church committee used the term “ironic” to refer to the fact that the shooting of John Kennedy took place on the very day a Kennedy-Castro peace initiative was being countered by a CIA plan to kill Castro.[12] Why was there no discussion of the significance of the fact that the same people who were working for the overthrow of the Cuban government considered Kennedy and his peace initiatives serious obstacles to their plans?
Castro noted in his November 23 talk that Latin American rightwing forces might have been involved in the Kennedy killing. These forces, he said, had not only openly denounced Kennedy for his accommodation with Cuba but were pushing for an invasion of Cuba while simultaneously threatening a military coup in Brazil to prevent another Cuba. Castro could not know at the time what we now know, namely that the threatened coup in Brazil would indeed take place soon—on April 1, 1964. It would lead to a wave of authoritarianism and torture that would spread throughout Latin America.
If, therefore, we try to make the case that Castro’s critique of the mainstream account of Kennedy’s assassination was the result of paranoia, denial, and a delusional tendency to see conspiracies everywhere, we will have a hard row to hoe. Almost all the operations he mentioned in his talk, and several operations he did not mention, did involve conspiracies. Cuba was at the center of a set of actual and interconnected conspiracies.
I am not suggesting that because Castro imagined a particular scenario—ultra-right forces killing John Kennedy—it must have been true. That is not the point. The point is that only when our imagination embraces a hypothesis as possible will we seriously study that hypothesis and put it to the test.
The evidence accumulated over many years has shown, in my view, that Castro’s view of who killed John Kennedy was correct. In fact, I think the evidence presented by the first wave of researchers fifty years ago settled the matter.[13] However, it is not my intention to try to prove this in the present article. My topic is the left imagination.
The silencing, by an elite American left, of both dissident researchers and those who have been targets of Western imperial power has reached an unprecedented level in the interpretation of the events of September 11, 2001. The inability of the Western left leadership to imagine that these events were fraudulent—that they involved, as Fidel Castro put it in 1963, people “playing a very strange role in a very strange play”—has blocked understanding not of only of 9/11 but of actual, existing imperialism and its formation and deformation of world politics.
9/11 AND STATE OFFICIALS FACING IMPERIAL POWER
Talk about blaming the victim. Three days after 9/11 the eminent economist Celso Furtado suggested in one of Brazil’s most influential newspapers that there were two explanations for the attack. One possibility, Furtado implied, was that this savage assault on America was the work of foreign terrorists, as the Americans suspected. But a more plausible explanation, he asserted, was that this disaster was a provocation carried out by the American far right to justify a takeover. He compared the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to the burning of the Reichstag in 1933 and the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany.[14]

Celso Furtado compared the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to the burning of the Reichstag.
Kenneth Maxwell wrote this paragraph in 2002. At the time he was the Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The paragraph is from an article written for the Council entitled, “Anti-Americanism in Brazil.” In writing his article Maxwell clearly felt no need to give evidence or argument as he dismissed Furtado. He must have felt his readers would agree that the absurdity of Furtado’s remarks was self-evident. Furtado’s claim would be off their radar, beyond their imagination.
Certainly, Furtado’s imagination had a wider scope than Maxwell’s. Could his personal experience have had something to do with this? Furtado was more than an “eminent economist;” he was an extremely distinguished intellectual who had held the position of Minister of Planning in the Goulart government when it was overthrown in the April 1, 1964 coup in Brazil. Furtado said in a 2003 interview:
The United States was afraid of the direction we had been taking; this phase ended and we entered—as someone put it—the peace of the cemeteries, it was the era of the dictatorship. Thirty years went by without real thinking, without being able to participate in movements, with the most provocative and courageous young people being hunted down.[15]
Did Celso Furtado have a wild imagination when he implied there was U.S. support for the coup? Not at all. The coup was not only hoped for, but prepared for and offered support at the highest level in the U.S. [16]
Furtado has not been the only sceptical voice on the Latin American left. On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, himself a major target of U.S. imperial force, entered the public debate. The Associated Press reported on September 12, 2006:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that it’s plausible that the U.S. government was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Chavez did not specifically accuse the U.S. government of having a hand in the Sept. 11 attacks, but rather suggested that theories of U.S. involvement bear examination.
