Crazed Killers and Conspiracists

DN Monday, January 10, 2011: Please answer all three questions:


  1. Research this headline on the web and post your findings: Accused Airliner Bomber, CIA Operative Faces Trial. Cut and paste a short segment with new facts not mentioned in the DN item.
  2. Julian Assange has been accused of endangering US lives and of terrorism, because he’s publicized violent acts committed by US soldiers and mercenaries. Yet no US life has been threatened based on Wikileaks. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and others on Fox News have explicitly encouraged violence against elected US officials. Was the attack on Gifford an act of politically motivated terrorism? Should it be enough for Palin to remove the crosshairs map from her website? Should these individuals and organizations be indicted for inciting terrorism?
  3. Chip Berlet on “The Becking of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords”: Berlet connects Jared Loughlin to “Federal Reserve conspiracists” who are “anti-Semetic.” Does this seem like a stretch? Is there any evidence that Loughlin even knew Gifford was Jewish? This post prints some of Loughlin’s MySpace rants, which seem to be against the CIA and police (“pigs”). He also complains of being a 22-year-old virgin, and that no one’s texting him for anal sex. There’s no mention of currencies, but there are clear signs that he’s threatening violence. His youtube introduction is incoherent gibberish except for a reference to currencies and the list of books he likes (To Kill a Mockingbird and The Wizard of Oz are two.) From this, Berlet extrapolates, “That said, why did he pick the target he picked? And the answer, I think, is found in some of his obsessions with things like currency, with federal manipulation of money… There are references to basically conspiracies in which the government is oppressing the people and, perhaps in his mind, engaging in mind control on behalf of vested interests who control the money. This is a longstanding right-wing conspiracy theory.” Amy asks him about Gifford being the first Jewish AZ representative and he replies, “Well, again, it’s all speculation, but if there was a connection, it would be the idea that Jews own the banks, that there’s a Zionist world plot to control the money supply, and that part and parcel of this conspiracy involves the Bilderberg banking group, the Rothschild family, the Schiff family, and traitorous politicians who are in league with the Jew bankers.” Amy asks, Is what he says, or what that theory talks about?” Berlet replies, “No, it’s not what he says. It’s what reading for 30 years right-wing literature I can pretty much parody their crazy theories and their disgusting bigotry. So I apologize. That is the racist anti-Semitic interpretation of the federal government conspiracy. But the whole spread of conspiracy thinking in America fuels this tendency.” Does this seem far-fetched to you, to associate those against private bankers owning the Federal Reserve with a psychotic killer? Is either anti-Semitic?
  4. As Michael Parenti points out, the opposite of a conspiracy theorist is someone who believes that wealth and power just happen, without design. The label “conspiracy theorist” seems to be a common way of dismissing someone without refuting any of their data. From this post on Chip Barlet, this seems to be his most common theme, for everything from JFK to 911 to the Federal Reserve. He sees those who question the official story of 911 also as anti-Semitic, which also seems to be a common theme. The post that criticizes Berlet accuses Democracy Now of being funded by the Ford Foundation, but after looking at Ford’s list of recipients, isn’t everyone? However, the last time that DN aired a debate on 911 was in 2004 when Berlet debates David Ray Griffin after writing a bad review of his book, The New Pearl Harbor. Griffin raises a number of questions about how the official story of 911 defied both logic and physics. Rather than addressing them, Berlet uses the rhetorical trick of picking an obscure detail, which isn’t central to the debate, and saying that Griffin can’t prove it. Amy Goodman seems to side with Berlet. By the end of the debate, she asks Griffin to name one structural engineer who says that it’s impossible for the fires to have caused the building to go down. He refers her to his 40 pages of notes. She says, “Name just one. Name just one structural engineering expert who said it is not feasible that the planes caused the towers to go down.” He can’t, and the debate ends with Berlet condescending complimenting Griffin for having the courage to come on the show with him. However, since then 1411 architectural and structural engineers have signed the petition for 911 truth. Why hasn’t Amy interviewed Richard Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth? Do you think she should? Does it call her objectivity into question that she framed this as a debate with someone who she knew was hostile to Griffin’s ideas, rather than allowing him to present his points and evidence? Why didn’t she do this with Dr. Gabor Mate or Derrick Jensen?
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