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Steve Alten: My 9/11/2009 New York presentation “Hitler’s type of propaganda”

Bestselling author works his jaws, not his brain, in a fierce, primitive attack on yours truly

My essay “The Myth of 9/11”, published in a book I co-edited with theologian John Cobb and Jewish Studies professor Sandra Lubarsky, compared 9/11 to Hitler’s Reichstag Fire. When an AP reporter called to ask if I was comparing Bush to Hitler, I said “No, that would be an insult to Hitler, who had 20 or 30 IQ points on Bush.” The reporter audibly gasped, then asked me to repeat the line, which I did. The next day my bon mot was a national news story, eliciting roughly equal numbers of LOLs and death threats.

So maybe when novelist Steve Alten recently called my presentation at the 9/11/2009 We Demand Transparency conference  “Hitler’s type of propaganda” what he really meant was that my type of propaganda was 20 or 30 points smarter than George Bush’s. But somehow I don’t think so.

Last September 16th, Alten spent an hour yelling at me on my own radio show (archived here). Now, in another recent radio interview with Cheri Roberts, Alten really went after me, jaws gnashing in primordial fury. (My response on the same show is posted here.)

It began when host Cheri Roberts brought up the question of divisions in the 9/11 truth movement, sensibly suggesting that the experts should debate the forensics, while other truth-seekers should unite under one umbrella.

Steve Alten responded:

Well, I think the basic problem with the 9/11 truth movement is it’s no longer focused on 9/11. It’s focused on all sorts of things that under any other label would be considered wacky. I mean, I flew up to New York to a 9/11 truth meeting in a church in New York on 9/11 this past year, and I gave a speech, and tried to keep everybody focused on the agenda, and then one of the next guests speakers, a gentleman — I can’t remember his name right now — the white Islam, (chuckles), the white Muslim, you know, who’s got the radio show…he went on to blame the Jews. And showed the Jewish conspiracy in the media. To which I was first of all offended as a Jew, and second of all offended as a rational human being. And I stood up and challenged him right there on the floor, and I said “this is not what 9/11 is about, all you’re doing is causing more hate. No light can come out of hatred, no light can come out of prejudice. And your arguments are absolutely ridiculous. You’re just…you’re exactly what is wrong with the 9/11 truth movement, and why we will never get any legitimate attention when you’re just breeding hatred and blaming…you know, he’s a converted Muslim. And I’m sitting next to my Egyptian friend who IS Muslim, who was born Muslim, and he’s shaking his head and saying this guy’s wacko! You know, so you can’t have that kind of radical belief in a movement and expect the movement to be accepted by the mainstream. Because…first of all, it’s not legitimate…but people follow this! And people were listening to him, and, like, nodding their heads, because he’s got a projection screen that shows that, you know, with all the major networks listed there, and anyone with a Jewish name, you know, presented in his argument. And so people were nodding their heads, and, “yeah, boy, he’s right.” And it’s the worst type of propaganda, directly out of Adolf Hitler’s type of propaganda, and people were falling for this nonsense!”

Cheri: “Yeah, I totally agree…”

Source:   – 12:00 – 15:00

Alten’s statement transcribed in the above passage is false and defamatory as a whole, as well as in some of its parts.

Alten: “He went on to blame the Jews. And showed the Jewish conspiracy in the media.”  My presentation did not “blame the Jews” (presumably Alten meant “blame the Jews for 9/11”). I challenge him to go over the recording of my presentation and find me saying that I “blame the Jews.” He won’t find it, or anything remotely like it. Nor will he find any reference to “the Jewish conspiracy in the media.”  These are all Alten’s words, not mine. Inventing false and defamatory words and putting them in someone else’s mouth is called slander.

In reality I have been a leader in interfaith dialogue, co-editing an important book, co-founding the leading interfaith 9/11 truth group, and inviting many Jewish guests on my radio shows for cordial dialogues on many subjects, including positive aspects of Judaism (see my interview with Ken Biegeleisen from 11/7/2009 and next Tuesday’s interview with Douglas Rushkoff).
Alten: “And it’s the worst type of propaganda, directly out of Adolf Hitler’s type of propaganda…”  There is no sense in which my lecture, which aimed to explain Muslim-majority views of 9/11 and related issues, derives from Hitler. Ironically, Alten’s baseless comparison of majority Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim views to Hitler–a staple of Zionist extremist rhetoric–could itself be legitimately called “the worst type of propaganda.”

