By Alex Constantine

Lev Grossman on 9/11 conspiracy researchers: " ... what are the chances that an operation of such size--it would surely have involved hundreds of military and civilian personnel--could be carried out without a single leak? Without leaving behind a single piece of evidence hard enough to stand up to scrutiny in a court? People, the feds just aren't that slick. ... "

No, he's not particularly good at debunkery. This wasn't a very persuasive argument when it was posited by David Corn in The Nation a few years ago, and it still doesn't pass the smell test because - as a third of the population of the United States realizes - there are federal fingerprints all over 9/11 - and that's why the nation's press has been busily trashing "conspiracy theories." And, to say it for the 738th time, the cover-up proves the crime, so a wealth of evidence exists beyond 9/11 itself in the insupportable Keane Commission and NIST reports.

His concluding argument was that conspiracy theorists seek closure to be "comforted" - by the realization that the government slaughtered 3,000 helpless American citizens in cold blood - and Grossman's mind-reading experiment probably could have been thought through a little better. He offered no documentation from psychologists to support his thesis. In real life, 9/11 truthers are anything but placated by their research. They are very angry about it, as a general rule.

It was a tepid performance, as if the author was casting recklessly for counter-arguments - arguably, overall, the "devil's advocate" sections of the story were more persuasive than his criticism of conspiracy theorists. But he gave it a try.

Who is Lev Grossman. He does it all at Time, reviews books and movies, writes cover stories, but his specialty is advanced technology ... and, occasionally, slanted state propaganda.

1) Excerpt from "Why the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Won't Go Away," by Lev Grossman, Time, Sep. 03, 2006. Also, "The Logical Reconstruction of Reality," a response to Grossman's article from the 9/11 Truth Movement.

7.) War Blog's Powerline - home of North-syle neo-conservative propagandist Hugh Hewitt - Named "Blog of the Year" by Time's Lev Grossman. The folks at Powerline still think the Iraq War is about setting up a Democratic bulwark in the Middle East. (CIA Mockingbirds, of course, often hand out awards to other Mockingbirds to buttress the public perception of credibility.)

8.) The Last Word - Back to 9/11: "Five Years After and We Still Don’t Know," a response to Grossman.

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1) Excerpt: "Why the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Won't Go Away"

By Lev Grossman

Time, Sep. 03, 2006

Take a look, if you can stand it, at video footage of the World Trade Center collapsing. Your eye will naturally jump to the top of the screen, where huge fountains of dark debris erupt out of the falling towers. But fight your natural instincts. Look farther down, at the stories that haven't collapsed yet.

In almost every clip you'll see little puffs of dust spurting out from the sides of the towers. There are two competing explanations for these puffs of dust: 1) the force of the collapsing upper floors raised the air pressure in the lower ones so dramatically that it actually blew out the windows. And 2) the towers did not collapse from the impact of two Boeing 767s and the ensuing fires. They were destroyed in a planned, controlled demolition. The dust puffs you see on film are the detonations of explosives planted there before the attacks.

People who believe the second explanation live in a very different world from those who believe the first. In world No. 2, al-Qaeda is not responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center. The U.S. government is. The Pentagon was not hit by a commercial jet; it was hit by a cruise missile. United Flight 93 did not crash after its occupants rushed the cockpit; it was deliberately taken down by a U.S. Air Force fighter. The entire catastrophe was planned and executed by federal officials in order to provide the U.S. with a pretext for going to war in the Middle East and, by extension, as a means of consolidating and extending the power of the Bush Administration.

The population of world No. 2 is larger than you might think. A Scripps-Howard poll of 1,010 adults last month found that 36% of Americans consider it "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that government officials either allowed the attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves. Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.

Although the 9/11 Truth Movement, as many conspiracy believers refer to their passion, has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, it is flourishing on the Internet. One of the most popular conspiracy videos online is Loose Change, a 90-min. blizzard of statistics, photographs, documents, eyewitness accounts and expert testimony set to a trippy hip-hop backbeat. It's designed to pick apart, point by point, the conventional narrative of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

For all its amateur production values--it was created by a pair of industrious twentysomethings using a laptop, pizza money and footage scavenged from the Internet--Loose Change is a compelling experience. Take the section about the attack on the Pentagon. As the film points out--and this is a tent-pole issue among 9/11 conspiracists--the crash site doesn't look right. There's not enough damage. The hole smashed in the Pentagon's outer wall was 75 ft. wide, but a Boeing 757 has a 124-ft. wingspan. Why wasn't the hole wider? Why does it look so neat?

