Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In defense of Jeff and Jesse

One of the most remarkable aspects of the campaign to fill the remaining term of the late West Virginia senator, Robert Byrd, is how little attention has been given to the fact that half the people sitting at the table at the CSPAN-televised candidate debate, were 9/11 truthers.

Both Constitution Party candidate Jeff Becker and Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson have made public statements questioning the official story of the events of September 11th. Becker features his skepticism at his official website; Jesse Johnson is apparently so embarrassed about having been associated with 9/11 truth in an AP story in the Charleston Gazette that he doesn’t even list it in his press clips. But he does have a video endorsement at the top of his page from former US Senator Mike Gravel, a noted 9/11 truther (who doesn’t mention it in the video); and the national Green Party, with which the Mountain Party is now affiliated, has re-opening the 9/11 investigation in its platform.

You can see why Jesse is playing down his association with truthers, in the reaction that Jeff Becker got when he brought up the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7 and other anomalies in the official story during the debate. Everybody looked at him like he’d just cut a piece of really smelly cheese, and then proceeded to ignore everything he’d said. It was my one moment of hope in the debate that Jesse would, having been passed the opportunity, step up to the 9/11 plate. But he failed. I’m voting for him, anyway, because he’s still the closest candidate to me, ideologically. I’m a Mountain Party member. But it was a disappointment, however smart it may have played strategically.

As you can imagine, my heart went out to Jeff Becker, the very portrait of the courageous nerd as he plunged ahead with his suspicions, transparently aware of the disapproval of all the establishment types, politician and journalist alike, sitting with him there on the podium. Being a 9/11 truther myself, I’m used to being the oddball in the room. The concept of “conspiracy theory,” invented by the media after the JFK assassination to ridicule the growing skepticism among the populace about the credibility of the Warren Report, has proven to be one of the most durable and successful psychological operations ever launched against the American public. The rigid censorship of corporate media, where 80 percent of Americans still get their news, keeps any real questions about what scholar Peter Dale Scott calls America’s “Deep State”—the nexus of finance, intelligence and the criminal underworld—safely enclosed in the conspiracy ghetto—just another eccentric subculture in the national cavalcade of pre-apocalyptic weirdness.

But given the fact that the only consensus in the 9/11 truth movement is the call for a new investigation, that broad a definition of the movement includes most Americans. You can test this on yourself by taking the following quiz*:

All researchers of the destruction of the World Trade Center, official and skeptic alike, agree that the fires in the WTC never got hot enough to melt steel. Yet in early 2002, the US Geological Survey released a report which included an analysis of the WTC dust by RJ Lee Associates, which found that, whereas the dust from a normal office fire contains 0.04 percent of iron “microspheres,” formed by the propulsion of molten metal through the air (you’d expect a little of this phenomenon in every fire), the percentage of iron microspheres in the WTC dust was 5.87 percent—almost 150 times what’s expected. The USGS recommended follow-up study; no further research was done.

Also in 2002, the Federal Emergency Management Agency did a study on the steel girders of Building 7. Their research found “intergranular melting” of the girders, with “Swiss cheese-like holes” in the steel and one-inch steel flanges reduced to “razor thinness.” Remember, officially, none of the fires got hot enough to melt steel. The New York Times called FEMA’s discovery the “deepest mystery” of 9/11. FEMA recommended further analysis of the WTC steel. None was done.

Now we’re not talking about “theory” here. We’re talking about cold, hard physical evidence, as reported in official US government documents. So here’s the quiz: do you think those follow-up studies should be done?

If your answer is yes, you’re a 9/11 truther. Welcome to the oddball club.

*Links to both of the reports mentioned here can be found in David Ray Griffin’s excellent article, “Left-leaning despisers of the truth movement: Do you really believe in miracles?” at:

--Michael Hasty

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