Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The 9/11 Conspiracy

As we've got a pretty interesting discussion going in the comments on the last post, I figured I'd bring it out into an actual post, and express my own opinion.

Let's start with this video I found through a Google search of "loose change, 9/11".

The two filmmakers who made the documentary "Loose Change" are at the forefront of the so-called "9/11 Truth Movement". They've made two editions of their film and are at work on a third which they're calling "The Final Cut". Recently I watched a documentary on one of the informational cable channels (A&E, Discover Channel, The History Channel, one of those), talking about the "myths" of 9/11. That documentary featured both the guys from "Loose Change", as well as the editors of Popular Mechanics, which so far, has been the only publication I know of that's taken a close hard look at the conspiracy theories that have grown in stature since September 11th, 2001. It is my opinion, having read the article, that Popular Mechanics debunks most, if not all, of the 9/11 conspiracy theories. And now, in this video, we have both the directors of "Loose Change" and the editors of Popular Mechanics at a very small table in a local library to talk about the various theories. It's 20 minutes, but if you have questions on either side of the issue, it's illuminating.

I think part of the reason people have a hard time believing there's an all-encompassing 9/11 theory is because the people that seek to disseminate those ideas (like the "Loose Change" guys) do stuff like this: when the host of the roundtable discussion brings up the American flight that crashed into the Pentagon, one of the directors talks about how no plane debris remained after the so-called crash. In their film the directors go through a whole thing about the melting points of various elements that comprised the plane, and how the melting point of jet fuel doesn't burn hot enough to "vaporize" a plane. The Popular Mechanics gamely talk about the experts they talked to (the "Loose Change" guys seemingly talked to no one), like crash experts, plane engineers, etc., and 100s of eyewitnesses who all backed up the idea that a plane crashed into the Pentagon, and no evidence of a missile.

Not liking the direction this conversation has taken, the directors of "Loose Change" say, "But nothing should have crashed into the Pentagon." And then he explains how Dick Cheney, in the bunker during the crisis, was told that the plane headed for Washington, that the plane that would eventually strike the Pentagon was "30 minutes away", then "20 minutes away" and Dick Cheney never issued a shoot down order. So it seems the directors of "Loose Change" have two, deeply held convictions: that no plane hit the Pentagon, and also that Cheney let a plane hit the Pentagon.

Oh, and one of the directors of "Loose Change" says this to the host before he begins to speak: "I'd just to like to thank you for the opportunity to take on the government's lies, and Popular Mechanics, which is a Hearst "Yellow Journalism" Publication's lies as well."

And this is not me going out like so many media outlets do, to fixate on the fringe-iest splinter of a given controversial group to paint the entire group in a negative way. These guys are at the heart of the "9/11 Truth" movement and, in my view, they are not credible. Popular Mechanics is part of the conspiracy too? The wacky science nerds who put a flying car on the cover every month? These guys are a mouthpiece for the murderers of 3000 people?

I am not in expert in any of the fields pertinent to discussing what did or did not happen on September 11th, 2001. So if I have two sets of guys saying two very different things, do I go with the guys in their mid-twenties who wear wrinkled shirts and no ties and laugh mockingly at their opponents and don't know which conspiracy theory they believe in, or the nerdy, soft-spoken, suitably-dressed journalists who are laying out, soberly, facts, and not insinuations and coincidences? It's not a hard call.

Most telling of all, I think, is that in that documentary on cable I watched, the "Loose Change" guys were interviewed while editing what must be the third and final version of their film. The biggest change from the second edition and the final edition, they said, is that the film has moved away from the theory they once held that the main towers were brought down by controlled demolition. They've conceded the evidence pointing towards that scenario is no longer persuasive to them and have shifted their attention towards the mystery surrounding the collapse of Building 7. On one hand, good for them for being brave enough to allow their minds to be changed publicly, on the other hand, before their change of heart, they had argued the towers had been brought down by controlled demolition so strenuously that it's not difficult for me to distrust their newfound passion for a Building 7 investigation. (BTW, the Popular Mechanics article addresses Building 7 quite well.)

