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Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Fetzer "Insane" ? Am I a "Sap"? Ex-Dynamic Duo has Dynamic Difference of Opinion


A friend is someone who can tell you when you're full of it.

I have been friends with Jim Fetzer of Scholars for 9/11 Truth since he moved to Madison in early summer 2006, just in time for us to compete to see who could do the best Fox News interview. (My best effort is here, his are here and here.)

We have had our differences of opinion over the years, and now it looks like we have another one. Jim thinks this Greek newspaper story is credible, so it's reasonable to say that "4,000 Jews were forewarned" before 9/11. I strongly disagree.

Below is a record of our email exchange on the subject, in chronological order, with Jim's emails in italics, and mine in boldface. You be the judge.

It began when Jim saw my email to Michael Morrissey saying:

First, the idea that the "Jewish community" was forewarned about 9/11 is completely insane. I agree with Mike Ruppert, who in Crossing the Rubicon suggested that this rumor was planted by Mossad to discredit the fact that actual warnings went out to specific Israelis (Odigo, Zim Shipping, etc.) which is why only one or possibly two Israelis, instead of dozens or hundreds, died in the Twin Towers...

Jim's response:

Kevin appears to be developing his propensity to shoot off his mouth when
he has no idea what he is talking about. I find that extremely offensive.
How did you manipulate him into doing this? That kind of conduct is quite
consistent with my take on your character and duplicitous behavior here in
relation to any indication of Israeli complicity in 9/11. Are you going
to get Kevin to assert that any such indications are also "insane"? You
are a truly despicable person, Michael. You are playing Kevin for a sap.

Jim,

Saying "4000 Jews were warned" IS insane. I agree with Elias that the Greek newspaper report is not evidence of anything, and is in fact almost certainly a sloppy rendition of the Jerusalem Post story, or possibly a Mossad plant to discredit actual evidence of Israeli foreknowledge. While it is not quite impossible that the Haaretz and Yadiot Ahrandt articles could exist and say what the Greek report claims, it is so improbable that we would need to see archived copies of those newspapers to credit the claim. In the unlikely event this turned out to be true, it would still be insane to translate the Greek word as "Jews" rather than "Israelis," given the sensitivities and common usage in American language and culture.

For what it's worth, I think the evidence does show that many Israelis were apparently forewarned, that the one or two Israeli deaths is obviously considerably lower than would have occurred without such warnings, that the Odigo and Zim stories support this interpretation, and that the Mossad agents photographing themselves flicking cigarette lighters in front of the burning Towers were obviously celebrating an event they, or their agency, had helped perpetrate.

Kevin

PS Calling Michael "despicable" and me a "sap," and insulting the admirable Elias, does not make your weak argument any stronger.

Kevin,

Thanks for getting back on this. I did not say you were a "sap". I
said he is playing you for one. I don't know how many exchanges you
have had with Michael, but I am convinced that he is NOT on the up-
and-up. Moreover, the article was provided to me by Evi Martyn, an
internationally celebrated concert pianist, who bought the paper in
Greece the weekend of 22-23 November 2001. She has also explained
that, in Greece, the terms "Israeli" and "Jew" are virtually inter-
changeable. She translated the article and we have had several dis-
cussion about it. From the point of view of logic or the theory of
knowledge, it establishes a prima facie case for its contents, which
are entitled to be accepted at truth unless they are rebutted by the
discovery of stronger evidence. I can assure you that Elias and I
are doing just fine. But I can't quite understand this eagerness to
dismiss evidence of Israeli complicity that was apparently published
in TWO Israeli newspapers. Just for my edification, precisely how
do you KNOW that this report, which Evi obtained from the paper when
she was in Athens that weekend, is FALSE? I can't want to hear the
response. You are really making a blunder if you take Morrissey at
face value. He would not even allow a mathematic study of why the
Twin Towers could not have collapsed because it had appeared on an
anti-Semitic web site! As I explained to him then, that is a nice
example of the genetic fallacy, which dismisses an argument based
upon its source. In this case, it did not even originate there,
but only appeared there. If the argument is correct, it remains
correct--and that is the case, even if Adolf Hitler himself had
written it! I was simply stunned by his overly zealous anti-anti-
Semitism, which he is using as a club to bash research that might
implicate Israel in the events of 9/11. You might want to take a
look via google at my article, "Is 9/11 research 'anti-Semitic'?"