Experts will tell you that the hole was punched by the plane's fuselage, not its wings, which sheared off on impact. But then what happened to the wings? And the tail and the engines? Images of the crash site show hardly any of the wreckage you would expect from a building that's been rammed by a commercial jet. The lawn, where the plane supposedly dragged a wing on approach, is practically pristine. The plane supposedly clipped five lampposts on its way in, but the lampposts in question show surprisingly little damage. And could Hani Hanjour, the man supposedly at the controls, have executed the maneuvers that the plane performed? He failed a flight test just weeks before the attack. And Pentagon employees reported smelling cordite after the hit, the kind of high explosive a cruise missile carries.

There's something empowering about just exploring such questions. Loose Change appeals to the viewer's common sense: it tells you to forget the official explanations and the expert testimony, and trust your eyes and your brain instead. It implies that the world can be grasped by laymen without any help or interference from the talking heads. Watching Loose Change, you feel as if you are participating in the great American tradition of self-reliance and nonconformist, antiauthoritarian dissent. You're fighting the power. You're thinking different. (Conspiracists call people who follow the government line "sheeple.") "The goal of the movie was just really to get out there and show that there are alternate stories to what the mainstream media and the government will tell you," says Korey Rowe, 23, who produced the movie. "That 19 hijackers are going to completely bypass security and crash four commercial airliners in a span of two hours, with no interruption from the military forces, in the most guarded airspace in the United States and the world? That to me is a conspiracy theory."

It's also not much of a story line. As a narrative, the official story that the government--echoed by the media--is trying to sell shows an almost embarrassing lack of novelistic flair, whereas the story the conspiracy theorists tell about what happened on Sept. 11 is positively Dan Brownesque in its rich, exciting complexity. Rowe and his collaborator, Dylan Avery, 22, actually started writing Loose Change as a fictional screenplay--"loosely based around us discovering that 9/11 was an inside job," Rowe says--before they became convinced that the evidence of conspiracy was overwhelming. The Administration is certainly playing its part in the drama with admirable zeal. If we went to war to root out fictional weapons of mass destruction, is staging a fictional terrorist attack such a stretch?

But there's a big problem with Loose Change and with most other conspiracy theories. The more you think about them, the more you realize how much they depend on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis or documentation, quotes taken out of context and the scattered testimony of traumatized eyewitnesses. (For what it's worth, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a fact sheet responding to some of the conspiracy theorists' ideas on its website, www.nist.gov. The theories prompt small, reasonable questions that demand answers that are just too large and unreasonable to swallow. Granted, the Pentagon crash site looks odd in photographs. But if the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile, then what happened to American Airlines Flight 77? Where did all the real, documented people on it go? Assassinated? Relocated? What about eyewitnesses who saw a plane, not a missile? And what are the chances that an operation of such size--it would surely have involved hundreds of military and civilian personnel--could be carried out without a single leak? Without leaving behind a single piece of evidence hard enough to stand up to scrutiny in a court? People, the feds just aren't that slick. Nobody is. ...

The Logical Reconstruction of Reality: A Reply to Time 

Sept. 7, 2006

This latest attempt (Time, Sep. 3, 2006 ) to pacify the herd, to anesthetize us with the idea that "conspiracy theories" are defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from the big, bad, complex world, "empowering" us "to make sense of grand events" is striking, even for Time, in its illogic. 

 

Far from "empowering," the notion that the government itself perpetrated 9/11 has the opposite effect on most people.  Who wants to believe that our elected leaders are ruthless, mass-murdering demonic pigs?  Fear of having to believe this, and subsequent denial of whatever evidence and arguments would lead to this belief, are by far the most common reactions. 

Lev Grossman, Big Brother's hack in this instance, knows this as well as anyone else with common sense, and the ploy here is to skirt the fear by making the denial easier.  It's not the idea that our leaders are monsters that we have to deal with, he is telling us, but the idea that some people (actually, as he says, 36% of the population) need an idea like this to feel as if they are "participating in the great American tradition of self-reliance and nonconformist, antiauthoritarian dissent."  A mature thinker, like Grossman himself, knows that "conspiracy theories are part of the process by which Americans deal with traumatic public events like Sept. 11, "an American form of national mourning," and that--here is the overriding wisdom--"the past, even the immediate past, is ultimately unknowable." 

