9-11: Institutional Analysis vs. Conspiracy Theory

9-11: Institutional Analysis vs. Conspiracy Theory

Noam Chomsky's picture

The following is an exchange between a ZNet Sustainer and Noam Chomsky, which took place in the Sustainer Web Board where Noam hosts a forum...

ZNet Sustainer: Dear Noam, There is much documentation observed and uncovered by the 911 families themselves suggesting a criminal conspiracy within the Bush Administration to cover-up the 9/11 attacks (see DVD, 9/11: Press for Truth). Additionally, much evidence has been put forward to question the official version of events. This has come in part from Paul Thompson, an activist who has creatively established the 9/11 Timeline, a free 9/11 investigative database for activist researchers, which now, according to The Village Voice’s James Ridgeway, rivals the 9/11 Commission’s report in accuracy and lucidity (see,http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0416,mondo1,52830,6.html, or www.cooperativeresearch.org).

Noam Chomsky: Hard for me to respond to the rest of the letter, because I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we'd have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists -- of whom there are thousands -- who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis; and one cannot gain the required knowledge by surfing the internet. In fact, that's been done, by the professional association of civil engineers. Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission.

ZNet Sustainer: A question that arises for me is that regardless of this issue, how do I as an activist prevent myself from getting distracted by such things as conspiracy theories instead of focusing on the bigger picture of the institutional analysis of private profit over people?

Noam Chomsky: I think this reaches the heart of the matter. One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work. How do you personally set priorities? That's of course up to you. I've explained my priorities often, in print as well as elsewhere, but we have to make our own judgments.

ZNet Sustainer: In a sense, profit over people is the real conspiracy, yes, yet not a conspiracy at all – rather institutional reality? At the same time, if the core of conspiracy theories are accurate, which is challenging to pin down, though increasingly possible, does it not fit into the same motivations of furthering institutional aims of public subsidizes to private tyrannies? I mean, through the 9/11attacks, Bush Et Al. has been able to justify massive increases in defense spending for a “war without end,” and Israel has been given the green light to do virtually whatever it wants since now ‘the Americans are in the same fight.’ Furthermore, there has been a substantial rollback of civil rights in our nation, with the most extreme example being strong attempt to terminate habeas corpus.

Noam Chomsky: Can't answer for the same reasons. I don't see any reason to accept the presuppositions. As for the consequences, in one of my first interviews after 9/11 I pointed out the obvious: every power system in the world was going to exploit it for its own interests: the Russians in Chechnya, China against the Uighurs, Israel in the occupied territories,... etc., and states would exploit the opportunity to control their own populations more fully through "prevention of terrorism acts" and the like. By the "who gains" argument, every power system in the world could be assigned responsibility for 9/11.

ZNet Sustianer: This begs the question: if 9/11 was an inside job, then what’s to say that Bush Et Al., if cornered or not, wouldn't resort to another more heinous attack of grander proportions in the age of nuclear terrorism – which by its very nature would petrify populations the world over, leading citizens to cower under the Bush umbrella of power.

Noam Chomsky: Wrong question, in my opinion. They were carrying out far more serious crimes, against Americans as well, before 9/11 -- crimes that literally threaten human survival. They may well resort to further crimes if activists here prefer not to deal with them and to focus their attention on arcane and dubious theories about 9/11.

ZNet Sustainer: Considering that in the US there are stage-managed elections, public relations propaganda wars, and a military-industrial-education-prison-etc. complex, does something like this sound far-fetched?

Noam Chomsky: I think that's the wrong way to look at it. Everything you mention goes back far before 9/11, and hasn't changed that much since. More evidence that the 9/11 movement is diverting energy and attention away from far more serious crimes -- and in this case crimes that are quite real and easily demonstrated.

ZNet Sustainer:Considering the long history of false flag operations to wrongly justify wars, our most recent precedent being WMD in Iraq, The Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, going back much further to Pearl Harbor (FDR knowingly allowing the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor – which is different from false flag operations), to the 1898 Spanish-American War, to the 1846 Mexican-American War, to Andrew Jackson’s seizing of Seminole land in 1812 (aka Florida).

Noam Chomsky: The concept of "false flag operation" is not a very serious one, in my opinion. None of the examples you describe, or any other in history, has even a remote resemblance to the alleged 9/11 conspiracy. I'd suggest that you look at each of them carefully.