“The white Islam, (chuckles), the white Muslim, you know, who’s got the radio show…You know, he’s a converted Muslim. And I’m sitting next to my Egyptian friend who IS Muslim, who was born Muslim, and he’s shaking his head and saying this guy’s wacko!”

Alten’s implication that I am disqualified from being a legitimate Muslim on account of my skin color is offensive. He seems to share the common racist belief that Muslims are dark-skinned foreigners with funny names–a convenient fiction for Zionists who want to convince Americans to kill Muslims for Israel. In fact, Islam is absolutely color-blind and multi-racial, uniting Europeans, Africans, Asians, islanders, and (increasingly) Native Americans/mestizos. Islam is the only religion in the U.S. that does not have a majority race or ethnicity. As a Muslim of Irish-Scottish-Welsh-German heritage, I am no more in a minority in the US Muslim community than are Muslims whose ethnic heritage derives from Egypt, Senegal, the Phillipines, Somalia, Russia, Bangladesh, Mexico, Switzerland, Albania, Oman, Bosnia, Turkmenistan, Brazil, Lebanon, Australia, or anywhere else. Alten’s attempt to equate the Islamic religion with a racial stereotype may derive from his background as a pro-Israel (i.e. pro-Zionist) American Jew, since Israel is defined as the ethnic Jewish state for all “Jews” (people born of Jewish mothers) regardless of their religious beliefs and practices, thus confusing the categories of religion and race/ethnicity.

Islam, unlike Judaism, is a non-racial religion. It does not claim that some people are better than others, “God’s chosen” or what have you, on account of their racial ancestry. In Islam, people are judged by their piety and actions; the Qur’an tells us that God created us in different sects and tribes “to compete in goodness” (5:48). In particular, Islam rejects the Jewish myth that Jews are the descendants of the superior Isaac, while Arabs/Muslims descend from that inferior “wild ass,” Ishmael. By identifying with Ishmael, and viewing him and not Isaac as the son reprieved from Abraham’s sacrifice, the Qur’an emphasizes that Islam was revealed, in part, to bust the myth of the “chosen people” and reveal the truth of human equality.

Alongside his offensive racial characterization of Muslims, Alten lies about Muslim-majority opinion by suggesting that his Egyptian friend, who supposedly thought my presentation was “wacko,” represents the Muslim mainstream. At issue were my claims that the majority of Muslims believes (1) the struggle over Palestine is the main cause of conflict in the Middle East, (2) Jewish Zionist power in the US dictates US Middle East policy, and (3) that 9/11 was probably, in whole or in part, a Zionist operation (i.e. US Middle East policy by other means).

Naturally not all Muslims agree with these views, and if they do, not all are courageous and/or impolite enough to voice them in mixed company. These  positions are, however, Muslim-majority ones. If Alten has any evidence that the majority of Muslims thinks these positions are “wacko,” other than one anecdote about one Egyptian friend, I would like to see it. I have been a Muslim since 1993, speak Arabic and follow Arabic media, have a Ph.D. with an Islamic Studies focus, spent a year conferring with colleagues and ordinary folks on a Fulbright fellowship in Morocco, and have gathered impressions about Muslim-majority opinion from many sources. Based on that experience I can tell you flat out that it is Alten’s belief about Muslim-majority opinion that is “wacko,” not mine.

But even if my characterization of Muslim-majority opinion were wrong, which it isn’t, why kill the messenger? Why would Alten abuse me personally for my characterization of Muslim-majority opinion? Couldn’t he at least show some evidence against my take on Muslim-majority opinion? Or, if no such evidence can be found, why not argue that Muslim-majority opinion, if it is in fact what Barrett claims, is wrong? These would be reasonable arguments. But Alten apparently is not interested in reason.

Alten’s argument is discombobulated, hysterical, and barren of supporting evidence, because it emerges from strong emotion bereft of reason. And what pushed Alten’s emotional buttons hardest was my discussion of whether the Muslim majority is right about Jewish Zionist power dictating US Middle East policy. In my presentation, I cited evidence for the Muslim-majority position, beginning with the work of scholar James Petras, who exhaustively documents what he calls the Zionist Power Configuration in control of post-9/11 policy. My presentation included a chart of top mainstream media decision-makers showing a great many allegedly Jewish people, along with a column by Philip Weiss entitled “Do Jews Dominate in American Media? And So What if We Do?” In that column, Weiss explains that in his many decades of mainstream media work, the majority of the owners, bosses and co-workers he worked for and with were Jewish, suggesting that based on this experience and other evidence, the question “Do Jews dominate in American media?” could be answered “yes.”