So we know what Big Brother is about in this article, as always:  Do not consider "outrageous conspiracy theories," as George II told us himself, shortly after promulgating the most outrageous conspiracy theory of all, namely that a cave dweller in Afghanistan and 19 Arabs with box cutters could defeat the multi-billion dollar U.S. Air Force and national defense establishment, not just once, but four times on a single day.  Do not question this, or anything else I say, and do not look for facts, because the past is "unknowable." 

Granted, some people will fall for this.  Maybe the other 64% of the population.  Still, it is very bad propaganda.  Big Brother may be losing his touch.  Subtlety has never been his strong point, and since selection 2000 it has all but disappeared.  I suppose we should be glad of that.  The Bush government, a "Nixon imperial presidency on steroids," as John Dean (who should know) called it recently on C-Span, has made it quite clear what we are dealing with:  fascisim.  We are one step, one more terror attack, away from the jackboots, as Gen. Tommy Franks has told us in so many words, and the Patriot Acts have already gutted the Constitution and created the legal structure for a police state.  (Don't believe me; read the recent speeches of former Vice-President Al Gore.)

If Big Brother were more concerned with subtlety, there are several different ploys he could have taken, and may yet, but again, that is what Time is good for--showing his hand.   

Most conspicuously, he has given us only two alternatives, two views of reality:  world No. 1 and world No. 2.  No. 1 is the official line.  No. 2 is actually described quite correctly and straightforwardly: 

In world No. 2, al-Qaeda is not responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center. The U.S. government is. The Pentagon was not hit by a commercial jet; it was hit by a cruise missile. United Flight 93 did not crash after its occupants rushed the cockpit; it was deliberately taken down by a U.S. Air Force fighter. The entire catastrophe was planned and executed by federal officials in order to provide the U.S. with a pretext for going to war in the Middle East and, by extension, as a means of consolidating and extending the power of the Bush Administration. 

   

This is in fact an accurate statement of what most of those 108 million Americans (and 95% of the rest of the world) actually think.  It does not say, as all too many 9/11 "truthlings" say, that a "rogue faction" of the government did it, or that "factions of the government may have been involved" or "complicit."  It does not differentiate between LIHOP ("Let It Happen on Purpose") and MIHOP ("Make It Happen on Purpose"), or say, as Kyle Hence, one of the most prominent "9/11 Truth" leaders did recently: 

Any simplistic speculations or accusations such as "the government did it" are irresponsible and pre-mature in my view as all the evidence 'isn't in' and the reality is likely far more complex. What we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that agencies across the board within the government covered-up, many officials lied, and some destroyed key evidence. We know that excessive secrecy, over-classification and delays in releasing CIA and FBI Inspector General and NIST reports have kept much vital information from the general public and official investigations about what happened or didn't happen and how it was covered-up. It is entirely conceivable that systemic or bureaucratic faults, incompetence, negligence (including criminal negligence) complicity and co-conspiracy ALL occurred within the gargantuan, byzantine government and global military-industrial-intelligence complex relative to the 9/11 attacks.

Even a cursory examination of Operation Gladio, the 7/7 attacks in London, etc. suggests a far wider circle of co-conspirators. Any new investigation must consider all the evidence within the frame of the questions 1) who most benefited and 2) was 9/11 as Chris Floyd has suggested a 'secret army' Gladio-type operation designed to advance an extreme right wing agenda? SFC Donald Buswell, now under investigation in Texas, framed suspicion this way -- rejecting the official conspiracy theory and Commission findings and pointing in the direction of the military-industrial complex. In the end we may find the reality more complex still given the huge power of drug, banking, illicit weapons and other criminal cartels and the fact that US officials may have acted the part of guilty parties in some cases to cover-up their own incompetence or criminal negligence even as they were aware the official story didn't hold any water.  (email to me and others, Aug. 28, 2006). 

Now here is subtlety.  Could any of Big Brother's hacks have put it more eloquently?  My question to Hence, to which this was his reply, was:   

Do you agree with David Griffin that "the Bush-Cheney administration orchestrated 9/11 in order to promote this [American] empire under the pretext of the so-called war on terror" (p. viii, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11)? 

