Wilful Ignorance

Paul Carline – The People’s Voice April 12, 2011

 

Cards on the table. I’ve been a “truther” since early 2002 when I came across the first major challenge to the official 9/11 story in the shape of the wonderful “Hunt the Boeing” site created by French researcher Thierry Meyssan. Until then I’d accepted the standard “Left” version of the government account – that a group of daring Muslims acting on behalf of the victims of US foreign policy had struck back at the great tyrant. The photographic and other evidence presented by Meyssan demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that whatever it was that had caused the damage to the Pentagon, it certainly wasn’t a large Boeing jet. If the government’s story was a lie on that major point, then the whole story was brought into question. I knew at once that I had to find out as much as I could about the event which everyone was saying had “changed the world”. [i]

At first, like many early “truthers”, I thought I was alone. I knew no-one who shared my new understanding. It was only much later that I discovered that there was a global movement dedicated to 9/11 truth. Since 2002 I’ve read dozens of books and thousands of pages of Internet content and watched hundreds of hours of video on the subject of state-sponsored false-flag terrorism of the sort which gave us the large-scale terrorist attacks of 2001 (New York and Washington), 2002 (Bali), 2003 (Istanbul), 2004 (Madrid), 2005 (London), 2006 (Mumbai) etc., all allegedly planned and executed by “Islamic fundamentalist” groups (routinely said to be “linked to al-Qaeda”). Later on (when the myth of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism was firmly anchored in the public mind) came the string of alleged plots and thwarted bombing attempts, often involving “lone nut” patsies of the Richard Reid and Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab variety.

What I learned convinced me of the reality of false-flag terrorism, which is a tactic as old as the hills. Hitler used it, first to gain power and then to provide the pretext for the invasion of Poland which launched WWII. Agencies of the Western powers, chiefly the CIA and MI6, used it in Europe from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, blaming the murders of some 500 civilians on “communists” when in fact they were carried out by right-wing paramilitary forces trained and armed by the CIA and MI6, working to NATO. More people were killed and injured in the Bologna station attack on August 3rd, 1980 than in the underground and bus bombings in London nearly 25 years later, yet Bologna is almost forgotten. The lie – the false attribution to communists – held until 1990, when “Operation Gladio” was exposed in the Italian parliament. Subsequent investigations revealed that the paramilitary groups had existed in some 17 European countries, with the knowing complicity of most of the governments.

The “lone nut” concept had already been seeded by the JFK assassination, now almost universally recognized as an “inside job”, even if not officially admitted. After Oswald, false-flag terrorism and the “lone nut” fiction reappear in the guise of Timothy McVeigh’s supposed single-handed destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately for the official story, the authoritative report by explosives expert Brigadier General Benton K. Partin, USAF (Ret.) proved that McVeigh’s truck bomb only damaged the facade; the extensive internal damage to the building could only have been caused by explosives planted within the building. An office microphone records two explosions – and a chance aerial photo of a nearby secret army compound reveals a parked Ryder truck identical to the one McVeigh used. From there we move on to the first bombing attack on the WTC in 1993, where during the Clinton presidency the myth of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism begins to be exploited within America. (The “war on terror” really begins with Clinton, not George Bush). There is now conclusive proof of FBI complicity in the 1993 affair, but the propaganda fiction of a an Islamic attack on America persisted, creating fertile ground for public acceptance of the “Big Lie” of 9/11.

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, hit the headlines just recently. He’d committed the cardinal sin of expressing doubts about the official story of 9/11 in a personal blog. The US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, rushed to condemn him and demanded he be sacked. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, joined in, saying that Falk’s remarks were “an affront to the memory of the more than 3000 people who died in that tragic attack”. Someone needs to remind the Secretary-General of the affront which gullible acceptance and repetition of the official lie of 9/11 causes to the memory of the more than 3 million dead and mutilated Afghan, Iraqi and now Pakistani men, women and children sacrificed on the altar of neo-imperialism as a direct consequence of the phoney ‘war on terror’ – based on the lie of 9/11 and the other false-flag crimes perpetrated for and/or by agencies of western governments.

