Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 18, 2016

The uncontrolled demolition of the Truther brain

Filed under: conspiracism,September 11 — louisproyect @ 8:20 pm

Over the past five years I have monitored various pro-Assad websites in order to keep track of the amen corner’s latest talking points. At various times I have read Global Research, World Socialist Website and Moon of Alabama towards that end but never simultaneously since that would overload my circulatory and nervous systems to dangerous levels.

About three months ago I began monitoring a new website after one of my FB friends, who disagrees with me on Syria but like so many people is quite good on other questions, posted a link to an article on something called Off-Guardian that is focused on exposing the Guardian newspaper. As you might expect, they serve up articles crossposted from RT.com and other media associated with the “axis of resistance”. Given the generally fact-free environment of Off-Guardian, I am surprised nobody has started something called Off-Off-Guardian.

This month I was mildly surprised to see that they were avid 9/11 Truthers, posting numerous articles about a vast conspiracy that helped the USA launch wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. I say mildly surprised since Off-Guardian relies on conspiratorial “false flag” mumbo-jumbo rather than any kind of class analysis. When I quoted Alexander Cockburn on Trutherism, who certainly would have agreed with them on the need to back Assad, they took great umbrage:

These days a dwindling number of leftists learn their political economy from Marx via the small, mostly Trotskyist groupuscules. Into the theoretical and strategic void has crept a diffuse, peripatetic conspiracist view of the world that tends to locate ruling class devilry not in the crises of capital accumulation, or the falling rate of profit, or inter-imperial competition, but in locale (the Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg, Ditchley, Davos) or supposedly “rogue” agencies, with the CIA still at the head of the list. The 9/11 “conspiracy”, or “inside job”, is the Summa of all this foolishness.

In some ways, it makes perfect sense that Trutherism would resonate with the Assadist left since their analysis of the war is based on the idea that intelligence agencies in the West plotted to remove Assad and then exploited “false flags” to justify its intervention. I reviewed this in an article I posted a year ago titled “Baathist Truthers” that points out how Wikileaks and other hacked material matters much more to them than class relations in Syria. One supposes that given the unfamiliarity with historical materialism in such circles, it could have hardly turned out differently.

As it happens, the spasm of Truther articles on Off-Guardian and some videos that cropped up on FB “proving” once and for all that 9/11 was a “false flag” got the old noggin worked up enough to say something about this nonsense. I realize that most of my regular readers would never believe that crap to begin with but as happens with me frequently, I write in order to get something out of my system rather than change anybody’s mind. It is self-administered psychotherapy.

This article will not attempt to refute all of the Truther claims since that would require more time and more words than is justified, plus the last thing that I have an appetite for is arcane discussions of whether jet fuel can melt steel, etc. Instead I want to explore the whole question of controlled demolitions, which is a sine qua non for the conspiracy theorists.

As I pointed out to the Off-Guardian people in a comment on an article titled “On the physics of high-rise building collapses”, “If you don’t think the impact of the plane was a factor but instead ‘controlled detonation’, you need to believe that a building as tightly guarded as the WTC (I know because I used to work two blocks from it and was there 3 or 4 times a week) allowed a small army of demolitions experts to come in unimpeded and deploy a huge amount of TNT.”

Except for that and a few other comments posted there, I was ready to let the whole thing drop because I understood that belief in a 9/11 conspiracy is about as far-fetched as believing that the moon landing didn’t occur, etc. However, when a FB friend posted a link to an article titled “15 Years Later, Physics Journal Concludes: All 3 WTC Towers Collapsed Due to Controlled Demolition”, I commented that it was nonsense. In the course of defending the article, he insisted that I watch a video that I dutifully did. That video and the Off-Guardian junk convinced me that this rebuttal was necessary even if doesn’t change a single mind. I need to get it off my chest, damn it.