Griffin was not subtle at all, having come to this conclusion after examining all the available evidence and presenting it in three books.  Hence and many other 9/11 "truth-seekers" claim to support and agree with Griffin, but when it comes down to it, they hedge.  They squirm and wriggle and hem and haw and inundate us with "complexities" and all the "research" that needs to be done before we can say what Big Brother himself has said quite openly--at least if world No. 2 is real: 

Similarly, Grossman gives a quite acceptable summary of the facts about the Pentagon strike: 

…the crash site doesn't look right. There's not enough damage. The hole smashed in the Pentagon's outer wall was 75 ft. wide, but a Boeing 757 has a 124-ft. wingspan. Why wasn't the hole wider? Why does it look so neat?

Experts will tell you that the hole was punched by the plane's fuselage, not its wings, which sheared off on impact. But then what happened to the wings? And the tail and the engines? Images of the crash site show hardly any of the wreckage you would expect from a building that's been rammed by a commercial jet. The lawn, where the plane supposedly dragged a wing on approach, is practically pristine. The plane supposedly clipped five lampposts on its way in, but the lampposts in question show surprisingly little damage. And could Hani Hanjour, the man supposedly at the controls, have executed the maneuvers that the plane performed? He failed a flight test just weeks before the attack. And Pentagon employees reported smelling cordite after the hit, the kind of high explosive a cruise missile carries. 

…if the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile, then what happened to American Airlines Flight 77? Where did all the real, documented people on it go? Assassinated? Relocated? What about eyewitnesses who saw a plane, not a missile? And what are the chances that an operation of such size--it would surely have involved hundreds of military and civilian personnel--could be carried out without a single leak? Without leaving behind a single piece of evidence hard enough to stand up to scrutiny in a court? People, the feds just aren't that slick. Nobody is. 

That's it.  That's all Big Brother has to counter the accusations summarized in David Ray Griffin's three books and literally hundreds of websites and other books.  Anyone who does the least bit of reading will soon learn that the eyewitnesses contradict each other drastically, and that what happened to the passengers (not "documented" by an impartial authority but only by the government; autopsy results have not been released) is indeed an ongoing mystery but secondary to the examination of the physical evidence. 

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2.) LEV GROSSMAN REVIEWS V FOR VENDETTA

“ ... Who thought this was a good idea? ... ”

Common Sense Journal " leftist insanity

http://www.commonsensejournal.com/category/leftist-insanity/

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On the system used at Super Bowl –“The beauty of the system is that it is

disguise-proof. You can grow a beard and put on sunglasses, and FaceTrac

will still pick you out of a crowd.”

Lev Grossman, “Welcome to the snooper bowl,”Time, Feb 12, 2001.

http://www.cse.nd.edu/courses/cse40175/www/assignments/SecurityPrivacyMarch07.pdf

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4/) Beyond the Rubber Bullet

Sunday, Jul. 21, 2002

By LEV GROSSMAN

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,322588,00.html

The U.S. armed forces don't do much shooting anymore. Even in Afghanistan, they engage in more advising and guiding than gunplay. Soldiers today are asked more often to keep the peace or defuse demonstrations, and the last thing they want in those situations is to fire a lethal weapon. That's why the Pentagon is spending more and more research-and-development dollars on weapons that stun, scare, entangle or nauseate — anything but kill.

The U.S.'s nonlethal-weapons programs are drawing their own fire, mostly from human-rights activists who contend that the technologies being developed will be deployed to suppress dissent and that they defy international weapons treaties. Through public websites, interviews with defense researchers and data obtained in a series of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by watchdog groups, TIME has managed to peer into the Pentagon's multimillion-dollar program and piece together this glimpse of the gentler, though not necessarily kinder, arsenal of tomorrow.

DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS


Imagine a cross between a microwave oven and a Star Trek phaser: a tight, focused beam of energy that flash-heats its target from a distance. Directed energy beams do not burn flesh, but they do create an unbearably painful burning sensation. The Air Force Research Laboratory has already spent $40 million on a humvee-mounted directed-energy weapon. Expect to see it in the field by 2009.

ANTITRACTION MATERIAL


Sometimes keeping an enemy down but not out is good enough. The Southwest Research Institute in Texas has created a sprayable antitraction gel for the Marines that is so slippery it is impossible to drive or even walk on it; one researcher describes it as "liquid ball bearings." Spray the stuff on a door handle, and it becomes too slippery to turn. The antitraction gel is mostly water, so it dries up in about 12 hours. It is also nontoxic and biodegradable.

