What's the Value in Conspiracy Theory?

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." – Mark Twain


Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, President Bush asked the American public to “never entertain outrageous conspiracy theories.” The irony of his statement is easily lost.

Most people consider themselves reasonable, thoughtful individuals that don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but the Official story of 9/11 – that 19 radical terrorists conspired for several years to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings, successfully foiling the defenses of the most well-funded, advanced military in the world – is, in fact, a conspiracy theory. It just happens that this theory has the official endorsement of the U.S. government. So, believe our conspiracy theory, not theirs, Mr. Bush asks us. Don’t look at the facts. Don’t investigate for yourself. Just believe what you’re told.

This is, in effect, what the government and the mainstream media is asking us when it labels any idea a “conspiracy theory,” and we can see how incredibly effective this tool has been in stunting rational debate.

Over the decades, the term “conspiracy theory” has gained an increasingly negative stigma. People associate conspiracy theorists with kooks and wackos, paranoid rabble-rousers and self-proclaimed prophets with delusions of grandeur.

Long story short, the term has a whole long list of negative connotations, and most reasonable folks who value their reputation will avoid any conspiracy topics like the plague once it’s clear that the topic is now deemed ultra hazardous “conspiracy” territory.

Because of this, the term has become an incredibly effective propaganda tool for those who would prefer to silence dissenting opinions rather than debate them. After all, if you can’t win an argument with evidence and reason, dismissing the topic by negative association is your next best bet.

9/11, of course, has been the most recent casualty of the “crazy conspiracy theory” propaganda tactic.

You can almost hear the sirens going off and the bright flashing warning lights that turn on when someone brings up alternative ideas about 9/11. “Whoa,” people cry, “don’t go there!”

Our mainstream media got the hint early on. The political climate around the issue has been inhospitable, to say the least. Quickly after the official narrative became dominant in the headlines, reporting on any conflicting evidence or investigating alternative theories would have been career suicide.

Because of this, we have seen a virtual blackout of serious investigation from the mainstream media. Even most of the liberal alternative media has steered clear of the issue most likely because it would be deemed too costly to their credibility.

All the while, serious evidence that has been dug up and compiled by patriotic independent researchers remains largely obscured from mainstream public view. Eight years since the September 11th attacks, a deluge of information has come out that contradicts the official narrative in many ways.

You wouldn’t know this from the mainstream media, but since the 9/11 Commission released their official report in 2004, over two hundred senior military, intelligence service, law enforcement, and government officials have been quoted raising serious questions about the integrity and accuracy of the report. Let me give just four examples.

Senator Max Cleland, a former member of the 9/11 Commission, who resigned in December 2003 and who has been a U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1996 to 2002 is on the record saying:

"If this decision stands [to limit 9/11 Commission access to White House documents], I, as a member of the commission, cannot look any American in the eye, especially family members of victims, and say the commission had full access. This investigation is now compromised."

Next is a quote from Raymond L. McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran, and former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer:

"I think at simplest terms, there's a cover-up. The 9/11 report is a joke. The question is: What's being covered up? Is it gross malfeasance, gross negligence? Now there are a whole bunch of unanswered questions. And the reason they're unanswered is because this administration will not answer the questions."

Third is a quote from Representative Curt Weldon. He is a ten-term Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania. He is the House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman and Homeland Security Committee Vice Chairman. In a speech he gave to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, he says:

"Intelligence officers ... identified [lead 9/11 hijacker] Mohammed Atta and three terrorists a year before 9/11, tried to transfer that information to the FBI, were denied, and the FBI Director has now said ... the FBI could have used it to perhaps prevent the hijackings. The 9/11 Commission totally ignored this entire story.

I am a strong supporter of our military. I am a strong supporter of President Bush. I say all of that, Mr. Speaker, because ... there is something desperately wrong here. I have met with at least 10 people who fully corroborate what [intelligence officer] Tony Shaffer says. This is not [about] Republicans or Democrats. It is about what is fundamental to this country."

And last, just this month, former F.B.I. translator and government whistle blower Sibel Edmonds said that she was aware from her work at the F.B.I. that “Osama Bin Laden worked for the U.S. right up until 9/11.” Despite this shocking allegation made by a former government official, no mainstream news outlets have covered her story. To this day, she remains gagged and unable to speak about her knowledge due to a court order. Doubly, the testimony that she gave to the Official 9/11 Commission was censored from the final report.

