Why Does the Truth Movement Appear More Divided Than it Is? An Answer to JamesB on the Amazon Product Forums

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James B says:

You got your argument backwards. Of course there are disagreements in science, but in science, unlike conspiracy theories, the disagreements get smaller with research and experimentation. 100 years ago scientists would argue over whether evolution even existed, then it moved on to how genetics worked, now it is into the precise technical elements of genetics. With each generation of research and experimentation there is more and more consensus. Yes, there is a still disagreement, but it is about more and more detailed items.

Now conspiracy theories are exactly the opposite, each generation brings ever more disagreement on even the most basic things. Take the JFK assassination theories. At first there was just an argument as to whether Oswald acted alone or not. 50 Years later though, there is far from a consensus, half the Northern Hemisphere has been drawn into the conspiracy. There are literally thousands of different theories.

The truthers started out with basically 2 camps. LIHOP vs MIHOP. Now there are easily a dozen variations of each, and that is even before getting into the bizarre no planers space beam people. I bet in 5 more years it will be even more fractious.

RT says:

Sorry JamesB, I must take issue with your characterizations on a couple of different points. The first is your claim that the 9/11 truth movement has, in essence, made no progress on coming to any consensus. This is false.

Early in the movement's history, it was common for the idea that the 3 WTC towers were destroyed with explosives to be dismissed as "conspiracy mongering". I remember buying Michael Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon and wondering why he made no mention of the evidence for explosives. I was also disappointed to find that many of the websites on Carol Brouillet's otherwise nifty "deception dollars" also poo-pooed what was becoming known as the "controlled demolition theory".

When I argued on popular 9/11 forums that the physical evidence for the presence of explosives was our trump card, a distinct cadre of "fellow truthers" chided me for advancing unproven theories as fact, suggesting in the strongest terms that the approach i advocated was irresponsible and that we should focus instead on the evidence (flimsy in my view) that the Bush administration ignored numerous clear warnings about an al Qaeda attack and therefore must have been complicit in allowing the attacks to succeed.

Over time, with the earlier work of Steven Jones (before he began advancing dubious theories) and with the formation and rapid growth of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, it became clear that the demolition theory had indeed "won" and people (like the reviewer of this book, J.Gold) became increasingly shrill in denouncing the derisive use among truthers of terms like LIHOP (referring to a position which had become untenable but which some in the movement clinged to with almost religious fervor.)

As the evidence for explosive demolition became more clear, and the position more popular among truth activists, there arose competing claims like the "video fakery", "mini-nuke" and "directed energy weapon" theories, none of which drew more than a token (and likely manufactured) following. That these efforts were deliberate and intended to sow division and confusion as well as to facilitate the misrepresentation of the movement was clear to many of us who began to freely talk about "real truthers" and "fake truthers". Our position on that score was vindicated with the publication in 2008 of a paper by legal scholar and future Obama appointee Cass Sunstein, which discussed the need to use "cognitive infiltration" to undermine dissident groups such as the 9/11 truth movement. Though David Griffin has written an excellent book on the subject, I will quote here Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

"Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs." In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups." He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging (on the ground that those who don't believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."

If the 9/11 truth movement has appeared to become fractious over time, it is most likely as a result of such activities--not necessarily on the part of government agents (alone), but of any number of people who for various reasons prefer that Americans not take the issues raised by 9/11 skeptics seriously. I and an admittedly small number of others hold that as it became evident that the evidence for explosives was so compelling as to neuter the ridiculous alternative theories, it was decided somewhere to introduce the bogus evidence of nanothermite. I say bogus not because nanothermite doesn't exist--it most certainly does, but because it is not needed to explain any aspect of the WTC demolitions, which were more likely achieved with some quantity of ordinary thermite (to quietly thin the thickest structural components) in order to minimize the amount of high explosives needed. Not only is it not needed, claiming its presence in all of the WTC dust based on Jones' samples could be disastrous for the truth movement if large quantities of WTC dust being stored somewhere are found not to contain any of Jones' tell tale red/gray chips. It is a tactic reminiscent of the dirty trick that sank Dan Rather's career, when a forgery of a document that actually existed was provided to him so that he would appear to have fallen for a hoax and the issue in question, Bush's absence from his required military service, though true, would be easier to dismiss as a fabrication.