A wakeup call for non-violent
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An open letter to Justin Raimondo and Antiwar.com
Within a matter of hours after the 9/11 attacks, CNN pronounced that the guilty party was Bin Laden. But where is the evidence for this convoluted conspiracy theory, that Bin Laden masterminded this highly complex plot from his headquarters in Afghanistan?
Bin Laden is a private citizen. According to law, if he is accused of a crime, he should be tried according to the evidence. This is exactly what the Taliban offered to do. George Bush launched a war instead -- with the full support of Justin Raimondo, the self-appointed spokesman of the antiwar movement.
As the weeks and months followed, more and more evidence surfaced regarding Israeli and US government complicity in the attacks. This evidence is largely unfamiliar to readers who rely on antiwar.com for news, but it is available in archival form at www.whatreallyhappened.com by Michael Rivero, as well as at Carol Valentine's website.
Carol Valentine levies a serious accusation, carefully argued, that antiwar.com is deflecting attention from the real issues. How can this be, she asks? And she gives voice to her darkest suspicions...
So how does Raimondo respond? With a vigorous defense of his position that Bin Laden was responsible for the attacks, and deserved to be "fried" (as he called for in the days following the attacks?) Does Raimondo explain why (even though his column continuously brings forth evidence of US government lies and scandals) we absolutely need to believe the US government-sponsored conspiracy theory that Al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks?
No, Raimondo skillfully employs the "seventeen techniques for truth suppression" by David Martin. These are the tried-and-true methods which Martin believes are used by government spokesmen in the public media.
First, Justin calls Carol a "notorious nutball." Gosh, what a clever alliteration! And a perfect application of technique #5
"Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nutcase," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and, of course, "rumor monger." Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned."
Next, Raimondo expresses his amazement at Valentine's charge against him. How could anyone ever imagine that Raimondo's motives could ever be less than 100% pure and certifiably anti-war? A masterful application of technique #2
"Wax indignant. This is also known as the "How dare you?" gambit. "
Raimondo's next trick is a serious mis-representation of Valentine's position on Israel. This is done by means of selective quoting out of context -- in this case, the title of Valentine's essay "Let's discuss mass expulsion of the jews from the US" -- perhaps not the most diplomatically chosen title. But readers who actually follow the link will discover that Valentine's tongue is firmly planted in cheek, as she ironically inverts the Jewish argument in favor of evacuating Palestinians from the "holy land". Raimondo's implication, on the contrary, is that Valentine is a full-blooded, racist, ethnic-purging anti-Semite. Raimondo has very nicely carried off Technique #6
"Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda..."
Now Raimondo is finally ready to move to the core of Valentine's argument. "The US government, you see, really destroyed the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, too." But that's not at all what Valentine is saying. Her theory is that Israelis carried off the attacks, and the US did nothing to stop it -- a very different scenario, and significantly more credible. Where did Raimondo learn to carry off such a distortion? Perhaps from David Martin's Technique #4, "Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men."
With a flourish, Raimondo finishes by comparing Valentine to Hillel Halkin, who has been the major target of Raimondo's column and who (we must agree) is fully deserving of Raimondo's disdain. QED, if we hate Halkin we should also hate Valentine. What wonderful logic.
Now, in all honesty, it's possible that Raimondo is not really aware of what he's done here. He's a clever writer, and a busy man, and perhaps he just hasn't thought through these issues.
On the other hand, Valentine's darkest suspicions might be true. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that journalists have been bought off. Lest you think this is paranoid nonsense, here is an article on CIA involvement in the mass media.
Aside from the CIA, there may well be numerous other agencies and foundations which are continually looking for compliant journalists who will accept their assistance. Scaife and the Rockefellers come immediately to mind, but of course there could be more.
"Et tu, Raimondo?" How is anyone going to know?
Raimondo assures us that his money comes straight from his readers. And although what he says reads like a denial of Valentine's accusation, it really isn't at all. Of course he gets money from his readers, but it's transparently obvious that not all readers are created financially equal. Who are the major donors? If the CIA is a major donor, do they also read the paper? Of course they do...
And I too have been one of those donors, fifty bucks last January. Not exactly big money, just a sort of payment for a magazine subscription, and a tip for a job well done. But perhaps I've been a sucker.
It's hard to be sure. Antiwar.com is always interesting and entertaining to read. Personally have no business indulging in self-righteousness. Furthermore, if pro-war interests are covertly supporting a resource like Antiwar.com, it is certainly a dangerous and peculiar strategy on their part. Anyone who reads Justin Raimondo carefully and sympathetically, is not going to be in any way supportive of the war policy of George W. Bush.
So here is my challenge to Justin Raimondo: Prove it to me, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Al Qaeda carried off the 9/11 attacks. (Evidence that comes directly from proven US government liars will not cut it with me.) Or prove to me that Israel had nothing to do with it.
The belief that Israel might have been behind the 9/11 attacks, is widely held on the Arab street and is backed by a variety of evidence that has been cited by Valentine and others. If you are going to ridicule this position, and put your credibility solidly behind the US-backed conspiracy theory, then you owe it to your readers to elaborate on your position.
And I know that time is money. If you do credibly back your position, I will send you a $500 donation.
[ These issues were initially raised with Justin Raimondo in a letter dated Feb. 19, and an emasculated version of my letter appeared in TalkBack on Feb. 22, with no response from Justin. However, my offer to Justin remains open stand up and defend your views in open and honest debate, and I will support your cause with a $500 contribution. ]