The list goes on. The point is, these are not "nut-job" conspiracy theorists. As Alan Miller writes on behalf of WantToKnow.info:

"These dedicated individuals from across the political spectrum are not irresponsible believers in some 9/11 conspiracy theory. Their sincere concern, backed by decades of service to their country, demonstrate that criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report is not only reasonable and responsible, it is in fact a patriotic duty."

I just have to wonder what kind of a country we would live in if every topic that the administration wanted to bury could be easily dismissed by labeling it a "conspiracy theory." What if accusations of torture had been labeled a conspiracy theory? Would we have ever found out about the horrendous acts that took place at Abu Ghraib? Would we have found out that there were in fact high-level discussions in the Bush administration that approved very specific methods of torture?

What if the accusation that there were no WMD’s in Iraq was labeled a conspiracy theory? Would we have ever found out the truth – that the evidence presented by the administration was a complete fabrication, a lie?

What if the Bush administration’s secret domestic surveillance program was dismissed as a silly conspiracy theory? “Ooh, Big Brother! Always watching you!” They’d cry. Would journalists have had the political breathing room to investigate whether the claim was true?

The fact that journalists have been so afraid to investigate legitimate questions about 9/11 sets a dangerous precedent. This tactic will no doubt continue to be exploited as long as the public and the media remains susceptible to its persuasive and silencing effect.

Fortunately, issues of torture, WMDs, and illegal wiretapping have not had the same cultural stigma, and the truth has come out about these issues. But I have to ask: What price will our democracy pay because our political climate forbids the media from covering some issues that are deemed "too hot to handle." What price has it already paid?

Links for Further Information:

Online Videos: 911Films.org

Films For Action's Featured Stories on 9/11: FilmsForAction.org/blog

Dedicated News and Updates: 911Truth.org -- 911Blogger.com

Geopolitical Perspective: GlobalResearch.ca

Connect the Dots: OilEmpire.us

Understanding and Analysis: 911Review.com

Research: 911Research.wtc7.net

Summaries & Mainstream Sourced Evidence: WantToKnow.info

Hoax-Promoting Videos to avoid: In Plane Site, Loose Change (Editions 1, 2) 9/11 Eyewitness, PentaCon

Why the Left Progressive Media hasn't Reported on 9/11: Peter Phillips - Project Censored (pdf)


Joel 12 years, 10 months ago

Tim, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bullshit.

Here's what I find telling about all this: I work now at Philadelphia Weekly. A few weeks ago we had a story about Philip Berg, a Philly attorney who is the "alpha birther," the guy who filed the first lawsuit charging Barack Obama with reeeeeally being a citizen of a foreign nation -- and thus ineligible to be president. In fact, Berg is making a documentary with Alex Jones to promote this theory, entitled: "Fall Of The Republic: The Presidency Of Barack Obama."


Why is this telling? Well, Berg also filed the first lawsuit, in 2004, suggesting the government had brought down the Twin Towers via "controlled demolitions." And Alex Jones? Oh yeah, he made "Loose Change," one of the grandest "truther" documentaries of all.

Get the thread here? The same people who were peddling bullshit conspiracy theories keep coming up with bullshit conspiracy theories -- new ones to fit the politics of the times after everybody's moved on from the old conspiracy theories. Anybody can raise "questions" in perpetuity, but at some point you've got to provide some frigging proof -- something beyond wild-eyed speculation: Documents, witnesses, whatever. But the the truthers and birthers don't need actual proof. They've got their questions and that's all they need to keep pushing the bullshit -- because, weirdly, the questions can never, ever be answered to their satisfaction.

Sorry Tim. I'm sure you're a nice guy. I'd rather be respectful and nice about my disagreements. But sometimes somebody has to call bullshit what it is. And you keep peddling bullshit.

Here's the thing: You don't have to like what the Bush Administration did after 9/11 -- the eavesdropping, the torture, the unnecessary invasions of foreign countries. I hate it, personally. But this stuff was bad enough on its own without having to pile the conspiracy theories on top of it. In fact, the conspiracy peddling undermines legitimate opposition to the real stuff, because it's terribly easy for our opponents to lump us in with nutters like you.

