Wikipedia as a 9/11 disinformation op

MADISON, Wisconsin—When I founded Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a loose affiliation of experts and scholars with diverse backgrounds, including faculty in the humanities, the natural sciences, the social sciences, engineers, pilots, and citizens concerned to learn the truth about 9/11 in December 2005, I invited Steve Jones, a professor of physics at BYU, to be my co-chair. The society took off like a rocket and soon had more than 300 members divided in four categories, full members, associate members, student members, and society associates.

Some were rather prominent, including:

Morgan Reynolds, Texas A & M Professor Emeritus of Economics, the former Chief Economist for the Department of Labor for President George W. Bush, and former Director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis;

Wayne Madsen, former officer in the US Navy, consultant to the National Security Agency, senior fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and today a noted investigative journalist and editor of Wayne Madsen Reports;

Robert M. Bowman, former Director of the U.S. “Star Wars” Space Defense Program in both Republican and Democratic administrations, a former Air Force Lt. Colonel with 101 combat missions and former Florida congressional candidate;

Lloyd DeMause, distinguished scholar and Director of The Institute for Psychohistory, President of the International Psycho-historical Association and Editor of The Journal of Psychohistory, who would soon withdraw;

Andreas Von Buelow, former assistant German defense minister, director of the German Secret Service, minister for research and technology, and member of Parliament for 25 years; and,

Webster Tarpley, a Princeton graduate and Fulbright Scholar, who is the co-author (with Anton Chaltkin) of George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, and of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in the USA.

It was a great success from the beginning, probably in part because one co-chairman represented the natural science and the other the humanities, in which I had already published 20 books in the philosophy of science and on the foundations of computer science, AI and cognitive science, as well as editing three books on the assassination of JFK and co-authoring another on the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone. By the end of June 2006, articles about 9/11 had grown in number from a flat line to the point where mainstream journalists were attempting to trivialize the movement.

Perhaps the highlight of that year for the Society was an event that was sponsored by Alex Jones in Los Angeles, “The American Scholars Conference,” which took place from 24–25 June 2006 at the Sheraton Downtown. On my way in to the hotel, I was called by a producer for “Hannity & Colmes,” who told me they wanted to feature me as a guest to learn what Scholars had discovered about 9/11. It would turn out that that was not the case, where they really wanted to use me as a prop for an attack on courses in colleges that dealt with 9/11. What they didn’t understand was that, while I often talked about 9/11 in my courses, I had no course on 9/11, which enabled me to take control of the program, much to the dismay of Ollie North, sitting in for Sean.

The conference drew more than 1,200 from around the world and was regarded as a great success. Perhaps the most important event that occurred there—from both the point of view of Scholars but also for the public—was a five-person panel discussion held on Sunday, where 4 members of Scholars—Steve Jones, Bob Bowman, Webster Tarpley, and I—spoke while Alex Jones moderated. It was during this panel that I presented my “Top 10 Reasons the Hijackers are Fake.” But what made a difference is that C-Span was there to record the panel discussion, which it would broadcast at least seven times subsequently at decent times, which appears to have broken the glass-ceiling—an implicit state of discourse—that had previously inhibited the public from discussion of 9/11. It was therefore, in my opinion, a significant cultural event.

Hannity & Colmes” would feature me again as well as Bill O’Reilly on “The Factor,” while I was making many radio appearances, which are archived under “Past Events” on the Scholars web site. But my concerns about Steve’s fixation on thermite as the key to understanding the “collapse” of the Twin Towers was growing, especially as I became more and more familiar with the work of Dr. Judy Wood, a former professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson. Judy has a background in applied physics, in structural engineering, and in materials engineering science, which are precisely the academic disciplines that are most relevant to understanding what happened to the World Trade Center on 9/11. When I interviewed her on my radio program during a visit to Tucson on 11 November 2006 and expressed keen interest in her approach, I experienced immediate feedback that was negative. No one seemed happy about it.