The Venezuelan leader, an outspoken critic of U.S. President George W. Bush, was reacting to a television report investigating a theory the Twin Towers were brought down with explosives after hijacked airplanes crashed into them in 2001.
“The hypothesis is not absurd … that those towers could have been dynamited,” Chavez said in a speech to supporters. “A building never collapses like that, unless it’s with an implosion.”
“The hypothesis that is gaining strength … is that it was the same U.S. imperial power that planned and carried out this terrible terrorist attack or act against its own people and against citizens of all over the world,” Chavez said. “Why? To justify the aggressions that immediately were unleashed on Afghanistan, on Iraq.”[17]
Actually, scepticism in Venezuela about the 9/11 attacks was not new. In March of 2006, for example, well known survivor and eyewitness of the September 11, 2001 attacks, William Rodriguez, had spent time with high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including Chavez, and had given talks on television and in universities in that country.[18]

Chavez: “Those towers could have been dynamited.”
The culmination of this Venezuelan scepticism was a statement in a legislative resolution of the country’s National Assembly. The resolution, apparently passed unanimously in the fall of 2006, referred to the 9/11 attacks as “self-inflicted.”[19]
In a sneering attack on the Chavez government in the Miami Herald, journalist Phil Gunson felt no need to support, with evidence or reason, his claim that Chavez was merely engaging in “anti-imperialist rhetoric.”[20] Presumably he knew the imaginations of Floridians could be trusted to block out the possibility that the insane rhetoric about 9/11 might have some truth to it.
One year later, on the sixth anniversary of the attacks, Fidel Castro, at that point ill and retired from government but still keeping up with political events, made his own conclusions known. “That painful incident,” he said, “occurred six years ago today.”
“Today,” he said, “we know that the public was deliberately misinformed.” Castro listed several anomalies and omissions in the official reports. For example, he said: “The calculations with respect to the steel structures, plane impacts, the black boxes recovered and what they revealed do not coincide with the opinions of mathematicians, seismologists…demolition experts and others.”
Referring to the attacks generally, and the attack on the Pentagon specifically, Castro said: “We were deceived, as were the rest of the planet’s inhabitants.”[21]
This was a poignant admission by the man who had grasped the falsity of the Lee Harvey Oswald story one day after Kennedy’s assassination.
Reporting on Castro’s remarks in the Guardian, journalist Mark Tran said: “Fidel Castro today joined the band of September 11 conspiracy theorists by accusing the US of spreading disinformation about the attacks that took place six years ago.”[22]
Tran seems to have worried that the dismissive “conspiracy theorist” term might not put an end to the matter for readers of the Guardian, so he added two brief factual claims, one having to do with DNA evidence at the Pentagon and one having to do with a 2007 video allegedly showing Bin Laden giving an address.
The contempt for Castro’s intelligence, however, was breathtaking. Tran implied that his “facts,” which could have been found in about fifteen minutes on the Internet and which were subsequently questioned even by typically uncritical mainstream journalists, were beyond the research capabilities of the former President of Cuba.[23]
Indeed, much of the Western left leadership and associated media not only trusted the FBI[24] while ignoring Furtado, Chavez, the Venezuelan National Assembly and Fidel Castro; they also, through silence and ridicule, worked to prevent serious public discussion of the 9/11 controversy.
Among the U.S. left media that kept the silence, partially or wholly, are:
• Monthly Review
• Common Dreams
• Huffington Post
• Counterpunch
• The Nation
• The Real News
• Democracy Now!
• Z Magazine
• The Progressive
• Mother Jones
• Alternet.org
• MoveOn.org
In the end, the most dramatic public challenge to the official account of 9/11 by a state leader did not come from the left. It came from a conservative leader who was, however, a target of U.S. imperial power. Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2010, President Ahmadinejad of Iran outlined three possible hypotheses for the 9/11 attacks.[25] The first was the U.S. government’s hypothesis — “a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack.”
The second was the hypothesis that “some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.” The third was a somewhat weaker version of the second, namely that the assault “was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation.”