In response to the second question of his essay title, “So What?”, Weiss explains that the result of this apparent Jewish domination in American media is that “Americans are not getting the full story re Israel/Palestine.” Why not? Weiss explains: “Even if you’re a secular Jewish professional who prides himself on his objectivity, there is a ton of cultural pressure on you to support Israel or at least not to betray Israel.”  Weiss cites former CNN reporter Linda Scherzer: “We, as Jews, must understand that we come with a certain bias …We believe in the Israeli narrative of history. We support the values that we as Americans, Westerners, and Jews espouse. Thus, we see news reporting through our own prism.” In other words, media Jews conflate support for Israel with Americanism — just as Muslims, were they to dominate the US media, would conflate support for Hamas with Americanism. (Hamas is an Islamic movement, just as Zionism is a Jewish movement, and there would seem to be no inherent reason why non-Jewish, non-Muslim Americans should prefer one over the other.)

Steve Alten, who apparently sees the 9/11 truth movement through his own prism, does not dispute any of this. His implicit position is that it just should not be talked about. In Alten’s world, anyone who cites evidence that Zionist (i.e. pro-Israeli) Jews dominate in American media, and that this conditions American perceptions of the Middle East conflict, must be silenced through insults.

I have a question for Steve Alten. Imagine that tomorrow, wealthy anti-Zionist Muslims buy up the same percentage of the media that pro-Zionist Jews currently own. Imagine that these new Muslim owners, with their Muslim names, exercise their right to hire and fire personnel, and that the result is that a new majority of key US media people suddenly consists of anti-Zionist Muslims. Should this event, if and when it occurs, be off limits for discussion? Should the fact that a majority of US media decision-makers now has Muslim names be passed over in silence? Should anyone who even mentions that the new CEO of NBC is Abdul-Malik Hassan, a strong supporter of Hamas, and that the rest of the mainstream media is now dominated by people with similar names and ideologies, be attacked as a bigot and silenced? If not — if you agree that this development would be noteworthy and a legitimate topic of discussion — then why must today’s actual Jewish Zionist domination of the media be kept secret? How do you justify the double-standard?

Those who suppress critical thinking, by promoting incoherent emotion-based obfuscation, are usually trying to protect some privileged belief, which they hold to a different standard than alternative beliefs. According to some such people, it is unthinkable to “blame Jews” for 9/11, but perfectly okay to “blame Muslims”–ignoring the overwhelming evidence that 9/11 was a false-flag op by the enemies of Muslims, designed to implicate Muslims and legitimize their mass murder, meaning that Muslims are the victims and thus the last who should be blamed! (Who cares about evidence, it’s the privileged belief that must be protected at all costs.) Likewise it would be unthinkable to single out Jews for ethnic profiling or arbitrary detention, but thinkable to single out Muslims. And it’s unremarkable — in fact it MUST be unremarked-on or you’ll never work in this town again  — that Zionist Jews dominate in the American media…but if Muslim supporters of Hamas dominated in the American media, that would be a different story!

The 9/11 truth movement uses critical reason to deconstruct double-standards enforced by emotional conditioning. (The 9/11 psy-op was the ultimate conditioning operation, enforcing a double-standard of “us vs. them” on Americans and including Zionists in the “us,” while condemning Zionism’s Muslim foes to “them” status.) Those of us who seek the truth must challenge this and all double-standards, and the unreasonable arguments, chiefly insults, that uphold them. Steve Alten’s irrational, evidence-free diatribe against me, like similar diatribes I have suffered from Hannity and O’Reilly and Glenn Beck and so many others, exemplifies the kind of emotional conditioning used by demagogues (like Hitler, Steve!) to prop-up double-standards, and pummel critical reason into submission.

8 Thoughts to “Steve Alten: My 9/11/2009 New York presentation “Hitler’s type of propaganda””

  1. Steve Alten resorts to the usual knee-jerk reaction, "you're spreading hatred towards Jews." The clear implication is Kevin Barrett may facilitate an atmosphere where another mass roundup and extermination of Jews can take place. It seems, this type of defense is clearly falling flat on nearly everyone's ears, it's so worn out. It's such a sad attempt to manipulate social opinion. The Israeli Army deposits sewn up Palestinian corpses back at the kill site but that's acceptable–morbidly harvesting organs from dead victims? Did anyone check the gold fillings? The knee-jerk defense is one of last resort rhetorically, if you're unable to engage the facts because they're clearly not in your favor. Kevin, after reading Alten, I fantasize about a Truth Jihadist comic book character who welds his sword wildly in his search for candidates to star in the town square's Friday prayer. Go get em', Kevin!