Most of Steve’s fans, alas, do not understand that the adequacy of any theory about the destruction of the WTC can only demonstrate its superiority in comparison with alternative theories. Steve himself has fostered the impression that it is possible to evaluate a single theory independent of its alternatives, which is not the method of science. Science proceeds in four stages, from PUZZLEMENT to SPECULATION on to ADAPTATION (of hypotheses to evidence) and then, when the evidence has “settled down” and points in the same direction, to EXPLANATION. In order to insure that the true theory is not excluded from scratch, it is indispensable to the success of science that every alternative explanation be considered—from thermite with conventional explosives to mini-nukes to lasers, masers, and plasmoids. As I have also explained, I am not committed to which is the right explanation but to the need for their study.

December was a fateful month for Scholars. Most students of 9/11 are unaware that a faction favoring Jones appropriated the membership list and conduct a fake poll, which they insisted showed that most of the members disapproved of the manner which I had been running the society. I believe this was largely motivated by my removing Steve from supervising the forum after an odd incident in which a post being submitted by Rick Siegel was deleted, when Steve would not tell me who had deleted it. They subsequently froze the web site and forced me to create a new one at 911scholars.org, even though I had been the only person to post any articles on st911.0rg from its conception. The history of these events has been archived on the new site. At the same time this faction was busy demonizing me, I flew to Athens to appear on a 3 ½ hour television program about 9/11, which was being hosted by the leading investigative journalist in Greece, and being broadcast worldwide by satellite.

When I turned to the Wiki article on “9/11 Truth Movement,” therefore, I suppose I should not have been surprised that it read as though it were frozen in time since late 2006/early 2007. It stated that I was “advocating” theories about the use of directed energy weapons or small nuclear devices “that were insufficiently supported by evidence and were exposing the group to ridicule.” Except, of course, I was not “advocating” those theories, but only advocating their study! In fact, insofar as they represent distinct explanations of how it might have been done, it would have been inconsistent on its face for anyone to have been advocating them both, much less a professional philosopher who had spent 35 years teaching logic, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning in college and university courses. I was also astonished to learn that I had been banished from the 9/11 movement for my alleged offenses, to wit:

Scholars for 9/11 Truth (CURRENT)

The original Scholars for 9/11 Truth, founded by James H. Fetzer and Steven Jones on December 15, 2005, was a group of individuals of varying backgrounds and expertise who rejected the mainstream media and government account of the September 11 attacks.[3][94]

Initially the group invited many ideas and hypotheses to be considered, however, leading members soon came to feel that the inclusion of some theories advocated by Fetzer—such as the use of directed energy weapons or small nuclear bombs to destroy the Twin Towers—were insufficiently supported by evidence and were exposing the group to ridicule. By December 2006, Jones and several others set up a new scholars group titled Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, whose focus was in the use of the scientific method in analysis.[95] The original members took a vote on which group to join and the majority voted to move to the new group.[96] By 2007, James Fetzer had been openly rejected by the 9/11 Truth Movement, banned from and criticized on popular forums[97][98][99][100] and no longer invited to public 9/11 events.

All in all, this was both historically inaccurate and seriously misleading. I had not only been flown to Athens to appear on an historic television broadcast in 2006 but I had organized the first conference sponsored by Scholars in Madison in 2007, edited its first book and produced its first DVD. In 2008, I would be flown to Buenos Aires to present three lectures on 9/11 and one on JFK, which received quite considerable coverage in the press, including two articles in TELAM, the official press service of the Republic of Argentina. In 2009, I was flown back to Buenos Aires for a major event on 9/11 held at The National Library, with more than 200 in attendance and six or seven television cameras. And in 2010, I have organized a symposium being held at Friends House in London with Kevin Barrett and Gilad Atzmon, where Ken O’Keefe, hero of the Israeli assault on the Miva Marmara, is Master of Ceremonies.

The claim I was no longer being invited to domestic 9/11 events was equally false. I had not only presented a lecture on the moral, religious, and political dimensions of 9/11 in Chicago in 2006, but debated Mark Roberts on “Hardfire,” a cable television program, in April 2007, a program that has often been rebroadcast; presented a lecture on how the media manipulates 9/11 at Cooper Union in New York in 2007 and another on 9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda during a Ron Paul “Freedom Rally” before the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on 15 April 2008. In 2009, I was invited to Portland by the 9/11 group there (to present talks on 9/11 and JFK)—and to Seattle by the 9/11 group there, where they are archived on my blog. This is not to mention talks at the University of Wisconsin Madison and UW Milwaukee and a host of other presentation—TV, radio, lectures—which are listed under “Past Events” on Scholars.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice has many accomplishments, but why should I be the whipping boy? So I tried to make the section on Scholars for 9/11 Truth truthful:

