Environmentalists caused 9/11!

Is it the 9/11 cranks saying it? Of course not. Instead it’s the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page featuring Peter Hoekstra.

And you wonder why we call the WSJ editorial page a denialist organization?

In the mid-1990s, Bill Clinton’s first Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, declared that environmental concerns and national security would share equal status in U.S. foreign policy. Immediately following that announcement, CIA Director John Deutch said in July 1996 that the U.S. was diverting spy satellites to photograph “ecologically sensitive” sites.

Instead of focusing on looming national security threats — the first World Trade Center bombing came in 1993 and in August of 1996 Osama bin Laden issued his fatwa, “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places” — Mr. Deutch was currying favor with then-Vice President Al Gore.

There you have it. The circle is complete. Al Gore caused 9/11. Wait, am I reading too much into his implications of environmentalist guilt for terrorism? Am I not giving this crank a fair shake?

At the direction of the Center, spy satellites were tasked to conduct what some in the press dubbed “environmental peeking.” The diversion meant fewer overhead images of vital national security concerns, such as Iran, North Korea and al Qaeda. It’s impossible to know, but I wonder what intelligence clues in the run up to 9/11 were missed because our spy satellites were focused on the polar ice caps and schools of fish instead of Afghanistan and bin Laden.

Yes, that’s right, it’s the environmentalists’ fault we were attacked. We distracted the CIA for just enough time for Osama Bin Laden to go outside and record those videos of terrorists on monkey-bars, thus ensuring the 9/11 attacks.

But it’s worse than I thought, if we continue to divert these vital resources we might miss attacks being planned like this week’s nearly disastrous attack on Fort Dix.

I fear the intelligence authorization being voted on by Congress demonstrates some of the same short-sightedness of the 1990s. While Democrats call for U.S. intelligence agencies to study global climate change, they continue to grossly underestimate the terrorist threat. They willfully ignore or play down world-wide activity by radical jihadists, including this week’s arrest in New Jersey of six men — who may have been influenced by al Qaeda terrorist training tapes — for allegedly planning to kill hundreds of soldiers at Fort Dix and other military installations in the Northeast. This past weekend, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, in a videotape message, mocked Democratic legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq as a sign of American weakness and mentioned using Afghanistan and Iraq as bases to launch attacks.

That’s right, the only reason we caught the pizza guy who thought it would be a good idea to attack a military base with his 5 jackass friends was because we had spy satellites tasked on every Dominos in New Jersey. Wait, that doesn’t sound right for some reason…oh yeah, I’m not brain-dead.

Seriously, what an idiot. I think the WSJ requires a lobotomy before you’re allowed to publish an Op-Ed. I’ve discussed this particular attack on environmentalism before as the “environmentalists will eat your babies” attack. Additionally, I think PZ would refer to this guy as a “contemptible ghoul” who is just remarkably late to the 9/11 feast. The point is the same. Anti-global warming denialists frequently employ this hysterical fear-mongering to make people fear support of sound environmental policies. They suggest environmentalism will lead to death! Destruction! Environmentalists want us all to live in quonset huts! They want us all wearing hemp sackcloth for underwear and riding tricycles to work! They’ll kill us all! Environmentalists will eat your babies!


22 responses to “Environmentalists caused 9/11!”

  1. I must be missing something but I do think that the environmental issue is more important than the my hair is on fire and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs ubiquitous terrorism risk. As such I do support using security satellite assets to augment dedicated scientific assets (having paid for that hardware with our tax money).

    To my view, it is much more likely that environmental shenanigans will impact me directly in the physical world than the politically driven ones which are more granularly targeted.

    They suggest environmentalism will lead to death! Destruction! Environmentalists want us all to live in quonset huts! They want us all wearing hemp sackcloth for underwear and riding tricycles to work! They’ll kill us all! Environmentalists will eat your babies!

    Oh come now. That’s just a bit over the top. 🙂 Can’t we just say that some things will need to change for us to be secure? Some from the political column A, and some from the lifestyle column B?

    Having less people hate us would be one approach. I’m just saying.

  2. I don’t know. I know you read about Milloy suggesting compact fluorescent lightbulbs would kill you. Then there was the WSJ piece about how if Al Gore wasn’t a hypocrite he wouldn’t have a big energy bill (nevermind his attempts to offset) etc. Then there are all the DDT has killed millions! millions! of children fanatics who, as Tim at Deltoid will explain, are full of it.

