asks: Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition?

Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition?
We ask signatories of the statement that helped drive Van Jones from office if they stand by it.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Sep. 11, 2009 |

Thanks in large part to his association with the 9/11 Truth movement, Van Jones is no longer a member of the Obama White House. Jones resigned last week amid a swirl of controversy -- prodded on largely by Fox News' Glenn Beck -- that included the former "green jobs" advisor's signing of a petition put out by the 9/11 Truth movement urging a further investigation into the World Trade Center attacks. Most controversially, the petition wondered darkly that "unanswered questions ... suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war," before drifting into a list of wild and dubious speculation. (You can read the petition right here.)

Initially, Jones said that he hadn't fully reviewed the statement before he signed. But that didn't stop the onslaught of bad publicity that ultimately led to his exit.

The statement was released in October 2004 and has been signed by nearly 200 people, including many relatives of those who lost someone in the attacks. It called for an investigation into 9/11 but also directly questioned the government's conclusions about the plane crashes.

In the wake of Jones' departure, Politico's Ben Smith contacted two other signatories of the statement, Rabbi Michael Lerner and historian Howard Zinn. Smith found that both men felt they had signed a petition of more limited scope than the one that appears at the 9/11 Truth Web site, one that asked only for an investigation into the attacks and not one questioning President Bush's prior knowledge of 9/11.

Salon contacted nearly 30 of the petition's signatories to see if they felt, as did Lerner, Zinn and Jones, that the document didn't reflect their views on 9/11. We asked a simple question: If you had to do it all over again, would you still sign the statement?

Salon has not heard back from two of the statement's most famous signatories: actor Ed Asner and comedian Janeane Garofalo. (Updated: We have received and added Asner's response to the list below.) But many did respond and most -- though not all -- expressed their full-fledged support for the petition. Their responses are below:

Ed Asner (through his company, Quince Productions): Mr. Asner would sign the petition again without the slightest hesitation.

Gray Brechin, historical geographer and visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Department of Geography: Until recently, I thought that I (like Van Jones) live in a country with a First Amendment that permits freedom of speech, thought and petition without fear of reprisal. I had that pleasant illusion despite growing up in the dark shadow of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, of red scares, blacklists and witch hunts, of the John Birch Society (and worse), which the Old Guard of the Republican Party then considered zanies. The ideological descendants of those wackos have since taken over that party. I suspect that you did not grow up at that time.

Since when did Salon permit Glenn Beck and the almost equally loony WSJ editorial page to set the terms of discussion, calling those who want answers to so much that remains unexplained about 9/11 "truthers" and thus giving them equivalence with "birthers," "deathers" and "tea baggers"? Since when was Van Jones a "czar" rather than an advisor? Since when was he not entitled to his opinions, past or present? Was it when he was born black and inexcusably smart? Jones is the kind of visionary with whom Franklin Roosevelt surrounded himself but of which the Obama administration is almost entirely bereft, and now that administration has shamefully thrown him to the sharks.

Have you contacted the widows and other family members who lost loved ones on that terrible day and asked them if they recant wondering why, for example, New York City and the Pentagon -- the fucking Pentagon! -- were defenseless on that morning more than a month after the would-be president was informed that Osama bin Laden was determined to attack the United States? Have you asked them if they are as disloyal, or as nuts, as Van Jones for signing that petition? Have you an answer for that and other questions on that petition, which were never discussed by the mainstream media when it piled on Jones at Beck's behest?

Van Jones was not only flayed for once signing a petition but for jokingly calling Republicans "assholes." Why is that "extreme" speech when Glenn Beck freely advocates violent overthrow of the U.S. government, gives an exegesis of the Communist/Fascist messages that "progressive" John D. Rockefeller Jr. insidiously inserted in the art of Rockefeller Center, and fantasizes killing Michael Moore and the speaker of the House on air to millions? When will the men with butterfly nets take this man away so that he does not hurt others or himself, rather than journalists allow him to take them down into his rat-infested sewer with him?

I keep hoping that, like Joe McCarthy, Mr. Beck (and O'Reilly, Coulter, Malkin, "Savage," etc.) will go too far, but -- with the wreck of public education and its replacement by entertainment -- Americans have so lost any moral compass that "too far" no longer exists as long as one is to the right of Dick Cheney.

Fred Burks, former interpreter for Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney and Al Gore: I definitely support the 9/11 statement and am deeply disappointed that Van Jones recanted. I'm almost certain he agreed with it when he signed it.

