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9.11 investigation

Znet's reply to a 9/11conspiracy theorist

"You might want to consider why no one¡õnot me, chomsky, pilger, fisk, roy, said, bond, goodman, cagan, bernard, shalom, ehrenreich, wise, peters, and on and on and on... have thought it was worth a minute of time... as compared to attention to, say, what we know and what is systemic about the war on terrorism, its impacts, etc. etc."

Fwd: Alternative Media Censorship: SPONSORED BY CIA's FORD FOUNDATION?

Chris Shumway - Mon Sep 23 15:50:25 2002

> http://www.questionsquestions.net/feldman/feldman04.html
> Viviane

Below is a response from Michael Albert, Znet sysop, to a query about the article mentioned above. This is a long exchange, but considering the allegations, it deserves attention. Note: all comments preceded by > are those of the questioner. Alberts responses follow each query/comment.
cheers, Chris

> When somebody acts in a very peculiar way, you try to
> understand what makes them tick.

Or you just might entertain the possibility that it is you who are out of synch...

> I haven't been able to
> fathom Michael Albert's & Zmag.org's active discouragement of
> those seeking to test against reality the U.S. Government's
> official explanation of who committed the 9/11 attacks, and
> whether in fact elements of the U.S. government were complicit
> in the attacks as they've been complicit in other murderous
> attacks around the world to further our 'national interests'.
> (See www.cooperativeresearch.org for the mounting 9/11
> evidence in this regard, presented in a very well organized
> fashion.)

No point in confining it to zmag—as far as I am aware there is no serious long-term leftist critic of u.s. international policy, or of capitalism, who has even for an instant entertained the idea that bush was behind 9/11. I may be wrong about that—there are usually exceptions to such general claims—but I am unaware of one.

You might want to consider why no one—not me, chomsky, pilger, fisk, roy, said, bond, goodman, cagan, bernard, shalom, ehrenreich, wise, peters, and on and on and on... have thought it was worth a minute of time... as compared to attention to, say, what we know and what is systemic about the war on terrorism, its impacts, etc. etc.

Most don't even give the conspiracists enough thought to react to them at all—shalom and I did that... however.

> Even the mainstream media admits what Z won't - that it is
> unnatural for there not to have already been an independent
> commission investigating the 9/11 attacks, as the New York
> Times noted in its' 9/11/02 article entitled: "Investigating
> 9/11: An Unimaginable Calamity, Still Largely Unexamined",
> and in its earlier 5/26/02 editorial, in which it pressed for
> the establishment of an independent commission.

Notice what occurs—examing 9/11 is reduced to a district attorney like investigation of the proximate details - and context is simply gone. This is vacuus, quite in tune with what the Times feels is acceptable discussion. To say that we who disagree with you haven't examined it—by the way, is absurd. Of course I, other znet writers, and the whole vast assemblage of writers around the world who have long been enemies of u.s. international policy have examined 9/11 and have urged others to do so as well. Conspiracists think that we haven't examined it and don't want others to examine it because for them the only examination, the only thought, the only attention that counts as such, is examination, thought, and attention that starts from their concerns and winds up more or less at their conclusions. So if we have, I don't know—200 or 300 articles on ZNet about 9/11 and the war on terrorism... nonetheless we are against examining it. Moreover, incredibly, the conspiracists then apparently decide that anyone who doesn't see things as they do must be some kind of sell-out, or such, trying to mislead the public. It is notably like sect behavior, but different in some particulars, I guess.

It is perhaps best labeled self parody, as I believe I said last time. A clear example of how conspiracy thinking tends to get stuck on only absurd imagined patterns where there are very evident and far more important relations, but then also even manufactures more absurd patterns where there is basically nothing—as in the formulation that a large part of the world's left are now suddenly puppets of capital.

Mostly such claims are put forward by people who have been leftist for a pinprick of time—though that is ultimately neither here nor there.

> This active stance on Zmag's part to discourage examination of
> U.S. complicity in the attacks, complicity which if widely
> revealed could explosively expose and destroy America's 'war
> on terror' for what it is, a pretext, makes one wonder.

If you assume complicity then yes, it might make you wonder. Can you not understand that some of us find that assumption utterly absurd. And aren't moved by your protestations to the contrary? More, can you not see that that whole array of people—who have been staunch opponents of imperial acts for decades and still are—are not somehow demented suddenly, or bought off, because they don't agree with a single particular set of claims which you happen to find compelling?

> Why would some people on the left and some left organizations have
> such a reactionary line on an issue which could really educate
> Americans, once and for all, on the nature of their
> government?

It isn't some people—it is very nearly everyone with any series left history. And it isn't reactionary—it is just mundane honesty. And false claims don't educate...

Suppose someone comes along tomorrow and says that the U.S. government invented cancer to prime the economy. The government spews it into the world, they argue. Would it be wrong to dismiss this as nonsense, and refuse to pour over endless claims about it—and would it make sense to say, wait, how can anyone on the left dismiss that when if it is true it would have devestating effect on people's views?

If you assume you are right, and that your accuracy is utterly self-evident, and no less—then, yes, I can understand how you would wonder how anyone could fail to see what you see, I suppose. But what kind of person makes such assumptions... you might consider.

And notice, it works both ways. How would you feel if I were to say—hey, I cannot understand why you can't see the grotesque harm in leftists adopting idiotic positions which make us look like fools, which distract our attention from important matters, and which tend to make us paranoid to boot. For anyone to miss the obvious truth and to persist in such a stance—such a harmful stance—they must be doing the bidding of the CIA, or something.

To say such things, in my view, would be either malicious, or cruel, or manipulative -- wouldn't it? It would be rumor mongering to try to harm people, but with no real basis.

And it would be these things because you might believe what you believe, however odd it seems to me—and it most certainly does—because you honestly believe it. And if I am right, then you are wrong, and vice versa... but honestly so.

But no, the conspiracists can't understand how we can be so dense. After all, they know we are not dumb—so they/you conclude we must be faking it. Maybe they/you should entertain that we are not dumb and we are right... .