Also, what does this new abandonment of the controlled demolition of the towers theory mean? Does it mean that the "Loose Change" guys, formerly Made It Happen On Purpose guys (MIHOPs) are now in the Let It Happen On Purpose camp, (or LIHOPs), and that the lease holder on the WTC complex merely took advantage of foreknowledge of the attack so that he could detonate WTC Building 7 and file a still more massive insurance claim? Does that mean that the lease holder of WTC was A-OK with the deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans just so he could make a massive windfall? Who in the government told him, and why didn't his informant do any thing to stop the attack?

In the comments, Heath wrote:

"The problem with these questions is that people, by and large, immediately seek a result from the questioning of evidence, instead of viewing them individually in and of themselves. In other words, for someone to say "Hey, there's something fishy behind that crash site for United 93," and the immediate response to be, "What do you think happened, then? You think Bush crashed those planes into the trade center buildings, crazy person?" is just wrong. If that was an acceptable response, then we'd never have gotten a shred of scientific evidence admitted into any journals, because the second someone in our world's history said, "Isn't it funny how the sun moves almost as a curve across the domed sky," then it would be acceptable for someone to come back with, "What? You think the earth isn't flat, heretic?" Instead of immediately moving toward a steadfast opinion based on a need for a result, such as finger pointing at Bush's Administration, you must admit the individual evidence surrounding these "conspiracies" is worth investigating to prove or disprove doubt. If science beckons to question, who are we to ignore?"


This, for me, is the central trouble conspiracy theorists have when talking to the uninitiated about the fishiness of 9/11. Science and the purported weirdness of crash sites are easy to talk about soberly in an attempt to answer the "What?" questions. However, the question of "How?" is hugely problematic to 9/11 Truth-ers because talking about the inhumanity required by a massive group of motivated people never really seems to come together. Yes, humanity's had many monsters -- but to make a Unified 9/11 Theory work, we'd have to have dozens, if not hundreds of monsters working in all levels of the US government, and that doesn't seem to jibe with anything anyone's ever heard before. When getting to the bottom of various conspiracy theories, it doesn't take but a few seconds of supposition to get into seriously bizarre territory ("And how were the passengers disposed of do you think?") that makes all but the most passionate theorists retreat back to the relative comfort of "What?" and "How?" But just because the scenarios the conspiracists' theories imply are wholly unconvincing is not the fault of the incredulous, but is something the theorists' should take ownership of. If it sounds so crazy to you that you don't like talking about it, imagine how it sounds to those who haven't been convinced.

Now it's true that refuting any assertion made by someone with a new idea speaks to a closed mind, as in your comparison to Galileo. But Galileo was able to put forward evidence. So far, on the 9/11 conspiracists' side, they have loads of supposition, oddness, coincidence and circumstantial evidence. On the side of people who've more or less accepted that 9/11 happened more or less how we've come to understand it did, we have scores of scientific experts, reams of video evidence, thousands of eyewitness accounts, and thousands of talented journalists who would kill their mother to break the story of a 9/11 conspiracy who've so far turned up nothing. For me, that puts the burden of proof on the conspiracy theorists and, so far, they haven't done much other than muddy the waters enough so that the truth is harder to see.

This episode of "This American Life" changed the way I thought about how conspiracy theorists in general think. On July 7, 2005, terrorists bombed the London underground at the King's Cross station. One of the woman who survived the attack began to blog about it. Before long a British-borne conspiracy theory grew up which offended the woman because they were refuting things she knew to be true having lived through the attack. She started to comment on their messageboards and before long, they were calling her a liar and an employee of MI5 whose job it was to make the conspiracy theorists seem less credible. All the people that were on-board who died? she asked. "Hollywood-style special effects," they said. And the people who survived and were genuinely panicked? she asked. "Actors," they said. It goes on. Absolutely worth a listen. The story begins 9 minutes through.

I bring that story up because in that piece, the men who believed in the conspiracy were not noble questioners, blazing a trail through a jungle of lies to the hidden city of Truth; they had already made up their minds that a vast conspiracy was at work that day and was still at work to cover it up. Kind of like that guy on the Bill Maher's show. If you didn't believe their stories outright, you were either a sheep or, possibly, a criminal; and if, at the very least, you didn't state your approval of a continued investigation, then you were also a sheep or a criminal. Open minds had long since closed, though I suspect for most of the conspiracists described in this story, they went into their theories with closed minds.