ZNet Sustainer: Lastly, as the world’s leading terror state, would it not surprise anyone if the US was capable of such an action? Would it surprise you? Do you think that so-called conspiracy theorists have anything worthy to present?

Noam Chomsky: I think the Bush administration would have had to be utterly insane to try anything like what is alleged, for their own narrow interests, and do not think that serious evidence has been provided to support claims about actions that would not only be outlandish, for their own interests, but that have no remote historical parallel. The effects, however, are all too clear, namely, what I just mentioned: diverting activism and commitment away from the very serious ongoing crimes of state.



So many lies.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this."

I think Noam is a victim of

I think Noam is a victim of his own idealism. Some may say narcissism. Morons say "financialism". (he has donated 99% of moneys from his books to anarchist causes).

John Judge made a great presentation on poor ol' Noam in which he highlights the essential irrationality of the traditional "leftist" position: he points out that whereby the Kennedy’s were supposedly killed by lone nuts, leftists tend to acknowledge that Martin and Malcolm were killed by the state.

The deciding factor is not logic, but ideology. King and X presented a danger, the Kennedy’s did not.

Did they??

Right-wingers thought so, and in the scheme of things, that’s all that mattered.

Check out Guns and Butter for more.

Noam has lots of great stuff -- for instance -- "free market fantasies" (which both anarcho-syndicalists and anarcho-capitalists appreciate); Noam also acknowledges Paperclip, CIA drug trade, virtually every black op known to man; But Not JFK and not 911. Reason: Ideological.

The Tarpley hypothesis of "gatekeeper" doesn't hold water. Why? Because Noam and co. do nothing but vilify the CIA and states in general, whether communist or capitalist; this contradicts the message that “centralized power is good”.

The only sensible answer is that Chomsky hates the idea that JFK could have actually made a difference, and that "blowback" was actually an inside job.

I think it’s important to realize that people are just people. Even lofty fellows have their faults. We can give and take, we can learn something from one person and disregard…

===I think Noam is a victim

===I think Noam is a victim of his own idealism.==

No, I don't think so. We have passed that stage long ago. With all the new evidence availible and easy to get on the net.

I would love to read the Chapter about Chomsky in Barry Zwickers new book.

Notice (you didn't) that I

Notice (you didn't) that I said HIS OWN idealism.

Not idealism per se.

I'm not sure if I understand

I'm not sure if I understand your distinction here? Of course I, as you, meant his own idealism.

With all the evidence out there, your "idealism" turns to blindness or stupidness.

I don't think Chomsky is stupid. He is playing the same left gatekeeper role as in the aftermath of the JFK assasination.

Anyone (like Chomsky) who proclaims that JFK's murder wasn't

a gov't conspiracy, has ZERO credibility, IMO!


Saying things like...

Hard for me to respond to the rest of the letter, because I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered.

Is not being honest. I would hope the great Noam Chomsky would have at least looked at the information, however, it appears this man of great intellect, has not. Not only that, this man of great intellect has been listening to the T.V. about what the "foundation" of the 9/11 Truth Movement is. You can tell by his next statement pointing to the theory of Controlled Demolition. His responses are a little more complex, but are really no different than what you would expect to hear on the mainstream media.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this."

I don't disagree. How

I don't disagree.

How could I?

Chomsky is clearly a gatekeeper

The Tarpley hypothesis of "gatekeeper" doesn't hold water. Why? Because Noam and co. do nothing but vilify the CIA and states in general, whether communist or capitalist; this contradicts the message that “centralized power is good”.

Right, Noam & Co. do NOTHING, period. (Of course Chomsky has to vilify the "CIA and states in general." That's how he attracks & keeps all his leftist groupies following him.)

"(he has donated 99% of

"(he has donated 99% of moneys from his books to anarchist causes)"

^ Are you sure that money didn’t come from Rockefeller lol? Manufacturing consent as well and dissent there I'd imagine.

Let's be frank here:

Noam Chomsky is a fraud, a liar, a CIA shill, and a leading denier & gatekeeper of 9/11 truth!

Oh and if you scroll down

Oh and if you scroll down the page here;


You'll see ur2h or whatever the f*ck that name is posting "no planes" disinfo in the comments section to this Chomsky bs. Another prime reason why this movement needs a Written Declaration that we stand for a new real investigation into the attacks, not wild "space beam" bullshit.

Yes, and you can see the

Yes, and you can see the damage being done with this BS by reading the replys.

