Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Hole Too Deep

As my regular readers both know, I've been reading (and commenting on) a three-part series called "The Twenty Year Shadow of 9/11", which has been published by CovertAction Magazine.

The series, by Ben Howard, Aaron Good and Peter Dale Scott, began with two installments which appear to have been written by all three authors working together, and ended with a three-part conclusion which was certainly written by the three authors separately. And that's why we have three different conclusions to assess.

This post examines the second conclusion in the third installment of the series. It's called "Cutting Through the Parapolitical Fog of 9/11" and it was written by Aaron Good. CovertAction says:
Aaron Good is Editor at Large for CovertAction Magazine.

His revised doctoral dissertation, American Exception: Empire and the Deep State, is to be published by Skyhorse in the spring of 2022.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter: @Aaron_Good_
The first conclusion, by Ben Howard, set the bar. Will the second conclusion will reach it? or surpass it? No other result seems possible.

When I was young, my friends and I would amuse ourselves by posing paradoxical questions, such as: "Could God dig a hole so deep that he couldn't get out of it?" It was always a hypothetical matter for us, since none of us had ever seen it done. We could never have imagined how how easy it is. But Aaron Good can do it, and here he shows us how:
The evidence and analysis in Parts 1 and 2 provide reasonable justification for seriously exploring the possibility that 9/11 was in some way facilitated by obscure elements of the state. Sadly, the vocabulary for investigating such an operation is lacking in the popular discourse.
As you may know, if there were room for 9/11 in "the popular discourse", and if 9/11 wasn't what the government said it was, the two terms used most often to describe it would be "false flag" and "inside job".

Aaron Good thinks these terms are inappropriate, and this is why:
“False flag” refers to an old naval ploy wherein a vessel flies a different flag and attacks a target in order to inculpate the chosen party. ...

Whatever the origins and ultimate controlling power of al-Qaeda was or is, its foot soldiers would appear to be, by and large, fanatical Islamists who are not conscious U.S. agents. Therefore, “false flag” is an imprecise description.
This may be the most transparent "straw man" attack I have ever seen. And I used to cover domestic politics, so that's saying something.

Stripped of the historical naval baggage, and particularly in the context of 9/11, the term "false flag" refers to an action perpetrated by one "actor" and blamed on another.

When people say, "9/11 was a false flag attack," they mean they don't believe it was perpetrated by al-Qaeda.

The question here is not whether "al-Qaeda foot soldiers" were "conscious U.S. agents" but whether "al-Qaeda foot soldiers" had anything to do with the attack.

There is very credible evidence in the public domain, including some unearthed by Peter Dale Scott, which leads some of us to wonder whether "al-Qaeda foot soldiers" were involved in any capacity other than as scapegoats. The fact that a third of the alleged hijackers appeared in the days following the attacks, alive and well but wondering why their names and photos were being circulated by the major media, is sufficient in itself to throw doubt on the claim that the attack was the work of "al-Qaeda foot soldiers."

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone "with extensive knowledge about 9/11" doesn't know that.

There's also a problem of methodology. In the branch of philosophy called "logic", there is a fallacy known as "begging the question". To "beg a question" means "to assume the question has already been answered" and usually it also means "to use the assumption to avoid the question".

If somebody says, "I think 9/11 was a false flag attack because we've never seen any credible evidence that the alleged hijackers were in the airports on the day of the attacks, or that they all died in the operation, or that their remains were ever properly identified," and so on ...

And you say, "No, it couldn't have been a false flag attack because the hijackers were ___." No matter how you finish the sentence, you've begged the question.

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone who has written a doctoral dissertation doesn't know that.

So maybe we'd do better with the phrase "inside job". Here's Aaron Good again:
An “inside job” is something like, say, a bank robbery in which a bank employee serves as an “inside man” who plays a role ...
... it is very improbable that there were high U.S. government officials who were secretly al-Qaeda agents bent on waging jihad. To put it mildly, al-Qaeda’s worldview and mission are not likely to appeal to persons with the wherewithal and inclination to advance in the U.S. national security bureaucracies. So again, “inside job” is not a term that can adequately capture the 9/11 terror spectacle.
Let's pretend we didn't notice Aaron Good begging another question, and excuse me for asking, but: If "al-Qaeda’s worldview and mission are not likely to appeal to persons with the wherewithal and inclination to advance in the U.S. national security bureaucracies", how is it possible that al-Qaeda was created and supported by men who had already advanced to the pinnacle of "the U.S. national security bureaucracies"?

We know that the "fanatical Islamic terrorists", also known as "Mujihadeen", "freedom fighters", "the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers", and later "al-Qaeda", were recruited, trained, supplied, and maneuvered on the global stage, at the direction of the men who ran "the U.S. national security bureaucracies", as fully documented in Part 1 of the series which Aaron Good is now trying to conclude.

I believe it is fair to ask: If this happened, how improbable could it be?