Ahmadinejad implied, though he did not definitively claim, that he favoured the second hypothesis. He went on to suggest that even if waging war were an appropriate response to a terrorist attack—he did not think it was—a thorough and independent investigation should have preceded the assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq in which hundreds of thousands of people died.
He ended his discussion of 9/11 with a proposal that the UN set up an independent fact-finding group to look into the 9/11 events.
In reporting on this event, The New York Times noted that Ahmadinejad’s comments “prompted at least 33 delegations to walk out, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, all 27 members of the European Union and the union’s representative.”[26]

Ahmadinejad proposed that the UN investigate 9/11
The Times’ report was given to remarks that sidestepped the Iranian president’s assertions. Ahmadinejad’s remarks were made to endear himself to the world’s Muslim community, and especially to the Arab world. Ahmadinejad was playing the politician in Iran, where he had to contend with conservatives trying to “outflank him.” Ahmadinejad wanted to keep himself “at the center of global attention while deflecting attention away from his dismal domestic record.” Ahmadinejad “obviously delights in being provocative” and “seemed to go out of his way to sabotage any comments he made previously this week about Iran’s readiness for dialogue with the United States.”
The possibility that Ahmadinejad might have been sincere, or that there may have been an evidential basis for his views, was not mentioned.
Meanwhile, the reported response to Ahmadinejad’s talk by the United States Mission to the United Nations was harsh:
Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable.
Where were these anti-Semitic slurs? In his talk the Iranian President condemned Israeli actions against Palestinians and included as one of the possible motives of a 9/11 inside job the saving of “the Zionist regime” by U.S. government insiders. But how is either of these an anti-Semitic slur? He said nothing in his speech, hateful or otherwise, about Jews. He did not identify Zionism, as an ideology or historical movement, with Jews as a collectivity. He did not identify the state of Israel with Jews as a collectivity. He did not say “the Jews” carried out the 9/11 attacks.
And what did the U.S. Mission mean when it said that Ahmadinejad did not represent the views of Iranians? His views on 9/11 were probably much closer to the views of Iranians than were the views of the U.S. Mission. As will be explained later, the great majority of the world’s Muslims reject the official account of 9/11.
In his address to the General Assembly the following year, Ahmadinejad briefly revisited this issue, saying that, after his 2010 proposal of an investigation into 9/11, Iran was put “under pressure and threat by the government of the United States.” Moreover, he said, instead of supporting a fact-finding team, the U.S. killed the alleged perpetrator of the attacks (Osama bin Laden) without bringing him to trial.[27]
In 2012 another leader in the Muslim world made his position on 9/11 known. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had been Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and was still in 2012 a significant power in his country and a major figure in the global south. By then he had spent considerable time discussing 9/11 with several well-known members of the U.S. movement of dissent (including William Rodriguez and David Ray Griffin)[28] and had indicated that he questioned the official account. But on November 19, 2012 he left no doubt about his position. In a 20-minute public address introducing a day-long international conference on 9/11 in Kuala Lumpur, he noted:
The official explanation for the destruction of the Twin Towers is still about an attack by suicidal Muslim extremists, but even among Americans this explanation is beginning to wear thin and to be questioned. In fact, certain American groups have thoroughly analyzed various aspects of the attack and destruction of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon building, and the reported crash in Pennsylvania. And their investigations reveal many aspects of the attack which cannot be explained by attributing them to attacks by terrorists—Muslims or non-Muslims.
He went on to give details of the official narrative that he found especially unconvincing, and he concluded that the 9/11 attack:
…has divided the world into Muslim and non-Muslim and sowed the seeds of suspicion and hatred between them. It has undermined the security of nations everywhere, forcing them to spend trillions of dollars on security measures…Truly, 9/11 is the worst manmade disaster for the world since the end of the two world wars. For that reason alone it is important that we seek the truth because when truth is revealed then we can really prepare to protect and secure ourselves.[29]
There is no need to quote Western media coverage of Mahathir’s remarks because, as far as I can tell, there was none—an outcome Mahathir had predicted in his talk.