Scholars for 9/11 Truth (PROPOSED)

The original Scholars for 9/11 Truth, founded by James H. Fetzer and Steven Jones on December 15, 2005, was a group of individuals of varying backgrounds and expertise who rejected the mainstream media and government account of the September 11 attacks.[3][94] Fetzer, a philosopher of science of considerable academic distinction,[95] encouraged the study of a broad range of alternative theories, which eventually led to conflicts with Jones, who was propunding the use of an incendiary called “thermite” as holding the key to understanding the “collapse” of the Twin Towers, which Fetzer found unconvincing as a complete explanation of the towers conversion into millions of cubic yards of very fine dust.[96]

As a philosopher, Fetzer took a “big tent” approach and encouraged the study of alternative explanations, such as mini-nukes, lasers, masers, and plasmoids. Those close to Jones regarded some of the theories whose study was advocated by Fetzer—such as the use of directed energy weapons or small nuclear bombs to destroy the Twin Towers—as insufficiently supported by evidence and exposing the group to ridicule. In December 2006, Jones and Fetzer separated in the midst of considerable tension.[97] The new (Jones) group calls itself Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice. Both groups focus on the use of the scientific method, but there are differences in emphasis.[98][99] Fetzer has continued to advocate the study of a broad range of alternative theories, especially in the new Scholars forum.[100]

In spite of the controversy, Fetzer has continued his efforts[101] and organized the first Scholars conference, “The Science and Politics of 9/11,” in Madison in 2007 and published the first book from Scholars and its first DVD. [102] [103] He was invited to Buenos Aires for lectures on 9/11 and JFK in 2008.[104][105] In 2009, he was flown back to Buenos Aires and presented the principal lecture during “The International Conference for 9/11 Truth and Justice” held at The National Library on September 11th.[106] While Fetzer remains controversial for his willingness to consider hypotheses and theories about the destruction of the World Trade Center and the possibility of video fakery on 9/11,[107][108][109][110][111] he has replied to his critics on various occasions[112][113] and continues to make presentations, including a symposium in London on the “war on terror,” where he will be addressing whether wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are justified by 9/11.[114]

My revision was deleted within minutes, which telegraphed that Wiki was not going to allow me to fix the record. I waited a day and tried again, where my attempts to correct factual inaccuracies and historical blunders were rejected again and thereby confirmed it. Because the editors have my revisions, moreover, which are thoroughly supported, they know that what they have about Scholars on this page is inaccurate and misleading. No doubt, many members of the 9/11 Truth Movement regard me as controversial, but most of them do not know my views. Some of the attacks on me have been reprehensible and I have publicly responded to them more than once.

But my complaint is not with those in the movement who are trying to subvert the search for truth but the role of Wiki in these activities. No one who has read what I have explained here or has checked the citations I have provided can seriously doubt that the Wiki discussion about Scholars for 9/11 Truth is historically inaccurate and seriously misleading. The only reason for keeping such rubbish on its pages would appear to be to trash one of the few in the movement who understands the nature of scientific inquiry and why it is essential to finding the truth about the events of 9/11.

Reading further through the Wiki entry, I discovered another caricature of my views:

Internal critique (CURRENT)

While there is general agreement within the movement that individuals within the United States government (but not necessarily the government as a whole) are responsible for the attacks, alternative theories differ about what may have happened.[3] There have been a number of articles and responses written by members critiquing the methods and theories of other members, often in a scholarly format, as in the Journal of 9/11 Studies.[119][citation needed]

While Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice states that they advocate the use of the scientific method and civil research activities over public debate,[120] Jim Fetzer’s group, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has said that the scientific method is unnecessary and that any imaginable theory is worthy of advocating to the public. For example, reporting on a conference involving Fetzer’s group, a Madison Times article stated: “By Sunday the conference had covered weather control, weapons from space, and the idea that the planes that struck the towers never existed at all.”[121]

