15 January 2012

9/11 conspiracy theory in a nutshell

Summarized in less than five minutes, and presented in a humorous fashion.


  1. Brilliant summary. When did a theory about a possible conspiracy suddenly become "just another conspiracy theory"? Are there no conspiracies? Is this what we are expected to believe?
    I personally don't know what the truth is but then you certainly cannot learnt the truth if you are not allowed even to ask the right questions and obtain reasonable answers.
    Thanks for the video!

  2. Thanks to the stenographers of the Fourth Estate for letting this go down the Memory Hole.

    I don't go in for conspiracy theories as I have a hard time thinking people can keep those kinds of secrets. The moon landings weren't faked, JFK was collateral damage (Oswald was shooting at Gov Connolly), and I really don't think anyone planted thermite in the skeleton of WTC 1 and 2.

    Someone in the past year or so worked out that the aluminum of the planes, the steel in the building, and intense heat could have created something approximating thermite, on the spot. Will we ever know? Probably not. But that doesn't mean it was a conspiracy.

  3. Great video! Thanks for posting! My favorite part was when they covered everything up!

  4. Oh, ugh. I love this blog, please let this garbage be an anomaly.

    Plenty of legit criticisms (and legit conspiracies!) involving the Bush administration to spend your time investigating. This = idiotic.

  5. Shakespeare did it. Or is it Bacon? I keep forgetting.

  6. "C'mon You are smarter than this."

    Because it's ... smart? ... to accept the half-baked official story?

    "Oh, ugh. I love this blog, please let this garbage be an anomaly."

    Why is this video "garbage"?

    What about it is offensive to you? (Particularly if you believe that there are "legit conspiracies")

  7. http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2004/08/coincidence-theorists-guide-to-911.html

  8. It's offensive because it's long-debunked hogwash.

    Bin Laden had an audacious plan (it's aim: to bankrupt the US, NOT in our interest), he mostly pulled it off, we freaked out (the media "knowing" who did it right off is called "making a good guess", they also guess "Al Qaeda" anytime terrorism happens, like in Oslo), Pakistan played both sides and gave OBL shelter.

    Any theories about how the day's events actually took place are too stupid to deserve comment.

    Let's talk about the Bush administration's war crimes and Obama's secret drone war.

  9. misdirection. i love a good illusion.

  10. Humorous? Yes. Simplistic? Definitely.

  11. I am sorry to see this here. Stan can post what he likes, and he may just be posting this to generate discussion.

    I would say these claims have been debunked a million times, but if you watch the video critically you will see that the authors make almost zero positive claims.

    They rely on hyperbole to poke fun at established facts without bothering to lay out an alternative course of events, because if you lay out a specific conspiracy (like missiles hit the towers, or explosives were planted in the building) then there is always some bit of physical evidence that those pesky debunkers can go find to prove you wrong.

    Furthermore, they hold others to an inhumanly stringent burden of proof and accuracy while playing fast and loose with the facts themselves. If an official or reporter makes a minor error in a live broadcast on one of the most terrifying days in American history then that is iron clad proof that there was a conspiracy.

    However in this slickly edited youtube video it takes them about 20 seconds to stray into the land of rumor and speculation. There is no hard evidence that Osama bin Laden ever had kidney disease at all, let alone underwent dialysis.

  12. Nomad raises an important point. There really are conspiracies.

    How are we to differentiate between these real events and what are colloquially known as "conspiracy theories"?

    Shermer offers a helpful list including:

    Proof of the conspiracy supposedly emerges from a pattern of "connecting the dots" between events that need not be causally connected. When no evidence supports these connections except the allegation of the conspiracy or when the evidence fits equally well to other causal connections—or to randomness—the conspiracy theory is likely to be false.

    The agents behind the pattern of the conspiracy would need nearly superhuman power to pull it off. People are usually not nearly so powerful as we think they are.

    The conspiracy is complex, and its successful completion demands a large number of elements.

    Similarly, the conspiracy involves large numbers of people who would all need to keep silent about their secrets. The more people involved, the less realistic it becomes.

    The theory tends to commingle facts and speculations without distinguishing between the two and without assigning degrees of probability or of factuality.

    The theorist is indiscriminately suspicious of all government agencies or private groups, which suggests an inability to nuance differences between true and false conspiracies.

    The conspiracy theorist refuses to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth.

  13. Add me to the disappointed folks.

    The video covers a lot of ground, and some of the claims are new to me, but I was struck by the apparent "argument from incredulity" about the attacks themselves. It seems to me that it is in fact perfectly plausible for the attacks to have taken place along the lines of the official accepted narrative. The use of civilian aircraft against buildings was a new kind of attack, and notwithstanding the "well-defended" character of US airspace, once the hijackers had control of the aircraft, there really were no remaining defenses. Buildings don't have anti-aircraft defenses, US skies are not continuously patrolled by combat aircraft.

