President John F Kennedy once famously cited the words of the ancient Greek Law maker Solon, who decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. Yet many supposedly independent web-sites do precisely that. These include Larvartus Prodeo and Webdiary. in regard to the burning controversy over the 9/11 attacks.
In February this, year a post I made to a discussion on Larvatus Prodeo concerning 9/11:
"I think it's time people questioned the very pretext of the so-called 'war on terror'. Starting in September 2008, 7 years later than I should have, I began to seriously research the controversy over the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I have carefully considered the claims of the '9/11 Truthers' and the '9/11 debunkers' and have arrived at the firm conclusion that 9/11 was a 'false flag' terrorist attack planned and orchestrated by the cabal centred on Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Bush to advance their geo-political goals.
"I urge others to seriously consider the evidence. It shouldn't take long form anyone with an open objective mind to see that a massive cover-up has occurred. And where there's a cover-up a crime has usually occurred.
"Many credible and very well credentialed people, for example, those listed at patriotsquestion911.com are demanding that new proper investigations, unlike the cover-ups conducted by NIST and the 9/11 Commissions, be held.
However, it was deleted by the site owner Mark Bahnisch. On 19 February, Mark Acknowledged that he had deleted the post, stating:
"I'm not prepared to host 9/11 truther discussions."
In response, on the same day, I asked:
"Do you consider the issue unimportant?
"... or do you believe you know for a fact that the account of the 9/11 attacks given by the Bush administration is true?"
Mark Bahnisch's response, also on the same day, was:
"James - it's not our practice to enter into discussion of moderation decisions, as the comments policy indicates."
I left it for a while to respond further. On 6 March, whilst I was also campaigning as an independent candidate in the Queensland State elections, I wrote:
"Please consider again, what I wrote. I did not study the question properly until 7 years after it happened.
"Until the middle of 2007 it never seriously entered my head that the Bush administration would have been so monstrous as to deliberately commit the crime of 11 September 2001.
"I point this out only to show that I was not the kind of person who has lightly come to the view that I have."
I will quote the last post (not made by myself) on on Online Opinion discussion about this question:
'If there was a possibility of complicity by sectors other than the alleged Saudi / UAE "hijackers", which if you read BOTH sides of the argument there seems to be, then this is a most important subject, to be discussed and investigated.
'Any one who says one side has "been completely debunked" needs a self-inflicted slap in the face.'
"If you persist in your decision to censor discussion of this critical issue, I don't believe that your site visitors will thank you in the longer term.
candidate for Mount Coot-tha
I got no further reply.
On 12 May, I mentioned the issue in passing in the discussion "Murdoch: the current days of the Internet will soon be over":
"... why are so many truly independent websites - globalresearch.ca, www.culturechange.org - constantly crying out for money, whilst those ostensibly alternative independent websites, who accept corporate funding, have become obviously compromised (for example, by refusing to discuss the 9/11 controversy)?"
This drew a few interested responses, including from one who said he didn't realise that 9/11 was a taboo topic. A subsequent post I made was placed in the moderation queue, but did not appear, whilst my post following that one did appear. The post which did not appear was:
"Well, I certainly hope the LP moderators will reconsider what I was told was their policy of imposing a blanket ban on discussion of the topic to which you referred. Not long ago I put to John Quiggin that his disapproval of discussion of that topic on his website was misguided. Some discussion ensued. I would say that I won that relatively short argument, but even if I had not, his expressed fears that it would derail discussion were never realised.
"In fact, in my own experience, questioning the principle justification for the so-called 'war on terror', the removal of our rights to free speech, habeus corpus and other civil rights, previously taken for granted, does more than anything else to put such discussions back on the rails.
"If you still truly believe 'Al Qaeda' 'did it', then I urge you to spend ten minutes to view the first part of a two part YouTube broadcast, which I believe was made by US High School Physics teacher David Chandler. If you agree with me that his case is sound and solidly backed by the evidence, then perhaps you will want to then view the second part.
I don't think you will regret having spent your time doing so.
The following post, which was published, but the content of which appears to have been ignored in regard to the previous post, was:
"I believed for many years that Lindy Chamberlain killed baby Azaria.
"I also believed for many years that what I considered to be ruthless dangerous Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan had largely got what they deserved after 2001. I now know better (even though I still have concerns about political Islam and high immigration) because I have taken the trouble to study the evidence.
"You should do the same
"It would greatly help if the LP moderators were to heed the words of JFK when he cited the views of Solon in support of the open, democratic and accountable society he was trying to bring about:
'… the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy.'
… and accordingly approve this, as well as my previous post.
The responses, so far, from a few regular LP contributors, dispute the case of the 9/11 Truth movement, but at least they demonstrate that unlike the LP moderators, they are interested in discussing 9/11.
However, as one post has not been approved and the previous post from February was deleted, there is no guarantee that a fair and balanced discussion can proceed.
See also: "The end of the Taliban?" of 29 May 09, a discussion on johnquiggin.com in which two of my posts were deleted and I was banned for 24 hours, "John Quiggin censors JFK's speeech against secret societies" of 31 May 09, a discussion forum on 911oz.com, "Pakistani refugees" of 1 Jun 09, a very helpful article about the current conflict in Pakistan.