> How could they possibly think that the U.S.
> government values the lives of Americans more than it values
> the lives of non-Americans (which is to say, not at all) in
> believing that an attack on its own citizens would be absurd?

You know, if you want to address what people think it helps to actually pay attention to what they say... I have no idea what the above means... nor what it refers to. This was not merely an attack on its own citizens, by the way, but an attack on the heart of industrial capitalism and the military... but never mind that.

> Are these the people we should be looking to for
> "instructionals" on 9/11 or on 'Getting Started in Radical
> Politics'? Michael Albert is disingenuous in his 9/19/02 post
> by writing that what's involved here could simply be "honest
> disagreements based on evidence" since he has actively been
> urging others not to waste their time looking at any evidence.

Go back to the person making the claim about cancer. Just imagine—you dismiss his mode of reasoning, and you give some examples of what is wrong with his set of ridiculous claims—and then he says here is another set of arguments, and more, and more... would you keep paying attention?
I doubt it.

There is no point acting as though everyone has to immerse themselves in what you find important or otherwise reveals themselves as uninterested in all the issues. They may well find other things important—as in the 200 or 300 articles on ZNet, for example.

> The ludicrousness of their stated rationale is captured
> vividly in John Judge's analogy (which I transcribed from an
> audio interview on the internet at
> http://mindgallery.com/hiddenroom/blackopradio/41a.ram).

> Judge gave this interview before 9/11 about the JFK
> assassination, but it's equally applicable to 9/11 because
> basically the same people on the left are involved in the
> denigration of 9/11 'conspiracy theorists'):

Once again, to my knowledge no serious person on the left—with some kind of extended left involvement and comittment, remotely believes anything like any of the vast array of conflicting conspiracy theories that have been offered.

> "There's even a reluctance on the part of most of the left
> academics and the left structuralists to deal with and accept
> any of this information. Howard Zinn opposes it, Alexander
> Cockburn opposes it, and Noam Chomsky opposes it. About the
> only really progressive and left historian or intellectual
> writer that takes it up is Michael Parenti, and Peter Dale
> Scott. But there is a whole bank of people, especially around
> Chomsky and the Z Magazine and these others, Mike Albert who
> writes about it in his book Killing Train, who take the
> positions that if you believe in a conspiracy, you must be a
> right wing crank and that there is no such thing as a
> conspiracy, you know, there's only these class forces.

Actually, I bet you can't find a single person on the planet, much less one of those mentioned, who says there is no such thing as a conspiracy... but being accurate isn't very important to using a verbal shotgun on folks...

> Well, I would say - the analogy I make to these people is
> that, they are sitting on the branch of a tree and if they
> spot someone on the ground who is running from the authorities
> that be while looking behind their shoulder and about to run
> into the tree itself, that this person in the tree, being a
> left structuralist, is not allowed to yell down to them and
> say, look out, there's a tree in front of you! All they can
> do is sit on the branch and yell, forest!, forest! - for fear
> that if they notice the tree, they'll miss the forest."

What you just can't seem to hear is that you are not seeing trees nor forest—you are not seeing either. And you also can't seem to hear that those 200 to 300 articles address both, in great detail.

One minuscule example.

The articles detail how the prognosis - unchallendged—for bombing afghanistan was that it could kill millions by starvation—and then they draw the only possible conclusion, that bush was quite willing to do that. They then explain why, in this particular case, he was, and what it tells us about our society.

So, in fact, they go into major details, they reveal underlying motives—they actually pin on bush without any room for doubt of the veracity of the assertion, a willingness to contribute to not 3000 but more like 3,000,000 deaths—but, they just don't agree with you.

And you somehow get to decide, because they don't agree with you, that all those folks thus ignore the reality... It is a tour de force in conspiracy thinking.

> My disappointment and disillusionment with Zmag.org's 9/11
> position, and learning about their past JFK assassination
> position, compelled me to reduce my Zmag monthly sustainer
> contribution to the minimal amount permissible pursuant to
> Zmag/Znet's policy that sustainers may pick a rate "in accord
> with your feelings for the value of the overall project and
> its meaning for you".

Yes, except for one thing... the program is for people who actually support this site and its projects... adn you clearly don't.

> And when I think about Zmag.org now, I think of the infamous
> quotation from a U.S. Pentagon manual:
> "If you give a man the correct information for seven years, he
> may believe the incorrect information on the first day of the
> eighth year when it is necessary, from your point of view,
> that he should do so. Your first job is to build the
> credibility and the authenticity of your propaganda, and
> persuade the enemy to trust you although you are his enemy."
> (A Psychological Warfare Casebook Operations Research Office
> Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, 1958) And I'm also
> reminded of something I once heard somebody say, that
> disinformation must be 90 percent accurate to be effective.

Saying you are a ZNet Sustainer—tell me, who is disengenuous here?

> Zmag's Financing:
> Now, Bob Feldman has begun a review of the financing of those
> organizations that are supposed to be 'left' but are failing
> us at this critical juncture. He's examining the financing of
> those who are attempting to jettison an examination into 9/11,
> when instead you'd think they would be spearheading a campaign
> for same.

Notice, again... for you,a nd I guess him, there is only one possibility—we should spearhead a campaign for investigating minutiae that we believe will lead absolutely nowhere and derail serious understanding, or we are an obstacle to knowledge, throwing ourselves in the face of the truth for some malevolent self-serving reason. Thus, z, me, noam, roy, pilger, and on and on, must somehow be acting on behalf of elites to literally manipulate people out of paying attention to what matters—which is your viewpoint. And thus a fishing expedition to find some kind of "evidence" of fealty to power. Incredible. This is precisely the behavior of stalinist going after their enemies, and macarthyites on the other side, doing likewise. You should consider that.