And that pisses me off.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

The tactic that you are angry about our opposition doing to you (discrediting by association) is the same false tactic you are applying to 9/11 truth advocates.

You are claiming that the same people who are pushing the false birther claims are the same people that were talking about 9/11 years ago. That is a false and blatant lie. And you should know it. That is sloppy thinking at its best.

How long has the "discredit by association" tactic been used to stifle dissent? It was the whole point of this essay. Countless people use the term "conspiracy theory" to discredit ideas they dislike.

Glen Beck has tried to associate 9/11 truth advocates with holocaust deniers and racists like the guy that murdered a guard at the Holocaust museum in Washington. Are you really going to pull the same tactic by siting one example of a person who believes in both and then make a blanket statement that the two "movements" are one and the same.

That's bullshit and you should know it.

You know what? I hate Alex Jones for the bullshit he peddles. His documentaries have done the 9/11 movement a great disservice. You've been turned off from the legitimate evidence and issues that I've been talking about because you personally associate it with Alex Jones, and now, the "birthers." Well, that pisses me off too. Because the two issues are completely separate.

It would be great if you could have the intellectual honesty and decency to separate the two. Do I really have to point this out? To you, the fact that you've found a few birthers that believe in both the birther idea and 9/11 - that is just more evidence to you that it is all "bullshit." More evidence to stack on top of your forgone conclusion. I'm wondering if you have done any objective research on the issue since you first made your judgment on this, or if all your "research" since this judgment has been simply looking and selectively filtering evidence and experience to fit your established view.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

This red herring has completely distracted our discussion from the legitimate area of debate, which is the evidence concerning 9/11 itself. If you believe that the 9/11 truth movement has not already offered substantial "proof" and evidence to support that the official 9/11 narrative is, in fact, bullshit, then you have not done your homework.

Here are a few recent articles:

Like Iraq, the "Facts" Regarding 9/11 Were "Fixed Around the Policy" http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=266

Former FBI Translator: Bin Laden Worked for U.S. Right Up Until 9/11 http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=298

9/11 Media Breakthrough in Denmark: Peer-Reviewed Evidence of the "Loaded Gun" http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=259

And last, this article is probably the most important for you to read, if you will take the time, as it has to do more with the psychological and emotional resistances many experience when researching 9/11, rather than the purely empirical. http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=210

Matt Toplikar 12 years, 10 months ago


I realize that you think all of this 9/11 Truth stuff is crazy-babble. To tell you the truth that was my first, second, and third reaction as well. It's kind of a hard thing to swallow-- NO, I take that back-- it's an incredibly hard thing to swallow when you have to sift through the legitimate facts and ideas alongside the illegitimate ones.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure exactly what I believe when it comes to what happened on 9/11. There are a lot of assumptions made from the 9/11 Truth movement that I would consider to be hypotheses rooted in too much bias. At the same time, when you look at certain facts, it's just as hard (if not harder) to believe the official story of what happened that day.

I could give you some of these facts, but it really seems pointless given the fact that you already see me as no better than a "birther". It's not an easy thing to have a conversation with someone when all they do is yell "bullshit" at everything you say.

Just remember that being a true skeptic means not taking things at face value-- It doesn't mean that you shut your brain off to an idea. I hate to make assumptions, but it seems as if you're really shutting down when it comes to this topic. Maybe you have great reasons for why you think 9/11 Truthers have it wrong, but all I read on here was a name-calling tantrum.

I have extended relatives that believed in the "birther" stuff. I didn't have to get mad or petty, because it's such an easy thing to disprove. They're not crazy, they just hadn''t been shown the right information.

I know you have to have some facts and/or ideas you want to shove in my face, so let me give you two easy topics.

1) What do you think about why and how the third building (Building 7) at the World Trade Center fell?

2) What do you think about the speed at which all three WTC buildings fell?

Then (just a thought) see if what you think resembles the explanation given in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Oh... who am I kidding. You've already made up your mind. Oliver Stone, Alex (Douchey McDouchebag) Jones and the rest of us will have to recruit someone else for our conspiracy theory cult. We should have another out this fall. Stay tuned for... "Roy Williams is a Cyborg" coming to a blog near you.

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

Here's the thing.