No one with any understanding of the nature of science, much less a professional philosopher of science whose 29th book, The Place of Probability in Science (2010), has just appeared, would adopt such a stance. There seems to be confusion in the minds of some of my critics between the stages of Speculation and of Explanation in the evaluation of alternative theories. It is indispensable that, when confronted with a puzzling phenomenon that does not fit within our background assumptions, all of the alternative possibilities be elaborated for consideration and evaluation. Taken as stated here, the position attributed to me is simply absurd, since it would commit me to every available explanation—thermite & conventional explosives and mini-nukes and lasers and masers and plasmoids! The disinfo agents thus appear to have gone a bridge too far in their efforts to discredit me. So I have also proposed this revision:

Internal critique (PROPOSED)

While there is general agreement within the movement that individuals within the United States government (but not necessarily the government as a whole) are responsible for the attacks, alternative theories differ about what may have happened.[3] There have been a number of articles and responses written by members critiquing the methods and theories of other members, often in a scholarly format, as in the Journal of 9/11 Studies.[124][citation needed]

Scholars for 9/11 Truth no less than Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice advocates the use scientific method as fundamental to research on 9/11.[125] As a profession philosopher of science with substantial publications,[126] Fetzer has emphasized that science can only proceed by considering a full range of alternative hypotheses.[127] No theory can be established without demonstrating that its explanatory power is greater than that of its alternatives.[128]

During the first Scholars conference, “The Science and Politics of 9/11,” held in Madison in 2007, a wide range of alternative hypotheses were discussed. [129] A Madison Times article, whose author did not appear to have a scientific background, caught something of the flavor of the debate when it reported, “By Sunday the conference had covered weather control, weapons from space, and the idea that the planes that struck the towers never existed at all.”[130]

Now I freely admit that the only advantages of my revisions of the Wiki article on “9/11 Truth Movement” is that they are true and more accurate and complete than those they would replace, if they had been allowed to stand. That, of course, was in doubt, since I have experienced many difficulties in the past simply in maintaining my own entry in Wiki, where, because I have introduced corrections to mistakes in earlier versions of my own entry, it has been cited for a “lack of objectivity” and a possible violation of Wiki’s standards of neutrality in spite of copious documentation. Indeed, within two hours of posting these revisions, the page was reverted to the earlier version. Since Wiki’s editors have my revisions and the documentation that supports them, they know the information about Scholars and me is seriously and irredeemably flawed. I naively thought misleading the public was not Wiki’s goal.

Perhaps some may suppose that, even though I have many accomplishments to my name as my vita displays, perhaps I am not very good at dealing with conspiracies. I would recommend testing that opinion by reviewing my work (with Jim Marrs) on the photo fakery used to frame Oswald, the assassinations of JFK and RFK, and the distinction between conspiracies and conspiracism. Or go to OpEdNews and enter my name. Pick a subject you know well and compare what I have had to say about it. The Wiki strategy is simple. By smearing some of the best qualified analytic minds in the movement, 9/11 Truth will become befuddled and factionalized. After all, the only way to resolve complex controversies is to confront them and sort them out. But if you can marginalize those who have the background and ability to carry out that challenging task, the vast majority of “truthers” will never know the difference. Indeed, attacking me because I am dealing with controversial aspects of 9/11 is a bit unreal. Most Americans already think challenging the official account is controversial!

So where do we stand? Wiki pretends to objectivity that it does not respect. Even by its own standard of verifiability, my revisions satisfy that criterion, while what it publishes does not. It has no citation for its fantastic allegation, “Jim Fetzer’s group, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has said that the scientific method is unnecessary and that any imaginable theory is worthy of advocating to the public,” for the simple reason that it is not true. The very idea that a professional philosopher of science would take such a stand is absurd. So Wiki must be aware that it is making assertions that it knows to be false with the intention of misleading its readers. And since that is the case, as has been demonstrated here, Wiki is functioning as a disinfo op in relation to 9/11. Surely a publication that bills itself as “an encyclopedia” should do its best to insure the accuracy and completeness of its entries. Based upon my experience, there appears to be a political agenda that overrides those concerns.

James H. Fetzer is also the editor of assassinationscience.com and the co-editor of assassinationresearch.com. He has a blog at http://jamesfetzer.blogspot.com.

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