> Sure enough, in following the money, Bob finds that
> some supposedly left media organizations have been supported
> and created by CIA connected foundations. If anyone thinks
> that the U.S. government does not co-opt and even create left
> organizations like labor unions, and media organizations, they
> simply don't know their history and are stupidly
> underestimating the intelligence of the enemy.

The above is a very good example of a smear technique... throw around assertions, maybe someone will buy something... it is ugly. You are not a supporter. You should not be in this system.

> Bob's findings with respect to the finances of Zmag (linked at
> http//www.questionsquestions.net/topics/left_gatekeepers.html)
> are as follows:
> "Although David Barsamian's ALTERNATIVE RADIO show is aired on
> a number of NPR stations which are subsidized by both
> corporate underwriters and grants from various Establishment
> foundations, the Institute for Social & Cultural Change
> Communications Inc. (of which ALTERNATIVE RADIO is a part)
> doesn't appear to have yet been given grants directly from the
> Ford Foundation or other Establishment foundations.

Correct, we have gotten no such grants... notice, in your lead in, you say the opposite. In the above, somehow barsamian's show even appearing on a station that has gotten support is negative—what about if a conspiracy theorist appears on a right wing talk show—should I then assume the accuse him of being agents of pat buchanon or some such thing.

This is pathetic.

> However,
> one of ALTERNATIVE RADIO's most frequently featured guests,
> MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, was given a $350,000 "Kyoto Prize"
> by the Japanese Establishment's Inamori Foundation in 1988.

This is a kind of alternative noble prize—in this case for linguistics. What an incredible notion it is that for someone to take such a thing—and then, by the by, to make donations all over the world to left projects—but quietly and without fanfare—is somehow to be compromised.

Beneath incredible... it would seem.

I am surprised they didn't throw in the old idiocy that since MIT gets funding form the Defense Dept, and that money helps pay for the linguitics dept., therefore noam is an agent of the pentagon.

No doubt they will, not even embarassed by the idiocy of it, next time.

> The Institute for Social & Cultural Change Communications Inc.
> does business as Z magazine.

And as ZNet, and Z Video, and ZMI...

> Ironically, although it may have
> taken its name from a Costa-Gavras film adaptation of the
> novel Z (which dramatizes the uncovering of an assassination
> conspiracy), Z magazine has attempted to marginalize 9/11
> conspiracy researchers and journalists in recent months on its
> web site and in its printed pages.

Actually, we have devoted a very modest amount of energy to the matter—up to now, relative to what else we do. A couple of articles, I think, maybe three. But, yes, we—I in particular—have argued that conspiracy theorizing is most often not very useful and even highly counter productive... and that it has been in this case.

> According to its 990 form for the fiscal year ending December
> 31, 2000, Z magazine takes in over $641,000 a year in gross
> revenues and only has annual expenses of $531,000.

Actually, of course the numbers vary from year to year—and, more, it isn't just z mag, but all the operations. I will assume the person has transcribed these numbers correctly, I don't know... I don't see any point lurking here...

> A big chunk of Z magazine's annual revenues goes to three members of just
> one family: the Albert-Sargent family. At least $120,000 per
> year of Z magazine's total revenues ends up in the pockets of
> either Michael Albert, his partner Lydia Sargent or Lydia's
> son Eric Sargent.

Well, this is certainly false. I assume it will be explained, though... in fact, we probably earned in that year about $90,000, for the three of us, pre tax. Z also pays rent, but that is a bit less than the extra amount... and it goes to the bank, not our pockets.

Don't see a problem here, either.

> All three family members are each paid an
> annual salary of $30,000 by Z magazine.

That is about right... And now Tim Allen too... but that is more recent.

So, to be clear, this is after working for 25 years, generally a sixty hour work week, often more, with about four weeks literally off a year (except, of course, that even during those weeks we do zmi for two of them, which is even more intense than normal work).

Still wondering what the problem is.

> An additional $10,000
> in "rent" is paid to each family member by Z magazine for the
> "office space" that the Albert-Sargent family "rents" from
> itself, to publish its Z magazine and maintain its web site.

Legally the money must first be paid to us, then it goes to the bank for the mortgage. Correct. And of course we have to pay our rent, too.

We live and work in a building, and have a second office in another. This approach began with south end press. For about the first six years or so at SEP—I am not very good with memory, it may be a bit longer, or less... but roughly that—the entire collective lived and worked jammed in a single brownstone building. Everyone worked for room and board, only. Not a penny more. The average work week was six to seven days, and 12 or more hours per day.

When Lydia and I split off from SEP to risk everything again to create Z, we used the same model, living and working in one place to reduce total costs. We have been more successful, more quickly, this time, though for the first seven or eight years, each year was a dance with disaster, very nearly failing. Right now, however, Z/ZNet, ZMI, Z Video, pay less sum total rent—I think it is probably about $2000 a month, but maybe a bit more—Lydia does the finances and I don't even know—than most comparable operations, I would wager—but the way we have arranged it, it leads to very nice working and living conditions, appropriate given the time spent on the job.

Yes, we have carved out a comfortable situation, with a nice income—though hardly extravagent—and a very nice lifestyle—enabling us to devote endless hours to political work. I am not sure I understand where the problem is in this. I am still waiting to hear why this investigator felt it made sense to assert that he had unveiled information that somehow indicates we have sold out and are agents of big business...

In fact, living and working in the same place just barely enabled us to build sep into a viable institution via sweat equity... and then do the same with Z/ZNet. Later, it has enabled us to do better. I would heartily recommend that others consider this approach, though it certainly isn't for everyone, most people thinking we are absolutely nuts to have business phone calls waking us up and putting us to sleep, at both ends of our days.

> Although the left entrepreneur family that publishes Z
> magazine took in $120,000 in the fiscal year ending
> 12/31/2000,

No, the three of us, combined, took in, in salary, roughly $90,000, before taxes. That's a movement salary... appropriate, it seems to us. Most find it very low.
The rest goes to a bank, to pay the mortage on the building.

> all the writers it published were only paid
> $38,700 during the year, for the articles they wrote.