MALODORANTS


Working for the Pentagon, the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has formulated smells so repellent that they can quickly clear a public space of anyone who can breathe — partygoers, rioters, even enemy forces. Scientists have tested the effectiveness of such odors as vomit, burnt hair, sewage, rotting flesh and a potent concoction known euphemistically as "U.S. Government Standard Bathroom Malodor." But don't expect to get a whiff anytime soon. Like all gaseous weapons, malodorants once released are hard to control, and their use is strictly limited by international chemical-weapons treaties.

PROJECTILES


No one likes rubber bullets — not the people being fired at nor the people doing the firing. "It's very easy to put out an eye, to blind someone," says Glenn Shwaery, director of the Nonlethal Technology Innovation Center. "How do you redesign a projectile to avoid that?" The answer is, with softer, flatter bullets, beanbags and sponges that spread out the impact and hit like an open-handed slap from Andre the Giant. Shwaery's team is looking into an even more radical solution: "tunable" bullets that can be adjusted in the field to be harder or softer as the situation warrants. "We're talking about dialing in the penetrating power," he says. It's the difference between 'Set phasers on stun' and 'Set phasers on kill.'"

WEBS AND NETS


Spider-man has competition. A firm called Foster-Miller, based in Waltham, Mass., has created the WebShot, a 10-ft.-wide Kevlar net. Packed in a cartridge and fired from a special shotgun, the WebShot can entangle targets as far away as 30 feet. Bigger nets can work on bigger targets. The Portable Vehicle Arresting Barrier, developed for the Pentagon by General Dynamics in Falls Church, Va., is a tough, elastic web that springs up from the ground in an instant to block a road. It can stop a 7,500-lb. pickup truck traveling 45 m.p.h. and then wrap around it to trap the occupants inside.

REAL RAY GUNS


Further out on the horizon, the line between weapons development and science fiction becomes perilously thin. Mission Research Corp. of Santa Barbara, Calif., is working on a pulsed energy projectile (PEP) that superheats the surface moisture around a target so rapidly that it literally explodes, producing a bright flash of light and a loud bang. The effect is like a stun grenade, but unlike a grenade the pep travels at nearly the speed of light and can take out a target with pinpoint accuracy. Or picture this: a flashlight-size device, currently in development at HSV Technologies in San Diego, that transmits a powerful electric current along a beam of ultraviolet light. Shine that light on a human target, and you have a wireless taser that can paralyze targets as far away as 2 km.

DRUGS, BUGS AND BEYOND


Even their supporters agree that "nonlethal weapons" is a dangerous misnomer and that any of these devices has the potential to injure and kill. What is more, some of them may not even be legal. Over the past three months, a chemical-weapons watchdog organization called the Sunshine Project has obtained evidence that the U.S. is considering some projects that appear to take us beyond the bounds of good sense: bioengineered bacteria designed to eat asphalt, fuel and body armor, or faster-acting, weaponized forms of antidepressants, opiates and so-called "club drugs" that could be rapidly administered to unruly crowds. Such research is illegal under international law and could open up terrifying scenarios for abuse. "This is patently quite dangerous and irresponsible," says human-rights activist Steve Wright, who, as director of the Omega Foundation, works with Amnesty International to monitor nonlethal weapons. "What the U.S. invents today, others, including the torturing states, will deploy tomorrow." Just how much is that magic rubber bullet worth to us? Maybe some science fiction should remain fictional.

— With reporting by Mark Thompson/Washington

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5.) Let's All "Get Chipped"

http://www.shout.net/~bigred/Chipped.htm

"Meet The Chipsons" (by Lev Grossman. Time magazine, 3/11/02): ex-prisoners implanted with a Windows-friendly version of VeriChip. The radio transmitter beneath the skin sends uploads to an orbiting satellite, which in turn beams locator information to the proper authorities.

VeriChip would help us win the planned Fifty Year War On Terrorism, suggests Tame magazine. Anyone boarding a plane could have their arm scanned for the VeriChip. If no VeriChip were detectable, the passenger might be a terrorist!

In the 1960s, we met "The Jetsons", a cartoon space-age family. Tame magazine tells us now to "meet the Chipsons" and lauds the Jacobs family as pioneer cyborgs.

In the consumophile 2000s, keeping up with the Joneses means gullible Americans will be standing in lines, eager to "get chipped."
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6) BIO

Lev Grossman was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in Lexington, MA, a suburb of Boston. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in literature and went on to the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale, although he left after three years without finishing a dissertation.

