Wednesday, February 7, 2007

George Monbiot Joins Alexander Cockburn In The Loony Bin

Feast your eyes on this vicious screed by George Monbiot, formerly respected writer for the Guardian, now competing with Alexander Cockburn for a title whose name is almost certainly unprintable.
There is a virus sweeping the world. It infects opponents of the Bush government, sucks their brains out through their eyes and turns them into gibbering idiots. First cultivated in a laboratory in the US, the strain reached these shores a few months ago. In the past fortnight, it has become an epidemic. Scarcely a day now passes without someone possessed by this sickness, eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam, trying to infect me.
How's that for an opening salvo? Isn't that beautiful?

Trying to be fair to Monbiot, he's ostensibly writing about Loose Change, and to be honest, Loose Change is not a great documentary, IMO.

But here's the point so many so-called "geniuses" on the so-called "left" don't manage to grasp: the fact that Loose Change is flawed does not make the official conspiracy theory true.

What's the matter with Loose Change? Plenty, in my view. It asks a lot of good questions but then it tries to answer them. Bad move, dudes!

I'd like to see what George Monbiot would say about 9/11 Press For Truth. It asks a lot of good questions, too, but it doesn't try to answer any of them. And that's how it should be, IMO, because we don't have the answers.

Why don't we have the answers?

Oops! now we have another unanswered question.

In my opinion, Loose Change asks us to believe a lot of things that may or may not be true. But the official story asks us to believe things that are impossible. And for that reason, Loose Change makes a lot more sense to many people than the official story does. But Monbiot sees things differently:
People believe Loose Change because it proposes a closed world: comprehensible, controllable, small. Despite the great evil that runs it, it is more companionable than the chaos that really governs our lives, a world without destination or purpose.
Hogwash, George. Utter nonsense! Find me one person who believes it's more companionable to be ruled by vicious killers than otherwise.

Speaking of nonsense, check out this bit:
None of the participants in this monumental crime has sought to blow the whistle - before, during or after the attacks. No one has volunteered to tell the greatest story ever told.
No whistle-blowers? Tell me: why is Sibel Edmonds gagged? Because she wanted to talk about the price of corn?

I know she wasn't a participant strictly speaking, but does Mr. Monbiot expect mass murderers to just up and confess?

It's the victims who are trying to tell the truth about this crime, not the criminals! Isn't that obvious yet? And isn't that always the case? So why is it surprising?

Monbiot goes through the standard explanation of how the WTC buildings "collapsed", and yet, as we could all clearly see on television, they didn't collapse at all. They disintegrated. They were pulverized. They turned into zillions of tons of toxic dust. But we still talk about why the towers "collapsed".

We should never do that, in my opinion. We should always talk about how they disintegrated. And our collective failure to do so is quite pathetic, in my view. But not as pathetic as the song and dance that goes "the fire weakened the steel and it buckled".

I know a man who has been a fire chief, a fire inspector and an arson investigator. One day he was singing me the song about how the fire had weakened the steel. So I asked him: "If burning fuel can weaken steel enough to make it buckle, why do we have cars? Why don't the engine blocks melt away? There's all this heat, all this pressure; for that matter, why do we even have lawn mowers?"

He looked at me, shook his head and walked away.

But Monbiot doesn't even have enough class to walk away when he's wrong. Instead, like all good writers, he builds to a thrilling climax:
The film's greatest flaw is this: the men who made it are still alive. If the US government is running an all-knowing, all-encompassing conspiracy, why did it not snuff them out long ago? There is only one possible explanation. They are in fact agents of the Bush regime, employed to distract people from its real abuses of power. This, if you are inclined to believe such stories, is surely a more plausible theory than the one proposed in Loose Change.
Wow! George Monbiot says the guys who made Loose Change are agents of the Bush regime, and we know this because they haven't been killed!

And he has the nerve to call other people names!


On the other hand, there are plenty of good comments below the article, and here too.

Perhaps the best one came from Ian R. Crane, who wrote:
The most outrageous of claims made by George Monbiot is that, “No one has volunteered to tell the greatest story ever told.”

A statement that is either indicative of a staggering lack of intellectual curiosity or an intentional lie! The list of whistle-blowers is extensive but I will draw attention to just two.

Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI Translator, has the dubious honour of being the most gagged individual in US legal history. In reference to the 9/11 Commission investigation Edmonds stated, "If they were to do real investigations we would see several significant high level criminal prosecutions in this country. And that is something that they are not going to let out. And, believe me; they will do everything to cover this up."

However, it is William Rodriguez, a Janitor at the World Trade Centre for 20 years, who has become the most vocal advocate of establishing a new investigation into the events of 9/11. As the last man out of WTC1, Rodriguez was widely recognised and revered as the hero of 9/11. Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour by the President and recognised as a tireless campaigner on behalf of the WTC survivors and families of the victims, Rodriguez was stunned when he became one of only three people required to give their evidence to the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors. The other two being President G.W. Bush & vice-President Dick Cheney, who refused to appear before the Commission separately and who refused to take the oath.

When Rodriguez learned that his evidence had been omitted from the 9/11 Commission report, he realised that the 9/11 Commission more about bolstering the official account than uncovering the truth. For the past two and a half years, Rodriguez has met with government officials in many countries, including Malaysia, Venezuela & Japan, campaigning for an international inquiry into the events which have triggered two illegal wars, an open ended War on Terror and provided Bush & Blair with the excuse to introduce legislation that takes the US & UK to the fringes of being police states. [...]

Well, it just so happens that William Rodriguez [is] just a few days into a month long tour of the UK; giving audiences the opportunity to hear his gripping first-hand account of that fateful day. He will also be discussing his extraordinary experiences since that day and explaining why he has dedicated his life to establishing the truth behind the events of 9/11.

250 people attended William’s talk in Totnes, Devon last Sunday evening. A local BBC film crew covered the event but afterwards the camera operator grimaced as he said, “There’s no chance of this being broadcast … our bosses will find a reason not to put this out.”

Now, why do you think that might be?

For details of William’s UK tour dates visit:
Three cheers for Ian Crane, and none at all for George Monbiot.


In a previous version of this post I accidentally referred to Alexander Cockburn as Patrick Cockburn. Thanks to one of my kindest readers for pointing out my error; apologies to any readers who were confused, and special apologies Patrick Cockburn, who as far as I know is not loony at all.