"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." - Noam Chomsky
"That's an internet theory and it's hopelessly implausible. Hopelessly implausible. So hopelessly implausible I don't see any point in talking about it." - Noam Chomsky, at a FAIR event at New York's Town Hall, 22 January 2002, in response to a question from the audience about US government foreknowledge of 9/11. At that time, 9/11 investigators had already presented substantial documented evidence for: prior warnings, Air Force stand-down, anomalous insider trading connected to CIA, cover-up of the domestic anthrax attacks, inconsistencies in identities & timelines of "hijackers", US connections to al Qaeda in Balkans, a Pak ISI-al Qaeda funding connection, etc etc etc.
Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the country's most famous dissidents, says that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman in Dallas. Anyone who still supports the Warren Commission hoax after forty years of countering proofs is either ill-informed, dumb, gullible, afraid to speak truths to power or a disinformation agent.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Chomsky has worked for decades, has a very good physics department (MIT is the largest university contractor to the military). Perhaps he could visit them and learn why it is physically impossible for Oswald to have been anything more than the "patsy" that he (accurately) claimed to be.
The truth is that Chomsky is very good in his analysis within certain parameters of limited debate -- but in understanding the "deep politics" of the actual, secret government, his analysis falls short.
Chomsky is good at explaining the double standards in US foreign policies - but at this point understanding / exposing the mechanics of the deceptions (9/11 isn't the only one) the reasons for it (Peak Oil / global dominance / domestic fascism) and what we can do (war crimes trials / permaculture to relocalize food production / paradigm shifts) is more important than more repetition from Chomsky.
Professor Chomsky was apparently part of a study group in the late 1960s that was investigating what really happened in Dallas (ie. he was a skeptic of the official story). It seems likely that Chomsky did indeed figure out what happened - and decided that this was too big of an issue to confront.
Maybe Chomsky gets more media attention these days than most other dissidents BECAUSE he urges people not to inquire into how the secret government operates.
Chomsky in his own words
9-11: Institutional Analysis vs. Conspiracy Theory
Submitted by Noam Chomsky on Fri, 2006-10-06 14:09.
Categories: Middle East | United States | US Foreign Policy
The following is an exchange between a ZNet Sustainer and Noam Chomsky, which took place in the Sustainer Web Board where Noam hosts a forum...
ZNet Sustainer: Dear Noam, There is much documentation observed and uncovered by the 911 families themselves suggesting a criminal conspiracy within the Bush Administration to cover-up the 9/11 attacks (see DVD, 9/11: Press for Truth). Additionally, much evidence has been put forward to question the official version of events. This has come in part from Paul Thompson, an activist who has creatively established the 9/11 Timeline, a free 9/11 investigative database for activist researchers, which now, according to The Village Voice’s James Ridgeway, rivals the 9/11 Commission’s report in accuracy and lucidity (see,http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0416,mondo1,52830,6.html, or www.cooperativeresearch.org).
Noam Chomsky: Hard for me to respond to the rest of the letter, because I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we'd have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists -- of whom there are thousands -- who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis; and one cannot gain the required knowledge by surfing the internet. In fact, that's been done, by the professional association of civil engineers. Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission. ZNet Sustainer: A question that arises for me is that regardless of this issue, how do I as an activist prevent myself from getting distracted by such things as conspiracy theories instead of focusing on the bigger picture of the institutional analysis of private profit over people?
[note: the Complete 9/11 Timeline does not focus on the physical evidence, Chomsky is either ignorant of the issue or steering people into a false dichotomy]
Noam Chomsky: I think this reaches the heart of the matter. One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work. How do you personally set priorities? That's of course up to you. I've explained my priorities often, in print as well as elsewhere, but we have to make our own judgments.
ZNet Sustainer: In a sense, profit over people is the real conspiracy, yes, yet not a conspiracy at all – rather institutional reality? At the same time, if the core of conspiracy theories are accurate, which is challenging to pin down, though increasingly possible, does it not fit into the same motivations of furthering institutional aims of public subsidizes to private tyrannies? I mean, through the 9/11attacks, Bush Et Al. has been able to justify massive increases in defense spending for a “war without end,” and Israel has been given the green light to do virtually whatever it wants since now ‘the Americans are in the same fight.’ Furthermore, there has been a substantial rollback of civil rights in our nation, with the most extreme example being strong attempt to terminate habeas corpus.