  2. Anonymous

    A former President of Italy stated in a major Italian Newspaper that everyone in the European and American intelligence communities knows that Israel's Mossad was responsible for the 911 attacks. The Mossad is Israel's intelligence agency.

    The Mossad motto: "By way of deception, thou shall do war"
    Here is a major item: The Dancing Israelis (from Urban Moving Systems) were actually Mossad and Israeli Defense Forces personnel and were seen dancing and celebrating while video taping the first tower being hit. The authorities developed their pictures which showed them rejoicing while holding a lit lighter with the burning twin towers in the background. They were arrested and failed lie detector tests but were let go due to orders from Michael Chertoff. When they returned to Israel they went on a talk show where one of them mentioned they were there to document the event. The confession video is at Youtube and other web pages including at this link: How could they have be there to document the event unless they had prior knowledge of the attacks!

    This article about the Dancing Israelis is a must read. It also includes information about the Dancing Israelis that indicates they planned to blow up the George Washington Bridge on 911, fortunately they were arrested.

    The Israeli Art students (arrested spies) were following and living very close to the hijackers in Florida including Atta.

    Odigo Systems, an Israeli company with a New York City office received an advanced warning by email that an attack was going to occur in New York City the day of the attack. This is verified by their CEO. They were probably not tipped off by Arabs!

    Zim American Israeli Shipping Company, also considered to be a front for the Mossad and the CIA broke their lease in one of the twin towers which cost them $50,000 and moved out about a week before the attack. Perhaps they had an advance warning.

    "In the second week of August 2001, Hanjour had attempted to rent a small plane from an airport in Bowie, MD. Flight instructors Sheri Baxter and Ben Conner declined his request, after taking Hanjour on three test runs, noting he had trouble controlling and landing the Cessna 172. Source".

    Regarding hitting the Pentagon: "It required making a tight 320-degree turn while descending seven thousand feet, then leveling out so as to fly low enough over the highway just west of the Pentagon to knock down lamp posts.

    It gets even more intriguing: Eddie Shalev was the man who certified the incompetent pilot Hanjour to rent a Cessna 172 just three days after Marcel Bernard the chief instructor at Freeway refused to rent Hanjour the very same plane. The shocker is that Eddie Shalev is an Israeli and served in the Israeli army.

    System Planning Corporation, an Israeli company produces the Flight Termination System that is used to take over and fly airplanes by remote control. Perhaps the system was used with the 911 attack planes.

  3. Kevin,

    The following would not post on the truthjihad website. Is is in response to the Alten debate.
    No matter what the subject, there's always the chance of sensitivities clouding an issue. However, as Mr. Alten I'm sure is aware, there are questions regarding the presence of Masad during 9/11. But as I understand, the comparison of the Reichstag Fire to 9/11 pertains to an event opposed to specific individuals. Bringing the likes of Hitler into the discussion only clouds the issue.

    So who would be overly sensitive? Firstly, it is a misconception that the average Israeli is a Zionist and dead set on the elimination of all Palestinians from neighboring territory. I refer to the lack of conventional media coverage of public protests in Israel against the military occupation of Palestine. From my perspective, most Jews have a rational view of their own history and this includes the Holocaust, notwithstanding the fact that there have been many holocausts throughout history involving a greater percent of a population than what took place during WWII.

    Secondly, name calling: i.e. wacko is an immediate flag that the individual using said language is himself on the fringe and not exactly being objective. Even those individuals perceived to be out in left field frequently have valid points when allowing the water to clear. Hence, the use of name calling and the distortion of a comment to incorporate an abstract are both indicators of alternative motives.

    Was Masad involved in 9/11? It is generally known that Israeli intelligence warned the CIA of impending attacks. Could fringe group have otherwise been involved? Maybe, maybe not. We're arguing over points that have not been specifically established through an independent investigation. From another standpoint, sensitivities to potential issues frequently reveal a fear of sorts that certain information is liable to be made public. At any rate, the entire discussion deviates from objectivity, as an independent investigation into the facts is liable to lead into many different places. How would a blind man identify an elephant if only allowed to examine one portion of the animal? Only a fool places judgement on an issue before that issue has even been established.
    I think it's rather obvious what you meant regarding your analogy to the Reichstag Fire.


  4. Anonymous

    So Barrett operates in lucid mode yet one more time. Don't worry, he will soon be playing the kooky clown once again, bringing discredit to the causes of anti-zionism, justice for palenstinians, Islam, libertarianism, and 9/11 truth.

