Saturday, March 9, 2013

Amy Goodman, Eyewitness of WTC7 Collapse?

Among the many people that puzzle 9/11 Truthers, Amy Goodman is probably at the top of the list. A broadcast journalist with her own show, Democracy Now!, she has been fearless at discussing issues that other mainstream media will usually avoid. Yet she has been very careful to avoid any discussion -- either positive or negative -- of the 9/11 Truth Movement on her show. There's an article at about the most recent attempt of a professional engineer to get her to address the issue. What surprised me was that there is a link to a youtube video that seems to show she was a close eyewitness to the collapse of WTC7. Is that really Amy? If so, a few of the questions I would like to ask her are, "Ms Goodman, why were you and the other people standing looking at WTC7 at that time? Were you informed that it was going to collapse? Was there any mention of it being brought down by controlled demolition? Were there any sounds of explosions?"

The other interesting thing is that there is a brief moment of sound in this video, then it cuts out just before the camera jerks violently, as if it had been shaken by an explosion.  I wonder what happened to the sound.


JDB said...

It's not in the least surprising that Amy Goodman doesn't support trutherism. But it might be illuminating to see how distorted someone's perspective must be in order to be surprised by this utterly predictable fact, as evidenced in the article you link to. (same goes for your way off belief before 2008 that there was a non-zero chance that Obama would investigate 9/11; there must be at least a few serious distortions in how you see the world).

This is actually one phenomenon that undermines the credibility of trutherism. There are a host of people who have devoted their lives to activism on behalf of the poor, minorities, the third world, etc., people deserving of great respect - Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn, and so on. As far as I can tell, none of anyone who holds a candle to these people supports trutherism. As with most conspiracy theories, people who have no particular record of caring about such things, much less doing anything about them, come out of the woodwork and more or less obsess over them. Richard Gage (whose oddness is partly evidenced by his being convinced on a point of physics and civil engineering by a theologian on the radio) is an excellent example. I don't know enough about your personal life to know if you are also an example. I just know that you end up with a belief box with weird similarities to people who think the moon landing was faked or that Mossad was involved in the Sandy Hook shootings (or, for that matter, 9/11).

It's not as if there are multiple people with a record of credibility with respect to challenging the government, revealing uncomfortable truths, and then they support trutherism and are for some reason abandoned by the activist community. It's not like we find out Naomi Klein and Paul Farmer are the real activists because they support trutherism (they don't, of course) - no, it seems that none of the people in this category support it. That should not surprise us, and it should make us even more skeptical of trutherism than we already should be.

Bilbo said...


The puzzle is not that she doesn't support the 9/11 Truth Movement. The puzzle is that she ignores it completely, especially if she were an eyewitness to the collapse of WTC7. That would put her in a fairly good position to comment about the subject, one way or the other.

David Ray Griffin was a well-respected political activist before he was a 9/11 Truther. Griffin strikes me as a person with a keen analytic mind, who was able to point out problems with the official account, while others just took it on faith that our government wouldn't lie to us.

I have been involved in political activism at various levels throughout my life, with the 2000 election being my most involved and committed.

The fact that you cite activists who do not support the 9/11 Truth Movement as reason to be skeptical of it contradicts your position about Chomsky not influencing his admirers against the Movement.

JDB said...

(1) Goodman definitely doesn't "ignore it completely", as the link you provide itself documents quite clearly. What she doesn't do is engage it as much as or in the way that truthers would like. This is true of most longtime activists, and certainly of research scientists. But she has engaged it much more seriously than, say, the mainstream media.

(2) Like the previous statement, I think your statement about Griffin is more or less demonstrably false. In fact, Griffin follows exactly the pattern I'm talking about, as his publication record illustrates quite strikingly; he is a near-quintessential example. So I don't know what you have in mind. For what - and by whom - was he well-respected? Of course my argument stands quite well if the number of examples on your side rises from zero to one, but I'm still (morbidly?) curious.

(3) It is true that the phenomenon of (as far as I can tell, near 100% of) people who have devoted their lives to advocacy for the poor, minorities, and the third world, not embracing trutherism, even after more than a decade, counts against a layperson taking trutherism seriously. As for whether this "contradicts" my earlier position, I accept your apology in advance for misrepresenting my view. You state my view as (paraphrasing): "Chomsky does not influence his admirers against the Movement." Of course that is not my view; for one thing, it's obviously false. My view was that he doesn't do what he accuses the media of doing in the quote you pasted second-hand, which involves much more than (potentially very minor) influence. My claim about this came in the form of a dilemma, with two horns. Unlike the dull interlocutor you invent, here's me on the subject:

(i) "if merely expressing (and explaining) his view that a position isn't very serious is limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion, then he has limited the spectrum of acceptable opinion on virtually every issue he has ever discussed, in which he typically thinks many mainstream and dissident positions aren't very serious."


(ii) "if your point relies on the premise that Gnome has powers comparable to a media monopoly over people who highly regard his views, then I have little to say, since that claim is as ludicrous as it is unsupported by evidence. (Or, in my own case, personal experience; I have high regard for Gnome's views yet (1) have reasons other than his for skepticism about trutherism and (2) have spent much more time reading about trutherism than Gnome would advise.)"