Noam Chomsky: Can't answer for the same reasons. I don't see any reason to accept the presuppositions. As for the consequences, in one of my first interviews after 9/11 I pointed out the obvious: every power system in the world was going to exploit it for its own interests: the Russians in Chechnya, China against the Uighurs, Israel in the occupied territories,... etc., and states would exploit the opportunity to control their own populations more fully through "prevention of terrorism acts" and the like. By the "who gains" argument, every power system in the world could be assigned responsibility for 9/11.
ZNet Sustianer: This begs the question: if 9/11 was an inside job, then what’s to say that Bush Et Al., if cornered or not, wouldn't resort to another more heinous attack of grander proportions in the age of nuclear terrorism – which by its very nature would petrify populations the world over, leading citizens to cower under the Bush umbrella of power.
Noam Chomsky: Wrong question, in my opinion. They were carrying out far more serious crimes, against Americans as well, before 9/11 -- crimes that literally threaten human survival. They may well resort to further crimes if activists here prefer not to deal with them and to focus their attention on arcane and dubious theories about 9/11.
ZNet Sustainer: Considering that in the US there are stage-managed elections, public relations propaganda wars, and a military-industrial-education-prison-etc. complex, does something like this sound far-fetched?
Noam Chomsky: I think that's the wrong way to look at it. Everything you mention goes back far before 9/11, and hasn't changed that much since. More evidence that the 9/11 movement is diverting energy and attention away from far more serious crimes -- and in this case crimes that are quite real and easily demonstrated.
ZNet Sustainer:Considering the long history of false flag operations to wrongly justify wars, our most recent precedent being WMD in Iraq, The Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, going back much further to Pearl Harbor (FDR knowingly allowing the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor – which is different from false flag operations), to the 1898 Spanish-American War, to the 1846 Mexican-American War, to Andrew Jackson’s seizing of Seminole land in 1812 (aka Florida).
Noam Chomsky: The concept of "false flag operation" is not a very serious one, in my opinion. None of the examples you describe, or any other in history, has even a remote resemblance to the alleged 9/11 conspiracy. I'd suggest that you look at each of them carefully.
ZNet Sustainer: Lastly, as the world’s leading terror state, would it not surprise anyone if the US was capable of such an action? Would it surprise you? Do you think that so-called conspiracy theorists have anything worthy to present?
Noam Chomsky: I think the Bush administration would have had to be utterly insane to try anything like what is alleged, for their own narrow interests, and do not think that serious evidence has been provided to support claims about actions that would not only be outlandish, for their own interests, but that have no remote historical parallel. The effects, however, are all too clear, namely, what I just mentioned: diverting activism and commitment away from the very serious ongoing crimes of state.
Chomsky supports the Warren Commission cover-up
JFK Conspiracy: The Intellectual Dishonesty and Cowardice of Alexander Cockburn and Noam Chomsky (Michael Worsham, The Touchstone. Feb 1997) www.rtis.com/reg/bcs/pol/touchstone/february97/worsham.htm
in early 1969 Mr. Chomsky met with several Kennedy experts and spent several hours looking at and discussing assassination photos. Mr. Chomsky even cancelled several appointments to have extra time. There was a followup meeting with Mr. Chomsky, which also lasted several hours. These meetings were ostensibly to try to do something to reopen the case. According to the Probe article, Mr. Chomsky indicated he was very interested, but had to give the matter careful consideration before committing.
After the meeting, Selwyn Bromberger, an MIT philosophy professor who had sit in on the discussion, said to the author: "If they are strong enough to kill the President and strong enough to cover it up, then they are too strong to confront directly . . . if they feel sufficiently threatened, they may move to open totalitarian rule." According to the author, Mr. Chomsky had given every indication that he believed there was a conspiracy at these meetings. However, Mr. Chomsky never got involved with trying to reopen the case.
