Thursday, December 7, 2006

Trouble in the Ivory Tower

I am honored to be a member of 9/11 Scholars for Truth, although I didn’t know I was a member until I got a letter informing me of trouble in The Ivory Tower and asking me to vote on the future of the movement. Before I get into what details I am aware of let me set a little background and stage some scenery for the points I want to make. I consider these points critical and I want them understood; not defeated by a lack of presentation or my own limitations.

For a long time I considered this site the definitive 9/11 Truth site. I have great respect for a number of the members and I appreciated their approach which was based on science and reason. There are some things wrong with the 9/11 Truth movement. Some of these things are the result of faulty reasoning and wild speculation that are often the grounds on which rational thinkers reject what they might otherwise thoughtfully consider. It’s what gets some people and groups the sobriquet of ‘tinfoil hats’ and ‘wild eyed conspiracy nuts’. The other thing wrong is the disinfo specialists. These are organizations like The US Government, organized religion and their sycophants, Main Stream Media, e.g. Popular Mechanics magazine and their talking heads, alleged experts and catamite journalists. On the one side are those who don’t know what they’re talking about and on the other side are those who may or may not know what they are talking about but are more than comfortable with lying for a position or paycheck.

9/11 Scholars for Truth has a remarkable membership of serious and distinguished academics, artists, former government officials and international figures. You may argue with their findings but you would need powerful front credentials and a dump-truck load of obfuscating bullshit to do it. You cannot argue with their education, experience and credibility. Of course, you could but minds capable of objective reasoning would wonder about this.

There is a third problem that attacks the credibility of any movement and that is ‘personalities on the make’, individuals who are using a platform of public interest as a springboard to the increase of their own celebrity. This is the major feature that kept me from being involved in certain Pro-Peace and anti-War movements. This is what keeps me and others with a sense of personal dignity from joining organizations whose purpose we might sympathize with but whose figureheads we hold in contempt. The issue of concern should always triumph over the ambitions of the barnacles, lampreys and ticks who attach themselves to the body of our best interests. We see this phenomenon in many areas of endeavor and the reform movements whose purpose is to transform these arenas.

It is contemptible that ill made personalities would engage in such antics. They do terrible harm, witness Ralph Nader and the 2000 election. These men and women put their career ambitions ahead of the public good and they kill our faith and they stall our desire to join in the effort to make this world a better place. Whether this is possible I leave to your capacity to believe and imagine... but I submit we should never stop trying. Let me offer my respect and admiration for all of you who have put your principles before the advancement of your personality. There are fewer of you than there should be but the impact of what you do upon the culture and the lives of your fellows cannot be overestimated.

Lately 9/11 Scholars for Truth has been exhibiting some bizarre behavior. We see discussion of theories such as the use of ‘high tech energy weapons’ and the idea that no planes were used in the attacks. Perhaps the first occurred, I don’t know but the latter is absurd... and though anything is possible, promoting this angle is harmful to the 9/11 Truth movement. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder just as the absurdity of the government's explanation makes you wonder.

These are ideas that Professor James Fetzer is advancing and he is doing other things as well. I am printing the letter I received as a member at the end of this article. Nowhere in the letter am I told that this is a privileged communication. I feel therefore that I can make it public since it was placed in my hands without a disclaimer. Secondly, we are about truth, therefore let the truth be known. If I have offended 9/11 Scholars for Truth and if this means I can no longer be a member so be it. Whatever details I might have included here can be found in this letter at the end of the article so let me use the rest of the space for my perspective on the matter.

I happen to admire a lot of what Professor Fetzer has done and appreciate his hard work and courage. I equally admire the co-founder, Dr. Steven Jones and many of the membership with whose work I am familiar. I cannot judge whether Professor Fetzer has gone off the rails but something is wrong and it is hurting ‘our’ efforts and it’s got to be fixed. Before we police the world we had damn well better police ourselves. The possibility that so many prestigious scholars might be compromised by juvenile ambitions and wooly thinking is offensive to me. This is just the sort of weapon that the enemies of truth lust after. It is potentially as devastating as whatever brought down the WTC.

We need to come together as one voice and we need to pressure Congress to empanel members from this distinguished community of scholars to present their findings in a public forum. If the new leaders of Congress refuse to do this; stonewall, delay, dance out of range or utilize any of the tactics of procrastination and attenuation then we may rightly assume that they are bought off by the same forces that brought the towers down.

There is no reason why such a large collection of eminent scholars and researchers should not be allowed their place in the debate that so far has never taken place. Let’s set the facts of what was observed to happen on the table and then let ‘both sides’ argue their findings before the court of public opinion. Let the chips fall where they may. Let the public hear both arguments as to how and why the buildings came down. Surely the evidence of one side or the other will prevail. Let us see what that may be. Is this not how it should be in a democratic society? Are we not always hearing about the public’s right to know?

Citizens of America demand your right to know. Members of the 9/11 Scholars for Truth, let’s get ourselves together. Let’s sort this out. What 9/11 Scholars for Truth should be engaged in is getting sympathetic members of Congress to open hearings into this sad, stinking mess. It is less important to be pushing theories and arguments than it is to bring the argument to center stage. This is the important thing. Congress MUST act. Our sole purpose should be to get them to act. We can present all of our arguments then. Sooner or later it must come to this. Therefore, the sooner the better. Let’s make it happen or I will begin to suspect everyone and I would rather not.

Here is the body of the letter I received. The links are inactive but if you are of a mind you can trace them. I have removed the return email for voting, that seems appropriate.


“Dear members of Scholars for 9/11 Truth:

Thank you for your commitment to the truth, and your willingness to participate in this journey for truth and justice relating to the events of 9/11.

