Saturday, August 21, 2010
The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy
I watched a dialogue between Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann a few days ago concerning the so-called Ground Zero mosque aka The Cordoba House aka Park51 Community Center. Keith was serving as an advocate for the right of Muslims to build the community center at the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory that has been abandoned, more or less, since 9/11 … until that real estate was purchased by SoHo Properties sometime, I believe, within the last several years. Howard Dean was indicating that, perhaps, Muslims should consider the possibility of entering into the true spirit of interfaith relations as well as demonstrate that they are good community neighbors by being willing to sincerely explore the idea of moving the proposed center elsewhere out of consideration for, among others, those who lost loved ones at the World Trade Towers and elsewhere on 9/11.
If nothing else, Howard Dean indicated, that by entering into such discussions, he felt there might be a teachable moment, or two, which would arise during the ensuing discussion through which either Americans would be able to come to better understand, and possibly even appreciate, the nature of Islam or through which the owners of the property in question might come to better understand and appreciate the perspective of 9/11 families. I believe Howard Dean may be correct about the teachable moment aspect of things. However, I think the nature of the teachable moment may be quite different than he might suppose.
I propose that Imam Rauf and the other stakeholders in the Burlington Coat Factory property should be willing to move the mosque in exchange for a fair, independent, and transparently rigorous investigation into the events of 9/11. Such an investigation has not yet taken place – although many uninformed people suppose that such an investigation already has taken place … several times.
I am familiar with the 9/11 Commission Report, the NIST reports, the FEMA Report, and the Pentagon Performance Report, as well as the 9/11 article by Scientific American and a book by Popular Mechanics that purportedly debunks 9/11 conspiracy myths. I have written on these issues elsewhere (e.g., see: The Essence of September 11th). The most charitable thing that I can say about all of the foregoing documents is that the people involved seem to know next to nothing about how to do science or research properly despite their so-called scientific/research credentials … indeed, they are all guilty of what might be called ‘junk’ science/research which encompasses a set of activities that give the superficial appearance of real science/research but generate nothing more than substantive junk.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I have no theory about who was ultimately responsible for the tragedies of 9/11, but I know bad science and research when I see it – and all of the foregoing mentioned documents are permeated with qualitatively poor research and science. Due to the official efforts concerning 9/11 --which displayed neither good faith nor due diligence -- the American people, if not the world, have been done a great injustice through the aforementioned attempts to frame the discussion concerning 9/11 in a way that does not, and cannot, survive critical analysis.
If the evidence warranted it, I would have no problem accepting the idea that there were 19 or 20 Muslim extremist hijackers who -- with a total lack of understanding of Islam -- decided to inflict great suffering on Americans. I have been a Muslim for nearly forty years, and I have read or heard about those within the Muslim community who might be quite capable of such immorality and effrontery to human decency – although, thankfully, the vast majority of Muslims that I have met want nothing more than peace, harmony, happiness, and justice for everyone.
On the other hand, if the evidence warranted it, I would have no problem accepting the idea that were those within the American government, military ranks, intelligence community, and/or corporate world who were quite capable of such immorality and effrontery to human decency. I have been witness to the tragedies all of the foregoing institutions have inflicted on the world over the last sixty years … and, indeed, I – as have most other Americans and the rest of the world – have been sickened at the way in which governments have lied their way into war for purposes that have nothing to do with the stated aims of such conflicts … conflicts where thousands of Americans and thousands of non-Americans have been killed or maimed.
One thing that I do know is that none – and I do mean none – of the official reports concerning what happened leading up to, and on, 9/11 can withstand critical scrutiny. In fact, the official story concerning 9/11 is nothing more than a conspiracy theory and, yet, anyone who finds fault with that officially sanctioned conspiracy theory is, ironically enough, labeled a conspiracy theorist.
Before anyone (on any side of the issue concerning 9/11) points a finger at specific people as the guilty culprits, the facts of the matter need to be established. Once a full data set has been gathered encompassing all relevant evidence, one can begin trying to connect the dots to see who might be implicated in 9/11 and have the facts to back up such identifications.
Four interesting pieces of information concerning the possible premature pointing of fingers concerning 9/11 are as follows: (1) the FBI has publically acknowledged that it has no evidence whatsoever connecting ‘Usama bin Laden to 9/11 (although the FBI does have evidence indicating his possible involvement in other issues); (2) the only ‘evidence’ which the 9/11 Commission has concerning the possible involvement of bin Laden in 9/11 comes from people who have been subjected to extensive water-board torture … people the 9/11 Commission officials were not even permitted to interview or see – and torture, as most intelligence and military experts indicate, generally leads to confessions but not necessarily to truth … people will tell their torturers anything the latter individuals want to hear in the hopes of bringing the suffering to a stop; (3) none of the flight manifests for the hijacked planes carries the names of any of the people who allegedly committed the atrocities on 9/11; (4) the autopsy reports for the passengers on the plane that supposedly struck the Pentagon contain no genetic markers that would demonstrate the presence of Arab individuals on the plane in question.
