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Letters

Conspiracy?

Dear Editors,

I was astonished that the article “Reflections on a somewhat unusual act of war” (Socialist Standard, September) accepted hook, line and sinker, the official version of events to explain the attacks which took place on the 11th September, 2001. The contributor rightly draws attention to the document “ Rebuilding America's Defenses” where the authors observe that a programme of increased military spending to preserve US global pre-eminence will be politically impossible unless there is "a catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor" but does not make the rather obvious link when this event actually occurs just a year after this document was issued, particularly when there is a mountain of evidence to support the view that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by dark and shadowy forces very close to the Bush administration. Just another conspiracy theory? I don't think so.

Space does not permit me to outline many of the seemingly incontrovertible facts which compel one to consider an alternative scenario to that which has been peddled by the capitalist media for so long and now apparently in the Socialist Standard. There are many web-sites dealing with this and related subjects, one worthy of a visit being..... www.whatreallyhappened.com/

Allow me to refer briefly to the attacks on the twin towers. That flights 11 and 175 crashed into the towers is beyond dispute; whoever or whatever was responsible is another matter. The official version that the planes were piloted by 'terrorists' simply does not hold water. It is true that two of the supposed hijackers, Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, received basic flight training at a private avaiation school in Florida but neither men could fly a 2 seater Cessna 150 without an instructor let alone a Boeing 757 or 767. Even an experienced 727 pilot has to take over 70 hours of simulator time just to be able to navigate a 757 or 7671

The twin towers were very strongly constructed and designed to withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Celsius. The core column of each tower comprised 47 huge steel box columns embedded in solid concrete. Each floor was separated from the other floors by thick steel plates to avoid the propagation of any type of fire. Before 9/11, not one steel framed building in the world ever collapsed as the result of any type of fire.

The heat generated by kerosene-based aviation fuel cannot exceed 825 degrees Celsius even in an oxygen-rich environment, so why did the towers collapse? In the basement of the fallen towers, where the support columns were anchored to the bedrock, ponds of molten steel were found several weeks after the attack. What could be responsible for such persistent and residual heat, 70 feet below the surface, in an oxygen-deprived environment? One school of thought is that an exothermic explosive, such as Thermite or Ametol, was placed at the base of each tower. With these substances temperatures above 2500 degrees celsius are often reached so melting of the steel box columns is perfectly feasible. This would explain the many eye-witness reports of explosions heard just before the collapse of each tower. Unexplained tremors were also recorded on a seismograph 21 miles away 14 seconds before the collapse of each building.

Judging by another article which appeared in the same issue of the Socialist Standard, the views of Michel Chossudovsky are well respected. His opinion on this subject is unequivocal: "September llth (was) a hoax. It's the biggest lie in US history".

Steve Prince, London N7

Reply:

On balance the hypothesis that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were organized by Osama Bin Laden's network is more plausible than any other hypothesis that has been put forward. This is not to deny that the exact role played by Bush is open to debate. He may have connived at the attacks by refusing to act on intelligence warnings that he believed, although his inaction could also be attributed to an unwillingness to accept unpleasant news.

Without examining in detail the discrepancies that you see in the Bin Laden hypothesis, it should be noted that many engineers do not share your high opinion of the design of the Twin Towers. See, for instance, the report of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, summarized in New Scientist of 6 April, 2005. Thus the steel sheets were strong but very thin; they did not have to reach melting point before starting to give way.

Just what is the alternative explanation that you find more convincing? You refer to orchestration by "dark and shadowy forces very close to the Bush administration". What on earth does this mean? This is the kind of mystical language beloved of those who believe that the world's problems have their origin not in visible institutions but in occult conspiracies ultimately controlled by the Prince of Darkness himself. Exploring the site that you recommend (www.whatreallyhappened.com), we learn that figures ranging from Bush and Kissinger to the Pope as well as the CIA, Mossad, and MI-6 are all in the service of "Illuminati bankers" (Jews, of course), working to undermine society by means that include homosexuality and feminism. (The Illuminati were an 18th century revolutionary secret society and are long defunct).

The question of conspiracy theories, and their current popularity, was dealt with in an article in the July 2002 Socialist Standard to which we would refer you (see http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/jul02/conspiracy.html ). It pointed out that “the conspiratorial worldview is certainly not helpful in promoting an understanding of modern society and is itself, in large part, a product of the times we live in. The organisation of society as it currently exists – capitalism – is certainly not a conspiracy, even if its structure means that conspiracies exist from time to time within it. And for those interested in overthrowing the system which now seemingly leads to secrecy and paranoia almost like night leads to day, a more fundamental approach is needed than that exhibited by the conspiracy theorists” - Editors.

 

Zionism

Dear Editors

Havent we got enough of a problem with capitalism, without adding Zionism to the list of things sent to try us? Surely you know that Israel is a much more complex problem than is shown by your simplistic and extremely misleading article (October Socialist Standard). Stick to the class war!

H. G. A. Hughes, Corwen, Wales

Dear Editors,

I read Pat Deutz's article, 'Zionism: myth and reality' in the October 2006 Socialist Standard and wondered what was the point of it. The article tells of the reactions of a British Jew, Susan Nathan, who emigrated to Israel only to be repelled at the treatment of the Arabs living within its boundaries. This she recounted in a book, The Other Side of Israel.

My problem is not the veracity of what Nathan writes (though the emotive use of the term 'apartheid' as in 'apartheid state' is obviously misleading) but your failure to cast a socialist perspective on the whole situation. While it's true that 'the price of creating a homeland was to inflict the Jewish story of disposessions and wandering on another people - the Palestinians', this kind of event was not unique in the Middle East in the 20th century. Indeed during that century the whole map of that region was redrawn, the whole geopolitics transformed, causing dispossession, population shifts and suffering on a massive scale.

The nearest you come to mentioning this is to say that 'Socialists never supported Zionism but opposed it as yet another nationalist delusion', but you never actually refer to the other nationalisms in the region, many of which, as you must know, are just as virulent and often far more savage and racist than what is practised in Israel. Finally you fail even to draw from your analysis the point fundamental to the socialist view of capitalism that the 'democracy' the system has to offer is inevitably superficial and that, when put under pressure, even the most apparently 'democratic' of states will, if it knows it can rely on widespread support, resort to repression of minorities and opponents.

Howard Moss, Swansea

Reply:

We certainly dont single out Zionism for special criticism (and our first correspondent does not say in what way the article was supposed to be misleading”). We are opposed to all nationalism and just happened to use the example of Israel, and the treatment meted out to its non-national minority, to show just what a danger it is to working class unity.

We accept that other capitalist states and factions in the Middle East have pursued policies that are nationalist and anti-socialist and the article should not be construed otherwise. It was basically a review of a book about Zionism and could not reasonably be expected to comment more widely on the intricate policies of the Middle East in any developed way. Editors