Now, of course, it is possible that these current and former state officials had not seriously studied 9/11 and were simply intoxicated by anti-imperial fervour. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Those who visited Venezuela well before the public pronouncements in that country in September of 2006 noted that officials had collected books and other materials on the subject of 9/11.[30] And Malaysia’s Mahathir had been meeting people to discuss the issue for years. There is no reason to doubt what he said in his 2012 talk: “I have thought a lot about 9/11.” The dismissal of these leaders by the Western left is puzzling, to say the least.
Educator Paulo Freire, himself a victim of the 1964 coup in Brazil, pointed out years ago that when members of an oppressor class join oppressed people in their struggle for justice they may, despite the best of intentions, bring prejudices with them, “which include a lack of confidence in the people’s ability to think… and to know.”[31] Is it possible that the left leadership in the U.S. has fallen into this trap?
The dismissal of 9/11 sceptics has been carried out through a silence punctuated by occasional outbursts. The late Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch was given to outbursts. Not content to speak of the “fundamental idiocy of the 9/11 conspiracists” and to tie them to the decline of the American left, Cockburn even took the opportunity to go beyond 9/11 and pledge allegiance once more, as he had in previous years, to the Warren Commission’s Lee Harvey Oswald hypothesis[32]—a hypothesis that had, in my opinion, been shown to be absurd half a century ago.
In a January 2017 article entitled, “American Psychosis,” Chris Hedges continued the anti-dissent campaign. Crying out that, “We feel trapped in a hall of mirrors,” Hedges announced that:
The lies fly out of the White House like flocks of pigeons: Donald Trump’s election victory was a landslide. He had the largest inauguration crowds in American history… We don’t know “who really knocked down” the World Trade Center. Torture works. Mexico will pay for the wall. Conspiracy theories are fact. Scientific facts are conspiracies.[33]
The hall of mirrors is real enough but Hedges’ rant offers no escape. As far as I can discover, Hedges has made no serious study of what happened at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and has, therefore, no idea who knocked down the buildings.[34] Moreover, he appears never to have seriously thought about what a “conspiracy theory” is and what he is denouncing when he denounces such theories. Does he really mean to suggest that the American ruling class, in pursuing its interests, never conspires?
And thus the U.S. left leadership sits in the left chamber of the hall of mirrors, complaining about conspiracy theories while closing its eyes to actual conspiracies crucial to contemporary imperialism.
9/11 AND PUBLIC OPINION
If state leaders familiar with Western imperial power have questioned the official narrative of the September 11, 2001 attacks, what about “the people” beloved of the left?
Actually, sorting out what portion of the world’s population qualifies, according to ideological criteria, as “the people” is a difficult task—an almost metaphysical exercise. So let us ask an easier question: what, according to surveys undertaken, appears to be the level of belief and unbelief in the world with respect to the 9/11 narrative?
There have been many polls. Comparing and compiling the results is very difficult since the same questions are seldom asked, in precisely the same words, in different polls. It is, however, possible to set forth grounded estimates.
In 2008, WorldPublicOpinion.org polled over 16,000 people in 17 countries. Of the total population of 2.5 billion people represented in the survey, only 39% said they thought that Al-Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks.[35]
The belief that Al-Qaeda carried out the attacks is, I suggest, an essential component of belief in the official narrative of 9/11. If only 39% is willing to name Al-Qaeda as responsible, then a maximum of 39% can be counted as believers of the official narrative.
This WorldPublicOpinion.org poll is, for the most part, supported by other polls, suggesting that the U.S. official narrative is, globally, a minority view. If these figures are correct, of the current world population of 7.5 billion, roughly 2.9 billion people affirm the official view of 9/11 and 4.6 billion do not affirm it.
Now, of the 61% who do not affirm the official view of 9/11, a large percentage says it does not know who carried out the attacks (by implication, it does not know what the goals of the attackers were, and so on). But the number of those who think the U.S. government was behind the attacks is by no means trivial. The figure appears to be about 14% of the world’s population.[36] If this is correct, roughly 1 billion people think the U.S. government was behind the attacks. Of course, this figure includes children. But even when we exclude everyone under 18 years of age we have 700 million adults in the world who think the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks.
