Piercing The Media Veil -
911 In Context

By Carol Schiffler

Think, for a moment, about how the events in your life would sound if they were broadcast over the evening news:
"Man Heaves Boiling Pot of Spaghetti at Wall in Disgust"
"Florida Woman Refuses to Clean Family Bathroom"
"Family Reunion Turns Ugly: Father Disowns Son"
If you were the spaghetti-tosser, the recalcitrant bathroom-cleaner, or the disgruntled family patriarch, you may take exception to the sound bites chosen by the local news editor to encapsulate the trials and tribulations of your daily activities.
The reason for this is obvious. You know your own history. You know the events that led up to, and eventually culminated in, the aerial noodle launch. You understand the connection of one bad hair day to the next, and you immediately grasp the proverbial Big Picture. More importantly, however, you know that the dazed and confused channel-surfer at the other end of the remote control does not have access to this information, and worse yet, has only sixty seconds to make a judgment call about it before the next Rice-a-Roni commercial.
Much has been made over the years of the increasing tendency toward superficiality in news reporting. While obviously it is more difficult to simulate in print, both hard copy and broadcast news alike, have fallen prey to reporting pseudo-news. News anchors have become 'on-air' personalities, non-news, (such as what to buy your significant other for the holiday season), gets equal billing with stories on foreign policy, and the whole mess is packaged in tiny, out-of-context parcels that are hurled at the consuming public like a game of dodge-ball played by a frenetic team of speed freaks.
Thus translated, a news clip regarding the case of the man and the airborne pasta may dig down far enough to find the cause of whatever it was that triggered his fit of pique. It may even become the subject of "in-depth team coverage," whereby the public may learn that this particular incident was not isolated, and the gentleman in question was, in fact, a serial offender, having tossed a veritable barrage of spaghetti over the course of a lifetime.
What they will not find out, perhaps, is the relationship between this hot-tempered individual and the woman who has forever hung up her plunger. And there might just well be one. Human relationships are complicated things, cutting well across interstate lines - multi-generational, multi-faceted, and systemic. And history, being an outgrowth of millions of people interacting millions of different ways over millions of years, is the same.
This is one of the reasons - perhaps the paramount reason - that government corruption and collusion are so difficult for a news-consuming public, already wallowing chest deep in factoids, to accept. The 'talking-head' phenomenon and round-table discussions so popular in the modern political milieu are well-suited to this sound-bite drenched media landscape, as they allow the public to presume that they have just heard the profound truth. The pundits, pontificating ad nauseum, provide the perception of depth by the sheer volume of their words - and frequently their voices - without ever delivering a holistic and "in context" view of current events.
Today I watched Michael Ruppert defending his theory regarding massive government collusion in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The other panelists, predictably, were not convinced, and the arguments they used to refute Mr. Ruppert were the same ones we have heard repeatedly every time this particular "conspiracy theory" starts to see daylight. Why were military jets not scrambled to intercept the hijacked planes? Human error. Why did American intelligence ignore the warnings from foreign source regarding the impending attacks? Outdated and bureaucratic organizations that donít talk to each other. How did a rag-tag bunch of known troublemakers manage to board the doomed flights in the first place? Lax airport security.
A point-by-point refutation of Mr. Ruppert's argument holds up well on the surface. Why? Because it is just that - a point-by-point refutation. Any one of these arguments, taken by itself, makes sense, particularly to a people who are still dumbstruck and grieving, a people who have been educated, both through the school system and through daily interaction with their friends and neighbors, to believe that the Americans are the Good Guys, decent and benevolent, right-thinking and honest.
And most Americans are just that. So when faced with people who are not that way, it sets up a clamoring of cognitive dissonance that can be heard from from sea to shining sea. Into that cacophony of disbelief steps the clean-up crews, the experts and pundits who emanate from government-sponsored think tanks, and participate in panel-style discussions such as the one with Mr. Ruppert. These "experts" are quick with the anecdotal counterpoints - and they seem pretty believable until ñ and unless - one takes the time to step back and take a longer view.
In an excellent piece entitled, 'Uncle Sam's Lucky Finds,' published by the Guardian Unlimited on Tuesday, March 18, 2002, Anne Karpf deftly navigates the scattered, pundit-tossed bread crumbs, and offers an extremely compelling view of American intelligence propaganda at its finest.