If it's still not clear how (i) and (ii) are wholly consistent with my previous comment on this thread, please request further clarification.

Bilbo said...

1. Hmmm, a debate in 2006, before and all the research that's been done, and an interview of the guys who are making a database of 9/11 video, with passing reference to WTC7. I would say that is ignoring the 9/11 Truth Movement.

2. Your statement about Griffin is no doubt based on ignorance. He was publishing for years before 2001, including books about politics, none involving conspiracy theories:

Griffin was planning on writing a book about how 9/11 was a reaction to American imperialism in the Middle East before he was convinced that 9/11 had other causes.

Griffin was and probably still is held in high regard, even by those who disagree with his views on 9/11.

3. You can't advocate for more skepticism of 9/11 Truth, based on activists not supporting it, and then claim that activists not supporting 9/11 Truth doesn't mean that they aren't influencing other people not to support 9/11 Truth. Well, I guess you could, but no one would take you seriously after that.

JDB said...

(1) I sort of get your (1), but not as a refutation of my (1). This is literally not ignoring the 9/11 Truth Movement. It's paying attention to it, much more than the mainstream media, and then losing interest. I really do understand that you and other truthers think Goodman should pay more attention; your reason here is that Truthers went from having unjustified to justified beliefs sometime during the last decade. Fine, but that doesn't show she's guilty of ignoring trutherism. You should instead be interested in the question: why did she lose interest? I'd speculate that she was struck by how irrational and aberrant (in the activist and scientific contexts) the people suddenly coming out of the woodwork seemed to her after 9/11, and assumed, reasonably enough, that the issue was not worth pursuing any further. Maybe you'd speculate that she suddenly became a government hack on this single issue, with her work somehow remaining constant in all other areas.

(2) Your statement here was, "David Ray Griffin was a well-respected political activist before he was a 9/11 Truther." I cited his publication record against this, and demanded further evidence. In response you link to items that were part of my point: edited academic books in postmodern theology and political philosophy. Zero evidence of political activism (unless every published liberal academic in theology and political philosophy counts as an activist). If I'm "ignorant", I'm not ignorant enough to miss this important distinction. So, do you have any evidence of (i) pre-9/11 activism on the part of Griffin? And, beyond that, (ii) any evidence of his being a "well-respected political activist"? If so: for what, and by whom, was he well-respected?

For reference, here's a small cluster of people who do the thing I'm calling "political activism": Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Gnome Chomsky, Amy Goodman, Paul Farmer, Daniel Ellsberg, and why not - Glenn Greenwald. Maybe this is a tall order. I'll lower the bar by including both the terms "Michael Moore" and "popular-level publishing" as examples of activism. You'll have to figure out yourself how to show that someone was "well-respected" for their activism.

(3) I see you opted for requesting for clarification on this point. The failure of the overwhelming majority, perhaps entirety, of the well-established activist community to support 9/11 Truth is reason to hesitate in pursuing it (but not reason to reject it outright). But, unlike the JDB you invented, I do not claim that "activists not supporting 9/11 Truth doesn't mean that they are influencing other people not to support 9/11 Truth." I claim that this does, and should influence people. This argument is similar to arguments from scientific consensus. A layperson must decide what to spend time on, and the widespread disinterest of the proven activist community in this question suggests a layperson should be wary of the people coming out of the woodwork.

This is consistent with (really orthogonal to) the point about the single activist and academic, the Gnome from MIT, which was simply that "limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion" in the sense of the quote is either (i) something Gnome and every activist does every single time they speak on any topic (the overly broad, useless position) or (ii) something Gnome doesn't even have the capacity to do without a media monopoly (the obviously false choice, based on correctly reading the quoted passage). (ii) is obviously false, that is, barring an extraordinary premise about a large number of Gnome fans, for which you only offered unsupported hearsay evidence from the Internet.

Bilbo said...

1) I don't speculate on Goodman's not reporting on the 9/11 Truth Movement, though I am puzzled by it. Geraldo thought all 9/11 Truthers were irrational, but changed his mind and covered the movement. I would say that what changed was from justified beliefs to justified beliefs that are also backed by hundreds of authorities.

2) Griffin's books weren't just political philosophy, but criticism of present politics and suggested solutions. I would call that political activism. And since SUNY was happy to have him as their editor of postmodern philosophy, I would suggest that he was well-respected.

3) Chomsky did his utmost to discredit the 9/11 Truth Movement in his Q&As, without addressing the actual arguments, except in terms of disrespect ("nanothermite, whatever the hell that is"). So yes, he has tried to exclude 9/11 Truth from legitimate issues to debate. How effective has he been? A good question, but according to you, one should hope that he has been very effective. So why do you challenge the claim that he has been effective?

Bilbo said...

1,800 architects and engineers coming out of the woodwork. Shoot, they weren't political activists before 9/11, so there's no need to take them seriously. Is that your point?

JDB said...

