Saturday, February 24, 2007

Old Chomsky Film and BBC misrepresenting 9/11

In Sight/ Chomsky: Still right about America's wrongs



Now playing 167 minutes Eurospace in Tokyo

After watching so much piffle on big and small screens lately, it's nice to come out of a movie theater feeling smarter than when you went in.

That's the Noam Chomsky effect, and it's evident in "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media," the 1992 documentary featuring probably America's top intellectual and what he thinks about the United States and all the rotten stuff it does and how and why it does it.

Despite being old as toast, the film's as timely and relevant as ever, in light of the tumultuous state of the planet. (It's being re-released here in conjunction with a Japanese translation that came out Feb. 2 of Chomsky's original book "Manufacturing Consent.")

Chomsky is well-known as a prolific, reviled and revered anti-sound-bite political activist, one of the big intellectual guns on the left in U.S. politics. He came out against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and has been crusading ever since. Now 78, he's emeritus professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He's retired but still active. His most recent book, co-authored with Gilbert Achcar in 2006, was "Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy."

He made the news last September when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held up Chomsky's 2003 book, "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance," during a speech at the United Nations and said Americans should read it. It quickly became a best seller on

The documentary created by Canadians Mark Achbar ("The Corporation," 2003) and Peter Wintonick is both a look at Chomsky's life and career--highlights and controversies--and an exploration of his theories, especially those of "Manufacturing Consent."

The book (co-authored with Edward S. Herman) came out in 1988, a year that saw a nascent perestroika in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev and the election of George H. W. Bush to replace Ronald Reagan as the U.S. president.

The gist of "Manufacturing Consent" is that corporate media--chasing advertising dollars--serve the interests and agendas of the elite ruling class and not ordinary people.

As Chomsky says: "In a totalitarian state, it doesn't matter what people think, since the government can control people by force using a bludgeon. But when you can't control people by force, you have to control what people think, and the standard way to do this is via propaganda (manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusions), marginalizing the general public or reducing them to apathy of some fashion."

As one example of that, the film graphically illustrates how The New York Times covered Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Chomsky says this was an instance where the coverage was distorted because Indonesia was an ally of the United States.

It's fascinating to see how Chomsky composes his arguments and responds to his critics. He doesn't budge, just keeps cracking away with a mental encyclopedia of facts.

It's also interesting to see the footage of old TV interview shows, such as one in 1969 with the snide William F. Buckley Jr. On these shows, actual discussions take place; there aren't just three talking heads shouting one another down with personal attacks.

This nearly three-hour documentary (with intermission) is showing its age with some hokey outdated computer graphics that were probably neat at the time. But who cares? The issues and the questions we should be asking ourselves are still vital.

I will admit, though, after a diet of sound bites and e-mail morsels, it's initially a shock to digest the language Chomsky uses. He ladles out his speech in complex sentences that feel written and edited and rewritten. Maybe that's because he's a public speaker and has often lectured on the same topics; or it could be his brain is just whirring away and that's how he talks.

Whatever. Eventually it's like being at university and excited because you have a brilliant professor who is talking about something important. The cobwebs of the mind clear; the synapses fire, ready to question everything again. As Chomsky says, he's "helping people develop intellectual self-defense." That's a good thing in these troubled times, and this is an excellent film to revisit. (IHT/Asahi: February 23,2007)


“9/11: The Conspiracy Files,”
The BBC Joins the Ranks of the Untrustworthy United States Media

More than five years after the disaster of September 11, 2001, England’s BBC stepped into the ring of media outlets airing programs about the tragedy that is now referred to as “9/11” on February 18, 2007. The program, entitled “9/11: The Conspiracy Files,” took the time to interview some well-known Americans on both sides of the 9/11 argument. The hour-long program looked as if it might reveal something worthwhile, for about nine minutes. Guests like the outspoken Alex Jones, 911 Scholars for Truth Co-Founder Dr. Jim Fetzer, and Loose Change producer Dylan Avery actually got to make several excellent points before the real conspiracy was revealed.