Falk had referred eloquently to “the sort of awkward gaps and contradictions in the official explanations that David Ray Griffin (and other devoted scholars of high integrity) have been documenting in book after book ever since 2001. What may be more distressing than the apparent cover-up is the eerie silence of the mainstream media, unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials. Is this silence a manifestation of fear or co-option, or part of an equally disturbing filter of self-censorship? Whatever it is, the result is the withering away of a participatory citizenry and the erosion of legitimate constitutional government. The forms persist, but the content is missing.”

What is particularly interesting about the recent attack on Falk (originating in a Zionist organisation in Switzerland) is that his views were already well-known. The Journal published an article by him in November 2008, in which he expressed similar doubts about the official story. He wrote: “Any close student of 9/11 is aware of the many serious discrepancies between the official version of what took place and the actual happenings on that fateful day in 2001. David Ray Griffin and others have analyzed and assessed these discrepancies in such an objective and compelling fashion that only willful ignorance can maintain that the 9/11 narrative should be treated as a closed book, and that the public should move on to address the problems of the day. [...] For democratic government to work, citizens must never refrain from seeking answers to the most difficult questions. Here, what is at stake is enormous.”

Willful ignorance is a charge that can be leveled at Bill Moyers, whose address to the History Makers conference I came across recently. I want to make it clear right away that if I single out Moyers’ speech for criticism here it is simply because it came my way just when I was beginning to collect information for this article. I’d never heard of Moyers before. In this context, Moyers stands for the many thousands of others – journalists, media personalities, academics and politicians in particular – whose willful ignorance of and failure to investigate the facts has sustained the 9/11 myth, making them, too – morally and even in law – accomplices after the fact in the death and destruction wrought in its name. Particularly dismaying in this context is the acceptance of the official fiction by the majority of those on the Left – especially such high-profile spokespersons as Noam Chomsky – whose sentimental attachment to the idea, mentioned above, of “the little people” striking back at the great tyrant, appears to blind them to the facts.

The widespread public acceptance of the murderous illegal wars, of larger and larger so-called “defense” budgets and of the menacing spread of American military bases around the world hinges on the myth of a global “fundamentalist Islamic terrorism” which purportedly threatens the West both culturally and religiously. On the back of an alleged “radicalization of Muslim youth” in the UK (based on the lie of a “homegrown terror network” responsible for the London bombings and multifarious other “terrorist plots”), Prime Minister David Cameron recently declared that “multiculturalism has failed” i.e. in practice that the state has the right and duty to impose cultural homogenization on ethnic minorities. The 9/11 London Project Foundation was recently set up in London. A monument made of steel girders from the World Trade Center will be erected to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this year and a major educational programme will be launched “to teach schoolchildren about the terrorist attack” i.e. to inculcate the official version. This is serious Orwellian propaganda.

Ignorance, whether willful or not, is no defense against the law. I have met American college students who to my amazement had never before come across anyone who challenged the official story of 9/11 (‘what an astonishingly sheltered life’, I thought); they were completely unaware of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Nonetheless, in law even this seemingly blameless ignorance would constitute no defense. Willful ignorance, on the other hand, is culpable ignorance. It means that the person is aware, in this instance, of the challenge to the official account but chooses not to examine the facts which the challengers present to falsify that account. Bizarrely, Moyers quotes the very research which explains his own ‘willful ignorance’: research showing that when misinformed people are exposed to corrected facts in new stories, they rarely change their minds. In fact, they often become even more strongly set in their beliefs. While “most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence, we often base our opinions on our beliefs …and rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they better fit with our preconceptions”.

In Moyers’ own words: “So many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign, that they pick and choose only those facts that will serve as building blocks for walling them off from uncomfortable truths”. What is one to say about someone who can stand before a large group of his peers and, without apparent embarrassment, tell them not to do precisely what he himself does routinely – a “do as I say, not as I do” approach which smacks, if not of hypocrisy, then of gross self-deception.