When I got to the point in the video where there was some kind of proof of a conspiracy to bring down the towers through a controlled demolition, I was shocked to discover that it was this:


In other words, we are led to believe that because the Ace Elevator Company had unlimited access to the elevator shafts, its men could have served as co-conspirators along with al-Qaeda and the CIA. This is rather mind-boggling when you stop and think about it.

You can get a flavor for the “analysis” about the role of Ace Elevator from an article titled “ACE Elevator Company: 9/11 Questions and Research” by Rick Shaddock. He finds it quite suspicious that the company is not mentioned in the official report. Neither is the security company that would have vouchsafed its work. But he does find it significant that the Larry Silverstein, the owner of the WTC complex, was able to hire “the Jewish firm Kroll for security.” Oh, I got it. Silverstein…the Jewish firm Kroll”. Now the scales are falling from my eyes.

One of the Truther commenters at Off-Guardian recommended a book titled “The Host and the Parasite” to help me understand how security could have bypassed prior to 9/11. To show how I take my ideological adversaries seriously, I even downloaded the book to Kindle (taking advantage of a temporary premium membership that I will terminate after I’d had a chance to look at the stupid book.)

Okay, here’s the deal. The Host is the USA and the parasite is Israel. Basically Felton argues that American politics is subservient to the state of Israel and that American Jews have no loyalty to the country—people like Larry Silverstein et al are dirty rats. You can get a flavor for Felton’s scientific acumen by his taking seriously the possibility that a “small-yield hydrogen bomb” might have been detonated on 9/11 in addition to explosives planted in the basement by unidentified agents. Why a hydrogen bomb? Because of the pulverization of the building into a micron-sized dust aerosol, the high incidence of cancer among emergency responders and the recording of an electromagnetic pulse by broadcast cameras. So where did they get the hydrogen bomb, you ask. Well, maybe Larry Silverstein called someone up at the Pentagon to get their help. Those Jews know how to use their influence after all. Small-yield hydrogen bomb coming right up.

Felton’s explanation of the WTC attack was “overdetermined” in Althusserian terms. His main emphasis is on it being a “false flag” as the chapter on the WTC being titled “A New Pearl Harbor” would indicate. But he also believes that it might have been the intention of Silverstein and Lewis Eisenberg, the chairman of PATH, to blow up the buildings to get the insurance needed for a more profitable real estate development. In other words, these were a couple of sneaky Jewish landlords who hired people to destroy existing low-yield property just like happens when parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn become gentrified.

While Felton is committed to the idea that it was explosives in the basement that brought the towers down, others finger Ace, which had a maintenance contract on the elevators. This means that someone was assigned to push a button an hour or so after the planes crashed in order to detonate the explosives that led to the collapse. The problem with this is that a remote control operation like this is obviously based on a radio signal in the same fashion as an IED being set off by a cell phone like in Iraq. But when a plane smashes into the WTC, the damage is extensive. One of two things would likely happen. The flames from the crash would have detonated the explosives immediately or if not, they would have destroyed the radio receiver that would be used to detonate them. In other words, this was an operation that had zero possibility of succeeding in conspiratorial terms.

But going even further into cloud cuckoo land, consider the possibility that an elevator company that has been operating for some number of years prior to 9/11 would have been staffed by men who were secret agents willing to place explosives in the WTC that killed 3000 of their countrymen. You would imagine that these would be the kind of super-villains like in Bruce Willis’s “Die Hard”, nihilists ready to take part in a Pearl Harbor attack on their own country and at the same time experienced elevator mechanics. Can you imagine recruiting people for such a job?

ACE corporate recruiter: So, Joe, I see you were in the marines. Any particular skills you learned there?

Joe: I was trained in the use of explosives.

ACE corporate recruiter: Perfect. We’re staffing up for a project to bring down the WTC so that Bush will have the excuse he needs to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as help Larry Silverstein get the insurance payments he needs for a new real estate development. When can you start?