    I constantly see these doom and gloom views from anti-environmentalists, from the somewhat benign fatalism of Pielke, to the completely hysterical DDT blathering of Fumento.

  3. valhar2000

    Well, I don’t know. Perhaps I live in a “bad palce”, but a lot of the environmentalists I have access to are crazy like that.

    Fundamentally, while I beleive that knowledge and technology will help us solve the problem, they beleive that knowledge and technology ARE the problem.

  4. Actually, if you want to raise the hue-and-cry over intelligence resources being misused in the months before 9/11, you should probably look into how many intelligence professionals the Bush Administration assigned to look through the Clinton-era filing cabinets for a “smoking gun”.

    Do you recall the approximately one BILLION dollars that was spent, throughout the nineties, and after, on desperate efforts to prove that the Clinton Administration was the “most corrupt in US history”?

    Remember the solemn vow, propounded by everyone from Limbaugh to Rove, from Cheney to (ironically) Delay? “As soon as honest Republicans win control of the Executive Branch and open all the file cabinets to light, the scandalous truth will emerge and heads will roll!”

    Lest we forget, we were promised — absolutely guaranteed — indictments by the hundreds, scores of convictions, millennia of total prison time. Perhaps even enough to justify all the yelling and posturing. A cumulative torrent of time, energy, expense and fury sufficient to propel an entire Manhattan Project.

    Only there was a rub. After all that sturm und drang, all they ever managed to get on Clinton was a fib-under-oath about marital infidelity, answering a question that was later ruled illegal and inadmissible. Embarrassing, to say the least! No, not the fib. Rather, vastly more embarrassing was the fact that a fib was all they ever came up. Period.

    In fact, to this day, the total number of Clinton Administration officials who have been convicted… or even indicted… for actual malfeasance in the performance of their official duties, amounts to a big fat zero.

    Let me give you that figure again. Nil, nada, zip, null, none.


    [J]ust as soon as they entered office, the Bush group began devoting top priority to finding that Clintonian smoking gun.

    They unleashed scads of GOP lawyers — many of them at taxpayer expense — to sift through filing cabinets in every executive department, trawling for something, anything, that might let them indict at least one Clintonite. To help justify what they had put the country through for a decade.

    As I’ve said, this hunt proved unavailing. And that pathetic failure would be amusing… an expensive but hilarious joke… but for one additional fact.

    Not only GOP political operatives were engaged in this witch hunt.

    Agents of the FBI, along with skilled operatives at other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, were diverted from normal duties, in order to join in this frivolous activity, during the months leading up to September 11.

    While this administration filled the topmost ranks at Defense and other agencies with political cadres (many — perhaps most — of them former consultants or employees of Saudi Arabia), they meanwhile redirected the efforts of skilled officers and civil servants away from activities that involve public safety. Instead transferring those trained investigators over to a futile and petty search for nonexistent Clintonian improprieties.


    All I can tell you — (and you have no reason to take my word) — is that two private sources have told me morose tales of how they wish they had been “on mission” during the summer of 2001, instead of chasing ignoble and trivial innuendos about a far classier set of public servants.

    Of course, my allegation looks positively scientific compared to the outright fabrications and deliberate lies spread in polemical hit pieces like “The Road to 9/11.” Above all, I don’t pretend that what I’m doing is journalism.

    (David Brin)

  5. Whatever

    I guess I don’t understand what is going on. Are they pushing to make the NSA spend time monitoring environmental data? If this is the case then I guess don’t see the logic. Why would an organization that focuses on security care about global warming? The real question is whether there are other satellite systems that can do the same job, if not then by all means push for access to these satellite systems. However, I don’t think the NSA should be responsible for monitoring this data, I think they should hand it off to an organization that deals with environmental issues, you know like the EPA. I just can’t think of a situation where global warming or any other major environmental issues could be a threat to national security.

  6. Don’t worry Valhar. I will mock environmental hysteria when it emerges. Such as with the cell phone/bees link.

    Yes, environmentalists do have a problem with hysterics and are easily fooled into freaking out over dubious news stories on everything from cell phone signals to GM crops.

    Don’t trust any environmental reporting from the Independent, (in general the Brit papers are hysterical on the environment) read the skeptic sites like Bad Science and what I’ve got on the left-hand blogroll and use reliable papers for environmental reporting. In particular, I like the NYT science reporting.

