Incompetent Theories: My Response to More Knee-jerk "Conspiracism" Crud from Cockburn

This was my quick (under 300 word) response to Alexander Cockburn's tsktsking of Fidel Castro for "9-11 conspiracism" in a larger piece about Alan Greenspan in the Nation magazine:

"Cockburn's Still Got the Wrong Conspiracy Theory"

Alexander Cockburn refuses to miss any opportunity to slander the 9-11 Truth Movement. While addressing Greenspan’s role in the very real global conspiracy to create an economy “exceptional” for oligarchs by a race to the bottom, Cockburn should’ve heeded his own warning to Castro of not giving in to conspiracism. But, Cockburn has clearly decided to hand his powers of reason over to the state-sponsored variety of 9-11 conspiracism.

Instead of an entire paragraph on some childish theory regarding Flight 77, Cockburn could have opened the space for real thought by appropriately mentioning some history, such as Operation Northwoods, a very real plan put to JFK by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to use CIA-directed, false-flag terror in instigating a confrontation with Cuba.

He could have also directed people to look for themselves at Norman Mineta’s excluded testimony, pointing to time-line discrepancies for Cheney on 9-11 and an anomalous set of orders confirmed right before the Pentagon got hit.

Or he could have directed people to the site for Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth ( and its analysis of the evidence for controlled demolitions.

If there is no ‘there there,’ then his reader’s inherent intelligence could easily suss that out.

But, Mr. Cockburn, being that you still don’t understand the word “conspiracy,” and continue to push the same drivel about 9-11 as your buddy Bush, almost six years after he warned the world to “never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories,” I have a fresh, new slander to replace your stale, Orwellian use of the psy-op term “conspiracy theory.” Try it on and see if it fits your body of beliefs. You and your ilk peddle “incompetence theories,” or more to the point, incompetent theories.

-Jeremy Rothe-Kushel

The beginning of his essay is here @ the Nation website:


I've included a longer version of his essay below which was published on the CounterPunch website:

Fidel, You Got the Wrong Conspiracy

I never thought there'd come a time when, even for a moment, I'd trust Fidel Castro less than a chairman of the Federal Reserve. But it's happened. Fidel turns out to be a 9/11 conspiracist, while former chairman Alan Greenspan says the US attack on Iraq was "largely about oil." Win a few, lose a few.

These days, instead of charging around Cuba, Fidel is resting up and writing columns or, given his style, dictating them. On the anniversary of 9/11 he served up a 4,256-worder. Maximum leaders scoff at the editor's blue pencil. The whole slab of drivel was read out by a Cuban television presenter.

It turns out Castro's joined at the hip to David Ray Griffin. He said that the Pentagon was hit by a rocket, not a plane, because no traces were found of its passengers. "Only a projectile could have created the geometrically round orifice created by the alleged airplane," according to Fidel. "We were deceived as well as the rest of the planet's inhabitants." All nonsense of course. There were remains of the passengers on the plane that hit the Pentagon, in the form of teeth and other bits traced through DNA. In fact, as I've written before, hundreds of people saw the plane-people who know the difference between a plane and a cruise missile. The wreckage of the plane was hauled out from the site.

Maybe Castro subscribes to the theory that Flight 77 was actually hijacked and taken to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, where George W. Bush made a documented stopover after his morning session in the Florida schoolroom. Bush personally machine-gunned the passengers, who were then cremated and the remains given to Cheney and Rumsfeld, who duly returned to the wreckage in the Pentagon and dropped the teeth and other bits through holes in their trouser pockets.

Maximum leaders like Castro are conspiracists by disposition. Since they are control freaks, the random and the accidental are alien to their frame of reference. If it happened, it happened for a reason. And if a bad thing happened, it was very probably a conspiracy. Anyway, Fidel has every right to see a CIA man behind every bush, and a plot behind every cocktail cherry. In his case it was true. I doubt there's been a day in the history of the CIA since 1958 when there wasn't a file somewhere in the Agency's HQ in Langley labeled "Castro Disposal Plans (Current)."

Meanwhile the 81-year-old Greenspan escapes vilification and public indictment as a prime sponsor in a plot against American security far more deadly that the 9/11 onslaught Castro attributes to the US government.

Thirty years ago, when America was a lot more liberal than it is now, Alan Greenspan was widely derided as a right-wing economic kook, blissed out on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Then in 1987. Reagan made him chairman of the Fed. Greenspan got respect at last. Congress fawned on him, as did the press. He learned to make headlines with quirky epigrams, like his crack about the "irrational exuberance" of the markets in the late 90s.