    The aircraft maneuvers required are also not especially remarkable, I don't think -- certainly an amateur with some knowledge of aircraft navigation systems can do it in a flight-sim, with "full realism". Jets are hard to fly in general because there are a lot of variables, and in commercial operation, you need to put them in the right place at the right time going the right speed. The hijackers only really needed to put the planes in the right place, they weren't worried about air-speed or cooperating with ATC or managing traffic or arrival times. It's not completely trivial, but it also doesn't require hours of experience or super-human intelligence.

    As I say, I have no pretense of expertise in any of the post-attack stuff, except that I've actually read the 9/11 report. I found it plausible and interesting. I recognize that this isn't the same thing as "true", but it's also not the same thing as "ridiculous whitewash".

  14. You don't have to believe each and every premise listed in the video- I certainly don't. But even Commissioner Kean who headed the 9/11 report said it raises more questions than answers. You don't dispose of all the evidence when that's the case.

    I wish Operation Northwoods was taught in schools.

  15. There may actually be someone with a reasonable 9-11 conspiracy theory, but I haven't heard it. Tens of thousands of people saw those planes (including my twin brother who saw the one that hit the Pentagon)- are they all part of the conspiracy? And if the planes weren't enough to bring down the buildings, how would you go about putting enough explosives into a modern skyscraper (or three) to bring them down without anyone noticing all the primer cord? If Bush was in on it, would he have been reading a book to kindergartners when it happened and then flown off to an undisclosed location to cower in fear? Aren't there simpler ways to destroy documents - like, I don't know, maybe burning the building down late at night? How exactly were those military-trained pilots supposed to defend themselves against knife wielding terrorists (in hindsight I guess they should have kept the cockpit doors locked and let the terrorist slit the throats of the flight attendants). Flying, by the way, isn't hard - it's the landing that's difficult.

    The Able Danger unit was an intelligence unit within the Army that allegedly identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist operating inside the US and were prevented from alerting the FBI. Even if true, so what? There was an FBI agent in Minnesota sending in reports about Arabs taking flying lessons in the US and maybe we should look into it. You don't need a conspiracy theory to explain governmental incompetence (try getting on an airplane with a cupcake and a ceramic knife -guess which one makes it through security).

    And so what if the hijackers were doing coke, boffing strippers and getting drunk. Does anyone seriously think they were religious and were expecting to go to heaven and spend eternity with 40 white grapes?

    As for the passport, why would anyone plant a passport? It's not like the airline didn't have the guy's name and even back then you had to show ID to get on a plane. And he was in the front of the plane so off the debris that got through the building, he was likely to be included in it - see http://www.911myths.com/index.php/Personal_Effects_and_the_Crash-Proof_Passport

    If you don't want to be accused of being an aluminum-foil hat wearing loon, don't let on that you believe crazy things.

  16. "If you don't want to be accused of being an aluminum-foil hat wearing loon, don't let on that you believe crazy things."

    For those who did not watch the video, this is essentially the gist of it.

    Crazy things like the testimony of Mike Springman, former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, who is attempting to blow the whistle on how those passports were issued, right?

    "Flying, by the way, isn't hard - it's the landing that's difficult."

    There are some pilots who would disagree with your expert opinion there, Bub.

  17. Did you believe the government version of the Gulf of Tonkin? Did you believe the one about Iraqis killing babies in nurseries before Desert Storm? Did you believe the portable chemical weapons factories, the nuclear aluminum tubing, the yellow cake? Sorry to make such an abbreviated list, but I really need to get some sleep. Yuh see, I live in a nation where the majority of the citizenry wears aluminum hats.

  18. Why was Bin Laden killed when they could have captured him alive and interrogated

  19. Good job Corbett! For more in depth analysis of many interesting subjects go to corbettreport.com

  20. So far as I can see the Mike Springman video does not say that the terrorist visas were issued by the CIA. It says that they were issued by the US consulate at Jeddah where the CIA was known to be working in the 1980s.

    Most of the attackers were Saudi and there are only 2 places to get visas in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh and Jeddah.

    I fully expect that the CIA is working at most embassies and consulates around the world. They come in in the guise of US State Department employees because they want their agents to have diplomatic immunity in case they are caught.

    I see no reason to believe that the CIA issued those visas in particular. It might be true, but even then, it isn't fair to conclude that the CIA was involved in the attacks. It would be just as likely that they were taken for a ride by guys who promised to provide intelligence and turned out to be terrorists.

    See the note about "connecting the dots" above.

    This is also an example of #6 on Shermer's list: "The conspiracy theory ratchets up from small events that might be true to much larger, much less probable events."