  7. http://hoekstra.house.gov/Biography/

    For his work in Congress, Pete has received numerous awards, including repeatedly earning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Spirit of Enterprise” award, the “Hero of the Taxpayer” award from Americans for Tax Reform, the “Taxpayer Superhero” Award from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, “Public Official of the Year” Award from Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, and the “Faith, Family and Freedom” and “True Blue” awards from the Family Research Council. He has also been recognized by the National Association of Manufacturers.

    Say no more. A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat! — As Monty Python might say.

    Pete is a graduate of Holland Christian Schools, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hope College in Holland and holds a master’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

    Prior to his election to Congress, he worked for 15 years at Zeeland, Mich.-based office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc., where he held the title of Vice President of Marketing.

    He was born on Oct. 30, 1953, in Groningen, the Netherlands, and immigrated to Michigan with his family at the age of 3, making him one of the few members of Congress who was not born in the United States.

    A furriner. On the intelligence subcommittee yet. Now that’s alarming — how do we know he’s NOT one of Mengele’s test tube boys from Groningen?

    But not unusual that someone with these types of credentials has run of the WSJ oped pages.

  8. Don’t trust any environmental reporting from the Independent

    Their science reporting is astonishingly bad. Really and truly wretched.

    I like the NYT science reporting.

    I agree. I think they’re one of the best out there. That said, there are still plenty of flaws in their reporting.

  9. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Do you recall the approximately one BILLION dollars that was spent, throughout the nineties, and after, on desperate efforts to prove that the Clinton Administration was the “most corrupt in US history”?


    Well, the good thing is that it will probably take much less effort for the next administration to dig up some dirt on Bush to hide behind.

    I just can’t think of a situation where global warming or any other major environmental issues could be a threat to national security.

    Depends. Lack of cheap energy, mass starvations or enforced migrations are generally considered to be risks for global stability.

    During the 80’s it was all the rage to point out that if the global resources kept being unbalanced the situation would come back to hunt the rich nations. Fortunately global economy works, the former bimodal distribution has started to even out considerably, so it didn’t happen then.

  10. Fundamentally, while I beleive that knowledge and technology will help us solve the problem, they beleive that knowledge and technology ARE the problem.

    In general, we applaud knowledge and fully accept (and sometimes even create) technology. It’s the wholesale adoption of technologies without any concern about their consequences that becomes a problem.

  11. Nick Johnson

    Shouldn’t you give a crank ‘his turn’, rather than ‘a fair shake’? 😉

  12. I suppose the way that gravity forces satellites into predetermined orbits which govern what is within range of their cameras is what we would call an inconvenient truth. If only those orbits had spent less time over greenland and more time hovering over Iraq!

    Of course, gravity works via the theory of General Relativity, which is like relativism, which is another leftist plot.

  13. MikeB

    Umm, as a Brit, I should point out that although the UK papers are not always ones I would recommend for science (the Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph – truely the journals of woo), and I can’t vouch for the Independent’s general science coverage (since I read the Guardian) the environmental coverage of the Guardian and Independent is generally pretty good.

    It would be interesting to contrast the coverage given in the Independent to climate change, with the NYT. Which was more sound on the science, and which one gives more coverage to environmental stories generally? I know which one published a really terrible William Broad article http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/broadly-misleading/
    (although, to be fair, the Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, published a wretchedly bad piece which partially plagerised the Broad article).

    And although someone has quite rightly praised Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’, it should be pointed out that the articles on the website come from the weekly colunm he writes for the Guardian.

    Overall, papers on both sides of the Atlantic often mangle the science stories they come across, but its out of order to suggest that the serious UK papers are ‘hysterical’ about green issues. On the other hand, the ‘Sun’ is crap….

  14. MikeB,

    It should also be pointed out that much of the fodder for Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column comes directly from articles written in his own paper (the Guardian).

    To be fair, I should point out that I think all newspapers’ coverage of science is bad, I just tend to think the NY Times is less bad than most.

  15. The business of America is business. Media knows it. Politicians know it. It is not likely that any of the larger media outlets will do a good job (read: present the left wing/science view) that challenges the business climate in the US such that change could be mandated.