He quit in 2006,at the age of 80, sat down to write his memoirs and tossed in the words, "The Iraq war is largely about oil", no doubt calculating that the sentence would give the book a handy shove as it came out of the gate. It did. The Age of Turbulence was released last weekend and there was "largely about oil" in the headlines, sending the book like a bullet up the Amazon rankings.

Greenspan's scarcely a pioneer with the oil motive but leftists have fallen on his line like the children of Israel on manna, speedily installing it in their armory of useful quotations, alongside Eisenhower's parting whack (in a speech written by Emmett Hughes Jr, a decent fellow I remember meeting years ago) at the military-industrial complex,. In respectable circles Greenspan's remark has been less cordially received, since fighting wars for oil is something you don't talk about in front of the children or indeed in the hearing of families who've lost kin in Iraq.

The White House is incandescent with rage, since many Americans think "Bush", "Cheney" ad "Big Oil" all mean the same thing. Greenspan has also been sharply disobliging about Bush and the Repubicans' delinquencies in running up the deficit. By contrast, he lavishes praise on Bill Clinton for far-sighted wisdom in taking his--Greenspan's--advice. This irks Democrats, not least Mrs Clinton, since it does remind people that her husband did indeed heed Greenspan's counsel, which was to serve up Wall Street's menu while simultaneously trashing the welfare system.

His place on the best seller lists and in the quotation dictionaries assured, Greenspan is now saying that he never heard Bush or Cheney explicitly invoke the o-word as a rationale for war, "but that would have been my motive." As he explained it to the Washington Post, what he was trying to say in his memoir was that he, Chairman Greenspan, thought the war should be about oil and that although securing global oil supplies was "not the administration's motive," he had made the case to the White House that removal of Saddam Hussein was important for the global economy. "I was not saying that that's the administration's motive," Greenspan said. "I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, 'Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?,' I would say it was essential."

It's amazing to see Greenspan waltz through TV interviews like the one the docile Lesley Stahl conducted of him on 60 Minutes. I yearned for the shade of an old-line populist like Representative Wright Patman to shimmer up in the studio, take Greenspan by the throat and shake a confession out of him about the ruin he wrought. It was Greenspan, along with Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who promoted the whole wave of deregulation that produced the fake boom of the 1990s and, in recent years, the explosion in speculative instruments that are now vaporizing.

There's decorum in the interviews of Greenspan, even as he bleats that he didn't foresee the housing bubble and the devastation now being wrought across America by the subprime mortgage binge.

Greenspan couldn't possibly have missed what was coming with the housing and mortgage market crisis. For anyone who was paying the slightest bit of attention, the housing bubble has been obvious for years. Just as the stock market bubble of the late 1990s-what Greenspan himself called "irrational exuberance"-was also obvious. As Robert Pollin, who devastates Greenspan in his book on the Clinton years, Contours of Descent, says, "The main point with Greenspan is that he saw these things, but deliberately chose not to do anything about them. He wouldn't act to rein in either bubble because that would mean challenging the prerogatives of Wall Street. Greenspan wasn't about to do that."

But, again as Pollin points out in his book, there is another angle on Greenspan, which has been absent in the comments on his memoir, and is probably also absent in the memoir itself. Greenspan's single greatest claim to "maestro" status is that he managed to hold down inflation while unemployment fell below 5 percent since the mid-1990s and even below 4 percent at the end of his friend Clinton's tenure. Mainstream economic theory had been putting out the story for years that unemployment couldn't fall below 6 percent-then it was 5.5 percent-without setting off uncontrollable inflation. Greenspan seemed to have figured out how to defy iron laws of what Milton Friedman termed the "natural rate of unemployment." But as Greenspan himself has acknowledged, the main factor here was quite straightforward, what Bob Woodward reported Greenspan as calling the "traumatized worker" effect.

Now, Greenspan didn't just hypothesize-he celebrated. In his notorious comment in July 1997 in Congressional testimony, he saluted the economy's performance as "extraordinary" and "exceptional," then remarked that a major factor contributing to this achievement was "a heightened sense of job insecurity and, as a consequence, subdued wages."

Thus, for Greenspan, a "heightened sense of job insecurity," creating "tramatized workers," was a cause for celebration. This, from the country's-and by extension, the world's-most important economic policy-maker. We can safely assume that Greenspan doesn't bother to express troubled reminiscences about this part of his legacy.

So, comrade Fidel, get working on the Greenspan conspiracy. You've got 1,500 words.

Good to see...

CIA fiction writer "Max Holland" is still on the Masthead over at The Nation.

He has a distinguished history fabricating ties from the KGB to the Kennedy assassination. Check the CIA website (if you dare! ah! ah! ah!).

They have quite the incestuous little gatekeeping community over at The Nation/Alternet/Counterpunch et al.