This is a low figure, inaccurate I would guess... I am not sure where the number came from, probably some misreading of the document that the author was using.

> Of the $38,700 which the Albert-Sargent family paid its
> writers in 2000, $4,400 was given to ALTERNATIVE RADIO
> producer David Barsamian, whose book THE DECLINE AND FALLOF
> PUBLIC BROADCASTING, was published, with an introduction by
> DEMOCRACY NOW INC's Amy Goodman, in 2000 by South End Press.

This is incredible... does this person think they are making some sort of case? Why all these throw away facts? Where is any kind of argument?

> Although a chart in Barsamian's book on public broadcasting
> indicates that the Ford Foundation was among the PBS national
> programming underwriters who contributed more than $1 million
> in 2000, the book's index apparently contains no reference to
> the Ford Foundation's crucial role in setting up the public
> broadcasting system. Barsamian's book index also contains no
> reference to the Schumann Foundation, although it makes 3
> references to book passages that describe Schumann Foundation
> President Bill Moyers' Public Affairs TV programs in a favorable way.

And this is a damning attack? An attack at all?
We are back to pathetic... sorry.

> South End Press is the business enterprise of the Institute
> for Social &Cultural Change publishing firm which the
> Albert-Sargent family started in 1984, apparently with the
> help of $232,956 in low-interest "loans" from various
> individuals and organizations,

Actually, those monies came much later.

> that will no longer have to be
> paid back. According to the South End Press's form 990 for the
> fiscal year ending 6/30/200, the book publishing arm of Z
> magazine (which markets books like PROPAGANDA AND THE PUBLIC
> producer Barsamian co-authored), took in over $1 million from
> its book sales.

I'd be surprised, but if so, great. What is the point of the reference to the book, however?

> So if Z magazine/web site and South End Press were considered
> as one left business entity, we would be talking about a
> business that takes in about $1.7 million a year from the
> cultural leftism market."

Though again I would be surprised if SEP's revenue is that high--I would be pleased to hear it. And what does this mean, in any case. Almost all the monies go to paying the bills, including low salaries that are literally mandated to be low. It took us 20 years to move from indebtedness to modest yearly surpluses that we can reinvest in growth.

Wouldn't it be grand if the number in the above paragraph was $5 million, or $10million, instead.

I am at wits end to see how this pastiche even rises to the level of a claim, much less an argument—yet it appears online with the tag that we are bought off. Incredible.

> Michael Albert's 9/18/02 response regarding these figures is
> that: "Some of it is accurate—some quite inflated or
> otherwise confused". He further responded on 9/19/02 that
> they've never gotten a penny from the CIA-linked Ford
> Foundation "at least that I can remember or am aware of" but
> "if the Ford Foundation offered us a big pot of money
> tomorrow, no strings attached, while we would certainly have
> to hold our nose in accepting, it might well be the right thing to do".

Yep. I remember writing that last message.

> Sticking to the present for the time being and not the
> tomorrow you envision with the Ford Foundation, which figures
> are accurate, Michael? And which figures are inflated -

As noted above...

> the $641,000 that Zmag took in for the year 2000,

That might well be accurate... I don't know, let's assume so --though of course I hope it is gets much higher. Although it isn't Zmag revenue, it is revenue from all our efforts combined, zmag, z video, and znet.

> or the $38,700
> which is all Zmag paid its writers during the same year?

That is quite low, however—my estimate would be about $80,000 a year, roughly... including commentaros and Z writers... though I could be way off—I haven't had much to do with the books in a long time.

> I'm not good at math, but the apparent ratio of administrative
> expenses to expenses for the very 'product' that zmag
> delivers, the articles and commentaries by its contributing
> writers, seems wildly disproportionate.

What you are not good at is knowing what goes into a production process—such as printing... as but one minor aspect that is ignored here.

> Is there somewhere
> already on zmag.org where you record the financial particulars
> of your organizations?

Actually, we have an old form up, yes... but I don't think it has been changed in some time.

> If you think it's nobody's business
> and that the public or Zmag sustainers have no right to this
> information, I'd like to know that as well.

We write up the information in an essay in Z every so often as well.

What is interesting about what you have put here is that this mishmash of absolutely empty information rests beneath claims that we are bought off by big business. You ought to think a little bit about what kind of person would draw such a conclusion, and make such a claim in the first place, from this stuff.

The usual modus operandi is to make outrageous damning claims, despite knowing they are nonsense, in the hope that some people will hear the claim, be horrified, and ignote the absence of serious evidence, or even any evidence at all, as well as ignore all the contrary evidence. I think it is a misplaced hope...

> But if you feel
> the $ figures which Bob Feldman says he found on your 990 IRS
> tax returns leave false impressions, I would think you'd like
> to correct them.

Not really. I took the time to reply, because it is my habit. But I don't think there is a serious impression of any sort, other than the author's innuendos, which, yes, are obnoxious. The facts aren't, that I can see.

> On the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, while the New
> York Times was commenting about how historically
> uncharacteristic the lack of an independent investigation into
> 9/11 is, the Zmag e-mail sent to sustainers didn't speak
> directly to the 9/11 attacks. It included a commentary by
> RAWA about the attacks on Afghanistan along with Michael
> Albert's defense to numerous complaints regarding Znet's
> providing some content only for those who can pay for it, and
> his defense (along with a funny riff on the definition of the
> word "freeloader") sounds even more hollow in light of the
> revelations concerning Zmag's finances:

Well, that's how it sounds to you, apparently, so I don't think you should support ZNet. I think it is—what—disengenuous is your word, I think, for you to say that you do.