Equally, the legitimate charge Moyers levels at “America” in the title of his address – that the country “can’t deal with reality” – is a cap that fits him to perfection, though it would seem that for this purpose Moyers sees himself as being part of some other America – the preserve of a minority of heroic ‘speakers of truth to power’ like himself, based on self-congratulatory examples of earlier investigative journalism. But clearly, truth-seeking can be a very selective enterprise, especially if certain taboo subjects carry the awful risk of public condemnation, loss of reputation and prestige, and perhaps even a severe threat to one’s continued existence on the planet. Steering clear of major controversy is a far safer path.

In his address Moyers worries about disinformation – a reasonable worry. But the examples he gives are strange. There’s hardly a shortage of examples of right-wing and establishment disinformation/propaganda – just about everything administrations (whether Republican or Democrat, Tory or Labour, there’s little difference) and the corporate-controlled media put out is tainted: lies about the justifications for the illegal wars, lies about Saddam Hussein’s links to 9/11, lies about the death toll in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, lies about the economy, lies about “democracy and freedom”, lies about the safety of prescribed drugs (they kill anywhere between 100,000 and half a million Americans every year), lies about the causes of global warming. The list is endless. Moyers could have taken the present administration to task for its broken promises (more lies), its escalation of the Pentagon budget and its repetition of the blatant lie that the Afghan war is about preventing “the terrorists” from hitting America again. But no: his only charge of disinformation by the Right reads like an ingratiating defense of Obama against what are – against the background of his complicity in multiple war crimes – the relatively trivial accusations of a faked birth certificate and an allegedly false claim to be a Christian.

By contrast, Moyers reserves his real venom for the 9/11 Truth Movement, which (quoting the “independent” journalist Robert Parry) he charges with having thrown out “all the evidence of al-Qaeda’s involvement, from contemporaneous calls from hijack victims on the planes to confessions from al-Qaeda leaders both in and out of captivity that they had indeed done it”. He follows this with the equally baseless claim by Parry that the Movement used “long lists of supposed evidence to overcome the lack of any real evidence [and] cherry-picked a few supposed “anomalies” to build an “inside job” story line. What Moyers would have us believe is not so far removed from Big Brother’s (the Orwellian one) 2+2=5. The 9/11 Truth Movement, brimful of people of great courage and integrity – qualities in extremely short supply in the media world to which Bill Moyers belongs – stands accused, not of being merely mistaken, but of deliberate disinformation, of knowingly telling a Grand Lie to deceive the public. This is pure Orwell, the reversal of truth portrayed in his “1984”, epitomized in the Ministry of Truth’s three slogans: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”. It’s also perhaps payback time for Moyers – a chance to hit back at people in the Truth Movement who have criticized him for failing to publicize the well-evidenced case for an “inside job”. But I think there is more to it than that. I think there is a good likelihood that Moyers has volunteered – or been coopted – as a gatekeeper for the official lie; the lie the administration is desperate to defend.

Moyers claims that he “never met anyone – philosopher or physicist, historian, artist, writer, scientist, entrepreneur or social critic – who didn’t teach me something I hadn’t known, something that enlarged my life”. I suspect he took great pains to avoid people like David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage and Webster Tarpley – knowing that what they had to teach would seriously disturb his equanimity and trouble his conscience. Better to ignore them.

He also claims that the 9/11 Truth Movement’s story “never took hold in the public mind”. The phrase suggests that almost no-one believes the “inside job” story. It’s true that political and mainstream media silence and disinformation – the repetition of a lie until it becomes an apparent truth – has kept most Americans in the dark about 9/11. But a 2007 Zogby poll showed just under 5% of the population believing that members of the US government “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attack”. Five percent doesn’t sound like very much, but in the USA it equates to some 11 million people – that’s an awful lot of disbelievers in the official account. In the same poll, a large majority of 67% said that the 9/11 Commission should have investigated the collapse of WTC 7. An earlier Zogby poll in New York revealed 49% of city residents believing that individuals in the US government knew in advance of the planned attacks. In 2009, 80,000 New York citizens signed the petition for a referendum on instituting an independent commission of enquiry into the mysterious collapse of WTC 7 – a core part of the Truth Movement’s case. The city council rejected the petition; it went to appeal; the judge rejected the appeal, but his astonishing “Building what?” remark became a new spur for the NYCCAN campaign to awaken people to the manifest controlled demolition collapse of Building 7, a fact which threatens to bring down the whole crumbling edifice of the official lie.[ii]

