David Corn – a liberal sheep bleats on cue…

2002-03-18

Richard Moore

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From: "Suzanne Taylor" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: RE: VISION TV on truth re: Sept. 11 
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 18:36:17 -0800

I don't know about this Michael Ruppert guy.  I am as pissed
off as anyone at the Bush insanity (
http://www.theconversation.org -- featuring Richard Moore's
Matrix piece...and the great Kucinich speech), but don't
want to be an extremist myself, in response.  Have a look at
this, re Ruppert:

David Corn "When 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Go Bad"
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12536

=====================

Dear Suzanne,

Thanks for letting me know about Corn's article.  I'm including 
the article below in full, followed by a very cogent rebuttal 
from Michael Ruppert. 

I read Corn's article with considerable disgust.  It is what
I call a 'hatchet job'.  His arguments are shallow and
sophistic.  He knows most of his audience will like what
he's saying, so he is able to seem clever be persuasive,
without actually making sense.  He summarizes his core
argument this way:

    > Simply put, the spies and special agents are not good
    enough, evil enough, or gutsy enough to mount this operation.

He supports this with some shallow reasoning, but for the
most part, he's depending on the 'reasonableness', the
'common sense' of these 'simply put' claims.

But do his words make sense?  If the CIA, with all its
resources and levels of secrecy, is 'not good enough' to
pull off such an operation, then why are we to blithely
assume that a rag-tag bunch of immigrants with no real
piloting experience could succeed in the same operation? 
Corn conveniently ignores this obvious question, this gaping
hole in his logic.

And why would we think 'they' are not evil enough?  The
number of people killed was a very small number compared to
how many the same regime kills on a routine basis with
CIA-sponsored civil wars, genocidal restructuring programs,
and inhuman sanctions against Iraq - not to mention the
thousands of civilians incinerated by high-power US bombs in
Afghanistan.  If they are evil enough for all that, evil
enough to spread poisonous uranium pellets all over the
world, and evil enough to announce they're planning to make
first-use of nuclear weapons, then why would they not be
evil enough to destroy their own World Trade Center?  Is
that because only American lives count to the regime?  Do
they really count to the regime?  What about poisoning our
own troops with Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome?  Or is
this argument convenient to Corn because the ~reader~ can 
be assumed to think only American lives count?

As for 'not gutsy enough', I can only laugh.  Anyone who had
doubts about the gutsy-ness of Bush, and of the global
regime, must surely shed those doubts given all that has
been done in the name of 911 and 'terrorism'.  The
Constitution is now gone; people with no relation to
terrorism are still being detained in prison without
charges, without hope of trial, and with little public
discussion of the matter.  Bush has launched an open-ended
military campaign that reminds one of the military
aggressiveness of the Nazis.  It's the thousand-year-reich
all over again, with the will to conquer the world, and a 
complete disregard for human life and human rights.  Not
gutsy enough?  Get real.

---

Nonetheless, Suzanne, the article seems to be fulfilling its
propaganda function, judging by your response.  You don't
want to be an 'extremist', and yet you know there are many
unanswered questions about 911. Corn comes along, seeming
clever and knowledgeable, and helps you dismiss those
uncomfortable thoughts, tossing your doubts into the
category of 'unknowable conspiracy theories'.   Perhaps what
I'm saying is off the mark in your own case, but I think
what I am describing is probably on the mark in terms of the
effect of Corn's words on much of his liberal audience.

I'm intrigued by your use of the word 'extremist'.  In that
context, it seems to mean something like 'not believing what
everyone else seems to believe', or 'straying too far from
media reality'.  If one strays from the flock, if one
appears 'unreasonable', then one is an extremist.  Such a
fear of extremism is very understandable, it reflects our
social need to feel part of the society around us, to not be
isolated.  Again, what I'm saying may not apply to you at
all, but your words bring up these thoughts for me.

---

This seems to clarify how centrally-controlled media
propaganda succeeds in creating a nation of sheep. The
all-pervasive television media creates a 'default matrix
reality', the standard against which all other beliefs and
ideas are compared.  The majority of people, it seems,
simply accept that reality without doubts.  Thus the core
mass of the flock obediently follows the Orwellian shepherd.

Those who question the matrix reality must start out by
straying from the main flock, putting themselves into social
discomfort. Thus another big chunk of the flock - those who
don't want to deal with that isolation discomfort -
obediently falls into line, ignoring their doubts for
comfort's sake.  That creates even more isolation and social
pressure on the rest of us, the ones who are seeking truth
and who cannot accept the matrix.

One must wonder why Corn would allow himself to function as
an enforcer of sheep mentality in this way.  We know from
his other work that he is a genuine social reformer, not a
sheepish follower of the main herd nor a slave to the
regime.  One answer is that he isn't really aware of the
consequences of his actions - assuming our analysis is
accurate about how propaganda functions, how the herd is
controlled, etc.

