Without restraint: 9/11 videos and the pursuit of truth

This is a fairly long but relatively fair review of 9/11 Truth films by a professor of Film and Communication Studies at Seton Hall. Follow the link for the entire review.

copyright 2008, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut, No. 50, spring 2008

Without restraint: 9/11 videos and the pursuit of truth
by Christopher Sharrett

As the monstrous, unprovoked war by the U.S. on Iraq turns into an unmitigated disaster, the lies that caused the U.S. population initially to accept the invasion need revisiting. At this writing, only the most unthinking, gung-ho sectors of our population would swallow the Orwellian notion that “peace and democracy” have been the basic goals of an assault that has taken at least 600,000 Iraqi lives and over 4o00 U.S. military personnel. The earlier lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction poised for use against the U.S. was transparent to anyone with a passing knowledge of Iraq’s service as a U.S. client state. With the devastating impact of the 1991 Gulf War (Fig. 1) and subsequent economic sanctions, Iraq was reduced to Third World status, its industrial infrastructure mostly gone, including weapons that Iraq used in the 1980s, with U.S. approval, to subdue Iran and internal resistance movements. The foundational lie underneath the Iraq war is, of course, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and Iraq’s hinted involvement therein.

The assaults on New York and Washington of 2001 — represented by the apocalyptic numerals “9/11” — stay in the public consciousness in part due to their fusion (Fig. 2) to a steady stream of anxiety-producing, color-coded “terror alerts” that have succeeded in making the U.S. people let pass with little criticism a host of draconian laws challenging the Bill of Rights. This state of affairs is generally accepted by Democratic and Republican politicians with little or no fuss as the way we now live, even with an unremitting cascade of official lies discernable to anyone reasonably awake. The administration’s linking of 9/11 to Iraq is an unconscionable act, one exposed by everyone from administration insiders to members of the mainstream press (and, in fact, by Bush himself, who clumsily recanted the idea in a series of disingenuous remarks carried in third-page stories long forgotten), but to little productive effect. That is, except for a noticeable part of the U.S. population now coalescing into something called the 9/11 Truth Movement, which Bush predictably denounced (from the podium of the U.N. no less), as he declared no quarter on “outrageous conspiracy theories” of 9/11.

The Truth Movement already has its intellectual vanguard, including retired theology professor David Ray Griffin, author of the bestselling The New Pearl Harbor, (Fig. 3) Kevin Ryan, a chemist and former laboratory manager for the prestigious Underwriters Laboratories, and Steven Jones, a physics professor at Brigham Young University, whose peer-reviewed paper on the collapse of the World Trade Center caught the attention of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Jones, founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, was placed on (Fig. 4) leave by BYU and then forced into early retirement, one of several academics penalized merely for addressing the event. Jones and Griffin seem to the Truth Movement what Vincent Salandria , Mark Lane, Harold Weisberg, Josiah Thompson, and Sylvia Meagher were to Kennedy assassination research in their ability to bring focus and intellectual rigor to public debate, although the political outlooks of Jones, Ryan, and Griffin seem more centrist than that earlier generation of researcher/activists. The Movement’s verdict on 9/11 is radical enough. As they argue, the conspiracy goes beyond the obvious point that U.S. authorities exploited the attacks to advance state interests (see Jeremy Earp’s film Hijacking Catastrophe), or that the state apparatus was asleep at the switch. The Movement asserts that 9/11 was a state-sponsored operation.... (follow the link above)

Christopher Sharrett is Professor of Communication and Film Studies at Seton Hall University. He has published in Cineaste, Framework, Senses of Cinema, Film International, Kinoeye, Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal, Cineaction, Persistence of Vision, and numerous anthologies, including Cinema and Modernity, The End of Cinema as We Know It, Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers, The New American Cinema, The Dread of Difference: Essay on the Horror Film, Japanese Horror Cinema, and other collections. He is editor of Mythologies of Violence in Postmodern Media and co-editor with Barry Keith Grant of Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film (revised edition). His most recent book is a monograph on the 1950s TV western, The Rifleman (Wayne State University Press). He is currently writing a book about the neoconservative politics of contemporary Hollywood cinema. In the 1970s and 80s, he was a researcher/activist focusing on the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He lobbied for the creation of the 1976-79 House Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. Congress.