For while it is credible to assume that the various alphabet soup agencies that constitute our national security system might have missed India, France, and Russia chirping something about terrorist attacks as early as last spring, it is not credible to argue that these same agencies - who prior to September 11 could not find their arse with both hands - had, within weeks of the attacks, successfully identified all the hijackers. Following a trail of fortuitously placed flight manuals, Korans, 'terrorist handbooks,' (and please think about that one for a moment), and most amazingly of all, an unscathed fragment of Mohammed Atta's passport, the feds moved swiftly to construct a case implicating royal Saudi bad boy, Osama bin Laden.
It is possible, I suppose, that one of the hijackers would become careless and leave a flight manual lying around, or that the hand of some unseen deity would pluck Mr. Atta's smoldering passport out of the ruins of the WTC, (and then lay it gently at the feet of an FBI super-sleuth), but taken together, the improbability of such serendipity rapidly begins to become an impossibility.
Due to the enormity of the operation - and perhaps also due to the Pentagon's budgetary needs - shortly after the event, the terrorism experts began speculating about how September 11th could have been planned, financed, and perhaps even rehearsed, without arousing suspicion. They posited that underground cells of terrorists had lain hidden in sleepy suburban bedroom communities for perhaps as long as a decade, flying under the radar and waiting for their appointed hour to strike.
Again, taken by itself, this is a plausible explanation. But lay these stories next to the ones that tell us of devout Muslim suicide bombers, (already a contradiction in terms by the very nature of the religion), preparing for a holy war by making a trip to Hooters, drinking heavily, and then leaving their apartments strewn with terrorist paraphernalia. That's when the official version begins to leak like a used condom. Are we to believe that these highly-disciplined fanatics who completely escaped detection for perhaps a decade, threw all caution to the winds in their final hours and said, 'What the hell? Letís have a beer.'
Nevertheless the stories are not placed side-by-side by the journalistic corps. One day we hear the story of the miraculously salvaged passport, but it is framed by a sound bite extolling the virtues of Preparation H, Verizon wireless, and Big Macs. Two days later and similarly displaced, we learn that while making a routine search of an abandoned vehicle, the FBI discovers a trunk-load of bright yellow books labeled, 'Terrorism for Dummies.' In our busy minds, moving through our busy lives, the two stories are never connected and hence become plausible.
This, then, is why a forum such as the panel discussion featuring Mr. Ruppert is not as effective as, for instance, a lecture or a book. And it is why a point-by-point rebuttal of the 9-11 "conspiracy theory" rings righteous to those who want so desperately to believe they are governed by fundamentally decent human beings. Taken individually, points a, b, and c may be dismissed as paranoid nonsense, but it is only when they are laid end to end and the connecting lines are drawn, that an arrangement emerges, making it possible to see not only the relationship between point a and point b, but the one between point a and point c as well.
History, you see, is systemic, not anecdotal. Current events, as reported by the modern media, whether through deliberate propaganda or just sloppy journalism, are quite the opposite. Being systemic, the larger the historical event, the more touch points there are to other events. The more complex the system, the more necessary it is that the informed observer not mistake an individual cell for the entire organism. In the end, when confronted with a unified theory such as the one proposed by Michael Ruppert, one must not succumb to the temptation to take the event out of context. The pile of noodles did not, after all, get there by itself. Someone had to throw the pot, and someone had to piss off the pot-thrower.
Murderous government corruption is nothing new. The arguments set forth by Mr. Ruppert and others who have the ability to see beyond the firestorm of factoids, are neither illogical - particularly when viewed in their totality - nor, unfortunately, without precedent in the history of the United States. The evidence to support similar events is well-documented in the records of administrations past, yet it only takes a talented sophist to refute an individual point. And, as we know all too well, the media has no want of those. Who, after all, has the time to research all the details themselves? Much easier to let Biff, the square-jawed anchor man tell you what happened, and then allow Bob, the high-brow expert, tell you how to think about it.
Historical events are no different than the ones that make up your own life. The only way they can be understood is in relationship to each other, and in the context of what has come before. So stop and think, the next time you are tempted to reject a conspiracy theory out of hand, how your life would play on the eleven oí clock news. Tell me if those disjointed fragments that constitute your life story would be fairly and accurately reflected in one hundred words or less, particularly when preceded by a zippy, attention-grabbing leader, and followed by a blaring advertisement extolling the virtues of softer bathroom tissue. And then tell me if you still accept the official explanation about what happened on September 11, 2001.

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