Some Thoughts on Truth, Belief, and Stakes
5 October 2010
last edits 1 November
No Bee Whisperer/What If?
Those who follow this site will know I posted a “debate call” recently to anyone who could defend the official story in a detailed, evidence-based way. As of yet, I’ve gotten no response from across the divide of the kind I was hoping for.
For one thing, my often caustic and provocative style is apparently not effective at scaring up debate or discussion. Recently I had it suggested to me, by U.S. family member of a PA103 victim (posting as Bunntamas) that I’d catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. It's a worthy point, but I'm not sure what "honey" would be in this situation. So far I've been less than sure anything would catch the bees that most need caught, and here's why: in short, the stakes are enormous.
What I've written up below is perhaps not honey, but something I hope is useful. For this I’ll need (from a few readers I hope) another or a first act of imagination. Carefully consider the notion that Libya – or at least Megrahi - was in fact wrongly pursued while the real killers were left free. It might be difficult, but really try to approach it with an open mind.
Let’s imagine it was just proven by the most believable panel of experts and they explained it all to your satisfaction in a detailed 60-minute TV program. Everyone in the world has hailed it as amazing and is convinced. The following would be the next things to think about.
The cost to Libya
The case that emerged against Megrahi and Fhimah could hardly happen wrongly by accident, and a conspiracy is strongly implied. The actual cabal to sex-up or fake evidence needn’t be massive, but the cover-up and/or conspiracy of silence would be titanic. Call it unlikely if you will, but for a moment call it possible that some number of people decided where to lead the case with faked evidence to follow. Others followed up on it compliantly, and no one had officially recognized anything untoward along the way, until this amazing commission and its TV show we're imagining.
No one should disagree that the material effects on Libya were severe. Following the indictments in 1991, US and UN sanctions reportedly killed thousands, and cost many billions in lost revenue. The hard-won trial that allowed this to start ending was a gargantuan operation that took years to arrange and carry out, with hundreds of witnesses flown in to a specially-built complex for the 9-month proceedings. And, in this what-if scenario, it led to two men being wrongly imprisoned for nearly two years, one of them, as a convicted mass murderer, for a further eight. An additional $2.7 billion was paid out by Libya to family of the victims in compensation, on false pretenses as we’re imagining it.
Do you pay them back, or what? How much?
The real killers
And if we knew the Libyans weren't responsible after all, and wanted to punish those who really did it, we’d have to extract the punishment all over again. This would most likely, on examination, be from elements in the Iranian regime at the time, and certain Arab terrorist leaders. It would acknowledge and perhaps continue a once-declined tit-for-tat that started with the bizarre USS Vincennes incident and the sinking of Iran Air 655. It's an ugly scene. We might have to hunt down and bring to trial suspects who currently reside under state protection in places like Damascus, Syria and Reston, Virginia.
In this scenario, all the cynical misdirection towards Tripoli was undertaken to fake a search for justice. And at that, for one of the most heinous terrorist attacks ever against English-speakers, with 270 killed under horrifying circumstances. All the costs of the blame-Libya line would be underwritten by a further sacrifice of true justice on that scale, with the real killers consciously allowed to go free (or to be gotten back some other way, but not the right way).
Who, if anybody, decided to make these trade-offs? How many could or should sense the injustice happening? Did they not see, or just not say? It’s preposterous, on the face of it. A normal person’s “what-if” should have worn off by now. Usually, of course, it does.
I've been wrong before...
For what it's worth, I should remind my readers - and myself – that I was once a “9/11 Truther.” For years I half-suspected an inside job behind the attacks on New York and Washington, perhaps with remote control and demolitions. Either way, I was fairly certain the government at least allowed the outside attack to happen for the very advantages I saw them brazenly capitalizing on.
The uneasy feeling about the event and its abuse remains, but the supposed facts that once suggested so much so clearly have nearly all melted away after scrutiny that first came from others. In that case, I was embarrassed but ultimately relieved, and I know what it’s like to see a reality I believed fall apart and leave me wondering what the hell I was thinking.
Perhaps these more recent conclusions I’ve reached about Pan Am 103 are just as wrong. There’s a precedent for it, anyway. Inherent distrust and ego-driven desire to be right when everyone else is wrong, some skewed understandings, ignored counterpoints, making connections that only seem to be warranted, plus group reinforcement. All can lead to false certainty that can be amazingly convincing when you're on the inside of it.