"I just have to wonder what kind of a country we would live in if every topic that the administration wanted to bury could be easily dismissed by labeling it a "conspiracy theory."

It's a good thing we don't live in that country. Nobody disagrees that that the Bush administration kept it's secrets. Most people are pissed. The 9/11 commission's frustration with that is common to everyone else's. So quoting a former "government official" that the White House was not cooperative is hardly breaking news. Everyone involved was saying that contemporaneously. That doesn't prove anything or support any conspiracy theory at all.

Many challenge the "conspiracy theory" culture on the same grounds that drives the logic behind using professors and "government officials" to suggest support of an argument.

Most of the content on the site you cite says the same thing: The government was not forthcoming.

But even if there were more than that, what audience are you speaking to that would assume university professor's collective or individual speculation is more valid than their own? Who is your audience that doesn't know what a government official is? You have linked to this web site more than once, and you wonder why people call bullshit?

"They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality...and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening." - George Orwell, 1984

Who is they? The people who don't share your views? A skeptic might say it's your target audience.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

@ DotDot: "That doesn't prove anything or support any conspiracy theory at all."

I'll refer you to the links I posted in my comment above. What these articles provide evidence for - proof - if you will, is the position that the 9/11 Commission was a cover-up, that we still don't have all the answers about what really happened on 9/11, and that there is very legitimate grounds for the 9/11 truth movement to be seeking a new investigation.

No "conspiracy" is required to know that the official story we have been told is more or less BS. It amazes me that so many "skeptics" who defend the official story always respond by arguing against claims that 9/11 truth advocates have not made.

"That doesn't prove anything or support any conspiracy theory at all." Well where in this article did I propose an alternative conspiracy theory? Where did I say that the people I have quoted is proof of government complicity? I made no such claim.

What is does support, is the legitimate and patriotic act of questioning the 9/11 Commission. It supports those who have the courage to question and be critical of our government's handling of the 9/11 event.

It amazes me that so many "skeptics" pride themselves for being so skeptical of alternative ideas about 9/11, but afford none of that skepticism towards the official government's version of the truth, which so often gets a free pass.

A true skeptic should be skeptical of both alternative 9/11 claims AND the official government's claims. However, most skeptics seem content letting their critical eye cut only one way.

Once again, I will encourage people to read this article on the subject: http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=210

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

"A true skeptic should be skeptical of both alternative 9/11 claims AND the official government's claims." No argument here.

"However, most skeptics seem content letting their critical eye cut only one way." Argument here. Truthers finding offense at being lumped with birthers is bit hard to take seriously when they make the same broad stroke generalizations about skeptics. Skepticism is not a condition. Anybody can be one. Ya oughtta see some of the looks I get from the Jehovahs when they knock on my door and I end up trying to save them by preaching the church of the DOTS.

I realize you are not promoting a particular alternate 9/11 theory in this article. But when you say "You can almost hear the sirens going off and the bright flashing warning lights that turn on when someone brings up alternative ideas about 9/11. “Whoa,” people cry, “don’t go there!”, I took it to mean you were involved in the defense of the truther community. Oops.

But I agree that labeling something as a conspiracy theory undermines its credibility these days. You blame the big bad government and an intimidated media, I blame wacko sensationalist blowhards that ruin it for everybody. Sibel Edmonds is one of these (she was not an intelligence analyst, she was a translator).

Even serious journalists find themselves marginalized by the mainstream media. Investigative journalism has suffered the fate of a world of disciplines drowning in the age of information. I, too, bemoan the loss. I just blame it on our species' affinity for mediocrity (too much sucking, not enough swallowing) rather than any government conspiracy.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

@DOTDOT: "Truthers finding offense at being lumped with birthers is bit hard to take seriously when they make the same broad stroke generalizations about skeptics."

I think you're mincing my words a bit too closely. Give me at least a little bit of leeway when interpreting my (hopefully brief) remarks. Obviously not all skeptics let their skepticism cut only one way. I would consider myself one of those. It is the reason why I will readily critique the absurd and false claims made my some people in the 9/11 truth movement (Alex Jones being a good example). But I find that at least a few of the people who identify as a skeptic, in regards to 9/11, will often be skeptical of only non-mainstream views. I rarely hear people who defend the official story ever make any concessions. They rarely say, "well there is some truth to this point, and that should be investigated further, but I do have to take issue with this." Where is the balance?

