This is intended to be a summary of the discussion on Online Opinion entitled "9/11 Truth" about the devastating Terrorist attack on 11 September 2001.
Background to this discussion
My request to discuss the September 11 terrrorist attacks on Online Opinion was initially rejected. After I questioned the reasons for rejection (see below), it was subsequently approved.
However, the discussion was marred by relentless personal attacks and the usual time-consuming debating ploys, which comprise much of the 280 contributions posted to the discussion. In spite of this the forum contains a lot of useful material, and those who are prepared to wade through the forum will find very good contributions and, I believe, will see that the case of the 9/11 Truth movement does withstand the test of argument.
Nevertheless, that is a difficult undertaking for most users. This article is intended to guide users through the maze and to deconstruct the attempts to prevent them from understanding the issues.
Unsurprisingly, I was attacked relentlessly for having questioned the official U.S. Government explanation of the September 11 attacks, not only from the usual right-wing suspects, but also from ostensible left-wingers. One who claimed to be a member of the Greens Party was particularly venal.
The discussion was frustrated by the limitations of a forum such as Online Opinion and this was not helped by the moderator's hostility to me. At one point, when I made a simple request that a post I made which contained an error be deleted after I had re-written it without the error, he responded:
There is a limit to how much I am going to do to clean-up others mistakes. In this case I'm going to decline.
Instead of composing and sending me this e-mail, he could have simply clicked at most two times, I would have thought, in order to remove the redundant post and helped remove at least a small amount of confusing clutter from the discussion.
During my research, I learnt that in September 2005, British soldiers, dressed as Arabs, had been caught by Iraqi police in Basra, in a booby-trapped car just before a religious ceremony. They were arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the car around crowds fo worshipers to make it appear as a sectarian attack. However the local British commander attacked the Police station with 10 tanks and helicopter support, even though they were supposed to be cooperating with the Iraqi police in the fight against terrorism. Local Iraqis tried to defend the Police station, but the British soldiers broke in and freed the suspects before they could be questioned. The British Government later 'apologised' to the Iraqi Government over this incident. See story in Global Research, Canada.
I requested a forum be started up to discuss this with the title. "Who is responsible for the sectarian killings in Iraq", but it was refused. The moderator wrote to me:
Your general discussion thread entitled "Who is really behind the bloody sectarian killings in Iraq?" has been rejected by the moderator.
I can't see this going anywhere that the previous thread didn't.
Requests to prevent one other contributor who had stated openly he intended to disrupt the discussion were met with either hostility or indifference.
Clearly Online Opinion is not the free and open discussion that it's chief editor Graham Young would have everyone believe it to be. Honest well-meaning debaters, including, I would hold, myself, are often subject to intense abuse by people whose conduct would be easily recongnised by any responsible moderator as disruptive, so much so, that a good many people I know simply don't consider Online Opinion worth participating. On top of that, requests to discuss very relevant and current issues which are likely to attract considerable interest, are rejected, whilst discussions on many seemingly well-worn and less momentous topics are approved.
Of course, that's the right of the managers of Online Opinion to do so, but there should be no pretence that this is not the case.
(To be continued)
Appendix - Email Questioning stated reasons for rejection of proposed "9/11 Truth" forum
On Mon, 22 Sep 2008, Forum Administrator wrote:
> Dear James Sinnamon,
> Your general discussion thread entitled "9/11 Truth" has been rejected by
> the moderator.
> Can you reword? I don't have an in-principle issue with the post, but I
> don't want to encourage the propagation of multiple threads relating back
> to other threads. If it is a genuinely new thread, then that's OK, but if
> it is a response to discussion on another thread, then it should go on the
> original thread, not a new one.
I don't follow your argument. Why can't a discussion thread be both a new
thread and relate back to another thread? What is wrong with referring to
other discussions on OLO, or, indeed, anywhere else?
My motivation was to repond to what was written about on another thread
on "Winning the Iraq War" without dragging the discussion into claims and
counter-claims about the 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Would you prefer that the discussion of the 9/11 attacks as well as discussion
on "Was the subversion of democracy in the 'free world' necessary to fight
the 'evil' of 'communism'?" to have continued on the Forum about the Iraq War
at http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=2052#45928 , or
would you prefer that the discussion not be held at all?
> National Forum Administrator