  21. I also grow tired of the eternal "raising of questions". Would the truthers please state what they believe happened? Yes, I know the government is keeping it secret so you cannot know for sure, but you obviously have some idea. You keep hinting at CIA involvement and other issues.

    Did they Let it Happen on Purpose or Make it happen on purpose?

    Is there any empirically testable claim that results from your theory of how it went down?

    Is there any amount of evidence that would satisfy you? If every FOIA request were magically granted and the documents showed that the government was not involved in the attacks would you then come to the conclusion that you were wrong or would that just prove that the magical FOIA fairy was in on the conspiracy as well?

    If there is no amount of evidence that would convince you that you are wrong then we are talking about a religion you hold by faith alone and this whole conversation is just for the benefit of the audience.

  22. @nolandda - "Would the truthers please state what they believe happened?"

    I'm not a "truther" but I think a few thousand Americans died and the official story reeks about as badly as Gary Webb or David Kelly's "suicides".

    The most important records aren't on file awaiting a FOIA, they're the evidence that was shredded, burned, dumped into the sea (when has that ever been standard practice?) or otherwise disposed of post haste.

    Here's a hypothesis we can test: if the events of 9/11 were somehow part of or used by a conspiracy beyond al Qaeda, a small group of individuals would profit disproportionately from the outcome at the expense of the American public.


  23. That is about what I expected. One can "raise questions" or say the "official story" (which is official only in so far as numerous independent bodies including journalists, engineers, investigators, and others have looked at the evidence and come to similar conclusions) "stinks" all day. We won't get anywhere, no one will convince anyone else.

    The rhetorical style used is quite frustrating. Mr. Z. Constantine refuses to take any position at all refusing even to be identified as a truther. It is a bit like fighting a ghost. Several people point out inaccuracies in the original video, and that is OK he "doesn't believe every premise listed in the video". Well that is fascinating, what do you believe!

    Meanwhile his posts address only a fraction of my questions and make vague allusions to other things, like suicides, that he also "doesn't believe". Presumably the dark references to the CIA and certain government officials are supposed to paint a vague mysterious picture of evil at the highest levels. All without ever taking a position himself.

    It is a bit like being in a dark room with your older brother. He keeps telling you that there is a monster in the room that is out to get you. And every time you use your flashlight to check one corner of the room he informs you that it is somewhere else now.

    It is exactly this kind of slippery argument that separates journalists that uncover real conspiracies from conspiracy theorists.

    Iran-Contra and Watergate went to the highest levels of government. In both cases the president himself was implicated, and journalists discovered pieces of what was going on. Honest people involved in the situation that were uncomfortable with what was happening came forward. They didn't need to change their story each time some new fact came to light. They didn't need to "raise questions". They presented solid evidence of wrongdoing and powerful people were made to account.

    And I further note that Mr. Z. Constantine dodged the question about what evidence he would find satisfactory to prove him wrong. It isn't that hard. Here, I'll go first.

    I would believe that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by someone other than al Qaeda if a single member of the conspiracy came forward with some verifiable and independently check-able facts (documents/people involved/military or CIA units involved/payments made how much to whom, etc).

    I am sure I will be told that this could never happen because shadowy forces would kill someone who came forward. But William Felt went up against the president himself because he thought spying on opposition political parties was wrong.

    If this conspiracy is real and there is not one person involved who feels enough remorse about murdering 2,996 men, women, and children to come forward, even on their death bed, then I don't want to be part of this species any more.

  24. I do like the Cheney Halliburton stock options evidence. It shows you are thinking along the right lines.

    Two questions, one from the scientific method and one from common sense.

    (1) Could the change in value of Cheney's options be explained by anything else? In science we call this a confounding variable. For instance could his ability to engage in insider trading with impunity explain it? How about global oil prices (although those might be influenced by the conspiracy)? It is left as an exercise to the reader to think of others.

    (2) Man! That Cheney is a super long term thinker. He was willing to risk imprisonment for killing 2,996 people in 2001 and see no major return on that investment until late 2004. He had already had *four* heart attacks by 2001. He couldn't even be sure he would live to see that blood money. Risky play on his part.

  25. "Mr. Z. Constantine dodged the question about what evidence he would find satisfactory to prove him wrong."

    Of note: "When has that ever been standard practice?"

    I have read all the army field manuals and more than a few accounts and, despite all that, I'm still not convinced that dumping Osama into the sea was standard practice.

    Prove me wrong at your convenience, audience.

  26. I accept your claim. Dumping the body of an assassinated enemy into the sea is not standard practice.

    What does that mean? Would you accept the body as evidence that there was no conspiracy? I don't see how it would help.

