As I woke up today and started the obligatory scroll through my Instagram feed I was quickly reminded that the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history was yet again upon us. While thumbing through posts inscribed with "#neverforget" I started to imagine if I had been in a coma or held prisoner in some Russian gulag deep in the Siberian wilderness since Sept 10th, 2001 would I recognize this new world if I was to reconnect with society today. After 16 years of the nation being shaped and manipulated by fear and an unbelievably divisive left vs right paradigm, this bizarre new world would seem almost like a parallel dimension. A paradoxical world where truth is indiscernible from fiction and where the fruits of progressive, humanitarian and civil rights struggles of the past were all being rolled back.
By just looking at the state of modern society it might be hard to even imagine how we got to this point. But with a quick study of history a lot of clues fall into place. And a lot of the American sentiment of blaming external forces for our problems stems from the extreme xenophobia that was born out of the Sept 11th attacks. But another important factor has to be considered here and, if it was deliberate as I believe it was, it has been quite brilliant.
The events of 9/11 have given birth to more conspiracy theorists than any other event, minus maybe the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But this new explosion of amateur conspiracy researchers spread rapidly due to one important element missing during the years following the JFK event. The internet. With the age of blogging, chat rooms and forums amateur sleuthing avalanched into a global phenomenon with random civilians turning over important clues that were either grossly missed by investigators or blatantly ignored. And in a few short years an overwhelmingly stronger narrative has developed that makes far, far more sense than the official story proposed by the farcical 9/11 Commission investigation. With polls showing that over 1/2 of Americans having doubts about the official story of the 9/11 attacks. Wether or not this has been seen as worrisome by those in power, we have no way of knowing for sure. But what I have seen develop in recent years might be telling in itself. With the rise in popularity of the frothing buffoon known as Alex Jones, the 'conspiracy movement' seemed to have found it's leader. But much in the same way that most outsiders' perspective of skateboarding is only Tony Hawk and Scarred, the same goes for Jones in that he does not represent the real face of the majority of people questioning the official story of 9/11 or similar events that have followed since. But as Jones' fame grew I started to notice the vilification of the 'truth movement' proliferated through all forms of media with some of my favorite commentators equating 9/11 truthers to holocaust deniers. The mere mention of an alternate theory to the official story of 9/11 has become akin to being labeled a communist in the Joseph McCarthy era 1950's. But what really sealed the deal was Jones' alliance and backing of the Trump campaign and his maniacal anti-Hillary rhetoric which put him on the front stage with coverage on all media platforms including a highly discussed face to face interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC or the incredibly bizarre debate with Piers Morgan on CNN. You'll notice that the dialogue in the NBC piece consistently reiterates the point that Jones' words are dangerous. Suggesting that idea that his speech should be censored. Yet, Jones doesn't really defend his theories even though he is well versed on all of the subject matter discussed. If Jones' original goal was to become the face of the truth movement in order to eventually fully discredit it, then he has done so quite beautifully. But why would anybody who's seemingly concerned with exposing the truth want to discredit it? Have you ever heard of a program called COINTELPRO?
COINTELPRO, or counter intelligence program, was/is a secret FBI program designed to infiltrate seemingly threatening movements/organizations with agents pretending to be legitimate members of that movement and then breaking them apart from within. They succeeded in breaking up the Black Panther movement in the 1960's and even had agents working within Martin Luther King Jr's organization posing as supporters and trying to dig up a scandal they could use to discredit him with his followers. If these practices were at work 50 years ago would it be crazy to suggest that something similar or more advanced could be happening today? Regardless, whether it's being done intentionally or not, a movement that had a lot of steam and a growing amount of support has been tarnished through it's association with Jones, infowars, Trump and now the racist alt right movement. A very effective way to discredit anything, especially in the eyes of intellectuals, journalists and the left wing political establishment.
The horrific tragedy of 9/11 should never be forgotten. But along with the tragic loss of freedoms that soon resulted from America's response to the new "terror" threat, it is also tragic to see a vilification of any dialogue questioning the official narrative put forth by the government and major media. As we've seen the advent of the "fake news" tagline being used to discredit any story that conflicts with the mainstream narrative, a brilliant new tool has been unleashed to keep alternative theories at bay. But it must be made clear that those who still have questions about events like those that occurred on this day 16 years ago should NOT be immediately associated with Alex Jones, Trump or the horrible hatred and bigotry that they stand for. That would be like judging all skateboarders based on your view of Justin Beiber. I've found myself biting my tongue from speaking about certain subjects lately and holding off from using certain graphic designs out of my fear that they will be misinterpreted now thanks to this new bizarre association being made between questioning the official story and this ugly alt right Trump supporting faction.
The alleged terror attacks of 16 years ago have had such long-stretching impacts on the entire world. But the full story of what actually happened that day is still, I believe, unsettled. Regardless of your view, we cannot let free speech be yet another victim of that horrible tragedy. Nor let open dialogue be squashed as either unpatriotic or sullied by association with a disgusting movement or group of people. After a countless chain of mistakes being made after the attacks of Sept 11th, let's not commit another by shutting down discussion of a very unsettled topic as valid and necessary for open debate as the official story of what happened that horrible day,