It is not clear if the Guardian’s “band of September 11 conspiracy theorists,” which Castro was said to have joined, consists of this 700 million people or if it consists of the entire group of 4.6 billion non-believers. Either way, we are talking about a pretty large “band.”
Do these poll results prove that the official narrative is false? No. Do they prove that blaming elements of the U.S. government is correct? No. But these figures suggest two things. First, the official story, despite its widespread dissemination, has failed to capture the imaginations of the majority of people on the planet. Second, the minds of 700 million adults have no trouble embracing the possibility that elements of the U.S. government were behind the attacks.
What can be said about the views of that segment of the world population that is most clearly targeted by Western imperialism today?
The so-called Global War on Terror, announced shortly after the 9/11 events, has mainly targeted countries with Muslim majorities.
The 2008 WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of people in 17 countries included five countries with majority Muslim populations. Of the total Muslim population represented in the survey (399.6 million people in 2008), only 21.2% assigned guilt to Al-Qaeda.[37]
In 2011 the Pew Research Group surveyed eight Muslim populations. Of the total Muslim population represented (588.2 million in 2011), only 17% assigned guilt to Arabs.[38]
The evidence suggests that scepticism toward the official account among Muslims has been growing. In December of 2016 a published poll of British Muslims indicated that only 4% of those polled believed that “Al-Qaeda/Muslim terrorists” were responsible for 9/11, whereas 31% held the American government responsible.[39] This is remarkable given the unvarying, repetitive telling of the official story by British mainstream media and political parties.
Are British Muslims wallowing in feelings of victimhood, which have made them prey to extremists peddling “conspiracy theories?” As a matter of fact, the British think tank that sponsored the 2016 poll has drawn this conclusion. But the think tank in question, Policy Exchange, has a special relationship to the UK’s Conservative Party and appears to have carried out the poll precisely in order to put British Muslims under increased scrutiny and suspicion.[40]
Cannot the left, in its interpretation of the views of this targeted population, do better?
Most peculiar and disturbing is the tendency of left activists and leaders to join with state intelligence agencies in using the term “conspiracy theory” to dismiss those who raise questions about official state narratives.
There seems to be little awareness among these left critics of the history of the term.[41] They seem not to realize that they are employing a propaganda expression, the function of which is to discourage people from looking beneath the surface of political events, especially political events in which elements of their own government might have played a hidden and unsavory role.
In the case of the 9/11 attacks it is important to remember, when the “conspiracy theory” accusation is made, that the lone wolf alternative, which was available for the John Kennedy assassination, is not available here. Everyone agrees that the attack was the result of multiple persons planning in secret to commit a crime. That is, the attack was the result of a conspiracy. The question is not, Was there a conspiracy? The question is, Who were the conspirators? Defamation cannot answer this question.
CONCLUSION
Suppose our imaginations can embrace the possibility that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by elements in the U.S. government. In that case what do we do next? There is no mystery. Once the imagination stops filtering out a hypothesis and allows it into the realm of the possible, it can be put to the test. Evidence and reason must now do the job.[42] Imagination cannot settle the question of truth or falsity any more than ideology, morality, or “common sense.”
I am not concerned in this article to demonstrate the truth of the “inside job” hypothesis of the 9/11 attacks. Ten years of research have led me to conclude that it is correct, but in the present paper I am concerned only with the preliminary, but vital, issue of imagination. Those who cannot imagine this hypothesis to be true will leave it unexamined, and, in the worst of worlds, will contribute to the silencing of dissenters. The left, in this case, will betray the best of its tradition and abandon both the targets of imperial oppression and their spokespeople.
Fidel Castro sounded the warning in his November 23, 1963 speech:
Intellectuals and lovers of peace should understand the danger that maneuvers of this kind could mean to world peace, and what a conspiracy of this type, what a Machiavellian policy of this nature, could lead to.
(*l would like to thank Ed Curtin for his inspiration and advice.—GM)
NOTES:
[1] MARTIN SCHOTZ, HISTORY WILL NOT ABSOLVE US: ORWELLIAN CONTROL, PUBLIC DENIAL, AND THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY (BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS: KURTZ, ULMER & DELUCIA, 1996), APPENDIX II.