Paul Hawken, author and co-founder of Smith & Hawken: (Editorial note: Hawken requested to have his name removed from the list of signatories) I don't regret signing it because I never did sign it, and I am not sure Van did either. What might have happened is that an e-mail was sent around calling for an endorsement for a more thorough investigation into the events leading up to and on the day of 9/11. I have asked for any records showing that I signed anything and the committee says that they are unable to supply any such record. I was completely unaware of the press release or that my name was used until I was contacted during the Beck lynching. I do remember e-mails around that time but they were about the families of the victims feeling that their government (the 9/11 Commission) had let them down.

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law and practice at Princeton University; distinguished visiting professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara: I would re-sign the 9/11 statement calling for investigation and clarification with respect to the series of questions that have never been satisfactorily answered. To call for an investigation along these lines does not make one "a 9/11 truther" or an endorser of a conspiracy theory. The deliberate blurring of the boundary between questioning the persuasiveness of the official version of 9/11 and the endorsement of an alternative theory of the events that implicates high officials in the Bush presidency seems designed to prevent further inquiry. Citizens in a democratic society deserve to know the truth, and to seek the truth in matters of such fundamental national importance should be treated as an expression of patriotic duty rather than the reverse.

Catherine Austin Fitts, assistant secretary of housing during the George H.W. Bush administration: I signed the 9/11 truth statement and stand by my signature.

Richard Heinberg, author: No, I don't regret signing the petition. The petition, as I signed it, was essentially recommending that an independent investigation take place. I felt at the time, and still feel, that with events of such monumental importance as this, the more light that can be shed the better. I do not believe that the official 9/11 Commission Report addressed many of the most important questions about the events. Nevertheless, I have no ongoing association with the 9/11 Truthers.

Enver Masud, founder, the Wisdom Fund: YES, I would sign the statement again.

However, unless one has a transparent investigation (perhaps something in the nature of the Watergate hearings), plus exchanges between scientists, engineers, architects, pilots, etc. -- on all sides of the issue, I may not have much confidence in the findings.

Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies at New York University: Yes, if I had it to do over again, I would sign that statement readily, since the questions that it raises are not just legitimate but terribly important -- and they have not been answered credibly.

The fact that such a statement should be controversial at all has less to do with what it says than with the great taboo that still inhibits rational discussion of the evidence.

First of all, the statement asks for a new inquiry into 9/11. That is hardly an insane demand, considering the many obstacles and limitations that prevented the 9/11 Commission from doing a proper job. That body was deliberately enfeebled by Bush/Cheney: grossly underfunded ($3 million -- while, for example, the budget for the study of the Challenger disaster was $50 million, and Whitewater cost over $40 million); granted no subpoena power; forced to rush the process; denied all sorts of vital information; and otherwise slowed down, fouled up, kept in the dark. (I write at length about Bush/Cheney's varied efforts to prevent, then hobble, the Commission in my book "Cruel and Unusual," pp. 33ff.)

Witnesses employed by the USG were daunted openly by departmental colleagues who sat in on the hearings, ostentatiously, as "minders." ("The Commission feels unanimously," said Chairman Thomas Kean, "that it's some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work with or works with your agency.") And Bush/Cheney themselves refused to testify except in tandem, with a strict limit on their time, and their testimony given off the record and not under oath.

So how could anyone regard that body's findings as definitive -- even if those findings were not rife with logical and physical impossibilities, as well as glaring omissions? (Such problems have been very thoroughly and soberly discussed by David Ray Griffin, in his three books on the subject, one of them, on the inexplicable collapse of Building 7, just now coming out.) A new investigation is not just a good idea, but, I'd say, a major civic obligation, what with the scale of that horrendous tragedy, and its disastrous national and global consequences.

In calling for a new inquiry, the statement also proposes that the Bush administration had foreknowledge of the attack. Now, if I had been the one to draft the statement, I would probably have worded that bit less assertively, in order not to draw the sort of propaganda fire that's been directed at the statement since it first appeared. Having said that, however, I must also note that there should really be no controversy over that suggestion, either; since it's well established that the Bush White House was pointedly forewarned of some such looming terrorist attack -- by, among others, the CIA, Mossad and the intelligence agencies of France and Britain, among others -- and yet did absolutely nothing to prevent its happening.

In any case, I find it more than troubling that the mere fact of Van Jones' having signed that statement ought to be deemed a priori evidence of his "extremist" views. (Although I'm sorry that he felt obliged to back away, I can't really blame him for it, what with the shit storm that was drenching him.) I think the press should be examining the evidence itself, instead of squaring off against the so-called truthers -- a move that only bolsters the taboo against all rational discussion of this all-important issue.