An issue is never so black and white. Accusing people who are critical of the official story as simply "peddlers of bullshit" casts a blanket so wide across the issue as to make seeing the nuances and complexity behind a situation impossible.

Hudson Luce 12 years, 10 months ago

It's not journalists being intimidated, it's the whole institution of mainstream journalism being corrupted into little better than rewrite artists for government news releases. It'd be nice if we had a whole room of Helen Hunts and Hunter Thompsons to call bullshit on the government every time some official stepped over the line. What happens is that people and news organizations get their coveted White House press passes pulled. If they're trying to cover the Global War On Terror, and don't follow the Pentagon line, they just don't get embedded. The message is clear - don't write what the particular government official wants, and you lose your access.

Joel, congratulations on your new job writing for the Philly equivalent of the Pitch. You need to do some fact checking, though: Alex Jones did not produce "Loose Change". Jason Bermas, Korey Rowe, and Dylan Avery were in charge. Alex Jones is a great red herring for any kind of alternate explanation you want to vilify; most likely he's had some wacky words to say on whatever subject comes up. He's from the same neck of the Texas woods as Texe Marrs, by the way.

Phillip Berg isn't the only one alleging controlled demolitions were used to bring down the WTC buildings; if you listen to the anchors covering the event that day, you'd hear them talking along the same lines, one talking about explosions taking out the "under infra structure" of the buildings. There were many interviews that day with firefighters who had been on the scene, who described the collapses as controlled demolition, and finally the owner, Larry Silverstein, of Building 7 of the WTC was caught live on camera saying that because of the fire damage, that "we have to pull it" - which is common parlance for bringing down a building in its own footprint via... controlled demolition. There's just one minor difficulty - to do this takes at least a couple of weeks to place charges to shear steel beams and to set demo cord at the right lengths so that the explosions can be properly timed to bring it straight down. It's not something you can do in five hours. Building 7 came down around 5pm, some 7 hours after the others came down.

There's lots more really technical evidence we could get into, Joel. All of which says that you're full of bullshit and bombast, Joel. And it also says you're wrong, and you haven't the slightest idea of what you're talking about. Here's a hint, Joel: when you want to talk about topics that involve physics, chemistry, engineering, or a mixture of all three, try to pass a college course in any of those topics. Science courses aren't what you'll get at the J-school, but that's another reason why mainstream journalists such as yourself always seem to screw up stories which require a rudimentary level of scientific knowledge.

Hudson Luce 12 years, 10 months ago

Here's an eyewitness to the events at the Pentagon on 11 September:

"Lt. Col. [Karen] Kwiatkowski was working in the Pentagon on 9/11 in her capacity as Political-Military Affairs officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense when Flight 77 allegedly hit the Pentagon. She wrote:

“There was a dearth of visible debris on the relatively unmarked lawn, where I stood only minutes after the impact. Beyond this strange absence of airliner debris, there was no sign of the kind of damage to the Pentagon structure one would expect from the impact of a large airliner. This visible evidence or lack thereof may also have been apparent to the Secretary of Defense [Donald Rumsfeld], who in an unfortunate slip of the tongue referred to the aircraft that slammed into the Pentagon as a ‘missile.’ [5] …

“I saw nothing of significance at the point of impact - no airplane metal or cargo debris was blowing on the lawn in front of the damaged building as smoke billowed from within the Pentagon. ... [A]ll of us staring at the Pentagon that morning were indeed looking for such debris, but what we expected to see was not evident."

The same is true with regard to the kind of damage we expected. ... But I did not see this kind of damage. Rather, the facade had a rather small hole, no larger than 20 feet in diameter. Although this facade later collapsed, it remained standing for 30 or 40 minutes, with the roof line remaining relatively straight.

“The scene, in short, was not what I would have expected from a strike by a large jetliner. It was, however, exactly what one would expect if a missile had struck the Pentagon." (from http://patriotsquestion911.com/Counterterrorism_Veterans.html) Karen Kiatkowski email: ksusiek@shentel.net

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski's PHD in World Politics does not raise her unmet expectations involving the physics, chemistry, engineering of an airliner striking a fortified structure any higher than the speculations of a private citizen or a journalist.