[2] MICHAEL MORRISSEY, CORRESPONDENCE WITH VINCENT SALANDRIA 1993-2000 (MICHAEL D. MORRISSEY, 2007), 436.
[3] SCHOTZ, HISTORY WILL NOT ABSOLVE US: ORWELLIAN CONTROL, PUBLIC DENIAL, AND THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, 241.
[4] SCHOTZ, HISTORY WILL NOT ABSOLVE US: ORWELLIAN CONTROL, PUBLIC DENIAL, AND THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, 14FF., APPENDICES VII AND VIII.
[5] MORRISSEY, CORRESPONDENCE WITH VINCENT SALANDRIA 1993-2000 (CHOMSKY’S POSITION IS A CONTINUING THEME IN THE BOOK); SCHOTZ, HISTORY WILL NOT ABSOLVE US: ORWELLIAN CONTROL, PUBLIC DENIAL, AND THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, APPENDIX VIII; BARRIE ZWICKER, TOWERS OF DECEPTION: THE MEDIA COVER-UP OF 9/11 (CANADA: NEW SOCIETY PUBLISHERS, 2006), CHAP. 5, P. 206.
[6] ZWICKER, TOWERS OF DECEPTION: THE MEDIA COVER-UP OF 9/11, 208 AND THROUGHOUT CHAPTER 5.
[7] MORRISSEY, CORRESPONDENCE WITH VINCENT SALANDRIA 1993-2000, 421.
[8] “ANNEX TO APPENDIX TO ENCLOSURE A: PRETEXTS TO JUSTIFY US MILITARY INTERVENTION IN CUBA (OPERATION NORTHWOODS, PP. 137 FF.),” 1962, HTTP://WWW.MARYFERRELL.ORG/MFFWEB/ARCHIVE/VIEWER/SHOWDOC.DO?DOCID=1244&RELPAGEID=137.
[9] “INTERIM REPORT: ALLEGED ASSASSINATION PLOTS INVOLVING FOREIGN LEADERS,” CHURCH COMMITTEE REPORTS (ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH CENTER, 1975), HTTP://WWW.AARCLIBRARY.ORG/PUBLIB/CHURCH/REPORTS/CONTENTS.HTM.
[10] MARK LANE, LAST WORD: MY INDICTMENT OF THE CIA IN THE MURDER OF JFK (SKYHORSE PUBLISHING, 2012), 275.
[11] “INTERIM REPORT: ALLEGED ASSASSINATION PLOTS INVOLVING FOREIGN LEADERS.”
[12] IBID.
[13] EXAMPLES OF FIRST WAVE RESEARCHERS ARE SALANDRIA, LANE, MEAGHER, AND WEISBERG. SEVERAL IMPORTANT EARLY ARTICLES BY SALANDRIA ARE FOUND IN SCHOTZ, HISTORY WILL NOT ABSOLVE US: ORWELLIAN CONTROL, PUBLIC DENIAL, AND THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, WHILE MARK LANE’S FIRST BOOK WAS RUSH TO JUDGMENT (NEW YORK, N.Y.: THUNDER’S MOUTH PRESS, 1992; ORIGINALLY 1966). SYLVIA MEAGHER’S EARLY BOOK WAS ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT: THE WARREN COMMISSION, THE AUTHORITIES & THE REPORT (NEW YORK, N.Y.: VINTAGE BOOKS, 1976; ORIGINALLY 1967), AND HAROLD WEISBERG’S FIRST MAJOR WORK WAS WHITEWASH: THE REPORT ON THE WARREN REPORT (SKYHORSE PUBLISHING, 1965).
[14] KENNETH MAXWELL, “ANTI-AMERICANISM IN BRAZIL,” COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 2002.
[15] “DEVELOPING BRAZIL TODAY: AN INTERVIEW WITH CELSO FURTADO – ‘START WITH THE SOCIAL, NOT THE ECONOMIC’,” NACLA REPORT ON THE AMERICAS 36, NO. 5 (2003).
[16] “BRAZIL MARKS 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MILITARY COUP: DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS SHED LIGHT ON U.S. ROLE” (THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVES, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, MARCH 2004).