It’s possible that the bomb that killed Bunntamas' father and so many others really did travel on KM 180. The records of Air Malta contradicting that might have been altered to do so, and all the strangeness around the Frankfurt data might be just plain irrelevant. That would suggest Megrahi, in a way, except that he was busy boarding another flight as the loading happened. Maybe Fhimah really did manage the actual bomb placement as alleged, despite no evidence and his being found not guilty.
Maybe in fact the timer and radio fragments and manual cover found on land are really from the blast, despite tests that confirm what seems to me common sense. Science is complex, and these items do point pretty clearly to Libya. It could be that the Libyan plotters really did set their MST-13 timer for 7:03 pm, less than an hour after scheduled takeoff, not caring if their clues survived the blast and fell on land. And I can't rule out that that this stupid plan just happens to mimick the PFLP-GC's known bomb style if one were loaded at London.
It's not unthinkable that Tony Gauci’s recall of the buyer and day of purchase really did start out confused and fuzzy in 1989 but got sharper at trial 11 years later, nabbing Megrahi on the 7th of December. It’s even possible that Abdul Majid Giaka’s clues weren’t made up, or the facts they convey happen to be true despite the carrier. That could mean any of the following is true: Megrahi commissioned a report on bombing a plane (and had Giaka himself write it), both accused handled explosives at the airport (which Giaka was allowed to see), and they brought a suitcase of the style used for the bomb from Tripoli to Malta the day before the bombing, again right in front of the blabbermouth. Any one of those would be pretty convincing if I were more inclined to believe it.
I can even see all or most of these being true at the same time, as the investigation had at one point decided. It's a logical possibility, though it’s obviously distant and hard for me to credit at the moment. That’s the part I’d need some help with.
... but it's less likely now.
I am a better conspiracy theorist now for the 9/11 Truth experience, and less inclined to leap on something just because it makes a certain kind of sense. I received much of my debunking at the JREF forum's conspiracy theory section (learning from others’ mistakes more than my own). The epic nemesis of 9/11 Truthers and other CT nutters, full of government agents to hear the latter speak, helped me learn the rational and rigorous approach more in line with my older half-ass training as a historian. Having come full-circle, I now consider myself part promoter and part debunker of conspiracy theories, trying to get each side to consider the other a little more.
But that forum has been unable to say much against what I, along with Rolfe, Buncrana, and many others see in the Lockerbie case. All things considered, over perhaps two dozen threads and hundreds of thousands of words, we’re debunking the official story. Its alleged machinations and miracles fail to rise past the lower threshold of plausibility. Nothing aside from legal technicalities and conventional belief supports it.
Or so it seems, and if this is wrong, I’ll be unable to shake it on my own. And my growing circle of fellow thinkers won’t be any help, nor likely my adversaries; no one else at that esteemed forum of rationality nor anywhere else has pulled together any convincing debunk. Ignorant or self-serving repetitions from on high that the the guy was convicted so he's guilty are sliding off of us. Details will be required.
A Big Lie?
Finally, I return to one of the stumbling blocks to directly confronting the strong case for something wrong. There's still that temptation to rule the whole thing too ridiculous to contemplate. Just how have the mainstream media, multiple governments and hundreds of investigators, and the public at large, all at the same time, failed to “figure it out” yet?
Perhaps the failures aren't as separate as they might seem, and the governments' decisions informed the media's (compliant) ignorance, which of course shaped the public's? Is it that simple?
Further, we could be seeing the "Große Lüge” or Big Lie effect, as Hitler outlined in Mein Kampf. A deception so enormous that ordinary people could perceive it about as much as a grasshopper could grasp what's inside a skyscraper. It's only the logical extension of my theory of what happened, that continued failure to see can best be explained that way. There are precedents, anyway.
So in short, the vast mainstream mind may just be failing to see a very large and smelly pachyderm filling most of the room. Now that that charge is on the record, how is anyone going to respond to it? By simply insisting again that it's been legally established there is no stinking elephant?
To be sure, no matter how much debating and convincing anyone does, the legal-political status quo will try hard not to change - legal reality will stay what it is and the ineffectual "cranks" will remain just that. But physical reality is what it is, and the evidence from the 3-D world contests the official story at every major juncture. Much of it is actually documented and can be seen in black and white. Lawyers and experts and family members will continue mentioning this for some time, and history is sure to get it right eventually. But barring some major change in the halls of power, don’t expect the change anytime soon.
My aim here, especially when I get provocative, is not to up and win this thing and convince anyone with mere ("supposed") facts, but to help get it really started. It will be an epic struggle for the throne of legal truth and I urge as much calm and patience as possible on all sides. But it needs to happen. One very large body of people or another has a lot of learning to do.