On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Carroll: The 'Truthers' cult
Just when you thought Bill Maher was a total dead weight on the culture, up pops the comic with a gift of genuine value. In the space of a few weeks, Maher has turned himself into a target of the 9/11 conspiracy cult — first by dropping a few jokes at the cult’s expense and then by ejecting a handful of its zealots from his Real Time show while calling one a “nut case” on his way out.
Until recently, the “9/11 truth movement” — the Truthers, so-called — had been gaining ground with public opinion in a quest to rewrite the history of the 2001 terrorist attacks as an inside job. But this paranoid fable’s momentum seems to have stalled — maybe because a new administration is only a year away, or maybe because the theory butts up against memories we share that even the cleverest arguments can’t wipe out.
As Maher quipped, “How big a lunatic do you have to be to watch two giant airliners packed with jet fuel slam into buildings on live TV, igniting a massive inferno that burns for two hours, and then think, ‘Well if you believe that was the cause.’ Stop asking me to raise this ridiculous topic on this show and start asking your doctor if Paxil is right for you.”
If you’re a comic, the only rational attitude toward the 9/11 cult is ridicule. If you’re a politician, it’s indignation. That’s what Bill Clinton eventually unleashed on the cultists when he too was interrupted and heckled during a recent speech at a Minneapolis fundraiser.
At first Clinton was disposed to reason with them. “No, [9/11] wasn’t a fraud,” he said. “I’ll be glad to talk about it if you’ll shut up and let me talk.” But of course the cultists wouldn’t pipe down, provoking Clinton into an emotional ad-lib.
“How dare you? I live in New York, and I know who did that. You guys have got to be careful, or you’re going to give Minnesota a bad reputation.”
Minnesota? These guys give human beings a bad reputation.
A pointless penalty
“Mental health experts will spend four days in January testifying on whether Jose Luis Rubi-Nava is mentally retarded, based on a sealed report presented to Douglas County Judge Paul King on Friday.”
— The Sunday Denver Post, Oct. 28
You see, a really slow person is competent to be incarcerated for the rest of his life, but he can’t be executed. So decreed the U.S. Supreme Court in one of a number of rulings that have created a minefield of obstacles for prosecutors seeking death sentences.
An IQ of 70? Prepare a lethal injection. An IQ of 69? Why, killing him would be barbaric.
The rules on capital punishment are so intricate and shifting, and the punishment itself so infrequently imposed in Colorado, it’s a miracle that any constituency for it survives in this state.
Some of us consider the death penalty flat-out wrong. But even if you disagree, you’ve got to wonder if the endless hearings and appeals (four days to determine Rubi-Nava’s intelligence?) for such a tiny payoff — one execution in Colorado since 1967 — are really worth it. Even before the Supreme Court began to micromanage death-penalty law in the early 1970s, Colorado was hardly a hotbed of executions. By one count, a relatively paltry 101 such sentences had been carried out going all the way back to 1859, before Colorado was even a state.
Isn’t it time to admit that locking someone up for the rest of his life with no prospect of parole is a fate grim enough to satisfy the claims of both justice and public safety?
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
You're going to upset a lot of crackpots. It is so bizarre to me that these people think Bush would have been competent enough to pull this off. We all saw the planes you dimwits.Posted by just sayin' on November 1, 2007 12:55 PM
Personally, I would like an explanation of why the "Truthers" are so off-base, especially given that:
1. The official 9-11 commission members (who wrote the official version of events):
- The chair of the 9/11 Commission now admits that the official evidence they were given was ‘far from the truth’. [rinf.com/alt-news/911-truth/chair-of-911-commission-admits-official-evidence-was-far-from-the-truth/1248/]
- Suspected they were being deceived and considered pressing criminal charges [washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101300.html?sub=new]
2. There are numerous American patriots (including Gen Clark) who question the official version of 9-11 events. [patriotsquestion911.com/] Several military and civilian personnel at the Pentagon smelled thermite (a chemical in explosives) and not jet fuel. [physics911.net/pdf/honegger.pdf]
3. Numerous professional pilots (including a former naval top gun) state the manuevers described in the official report aren't possible. [www.pilotsfor911truth.org/]
While I don't necessarily agree with the conspiracy theory, I think those who close their minds and refuse to consider contrary viewpoints are the true "crockpots". I would LOVE to see how Carroll dismisses these qualified experts and eyewitnesses...Posted by fiesty on November 1, 2007 03:46 PM
I do not think I have ever agreed with one of your columns. Mostly I think you are, well, full of something....