After Yale Grossman worked for a string of dot-coms while writing free-lance articles about books, technology and culture in general for numerous magazines, newspapers and websites, including Lingua Franca, the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, Salon and the New York Times. In 2002 he was hired by Time and became the magazine’s book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers. In 2006 he won the Deadline Club Award for Arts Reporting. The New York Times says Grossman is “among this country's smartest and most reliable critics.”

Grossman published his first novel, Warp, with St. Martin’s in 1997. His second novel, Codex, was published by Harcourt in 2004 and became an international bestseller. He currently lives in Brooklyn,

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7.) War Blog's Powerline Named Blog of the Year by Time's Lev Grossman

http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16376

Blog of the Year
Powerline| December 19, 2004 | John H. Hinderaker

Posted on 12/21/2004 3:31:44 PM PST by swilhelm73

As noted below, Time Magazine has named us "Blog of the Year" in the issue which hits the newsstands tomorrow. (The Man of the Year, of course, is President Bush.) The article about us, by Lev Grossman, is very good. The photo that accompanies it, I'm not so sure about:

Grossman's article describes how we started the site, tells a bit about us personally, and relates the story of The Sixty-First Minute, the post on the forged CBS memos that the Trunk began on the morning of September 9. In the article, I describe the Sixty-First Minute as the most famous post in the (short) history of the blogosphere.

Grossman is a novelist, and his article is beautifully written. I don't think we're supposed to quote from it at length until the magazine officially comes out tomorrow, but I hope they won't mind if we note this excerpt:

The story of how three amateur journalists working in a homegrown online medium challenged a network news legend and won has many, many game-changing angles to it. One of the strangest and most radical is that the key information in "The 61st Minute" came from Power Line's readers, not its ostensible writers. The Power Liners are quick, even eager, to point this out. "What this story shows more than anything is the power of the medium," Hinderaker says. "The world is full of smart people who have information about every imaginable topic, and until the Internet came along, there wasn't any practical way to put it together." Now there is.

Thanks to Time, to Lev Grossman, and above all, to our readers, who more than anyone else make this site and the blogosphere possible.

BIG TRUNK adds: Sincere thanks to our readers, who were our sources for so much of the Rather story, and whose support and encouragement have kept us going; to fellow bloggers Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs and Bill Ardolino of INDC, who made special contributions nailing the Rather story on September 9; to Hugh Hewitt, our first media supporter, dating back to the fall of 2002; and to my colleague Gene Allen, who originally brought us to Hugh's attention. Each time I see Hugh, I remind him that we are a figment of his capacious imagination.

UPDATE by Hindrocket: AP reporter Patrick Condon has also written an article about us, based on interviews we did this morning.

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8.) Five Years After and We Still Don’t Know

http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/41423/

Five Years After and We Still Don’t Know

By Paul Craig Roberts

... Grossman’s psychological explanation fails on its own terms. Which is the grandest conspiracy theory? The interpretation of 9/11 as an orchestrated casus belli to justify US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the interpretation that a handful of Muslims defeated US security multiple times in one short morning and successfully pulled off the most fantastic terrorist attack in history simply because they “hate our freedom and democracy”? Orchestrating events to justify wars is a stratagem so well worn as to be boring. Indeed, it is the fantastic conspiracy of the official explanation that makes it unbelievable.

The scientists, engineers, and professors who pose the tough questions about 9/11 are not people who spend their lives making sense of their experience by constructing conspiracy theories. Scientists and scholars look to facts and evidence. They are concerned with the paucity of evidence in behalf of the official explanation. They stress that the official explanation is inconsistent with known laws of physics, and that the numerous security failures, when combined together, are a statistical improbability.

The call by 9/11 skeptics for an independent investigation by an international panel of experts is not a conspiracy theory. In principle there is nothing wrong with such an investigation. In practice, it might be difficult to create a truly independent panel. How many physicists, for example, have careers independent of government grants, and how many engineering firms would risk being branded “unpatriotic” and lose business by coming down on the “wrong” side of the issue? Lev Grossman: " ... what are the chances that an operation of such size--it would surely have involved hundreds of military and civilian personnel--could be carried out without a single leak? Without leaving behind a single piece of evidence hard enough to stand up to scrutiny in a court? People, the feds just aren't that slick. ... "