Jim


Jim,

As an illustrious professor of scientific reasoning, critical thinking, and so on, if you cool down for a few moments you may notice that it's you, not me, who is shooting off his mouth without knowing what he is talking about.

(quoting Fetzer)
"But I can't quite understand this eagerness to
dismiss evidence of Israeli complicity that was apparently published
in TWO Israeli newspapers. Just for my edification, precisely how
do you KNOW that this report, which Evi obtained from the paper when
she was in Athens that weekend, is FALSE?"

I don't. But I have no reason to believe it's true either. I know nothing about the Greek paper or its reputation for reliability or lack thereof. As a secondhand report, this needs to be sourced to the Israeli papers themselves, as Elias said, especially since it does seem improbable that Israeli papers would print such a story. Would you accept this kind of leaping to an incendiary, improbable conclusion from a secondary source whose bona fides are unknown, without seeking the primary source, from a graduate student?

Kevin

Kevin,

You will see that I have addressed other aspects of this in an even
more recent post. The short answer is, No, I am not a credulous moron,
but thanks for asking! This article was in a newspaper purchased in
Athens on the weekend of 22-23 September 2001! I hope you did not
miss that point. It was given to me by the very person who bought it,
who is a native Green and celebrated international pianist, a source
that is a tad more credible than you seem to be willing to acknowledge.
Do you think the Mossad had this story published in two Israeli papers
on the 17th and the 18th in order to discredit students of 9/11 years
later? Is that what you are suggesting? Yet you admit that there is
ample other evidence that Israelis were warned. I don't get it. Why
are you so disbelieving about this article when its source, Evi Martyn,
is impeccable? And do you understand the concept of prima facie proof
or not? If you want to dispute what this authentic article from Alpha
One is reporting, then it is incumbent upon you to disprove it! I've
done my part by presenting a prima facie proof. Unless its contents
are rebutted by stronger evidence, we are entitled to accept it as
true--albeit in a tentative and fallible fashion, since subsequent
evidence might show that it is false. OK? YOU AND MICHAE BEAR THE
BURDEN AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Your intuition, alas, is not evidence.

Thanks for a very nice, thoughtful response. Let's continue this.

Jim

Quoting "Kevin Barrett" :


Jim,

Intelligence agencies plant news stories all the time. Journalists report wrong information all the time. I know that only too well, because most of what has been written about me in the media is wrong!

Consider the database of mainstream stories at the 9/11 section of History Commons. All of these many thousands of referenced stories include information potentially casting doubt in one way or another on the official version of 9/11. In a great many cases, that is because one mainstream media story contradicts another. No sensible 9/11 researcher would accept the idea that there is a strong prima facie case for accepting the truth of each and every story! Indeed, many of the most commonly cited stories by 9/11 truthers (and even more stories cited by supporters of the OCT) are very likely false, such as the Times of India report that the head of the ISI wired $100,000 to Atta -- very likely an Indian intelligence plant to discredit their Pakistani enemies. You have heard of Operation Mockingbird, I trust.

I have taught folklore courses on urban legends, and the biggest source of urban legends is absurdly false news stories. There are thousands of them, as well as millions that are less obviously, but no less, false.

The likely truth of any given media report depends on many things, including the history and reputation of the newspaper and journalist, whether there are independent corroborating reports from other newspapers, whether the information is plausible, whether it conflicts with other reports, and so on. If one newspaper cites another, a scholar is supposed to track down the original source.

Do you really accept the truth of everything that has ever been published in any newspaper, including the National Enquirer and its Greek versions, unless someone can conclusively prove it was false!? In that case, I suppose you must believe that Elvis regularly visits the earth from his UFO base on the dark side of the moon unless I can disprove it, which I unfortunately cannot.