On this topic, however, you are absolutely correct.
Conspiracy theorists are simply paranoids who are probably a few bad experiences away from full blown schizophrenia.
Whether it is UFOs, the Kennedy assassination, or September 11 you have to have more than a few screws loose to think any organization, in history, is competent enough to pull off all the layers of deception.
The attacks on America on September 11 were no more conducted by some shadow American organization than they were by Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
The attacks were carried out by 19 men. Fifteen from Saudi Arabia, two from the UAE, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon. They were a part of a stateless organization led by a scion of the wealthy bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia.
So, Vince, when are you going to turn your poison pen towards the conspiracy theorists who tried to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had something to do with the attacks on America?
After all the "Iraq is responsible for 911" conspiracy theorists are probably the most dangerous of all the tin-foil hat crowd.Posted by D on November 1, 2007 09:57 PM
Let's see Vince, your education, experience, background and access to military actions compared to let's say, Col. Ronald D. Ray, U.S. Marine Corps, who says:
"The former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Reagan Administration and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and Colonel has gone on the record to voice his doubts about the official story of 9/11 - calling it ‘the dog that doesn't hunt.’
I think I'll place my trust with the Colonel.
Vince, you calling this man a nutjob?
Col. Robert Bowman, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret) – Director of Advanced Space Programs Development under Presidents Ford and Carter. U.S. Air Force fighter pilot with over 100 combat missions. (PhD in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering, Cal Tech). Former Head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering and Assistant Dean at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology. 22-year Air Force career. Also taught Mathematics and English at the University of Southern California, the University of Maryland, and Phillips University. This man says:
"A lot of these pieces of information, taken together, prove that the official story, the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 is a bunch of hogwash. It’s impossible.
Are you saying you have a better perspective? Patriots Question.Posted by StevenDC on November 2, 2007 04:45 PM
StevenDC - you're wasting your time. I've gone blue in the face trying to get people to consider a contrary viewpoint. They refuse to recognize that it isn't just "lunatics", "loonies", and "crackpots" who question (and rightfully so) the official version. I too have a military background, and have posted specific items that are both contradictory and impossible (for example, the Langley Jet Scramble response) and folks refuse to llsten. They don't want to leave their comfort zone, since it's easier to simply believe the official story rather than use their brains.Posted by fiesty on November 2, 2007 07:36 PM
Google news search Sibel Edmonds to find out more about the story you can't find in the newspapers.Posted by waterdancer on November 2, 2007 08:53 PM
Also try Google video searching "Kill the Messenger" + Sibel and "Lost in Translation" + Sibel
or you can visit her site @ justacitizen dot com
Why isn't "Kill the Messenger" available through netflix? We are talking about a documentary about the woman who some believe to be "the most gagged person in US history", FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.Posted by waterdancer on November 2, 2007 08:58 PM
Watch you tube "spare change", and go to the zeitgeist movie at : http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ (part 1 on the zodiac and christianity, Part 2 9/11 part 3 our money system. I am convinced all is not as officially explained. But I'm just a retired navel officer who is a sceptic until I can put my hands around something and see it to believe it.Posted by on November 3, 2007 08:48 AM
"naval" (oops)Posted by on November 3, 2007 08:51 AM
"These guys give human beings a bad reputation... 9/11 conspiracy cult ... paranoid fable"
Wow, if I were a subscriber to your rag, Mr. Carroll, I'd expect a little more professionalism for my money than the tabloid journalism we see in your feeble attempts to discredit a movement numbering in the millions around the world.
I'd expect a discussion of some of the facts surrounding the issue. For starters, how about explaining why THREE steel framed skyscrapers collapsed on the same day in the same city, allegedly due to the effects of fire and damage, when nowhere in the world previously or since has such a building ever collpased due to that cause? Yes, three skyscrapers collapsed, the third being WTC7 which was not hit by a plane and for which NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) has failed to provide an explanation of its collapse after four years of study.
Perhaps NIST and you should consult with some of the 208 (and growing not stalling)architects and engineers at www.ae911truth.org for a discussion of the relevant evidence. Or, do you think such people you've never met give human beings a bad reputation?