    This may be departing a bit from the original discussion, but when discussing science coverage, let’s consider the media cross-partnerships that are obvious if you read the main outlets. For example, MSNBC (my portal of choice for mainstream news) has what appears to be a partnership with NBC/WSJ/Newsweek/WP and occasionally the NYT story. As an logical example, consider this first question presented to the democrats and republicans during the recent presidential pre-debates taken from The Daily Howler:

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, OPENING QUESTION (4/26/07): Senator Clinton, your party’s leader in the United States Senate, Harry Reid, recently said the war in Iraq is lost. A letter to today’s USA Today calls his comments “treasonous” and says if General Patton were alive today, Patton would wipe his boots with Senator Reid. Do you agree with the position of your leader in the Senate?

    CHRIS MATTHEWS, OPENING QUESTION (5/3/07): In the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, just 22 percent believe this country is on the right track. Mayor Giuliani, how do we get back to Ronald Reagan’s morning in America?

    Not only did the press feed us the Iraq war with a funnel jammed down our throats, but they continue to do so because — surprise, surprise — the Democrats are treasonous, left wing commie sh*ts. The press does its duty in protecting the status quo.

    This extends oh so subtly on a daily basis. Yesterday’s drop on Wall Street is characterized this morning as a buying opportunity on CNN by Ali Velshi. I’m not saying that it’s not a buying opportunity, but responsible disclosure and information would mention the risks of the stock market that recalls 1987, Enron, undiversified 401Ks and retirement funds and that many economists think that bubble isn’t done popping.

    The business of media is to prop up business — partners and advertisers, not to inform fully – on social issues or on science. Unless of course, Anna Nicole raises from the dead to wed Zombie Hitler.

  16. I find I hate the Independent’s coverage to by hysterical, factually misleading and often downright absurd. Especially in regards to this recent cellphone-bees link. That BS pissed me off rapidly, since not only did they misunderstand the science, they wrote an article that was such a fear-mongering and unhelpful piece of garbage it certainly can do no good for the environmental movement. Consistently the Independent’s coverage on the environment is just pure fear-mongering hysteria about everything.

    On the page today I see they’s saying cell phones affect birds and bees (both unsubstantiated)through “electrosmog” arguably the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. Terrible, terrible science writing there.

  17. MikeB

    Factian – I certainly agree that the Guardian (as well as other newspapers) have no problem printing sensational headlines and cut-and-paste science stories. The Guardian’s Weekend supplement has a whole section on alternative therapy stuff, for which they should be ashamed.

    Personally, I think a special circle of hell should be reserved for BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme’s science correspondent, Palab Ghosh, who really loves ‘reporting by press-release’. On the other hand, their environment correspondent, Roger Harrabin, is excellent.

    Yep, the bee story is crap…..

  18. tigrismus

    So the CIA, hobbled by paltry environmental diversions, ignored vital security concerns and was therefore sadly unable to warn Bush about Al Qaeda numerous times from January 2001 on, including that they were determined to strike in the US. Damn you, Clinton!

  19. It’s a shame. I like the Independent for most other things but their science reporting makes American TV news look good. And that’s an awfully low bar to limbo under.

  20. Nathanael Nerode

    Actually the WSJ editorial page was a pioneer in right-wing lies. Back in the 1980s, you could play a game: take any column on it, and within a week there would be a letter from someone quoted in it, or whose statistics were quoted, explaining that the WSJ had distorted or outright falsified their statements or their research.

    (Go to a library with some archives, do it yourself. It’s a fun game!)

    Sometime in the 1990s they just stopped publishing those letters.

  21. Ah, the time-honored technique of proof by “it’s impossible to know, but I wonder”.

  22. Graculus

    Ah, this looks like a broad misrepresentation of MEDEA.

    Link to CIA Director John Deutch discussing the environment as intelligence

    “Some of the scientists who participated in the Environmental Task Force now make up a group called MEDEA. MEDEA works with the Intelligence Community to establish what we call the “Global Fiducials Program.” Under this initiative, during the next decade we will periodically image selected sites of environmental significance. This will give scientists an ongoing record of changes in the earth and will improve the scientist’s understanding of environmental processes. More importantly, it will greatly enhance their ability to provide strategic warning of potentially catastrophic threats to the health and welfare of our citizens ….

    Our interaction with MEDEA is not only valuable for the environmental community, it also has had direct benefits for the Intelligence Community. MEDEA has worked closely with our analysts to develop techniques that have enhanced our ability to collect and interpret data from our collection systems.”

    Emphasis mine.

    One of the problems with the MEDEA project is that the research generated by it cannot be submitted to peer-review, because the “methods” are classified, that’s why you don’t see a lot of results in the scientific press. The denialists then get to hand wave it away because it’s not peer-reviewed. Arg.

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