Kevin

PS None of this has any relation to your disagreements with anybody else on any other issue.

Kevin,

I am not used to this degree of irrationality from someone whom I know
and trust. Morrissey is another matter entirely. We had an extensive
discussion of this issue on parallel threads, one on his alethetia, one
on 911scholars. I rebutted every argument he posted! So he took down
the thread from alethetia, banned me from the site, and resigned from
911scholars, which meant that his blog, which included this thread, was
wiped out! What we have now is but a fragment of the previous thread.
Is that the kind of conduct you would expect from an honest researcher?
Why don't you ask Michael precisely what he thought he was doing? He
might have taken it off his own site, but removing it from mine--even
though he was able to do it because it was on his own blog--was about
as clear a corrupt act as I have ever witnessed in 9/11 research apart,
of course, from the production of THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT itself!

Please note the meaning of "Prima facie". In this case, it comes from
Wikipedia, but there is nothing unusual about this definition. What he
is attempting to do--and you are falling for it, alas!--is to shift the
burden of proof, so that I not only have to pose a prima facie case but
do the additional research to bolster it! That is not required under the
law and logic certainly does not dictate it. Michael has gone so far as
to claim that he has no idea what the article says because he can't read
Greek! This is like his dismissal of Charles Boldwyn's mathematical proof
that the Twin Towers cannot have collapsed because HE PERSONALLY was not
able to follow it! Do you see a pattern developing here? Something is]
very wrong with Morrissey. It took me a while to figure it out. And he
is a LINGUIST! He even said he had an expert handy to translated it, but
then somehow this "expert" disappeared, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE TOO TEDIOUS!
Well, the article isn't more than 500 words. How tedious can that be?

I have established a prima facie proof. The obligation falls upon those
who would deny it to advance proof to the contrary. Your subjective sen-
sibilities--that it would be "absurd"!--alas, does not count as evidence.
Which is why I am so puzzled by the intensity of your response. Where
does reason leave off and your subjective sensibilities click in? HOW
CAN YOU POSSIBLY KNOW THAT THE CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE ARE FALSE? Of
course, you can't. You even admit to the existence of evidence that is
consistent with the content of this article, namely: that there is lots
of proof that Israelis were warned. Well, stupid things happen all the
time--like framing Oswald with a weapon that cannot have fired the shots
that killed JFK--but I guess I only have to consult your subjective sens-
ibilities to discover that that is "absurd", too, even thought it is fact.
So what has become of your commitment to logic and evidence? Consider:

Prima facie (pronounced /ˈpraɪmə ˈfeɪʃiː/, from Latin prīmā faciē) is a Latin expression meaning on its first appearance, or by first instance; at first sight. The literal translation would be "from first face", prima first, facie face, both in the ablative case. It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts. In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence which — unless rebutted — would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact.
Most legal proceedings require a prima facie case to exist, following which proceedings may then commence to test it, and create a ruling. This may be called facile princeps, first principles.

Morrissey wants to evade the issue by shifting the burden of proof. Don't
fall for it. If you now join him, you will likewise be abandoning reason.
He has a motive, which--believe it or not--appears to be to suppress or to
distort every piece of evidence that might implicate Israel in 9/11. You,
to the best of my knowledge, do not share that motive. I therefore have
higher expectations of your capacity to respond to evidence in a rational
fashion. Do us all the favor of not abandoning that standard here and now.

Jim


Jim,

Intelligence agencies plant news stories all the time. Journalists report wrong information all the time. I know that only too well, because most of what has been written about me in the media is wrong!

Consider the database of mainstream stories at the 9/11 section of History Commons. All of these many thousands of referenced stories include information potentially casting doubt in one way or another on the official version of 9/11. In a great many cases, that is because one mainstream media story contradicts another. No sensible 9/11 researcher would accept the idea that there is a strong prima facie case for accepting the truth of each and every story! Indeed, many of the most commonly cited stories by 9/11 truthers (and even more stories cited by supporters of the OCT) are very likely false, such as the Times of India report that the head of the ISI wired $100,000 to Atta -- very likely an Indian intelligence plant to discredit their Pakistani enemies. You have heard of Operation Mockingbird, I trust.