At about eight minutes into the program, the narrator began to talk about the happenings of that catastrophic day. She told of that day’s United States Air Defense Command exercise and the mishaps that caused between Civil Air Traffic Control and the military getting the interceptors scrambled. The narrator went on to tell of the confusion of the interceptor pilots, not knowing in what direction they were to fly, and some flying the wrong direction. Further into the program she said “They found plenty of evidence of confusion and chaos, but no deliberate attempt to mislead the public…” You would think if the military was conducting an “exercise” and were costing the taxpayers money by using real planes, they would KNOW where their planes were, they would have alerted Civil Air Traffic Control, and there would be no confusion.

As if the BBC knew they were rubbing salt in the wounds of those seeking only the truth, they also interspersed comments by Davin Coburn, Researcher for Popular Mechanics Magazine. Coburn and Popular Mechanics, if you recall Charles Goyette’s August 23, 2006 show, claim World Trade Center Building 7, which was not hit by a plane that day and yet still “collapsed,” was “scooped out” by the falling debris of the Twin Towers. Scooped out? They made this claim, yet provided no proof. Goyette even went so far as to say that the owner of those photos let a magazine publisher view them but would not allow others searching for truth to view them, stating in his frustration, “I didn’t know they had different classes of citizens!”

The program narrator talked about the collapse of Building 7 and how “…with so much else going on that day, the event was barely reported…” Could this be the reason, nearly five years later, 43% of those polled by Zogby in May 2006 were unaware that Building 7 had collapsed? In the same pole, 48% of those polled said they did not think the government or the 9/11 Commission were “covering up” anything. Taking these two bits of information into account, would it be safe to speculate that if the 43% of people unaware of the Building 7 collapse WERE aware, would that alter the percentage of people who thought the government and 9/11 Commission were ”covering” something up?

It was clear that the tone of “9/11: The Conspiracy Files” was going against exposure of the truth when they began talking about the collapse of Building 7. Before Coburn was brought back on camera to explain the collapse, the program showed a couple of shots of other buildings being “demolished.” The program narrator commented that the collapse looks very similar to the “demolitions” they aired. Coburn also showed a video of the Building 7 collapse. The cameraman shooting Coburn’s interview made the comment that “it does look exactly like a controlled demolition” yet Coburn went on to say that he could see why people felt that way, but if they knew how the building was constructed and supported itself, along with the damage it sustained from the collapse of the towers, “the idea that it was a demolition holds no water.” Why did Building 7 “collapse” but not the buildings closer to the towers? Why was Building 7 a “raging inferno” but not the buildings closer to the towers? There were diesel storage tanks in Building 7, but a plane didn’t hit it. There was no jet fuel to ignite a fire there. How did Building 7 get “scooped out” but not the buildings closer to the towers?

The program went on to discuss the crash at the Pentagon. While the program admits the hole left by the Boeing 757 that slammed into the Pentagon was a mere 18 to 20 feet across, they claim that the building collapsed only “minutes later.” In actuality, it took nearly thirty minutes later to collapse. Photographic evidence of this is very clear from the documentary “911 In Plane Site.” What can also be clearly seen in this documentary, the first of it’s kind providing video images and asking brutally revealing questions about all the plane crashes that day, is that there is no debris consistent with the crash of a plane of that size and weight, fully fueled, on the lawn of the Pentagon. No fuselage, no wing parts, no engines, no tail section, no luggage, no passengers; nothing of the sort. Allyn Kilsheimer, one of those who came to help that day, claims he saw “a tire and a wheel and a fuselage section...pieces of…molten metal, that came from something as it hit the building.” It is very clear, from the video evidence shown in “In Plane Site” that there is NO fuselage section. View the preview for the documentary “911 In Plane Site” at, and you will further understand the outrageous claim that a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.