"I agree that Professor Chomsky is not a CIA agent. But with respect to his pronouncements on the JFK assassination he is worse than a CIA agent. Without being an agent, with his enormous prestige as a thinker, as an independent radical, as a courageous man, he does the work of the agency. ... He is unconvinced by the evidence of a conspiracy, but his is utterly convinced that JFK was a consummate cold warrior who could not have changed and did nothing to irritate the military industrial intelligence complex." - Vincent Salandria
Chomsky and his good friend and soulmate on the JFK case, Alexander Cockburn went on an (orchestrated?) campaign at the time of Stone’s JFK to convince whatever passes for the left in this country that the murder of Kennedy was 1) not the result of a conspiracy, and 2) didn’t matter even if it was. They were given unlimited space in magazines like The Nation and Z Magazine. But, as Howard Zinn implied in a recent letter to Schotz defending Chomsky, these stances are not based on facts or evidence, but on a political choice. They choose not to fight this battle. They would rather spend their time and effort on other matters. When cornered themselves, Chomsky and Cockburn resort to rhetorical devices like exaggeration, sarcasm, and ridicule. In other words, they resort to propaganda and evasion.
CTKA believes that this is perhaps the most obvious and destructive example of Schotz’s “denial.” For if we take Chomsky and Cockburn as being genuine in their crusades--no matter how unattractive their tactics--their myopia about politics is breathtaking. For if the assassinations of the ‘60’s did not matter--and Morrisey notes that these are Chomsky’s sentiments—then why has the crowd the left plays to shrunk and why has the field of play tilted so far to the right? Anyone today who was around in the ‘60’s will tell you that the Kennedys, King, and Malcolm X electrified the political debate, not so much because of their (considerable) oratorical powers, but because they were winning. On the issues of economic justice, withdrawal from Southeast Asia, civil rights, a more reasonable approach to the Third World, and a tougher approach to the power elite within the U.S., they and the left were making considerable headway. The very grounds of the debate had shifted to the center and leftward on these and other issues. As one commentator has written, today the bright young Harvard lawyers go to work on Wall Street, in the sixties they went to work for Ralph Nader.
knowing, that our last progressive president was killed in a blatant conspiracy; that a presidentially appointed inquest then consciously covered it up; that the mainstream media like the Post and the Times acquiesced in that effort; that this assassination led to the death of 58,000 Americans and two million Vietnamese; to us that’s quite a consciousness raiser. Chomsky, Cockburn and most of their acolytes don’t seem to think so.
In the ‘80’s, Bill Moyers questioned Chomsky on this point, that the political activism of the ‘60’s had receded and that Martin Luther King had been an integral part of that scene. Chomsky refused to acknowledge this obvious fact. He said it really wasn’t so. His evidence: he gets more speaking invitations today ( A World of Ideas, p. 48). The man who disingenuously avoids a conspiracy in the JFK case now tells us to ignore Reagan, Bush, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Stern and the rest. It doesn’t matter. ...
... what Probe is trying to do here is not so much explain the reaction, or non-reaction, of the Left to the death of John Kennedy. What we are really saying is that, in the face of that non-reaction, the murder of Kennedy was the first step that led to the death of the Left. That’s the terrible truth that most of these men and organizations can’t bring themselves to state. If they did, they would have to admit their complicity in that result.
Left Denial on 9/11 Turns Irrational
by Jack Straw
http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/05/1736367.php 6 May 2005
www.globalresearch.ca 8 May 2005
The # of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/STR505A.html
People like Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill are turning toward the irrational as they continue to deny increasing signs that 9/11 was an inside job.
Ever since the events of 9/11, the American Left and even ultra-Left have been downright fanatical in combating notions that the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks or at least had foreknowledge of the events. Lately, this stance has taken a turn towards the irrational.