A scholars group was founded on the initiative of Prof. Marcus Ford, who sent out a call via 911truth.org asking if there were other academics who questioned the official 911 story. About 30 responded and became the nucleus. In emails amongst the group, Prof. Jim Fetzer suggested a formal organization with himself and Prof. Steven Jones as co-chairs. The society was organized with two co-chairs, with no president or by-laws or treasury, and it was understood that the group would be a member-owned organization. Steven Jones, Alex Floum and Carl Weis formed a steering committee along with Jim Fetzer. Carl created the logos. Alex pushed the creation of a website, purchased the domain names for the website, and has at all times hosted the website. It was understood that this was done for the group, not for an individual. The original goals of the group were to use the scientific method to investigate the evidence and "let the chips fall where they may".

Since the group was formed, we have launched a website (ScholarsFor911Truth.org), created a peer-reviewed online journal (Journalof911Studies.com) and a private moderated discussion forum for the participation of all members. We have made inroads in the mainstream media and have helped to "move the ball down field" for 9/11 Truth.

Problems have now arisen with the management of the website, currently in the hands of Prof. Jim Fetzer. Many members have pointed out that some of the material displayed there is no longer in accord with our original aims, and personal attacks on members have appeared. Positions are being promoted which are disputed by the scientists specializing in physical sciences from Scholars For 9/11 Truth.

Attempts to correct this situation have failed. As of this date the web site continues to promote assertions which many of us consider to be both discrediting and unsupported by the evidence (ray-beams from space caused the demolitions, mini-nukes were used in the WTC towers, real commercial jets did not hit the WTC towers, etc.). We feel that the promotion of these ideas functions to distract from and discredit much of the other basic strong material challenging the official story of 9/11 which already exists - the stand down, the war games, the insider trading, the many strong points of evidence on the demolitions, etc.

While we would rather focus on 9/11 research and activism, and do not lightly bother the members with this matter, the "dirty laundry" and non-scientific theories raised by Jim Fetzer are now very public. For example, one of the largest papers in the Twin Cities has covered this -- blogs.citypages.com/blott...of_c_1.asp -- and a well-read blog says "scholars for 9/11 Truth [are] tearing one another new impact holes over speculation on space-based beam weaponry", see rigint.blogspot.com/. In addition, the website now prominently displays a letter titled "Scholars: On Its First Anniversary" which contains inaccurate statements and ad hominen attacks. All of the momentum and progress made by the Scholars is rapidly being destroyed by the current situation. Many of the members strenuously dispute the accuracy of Jim's statements as quoted in these articles, and can provide detailed refutations. These statements are damaging the credibility of the group and, we are concerned, the entire 9/11 truth movement.

Moreover, Jim is using the website as his personal blog, posting non-9/11 related political commentary from a liberal perspective. While there is nothing wrong with a liberal or conservative perspective, we believe the site should be non-partisan.

The current scholars website & group will shortly become two websites & groups. The hope is that both efforts will contribute to the goals of achieving an end to 9/11 cover-ups and wars, that members of both groups will conduct themselves with civility and common sense and have fidelity to the scientific method and its results.

Group Structure 1: This group is proposed to have an elected steering committee in charge of the website and its contents. Administrative positions will be limited to one year. Important decisions affecting the whole group will be submitted via email to the membership.

This proposal emerged from discussions on the Scholars for 9/11 Truth Forum as a means to return the web site to the guiding principles of applying the scientific method, performing experiments and analyses, and publishing results and findings with civility. While novel theories would be welcome, and openly discussed, only theories well supported by evidence would be promoted.

A new website is being created which will be attached to the peer-reviewed Journal of 9/11 Studies. (Click www.taulbee.us/stj911/ to see the beginnings of this new site, and www.journalof911studies.com/ to see the Journal contents, and its advisory board.)

This proposal is backed by all of the members of the ad hoc committee as well as an overwhelming majority of members participating in a straw poll on the group's forum.

Group Structure 2: Jim Fetzer has proposed an alternative structure for the existing website (scholarsfor911truth.org). In this proposal he would appoint a board which would have control of the website and could appoint members and webmaster by 2/3rds majority. The board would not be bound by the guiding principles set out above but would be free to establish its own. (Members Kevin Ryan, Steven Jones and others have declined to be part of Jim Fetzer?s proposed re-organization.)

We ask you to select which group structure you would prefer to be registered with. You may also opt for both group structures, or neither.

Whichever group structure receives the majority of member votes [by Dec 6 at 5 pm eastern] may become entitled, but will not be required, to use the name, domain, logo, and all the links which have been attached. Negotiation on this area is proceeding (and Jim Fetzer may be accorded use of the " st911.org" site address as a matter of courtesy even if the majority chooses Group 1.)

Membership is closed during the voting period.

To sum up, the two choices before you are:

1. Group Structure 1, with a new website associated with the Journal of 9/11 Studies, run by an elected committee, and stressing theories for which there is strong empirical evidence, OR

2. Group Structure 2, with the website run by Jim Fetzer, and a board that he appoints.

To vote simply "reply" to this email

You may elect to register with "1" or "2" by simply typing the number in the subject line of your reply.

If you wish, you may elect to remove your name from the membership listing entirely at this time by typing "Remove" in the subject line. You may also elect to remain on both websites by typing "Both" in the subject line. Any vote in which the meaning is clear will be accepted no matter how expressed.

Members who do not reply by 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time on December 7, 2006 will be placed in a pending category on both sites for further consultation.

If there are queries regarding this proposal contact the membership administrator at st911@gmail.org

Please expect to see an email from Prof. Fetzer shortly outlining the advantages of remaining with his website.”



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The3rdElf
The 3rd Elf