Chuck Turner, Boston City Council: I need to see the final 9/11 piece. I have read that the piece was changed after people signed it. So I can't really say whether I would do it again until I am clear on what it says.

Douglas Sturm, professor emeritus of religion and political science, Bucknell University: In direct response to your query, I in no way repudiate my action signing the 9/11 statement. It stands as an appeal to investigate closely and carefully a series of questions about that tragic event that have yet to receive fully satisfactory answers.

I have no idea why Van Jones now regrets his signature, nor shall I speculate about his motives in doing so. He is a person of immense talent who has a sterling record of activities serving the public interest. I am saddened that he is no longer in the post he assumed in President Obama's administration.

Given personal circumstances, I have been unable to be active in the continuing movement to have these questions taken seriously, but I support those who persist in this important endeavor.

Burns H. Weston, professor emeritus, University of Iowa law school: Yes, I would do it all over again. It is my position that too many critical questions have not yet been officially answered, if even investigated, and that, therefore, the jury is still out on the complete truth of 9/11.

Gray Brechin,

near the top of the article, really lays the smack down. Nice.


Even well known progressives can swallow the blue pill, and I'm not talking about viagra

Excellent article and statements.

Good for Salon to follow up with these people.

Today hasn't been a bad day for press. First NYCCAN is validated, this article about Van Jones, the Russia Today coverage ... we've come a long way from 2005.

September 22, 2009

Is going to be a big day too!!!

MSM coverage in UK

The mid-morning hosts on talksport, a national radio station in the UK, gave extensive coverage to 9/11 issues from around 11:08AM to 1PM Friday. They started off with a general look back; I managed to politely steer the discussion on to unanswered scientific questions re. WTC. Both hosts remained firm OCT believers, but to their credit they allowed me and many more callers a fair go.

The chief sticking point for the hosts and the sceptical callers was 'someone would have talked by now'. This reaffirms the importance of the scientific data, which can only be fairly rebutted by science, not (understandable) disbelief.

So: it's always worth a try. I will now follow-up with some material from and

Although about 2/3 of the other callers were sceptical, there were encouraging signs of support for a new investigation and of awareness of the facts of fire and steel.

9/11 Truth booklet PDFs:

Whole legions talked

That's why we have the prior knowledge issue.

It's a pathetic argument to begin with. Various people literally announced 9/11, some even correct to the date. Please people, whenever this argument comes up, mention Alex Jones, Bill Cooper, Mike Vreeland, Xinoehpoel, etc.

Who talked to the guys putting in the put options? Who talked to those CEO's who failed to appear to work in the WTC on 9/11? Who told Rumsfeld that 9/10 was a good date to announce missing trillions? Who talked via Odigo?

There is the whole body of prior knowledge of a 'Al Qaeda' attack which counts as 'talking' too.

Come on. Everybody was talking. It's a damn miracle the operation succeeded. A planned miracle.

Well said

'Since when did Salon permit Glenn Beck and the almost equally loony WSJ editorial page to set the terms of discussion, calling those who want answers to so much that remains unexplained about 9/11 "truthers" and thus giving them equivalence with "birthers," "deathers" and "tea baggers"?'

Wow! Who is this Vincent Rossmeier? Has he been known to be 9/11-truth-friendly before now?


Or might that have actually been part of Gray Brechin's extended quote?


it was.

excellent progress ...

it almost looks like the van jones character asaassination attempt is beginning to backfire on the anti-truth brigade.

The responses from these (mostly academic) petitioners, reaffirming their demand for a real investigation, are powerful statements expressing honesty, sincerity, conscience, intelligence and civic responsibility. They are inspiring words, and a potent reminder of why we need to continue, with ever more determination, the struggle to expose the truth about 9/11.

I doubt that Salon expected such responses, they were probably just as surprised as I am... but it's most encouraging to see they published these responses and treated the subject with a welcome degree of impartiality.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, complete statement

This moment will be looked back upon as giving a signal of encouragement to some of the most fascistic elements in the American political Right.

Van Jones's Resignation: Bad for the Country and Bad for Obama

by Rabbi Michael Lerner

I signed the same statement on 9/11 that Van Jones signed, and there was nothing immoderate about it. It didn't say what the Right claimed it said (and the mainstream media chimed in without investigation). I'll explain below.

