Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chomsky, 9/11 and Conspiracy Theory - Do Not Be Deceived

The following headline is going round and round the internet: "Noam Chomsky: No Evidence that Al-Qaeda Carried Out the 9/11 Attacks"

It seems to me to be pretty misleading if not downright wrong.

Chomsky is very careful in what he says about everything, and if he were really saying that there was no evidence Al Qaeda carried out 9/11 he would have been quoted directly as saying so. I don't think he did: if such a quote exists, I cannot find it.

See eg the Press TV page on this:

They would have provided a money quote had there been one. They did not. Compare the headline to the text.

Rather, what Chomsky is actually saying - which is far more important - is that there is no evidence the Bin Laden, quite specifically, was behind 9/11, and that as such, the war on Afghanistan - ostensibly a response to 9/11 - is therefore without basis and illegal. That's the important bit, not the conspiracy theory sidetrack.

Take eight minutes to watch Chomsky's takedown of 9/11 (and Kennedy) conspiracy theories here:

His point is compelling: in the end, who cares? The important thing is not whether or not an extremely unlikely-to-be-successfully-hidden conspiracy - 9/11 as an inside job - was pulled off. The important thing is all the obvious shit that various governments of the world, particularly the US, actually are pulling off, quite overtly and directly, all the while being very happy that much energy on the left is diverted into did-they didn't-they bullshit around this or that alleged conspiracy. The real conspiracy is the stuff that is actually happening right out in the open, which, sadly, many people are prone to being diverted away from by bullshit conspiracy theories.

See also this long interview with him:

The important quote relevant to this discussion is this, towards the end: "The best book on that is by a British investigator, Jason Burke, called Al-Qaeda. He confirms in detail what Eqbal predicted. He reviews a whole series of acts in the development of al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is not an organization; it’s a loose network of very loosely affiliated, mostly independent organizations that have a kind of a similar ideology. He calls it a network of networks. And as Eqbal predicted, it became a major symbol and bin Laden himself became a major symbol as a result of these bombings. Before, it hadn’t been."

If Chomsky anywhere denies that the people who carried out 9/11 were Al-Qaeda, I cannot find it. As a loose network of loosely affiliated independent organisations 9/11 could have been masterminded by any one of many Al-Qaeda groups. Which one is not so important. What is important is this: if there is evidence to show that it was Bin Laden's group specifically, Chomsky does not have it. Nor do the FBI. Or anyone. And as such, the war in Afghanistan has no basis or justification.

It does not look to me like Chomsky is finally coming out and saying 'Al-Qaeda were not behind 9/11'. Instead he is making a much more important and perhaps more subtle point - that Bin Laden, specifically, was not directly behind 9/11. What is important is not who was or was not behind 9/11 - rather it is that our governments continue to pursue an illegal war in Afghanistan (among other places).

Chomsky's key point on all this is as follows: conspiracy theories are incredibly convenient to those in power, as they divert attention from the shit they are really pulling, right out in the open.

Do not be deceived.

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