Perhaps his motivation for his article lies in this notion
of 'extremist' and 'isolation' that we've been talking
about.  Liberal journalists, like Corn, do find themselves
straying from the flock a good deal of the time.  Much of
their work is devoted to debunking official statements, and
publishing alternative views.

So when a chance comes along to identify with the
mainstream, Corn can use it to say "Look, I'm not a crazy,
I'm reasonable just like you are."  It's a chance to reduce
his isolation / marginalization from mainstream readers and
journalists.  But he pays a bigger price than he
understands.  He sacrifices the truth, he prostitutes his
journalistic integrity, and he unknowingly serves as the agent
of a larger propaganda system that he wouldn't choose to support
knowingly.

---

Notice, by the way, that 'conspiracy theory' can be applied
to any belief that contradicts media reality.  If the
reporters and the officials are all telling us something,
then to believe otherwise is automatically to suggest that
some kind of conspiracy is going on.  Either the media
doesn't know what's going on, which would suggest one kind
of behind-the-scenes conspiracy - or else the media is lying,
which would suggest a conspiracy of another kind.  Either
you believe television, or else you're a conspiracy
theorist.  This makes it very easy for any journalist or
official to use the rhetoric of 'conspiracy theories' and
the X-Files to discredit almost any non-mainstream
observations or ideas.

rkm
http://cyberjournal.org

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http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12536

When 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Go Bad

David Corn, AlterNet
March 1, 2002
Viewed on March 18, 2002

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Please stop sending me those emails. You know who are. And
you know what emails I mean ... Okay, I'll spell it out --
those forwarded emails suggesting, or flat-out stating, the
CIA and the U.S. government were somehow involved in the
horrific September 11 attacks.


There are emails about a fellow imprisoned in Canada who
claims to be a former U.S. intelligence office and who
supposedly passed advance warning of the attack to jail
guards in mid-August. There are emails, citing an Italian
newspaper, reporting that last July Osama bin Laden was
treated for kidney disease at the American hospital in Dubai
and met with a CIA official. There are the emails, referring
to a book published in France, that note the attacks came a
month after Bush Administration officials, who were
negotiating an oil deal with the Taliban, told the Afghans
"either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury
you under a carpet of bombs."


Get the hint? Washington either did nothing to stop the
September 11 attacks or plotted the assaults so a
justifiable war could then be waged against Afghanistan to
benefit Big Oil.


One email I keep receiving is a timeline of so-called
suspicious events that "establishes CIA foreknowledge of
[the September 11 attacks] and strongly suggests that there
was criminal complicity on the part of the U.S. government
in their execution."


I won't argue that the U.S. government does not engage in
brutal, murderous skulduggery from time to time. But the
notion that the U.S. government either detected the attacks
but allowed them to occur, or, worse, conspired to kill
thousands of Americans to launch a war-for-oil in
Afghanistan is absurd. Still, each week emails passing on
such tripe arrive. This crap is probably not worth a
rational rebuttal, but I'm irritated enough to try.


It's a mug's game to refute individual pieces of conspiracy
theories. Who can really know if anything that bizarre
happened at a Dubai hospital? As for the man jailed in
Canada, he was being held on a credit card fraud charge, and
the only source for the story about his warning was his own
word. The judge in his case said, "There is no independent
evidence to support his colossal allegations." But a
conspiracy-monges can reply, wouldn't you expect the
government and its friends in Canada to say that?


So let's start with a broad question: would U.S. officials
be capable of such a foul deed? Capable -- as in able to
pull it off and willing to do so. Simply put, the spies and
special agents are not good enough, evil enough, or gutsy
enough to mount this operation. That conclusion is based
partly on, dare I say it, common sense, but also on years
spent covering national security matters. (For a book I
wrote on the CIA, I interviewed over 100 CIA officials and
employees.)


Not good enough: Such a plot -- to execute the simultaneous
destruction of the two towers, a piece of the Pentagon, and
four airplanes and make it appear as if it all was done by
another party -- is far beyond the skill level of U.S.
intelligence. It would require dozens (or scores or
hundreds) of individuals to attempt such a scheme. They
would have to work together, and trust one another not to
blow their part or reveal the conspiracy. They would hail
from an assortment of agencies (CIA, FBI, INS, Customs,
State, FAA, NTSB, DOD, etc.).


Yet anyone with the most basic understanding of how
government functions (or does not function) realizes that
the various bureaucracies of Washington -- particularly
those of the national security "community" -- do not work
well together. Even covering up advance knowledge would
require an extensive plot. If there truly had been
intelligence reports predicting the 9/11 attacks, these
reports would have circulated through intelligence and
policymaking circles before the folks at the top decided to
smother them for geopolitical gain. That would make for a
unwieldy conspiracy of silence. And in either scenario --
planning the attacks or permitting them to occur -- everyone
who participated in the conspiracy would have to be freakin'
sure that all the other plotters would stay quiet.


