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New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry

NYARBB's position on 9/11

and on the 9/11 Truth movement

The relevance of 9/11 to religion-based bigotry

The events of 9/11/2001 are relevant to the following concerns having to do with religion-based bigotry:

  1. The wave of anti-Muslim bigotry, harassment of Muslims, and civil rights violations after 9/11.
  2. The Bush administration's war crimes against Muslim countries, including even torture, justified by the post-9/11 "war on terror." It is likely that bigotry against Muslims played a role in the U.S public's acceptance of these outrages.
  3. On the other hand, the U.S. government's long history of support for Islamic supremacist militants. (See the links given in NYARBB position against both Islamic supremacism and anti-Muslim bigotry.)
  4. The theocratic worldview of Al Qaeda, a stark reminder of the dangers of religious fanaticism. (This should be counterbalanced, though, with recognitions (a) that many Muslims do not favor theocratic government, and (b) that theocratic Christians exist and post real dangers too, and likewise Christian terrorists. Furthermore, not all Al Qaeda members are motivated by religious fanaticism; some of the 9/11 hijackers apparently lived a rather un-Islamic lifestyle.)
  5. The U.S. government's longstanding and continuing "friendship" with extremely intolerant Islamic supremacist regimes such as Saudi Arabia (from which country most of the 9/11 hijackers actually came), while falsely demonizing other, more secular Muslim-dominated countries such as Iraq.

Because of the consequences of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government's failure to prevent or defend against those attacks is a matter of concern to us as activists against religion-based bigotry. Hence we support the call for further investigation of what went wrong on the U.S. government's end regarding 9/11, along the lines of what the 9/11 Commission was supposed to be.

On the other hand, another major concern of ours is that most of our own members are likely to belong to religious and other minorities that are vilified by some (though by no means all) people within the 9/11 Truth movement.

Our twofold stance on the 9/11 Truth movement

NYARBB has two sets of concerns pertaining to the 9/11 Truth movement:

  1. Although we do not advocate 9/11 "inside job" theories, we support the 9/11 Truth movement's main stated goal -- to demand a new and independent investigation (with subpoena power) of the U.S. government's actions on and before 9/11. We also share the goal, of some 9/11 Truth activists, to call attention to the known history of covert U.S. government support for Islamic supremacist terrorists.
  2. There are plenty of reasons to call for a new investigation even if one does not believe that there was any deliberate complicity, of any kind, by anyone in the U.S. government. There is, at the very least, plenty of evidence of coverups by people in the U.S. government. Furthermore, a large section of the 9/11 Commission report was based almost entirely on reports of "confessions" of people who were tortured. Thus, there are aspects of 9/11 that are still genuinely murky even if one accepts the commonly-accepted account of what happened.

  3. On the other hand, we are concerned that some parts of the 9/11 Truth movement have become a vehicle for the promotion of religiously bigoted grand conspiracy ideology. (See NYARBB's position on "conspiracy theories" and NYARBB position against "Illuminati" claims.) Not all 9/11 Truth activists promote grand conspiracy ideology. Many do not. Quite a few 9/11 Truth activists have specifically rejected the more bigoted claims of "Illuminati" theory proponents. (See 9/11 Truth activists speak against bigotry within the 9/11 Truth movement.) But, alas, some highly visible public figures in the movement do promote "Illuminati" claims.
  4. Many critics of the 9/11 Truth movement have pointed to the Jew-hating ideologies of some people in the 9/11 Truth movement. We are concerned not only about conspiratorial allegations against Jews, but also about the much more widespread conspiratorial allegations against Satanists, occultists, Pagans, Freemasons, atheists, environmentalists, feministas, and gay rights activists, all of whom are alleged to be part of an evil "New World Order" plot by "the Illuminati." (See NYARBB position against "Illuminati" claims.)

    At the same time, we reject attempts to discredit the very idea of an independent investigation of 9/11 based on the bigotry of some (by no means all) people in the 9/11 Truth movement.

