Monday, August 27, 2007

Fisk, 9/11 Conspiracies and Shakespeare

Via Solominia, we get to hear the latest on Robert Fisk's imaginative journalism:

...I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in
the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where
are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have
the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania)
been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed
to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed
"research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center
Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is
true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how
come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be
about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and
10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre
Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in
its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the
ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards
and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all
three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American
professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the "raver"
bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final
report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive"...

Oliver Kamm, who should be read by all and sundry, has this to say about Fisk:

Fisk is indeed a conspiracy theorist. He outed himself 18 months ago in a
speech in Australia. It is moderately scandalous that in the meantime he has
made no attempt to answer his own ill-informed questions by directing them to
competent researchers in engineering and aviation. Even so absurd and
discredited a figure as Michael Meacher
denies that his speculations about
9/11 make him a conspiracy theorist and claims "I'm only raising questions". Yet
Fisk and Meacher "raise questions" to which
definitive and comprehensive answers are wholly accessible and in the public domain. The alternative
explanation is that these answers themselves are part of an attempt to deceive
the public and divert attention from the real culprits. That type of explanation
about agency has a common and useful name. It is "conspiracy theory".

As I say in the Solomonia comments, Fisk's penchant for conspiracy theory when it comes to his hated Israel or America are well known. Here is one example of his way of pointing darkly and mysteriously to hidden conspiracies of the most nefarious kind:

"In private, he did not hide his animosity towards the
Hizbollah, whose attacks on Israeli occupation troops before their 2000 retreat
would set back his plans for Lebanon’s economic recovery. And while he tolerated
the Syrians, he had his own plans for their military departure. Was it true, as
they said in Beirut, that Hariri was the secret leader of the political
opposition to the Syrian presence?
Or were his
enemies even more sinister people?

Lebanon is built on institutions that enshrine
sectarianism as a creed, in which the president must always be a Christian
Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim - like Hariri - and the speaker of
parliament a Shia Muslim. Anyone setting out to murder
Hariri would know how this could re-open all the fissures of the civil war from
1975 to 1990

Who could he mean? Of course he behaves like some garrulous gossip from a Monty Python school: *Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more!*? I'm not saying anything but... He does not have the moral courage to openly state what he thinks except by muttering and coy innuendoes. Always leaving for himself a way of retreating.

It's ironic that Kamm invokes of conspiracy theories in Shakespeare's scholarship when describing the phenomenon that Fisk represents. I say ironic because not too long ago Fisk tried his hand at some Shakespeare scholarship himself, with rather strange conjectures. Not surprising, coming as it does from the man whose name inspired the coinage of a whole new term in the English language, he insouciantly claims that :

".. Othello ... is a Muslim in the service of Venice - close neighbour to the Ottoman empire - and is sent to Cyprus to battle the Turkish fleet."

Who knew? Othello was a Muslim!

Not a chance, says this Independant Reader, making short shrift of this allegation:

"Robert Fisk says that Othello is a Muslim. There is no evidence for this attribution.
Shakespeare does not once imply this. It is inherently implausible that a Muslim would command the Venetian fleet against the Turks or be able to marry into the Venetian patriciate. Iago, who ignored no perceived defect in his rival, calls him Moor, barbarian and black, but makes no reference to religion.

When Othello finds Cassio and Rodrigo fighting, he says, "Are we turned
Turks?... For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl" (Act II, scene iii).
When he encounters a Turk assaulting a Venetian, he says, "I took by the throat
the circumcised dog" (Act V, scene ii). Are these the acts or words of a



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