Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The truth is out there ... but is it waaaaaay out there?

In a previous post, I used the "logic" of cui bono -- who benefits? -- to "prove" that US Representative Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican Party's 2008 presidential operation is a Karl Rove False Flag Operation®.

Given the fact that I do believe the Paul campaign to be a Bad Thing For Liberty, I shouldn't have been too surprised that most people thought I actually believed the "Ron Paul is a Roveian Mole" theory myself instead of taking the piece for what it was: An expose on the implications of the "logic" with which certain 9/11 "Truth" advocates claim to have "proven" that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" carried out by the US government or elements thereof.

OK, so, it was a failed piece in terms of its real objective. Sorry about that. I guess perhaps the better way is to just take the bull by the horns directly:

"Truth"ers, here's your chance. If you think that 9/11 was an inside job, feel free to prove it.

Some Stipulations and Parameters

Hopefully Mr. X or another legal student or professional will correct me if I'm wrong here, but the usual elements in making a criminal case against a defendant or defendants, in the absence of full-motion video showing the person committing the act while repeatedly yelling "yes, this is me, Joe Blow of 116 Main St. Apartment 5, robbing this bank of my own free will," include establishing motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake or accident and, to the extent that it may show conformity with the propensity for commission of a particular type of crime, the character of the defendant.

I am willing to stipulate up front to the element covered by cui bono? material, i.e. motive. Yes, you heard me right -- free pass on proving motive. I'm willing to agree that the US government, and/or subsidiary parts thereof, benefited from 9/11 in various and sundry ways, that those benefits were reasonably predictable, and that therefore motive was present.

I am also willing to provisionally stipulate to the element of character. In other words, I am willing to agree, unless evidence to the contrary is presented, that any particular goverment employee or agent named as a suspected actor, conspirator of facilitator in the course of this debate is exactly the type of rat-bastard-son-of-a-bitch who wouldn't think twice about murdering 3,000 people for political or pecuniary gain, or that any particular government agency, department or other operating group is composed entirely, largely, or in key respects, of said rat-bastard-sons-of-bitches.

What's left to prove, then, is:

- Opportunity
- Intent
- Preparation
- Plan
- Knowledge
- Identity
- Absence of mistake or accident

This is a blog, not a court of law, so "beyond a reasonable doubt" is not the standard. I'm willing to settle for "a preponderance of the evidence." Or, hell, any evidence at all.

But ... keep in mind that "disproving the official account" is not the same thing as "proving your case." Just because Colonel Mustard didn't do it in the library with the candlestick, that doesn't mean that Miss Scarlet did do it in the parlor with the knife. FWIW, I have some problems with the "official account" myself. But there's a huge gulf separating "problems with the official account" from "George did it."

So, to those other elements:

- Identity: Even if you can prove that Mohammed Atta and 18 al Qaeda accomplices didn't carry out the 9/11 attacks, that's not the same thing as proving that G. Gordon Liddy re-activated The Plumbers for the job. The only way to prove your case by excluding other actors is to conclusively exclude all other actors. There are a lot of actors in the world -- enough to make that method pretty unrealistic. If you're going to identify a particular actor as the culprit, you're probably going to have to do so by means other than exclusion.

- Intent: A lot of "Truth"ers I've talked with tend to get motive and intent mixed up. Just because someone would have benefited by doing something, that doesn't mean that that person decided or intended to do that thing. You're going to have to do better than cui bono? on this one.

- Preparation and plan kind of speak for themselves: Explosives don't magically appear at the point of use. Large groups of people don't spontaneously organize on the morning of an incredibly complex crime just happening to know their jobs and equipped with the gear to carry out those jobs. There are paper trails, emails, phone messages, prior meetings, rehearsals, etc.

- Knowledge: This one's likely to get dicey, given that the US government maintains a large intelligence apparatus for precisely the purpose of gathering information on the intentions, capabilities and plans of various actual or potential enemies. Still, demonstrating that a particular government official or group of such officials had detailed knowledge of when or how the 9/11 attacks would transpire before they transpired would be a start. The wrangle would then be over where they got that knowledge and to what use they were putting it, which would have to be established through reference to other elements of the case.

- Identity: Some more stipulation is, I think, called for here: If you can present even moderately persuasive evidence that, for example, Government Agent X was seen parachuting to the ground from Flight 93 on the morning of 9/11, I'm willing to provisionally stipulate that it was in fact Government Agent X and not his evil twin brother who did so -- the burden of proof will be on the defense to prove that Government Agent X was actually sunning himself on the beach in Puerta Vallarta that morning, right next to a convention of photojournalists who happened to take multiple snapshots of him showing off his 24-inch biceps, washboard abs and FBI Special Agent badge.

- Absence of mistake or accident: I think we can all stipulate that 9/11 was no accident. Within the context of overall events, however, it may need to be proven that this or that particular action was taken with malicious intent rather than that it was a screwup or a coincidence. Of course, the more screwup/coincidence claims arise, the less convincing they will be in their totality.

Alrighty then -- the prosecution has the floor for opening arguments. Anyone caring to argue on behalf of the defense, feel free to chime in as you like.

UPDATE -- I just realized (and I'm sure some commenter would have quickly noticed) that I left out an element: means. Consider that element stipulated to in general. If the US government does not dispose of the money, weapons and human resources to pull off the 9/11 attacks, no one else does either. As far as whether any particular means were available and/or used, that would still need to be proven (i.e. if you claim that "four military versions of passenger aircraft were available at Area 51 on 9/10, and turned up missing on 9/12," you're going to need some evidence for the assertion).

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