In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky has made an incredible assertion:
"There's by now a small industry on the thesis that the administration had something to do with 9-11. I've looked at some of it, and have often been asked. There's a weak thesis that is possible though extremely unlikely in my opinion, and a strong thesis that is close to inconceivable. The weak thesis is that they knew about it and didn't try to stop it. The strong thesis is that they were actually involved. The evidence for either thesis is, in my opinion, based on a failure to understand properly what evidence is. Even in controlled scientific experiments one finds all sorts of unexplained phenomena, strange coincidences, loose ends, apparent contradictions, etc. Read the letters in technical science journals and you'll find plenty of samples. In real world situations, chaos is overwhelming, and these will mount to the sky. That aside, they'd have had to be quite mad to try anything like that. It would have had to involve a large number of people, something would be very likely to leak, pretty quickly, they'd all be lined up before firing squads and the Republican Party would be dead forever. That would have happened whether the plan succeeded or not, and success was at best a long shot; it would have been extremely hard to predict what would happen."
[note: The "it would have had to involve a large number of people" claim is a tired cliche that completely ignores the role of compartmentalization in covert operations, something Professor Chomsky has probably read about during his long career.
On the other hand, the "Left Denial" article is generally very good about the strange myopia of the "left" about 9/11, but it is marred by a strange focus on alleged, unprovable assertions of temperature inside the burning towers that supposedly means they were demolished, and most of the web links for additional information are bogus. The "Left Denial" article ignores the evidence about foreknowledge, warnings to insiders, the stock trades on United and American Airlines just before 9/11, the anthrax attacks on the media and the Democrats, the motivation of Peak Oil and creating the pretext for invading the Middle East oil fields, among other issues that have very strong evidence for complicity. These omissions allow the leftists in denial to avoid the issue of complicity. ]
Published on Thursday, October 30, 2003 by Reuters
U.S. Dissident Says Bush Needs Fear for Re-election
by Anthony Boadle
HAVANA - U.S. linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said on Wednesday that President Bush will have to "manufacture" another threat to American security to win reelection in 2004 after U.S failure in occupying Iraq.
Chomsky, attending a Latin American social sciences conference in Cuba, said that since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the Bush administration had redefined U.S. national security policy to include the use of force abroad, with or without U.N. approval.
"It is a frightened country and it is easy to conjure up an imminent threat," Chomsky said at the launching of a Cuban edition of a book of interviews published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, when asked how Bush could get reelected.
"They have a card that they can play ... terrify the population with some invented threat, and that is not very hard to do," he said.
After the "disaster" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush could turn his sights on Communist-run Cuba, which his administration officials have charged with developing a biological weapons research program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of linguistics said.
Chomsky said the military occupation of Iraq, to topple a "horrible monster running it but not a threat to anyone," was a failure.
"The country had been devastated by sanctions. The invasion ended sanctions. The tyrant is gone and there is no outside support for domestic dissidence," he said. "It takes real talent to fail in this endeavor."
Chomsky said it was reasonable to assume the Bush administration would try to "manufacture a short-term improvement in the economy" by incurring in enormous federal government debt and "imposing burdens on future generations."
The Bush administration was a continuation of the Ronald Reagan presidency that declared a national emergency over the threat posed by Nicaragua's leftist government in the 1980s, he said.
"The same people were able to present Grenada as a threat to the survival of the United States the last time they were in office," Chomsky said, in reference to the U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island in 1983 to thwart Cuban influence.
from the archives: Noam Chomsky & JFK
no longer on line?
In January of 2002, Noam Chomsky was asked the following question by an audience member at a speaking engagement for FAIR in New York: "Is there credible evidence that some part of the US government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks?" His answer: "That's an internet theory and it's hopelessly implausible. Hopelessly implausible. So hopelessly implausible I don't see any point in talking about it." As a matter of fact, the accusation of evidence for USG complicity had been made just days before by former top German minister and widely recognized intelligence expert Andreas von Buelow in an interview with Tagesspiel, adding weight to a number of independent investigations that had already been very effectively raising serious questions for several months. No, not quite an "internet theory."