A Times/CBS poll in 2006 had only 16% of American respondents believing that the Bush administration told the truth about what it knew prior to 9/11. A January 2011 poll in Germany has a mere 10.5% believing the US government told the whole truth about 9/11. Canadians appear to be far less gullible than their US neighbours: a September 2006 poll showed 22% convinced that the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden and were in fact a plot by influential Americans.

The truth is that more and more people are becoming convinced from the facts that 9/11 was an “inside job”. As one of the outstanding Truth Movement researchers, A. K. Dewdney – the man who proved that the phone calls alleged to have been made from the “hijacked planes” could not have happened and must, therefore, have been faked – wrote:

“ There are now literally hundreds of 9/11 websites, most by individuals or groups wanting to make a contribution. Among these sites is one where “standing up to be counted” is the main function.  The website called Patriots Question 9/11 now [as of Feb. 2011] features over 3170 professionals, complete with photographs and brief statements of understanding regarding 9/11. The professionals include scientists of every kind (many well-recognized in their fields), engineers, airline pilots, high-ranking military personnel, intelligence officers, experts in forensics and explosives, experts in Islam, scholars, highly placed (former) government officials, and others. Every week the site gathers another dozen or so such individuals.  In fact the rate of growth is itself growing, as more and more people examine the evidence and realize that things are not at all the way they thought they were.  This all takes place against a background revealed by reputable polls; about half of US citizens now regard 9/11 (and subsequent “terrorist” attacks) with deep suspicion. Some think that Bush allowed the attacks to happen, others (like the mainstream at the Patriots site) understand them as false flag operations”. The Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth site (www.ae911truth.org) lists 1452 verified professionals and 11,377 other supporters who have signed a petition demanding that Congress institute a truly independent investigation.

Four years ago the FBI officially admitted that a) the reason that 9/11 did not figure on Osama bin Laden’s terrorism charge sheet was because the agency had no firm evidence linking him to 9/11; and b) that all but two of the supposed 15 phone calls allegedly made from the “hijacked planes” did not, after all, happen. Dewdney’s research had proven conclusively that cellphone calls could not be made at cruising altitude and speed. The FBI had then changed its story to say that most of the calls had been made from seatback phones, only for later research to discover that no seatback phones were fitted to the planes involved – hence the FBI climbdown to the “only two calls” position: these two supposedly occurring at low altitude. Crucially, the FBI admitted that the calls Barbara Olson was alleged to have made to her husband – the calls which created the “boxcutter” myth – did not after all take place. The film “UA93” is pure fiction.

This information has been public since 2006 – but only on the Web. Not one single newspaper or TV channel has publicized it – encouraging the willful ignorance which enables Bill Moyers, for example, to claim that the “truthers” story is disproved by “contemporaneous calls from hijack victims on the planes” and “confessions from al-Qaeda leaders both in and out of captivity”. Like the phone calls, the Osama “confession tape” is an obvious forgery. Osama probably died as long ago as late 2001 of the kidney disease which had taken him for treatment to the American hospital in Dubai just two months before 9/11, and where he was visited by the local CIA agent (at a time when he was the world’s Number One wanted man – anyone smell a rat here?). Osama was a useful bogeyman as long as he was alive – and even for years afterwards. But his credibility as the 9/11 “mastermind” wore increasingly thin, so he eventually had to be replaced – by the zombified KSM, waterboarded into confession 183 times in a single month (that’s 6 times a day on average). Is this the evidence Bill Moyers would have us believe proves al-Qaeda involvement? Is he implicitly endorsing torture?

