By Steve Bhaerman
"The only way to overgrow Big Brother is through bigger brotherhood -- and sisterhood."
-- Swami Beyondananda (aka, Steve Baherman)
I was recently accused of being a "Truther."
While it's obviously better than being called a "liar," it was not intended as a compliment.
In response to my recent post, "Come On Baby, Fight My Liar," a prominent progressive journalist called me a "truther" because my article questioned the official 9/11 story. "Truther," for those unfamiliar with the term, is a disparaging and dismissive term invented by the mainstream media to discredit those who question the official story. It is meant to sound similar to -- and hence be associated with -- "birther," the term invented for those who believe that Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery.
Frankly, I was surprised to be a target of such a dismissal attack just because I was one of 100 leaders, including many noted progressives (and Van Jones, who has since had his signature expunged), who signed a statement five years ago calling for an investigation into the attacks and the official story of what happened.
You can see the list here and read the article I wrote four years ago about David Ray Griffin, Unquestioned Answers: A Nonconspiracy Theorist Takes Aim at the Official 9/11 Story here. The Bohemian weekly had never before gotten as many letters as they did on that article, and just about all the letters said pretty much the same thing: Thank God someone had the courage to publish an article like this one.
In fact, I got nary a peep of protest about my Fight My Liar article, except from this one progressive source. So ... at a time of polarization, the last thing we need is more divisiveness. And that is why I am proposing a "9/11 Truce Movement."
Truce or Consequences
So, first let me state clearly and firmly, I cannot say for sure what happened on 9/11, and who made it happen. I subscribe to no conspiracy theory, including the official one. I do have questions about the official story, as I'm sure many who do not consider themselves "conspiracy theorists" or "truthers" do.
At this point, I suggest that we put aside speculation, and focus on what we do know. As my friend Norman Solomon (War Made Easy) pointed out a few years ago when pressed on the 9/11 topic, there are certainly enough widely-documented, provable instances of blatant abuses of power and criminal offenses on record already.
So ... even if we don't agree about whether our officials had anything officially to do with the attacks, we certainly can see how the attacks were used to consolidate power and pass the egregious "Patriot" Act. I suggest that instead of dealing with consequences of infighting, we call a truce, and focus together on what we do know about abuses of power.
For starters, I suggest reading the informative and eye-opening article that appeared in Truth Out called Why Torture is Necessary. In addition to citing the movie Avatar and Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, author Davidson Loehr cites a source unfamiliar to many progressives, Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, who in the early 1930's wrote a pamphlet called "War Is a Racket." Read the Truth Out article, and also the commentary at the end, particularly the one entitled "I really don't like ..."
As the article points out, 9/11 must be seen in the larger context of empire, and the costs of that empire. Truth and freedom are always the victims, as are those who are tortured, murdered or merely have their careers assassinated because they see too much or say too much about what they see.
Together -- and I mean not just "progressives" but awakened and courageous citizens on the right as well -- we can gather the moral authority based on the virtues and values we share in common, and create a field that is loving enough to metabolize these toxins.
There is a reason why there has been no further investigation of 9/11, and it's the same reason the Bush Administration has not been held accountable for torture and other offenses. It's not so much because of censorship, but because of self-censorship. People and organizations censor themselves first because it requires an extraordinary amount of courage to confront an authority that has the legal power to operate outside the law. (If you want to see a truly inspired example of this kind of courage, go see or rent the film about Daniel Ellsberg, The Most Dangerous Man in America.)
The second reason for self-censorship is that the body politic is not yet vital enough to collectively gather around the greater truths that unite us, and express this moral will firmly, effectively -- and lovingly. The good news is, the up-wising continues unabated. Stay attuned for further developments.
What? You don't have a copy of Spontaneous Evolution yet? You're kidding! Order here and get two free supplemental articles not published anywhere else: "Original Wealth," and "Institutionalized Insanity."