Not evil enough. This is as foul as it gets -- to kill
thousands of Americans, including Pentagon employees, to
help out oil companies. (The sacrificial lambs could have
included White House staff or members of Congress, had the
fourth plane not crashed in Pennsylvania.) This is a
Hollywood-level of dastardliness, James Bond (or Dr. Evil)
material.


Are there enough people of such a bent in all those
agencies? That's doubtful. CIA officers and American
officials have been evildoers. They have supported death
squads and made use of drug dealers overseas. They have
assisted torturers, disseminated assassination manuals, sold
weapons to terrorist-friendly governments, undermined
democratically-elected governments, and aided dictators who
murder and maim. They have covered up reports of massacres
and human rights abuses. They have plotted to kill foreign
leaders.


These were horrendous activities, but, in most instances,
the perps justified these deeds with Cold War imperatives
(perverted as they were). And to make the justification
easier, the victims were people overseas. Justifying the
murder of thousands of Americans to help ExxonMobil would
require U.S. officials to engage in a different kind of
detachment and an even more profound break with decency and
moral norms.


I recall interviewing one former CIA official who helped
manage a division that ran the sort of actions listed above,
and I asked him whether the CIA had considered "permanently
neutralizing" a former CIA man who had revealed operations
and the identities of CIA officers. Kill an American
citizen? he replied, as if I were crazy to ask. No, no, he
added, we could never do that. Yes, in the spy-world some
things were beyond the pale. And, he explained, it would be
far too perilous, for getting caught in that type of nasty
business could threaten your career. Which brings us to....


Not gutsy enough. Think of the danger -- the potential
danger to the plotters. What if their plan were uncovered
before or, worse, after the fact? Who's going to risk being
associated with the most infamous crime in U.S. history? At
the start of such a conspiracy, no one could be certain it
would work and remain a secret. CIA people -- and those in
other government agencies -- do care about their careers.


Would George W. Bush take the chance of being branded the
most evil president of all time by countenancing such
wrongdoing? Oil may be in his blood, but would he place the
oil industry's interests ahead of his own? (He sure said
sayonara to Kenneth Lay and Enron pretty darn fast.) And
Bush and everyone else in government know that plans leak.
Disinformation specialists at the Pentagon could not keep
their office off the front page of The New York Times. In
the aftermath of September 11, there has been much
handwringing over the supposed fact that U.S. intelligence
has been too risk-averse. But, thankfully, some inhibitions
-- P.R. concerns, career concerns -- do provide brakes on
the spy-crowd.


By now, you're probably wondering why I have bothered to go
through this exercise. Aren't these conspiracy theories too
silly to address? That should be the case. But, sadly, they
do attract people.


A fellow named Michael Ruppert, who compiled that timeline
mentioned above, has drawn large crowds to his lectures. He
has offered $1000 to anyone who can "disprove the
authenticity of any of his source material." Well, his
timeline includes that Canadian prisoner's claim and cites
the Toronto Star as the source. But Ruppert fails to note
that the Star did not confirm the man's account, that the
paper reported some observers "wonder if it isn't just the
ravings of a lunatic," and that the Star subsequently
reported the judge said the tale had "no air of reality."
Does that disprove anything? Not 100 percent. There's still
a chance that man is telling the truth, right? So I'm not
expecting a check.


Conspiracy theories may seem more nuisance than problem. But
they do compete with reality for attention. There is plenty
to be outraged over without becoming obsessed with X
Files-like nonsense. Examples? There's the intelligence
services's failure to protect Americans and the lack of
criticism of the CIA from elected officials. Or, General
Tommy Franks, the commander of military operations in
Afghanistan, declaring the commando mis-assault at Hazar
Qadam, which resulted in the deaths of fifteen to twenty
local Afghans loyal to the pro-U.S. government, was not an
intelligence failure. (How can U.S. Special Forces fire at
targets they wrongly believe to be Taliban or al Qaeda
fighters, end up killing people they did not intend to kill,
and the operation not be considered an intelligence
failure?) More outrage material? A few months ago, forensic
researchers found the remains of people tortured and killed
at a base the CIA had established in the 1980s as a training
center for the contras. The U.S. ambassador to Honduras at
the time is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,
John Negroponte.