Grow some journalistic guts, Mr. Carroll.Posted by Citizen on November 3, 2007 11:43 AM
The only thing surprising here Vince is I would expect Maher to agree with the crazie conspiracy group. He has been a leader in the liberal media drum beat that not finding Saddam's WMD makes the war completely wrong. It certainly did get the wrong billing. Hussen deserved what he got because we were flying cover for the Kurds for 10 yrs while he used helicopters, which he was allowed, to terrorize the population. Even he thought he had WMD and there is no doubt he would have used them.
The war was mistakenly billed as against him instead of against the radical Islamists. If Bush is to be criticized it was for playing the PC game and not identifying this as a war against Islamic terror. But he was reluctant to call it a war with Islam by any name to protect the sensibilities of our great friends Saudis, Kuwaitis, etc who are riding a tiger trying to live the the radical Islamists. But they will wind up inside the tiger because there is no compromise with them. They are bent on murdering Jews, Christians and all non-radical Islamists thinking they will take over the world. And Bush has paid a terrible price playing along with them. They did the same to his father not letting him bring down Hussen in the first war.
Iraq will prove to be a turning point in this radical world of Islam, but it will not be soon. They still live in the 19th Century and that is at the heart of their problem. The rulers and religious leaders have always been the only educated people and they have never shared the wealth keeping the population poor, ignorant and taught their problems were the fault of Jews and Christians.
Liberal/leftist Democrats have been more interested in nailing Bush than protecting this country to the extent they are close to selling out this country. It so shameful it is embarassing.
But you do a great job stating in clear and concise terms the craziness that goes in the political and social arena.
Concerning Vincent Carrolls column on "9/11 Truthers" (November 1)
I am a college graduate, a teacher for thirty five years, the author of six books, and I am published by one of the largest publishing companies in Europe.
I count among my friends scientists published in Scientific American, Oxford University medalists, and other experts in chemistry, physics, and other fields that examine the physical structure and properties of the universe.
I also count among my friends decorated commercial and USAF fighter pilots.
What do we all have in common?
We have educated ourselves on the topic of 9/11, which News columnist Vincent Carroll has demonstrated by his column ( "911 Truthers" ) to be quite uniformed on. I refer to the facts surrounding the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon site, and the Pennsylvania site regarding the scientific analysis of photographic and physical evidence, as well as first hand eyewitness testimony.
Already, electron microscopic particle analysis of the dust that covered lowered Manhattan done by four independent laboratories,including the USGS, has conclusively shown the use of high temperature incendiaries (at very least) at the WTC site, something impossible from jet fuel fires
The particles found in the dust can only be created at temperatures far in excess of the highest degrees possible in jet fuel combustion.
There is so much information uncovered at this point-- and nearly all of it ignored by most politicians and the corporate media- that the conclusion of controlled demolition is inescapable by any reasonably rational mind. The simple fact that on the morning of 9/11 our government was involved in war games simulating terrorist attacks of airliners being flown into each of the hit sites (Global Guardian war game) should be enough to raise more than a few eyebrows. Yet this obvious and easily confirmed bit of information has escaped the attention of a great many people, and has been for the most part ignored by the major media.
It is, however, easily dismissed and ignored by people who have uninformed opinions based solely on --- well, nothing but ink and small mouth movements.
I suggest anyone seriously interested in the topic, rather than mindless banter, do some reading on their own, beyond the headlines and news sound bites.
Posted by Neil Slade on November 7, 2007 11:37 AM
Re: global Guardian
To clarify, Global Guardian (nuclear attack scenario) was one of numerous war games and terrorist simulation drills occurring on 9/11, such as NORAD / Air Force games Vigilant Guardian, Vigilant Warrior, Northern Guardian, Northern Vigilance and National Reconnaissance Office "plane into building" exercise, as well and many others.
Government terrorism expert Webster Tarpley cites over 20 such exercises conducted by the military and other government agencies on September 11.
What a coincidence that a "real" attack would occur on this very morning.Posted by Neil Slade on November 7, 2007 11:45 AM
Neil- thanks for the info. Do you have a reference about the incendiary residue test? I hadn't seen anything on it. Thanks.Posted by fiesty on November 8, 2007 09:37 AM