(1) Again, it's pretty clear that it doesn't make sense to be puzzled anymore. Goodman is part of a fairly well-known cluster of people with long histories of activism and progressive commentary who don't take trutherism seriously. What would now be surprising (and certainly worth noting) is if any of them embraced the movement or took it seriously. I don't have anything in particular to say about Geraldo, or the material generally covered on Fox.

(2) Not sure what to tell you here. The books you link to just are academic books on postmodern theology and political philosophy, which are almost exclusively read by a minority of academics. I am quite confident, as an academic surrounded by academics, that these books are just that - academic books; they don't constitute political activism. What the SUNY thing shows is that he's a well-respected academic in certain subfields of the humanities - something I've never denied, nor would I. What I'm talking about is political activism. (And if you were engaging my comments with a modicum of care you would have respond to my point that, if publishing academic books about politics was political activism, then the better part of liberal academia in the humanities are political activists.)

(3) I think your psychologizing is getting the better of you on this Gnome thing. He didn't do his "utmost". His utmost would be to at least publish an article or book that says people shouldn't take it seriously. Instead, he just answers questions about it when other people decide to ask, including telling people to "take a careful look" at the physical evidence. Note also that doesn't "discredit" it as, say, a fringe movement; rather, he always emphasizes the large number of people who are part of it (and laments this fact).

(4) "Shoot, [the 1,800 architects and engineers] weren't political activists before 9/11, so there's no need to take them seriously. Is that your point?"
No. Please stop inventing a crazy interlocutor; maybe try quoting my statements, which might help you not misrepresent what I say. Things like evidence and reasons come in degrees. Accordingly, my point has been that the consensus of a certain class of activists counts against a layperson giving trutherism as much credence as they otherwise would.

Interestingly, your own puzzlement at Goodman supports my point. If trutherism is correct, then one expects at least some people like Goodman, Ellsberg, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, etc., to endorse it. The failure of any comparable person to endorse it violates what one would expect is trutherism was in fact credible. Does that mean trutherism isn't credible? No. It means trutherism is less credible than it otherwise would be.

JDB said...

Now that I think about it, it's actually quite striking that your raising your respected activist number from zero to one depends upon defending the thesis that academic publications count as political activism An incredible thing to defend for the sake of something that doesn't help the cause much anyway.

Bilbo said...

1) Goodman has publicly declared a number of times that she thinks the official investigation into 9/11 was inadequate and that it should be investigated further. That would suggest that she hasn't completely discounted the 9/11 Truth Movement. So yes, I and others are justified in being puzzled by her actions, which do not match her words.

2) I'll let you define political activism, then.

3) He did his utmost in his Q&A sessions to discredit the Truth Movement, without actually engaging any of the arguments of the Movement. In other words, he is engaged in the activity of trying to remove 9/11 Truth from the topics that should be debated.

4) Political activists, who have no more credibility on the collapses of buildings than I have, merit no more respect on what caused WTC buildings to collapse than I have. 1800 architects and engineers, who are putting their reputations on the line in a society that calls them conspiracy nuts, do have more credibility than all your political activists when it comes to the causes of buildings collapsing. Therefore, 9/11 Truth merits much more respect than your political activists who can't be bothered with hard, cold facts.

Bilbo said...

David Ray Griffin doubted 9/11 Truth when he first heard about it, and found the first evidence he was presented with inadequate and again rejected 9/11 Truth. Whether he's a political activist or not, I don't think one could legitimately call him a conspiracy whacko. Is that what you are attempting to do?

JDB said...

(1) I see what's going on here, and have emailed you about it. It should clear things up.

(2) No, I've played the definition game with you before and got burned, because you refused to offer one. So, can we just agree in the falsity of the sentence: "Virtually every published liberal academic in the country is a political activist."?

(3) Gnome doesn't consider himself qualified to engage arguments in physics and civil engineering, so it would be irrational for him to do so; he makes that quite clear in the videos where he discusses this. He has also made quite clear that he thinks these issues should be debated in technical journals. Furthermore he has said that people should take a careful look at the evidence. This is not "removing" anything. Removing the issue would be to refuse to answer the question, as in the Hitchens video I linked a while back. Also, you still haven't responded to the point that, on your criteria, apparently any time anyone of any influence at all thinks some proposition p isn't serious, they have thereby done something comparable to the opinion-restrictions of media monopolies.

(4) I accept - and always have accepted - the thesis that architects and engineers have more credibility about building collapse than political activists. (How you get the opposite from my comments is a mystery to me.) Nevertheless, it reduces the credibility of the movement to some degree if a large community of people normally happy to accept scientific arguments (say, on the danger of nuclear weapons, or global warming), aren't moved by them in this case. Again, to what degree does this reduce the credibility of the movement? Some, but maybe not enough to take it off the table.

(5) "I don't think one could legitimately call him a conspiracy whacko. Is that what you are attempting to do?"
No. Plus, I think that kind of rhetoric is unhelpful. Our debate about Griffin was whether or not trutherism's Respected Political Activist Number (RPAN) was zero or one. It being "one" apparently depends on academic publications counting as political activism - thereby making every published liberal academic on politics a political activist (and a "well-respected" one, if it was in a university press like SUNY!).