Met Prince Phillip at the home of the blues
Said he'd give me information if his name wasn't used - Bob Dylan
It was nice to see, at first, a review in Saturday's Globe and Mail of Barrie Zwicker's Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11. Nice, like the fleeting thrill of validation whenever the press is compelled to acknowledge our realities even on the margins, albeit as a joke. And reviewer Martin Levin's meatless appraisal was all about the punchline:
Now I have little trouble believing it possible that plutocrats of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis of ego are orchestrating things for their own benefit and that of their Fortune 500 cronies. Or that the war in Iraq is based on an unsavoury stew of misconceptions, stupidity, wishful thinking and deceit. But what I do have great difficulty believing is that the “perpetrators” are intelligent enough and, I suppose, quite evil enough, not only to concoct such a grand strategy, but to carry it off so deviously that only Zwicker and his allies can discern its true nature.
Levin pairs his review with one of the comic book adaptation of the official 9/11 report. Of that, he writes "though Barrie Zwicker would undoubtedly think the report itself a fraud, this work seems an accurate version of it." He recommends the comic "as a clear and concise record of events and deliberations," and adds a final raspberry in our direction: "But then, I'm just another dupe."
Well, yes. But let's see how he became one, because we're not beyond becoming dupes ourselves.
Levin's argument is not with the content of Zwicker's work; he's simply affronted by the work's existence. For the nerve of "Zwicker and his allies" to challenge the verdicts of conventional history and politics, it seems Levin can do no better than toss off a Who do they think they are? But his issue, and that of many others, runs deeper. Levine's cavalier dismissal of Zwicker's book and his endorsement of a comic is a pathetic appeal to authority that carries an implied Who do we think we are?
By "we" here, I mean the common rabble in whose company Levin includes even himself. The "us," in us and capital-T Them. We're the Outsiders, without privileged information, who can only put our heads together. What do we think we can know?
An appeal to authority is a strong attractor, even to many who profess to question it. The "9/11 Movement" has largely been lost to this crippling way of thought that perpetuates the myth of our own inadequacies. What we need, it's been said for years now, is someone on the inside to blow this wide open. And the Inside has happily obliged, providing a stream of dubious "whistleblowers" to muddy clear waters with sensational scoops and who soon vanish, leaving only confusion behind. The Inside has even gifted 9/11 with leadership: pied pipers who have shifted the focus towards the sexiest and least substantial arguments, and who are embraced and elevated according to the depths of their insider bona fides. Former Bush advisors, Republican bagmen and CIA operatives all speak with the seducing voice of authority, and when they say Nevermind that; look over here, too many of us look. (The rise to prominence of "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" is another example of our too-easily exploited deference to authority, even when the authority addresses issues unrelated to its field of expertise.)
And what do we mean by Inside? Many who push 9/11 as an "inside job" seem to want to push Osama right out of the picture, but bin Laden is himself inside the security-narcotics-terror nexus, composed of factions that interpenetrate one another, which sometimes compete and sometimes strike strategic alliances depending upon what advantages they believe they can gain and how best they can outplay the other. Look at al Qaeda, NATO's silent partner in Bosnia. Look at the ISI, al Qaeda's patron and the CIA's proxy. Look at the drug trafficking common to all, and double agents such as Omar Saeed Sheik. But the fact they're all inside to a certain degree doesn't mean they act as one, without self interest or competing agendas. Inside, there can be a convergence of interests, even at cross purposes.
The pull of authority holds for other subjects that have been pushed even farther to the margins, for which established authority does not even exist. To whom should we appeal for an understanding of the ritual butchery of sheep on Prince Charles's estate (a perpetuation of the occultic slaughter reported last year in Dartmoor)? Necks broken, eyes and tongues gouged out, bodies arranged in a row. It "would have required a number of people and potentially been quite a spectacle," said an RSPCA inspector, adding "it is impossible to guess what the motivation for this brutal attack could be." Not impossible, just beyond the veil of reason, and true insiders will be reluctant to lead us there. So without authority to explain it, most choose not to see it.
But we don't need to get inside, and we shouldn't want to. Inside is a compartmentalized labyrinth that even insiders with the best of intentions would be unable to negotiate. Outside, and from a distance, is perspective. What we need is better Outside intel.