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Commentary :: Media Criticism

Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

Editorial remarks: "I don't care to single any particular wingnut outfit out for ridicule, but moderating this site has made me something of an expert on various 911 groups and raps. They are virtually all hysterical."
"We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty."
-- George W. Bush speaking before the UN General Assembly November
10, 2001

“Conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."
-- Gore Vidal, Observer (UK), October 27, 2002

Recently it has come to the attention of members of the international effort to uncover the truth of 9/11 that one indymedia site - - is now censoring all information pertaining to questioning the official story of the events of that day. This is a sad and disturbing discovery for many long-time 9/11 activists and researchers. While one might not be surprised to see any indymedia site censoring extreme claims - such as the idea that holograms or missiles or ‘fake planes’ were involved in the events of 9/11 - the nyc.indymedia editors are now actively censoring even the most benign posts related to questioning the official story of 9/11, citing the claim that these posts include ‘conspiracy mongering’ and ‘rank speculation.’

Sadly, the editorial responses have been both demeaning and inaccurate. Long time San Francisco area activist Carol Broulliet posted a story about an art contest for 9/11 truth ("Artists Illuminate 9-11 Truth More than the Official Commission") and received the following response from nyc.indymedia editor ‘Chris’ after her post was removed from the front page:

"nice contest, but links to sites babbling about controlled demolitions, 'Israeli saboteurs,' etc."

Does Chris actually know that the towers were not demolished, or that Israel was not involved? While I don’t claim to know the answers to those, nor do I support any focus at all on Israel and 9/11, I would consider censoring posts based on such claims to be out of keeping with the mission of indymedias in general. Furthermore, questioning why the building that was never hit by a plane – WTC7 - collapsed, is not limited to 9/11 activists; the 9/11 Family Steering Committee maintains this unanswered question on their website:

"13. On 9/11, no aircraft hit WTC 7. Why did the building fall at 5:20 PM that evening? Larry Silverstein is heard on a PBS tape saying "I remember getting a call from the, E.R., fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it." And they made that decision to pull and we watched the [WTC 7] building collapse," said Larry Silverstein, WTC Leaseholder. - PBS (9/10/02) Does "pull" mean demolished? What do you know about this?"

However, apparently this question – posed by the family members themselves and on their website for the whole world to read - would no longer be allowed to be posted on nyc.indymedia. A look at the nyc editorial listserve showed what the discussion on these decisions was. It was disturbing to see that the threads included demeaning postings from editors such as this:

“Speaking personally, I have no interest in this discussion. I saw the planes, I was at Ground Zero, my roomate was working in the towers. I'm familiar with the arguments the conspiracy theorists make and the issue is their paranoid method, the underlying anti-Semitism that is rife in that circuit, and their general lack of interest in our common, shared reality.?

and this:

“All articles about the causes of 911 are not removed. Conspiracy theories are. Rank speculation is. Jew-baiting and anti-Semitic obsessions are. We are deluged with them because we are in NYC. We discussed the phenom (sic) and decided that since they are neither reports nor informative, they would be hidden.?

Unfortunately, the only articles allowed to remain on the newswire about the causes of 9/11 are now apparently the ones following the line of the official story from the Bush Administration, since any story deviating from that is automatically defined as a ‘conspiracy theory.’ Here’s an explanation from the archived editorial thread: as it turns out, the nyc editors can tell us exactly what did and didn’t happen on 9/11, what is and isn’t true, since they were there:

“The towers were hit by two large planes. Which I saw. I watched the towers burn and fall. I consulted an architect here in the city on September 12, who specializes in urban architecture and explained the falls to me. It was of great interest to her and everyone there. There were no charges. I would have heard explosions of that size and was three city blocks away. I heard the planes crash, so I have a measure of the noise involved.?

While virtually no serious 9/11 activist argues that no planes were involved in NYC, apparently, since Jed wasn’t able to hear the explosions from three city blocks away, there just wasn't any demolition at all. Glad to know Jed was on the scene so we could all understand how the towers collapsed. Unfortunately it looks like Jed isn’t aware that architects are not structural engineers, nor demolition experts, nor criminal investigators. Similarly, most architects and engineers are just like 99% of the public – they don’t want to consider that their government would do such a thing, nor should anyone expect average career-oriented professionals to want to risk their careers by investigating something that is constantly ridiculed in much of the mainstream media.

But what this post shows is that the editors at nyc.indymedia have a personal agenda (beliefs) that they are using to control the newswire. While the idea that ‘no planes’ were involved is automatically rejected by 99% of the public, many many people are willing to consider that intentional demolition occurred. Thus, trying to lump these two concepts in together disinformation, whether it’s from an indymedia editor or a person intentionally trying to associate the likely ‘real’ with the extremely ‘unreal.’