Or to take another tack: If investigators looking into a bank that has been robbed find that the security system had been disabled, they'll know that the robbers had some help on the inside, because it would have been impossible for the robbers to disable the alarm from the outside.

In trying to find out who disabled the alarm, they wouldn't start by assuming "It is very improbable that there were officials in the bank who were secretly in league with the robbers."

The fact that the alarm had been disabled would show very clearly that somebody in the bank was secretly in league with the robbers -- no matter how improbable it may have seemed before the disabled alarm was discovered.

We know that America's security alarm was turned off on 9/11, that air defenses were diverted away from the Eastern Seaboard by an astonishing set of simultaneous war games and other military exercises, and that this circumstance explains at least partially why hijacked airplanes were allowed to fly unmolested for more than an hour after everyone in the country had been told that we were under attack. Whether or not it's "probable" that the attackers had "inside help" makes no difference, because it's clear that they did.

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone "with extensive knowledge about 9/11" doesn't know this, either.

Here's Aaron Good again:
This is not to say that 9/11 could not have had any aspects for which the terms “inside job” or “false flag” might be applicable.
In polite company, this is called "splitting hairs". Elsewhere it is known by less printable but more fragrant names.

If 9/11 had "aspects" of a "false flag attack" then it was a false flag attack. It may have been a very complicated false flag attack, but it was a false flag attack nonetheless.

If 9/11 had "aspects" of an "inside job" then it was an inside job. It may have been a very complicated inside job, but it was an inside job nonetheless.

But Aaron Good says:
such categorizations are oversimplified and insufficient.
In my view it would have been far more accurate to use the terms "oversimplified and insufficient" to describe the argument we've been evaluating, rather than the phrases we've been discussing.

And now, surely you can see the hole.

9/11 wasn't a false flag attack and it wasn't an inside job, except maybe it was, so now we have to introduce some new terminology, because we've already trashed the normal meanings of the words that we normally use to describe the things that these words normally describe.

In plain and simple English, 9/11 wasn't exactly what we call it, even if that's exactly what it was.

I write passages like this on purpose sometimes. I learned how to do it by reading too much Joe Heller. I pour out outrageous nonsense, almost as if I believed it, but drenched in so much irony that only my least observant readers can fail to notice I'm pulling their legs -- trying to make them laugh! It may be a cheap and easy literary trick, but it's fun. And in my view, the more serious the topic, the more necessary the fun.

But if I leave out the irony, readers can hardly be expected to see the nonsense as part of a literary trick. And if they don't see it as dripping with irony, they'll see it as dripping with something else: confusion if I'm lucky, otherwise something fragrant.

In any case, if I did that, the hole would be so deep that I could never dig myself out of it.

And watching Aaron Good try to dig himself out of the hole he's dug is neither very informative nor very much fun, in my opinion. So I'll spare you the gory details on that front. The good news is: there's more to his conclusion than simply digging, although there is a fair amount of digging.

Having rejected the terms "false flag" and "inside job", Aaron Good takes us on an extended historical journey which provides the basis for the new terminology which we need to learn. And we need to learn this new terminology, apparently, in order to understand excerpts from Aaron Good's doctoral thesis. And we need to read excerpts from Aaron Good's doctoral thesis, apparently, because otherwise nobody would know enough to buy his book which is soon to be published. At least that was my first impression. But now I'm not so sure.

The new terminology includes "dual state", "prerogative state", "normative (or public) state", "tripartite state", "deep state", "security state", and "democratic state". The history lesson begins with a detailed overview of Peter Dale Scott's work, which of course is necessary because none of us have ever heard of Peter, much less read anything he's every written.

Having laid in all this crucial background, Aaron Good proceeds to introduce the "state of exception", "exceptionism", and the idea that "the U.S. has come to be characterized by exceptionism, an unending “state of exception” that is institutionalized if not acknowledged." Then there's the “Doomsday Project”, Continuity of Government (COG), and
Some of what follows here is addressed later in greater detail within Peter’s concluding sections. Since Peter and I both believe that this material is of great significance, I think the repetition is useful or at least acceptable.
Are you with us so far? The article is already far too long, and we still haven't had a single word from Peter, but all the repetition is "useful or at least acceptable". It's hard to argue with this sort of "logic".

Fortunately, our history lesson is almost over. But first we must examine the stories of James McCord, Frank Olson, and E. Howard Hunt, all of whom were dead and buried long before 9/11. In other words, this material is extremely relevant.