Peak Oil is also bs, but I'm

Peak Oil is also bs, but I'm not arguing about that anymore, believe it if you like lol.

That cartoon plane stuff is such obvious disinfo

I think the goal of the cartoon planers was to try & take over the movement with that junk, and then have that nonsense destroy the entire fight for truth.

Chomsky who also proclaims

Chomsky also proclaims that to challenge the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK as being anything other than as officially described, would be the "Death of the Left". No, people like Chomsky are the "Death of the Left", because while he's been saying all the right things, him and the other Foundation Funded "Leaders" have been politically castrating the establishment Left, all with the anesthetic of half-truths and micro revelations that steam valve just how corrupt things are. So the “Death of the Left” will be the slow political impotency that no longer inspires new generations to challenge the things that need challenging the most, “politically correct” or not.

i exchanged a few e-mails

i exchanged a few e-mails with Chomsky a couple months back, and i got a very similar response. what i found interesting was that he said something along the lines of that if bush planted the bombs in the towers, it would rank low among crimes of the U.S. Government.

but i totally disagree with his claim that 9/11 takes away from other movements, since i feel that it strengthens them. after learning the truth about 9/11, i got opened to a world of alternative media which teaches me a lot about other issues.


People who fancy themselves important tend to act as such..

Show "Imagine if BILL GATES would come out for 911 truth." by u2r2h

Judge Jackson (if i remember

Judge Jackson (if i remember correctly) ruled that Microsoft was to be split into 3 separate companies, One for the OS, one for the Office Suite, and one for everything else.  This would have rendered the 3rd company useless as the only two products that turn a profit for MS is MS Windows and MS Office, ever single other product/service MS has is operating at a loss.

As soon as the Bush Regime came into office the DoJ changed everything and gave MS a slap on the wrist.  End of story...

No-planers for Noam


a nice anarchist World Government

check Gnome's ass for political whizdumb

silly people, you can't learn from the Internet!

There is no question in my mind that Chomsky is dishonest. This whole notion that (except when it comes to his writing) everything online is false, is absurd. He seems to think very poorly of the intellectual abilities of everyone but himself. In fact that ZMag sustainer's questions seem to have been designed for CHomsky to give the stock answers he's been giving now for over a year. He told me in person that he would have to study civil engineering (sic) for two years in order to begin to understand what happened to building 7. For chrissakes, he can't even distinguish between 7 and the towers! I'm sorry but the man is NOT senile (I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while based on that possibility.) He is a dishonest shill who is desperately trying to retain his title as uber-left-intellectual which is hard when you are seen as able to turn a blind eye to the worst crimes of this administration. Let me further point out that the student group at Harvard that tried to direct all the antiwar sentiment was led by a little cabal of graduate students (undergraduates tended to stay away) who were Chomskistas through and through. Attempting to engage them on the issue of 9/11 was nearly impossible and when they finally relented to discuss it, I was treated to a bizarre defense of the official version of the twoers' collapses by a grad student in physics who liberally referenced Thomas Eagar and constantly tried to explain everything away by resorting to calculations of potential energy, mega joules, etc. while providing no logical basis for how that energy would have been released or directed in the way it was. Clearly this conspiracy involves a band of helpers who know exactly what they're doing--their first big mission was to deral the antiwar movement by hijacking it and then maligning 9/11 research as useless conspiracy mongering. One reason the antiwar movement has failed utterly is of course this refusal to incorporate 9/11 into their agenda--choosing instead to ally itself exclusively with radical left wing economic politics. Divide, corrupt, and conquer. Chomsky is a pro. Not a proFESSOR--a very important professional agent for one power group or another. We will find out. Noam, you are a disgraceful old coot who will be remembered as a charlatan. Hope you're happy with that legacy, because there is no going back for you. Asshole.


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero

WTCdemolition.com - Harvard Task Force


I sent this to Barrie Zwicker...

Thanks for this Jon. I had seen part of it.

Chomsky trots out his classic trade marked standard evasions.

Pathetic is too weak a word.


"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this."


One bald faced lie after another after another.

How disgusting.

9/11 has not one single characteristic of a false flag op eh Noam?
Either he is in as deep a denial as a Creationist is of Evolution, (which means he is a raving lunatic) Or he is clearly a Left Gatekeeper con artist.
Take your pick because those are the only 2 options and neither one are acceptable for someone in his exalted position.

He needs to have his throne yanked out from under him NOW!.