Gatekeeper Cockburn Attacks 9/11 “Conspiracy Nuts”

By Kurt Nimmo
Sep. 08, 2006

In now entirely predictable fashion, lefty gatekeeper Alexander Cockburn has issued a hit piece against nine eleven “conspiracy nuts,” in particular David Ray Griffin, described as “one of their high priests.”

According to Cockburn, writing for the subscription-based Nation web site—kudos to the anarchists at Infoshop who filched and reposted it—Griffin’s book, the New Pearl Harbor, is rife with “fundamental idiocy,” especially in regard to the ability of the government to pull off a terrorist attack.

Moreover, Cockburn is onboard with Ward Churchill, who tells us Osama and crew, tucked away in a cave situated in one of the most remote and backwater countries on the planet, were indeed behind the attacks and to say otherwise makes one an honorary member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Barrie Zwicker tells us we need to wake up the gatekeepers, but nudging Cockburn out of his slumber will be quite a task. For “progressives” such as Cockburn, the United States government is nothing more or less than a habitual bumbler, a lumbering beast unable to get things right.

“One central characteristic of the nuts is that they have a devout, albeit preposterous, belief in American efficiency, and hence many of them start with the racist premise that ‘Arabs in caves’ weren’t capable of the mission,” writes Alex. “They believe that military systems work the way Pentagon press flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should work. They believe that at 8:14 am, when AA Flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder, an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military Command center and NORAD.”

In other words, the flight controller, hired for his or her ineptitude, as the government only interviews and hires incompetents, was busy playing tiddlywinks or sleeping in a bathroom stall when the hijacking occurred.

According to FAA regulations, when planes are hijacked the FAA hijack coordinator is contacted and a request is made to provide a military escort. Of course, since the flight controller was probably asleep at the wheel and government systems are terminally broken due to chronic imbecility, Cockburn would have us believe any number of flight controllers either didn’t notice or didn’t find it unusual when transponder and radio contact was lost with Flight 11. But not only was contact lost with the flight, it also deviated from its flight path. In addition, two airline attendants had separately called American Airlines reporting a hijacking.

No doubt the flight controllers on nine eleven were so inept a Federal Aviation Administration manager, Kevin Delaney, was obliged to destroy a tape containing their accounts. “Evidence in [a] report and from the air traffic controllers union suggests that the decisions to make the recording and later to destroy it were meant to conform to traditional protocols following a plane crash,” the Washington Post reported on May 7, 2004. “The actions also were aimed at protecting controllers who were under excessive stress and emotion, according to union officials representing the controllers.” In other words, destroying evidence is standard government procedure, especially for screw-up flight control employees. I bet this embarrassing oafishness is a direct result of Reagan firing all the flight controllers in order to break their union back in the 80s.

Half way through Cockburn’s article, we are provided with a glimmer of the source of his irritation with the “conspiracy nuts” and their “high priest,” David Ray Griffin. “My in-box overflows each day with fresh ‘proofs’ of how the towers were demolished. I meet people who start quietly, asking me what I think about 9/11. What they are actually trying to find out is whether I’m part of the coven. I imagine it is like being a normal Stoic in the second century AD going for a stroll in the forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it’s possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.”

Cockburn is indeed a witty and talented scribe. However, when he attempts to explain away the demolition of the towers, he reveals himself as a flat-worlder, ignorant of the very laws of physics.

As you may guess, the towers went down, pulverized into fine dust, due to government and corporate inefficacy. “The demolition scenario is classic who-moved-the-stonery. The towers didn’t fall because they were badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority and because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel. No, they collapsed because Dick Cheney’s agents methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom—party to mass murder—have held their tongues ever since.”