If a new piece of evidence came up that debunked some long-held "fact" about 9/11, or a new esteemed expert chimed in saying he was no longer convinced 9/11 happened as we've all been told, I like to think I'd listen carefully and come to an open-minded conclusion based on the new evidence. I'd pose this question to conspiracy theorists: what piece (or pieces) of evidence could possibly come to light that would settle your questions about 9/11? Or are there too many questions that could ever be answered?

I put some of the blame for the widening belief in a 9/11 conspiracy at the feet of Bush and Cheney. Cheney's obsession with expanding executive power has been done in secret and with a willful disregard for the rights of Congress and the American people to know what he's doing or why he's doing it. That engenders, and rightfully so, doubt and suspicion. During the 9/11 Commission investigation Bush wouldn't testify alone -- he had to testify with Cheney, like two criminals trying to keep their stories straight. But I think all the secrecy and obvious lies were not meant to cover up the crime of millennium, but to cover up Bush's gross incompetence on that day and all the days leading up to September 11th, 2001.

This is already way long-winded. I could attempt another 3 or 4 feet of verbiage to counter Paul's, but it takes me much longer to write as cogently as Paul does. Okay, that's it.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crane, great piece - I for one never believed many of the theories espoused as "truth" by Loose Change. Those kids are wannabe filmmakers who wanted to obtain attention through a PR stunt. It is only testimony to them - how far they've gotten with their boulderdash in our disposable, moronic culture.

Yes, the burden of proof is always on the theorist (whether of scientific stock or conspiracist).

But! As I mentioned, a historical precedent does exist for something internal to have occured to allow things to happen. Knowing these historical facts and the way in which capitalism, the state, and its security apparatus' work - something of an inside calibrated job, seems as a possiblity or rather an inevitability. Let's NOT cancel it out as a serious cause. People are being too orthodox and not navigating in the gray enough.

BTW - Conspiracies are best orchestrated by small networks of people. It is likely that maybe a "frankenstein monster" created by our intelligence agencies during the cold war were behind this blowback. I've been saying that this terrorism is a byproduct of the Cold War for years (like paramilitaries in Central America, Dictatorships in South America, coups and fascist movements in Europe, ect).

Read Chalmers Johnson's books, BLOWBACK, SORROWS OF EMPIRE and NEMESIS in that order.

These groups do not up and dissapear over night.

Maybe a rouge element allowed this to happen.

It would explain many of the strange actions during that fateful day and the incongruence of emergency response, ect.

All I have to say is do not underestimate the power of the secret intelligence agencies. They are the dark side. Read about THE CHURCH HEARINGS to learn more on what the CIA was up to.

Yes, we will never prove it - but do you honestly believe that Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and JFK's assasinations were not all connected somehow to the times? The state was losing its legitimacy, a threat to capitalism was emerging - the state will do anything it can to save itself... It is an amoral entity.

Look, we definitely must be careful gatekeepers, I agree - because most of these conspiracists gaining national attention are seriously nationalist, right wing or white supremacist ideologues. Most of what they say is bullshit conjecture and paranoid ranting. This would be my only empathy towards Mahr - but I doubt that he thinks this way. He probably discredits all of these theories. I why should he - he is just a freaking comedian caring only about his career and ratings.

At the same time these protesters are striking a chord - an anti-state chord - which in one small instance I can relate to and admire...The state is everything that is wrong or has gone bad in our modern human evolution. It brought us out the Dark Ages and now it is in a form of decay along with capitalism and a revolution is needed for a new transformation (another Enlightment period, ect) - maybe with the integration of free open source technology and a subversion of globalization?

I've changed by reading a ton for the last 15 years on political economy (from right like Friedman, Hayek, Rand, Smith to left - Marx and his ilk), statecraft from Machiavelli to Carl Schmidt to Kissinger and now to G. Agamben and Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arndt, Leo Strauss)...to invetigation of guerilla warfare, history of fascism, Bolshevism, Liberalism, Anarchism and other political movements - to the history of spycraft by nation states to film, literature, philosophy and working in the political arena within 3rd parties and through direct action groups like FOOD NOT BOMBS.

My research into the death of George Polk also gave me insane insights into spy agencies and media.

All of it has led to one thing - that with the overt competitiveness of states against one another - the truth is hidden in the trenches within the spy war. This is where reputations and entire futures are won and lost.

Proof or not - you can't discard that there is or could be foul play here. We are all wage slaves commanded by a state structure that at any time could wipe our existence off the planet. Through nuclear war or a law.