Joe: Um, I have to talk it over with my wife first since her dad works in the WTC. But I guess we’ll have no problems as long as the pay is good. We want to build a swimming pool in the back yard plus I have same sort of devil may care attitude as another marine named Lee Harvey Oswald.

But for sheer imagination, nothing can top Kevin Ryan’s four-part series “Demolition Access to the WTC Towers.”  This is a 94-page treatise that would have you believe that there were six degrees of separation between the Pope and Osama bin Laden.

Marsh & McLennan is an investment firm that lost all its employees on 9/11 when a plane hit the north tower. For Ryan, however, CEO Jeffrey Greenberg might have been part of the conspiracy along with ACE elevators and al-Qaeda since he was a member of the Brookings Institution, the Trilateral Commission, and the son of the chairman of American International Group (AIG), a firm reported to be at the center of a number of CIA operations.

Can you imagine the conversation between Jeffrey Greenberg and the CIA agent supervising the 9/11 attacks?

CIA biggie: Look, Jeffrey, we want to run something by you. The agency is part of a top-secret operation that will result in the WTC and the Pentagon being attacked and leveled to the ground on 9/11 with the loss of thousands of lives, including all the people who work for you at Marsh & McLennan. This is a big deal for America since we need an excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq as part of an overall exercise to control oil resources everywhere.

Greenberg: Sounds good to me. I’ve gotten bored with the investment business anyhow and am thinking about starting a yoga ranch in the Hamptons. I’ll just make sure to call in sick that day.

In part two, Ryan explores the shady connections of the man who ran Kroll, the “Jewish security firm”. His name was Brian Michael Jenkins. While clearly not a Jew, there were all sorts of red flags associated with his career. He was “chairman of the RAND Corporation’s Political Science department and he directed RAND’s research on political violence. He also had served as a captain in the Green Berets in the Dominican Republic and later in Vietnam.” At the risk of sounding like I was part of the conspiracy myself, I would only point out that this is the typical CV for someone heading up a security firm, especially one that oversaw an obvious target like the WTC that had been attacked once before in 1993. What kind of prior work experience wouldn’t arouse Ryan’s suspicions? A lead guitarist for a punk rock band? A professional ice skater?

What seems beyond the realm of possibility for these people is that Islamic fundamentalists conspired to attack the WTC because of American support for the Saudi potentates, the Israeli apartheid state and other affronts to Muslims. Occam’s Razor states that simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable. In the case of 9/11, it is best to test what happened not so much on the basis of physics but on that of political plausibility. The Truthers strike me as people who have read far too many of those cheesy spy novels that you can find in airport magazine shops. They would be better off reading Karl Marx. In fact everybody would be. It is far more useful politically and more important than ever in a period of growing class struggle.



  1. good piece; although the suspicion remains that all your articles are built around this conclusion:

    ‘They would be better off reading Karl Marx. In fact everybody would be. It is far more useful politically and more important than ever in a period of growing class struggle.’

    Comment by Naz — September 18, 2016 @ 9:33 pm

  2. all your articles are built around this conclusion

    Well, this is the Unrepentant Marxist, not the Unrepentant Mormon or Unrepentant Magician.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 19, 2016 @ 12:25 am

  3. Get over your cognitive dissonance.

    Comment by Brad — September 19, 2016 @ 12:55 am

  4. I sent the following to someone (on FB) the other day, to counter their belief in similar 9-11 fantasies (no airplane at the Pentagon): Please inform yourself with real data, and use critical thinking instead of unsubstantiated conspiratorial speculations in an attempt to advance ideology you are emotionally attached to. Besides boosting your own knowledge and credibility, it is a service to others to speak truthfully about reality. A wealth of data is available:

    On all aspects of 9-11:

    On Flight 77 at the Pentagon:

    Many photos of airplane debris at the Pentagon on 9-11:

    Comment by Manuel García, Jr. — September 19, 2016 @ 4:02 am

  5. Greg Felton is someone who at one time wrote for fairly respectable Canadian newspapers like the Vancouver Sun. But as he started getting into this conspiracy crap, his writing became relegated to increasingly obscure venues. I used to see him on Usenet all the time, where he posted both under his own name and under various sock puppets too.