[17] “CHAVEZ SAYS U.S. MAY HAVE ORCHESTRATED 9/11: ‘THOSE TOWERS COULD HAVE BEEN DYNAMITED,’ SAYS VENEZUELA’S PRESIDENT,” ASSOCIATED PRESS, SEPTEMBER 12, 2006.
[18] “VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH INTERNATIONAL 9/11 INVESTIGATION: TRUTH CRUSADERS WALTER AND RODRIGUEZ TO APPEAR ON HUGO CHAVEZ’S WEEKLY TV BROADCAST,” PAUL JOSEPH WATSON & ALEX JONES/PRISON PLANET.COM, MARCH 31, 2006.
[19] FOR THIS INFORMATION I HAVE DEPENDED ON PHIL GUNSON, “CHÁVEZ ATTACKS BUSH AS ‘GENOCIDAL’ LEADER,” MIAMI HERALD, NOVEMBER 9, 2006.
[20] IBID.
[21] “THE EMPIRE AND ITS LIES: REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF,” SEPTEMBER 11, 2007, DISCURSOS E INTERVENCIONES DEL COMMANDANTE EN JEFE FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENTE DEL CONSEJO. DE ESTADO DE LA REPUBLICA DE CUBA.
[22] MARK TRAN, “CASTRO SAYS US LIED ABOUT 9/11 ATTACKS,” GUARDIAN, SEPTEMBER 12, 2007.
[23] SUE REID, “HAS OSAMA BIN LADEN BEEN DEAD FOR SEVEN YEARS – AND ARE THE U.S. AND BRITAIN COVERING IT UP TO CONTINUE WAR ON TERROR?” THE MAIL, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009.
[24] THE FBI WAS OFFICIALLY IN CHARGE OF THE INVESTIGATION OF THE CRIMES OF 9/11, AND THE BUREAU BEARS ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OFFICIAL NARRATIVE OF 9/11, WHICH WAS ADOPTED UNCRITICALLY BY OTHER STATE AGENCIES AND COMMISSIONS.
[25] MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, “ADDRESS BY H.E. DR. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, BEFORE THE 65TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY” (UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NEW YORK, N.Y., SEPTEMBER 23, 2010).
[26] NEIL MACFARQUHAR, “IRAN LEADER SAYS U.S. PLANNED 9/11 ATTACKS,” THE NEW YORK TIMES, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010.
[27] DANIEL TOVROV, “AHMADINEJAD UNITED NATIONS SPEECH: FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT,” INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011.
[28] RICHARD ROEPKE, “LAST MAN OUT ON 9/11 MAKES SHOCKING DISCLOSURES,” COTO REPORT, AUGUST 10, 2011, HTTPS://COTO2.WORDPRESS.COM/2011/08/10/LAST-MAN-OUT-ON-911-MAKES-SHOCKING-DISCLOSURES/. THE INFORMATION ABOUT DAVID RAY GRIFFIN’S 30-60 MINUTE DISCUSSION WITH MAHATHIR IS FROM MY PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE WITH DR. GRIFFIN.
[29] DR. MAHATHIR MOHAMAD, PRESIDENT OF THE PERDANA GLOBAL PEACE FOUNDATION AND FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA, OPENS THE “9/11 REVISITED: SEEKING THE TRUTH” CONFERENCE IN KUALA LUMPUR ON NOVEMBER 19, 2012. HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=8HZDGAVIIYI.
[30] ROEPKE, “LAST MAN OUT ON 9/11 MAKES SHOCKING DISCLOSURES.”
[31] PAULO FREIRE, PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED, TRANSLATED BY MYRA BERGMAN RAMOS (NEW YORK, N.Y.: SEABURY PRESS, 1970), 46.
[32] ALEXANDER COCKBURN, “THE 9/11 CONSPIRACISTS AND THE DECLINE OF THE ANMERICAN LEFT,” COUNTERPUNCH, NOVEMBER 28, 2006. FOR A CRITIQUE OF COCKBURN SEE MICHAEL KEEFER, “INTO THE RING WITH COUNTERPUNCH ON 9/11: HOW ALEXANDER COCKBURN, OTHERWISE SO BRIGHT, BLANKS OUT ON 9/11 EVIDENCE,” 911REVIEW.COM, DECEMBER 4, 2006.