Actually, anytime a state calls for a STATE OF EMERGENCY - our constitutional rights are suspended and we technically cease to exist.

The biggest threat to humanity is state capitalism. Fascism according to Mussolini is Corporatism - Big Gov't in ultimate collusion with Big Corporate interests (Monopolists).

We are there now. In America. Open your eyes and let's be more critical. Of course, we need to tear through the fanatic people who believe in 9/11 inside job as if it were a religion. These zealots must be discarded. It will not be easy. But we must do it. Must constantly question the legitimacy of authority. Passivity is not an option.

- PAPA

- PAPA

peter F. Fedak, III said...

just like the terrorists, these guys won.
you just spent time on their point of view

blankfist said...

I've seen the video between the two "Loose Change" filmmakers and the Popular Mechanic guys before. It's obvious these filmmakers are unpolished, for sure, though to point out that it's hard to believe them because they're unpolished and not "suitably-dressed" shows a rushed and baseless judgmental attitude I find familiar with those who watch the nightly news nightly. You can hide behind faux reason, citing specific examples where the Popular Mechanics guys insisted they consulted experts, but that says more for their character than the author of this article, because the author of this article has done zero leg work on researching the issue before arriving at his biased, lazy, armchair summation of the facts. This is the problem I have with these lazy intellectuals of today; they're just that: lazy and uninspired. Too lazy and too uninspired to seek a truth beyond what they can locate on crooksandliars.com or msnbc. I just wish for once these lazy, uninspired, armchair intellectuals would take the time to get off their rump, leave the house, maybe get a job in the real world, and stop thinking they're smarter than the rest of us. This is elitism that tends to run rampant with the likes of these leftist socio-nerds - the ones who'd prefer to dictate how the rest of us less intelligent should run our lives because they know better what's good for us than we do.

But, I digress.

I do like how this author managed to cite my post, and then immediately took it out of context. I was damning the idea of rushing to judgment, rushing to a result oriented explanation and abolishing individual evidence outright the moment it doesn't gel 100% with the idea of the result. This author sounds a lot like the Intelligent Design nuts when they cast off science's inability to explain evolution to a finite degree. "Hey mister science man, you can't find all the answers to your 'we're from monkey' story, can you? Well, God wins this one!"

What my post was not doing was dodging the "Hows" of the 9/11 conspiracies, as was eluded to when lumping me in with "911-Truthers". I don't know the "Hows", which is very different than dodging them. Why didn't this author cite me when I mentioned the whackos who believe the birds at ground zero to be drone planes, I wonder? I'll tell you why, because it didn't fit into the design of his lazy, uninspired, armchair, intellectualized spin.

If this author's examining section of the "911-Truthers" are these two filmmakers, then is there anyone else on here that thinks this author may be lacking the sort of credibility necessary to speak with any amount of knowledge (and credibility) on this subject? Maybe he's a bit biased? It's painfully obvious this author is incapable of reporting about the facts without using the broad-stroke political posturing he's probably picked up from the likes of Huffington Post or Daily Coast.

This discussion goes beyond partisanship. It goes beyond the right and the left. This is simply an evaluation of facts, individually, which has nothing to do with dodging questions, and everything to do with exactly what it sounds like: evaluating facts. Period.

Craig Moorhead said...

"So it seems the directors of "Loose Change" have two, deeply held convictions: that no plane hit the Pentagon, and also that Cheney let a plane hit the Pentagon."

Great post, Mr. Crane.

Anonymous said...

Check this out...Some more information...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/reports/vol7/contents.htm

** Do you think these people involved just dissapeared over time? Of course not. Some are being recycled (General Pace and John Negorponte) and some moved into high profile political positions within the Bush administration. Do you think these "autonomous networks" disbanded and are now living in Miami Beach playing croquet? Now, they are being used to fight a fictitious enemy in the Middle East. First it was the "War on Communism" - now the never ending, "War on Terror". What a boondoggle for military contractors!

And more from Russia -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_apartment_bombings

An excerpt from this link...

"However, former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, Johns Hopkins University and Hoover Institute scholar David Satter,[1] and Russian lawmaker Sergei Yushenkov asserted that the bombings were in fact a "false flag" attack perpetrated by the FSB in order to legitimize the resumption of military activities in Chechnya and bring Vladimir Putin and the FSB to power."

