Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is Van Jones a 9/11 "truther"?

On the recent resignation of politician-activist Van Jones, by Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine (you can read the whole article here):

Right-wingers pounced on [Van Jones] for a speech in which he allegedly called Right-wingers assholes, though he used the same word to describe himself and the Left. But what gave them a supposedly clinching argument was that he signed a statement calling for an objective investigation of 9/11. Look below to see what it really said—not what the media claimed.

... As to how Jones could have signed the statement below, let me make clear that neither he nor I, who also signed the statement, signed something accusing Bush of being directly involved in 9/11. I did authorize my name to be used to call for an investigation of the claims of those who deny the official story of 9/11.

I am now and was then an agnostic about what actually happened to make 9/11 possible, but do agree with those who say that there are enough inconsistencies and problems with the official story to warrant an impartial investigation by people not connected to the government of the US and not bound by political considerations. I think that such an investigation would be a great advantage to everyone.

I have often found myself surrounded by people obsessed with 9/11 and acting in ways that I would call "nut cases" because they are so sure that they know not only what I agree with--namely that the inconsistencies deserve further investigation-- but also what I disagree with, namely that there is a prima facie reason to believe that President Bush had concrete prior knowledge of an attack on the US and for political reasons allowed it to happen. Frankly, I don't believe that one bit, but that is one of the reasons why I'd like to see an impartial investigation by people who have no political stake in the outcome of that investigation,and with the power to subpoena all relevant documents. Such an investigation could once and for all put these paranoid types to rest or at least silence them. So that is why I signed the call.

What the Right did, with the help of the 9/11 "truthers," was to distort the intention of at least some of us who were asked to sign the statement. The "truthers" published that statement with their own speculations of the role of Bush, and the way that it appears on their website makes it possible for someone to imagine that the signatories to the statement were all agreeing to their framing--and that is simply not true. Conversely, the Right used that deceptive form of publicity by the "truthers" to affirm something that Van Jones and others made clear we never intended to sign, namely the claim that Bush was knowingly involved. ( One reason I don't believe Bush was part of 9/11: it was too well executed for that bungler to have been involved. Even Cheney seemed incapable of pulling off a serious military move, much less something that would have required the coordination and secrecy to make 9/11 happen, and then keep secret the involvement of others for the next eight years.. Though it worked very much in favor of their militarist policies, they were far too incompetent to have made it happen. )

I was asked to sign a letter which I was told had four demands:

As Americans of conscience, we ask for four things:

An immediate investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer

Immediate investigation in Congressional Hearings.

Media attention to scrutinize and investigate the evidence.

The formation of a truly independent citizens-based inquiry.

I did not authorize my name to be used for all the other stuff that I now see was included surrounding the letter, namely the sponsors of that 911truth.org, and would not have had I been aware that all that stuff was presented in ways that suggested that I agreed with it, and though I do recognize a few of the people I'd consider "nut cases" among the list of signatories, my guess is that most of those who signed were, like me, unaware of the context in which our names would appear.

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