  27. The US government didn't want anyone knowing they ruined the global market because of derivatives and the CDO's and CDS's that investment firms and AIG created to make global ponzie scheme that led to 40 quadrillion dollars of money that was based on credit or money owed and the government agencies involved just covered each others backs. We can't be ignorant to the issues. The generation coming up needs to change this social darwinistic approach to life that the rockefellers and Carnegie's created through their single minded approach to life, money, and morality that has trickled down to the sons and grandsons of plutocratic society today. Knowledge is power: we're the deciding generation for America

  28. "If every FOIA request were magically granted and the documents showed that the government was not involved in the attacks would you then come to the conclusion that you were wrong or would that just prove that the magical FOIA fairy was in on the conspiracy as well?"

    Provided that "the important bits" weren't all blacked out as so many are. Have you ever seen some of them- entire pages at times...

  29. "Flying, by the way, isn't hard - it's the landing that's difficult."

    There are some pilots who would disagree with your expert opinion there, Bub.

    Ok, so your alternative theory is that four very skilled Air Force pilots killed themselves (and several thousand civilians) so that Dick Chaney could cash in some stock options? Also, please note that the Pentagon pilot left skid marks in the parking lot, so it wasn't exactly a perfect landing. And as I mentioned, my brother saw the plane and numerous people had telephone calls with the passengers.

    What the truthers are trying to say is that there was a conspiracy (possibly Israelis and right wing rich guys) who wanted to push America into a war with the Arab world to safeguard Israel and motivate the West into a new Crusade against Muslim extremism in an attempt to reverse 10 decades of increasing decadence in the West (so the Knights Templar at it again). The casus bellie would be an attack on various non-essential structures (the twin towers, Congress and the White House)easily replaced (this is by the way, if true, genius as you get all the bang of Pearl Harbor without losing any of your ability to then prosecute the war). This shadowy group of conspirators subverted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed into thinking that it was his idea to hijack the four planes (so much so that he believed it himself) and then subverted the US government intelligence agencies to ignore the 19 (possibly 20) Arabs (out of the other tens of thousands of Arab students studying in the US)who were taking flying lessons.

    Once the dirty deed was done, it was child's play then to invade Iraq and steal all the oil in the Middle East. Which is why gasoline is now back to $0.50 per gallon where it belongs and the US and Western Europe are now a united front of not-decedent-at-all, practically Hitler-Youth-like, Christians dominating our little brown brothers. QED.

  30. @nolandda - "I also grow tired of the eternal 'raising of questions'. Would the truthers please state what they believe happened? [...] Would you accept the body as evidence that there was no conspiracy?"

    What if this attitude, of the form "if you can't tell me what happened there's nothing to talk about", is as bad as the fantastical, unfounded claims?

    I don't need to be able to tell you what is being hidden to tell you that something is being hidden here - and there is no reason to lie except that the truth runs contrary to an agenda.

    Guessing at what it is being lied about or what that agenda is will probably be a waste of time, but if it was important enough to hide from us then it would be foolish of us to ignore the fact that we're being lied to.

    Just as you can tell when a child is lying about stealing from the cookie jar, the US gov't is displaying all manner of tells: this is what corruption looks like.

    9/11 - regardless of what actually did or did not happen - was used as an excuse to start an unjust pre-emptive war on false pretenses and undermine US citizens' rights.

    I was born in a country in which secret police were viewed as a Communist or fascist aberration - now I live in a country where I am under constant surveillance and total authoritarianism... I'm not comfortable with that, and I'm not comfortable with the use of 9/11 to justify it - are you?

  31. @nolandda - "If this conspiracy is real [...] I don't want to be part of this species any more."

    I'm going to apologize for the illucid nature of some of my previous posts, (or my blog) as I am presently on a regimen of remaining drunk enough to avoid contemplating what it means to be a member of this species.

    I'm sorry about that. I suppose I did not address this statement:

    "Iran-Contra and Watergate went to the highest levels of government. In both cases the president himself was implicated, and journalists discovered pieces of what was going on."

    Remember when I linked Gary Webb earlier in this discussion? Please follow that link. (I'm assuming you didn't, because you didn't mention it directly)

    Here's the game:

    You're a carbon-based life form and you lack photosynthesis: energy is never free, and you need a lot of energy to continue existing.

    You adapt however you can.

    Lying, cheating, and stealing are maladaptive for the species, however, the ability to conceal your deceit is adaptive for you as an individual.

    ... so you continue adapting however you can.

    Thanks for playing. (works out great for all of us, doesn't it?)

  32. Here is something you may find interesting: Steven Novella and Jesse Walker discuss the history and psychology of conspiracy theories http://youarenotsosmart.com/2014/01/16/yanss-podcast-016-steven-novella-and-jesse-walker-discuss-the-history-and-psychology-of-conspiracy-theories/


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