Unfortunately, there does not currently exist a viable organized political movement calling for an independent investigation of 9/11 without also advocating "inside job" theories. Most likely, this is because the people who feel strongest about the need for an independent investigation tend also to be believers in "inside job" theories. Nevertheless, there have been plenty of more mainstream complaints about the 9/11 Commission, and plenty of more mainstream reasons why an independent follow-up to the 9/11 Commission would be highly desirable.

NYARBB itself cannot do the work of building an organization to represent the more mainstream complaints, which, in of themselves, are only marginally relevant to NUARBB's concerns about religion-based bigotry. Nor can NYARBB itself project the mainstream image that such a organization would need, because NYARBB's main concern is for the rights of people who are religiously (or otherwise) different from the norm. But we do aim to set an example, from the sidelines, for those people in the 9/11 Truth movement who understand the need for a more mainstream 9/11 accountability movement -- and who also understand the need to listen to well-informed critics as well as proponents of "inside job" theories.

To that end, NYARBB has a Committee for 9/11 Accountability which attends major 9/11 Truth movement events approximately once every year, with the aims of (1) setting an example of a sound, hard-hitting call for a new investigation without advocating "inside job" theories and without making other highly controversial claims, (2) calling attention to the larger issue of the history of covert U.S. government support for Islamic supremacist terrorists, and (3) opposing "Illuminati" claims and other religiously bigoted grand conspiracy ideologies. When we attend 9/11 Truth events, our main activity is to provide pamphlets, to be distributed to passers-by, containing our own reasons for supporting the call for an investigation. At the same time, we also distribute a separate leaflet, to 9/11 Truth activists, opposing "Illuminati" claims. By showing active support for the 9/11 Truth movement's main goal, we thereby also gain opportunities to oppose religiously bigoted grand conspiracy ideology more effectively than we could otherwise.

The need for further investigation of 9/11

NYARBB supports the call for a new investigation of those aspects of 9/11 that are still genuinely murkey. Our support is based not on any controversial hypothesis about what really happened (e.g. "9/11 was an inside job") but, rather, on (1) the evidence of coverups and conflicts of interest acknowledged even by mainstream sources and (2) our skepticism toward anything based on "confessions" of people who were tortured.

After 9/11/2001, many people had questions about how and why the attacks were able to succeed. Were there things the U.S. government could have done, but didn’t do, to stop the attacks? Were there warnings that the Bush administration ignored? Why were none of the hijacked planes intercepted by fighter jets before they hit their targets? Why were some of the 9/11 hijackers, already known to be terrorists, even allowed into this country?

In 2002 to 2004, the “9/11 Commission” was set up to examine various aspects of the 9/11 attacks, including the U.S. government’s apparent unpreparedness. The 9/11 Families movement, led by four 9/11 widows known as the “Jersey Girls,” had succeeded in pressuring Congress to call for an investigation, and even succeeded in pressuring Bush to sign it, though Bush had initially opposed any such investigation.

But there was a catch. To have an honest investigation of the possibility of even incompetence or negligence, let alone anything worse, on the part of high officials in the Bush administration, the investigation needs to be independent of the Bush administration. The “9/11 Commission” was supposed to be an “independent” investigation. But its research staff was directed by Philip Zelikow, who had strong ties to the Bush administration. (See the History Commons site's pages about The 9/11 Commission and Role of Philip Zelikow.)

The Commission spent much of its time haggling with the Bush administration over what documents they were allowed to see, and then didn’t have enough time even to look at all the information that was received. And there are many whistleblowers whose complaints were never adequately dealt with. (See The 9/11 Commission: A Play on Nothing in Three Acts by Sibel Edmonds and Bill Weaver.) Military officials made claims which the commissioners concluded were false, based on other evidence such as tapes. So, even some of the commissioners themselves concluded that there were coverups, despite their widely perceived go-easy attitude. (See the History Commons site's pages about The 9/11 Commission.)

But coverups of what? Among people who talk about 9/11, debate is now polarized between people who insist that “9/11 was an inside job” and people who insist that whatever might have been covered up, it couldn’t possibly have been anything worse than incompetence. But there are many other possibilities between the extremes of “inside job” and “nothing worse than incompetence.” Due to the coverups, we simply don't know all the facts.