I have taught folklore courses on urban legends, and the biggest source of urban legends is absurdly false news stories. There are thousands of them, as well as millions that are less obviously, but no less, false.

The likely truth of any given media report depends on many things, including the history and reputation of the newspaper and journalist, whether there are independent corroborating reports from other newspapers, whether the information is plausible, whether it conflicts with other reports, and so on. If one newspaper cites another, a scholar is supposed to track down the original source.

Do you really accept the truth of everything that has ever been published in any newspaper, including the National Enquirer and its Greek versions, unless someone can conclusively prove it was false!? In that case, I suppose you must believe that Elvis regularly visits the earth from his UFO base on the dark side of the moon unless I can disprove it, which I unfortunately cannot.

Kevin

PS None of this has any relation to your disagreements with anybody else on any other issue.

And on it goes... For the record, I like and remain friends with Jim Fetzer, and also have a high opinion of Michael Morrissey.

Once again, this whole argument revolves around one Greek news story, archived at http://911scholars.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-4000-israelis-and-ariel .

4 comments:

  1. Barrett's Dr. Jekyl is once again busily cleaning up the trutherland house to prepare for the day when he may once again sally forth into mainstreammedialand to say something totally discrediting us.

    What a hoot, Dr. Fetzer blaming Dr. Morrissey for "manipulating" Dr. Barrett into shooting his mouth off. Barrett needs no manipulation--all he needs is a microphone.

    It's amusing that Fetzer seems to think Barrett needs schooling in what "prima facie" means.

    But what's most interesting is that Barrett seems to think that skewering Fetzer (who is clearly having an unfortunate day) is going to help Barrett rebuild his credibility.

    Kevin, if you were serious about rebuilding credibility you'd admit that you either didn't know or didn't care that Willie Rodriguez's hero story was a lie.

    You'll also admit that almost everything you have done in the last three years that achieved any notice outside the 9/11 Truth movement has been amazingly destructive to that movement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does anybody care one way or the other seems like a fair question, and silence answers it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kevin, yes, you're a sap. You fell for Willie Rodriguez's gaudy hero stories, you fell for any number of pseudosciencefictioney theories, and you fell for the Citizen Investigation Team.

    One look at Willie R and you should have known. Why would a man with his charisma spend his life cleaning a stairwell through the most unprecedented prosperity in human history? He's got spook written all over him, and you should have known, or you did know. You're a sap or you find it helpful to pretend to be one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Dr Barrett, it seems to me that you and Dr Fetzer are ships passing each other in the night on this issue. Of course you have a point: the Greek story, though its chain of custody is credible, is in another sense untraceable, that is, it could be a plant from an intelligence agency to obscure the Israeli ("Jew", in Greek common parlance) warnings by exaggerating numbers of warn-ees. Or it could be a confused report of the real warnings. However, Jim's point really stresses the seeming legitimacy of the timing of the article's appearance, plus the reactionary anti-anti-Semitism of Morrissey, to the point that he was afraid or unwilling to post anyone's work because it had appeared on a Jews=Conspiracy site. I would also add that you have one point in your favour: the article is not true prima facie evidence, knowing what we do about Operation Mockingbird. But it is suggestive, combined with other evidence, that at least SOME Israeli complicity existed on 9/11, and you acknowledged that there was some, so that's great. Personally, I think the evidence is strong that parts of the Mossad knew and warned their own, and the article may be genuinely a surprise leak -- or boasting and exaggerating reported from real Israeli news, but those should be checked if possible. (The comment above, however, specifically about your "falling for" the Citizens Investigation Team is inane; the CIT work demonstrates a fly-over, which is what other evidence and common sense dictate.)

    ReplyDelete