Last night I got down to the Lower East Side for one of Todd Seavy’s monthly debates, this time centered on the question, “Did the Government Know in Advance About 9/11?” Karol Sheinin of Alarming News argued the “No” position. I was actually going to email her to see if I could get a copy of her opening statement, but she save me the trouble by posting it here. Suffice to say, Karol speaks for herself better than I could summarize her, but I will confirm she is a smart, well-spoken young woman whose best attributes were definitely on display during the debate.
Sander Hicks presented the “Yes” position, which wasn’t based on any theories I’d heard previously from 9/11 Truthers. Hicks pegs Pakistani intelligence as a major participant, and said his lack of adherence to some 9/11 Truth dogma has led many in that movement to label him, despite his belief that the government let the attacks happen, as an agent. (Sheinin parodied this as a kind of conspiracy-theories-are-all-crazy-except-for-mine attitude.)Anyway, honestly, having not read Hicks’ book–you buy it by the case, I guess–and being wholly, strangely unfamiliar with the people he name-checked as sources, it is difficult to give a “grade” on content, but I will say I was touched by his passion, his obvious heartfelt belief in his theory, whatever its ultimate merits, and his general command of the details of that theory. Hicks also founded Soft Skull Press, an interesting idiosyncratic left publishing house that put out Paul Berman’s Power and the Idealists, which I reviewed favorably in AmSpec last year.
Both Hicks and Sheinin knew they were walking into an environment in which half the people in the room would think they were obstinate, crazy and uninterested in the truth. They should be commended for the bravery to do so. (The audience didn’t always carry itself with equal grace, but that’s another story, I suppose.) Karol’s “No” position narrowly won the vote. I don’t know: You could say the two sides were talking past one another last night, but, really, considering the gulf between the two positions and the implications of accepting one or the other, what else could we reasonably expect?