Now Alexander Litvinenko was the Russian agent in the news that was poisoned recently by radioactive material in London. It was all over the news. Pretty nuts, right?

And this....Is this coincidence?

And from the states regarding the plane that flew over the US carrying nukes a few months ago. They discovered that this could have been intended for Iran!

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/01/4238/

Read Seymour Hersh's article. This is the famous writer who broke the Mai Lai Massacre and Abu Ghirab to see what Bush and co. have in store.

And what happened to those pilots involved? Is this a coincidence?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/05/AR2007090500762.html

From the article - here's an interesting quote from an unknown, gov't source -

"The aircraft's pilots and other crew members were unaware that they were carrying nuclear warheads, officials said."

But yet - scroll to the bottom.

http://digitalinsurgents.wordpress.com/2007/09/18/missing-nukes-and-the-death-of-6-minot-air-force-people/

This is freaky shit!

Now, in regards to the actual proof of 9/11 - here are some MAJOR questions that still need to be answered.

1) Where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon?

2) Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled?

3) Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field?

4) 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.)

5) 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".

6) Initial reports of reporters that they heard "explosions" in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound.

7) CIA's list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

8) The weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose "Islamic" advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim person in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the "Fajr" prayer to be included in Atta's letter.

So, I would like to know the full story of 9/11.

Why? Because this was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East.

And by the way - at this moment, the US is the leading proponent of state terror throughout the world. We have destroyed an entire nation state based on lies and have completely stolen its resources. This is naked imperialism. Over 1M Iraqi's have perished (based on Lancet study) thanks to our invasion. And before Clinton's sanctions against the country killed over 500,000 people - mostly children. Who is a close second? I would say Russia with their treatment of Chechnyans and then China with their allegiance to brutal dictatorial regimes. North Korea and Burma with its oppression of its own people...But nothing as extensive as our country.

- PAPA

Anonymous said...

A bald man with a wooden leg is invited to a Halloween party. He doesn't know what costume to wear to hide his head and his leg so he writes to a costume company to explain his problem. A few days later, he received a parcel with the following note:

Dear Sir,
Please find enclosed a pirate's outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your bald head and, with your wooden leg, you will be just right as a pirate.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co.

The man thinks this is terrible because they have emphasized his wooden leg and so he writes a letter of complaint. A week goes by and he receives another parcel and a note, which says:

Dear Sir,
Please find enclosed a monk's habit. The long robe will cover your wooden leg and, with your bald head, you will really look the part.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co.


Now the man is really upset since they have gone from emphasizing
his wooden leg to emphasizing his bald head so again he writes the
company another nasty letter of complaint. The next day he gets a small parcel and a note, which reads:

Dear Sir,
Please find enclosed a bottle of molasses and a bag of crushed nuts. Pour the molasses over your bald head, pat on crushed nuts, stick your wooden leg up your a_ss and go as a caramel apple.

Very truly yours,
Acme Costume Co

JudgeHolden said...

Very funny, anonymous.

Heath: sorry if it seemed like I singled you out in this post. I think I did and that wasn't my intention -- most of my ire was directed at these "Loose Change" guys and wasn't directed at you. As people who are receptive to 9/11 conspiracy theories go, you're pretty level-headed on the subject -- I probably shouldn't have lumped you in with the "Truth"ers I was giving such a hard time to, so, my bad.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with a rebuttal, comment, critique on my postings?

Silence is defeaning.

- PAPA

blankfist said...

Papa, I don't think anyone has gotten past chapter ten yet, so be patient.

Crane, dude... can't you you get irrate about something from time to time? Jesus, man! I was so sure you'd get all fired up, but nope. Man, that was a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems. One of the many problems... is even raising questions about 9/11 and there is tirade of abuse coming back (Crazy Conspiracy Theory Nuts etc). This to my mind is a real problem: where is the science (NIST won't even release the WTC mathematical models, no FAA crash report, no criminal investigations etc). The basic fatcs of the day are disputed such as the molten steel at the base of the towers. (Where did that come from!?)

The Loose Change film directors are not professionals and hence they can be branded all too easily as nutters. The fact remains is that even if Bush LIHOP (rather than MIHOP) - lots of evidence for this - it is still very serious stuff - and journalists are not even investigating the LIHOP scenario.