> "But if we did follow that path, if we didn't find a way to
> get some revenues while distributing the materials, shortly we
> would be broke and no more information would be forthcoming from us".
> Included in that Zmag 9/11 sustainer e-mail was Michael's
> diatribe attempting to convince us of why we should never
> expect to receive politically worthy information on the
> internet for free. "But, if you talk to folks who are getting
> a lot of their information and political analysis from
> progressive and left venues ... but they say they think that
> paying for information ... is commercial, please try to get
> them to understand the situation more fully... Folks who
> think information ought to be free and that asking for
> donations or fees is wrong, but who also support and want
> dissident content, need to rethink their take on things."
> Anyone who erroneously lowers their expectations for solid
> political content that is free simply isn't doing enough web
> surfing. (To begin your surfing and collecting of valuable
> free links, go to Global Indymedia's "Newswire" at
> http://www.indymedia.org/index.php3?>newswire=open and look at
> the page's right hand column).

I wonder if you are aware of the number of indymedia activists who have gone to the Z Media Institute, and who like ZNet... of the number of times I have met with them and discused their issues and problems, and so on. Whooops, does that mean they are now tainted too?

By the by, have you happened to notice the volume of material ZNet provides free...

> I'm naively amazed at the $ figures Bob Feldman provides for
> Michael Albert's family who, I would guess, live much more
> comfortably than most of Zmag's sustainers.

We live very well... on what is in fact a quite low, movement level salary, which is augmented a bit by royalties, and the like, and made much more comfortable by the technique of living and working in one place, to reduce total costs.

The situation permits us to work at the level we do, year in and year out.

I think if you looked, by the way, you would find that we have lower salaries than any comparably placed person in the economy, or in progressive media, by a large margin... but apparently that doesn't matter.

So, let's see, low salaries mandated to be that way, no foundation grants (as if that would be horribly daming), but, nonetheless, we are tarred. An interesting methodology.

> Do you own the
> home in which you and your family have the convenience of
> working from, and for which you are apparently collecting rent
> of $30,000 sustainer dollars a year?

A bit less than that is paid by the institutions in rent to the bank. And of course the bank owns it, as with all mortgages.

This approach has proved, again, very economical over the years. We recommend it, at least to those who work very long days and don't mind having the job with them permanently.

And you are right, for people who work from when they get up to when they go to bed, it is convenient and efficient not to waste time commuting, and, in sum, reducing the amount of money going to rents.

> Regardless of how many
> hours you and your family put into Zmag, I think most people
> assume that progressives who have the rare opportunity to work
> at what they care about, do it primarily as a labor of love.

Well, a labor of political comittment, yes. Which is why we earn a movement income... not an industry income, which would be about three times as much—each.

> Also, regarding your repeated entreaties for new sustainers so
> that Zmag can expand it's operations, why can't you use the
> money left over each year ($110,000 in 1990 for example) or
> the money from your family's other organization (which took in
> over $1 million dollars in sales in 1990)? Again, I'm only
> working from the figures that Bob Feldman provided since you
> have not given figures of your own.

You are confused--the money taken in includes the donations... without the donations of people who support us we wouldn't be here. The donations make up uperating deficits, and then—over the last year and a half or so, provide margin beyond that... which we can now use for expansion, precisely as you suggest above.

The is no crime in not knowing what you are talking about—if you ask... The problem is not knowing much of anything and just winging it in hopes some mud will stick. That is ugly.

Over roughly the past few years, for the first time, ZNet/Z has generated surpluses. As a result you may notice we have not sent out slow mail fund raising appeals. Instead of raising salaries, however, the surpluses are in the bank and we are trying to carefully figure out how to expand operations. The first step was hiring a new staff person—tim allen—who gets the same pay as us, has the same type responsibilities, and so on.

It is hard for me to imagine that Feldman would put such junk into an essay, and that he and others would then claim it as an expose of people being sell outs—but I guess it has, in fact, occurred. What a shame. What a fine example of the negative impact conspiracy theorizing has on the practitioners of it.


interesting 23.Sep.2002 18:31


"Once again, to my knowledge no serious person on the left—with some kind of extended left involvement and comittment, remotely believes anything like any of the vast array of conflicting conspiracy theories that have been offered."

This is the most pathetic attempt at refutation that I have ever seen from an activist. He's playing the "expert" like those guys in suits on CNN.

"If you assume complicity then yes, it might make you wonder. Can you not understand that some of us find that assumption utterly absurd."

Hey Albert, don't you want some of those, you know, hundreds or questions answered? Come on, really? Where were those fighter planes that morning? I've lost track of how many countries issued the U.S. warnings of impending attacks. There were tons. Yet, no planes. You want to know. Please tell me you want to know. Albert, you do know what happened with Pearl Harbor, right.

"How would you feel if I were to say—hey, I cannot understand why you can't see the grotesque harm in leftists adopting idiotic positions which make us look like fools, which distract our attention from important matters, and which tend to make us paranoid to boot."

Again, there is no argument save the "you're an idiot!" argument. Mike, Aren't you suspicious about the head of the ISI meeting with Congressment at the time of the attacks? This was the guy who wired Mohammed Atta 100,000 Dollars!

Looks like a duck, walks, like a duck, sounds like a duck.

I've seen Albert speak. I guess it's nice to know he's there. But....

Putrefaction 23.Sep.2002 18:58


The erudite intellectual left is thinking itself into irrelevancy

The Bottom Line Is... 23.Sep.2002 19:50

follow the money

...Where these so-called "alternative Media" organizations are getting their money from.

If you are getting your money from Foundations which have been proven to be finanical "cut-outs" for the CIA, then this fact is extremely damaging to your credibility as a dissident or critic of American Empire and its foreign policy.

As the old saying goes, "WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE"

check this out 23.Sep.2002 22:29


sorry about the width but I don't have photoshop.
check this out
check this out

what a load! 24.Sep.2002 00:18


Thanks for letting me in on this jerk and his attitude. He acts like he was forced to take on Znet. He reminds me of these business types . . . everyone owes them something. I've lived on 1/3 of his salary all my life.

And you can bet he - along with the rest of the fake progressive left - is terrified of looking at 9/11. It's like teenage girls at a party, so afraid of how they will look . . . what people will think . . . terrified.

And meanwhile they rant away for academics, never bothering to try to connect on the other levels. Has this guy ever lived by a housing project?

