U of G prof Michael Keefer speak on "Manufacturing Terror: 9/11 and the Toronto 17"
Monday, September 18, 2006
Michael Keefer is a respected literary scholar and professor in the English Department. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College, his birthday is September the eleventh and he has researched extensively on issues such as the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, Canada's role in Haiti and has written numerous articles on war and international military operations; certainly, he was qualified to speak on the evening's topic.
He began the talk with a statement of principal and an injunction - "Be skeptical" he declared. "Not only of those who I will discuss, but also of me, the evidence I present and my interpretations. We can all make mistakes and therefore must always remain skeptical of what we are presented with." He reiterated this point several times throughout his talk, particularly at times when he spoke about issues rarely discussed in the so-called mainstream media.
He then began with an overview of the administration of George W. Bush and reviewed some of the well known lies, falsehoods and just plain misrepresentations that they have purported as truth over the last few years - weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, ties between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, et al.
He really hit hard on US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "Rumsfeld knows as much about the manufacturing of terror - and error - as anyone on this planet" Keefer said. While referring to the way Rumsfeld handles himself in press conferences, Keefer said "Rumsfeld expresses a calm contempt of his audience - those who he will deceive, and those whom his audience will then deceive."
Despite Keefer's obvious criticisms of Rumsfeld, he says he admires "the artistry of Rumsfeld's language" and how he never faces his audience head on. He notes that Rumsfeld is very crafty at shielding what he is really getting at, and enjoys telling others that something very unpleasant is going to happen to them.
At this point the talk became much more serious and intense. Keefer began to
raise questions about the truth of the official account of 9/11, including - to
name only a few - whether or not an airliner actually hit the Pentagon, what could possibly have caused World Trade Centre Building #7 to fall and arrangements by which air defence mechanisms were temporarily disabled. He openly stated that the research he, and fellow colleagues, had conducted lead him to believe that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job and orchestrated (at least to some degree) by "highly placed elements within the US government". Furthermore, he said that an incredible amount of evidence points to the idea that the World Trade Centre buildings were brought down using controlled demolition and while Keefer believes that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda did play a role in the attacks, but one of patsies rather than orchestrators.
Much of the information he presented was based on analysis of photographic and other evidence that has been gone over in detail but highly skilled experts from a range of fields. He noted that he is not a scientist or engineer himself, but is rather referring to the work done by others in the appropriate field. He again encouraged everyone to question what he was saying, and to look at the evidence themselves. He suggested the website of Scholars for 9/11 Truth as one of the best. Likewise, he encouraged attendees to read the material from another website that focuses on debunking such claims. He asked everyone in the audience to look very critically at the arguments presented by both sides of the issue, and for everyone to make their
own decisions. He did not want anyone to take what he was saying at face value.
The talk then swayed away from 9/11 in particular and focused more broadly on terrorism in general; specifically, the manufacturing of fear within the general public. He said that we are inundate with "false flag atrocities, fabrications of evidence and entrapment cases". He claims that Al-Qaeda is essentially being controlled via the state, though he does not discount the fact that disgruntled individuals can become involved in activities like terrorism or that some of what is being reporting is true. He is, however, convinced that the majority of western press coverage since 9/11 relating to terrorism is based on fragile or fraudulent evidence. He said that these are manipulations of evidence and public opinion to serve the interests of the state and in light of this, he argued that we must subject all accusations of terrorism to strong critical analysis and keep an open mind whenever we hear that someone is accused.
Keefer then detailed several well documented cases where authorities have manipulated evidence, planted it or even ordered the killing of their own citizens to serve strategic purposes.
The most interesting part of the lecture was when he began discussing the Toronto 17. These arrests were played up in the media as a major win for intelligence services, military and law enforcement agencies. Keefer said the media portrayal of the case was extremely biased, uncritical and clearly designed to scare the public. He said the images of helicopters circling overhead and heavily armed officers carry large guns was designed to say "if these guys are scared, then you should be scared shitless".