There are always national security misdeeds to be mad about.
They may not be as cinematic in nature as a plot in which
shady, unidentified U.S. officials scheme to blow up the
World Trade Towers to gain control of an oil pipeline in
Central Asia. But dozens of dead Hondurans or twenty or so
Afghans wrongly killed ought to provoke anger and protest.
In fact, out-there conspiracy theorizing serves the
interests of the powers-that-be by making their real
transgressions seem tame in comparison. (What's a few dead
in Central America, compared to thousands in New York City?
Why worry about Negroponte, when unidentified U.S. officials
are slaughtering American civilians to trigger war?)


Perhaps there's a Pentagon or CIA office that churns out
this material. Its mission: distract people from the real
wrongdoing. Now there's a conspiracy theory worth exploring.
Doesn't it make sense? Doesn't it all fit together? I
challenge anyone to disprove it.

David Corn is the Washington editor of The Nation. 

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From: "Brit Eckhart" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>, <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: Ruppert Defends His Work
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 05:42:59 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Munson <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2002 11:58 PM
Subject: Re: Ruppert Defends His Work


            Letters: Ruppert Defends His Work
                       March 8, 2002

 Evidence to the Contrary
 re: When 9/11 Conspiracies Go Bad, by David Corn

I read with great amusement your ill-supported attack on my
work and was surprised that, for a man of your supposed
intellectual prowess, you had such a blatant disregard for
facts that you so incorrectly reported.

Your criticisms focus on the case of Delmert "Mike"
Vreeland, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer imprisoned in
Canada who, by admission -- in court -- of Canadian
authorities, wrote an accurate warning of the September 11
attacks. That warning, which is now an official part of the
court record in Canada, was placed into the sole custody of
Canadian jailers on either August 11 or 12, a month before
the attacks. A copy of it (obtained directly from court
records) is available on my web site.

The stamp admitting the document into evidence is clearly
visible in the upper right hand corner of the document. The
date of admission into evidence is not the date when he
wrote the letter. It is the date, however, when the Crown
Solicitor stipulated, under oath, that the letter had been
written on August 11 or 12 and placed in the "sole" custody
of Vreeland's jailers where he could not access it.
Therefore the document itself is a bona fide source. I
repeat, during Vreeland's extradition hearings Canadian
authorities have acknowledged, under oath, that they had
sole possession of the sealed letter for one month prior to
the attacks.

All of this was accurately reported by me in a From The
Wilderness story dated January 25th and available on my web
site at www.copvcia.com. Either you did not have the
thoroughness to read the story or your investigative
abilities are severely impaired. But then you state only
that the CIA has used drug dealers and avoid the full (and
well documented) truth that they have dealt drugs directly
for decades. I will be happy to debate you on this one too,
but I doubt if you'll accept the challenge.

In addition, you attempt to discredit Vreeland by innuendo.
You state that he is in jail on fraud charges. True enough,
but did you also mention the fact that it was his own credit
card? For a man such as yourself, with such great expertise
on the CIA, who was Ted Shackley's chosen biographer (that
should be enough to discredit you right there), I am
surprised that you did not recall that during Iran-Contra a
number of well documented intelligence sources were
controlled by their respective agencies through the use of
criminal charges connected to their areas of expertise.
Vreeland had a per diem of $19,000; ergo he was controlled
through a fraud charge. Similar victims during Iran-Contra
included Scott Weekly (weapons), Steve Carr (drugs), Jack
Terrell (weapons), Bo Gritz (passport), Scott Barnes (fraud)
and Al Martin (fraud). There are others. While many of these
men, to this day, have questionable reputations, it is
beyond doubt, as established by official records, that they
were intelligence operatives.

In addition, I have hired a Toronto correspondent who sits
in on every court date as "Mike" Vreeland fights extradition
to the U.S. and certain death. I have just returned from
Toronto and a series of meetings with Vreeland's attorneys
and a face-to-face interview with him. I will be publishing
another story soon. This was not the first time that I have
been there or sat in on his court proceedings. But you
didn't print that either. Oh, yes, and you also forgot to
mention that, in a call placed on a speaker phone from open
court, a Pentagon operator confirmed Vreeland's Rank and
office assignment at the Pentagon, This is a part of the
court record too.

No, the Toronto Star did not confirm Vreeland's story. The
Canadian court system did. And the fact that he wrote a
warning of the 9-11 attacks a month before they happened and
that it was sealed away from his access by his jailers who
admit that no one else had custody is a shameful and
incriminating fact that not even your sophistry can gloss
over. Rational people will want to know how this man knew of
the attacks and why the U.S. government and The Nation are
trying so hard to kill this story.

No, you will not get $1,000 from me. The facts are good. The
story is good. My analysis is good and it is left for The
Nation's readers to wonder whose interests you really serve.
Your feeble attack reminds of a quote from Gandhi, "First
they ignore you. Then they attack you. Then you win."

Let's see if AlterNet will have the integrity to print my
letter.

 - Michael C. Ruppert
 Publisher/Editor of From The Wilderness

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