A magazine that is 25 years old can't take risks anymore - god forbid they should 'look bad' if the conspiracy turned out to be just - heavens! - a conspiracy afterall. It was only 3000 lives, and of course no one meant any harm.

ZNET= Phony Opposition 24.Sep.2002 05:09


ZNET is like all these so-called "progressive" or "alternative" political groups--they will protest the War against Terrorism, for instance, but not question the Propaganda lies which justify this war in the first place (i.e. the events of 9-11 itself).

This is a classic technique of any phony opposition. Their job is to CONTAIN and set limits on the type of the tactics, terms of debate, and agenda around which the "peace" movement organizes. Essentially, what the so-called peace movement is really about is preventing the rise of a MILITANT mass-based movement against American Imperialism that US political elites cannot control. What they want to offer instead are the usual lame symbolic Pacifist protests that no real impact on preventing war.

IF you go to ZNET's antiwar page, you will see that the upcoming Sept 29 protests in Washington DC they (and other Pro-Establishment antiwar people like Peace ACtion) promote are careful to emphasize that the upcoming Antiwar protests in WAshington DC are NONVIOLENT. Yeah, right. They should tell that to the DC police.

Here is the ZNET link to the DC protests:


Demons are few, with no true power 24.Sep.2002 12:00

Lazy Faire

My, how we personalize the struggle.
Individuals, whatever they have done, whoever they know, or whoever has paid them, are not the problem. But their ability to experience, to think, to change and make choices - make them potential allies in the struggle to save humanity and the earth.
This foundation money trail, as well as the highbrow scoffing at conspiracies, are nothing but schoolyard bickering. Certainly each must defend what they have done, but a careless fued will harm us all.
Mr. Albert would do better to take Mr. Rupert's investigations more seriously, and not focus so much on his occasional logical meanderings.
And Mr. Rupert would do well to pay some respect to the hard work that others do in informing the public, whatever their sources of revenue.
No one is untainted by this diseased system. And noone is incapable of making a choice to help replace it.

No Defense 24.Sep.2002 13:19

No-Doz Bukowski

What cannot be argued is that Mr. Albert makes no attempt whatever to address the actual concerns surrounding 9/11. To say that no serious leftist questions the motivation behind the Kennedy assassination is absurd, as it is absurd to say that no serious leftist questions U.S. culpability in 9/11. The fact that Mr. Albert elects to respond to these charges (however poorly stated) by positing ad hominem attacks and knocking down straw men is the most damning evidence I have seen against him. Why not respond? He claims that he and his friends in The Official Left have done a great deal of investigating (though, straw man again, he is talking about investigating long-term U.S./Afghani relations while his accuser was talking about investigating the specific events of 9/11) - let's see the results of this investigation. If Noam Chomsky and Micheal Albert have found the answers we seek, I wish they would share them with the world rather than regurgitating the same old line about how the bad U.S. made the poor Arabs poor and angry. We know already, right? Does anyone in The Left he holds so dear not already know that the U.S. behaves like a tyrant in the Middle East? Let's find some real answers, let's find some new information.

5000. - N.

An interesting aside 24.Sep.2002 16:38


Some people I know who haven't done so much research into 9/11 but believe the gov't was involved are basing their beliefs strictly on the body language and behavior of leaders during and after the attacks - Bush during the school children thing, and then during the memorials, laughing with other Bush family members.

Although that may sound like nothing (and certainly isn't scientific, outside of the notable cases where brain damaged individuals have a heightened and uncanny ability to detect deceit) numerous people got strong feelings from these inapproriate reactions (all women, that I know of), and actually began to suspect the situation based on those observations and feelings.

Others, like Albert, are oblivious to any such awarenesses.

While I feel bad about the left fighting itself, I think it is necessary in this critical situation. So many are asleep, and its easy to go to a mall and forget everything that's wrong.

More than a fractured left will the democrats that bring us down, Lieberman and Daschle.

logical meanderings 24.Sep.2002 16:47


Speaking of logical meanderings, some thoughts: The bickering, posturing and snide barbs over 9/11 "conspiracy theories" almost made me pass this article by, and when I did open it instead of reading it through I ended up on a detour via  http://www.cooperativeresearch.org. A day later I did finally read the posting, but what remains valuable to me was the initial link posted in the correspondence which brought to my attention work I had not yet seen.

In response to the debate on the relevance of such work, it is worth noting the official story itself is a "conspiracy" theory. I this is really the work of Bin Laden et al. why did he not claim full responsibility and credit in an official statement to the world? Why do polls in the Arab world suggest most folk don't accept the official US story? It is a pretty lame act of Islamic Fundamentalist propaganda-by-deed to attack these symbols of American hegemony and then not take credit for it, or worse not even convince those for whom you've supposedly carried out the deed that you in fact did it.

Further how could any human with a streak of curiousity (and a taste for liberty) who lived through the propaganda and media terror of 9/11 not feel compelled to question what went down that day. Please recall we do not all live in the cities attacked -- for most the events were first and foremost simulation. Few North Americans (offline) seem to want to talk about the terror campaign waged by CNN and the rest, yet if not technically "brainwashing" what else were those hours and hours of special coverage and the complete blackout of all news. It is not news to loop the same footage of destruction over and over, while commentators say nothing over and over. Then like clockwork the melodrama really kicked in as the world was forced into official mourning (as a Canadian of it was slightly weird for me in that we had to be open for business for the USA so our national mourning was postponed. It was also slightly weird that China could somehow enter the WTO on 9/11 -- the day the western world was supposedly paralysed by terror. Apparently some capitalists were not terrorized by the western media that day.)