For those who had spent every spare minute of their time for months studying the issue of 9/11 prior knowledge and discovering the utter absurdity of the official narrative, Chomsky was obviously out to lunch. But, you can't fault him for not being consistent. His attitude, post-9/11, is in many ways a repeat of an episode a decade ago, when he and a handful of other "leftist" figures signed onto a savage establishment media attack on Oliver Stone and his film JFK, which brought an interpretation of the JFK assassination conspiracy to the public. In addition to defending the Warren Commission report's "lone gunman" findings, these anticonspiratorialists made a peculiar far-fetched hedge, claiming that the assassination did not result in any significant changes to US policy or the political power structure, and hence need not concern Left political analysis in the slightest!
Hmmm. Not only have the latter arguments been very soundly demolished by recent (mainstream) historical work, but another recent news item made light of the whole situation, although it slipped by with very little notice during the uproar over Israel's incursion into Palestinian territory last Spring.
This was the completion of a top-flight official scientific study of audio recordings from Dealey Plaza, reported in the Washington Post, which finally confirmed the existence of a second gunman at the notorious "grassy knoll" with almost total certainty (repeating the results of a similar study carried out for the House Assassinations Cmte. in the 1970s). So, now science has spoken: those who continue to accept the "lone gunman" findings of the Warren Commission Report are, well, frauds.
Still, a lot of people seem gullible enough to believe that "America's leading intellectual dissident" can be trusted to give them the real scoop on 9/11; his lightweight pamphlet, '9/11', has been a bestseller, becoming for many the default "dissident" view of the "War on Terror". Meanwhile, a number of political scholars and security experts are now openly discussing the very strong evidence suggesting that 9/11 was probably an inside job and the al Qaeda terrorists were setup patsies, with the overwhelmingly critical implication that the trigger for the "War on Terrorism" was a fabricated deception. Chomsky, true to form, seems to pretend the evidence doesn't exist.
There is one piece of documentation, however that Chomsky did seem to find interesting, which he made sure to include in his book's appendix: The US State Department's Report on Foreign Terrorist Organizations, from the Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism.
Noam Chomsky disdains to consider such a conspiracy ("I think such speculations lead us away from issues of prime significance, not towards them . . . Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort."). But I find such a conspiracy from the inside of the U.S. government far more likely than the absurd cartoon which is the official story--made up of physical impossibilities, incapable pilots, hard-drinking Muslims, indestructible passports, et cetera--a cartoon that both Corporate and supposedly "Left" media continue to parrot and thereby promote.
An interview with 9/11 antiwar author Don Paul
By Bob Feldman www.onlinejournal.com/Commentary/061303Feldman/061303feldman.html
Michael Parenti on Noam Chomsky and JFK, as a characteristic example of Left anticonspiracism:
Conspiracy Phobia on the Left www.questionsquestions.net/documents2/conspiracyphobia.html
My Beef With Chomsky (Michael Morrissey, Sep 2000) www.geocities.com/mdmorrissey/chomcorr.htm
Concerning Chomsky's arrogant evasions of fact and truly bizarre double standards about trusting official sources, in regards to several critical conspiracy issues (including the JFK assassination). Also, he points out Chomsky's change of mind from his keen interest in the JFK assassination in the late 60s, something he doesn't seem to have anything to say about these days.
Rethinking Chomsky (Michael Morrissey, May 1994) www.realhistoryarchives.com/media/chomsky.htm
Rethinking Camelot (Boston: South End Press, 1993) "Noam Chomsky's worst book. I don't think it merits a detailed review, but we should be clear about the stand that 'America's leading intellectual dissident,' as he is often called, has taken on the assassination. It is not significantly different from that of the Warren Commission or the majority of Establishment journalists and government apologists, and diametrically opposed to the view 'widely held in the grassroots movements and among left intellectuals' (p. 37) and in fact to the view of the majority of the population."
Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and The Nation (Gary Aguilar, PROBE. Sep 2000) www.webcom.com/ctka/pr900-holland.html
A very detailed and lengthy rebuttal of Max Holland (who has been featured in The Nation) and his defence of the Warren Commission. On the subject of the JFK assassination, Holland is roughly in the same camp as Chomsky and Cockburn.