I’ve struggled to find reasons for the willful ignorance of those who ought to know better. I don’t believe there are any “good” reasons for a deliberate refusal to at least engage with the facts the Truth Movement has revealed and I’m convinced that anyone who approaches those facts with an open mind cannot fail to be persuaded of the truth they reveal. Richard Falk suggests that fear, co-option and self-censorship play a decisive role.  Some fear – for personal safety, for example – is legitimate. There is certainly evidence that the same agencies suspected of having been involved in the major “terrorist” incidents have no compunction about “neutralising” people who might spill the beans – like the British weapons expert Dr. David Kelly.

Falk also suggests “a widely shared fear of what sinister forces might lie beneath the unturned stones of a full and honest investigation of 9/11”. The possibility that a government allegedly committed to freedom and democracy colluded in murdering its own citizens, and those of many other nations, ‘merely’ to provide the pretext for its imperialist ambitions in the Middle East and for launching a never-ending bogus “war on terror” (the main purpose of which was to create the new external enemy to replace the largely fictitious Communist threat which had evaporated in 1990) was simply too appalling to countenance. If this truth were ever admitted, it would be end of American supremacy. America would become a pariah nation, despised and reviled – as Germany and Japan were after WWII.

Americans would hang their heads in shame for generations. Is this what Moyers and the other deniers fear – a fear which makes them turn on the messengers of the terrible truth? Do they hope that they, and America, can escape the consequences of the awful crime, and of their willing complicity in it – a complicity which, in international law, makes them equally guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide? Do they believe that, by assisting in blocking the truth, they can somehow help America and Americans to “get away with it”? Or perhaps their fear is that good Americans – those who already know the truth and the many others who would be outraged once the truth was told – would rise up not only against the administration but also against those “gatekeepers” such as Moyers who helped to preserve the lie?

Of course, it’s not just America and Americans, even if 9/11 is the event which “changed the world” by setting a new standard for state and personal criminality. Precisely because they appeared to have gotten away with it, other corrupt governments and their vicious secret services and venal military followed suit, heaping crime upon crime, with the death and mutilation of millions of innocents on their collective hands.

There is no future for a world which is complicit with a lie out of fear for its own psychological and material comfort – especially when the lie has brought death and misery to so many. It has always been the case in history that decadent empires – empires which had become fat and lazy and corrupt – no matter how powerful, were swept away by relatively unsophisticated hordes from ‘more primitive’ cultures. 2011 was said by many to be a year of change. Perhaps the revolutions we are witnessing in North Africa are the start of a tsunami of popular revolt against corrupt and evil regimes which will spread to the West.

Let me finish by quoting Bill Moyers again, from his speech to the National Conference for Media Reform in 2005. The message is powerful and entirely valid – but I have to number Mr. Moyers among those who, despite claiming to do the opposite, share and promote the “orthodoxy” which he rightly identifies as the great threat to democracy:

“An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy – or worse”.

Despite the pretense of radicalism, the evidence is that Moyers remains wedded to an orthodoxy: the orthodoxy of the American dream, from which he does not wish to be awoken. It’s perhaps significant that he told the History Makers audience: “I’ve never really had to grow up”. Growing up can be painful, but it’s preferable to living with a lie.

Paul Carline

Scotland

30/03/2011

1 On the morning of September 11, 2001, Top Secret Military Specialist April Gallop was ordered by her supervisor to go directly to work at the Pentagon, before dropping off her ten-week-old son Elisha at day care. Amazingly, the infant was given immediate security clearance upon arrival.The instant Gallop turned on her computer an enormous explosion blew her out of her chair, knocking her momentarily unconscious.

Escaping through the hole reportedly made by Flight 77, she saw no signs of an aircraft – no seats, luggage, metal, or human remains.  Her watch (and other clocks nearby) had stopped at 9:30-9:31 a.m., seven minutes before the Pentagon was allegedly struck at 9:38 a.m.

Gallop was briefed by officials not to tell her story in public; she also received an email from a Fox News reporter who had been told by the Pentagon not to interview her.

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