Jones's resignation is bad for the country and for the Obama administration. It's bad for America when progressive views are an excuse to purge someone from the administration while extremist right-wing views of past administrations were always given a "pass."

Van Jones's forced resignation is a huge defeat for the forces of sanity and humanity, and represents a deep failure of the Obama-ites to understand the nature of the challenge they face from an increasingly fascistic Right wing.

Jones was the first African American environmentalist to have become a national figure (his book became a national bestseller), and was brought into the administration to help enlist minority communities in the struggle to save the environment from decades of abuse.

Right-wingers pounced on him for a speech in which he allegedly called Right-wingers assholes, though he used the same word to describe himself and the Left. But what gave them a supposedly clinching argument was that he signed a statement calling for an objective investigation of 9/11. Scroll down to see the full text of what it really said -- not what the media claimed.

Tikkun magazine, full story:

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Out-Chomskying Chomsky?

According to Lerner:

'I was asked to sign a letter that I was told had four demands:

1. An immediate investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
2. Immediate investigation in congressional hearings.
3. Media attention to scrutinize and investigate the evidence.
4. The formation of a truly independent citizens-based inquiry.

'I did not authorize my name to be used for all the other stuff that I now see was included surrounding the letter, namely the sponsors of that, and would not have had I been aware that all that stuff was presented in ways that suggested that I agreed with it, and though I do recognize a few of the people I'd consider "nut cases" among the list of signatories, my guess is that most of those who signed were, like me, unaware of the context in which our names would appear.

'Some time after signing that, I was asked to be part of a book of people questioning 9/11. In that book I said what I'm saying here -- that I am an agnostic on the question of what really happened, neither believing the official story nor the alternative stories that I've heard presented. However, in that article I made clear that I believe that the people pushing in that direction of trying to make this into a big issue were making a mistake, not because I knew that they were wrong, but because I don't think that progressives or spiritual progressives like myself should be wasting their time uncovering conspiracies.

'My own experience with the FBI and other law enforcement groups during the anti-Vietnam-war movement period in the 1960s and 1970s leads me to believe that there are far more conspiracies than most of us would believe, but they are fundamentally irrelevant to what shapes American policies, and hence not worth spending much time on unless one's goal is to become a famous investigative reporter.'

Aaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuggggghhh!! He's just parroting Chomsky! 9/11 '...fundamentally irrelevant to what shapes American policies'? Since 2001, how many of the policies that the 'shapers' have 'shaped' would have been carried out but for 1) the events of 9/11 and 2) the pervasive coverup of the actual truth of those events?!

But of course, he goes on to say that he thinks believers in conspiracy would actually be disppointed were there ever to be such an investigation, and that instead we would likely find stupidity and negligence. This after he's already said that he believes, 'that there are far more conspiracies than most of us would believe.'

The cognitive dissonance experienced by such supposedly progressive intellectuals must truly be dizzying!

Mind map

I wish someone with knowledge of psychiatry/philosophy/history could try and 'get inside the head' of Chomsky and chums.

Or at least try and explain/critique the positions of these key people as accurately as possible.

eg. Chomsky would have a 'Who Cares Anyway?' box at the bottom of his (probably rather small) flowchart.

What on earth could Chomsky mean here?

"... For [Chomsky], intentions do not seem to matter. Body count is all."
Sam Harris, End of faith

This appears to have a compelling simplicity. I'm sick and tired of politicians starting wars with the 'best intentions'. But how would this philosophy play out in a homicide case? What about 'crimes' where the 'body count' is 0?

Does he even actually think this? Is it an absolute position? Is his body count importance curve linear or exponential?

How much could this explain his stance on 911?

Obviously I don't know what I'm talking about. But even though some things may be unclear, we should take our best theories seriously. If he's wrong, or absurd, reality should reflect this.

One of the things...

I find most interesting about this... the media didn't cover the statement, or the effort to get then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to open an investigation at the time. Back then, they didn't have 5 years under their belts painting us as they have (read Fact #25). Now, however, they have had their 5 years... my guess is if they had covered it back then, people may have been more open to be associating with "9/11 Truthers" then they are today (read Rob Kall's comment).

Rob, incidentally, is the one that prompted me to write that article when he said on Facebook, "Working on pulling together the article which weaves together the great response to my letter to others who signed the 911 truth statement. I asked them to stand with Van Jones as people who signed the document who were NOT 911 Truthers, but rather, people wanting further investigations. Getting a strong response."

Edit: By the way, this is an EXCELLENT example of why you should do your VERY BEST to NEVER give our enemies ammunition against us.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?