    Comment by Jim Farmelant — September 19, 2016 @ 7:26 am

  6. (taking advantage of a temporary premium membership that I will terminate after I’d had a chance to look at the stupid book.)

    And to think of all the other books that you could have read instead.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 19, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

  7. Having made the perhaps fateful mistake of writing about the Christopher Bollyn appearance at The Commons in Brooklyn, I have been flooded with 9/11 “truthers” peddling their pet conspiracy theories. One fixation from this set is the idea that five Mossad agents were caught “dancing with joy” as the towers came down. Can we really imagine agents from one of the world’s most professional and deadly intelligence agencies really being so ham-fisted and obvious? Were they such amateurs that they wore Mossad name tags?

    Louis, thanks for inserting some sanity into 9/11 — we sure need more of it, although I have to confess that my own attempts to discuss actual facts and objective political material conditions have gone nowhere. You are sadly correct you won’t change any “truther” minds but there is something to be said for a bit of self-therapy in such times. I’ll have to settle for the same small consolation.

    Comment by Systemic Disorder — September 20, 2016 @ 2:44 am

  8. For anyone who takes 9/11 truth seriously (as you should) and wants to research that fateful day further, please google the works of Peter Dale Scott and David Ray Griffin. Thank you.

    Comment by Tyler — September 20, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

  9. not quite mossad, but the story on the israeli ‘moving company’ was worth following up: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1

    Comment by jp — September 20, 2016 @ 3:29 pm

  10. ‘Art students’ (Israeli) rigged the charges, Dov Zacheim’s drones hit towers, ‘Dancing Israelis ‘ were waiting to “Document the Event”

    Comment by Gazzie — September 22, 2016 @ 1:14 pm

  11. ‘Art students’ (Israeli) rigged the charges, Dov Zacheim’s drones hit towers, ‘Dancing Israelis ‘ were waiting to “Document the Event”

    Dov Zacheim? Didn’t he run a delicatessen on Delancey Street? His pastrami sandwiches were to die for.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 22, 2016 @ 6:51 pm

  12. i am not in the least part of the ‘truth’ group. If you can think, you can see that the moving co. story was worth following up, and not fabricated like your strawmen.

    Comment by jp — September 22, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

  13. What a moronic piece. Nothing in this piece is defensible as journalism or even rational argument. It reads like a propaganda hit piece from the Israelis or the U.S.’s ruling junta. The ignorance, ad hominem, denigration, cognitive dissonance and infantile hyperbole are beyond belief. There’s not even the hint of a rational discussion of my book, which you see fit to denigrate without having understood it. It’s idiots like you that give all Marxists a bad name.

    You are a monument to ignorance.

    Comment by Greg Felton — October 14, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

  14. “It reads like a propaganda hit piece from the Israelis”.

    That is because I am circumcised and enjoy gefilte fish, I take it.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 14, 2016 @ 8:03 pm

  15. Forgive my tardiness in addressing this crushing and calamitous event about which we’ll probably never in our lifetimes obtain any conclusive evidence. A while back I read E.P. Heidner’s book, Collateral Damage, which I found to be thought-provoking and an interesting entry point into a deep and sinuous rabbit hole. Also, a very watchable Jeremy Rys 9/11 video on YouTube. Again on YT a close friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Karl Schwarz : 9/11 is a nonpartisan issue, reveals other often ignored aspects that could have been a driving force to what occurred. Finally and FWIW, the well-known words of Nicholas Rockefeller to Aaron Russo in 2000, ‘in nine months there’ll be an event….’

    Comment by Charles Young — July 20, 2018 @ 10:35 am

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