Much of the work of many so-called conspiracy theorists looks like media literacy education to me, something of great value to many people given what we saw happen with the anthrax attacks, or see in North American coverage of Palestine or the anti-globalization movement. Whether a few Zombies become thinking human beings from reading Chomsky, Moore or Ruppert online I don't care, what I do care about is empowering people to think critically about what they are being forced to believe and creating the space for critical discourse which just might produce actions which will stop the global suicide/genocide. I don't see how anything will ever change otherwise, for to me it looks like the crisis of western society is a cultural one. 9/11has been mobilized as a origin myth justifying not only the Patriot Act, but similar repressive legislation across the globe. Surely it cannot be totally useless to question this myth?

Finally with regards to the footage of this most televised of events can someone explain to me how the official story can be true when the documentation of the first plane hitting the WTC and the plane hitting the Pentagon show no passenger planes? How was it that the WTC was such a successful demolition? How it is a waste of time to question the official story, particularly when I am being told to see passenger planes were I see none, and see explosions I am told did not happen.


Impeaching Bush won't save the planet but it might be start.

'Risking Their Freedom' 24.Sep.2002 18:46

Southern Poverty Law Center

A group of 'internationally renowned scholars' probes 9/11 and, to the surprise of no one, identifies a familiar enemy

SPLC Intelligence Report

WASHINGTON - After you sent in your $180 registration fee, and after receiving your own secret code and calling the secret phone number that came with it, the hidden location was finally revealed. The "galaxy of internationally renowned scholars and journalists," those brave souls who have "Risked Their Freedom to Bring Truth to the World," would be meeting at the Holiday Inn on The Hill.

There, amid families on budget trips to the American capital, some 120 people who do not believe that the Holocaust occurred gathered in June to swap dark tales of conspiracies and cover-ups. It was, in the words of The Barnes Review that sponsored it, "a history-making event" - a view not shared by most of those familiar with Review founder Willis Carto, a veteran anti-Semitic extremist.

As usual, there was a whole host of government lies and other iniquities to clear up - the purpose of this "Authentic History" conference was, after all, "To Bring History Into Accord With the Facts," as the Review's subtitle has it. But none was so pressing - or, truth be told, so sexy - as what really happened Sept. 11.

Ted Gunderson, the former FBI official and Satanic conspiracy fabulist who chaired the 9/11 panel, said "there was proof in a Las Vegas newspaper" that "the government knew beforehand" about the terrorist attacks. Eustace Mullins, author of "Adolf Hitler: An Appreciation," said U.S. and Arab intelligence agencies were both incapable of carrying out the attacks, leaving only the Israeli Mossad. Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Benton Partin, an aging architect of key militia conspiracy theories like the idea that there were actually two or more Oklahoma City bombs, sounded a bit confused as he spoke, but concluded on a note that all could agree on.

"It's all conspiracies," Partin stated.

House "journalist" Christopher Bollyn, who works for Carto's anti-Semitic American Free Press (a new incarnation of his Spotlight newspaper), said he knew something was fishy thanks to a friend in Denmark who taped 1,200 hours of news coverage of the attacks - much of which was later edited out by news services with a secret agenda. One of those tapes showed "someone coming out of the towers" who said "he was hit by a bomb in the building. But then the FBI took him away."

The government, Bollyn added, sold the World Trade Center to "a [Jewish] strip club owner and he then insured the buildings quickly for $3 billion and now he wants $7 billion. "So for $100 million in borrowed money he gets $3 billion." Bollyn also objected to the use of an Iranian engineer to examine the collapse of the Trade Center's towers. "Don't they have any American engineers?"

And then there was one "Gregory Douglas," with his top-secret German document proving conclusively the Bush Administration and Israel knew about and likely orchestrated the attacks. "Israel is always involved in everything!" he said.

That certainly got the attention of the attendees. Except, as a sheepish Bill White noted on his "libertarian socialist" Web site later (White had initially hailed the document as revelatory), it turns out that Douglas is an accused forger. Veteran European journalist Gitta Sereny has written that Douglas forged a document that he told her was proof that the Americans and British had helped two Nazi war criminals escape Europe in 1945. Douglas' later book on one of them, Gestapo boss Heinrich Muller, was, she wrote, "filth" that was as "fake" as the earlier document.

From there, it got weirder still. In a question-and-answer period following the speeches, Bollyn suggested that the Trade Center towers might have been zapped with a "disintegration ray." The fine dust would be the logical outcome of such a ray. Partin chimed in, saying it actually would have taken two disintegration rays to do the job. Arizona Reform Party official Russ Willenburg said he had personally surveyed the Pentagon after Sept. 11, and there was no evidence that any plane had crashed there - he could find no metal with the airline's markings on it.

"A criminal regime," Willenburg concluded as his audience nodded their agreement, "has taken control of the government for the last 100 years."

Intelligence Report
Fall 2002
Issue 107 -  http://www.splcenter.org/cgi-bin/goframe.pl?refname=/intelligenceproject/ip-4w.html

michael albert is boring. znet is boring. 24.Sep.2002 19:09


This letter just reminds me why I never access znet.org except to read Chomsky. This is an important topic being dealt with, Albert is basically speaking to the entire left...and his letter is so snooze-worthy you can hardly endure to read the whole damned thing. I mean, it's drier than The Nation.

Yes, it also bothers me that you'll never see questioning of possible U.S. government complicity in 9/11 on znet, but really that's not the main issue. Mostly they just drive people away from the left by making us think everything is a terribly serious struggle and nobody is allowed to have any fun. Not that we don't have some serious struggles ahead, but we're human too.

Rebuttal To Albert's Feeble Brain 24.Sep.2002 19:35

Questions Questions

Michael Albert's arguments do not stand up to full review. Below is a link to a scholarly review of his previous work. Make up your own mind, but please, don't waste your brain cells thinking that the government never lies. I.F. Stone, one of America's greatest journalists was famous for saying to his students "governments lie." It's about time that people stop throwing around the term "conspiracy theorists" and get off their ass and look at the actual public information.  In the article at the website below, Michael Albert's thesis is shredded to a pulp (as well as David Corn):


Chomsky on 9/11 25.Sep.2002 08:42

Noam Chomsky


Q: What's your opinion on the U.S. government knowing about the September 11th attack but letting it occur in order to have justification for an already planned war in Afghanistan?

