When I wrote the first columns in the days after the attacks, I didn't expect they might be turned into a book or be translated in several languages, with an international impact. My thought then was: OK, I might be kind of an early bird in picking up and commenting on these inconsistencies and contradictions, but when my colleagues at the editorial desks of the main papers and broadcasters wake up, they will take over reporting and investigating the case. After a decade of work as a senior editor with Berlin's alternative daily paper die tageszeitung (taz), I became a freelance-author in the early 1990's, writing books and working as a journalist for some of the major papers and radios.
So I was familiar with the media business, and had some good contacts there. But when I called the editors for some space or airtime in the weeks after 9/11, in one way or another I always heard the same: "Mathias, you may write about anything -- but not about 9/11." So no critical question, by me or any other writer, appeared in the mainstream media at all -- and this has hardly changed since. Instead, the legend of Osama and the 19 bandits has been ballyhooed and trumpeted over and over again.
This is exactly how brainwashing works, and the situation hasn't changed one bit with the publication of the 9/11 commission report in August 2004. By coincidence their report appeared on the bookshelves at the same time as the latest Harry Potter novel, and since it didn't answer any of the crucial questions, my telepolis review of it was entitled "Harry Plotter and the Boxcutters of Horror."
From "Conspiracy Diary," p. 51
Before the twin towers of the World Trade Center had time to collapse, the "bin Laden" theory was already born to the world. I had just jotted down that "conspiracy theories reduce complex events to a single scapegoat, and are therefore highly effective and successful tools for dumbing-down propaganda." And suddenly, I was observing the birth and growth in the wild of this very phenomenon.
In the next few hours, the buzzword "bin Laden," soon joined by "al-Qaeda," developed into a fully-fledged conspiracy theory. As there was still no evidence to corroborate that a real conspiracy masterminded by bin Laden was responsible for the attack, I wrote a commentary for die tageszeitung or taz (Germany's alternative daily paper) and the online magazine telepolis, raising a few "points on conspiracy theoretics." ...
From "11/30/01: The Al-Qaeda-Ladenist World Conspiracy," p. 127
What are the "sleepers" up to, then? Weren't we told in the days after the attack about the "Bin Laden" conspiracy theory and his "terror network" Al-Qaeda, whose members mingle among us unknown, ready to strike mercilessly at one code word from the caves of the Hindu Kush? Why do these heinous assassins continue to snore away while their leader is on the run and Afghanistan has been bombarded for weeks? Could it be the Al- Qaeda network of dormant terrorists doesn't exist at all?
From "The Myth of Free Media," p. 189
The media's ability to sell as fact for so long a conspiracy theory unsupported by any sound evidence cannot be explained solely on the basis of its huge dissemination and penetrative force, but above all by the positive feedback the media's message has encountered. When even reporters and journalists -- a group that is the best informed and most familiar with different viewpoints -- were thrown into utter uncertainty by the incomprehensible event and carried away by the slogan "It was Osama," it is hardly surprising that the mass of media consumers gratefully absorbed the message.
The reaction of two elderly ladies, my mother and an aunt, with whom I watched a program about the "war against international terrorism" around Christmas provided a real eye-opener in this respect. When Osama bin Laden was shown, I mentioned that according to French reports he last met with a CIA agent in July 2001; when the Pakistani secret service ISI was described as the "CIA's partner" in the region I added that the alleged terror pilot Atta was financed via the ISI ... and here and there I added a few more comments. "So tell me, is it really true what you're telling me?" my mother asked me skeptically, and I answered: "I think it's at least as true as what we get to see on the news." Her reaction: "Well then, you better stop going on about this. It's getting too complicated for me. I'd rather stick to what they're saying on TV... and the young Mr. Bush doesn't cut such a bad figure." This response seems typical to me not only for old ladies but for the overwhelming majority of the population.
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