Lt. Col Steve O’Brien, a C-130 Pilot, was in the air that day over Washington D.C. He saw a “distinctive silver” plane roll into about “30 to 40 degrees of bank, which is considerable for a commercial airliner.” Dr. Fetzer states -“…the story is inconsistent with the evidence we had. It’s not even physically possible, given the laws of aerodynamics, that a Boeing 757 could have taken the trajectory attributed to it, which I assume he confirmed, which was this plane barely skimmed the ground en route to it’s target. That’s not even physically possible.”

Near the end of the program, Senator Bob Graham is interviewed. He had quite a lot to say in just a few sentences. "I can just state that within 9/11 there are too many secrets, that is information that has not been made available to the public for which there are specific, tangible, credible answers and that withholding of those secrets has eroded public confidence in their government as it relates to their own security…embarrassment, apology, regret, those are not characteristics associated with the current White House…if, by conspiracy, you mean more than one person involved, yes, there was more than one person, and there was some collaboration of efforts among agencies and the administration to keep information out of the public’s hands.” The narrator of the program ended with “The other 9/11 Conspiracy theories are just that, theories. The evidence doesn’t support them.”

Civil Justice Foundation award winner and Transportation Safety Consultant Paul Sheridan has been an example to many Americans. Sheridan has written many people in search of answers, including then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former New York Attorney General, now Governor Eliot Spitzer. He wants, on behalf of all United States citizens, answers to some very simple questions. From Rumsfeld, as a witness at the Pentagon that day to confirm there is “no doubt in your mind that American Airlines Flight 77… Boeing 757 passenger aircraft” hit the Pentagon on 9/11. From Spitzer, Sheridan wants to know why Governor Spitzer will not allow the “common people…such access” to the photographs seen by Popular Mechanics. Sheridan goes on to ask how, in the light of the existence of such photograph’s that could “prove” what happened on 9/11, “The People’s Lawyer” can “allow such an outrage to go unresolved; legally, morally and in the context of compassion and respect for the 9/11 victims and their families?”

As the narrator points out in the program, “…many simply don’t accept the official conclusion, however distressing that may be for the relatives of those who died.” The relatives of those who died in the 9/11 tragedy have a right to know what really happened, as do the relatives of the service men and women being sent to Iraq to be slaughtered, daily, for this unfounded “War on Terrorism,” as do the United States Citizens, who are being asked to give up many of our freedoms, in light of these “terrorist attacks.” Dr. Fetzer proudly states that like all American Military officers, he took his oath to “protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic.” President George W. Bush, as every President before him, took the same oath before stepping into office. Fetzer just didn’t think defending the Constitution “would lead in this direction.”

Early in the program, Dr. Fetzer reveals the true conspiracy, “The very idea that 19 Islamic fundamentalists…hijacked these four commercial airliners, outfoxed the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, perpetrated these atrocities, unscathed, under control of a man in a cave in Afghanistan is only the most outrageous of the conspiracy...” In the documentary “One Nation Under Siege,” Journalist and author Jim Marrs agrees with Dr. Fetzer. “Nineteen Muslim fanatics…bypassed our forty billion dollar defense system…hi-jacked four planes…were totally lost from FAA Radar… satellite radar and NORAD Radar, made their way to New York and crashed into two prominent landmarks… the World Trade Center…another one crashed into the Pentagon…another one crashed in Pennsylvania, and all of this under the direction of a Muslim Cleric hiding in a cave in Afghanistan with a computer. Now, if that isn’t about the craziest conspiracy theory I ever heard…” “911 In Plane Site” and “One Nation Under Siege” producer William Lewis says in light of this world wide war on terrorism, effecting people worldwide, “someone really needs to ask the question ‘Why haven’t we been given all the facts?’”

Link to letters written to Rumsfeld and Spitzer by Paul Sheridan:

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posted by u2r2h at 11:43 PM


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