It's a common view, and I've read it, over the internet, many times. I think it's extremely implausible. Unless some really serious credible evidence is produced, personally I wouldn't take it very seriously, and I haven't seen any such evidence. It's very unlikely. It's not the kind of thing that happens. I can't think of anything remotely like it in history--maybe the Reichstag fire. But it would be an extremely rare and implausible event, and there'd have been no reason to do it. It would have been crazy, in my opinion.

If you think it's worth investigating, go ahead and investigate it, but personally, I don't think it's credible or even, in my view, at least, even serious enough to investigate.

What's with all this Nazi shit lately? 25.Sep.2002 11:39

No-Doz Bukowski

I don't know whose agenda it is that involves accusing all those of us who question 9/11 of being anti-semites or neo-nazis; but it is strangely pervasive lately. Listen: The neo-nazis are our enemy. We all took it to the streets and drove them out of our home towns in the late 80s and early 90s - it happened in Portland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other towns. There is a long a irrefutable history of enmity between the anarchist/anti-globalization movement and the neo-nazi movement.

None of us are blaming "The Jews" for what happened on 9/11. There is a clear involvement on the part of the Israeli government, but they don't speak for the Jewish people or the Jewish religion as a whole.

Here are just a few of the questions that ought to be asked about 9/11, not that I'm the first to raise them:

Why were established FAA safety protocols not followed? When a plane is known to have been hijacked, FAA protocol states that fighter planes should be scrambled to shadow the plane. These fighter planes are authorized to shoot the hijacked aircraft down if so ordered. This is the plan that goes into effect automatically, without any intervention, when a plane is hijacked. In order for this not to have happened, someone in authority would have had to step in and keep it from happening. This would have at least allowed the second WTC plane to be stopped, if not all three.

Why was the FBI's initial list of hijackers inaccurate? The initial list of names released to the press included people who were still alive in other parts of the world, and people who had been dead before the attacks. The FBI has admitted this, calling it a mistake on their part. How would such a mistake have been made? If the evidence was uncertain to begin with, why was it presented as fact? When it came to light that the names were incorrect, why was there no further investigation to come up with an accurate list of names? If there has been such an investigation, why would the new and correct names not be released as the original incorrect ones were?

Why was the FBI instructed to cease their investigations into the wherabouts and activities of Osama bin Laden? If he was our #1 most wanted suspect, why was he never apprehended? Why was he meeting with a CIA operative less than 30 days before 9/11, and why was he not arrested at that time?

Why were the top CEOs who would have been in the WTC that morning whisked away to an emergency meeting, and why did Bush stop at that same meeting during the two hours or so when he was being shuttled around the country?

Why was the section of the Pentagon that was blown up also evacuated of all officers and management on the morning of 9/11? The official story is that construction was being done on this section of the building. Considering that all powerful and/or wealthy leaders at both attack sites were moved to other places, we have a coincidence that begs explanation.

Why has the media's coverage been so inconsistent? Why have facts like those detailed above been ignored by the major media? Why have the many incidents of inaccurate information (starting with the stock footage used to represent the Palestinian demonstrations celebrating 9/11, through the inaccurate list of hijackers, through the supposed TNT traces found in Sheik Kariye's luggage that were latered declared false by the FBI, and on and on) been ignored, and left unretracted, by the national press? Why have various experts (like the demolitions expert who says the towers must have been imploded by carefully-placed bombs, the Chinese journalists who say they saw bin Laden's dead body in October 2001, and the U.N. inspector who denounced the lies of Dick Cheney and George Bush that have led to a wider acceptance of the aggression against Iraq) been ignored by the national media? Why have James Carter, Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson been denied a forum on U.S. national news when the publicly questioned the complicity of the government on 9/11; and why does the mainstream leftist media claim in the face of their statements that no serious scholars committed to the Left are calling this into question?

Why is there no apparent airplace wreckage in the photos of the Pentagon attack? If the photos that have been circulating are inaccurate, why does the government not release their own photos that clearly show the wreckage and prove us all wrong?

Why were plans written up before Bush was made President that detail all of what has transpired since 9/11? How has The Company that runs this country managed to implement all of their plans in perfect step if they are dealing with an unknown foe?

Why has there been no further action on the part of the so-called Terrorists? If Al Qaeda is indeed a vast international network of well-funded, well-trained, well-armed terrorists whose principal goal is the destruction of the United States; why has there been NO FURTHER ACTION on their part? Not even one solitary bombing, poisoning, assassination, kidnapping, hostage crisis, hijacking, or ANYTHING? Was this their whole plan? Crash a few planes and then disappear forever? Not very effective, and not very threatening to us as a country.

Why has the government refused to produce any evidence? The government's basic position at this time is: Osama bin Laden, through an international network of terrorists, funded and orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. How did they reach this conclusion, and how did they do it so quickly? When Afghanistan demanded evidence that bin Laden was responsible, why did we not provide this information? Now, with the rest of the civilized world (including allies such as Russia, France and Saudi Arabia) calling for evidence, why does the US government refuse to provide it? If they don't have any definite evidence that bin Laden was responsible, or that Hussein was somehow involved in 9/11 and/or has weapons of mass destruction, then why have they come to use these facts as their primary excuse for the eternal war on terrorism?

Why does this event happen to coincide with the removal of the FBI director, Louis Freeh, who was an outspoken advocate of keeping tabs on bin Laden and had complained that his office was being kept from properly investigating what they believed to be an orchestrated attack being planned on U.S. soil?

These are only the clearest and most-easily-defensible questions on the table. The fact that neither the government nor the major media (very much including the so-called "Left") has made any serious inquiry into these questions smacks of conspiracy. If this is not a cover-up, why are these questions not being dealt with? People are dying and being unfairly imprisoned, and the majority of the people seem comfortable with the idea that this will continue with no proper explanation or evidence that it should be done.

5000. - N.