Here’s another disturbing comment from the above editor, ‘Jed’:

“I don't care to single any particular wingnut outfit out for ridicule, but moderating this site has made me something of an expert on various 911 groups and raps. They are virtually all hysterical. Some tend towards anti-Semitic nonsense, others are just racist, eg: "how could a bunch of Arabs have pulled something like this off... It must have been the Jews." These people think NOTHING happens in the world that doesn't happen by decree from Illuminati Central.?

While no one would argue that a lot of extremists are obessed with the illuminati, Jed has obviously never seen the many 9/11 sites listed at that say nothing about Jews or illuminati and thus, is making unwarranted blanket statements to try to shut down discussion on a topic he doesn't agree with:

Here are just some of the endorsed Websites:

9/11 Citizens Watch
Monitored the Kean Commission and now tracks other 9/11 developments in DC. Daily Newswire.

9/11 Visibility Project
National Activism, Media Outreach, etc.

International Inquiry into 9/11 Phase 1: San Francisco, March 26-28, 2004.

Deception Dollars
Over three million currently in circulation!

Family Steering Committee
The 9/11 families who fought for the "independent commission" now ask the questions the commission won't.

From the Wilderness
Website and newsletter of Michael C. Ruppert.

MUJCA-NET is a group of scholars, religious leaders and activists dedicated to uniting members of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths in pursuit of 9/11 truth.

9/11 physical evidence research and analysis.

Perhaps, we thought, since nyc.indymedia is deluged with the anti-Semitic obsessions of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, they would still post a page by the most critical webmaster in the 9/11 movement, a writer who works constantly to expose anti-semitism, absurd and baseless ‘theories,’ and right-wing fronts for disinformation – (“a guide to bogus 9/11 truth websites?):

This page debunks a long list of websites which make extremist claims about 9/11 – pods, missiles, no planes, holograms, etc., and exposes them as efforts to discredit the real research. It is extremely informative on both the disinformation campaigns within the 9/11 movement and the history of such campaigns in the past.

But to our surprise, this post was also deleted. Why? As it turned out, a single sentence in the entire full-page post was considered to be ‘rank speculation.’ Here’s the response:

a guide to bogus 9/11 truth websites
by repost 03 Jul 2005
Hidden by ---- with code: Policy Violation

“Notes: conspiracy claims:

‘The REAL evidence that 9/11 was an inside job is hard to find due to loud liars offering phony evidence used to distract (and discredit) 9/11 skeptics. The growing flood of fake claims for complicity is evidence of a sophisticated psychological warfare effort to cover the tracks of the conspiracy.’

This is rank speculation.?

Amazingly, the website that works the hardest to expose anti-semitism and extremists trying to infiltrate and disrupt both peace and 9/11 groups, made a ‘rank speculation’ (that 9/11 was ‘an inside job’) and thus was banned from the nyc.indymedia newswire. I guess this isn’t just about the ‘Jews’ afterall; it would seem to be mostly about anything deviating from the Bush Administration position.

Following this, we wondered how we could post something completely devoid of what might be considered a ‘conspiracy claim’ and still expose the fact that a cover-up has occurred on the issue of 9/11. We decided to try to post a list of the omissions in the 9/11 Commission report by David Ray Griffin, entitled, “The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie,? a sober factual accounting of the omission and lies in the report. This time, we weren’t surprised – the article was not only removed from the front page, but never even appeared in the ‘Hidden articles’ section, thus, was entirely removed from the site. Even the most heinous racist comments made repeatedly of hardcore right-wingers can still be seen in the ‘Hidden Articles’ section, but apparently, a well-published author and theologian questioning the official story of 9/11 is far worse to allow anyone to see.

The current situation is an important symptom of what some (such as and suspect are the success of the disinformation efforts to discredit the 9/11 movement– extremists flooding the internet with manufactured nonsense about holograms, pods, missiles and fake planes to the point where editors, slammed nonstop with the stuff, are simply reactive, disgusted, and overwhelmed.

The webmaster of oilempire made appeals to the core sites and activists in the 9/11 movement to create open statements of against the nonsense, but was unsuccessful. Currently other efforts are underway. But many 9/11 activists prefer to see the disinformation campaigns as a benefit to the movement on the assumption that they 'bring more people in'. That assumption, however, overlooks question of how many people the transparent propaganda turns away, and how the people they do attract will affect the movement’s credibility.