Another thing I know is that people such as Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann have not done due diligence with respect to their homework on 9/11– that is, they give no evidence of having read all the aforementioned reports or any of the relevant supplementary materials, nor do they seem to have done much critical thinking on the subject … I know that because they – as is true of almost all other aspects of the media and contributors to the media – continue to spout the official conspiracy theory that 19 Muslims conspired to attack America on 9/11 … a conspiracy theory which is not supported by the available evidence.
Most Americans do not know that there are hundreds of engineers, scientists, architects, ex-military personnel, pilots, ex-intelligence community officers, and an array of hard-core researchers that have all indicated how the official conspiracy theory being propagated through such documents as The 9/11 Commission Report cannot stand close examination. People such as: William Rodriguez, Sibel Edmonds, Mike Feghali, David Frasca, Mike Ruppert, Anthony Shaffer, Indira Singh, David Schippers, April Gallop, Judy Wood, Colleen Rowley, Kevin Ryan, Richard Gage, and Steven Jones – all have pertinent and significant contributions to make with respect to 9/11, but such individuals have been kept from the public view for the most part.
The foregoing claim is not a conspiracy theory. It is a fact, and the proof of the claim is that if one were to ask many Americans about who the foregoing individuals are and what they had to say about the events of 9/11, many, if not most, Americans would probably come up empty because most Americans have not been properly and consistently informed about those individuals by many facets of the media … and to whatever extent such individuals have been interviewed by mainstream media, those individuals usually have been painted as conspiracy theorists and whack-jobs not worthy of anyone’s time -- people who can be, and are, dismissed from polite, ‘informed’ discussion concerning 9/11.
Apparently, the only acceptable conspiracy theory concerning 9/11 is the one sanctioned by the government and the media. But, of course, that is not a conspiracy theory, it’s a … I don’t know … the right words escape me for describing a conspiracy theory in non-conspiratorial terms.
I find it interesting that many people in the media know – and have known for quite some time -- that the government lied its way into the war in Iraq … lies which led to tens of thousands of innocent people dying, not to mention the thousands of American casualties, and, yet, many of these same media types seem strangely incurious when it comes to considering the possibility that various Americans might have lied about 9/11 as well. The issues surrounding 9/11 shouldn’t rest on dogmatism rooted in blind faith (no matter what one’s ideas on this might be), but, instead, needs to be weighed against the facts … many of which have not been properly vetted in an objective, independent, public investigation into 9/11.
Recently, Rudy Giuliani waded in on the so-called Ground Zero mosque with the observation that if Imam Rauf were truly a ‘healer’, he would be willing to move the mosque to another location. On the other hand, the former mayor of New York City also said that if Imam Rauf were not prepared to move the mosque, then he would be disclosing to everyone his ‘warrior’-like intentions concerning 9/11 and America.
Giuliani, of course, master politician that he is, sought to frame the discussion by placing Imam Rauf in the kind of untenable position that is intended to force the Imam to heel to the gambit and move in the direction of doing what Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Charles Krauthammer, and others want of him – which is to change the location of the proposed mosque to another, more acceptable piece of real estate. Seemingly – at least according to Mr. Giuliani – if Imam Rauf is not willing to accede to the wishes of many Americans with respect to the re-locating the mosque issue, then the Imam supposedly reveals himself to be an enemy of the American people … although being the smart politician that he is, the former Mayor of New York did not state things in quite that way but left such an innuendo circling over the affair like a stealth bomber.
The people who want the proposed mosque moved to a different location out of consideration for the 9/11 families and first-responders who suffered devastating losses on that day nearly nine years ago have a problem which is very similar to the one proposed by Mr. Giuliani. They can accede to the idea that in exchange for the moving of the proposed mosque there needs to be a new, independent, complete, transparent, objective and rigorous investigation into the events surrounding 9/11, or they can show themselves to be those who have absolutely no sensitivity to the actual facts of 9/11 and no sensitivity to those who lost family and friends on 9/11 – despite their protestations to the contrary.
Imam Rauf also has a problem. He can show himself to be a true leader of the Muslim community and exchange a willingness to relocate the proposed mosque for a new inquiry into 9/11 – thereby serving the interests of both non-Muslims and Muslims – or, he can continue to insist that the mosque will be built on the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory, and in the process reveal that his intentions may be something other than seeking truth, justice, harmony, and understanding on behalf of both non-Muslims and Muslims.
In my book, The Essence of September 11th – which was written a number of years ago and which if I had the time would be updated in a variety of ways with new research but still presents many important considerations and ideas – I outline a method for ensuring that any new investigation into 9/11 would be conducted within the legal system of the United States but outside of governmental control. That method is the grand jury system … something which contributes to democracy nearly every day of the year, and something which would be run by regular, non-governmental people who would enjoy subpoena power.
If the media and the government are not willing to trust the people with an independent investigation of 9/11, then this clearly shows the American people what the media and government think of them. It also clearly demonstrates what the media and government really think of the victims of 9/11 as well as Muslims.
To paraphrase Ecclesiastes somewhat, all the rest is vanity. Too many people on all sides of the so-called Ground Zero mosque issue may be posturing for the sake of ego and not for the sake of truth.
Dr. Anab (Bill) Whitehouse