[33] CHRIS HEDGES, “AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS,” TRUTHDIG, JANUARY 29, 2017.
[34] THOSE INTERESTED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BUILDINGS MAY CONSULT THE WEBSITE OF ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS FOR 9/11 TRUTH. AND SEE TED WALTER, BEYOND MISINFORMATION: WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDINGS 1, 2, AND 7 (BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS FOR 9/11 TRUTH, INC., 2015); AND STEVEN JONES ET AL., “15 YEARS LATER: ON THE PHYSICS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDING COLLAPSES,” EUROPHYSICS NEWS 47, NO. 4 (2016): 21 – 26
[35] “INTERNATIONAL POLL: NO CONSENSUS ON WHO WAS BEHIND 9/11” (WORLDPUBLICOPINION.ORG, SEPTEMBER 10, 2008), HTTPS://MAJORITYRIGHTS.COM/UPLOADS/WHO-DID-911-POLL.PDF.
[36] IBID.; “WHY THE 9/11 CONSPIRACIES HAVE CHANGED,” BBC NEWS MAGAZINE, AUGUST 29, 2011.
[37] “INTERNATIONAL POLL: NO CONSENSUS ON WHO WAS BEHIND 9/11.” THE FIGURES I GIVE HAVE BEEN ARRIVED AT BY USING DATA FROM THE POLL IN COMBINATION WITH COUNTRY POPULATION DATA FOR 2008 FROM THE POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU.
[38] “MUSLIM-WESTERN TENSIONS PERSIST: COMMON CONCERNS ABOUT ISLAMIC EXTREMISM” (PEW RESEARCH CENTER, JULY 21, 2011), HTTP://WWW.PEWGLOBAL.ORG/2011/07/21/MUSLIM-WESTERN-TENSIONS-PERSIST/4/. THE FIGURES I GIVE HAVE BEEN ARRIVED AT BY USING DATA FROM THE POLL IN COMBINATION WITH COUNTRY POPULATION DATA FOR 2011 FROM THE POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU.
[39] “UNSETTLED BELONGING: A SURVEY OF BRITAIN’S MUSLIM COMMUNITIES.” (LONDON: POLICY EXCHANGE, DECEMBER 2, 2016); “‘WHAT MUSLIMS WANT:’ A SURVEY OF BRITISH MUSLIMS BY ICM ON BEHALF OF POLICY EXCHANGE.” (LONDON: POLICY EXCHANGE, DECEMBER 2, 2016).
[40] GRAEME MACQUEEN, “9/11 TRUTH: BRITISH MUSLIMS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECT THE OFFICIAL 9/11 STORY,” GLOBAL RESEARCH, DECEMBER 29, 2016.
[41] LANCE DEHAVEN-SMITH, CONSPIRACY THEORY IN AMERICA (AUSTIN, TEXAS: UNIV. OF TEXAS PRESS, 2013).
[42] CIVIL SOCIETY RESEARCHERS HAVE, OF COURSE, ALREADY BEGUN THE JOB. GOOD BOOKS TO BEGIN WITH ARE: DAVID GRIFFIN, THE NEW PEARL HARBOR: DISTURBING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND 9/11, SECOND EDITION (NORTHAMPTON, MASS.: INTERLINK PUBLISHING, 2004); DAVID GRIFFIN, THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED: 9/11, THE COVER-UP, AND THE EXPOSÉ (NORTHAMPTON, MASS.: INTERLINK PUBLISHING, 2008); JAMES GOURLEY, ED., THE 9/11 TORONTO REPORT: INTERNATIONAL HEARINGS ON THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 (INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR 9/11 STUDIES, 2012). ADDITIONAL SOURCES INCLUDE THE WEBSITES OF CONSENSUS 9/11 AND THE JOURNAL OF 9/11 STUDIES.
Dr. Graeme MacQueen is the former Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University in Canada. He was an organizer of the Toronto Hearings on 9/11, is a member of the Consensus 9/11 Panel, and is a former co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies.

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