Never mind that Hyman Brown, a University of Colorado civil engineering professor and the World Trade Center’s construction manager, has stated that WTC 1 and 2 were designed to survive an impact and fires from a collision by the largest commercial aircraft at the time, a Boeing 707-340. “The building was designed to have a fully loaded 707 crash into it. That was the largest plane at the time. I believe that the building probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door—this intense grid—and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen netting. It really does nothing to the screen netting,” explained the late Frank A. Demartini, on-site construction manager for the WTC, who perished during the attacks. No steel-frame building, before or after the WTC buildings, has ever collapsed due to fire.

According to Cockburn, people inside the buildings did not hear explosions. In fact, Edmund McNally phoned his wife Liz twice following the impact of the planes and told her “I can hear explosions below me,” according to a report published in the New York Times. Tom Elliott, survivor of WTC 2, told the Christian Science Monitor “those around him thought an explosion had come from below,” an “incredible noise—he calls it an ‘exploding sound’—shook the building, and a tornado of hot air and smoke and ceiling tiles and bits of drywall came flying up the stairwell.” Lou Cacchioli, Christopher Fenyo, William Reynolds, and other firefighters, including Lieutenant Fireman and former Auxiliary Police Officer, Paul Isaac Jr., reported explosions. If Cockburn is still incredulous, he needs to take a listen to radio transmissions of North Brunswick Volunteer Fire/Ladder Company #3, chockfull of firefighters reporting secondary explosions.

It’s a tough job being a gatekeeper with so much damning evidence floating around.

Back in the day, I wrote on an irregular basis for Cockburn’s Counterpunch. However, I decided to stop doing this after Cockburn more or less called me a conspiracy nut. On October 3, 2002, Counterpunch posted my Amiri Baraka’s Somebody Blew Up America: Poetry as Treason? “As for Baraka’s assertion that both the US and Israeli government had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks, there is clear, ample, and documented evidence they most certainly did,” I wrote, and then listed the Odigo warning, the 4,744 put options on United Airlines stock, the warnings of imminent attack issued by German, Jordanian, and Russian intelligence. For posting this article, subsequently published in The Politics of Anti-Semitism anthology, Cockburn apparently received a bit of grief from his gatekeeper pals.

“The reasons for the intense denial about the 9/11/01 attack inside the Left establishment appear to go much deeper than the fact that many of its institutions are funded by endowments like those of the Ford Foundation. The official myth appeals to political philosophies that condemn U.S. imperialism by providing the supreme example of ‘blowback’—the proverbial chickens coming home to roost. Researcher August West speaks to this and other psychological underpinnings of the denial,” notes the 9-11 Review website.

West writes:

Beneath unconscious motivations also lie some conscious agendas. Those on the Left who have embraced “critical support” for a “limited response” war will no doubt not wish to have their political bankruptcy exposed. But even most of those who oppose the War have nevertheless accepted the notion that the U.S. was attacked by a vicious enemy. For some, this represents an opportunity to promote their moralistic approach: let us respond in an appropriate, moral and non-military manner. Others, such as Chomsky, Michael Albert, Howard Zinn and Alex Cockburn, simply trot out the “blowback” explanation: this horrible attack happened because America has done bad things, has not listened to “us” (wag, wag the finger), and better start changing its policies (as if an empire can be run in a nice way!). Yet others who disagree with war boosters like Katrina van den Heuvel of The Nation nevertheless buy their thesis that the war promotes increasing state powers (e.g., making airport baggage inspectors federal employees), and this amounts to a move towards “socialism”. If the events of 9/11 were not what they seemed to be, this takes away the chance to promote these political programs, perhaps to even advance certain careers.

Indeed, the careerist gatekeepers deny the physical nature of the universe itself—kerosene cannot melt steel, buildings do not collapse at free fall, as Isaac Newton would tell us, if he was around to witness the destruction of the WTC.

Of course, all of this runs smack into the immovable brick wall of the “progressive” ideology with its blue sky insistence nine eleven was in fact a noble blow struck by oppressed Arabs conniving in Afghan caves, never mind their leader was a former CIA asset hailing from a rich Saudi family with ties to the monarchy and the Bush crime family, as amply documented.

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