Whatever the U.S. government did or didn’t do on or before 9/11, what’s important is that those responsible for its failures be held accountable, even if they were guilty of nothing worse than incompetence. And it is important to know what really went wrong in terms of counterterrorism policy, so that we can better size up what's really needed to protect us from terrorism, without undue sacrifice of civil liberties. (The "PATRIOT act" was probably overkill.) To that end, we need a new, more truly independent follow-up investigation, with subpoena power, similar to what the 9/11 Commission was supposed to be.

A new investigation of 9/11 would most likely shed light not only on counter-terrorism policy, but also on the strange love-hate relationship that the U.S. government has long had with Islamic supremacist regimes and Islamic supremacist terrorism. (See NYARBB position against both Islamic supremacism and anti-Muslim bigotry.)

Our non-advocacy of "inside job" theories

NYARBB does not promote the idea that "9/11 was an inside job." However, in our interaction with the 9/11 Truth movement, our major concern is not with opposing the idea that 9/11 was an inside job, but rather with opposing religiously bigoted grand conspiracy ideologies involving Jews and/or "the Illuminati," typically alleged to be Satanists, occultists, Pagans, and/or atheists. To that end, in the interests of communicating with 9/11 Truth activists, we aim to establish as much common ground with them as possible, neither endorsing nor opposing "inside job" theories per se.

Thus, NYARBB's Committee for 9/11 Accountability and our Project Against Grand Conspiracy Ideology do not make a point of outright opposing "inside job" theories, except (1) to reject grand conspiracy ideology, (2) to reject the more outlandish and improbable kinds of "inside job" theories, such as "no planes" (which even the majority of "inside job" theory advocates do not accept), and (3) to encourage 9/11 Truth activists to at least study the arguments and evidence presented by the better "9/11 conspiracy theory debunkers."

We encourage 9/11 Truth activists to (1) be more cautious about advocating any hypothesis about what really happened, (2) examine carefully the best evidence and arguments against (as well as for) any hypothesis before endorsing it, and (3) avoid dogmatic attachment to any theory. When 9/11 Truth activists are too quick to embrace controversial claims, they thereby discredit their movement in the eyes of the general public. "9/11 Truth" should mean demanding that the truth which has been covered up be investigated and revealed, not claiming that we already know the hidden truth.

By refraining from advocating "inside job" theories, 9/11 Truth activists could thereby also help make the call for a new investigation more credible to highly educated people, many of whom strongly reject "inside job" theories.

NYARBB's Committee for 9/11 Accountability aims to set an example of how to call for an investigation of those aspects of 9/11 that are still genuinely murky, without advocating "inside job" theories. We also encourage 9/11 Truth activists to focus more on the known facts about the U.S. government's strange historical relationship with Islamic supremacist governments and Islamic supremacist terrorists these past several decades.

Counteracting post-9/11 bigotry against Muslims

Meanwhile, outside the 9/11 Truth movement, we can counteract post-9/11 anti-Muslim bigotry by encouraging greater publicity for Muslim reformers and also for mainstream Muslim fatwas denouncing terrorism. We do not deny the existence of terrorism in the name of Islam (as some of the more extreme "9/11 inside job" theorists have done, in a misguided approach to opposing anti-Muslim bigotry). Instead, we argue that Muslims in general should not be punished for the crimes of Al-Qaeda, and that terrorism does not justify aggressive war (especially against Iraq, which had no Al-Qaeda connection before 9/11), nor does it justify torture. There are other ways to fight terrorism without giving in to what the terrorists want, which is to provoke war between Muslim countries and Western countries.

On the other hand, we aim also to call public attention to the ways in which the U.S. government has allied with and made use of Al-Qaeda and other Islamic supremacist militants over the years, and to oppose the U.S. government's continuing support of the most intolerant Islamic supremacist regimes at the expense of more moderate Muslims. We'll also point to other factors (e.g. Saudi oil money) that have strengthened the most fanatical forms of Islamic supremacism beyond what would otherwise be expected.


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[Last edited July 15, 2009.]

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