  5. Hey, Brian Good! Haven't seen you in awhile.

    Actually my favorite tarot image is The Fool (not the Kooky Clown)– the guy walking off the cliff with insouciant innocence. Read "Crazy Wisdom" by Wes Nisker for details.

    If you go up against the 9/11 perps, the Zionists, or the combination thereof, you're walking off a cliff…best do it with pure heart, empty mind, sense of humor intact, and whatever lucidity that comes with these attributes of the Fool. This is one way of being a muslim (one who submits to God).

    The opposite of that is the Brian Good approach: utter humorlessness, envy, vendettas and/or sexual harassment campaigns against famous activists, and other ego-prison symptoms. Brian, you'd be a lot happier and more successful if you'd just let go of your obsessions and step off the cliff like a purehearted fool.

  6. Paul Home

    It's not hard to fathom what Steve Alten's definition of "legitimate" is, in the light of his objection that no light can come out of the "hatred" and "prejudice" exhibited by the view that 9/11 was a Mossad operation. Steve, get that beam of prejudice out of your eye before you begin on the speck in Kevin Barrett's. Physician, heal thyself!

  7. There are good reasons to suspect that Zionism may have been a key factor in 9/11, reasons that have nothing to do with "hatred" and "prejudice." Alongside the evidence discussed by Bollyn and others, there is the big picture to consider. Here is my response to Elias Davidsson, who thinks 9/11 was a US imperial op and that those pushing for the Zionist interpretation are muddying the waters.


    The big-picture argument for Zionist primacy in 9/11 boils down to:

    The US needs energy, and advantageous terms of trade, from the Muslim-majority lands of the Middle East and Central Asia.

    The people of those lands will never accept a Jewish state in Palestine, hate the US for supporting Israel, and will eventually take over their own governments and/or punish the US in every possible way if the US continues to support Israel.

    Therefore, the US has two choices: 1) Throw its weight behind the Palestinians (and Muslims), establish a peaceful "protection (against Russia/China/India) for energy" partnership of equals with the Muslim lands, including a liberated/decolonized Palestine; or 2) Continue to support Israel and thereby be dragged into a war against the world's Muslim population for as long as Israel exists as a Jewish state occupying Palestinian land. (Note: One of the key objectives of the Af-Pak war is the Zionist one of breaking up Pakistan and getting rid of its nuclear capability.)

    Choice 1 would seem to benefit the US more than choice 2. The oil companies want choice 1. They have always supported the anti-Israel "Arabists" in the State Department; they have always tried to deal with "rogue" (anti-Zionist) governments like Qaddafi, Saddam, Iran, etc. but are undercut by the Zionists, as explained by James Petras; they want stability, not instability. Instability is bad for business.

    Since it would be in the US national interest to throw Israel to the wolves, as it appears from the pro-Zionist viewpoint, an extremely powerful campaign has been mounted in the US, beginning decades ago, to ensure that Zionists control US Middle East policy. To that end politics (where roughly half of all federal campaign money comes with Zionist strings attached) and journalism (where more than half of decision makers are Jewish Zionists) have been taken over.

    9/11 cemented the US in a permanent war against Muslims. It was modeled on Pearl Harbor; intensive military psychological research showed that Americans still hated the Japanese half a century later, and the point of 9/11 was to get the same kind of effect and lock in the war for many decades.

    Who benefits from a decades-long US war against Muslims? Not the US — its economy is already staggering under the load.

    Israel may or may not be able to survive this US vs. Muslim 100 years war, but without that war, Israel's demise would be guaranteed. Thus Israel (and Zionist hard-liners in the US who ran Cheney's office) had the motivation to take the gigantic risk 9/11 entailed. Some corrupt military money-grubbers and goose-steppers may have gone along with it, but I can't see them as the originators and prime movers. Maurizio Blondet's analysis of 9/11 as a Zionist coup d'etat, discussed at , still seems a reasonable hypothesis in light of the facts.

  8. Anonymous

    It seems to me that if we make 9/11 about anything but the evidence (no matter whose ox is gored by that evidence) we invite discord. What are the odds we are going to get agreement and cooperation between people of divergent political, ethnic, and religious persuasions by comparisons to Hitler? In laying out the relevant evidence and evaluating it, the test of "on what ethnic/religious group it reflects badly?" is not helpful.

    Our adversary is a government who stonewalls its citizens, covers up the evidence, and deliberately falsifies events for its own purpose.

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