It's not hard to understand that well-financed disinfo films reach a much larger audience than grassroots activists possibly could. The slick disinformation pieces (featuring each of the strawman claims laid out for mainstream attack pieces from publications like Popular Mechanics, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal) push outrageous claims in a propagandistic format to generate a ‘hype’ around 9/11 in order to sell their products and infect the public with nonsense, discrediting the work of serious 9/11 researchers. devotes an entire page to debunking the slick Hollywood style production, ‘In Plane Site,’

and describes the film as: “a Karl Rove style dirty trick that takes a real conclusion (9/11 was an inside job) and uses phony evidence (pods, dust clouds, flashes, no planes, no windows and other hoaxes).?

Unfortunately, the fact that sites like nyc.indymedia are trying to group 9/11 activists in with those denying the existence of AIDS and making anti-semitic claims means that grassroots 9/11 activists may be losing the information war in their willingness to embrace nonsense in return for public access. Notably, the most well funded ventures in the 9/11 movement (‘In Plane Site,’ millionaire Jimmy Walter’s ‘European Tour’, the ‘Pentagon-Strike’ flash animation) are typically dominated by unfounded and often bizarre claims about radiation, switched planes, pods and missiles.

Nonetheless, it must be underscored that the statements and actions by nyc.indymedia appear to be working against the general purpose of the indymedia sites as well as the needs of grassroots 9/11 activists. The disinformationists pushing anti-semitism, pods, missiles and holograms are likely extremely happy right with the censorship situation right now.

Furthermore, we must note that, incredibly, this 9/11 censorship situation at nyc.indymedia now positions the site with the corporate press and outside of numerous mainstream print, television news organizations and internet blogs which have allowed the questions of 9/11 to be asked free of ridicule or censorship by editors, including C-SPAN, Hustler Magazine, Harpers Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Guardian UK,,,, and many more. Simiarly, their decision to block whatever they consider ‘conspiracy theories’ puts nyc.indymedia in league with – to name one example of many - the Republican party describing the Democrats questioning the 2004 election, such as Barbara Boxer, as ‘wild-eyed conspiracy theorists.’

Here’s a final word from a nyc.indymedia editor:

“If there are not editors, or volunteers, with serious issues with removing conspiro-spam, and I have not encountered more than two in four years, then in my mind it's over. Let the conspiro-sects denounce us all over the world. Let them trumpet that we have SOME kind of standards about what will go up. Good.?

But is deleting all posts that question 9/11 (while claiming the opposite) and defining all questioning (as our experiment showed, just the phrase '9/11 was an inside job' leads to deletion from the newswire) as 'conspiracy mongering' really a set a standards about what will go up? Or is there a deeper problem here?

We hope that both indymedia editors in the larger array of collectives and 9/11 activists worldwide will consider the current censorship situation and its implications. We are not posting this story to try to attack nyc.indymedia – indeed, we consider this situation destructive to the mission of the open publishing collective and seek to clarify and expose it. The editors have explained that they are deluged with disinformation, so their intolerance and reactionary stances could be understandable given the situation.

But the outcome is a concern to many and needs to be addressed. Deleting stories that have appeared in mainstream publications as ‘conspiro bullshit’ simply because they question the official story on 9/11 is very different from critically censoring out racist or hateful positions, or even what most would consider nonsense – that no planes were involved on that day.

Finally, it must be noted that while nyc.indymedia’s position that they have no requirement to post what they don’t want to post is clear:

“People are welcome to discuss whatever they'd like on other newswires. There are over 120 local IMCs and they have a variey of perspectives on newswire moderation. The NYC wire will not host rank speculation, known falsehoods, racist propaganda or conspriracy-theory spam.?

it is also a fact that New York City was the core of the 9/11/01 attack and will always remain a special place of debate for the issue of that day.

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Re: Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

If anti-Semitism is the issue, NYC-IMC policy should instead be to remove anti-Semitic posts, not 9-11 posts.

I think that the evidence is clear that the Bush administration knew that this attack was going to take place and let it happen. If in fact NYC-IMC does not allow that to be said, they are an obstacle to good independent journalism.

Re: Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

>> the Bush administration knew that this attack was going to take place and let it happen

Go ahead and try. It will get deleted as 'conspiro bullshit.'

Re: Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

While it is not a real article, I did post that thought in the following discussion:

It is presently still there, but I didn't post it long ago either.

The Truth Censored On NYC-IMC!

Well, you were correct. My statement has now been removed.

Re: Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

This is sad.

Re: Rank Speculation' - Disinformation and the Taboo Against 9/11 Truth

It's worse than sad, it's the loss of the indymedia goal by a handful that want to control information for their own agenda.

But it was bound to happen sooner rather than later.


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