In the following days the front pages of every newspaper were smeared with accusations of plans to blow up such locations as CSIS headquarters, CBC, the CN Tower and the House of Commons. The accusations went as far as plans to "capture and behead the Prime Minister". Keefer noted the absurdity of these accusations, pointed out that there was no evidence that any of those arrested ever had made plans to behead the Prime Minister, despite the front page coverage on every major newspaper in Canada. This accusation, in fact, came from a police office who suggested that such a scenario might be something that these guys could be likely to do.
Keefer commented on the training, skills and equipment needed to have any chance of carrying out such plans and how the arrestees were far from being capable of achieving any of them. The materials and equipment recovered and that will be used as evidence includes a hand gun (of which there are many in the Toronto area and even shooting one is a relatively minor charge), a door with bullets marks on it, five pairs of boots, flashlights, a hard drive, and a BBQ grill. Centrally displayed was a bag of ammonium nitrate, which the group supposedly purchased to carry out the bombings. However, none of the accused had ever even been in contact with the ammonium, nor did they posses a truck suitable to deliver it, or any of the other equipment needed to detonate the materials. What is known is that one or more had arranged to purchase the ammonium from an undercover RCMP officer. Once the deal had been sealed, the bag of ammonium was switched with a harmless form of ammonium and the the cops swooped in to make the dramatic arrests. It is known that the deal to purchase ammonium nitrate was negotiated between one or more of the group members and an RCMP officer and that there was at least one other mole in the group that was being paid by the police.
Keefer commented on how the whole thing smelled of entrapment. He went on to say how absurd it was that these guys were supposedly first noticed because of
comments they were making in internet chat rooms (not something Al-Qaeda does), yet the police were unable to catch on to the posting of the young man who shot up Dawson College in Montreal last week. Through internet postings over a considerable amount of time, this man made very clear his love for guns, his hatred for people and his intentions to cause harm. Why was he not being watched and followed?
Furthermore, the representation of the Toronto 17 made several attempts to link them to Al-Qaeda. The beheading accusation is an example, as it reminds
people of the accusations made against Al-Qaeda leader Abu Masab al Zarqawi in association with the beheading of American civilian Nick Berg. Keefer spoke briefly on this issue too, noting that the video tapes of this event indicate in numerous ways that Berg was already dead at the time of being beheaded and that several pieces of furniture in the room where the video was rcorded were also found at Abu Ghraib prison. The images of this event were widely circulated at a time when both Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon were coming under attack for the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Keefer argues that there is considerable evidence that the Zarqawi-led beheading incident was a fake to take attention off of US abuses and turn public attention back to the "terrorists".
Keefer also had comments on the lack of media criticism of the treatment of the Toronto 17. He says that most journalists found nothing wrong with the fact
that after the arrests the men were awoken every 30 minutes and kept in very brightly lit rooms while being interrogated. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, according to Keefer. He went on to say that these arrests were likely the result of pressure from US intelligence to come up with something in the War on Terror and the active imaginations of Toronto police detectives, CSIS and the RCMP.
After the talk, questions were permitted. In light of the controversy on this campus over the CSA's military policy that was passed last year, I asked what
professor Keefer thought about CSA initiatives to ban military recruitment on campus. Keefer said that while he feels having a military is a very important
thing for Canada to do, he wants to see our military acting as peacekeepers and not as occupiers. He said that he is disgusted with the role Canada's Armed Forces played in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti in 2004, and reports by Amnesty International of Canadian soldiers raping Haitian women. He says he does not support the role we are currently playing in Afghanistan, nor the ways in which our country is serving the foreign policy interests of the US. Keefer felt that banning on-campus recruitment by CSIS, the RCMP, and the Armed Forces would send a message that we do not condone their recent activities. As a graduate of Canada's Royal Military College, he said that he sympathises with the young men and women who join the Armed Forces with the intent of serving their country, but says that when soldiers return from combat they are "brutalized" and this can be very dangerous.
Michael Keefer closed his talk by reminding everyone gathered that while he is convinced of everything he spoke about, the audience should remain skeptical. He encouraged everyone do their own research into everything he mentioned and to draw their own conclusions.