Finally we come to a long passage with enormous potential. I have snipped much of the detail, so it doesn't make much sense, but that's OK because we don't have to make sense of it. We only need to observe the pattern. (I have added the emphasis in the following text.)
one cannot rule out the possibility that some sort of overriding prerogative powers were exercised through COG/Doomsday channels in such a way as to influence events before, during, and/or following 9/11. ... Perhaps such could help explain those episodes ... in which various legitimate state actors were stymied ... If indeed COG/Doomsday networks are vested with the responsibility ... the requisite prerogatives could well mean that such entities are ultimately sovereign ... Democratically elected officials like Congress or the President may or may not have had decisive input ... these opaque networks may have considerable independence ... If deep political elements do prevail ... such a constellation of powers could have been utilized to facilitate the events of September 11, 2001 ... One grim possibility could be ... CIA Director George Tenet and CIA officer Richard Blee and others could have functioned as fail-safe actors ... al-Qaeda could be funded and managed covertly by highly secretive elements within or above the intelligence services of other countries ... Another similar COG/Doomsday explanation could explain ... networks affiliated with the neoconservatives could have set the stage for 9/11 ... provisions could have been enacted which granted the administration overriding control of ... powers ... may include the secret authority to manage information and conduct governance ... If complicit administration figures ... activated COG/Doomsday measures ... such may have allowed them to exercise various prerogative powers ... there is no basis for the a priori rejection of hypotheses which raise the possibility of clandestine state complicity in violent events of great politico-economic significance such as 9/11.
Did you catch that last bit? We don't know anything concrete about who did what, but it could have been Miss Scarlet or Colonel Mustard or maybe somebody else; definitely or possibly in the library if not elsewhere; and certainly before, during and/or after lunch.

But we do know "there is no basis for the a priori rejection of hypotheses which raise the possibility of clandestine state complicity".

You see how that works? It doesn't. We've made our way through all this new terminology and we've pussy-footed around all this speculation, only to conclude that we have no reason to believe there wasn't any "clandestine state complicity". But if there was "clandestine state complicity", that means it was both a false flag attack and an inside job, at least according to the usual meanings of these terms.

I mentioned the bar that had been set by the first conclusion, and for a while I thought the second conclusion had cleared it, but I was wrong. It only seemed that way until I fell asleep twice and gave up without having reached the end. I still don't know how it ends but I don't care anymore.

Rather than briefly adding nothing of value to the discussion, as Ben Howard's first conclusion did, Aaron Good's second conclusion added nothing of value in a long drawn-out manner that left all my brain cells behind. So I can't tell you anything about Peter Dale Scott's conclusion until I wake up twice.

On the other hand, Aaron Good's conclusion it did give us a glimpse of his doctoral dissertation and a preview of his soon-to-be-published book, which I will certainly be very quick not to buy.

I have no grudge against Aaron Good. Clearly I disagree with him. But so what? I disagree with almost everybody on most things, and I don't buy their books either.

Despite our areas of disagreement, I wish him good luck with his book. I just don't see why anybody would buy it. And I don't mean to be snarky; I just think that most people don't know or care very much about 9/11, so the books they're buying pertain to other subjects. And among those who know and care a great deal about 9/11, very few are going to spend money (or even time) on something that starts by discarding "false flag" and "inside job" as inappropriate terminology, then works so hard to show why these terms are entirely appropriate after all!

It's reminded me of when I was teaching college math. There was a physics prof whom none of students understood, so they all asked for help with their physics when I was supposed to be helping them with their math. The man teaching them physics had an excellent reputation and several teacher-of-the-year awards, and I couldn't figure out why they didn't understand their physics when it was so similar to the math they did understand.

One day I said, "Tell me about your physics teacher." And they all said, more or less simultaneously, "He's a very brilliant man." So I asked, "How do you know that?" Can you guess the answer? They said, "He says a lot of things that nobody understands."

I guess this makes good sense. Our "culture" has been going backwards for so long that a prof can win multiple teacher-of-the-year awards by saying a lot of things that nobody understands. But I don't think we should be trying for teacher-of-the-year awards. I think 9/11 is much more important than that.

In my view, 9/11 was an incredibly complex event, or set of events, and it's difficult to explain any aspect of it simply. But that's what we need to do if we're going to make any progress on this issue. If we insist on trying to explain it in words nobody knows, even people who are extremely interested, such as this cold blogger, will fall asleep before they bail out. So that's not going to be very useful model, as far as I can tell.

Of course I could be wrong. But it seems to me that we are now two-thirds of the way through the concluding installment of the series and still looking for a coherent explanation of how all the puzzle pieces dumped on the table in the first two installments can possibly be put together. We've also fallen asleep twice, so now we need to wake up twice before we can continue. But I can wake up twice if you can.

Once or twice in the past I have been critical of writers who fail to summarize their arguments after laying them out in detail. If anyone cares to charge me with this offense, I am prepared to plead guilty. But I don't want to continue committing the same offense over and over. So let's just say:

My biggest problem with Aaron Good's conclusion is that his thesis is his thesis.

Stripped of the equivocation: Aaron Good's thesis [def #2] (a statement that someone wants to discuss or prove) is his thesis [def #1] (a long piece of writing on a particular subject that is done to earn a degree at a university).