Just saying.

Tim: "Accusing people who are critical of the official story as simply "peddlers of bullshit" casts a blanket so wide across the issue as to make seeing the nuances and complexity behind a situation impossible."

Fair enough.

But what seeds my anger at the "conspiracy theorists" is not the quest for truth. It is that the movement (broad indictment directed at its most vocal promoters) seems to be driven by the same ulterior motives as the big bad government, the mainstream media, and snake oil sales(wo)men peddling books in the name of a cure for autism. Turning fear into cash. You know what I'm talking about.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

"Turning fear into cash. You know what I'm talking about."

I certainly do. And it's unfortunate that there are people that appear to use the cause more for personal gain than for the cause itself (Alex Jones, once again being the best example). I'm curious if there are any other stand outs in your mind that are worth drawing attention to.

Though from my experience, these people are in the minority, and can be found in any movement. It is hardly unique to this one. And being pretty familiar with the movement as a whole, I know that these people are vastly outnumbered by sincere, responsible individuals who seek little or no financial gain, and more often than not, do so at great sacrifice to their reputations, careers, personal finances, et al.

I also think that if you're work is non-profit, and you're working for a cause, you still deserve to get paid for the hard work you do. It seems like a cruel double standard that in this capitalist society, you are rewarded for getting as rich as you can selling people things they don't need, but if you work in the non-profit world, you are lambasted for hoping to be able to make even the smallest of livings from it.

If this is really the source of your qualms, however, I'm surprised you haven't taken issue with all of the people that have sought to profit off of the "official myth". I mean, what about the people that turned the 9/11 Commission report into a comic book? Or the silver coins commemorating the twin towers and the new freedom tower to be built in its place? Or all of the patriotic 9/11, support America/Kill Bin Laden T-shirts/hats and other memorabilia ? Or what about all of the former government officials who go on lecture circuits hyping the terrorist threat and spreading fear by those more distinguished means? Or what about the entire GOP, who constantly use 9/11 to profit for their party and the political gains of their members? Or the Democratic party, who use 9/11 in more subtle but still political ways?

When you take a minute to look at the other side of the equation, it seems there are people profiting from fear in ways far more reprehensible than from the people that wish to end war and bring some sanity back to this country.

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

"...I'm surprised you haven't taken issue with all of the people that have sought to profit off of the "official myth"."

I have, believe me.

As far as people that stand out, an example is Kevin Ryan, the author of the article you link to above. Implied in this article is the idea that if you don't believe in the alternate 9/11 scenarios, you are stupid (reduction blatantly mine). I wouldn't be so offended by this article if he hadn't suggested so often that the buildings defied the laws of physics when they fell. They did not. Gravity is a motherfucker. I know there is code that has evolved around this phenomena, i.e. "path of most resistance", as if a building - outside a controlled demolition - has the ability to intellectualize the path of least resistance. It is these pop terms and the arrogance in which they are presented that makes it hard for me to read truther literature.

Another example is cited above by streamfortyseven. What difference does it make to me what Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski saw when she viewed the aftermath of the strike? She is not a scientist with the ability to analyze such an unprecedented event. Neither am I. So suggesting that her statement lends credibility to some alternate theory undermines said theory right from the start. I guess she is on the list of "government officials" questioning the commission. Look, I'm sure she is a nice lady, and smart, and she means well. But she is no more (or less) qualified than I am to express an opinion about what happens when an airliner strikes a building. Offering her as an expert is meant to deceive those who can't see this.

Here's a question for you. The NIST did a study on the mechanics of the towers falling, including building 7, and this work is available on-line. Do you suppose that each and every one of the scientists - from those running algorithms to the grunts generating the 3d models - is involved in distorting the truth? I suppose it is possible, but knowing a number of scientists myself, having grown up in a engineers household, I would say that suppressing the forthright opinions of hundreds of these independent minded curmudgeons is next to impossible. I would like to see testimony from ONE individual with the credentials to express a valid opinion on the structure of these buildings.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

Hey DotDot, we've got a film screening coming up this Wednesday, Sept 9th that I'll be getting ready for, but I plan on looking into your question and doing some research into it. It's a good question, and without knowing the formal procedures that are involved in presenting a final NIST report, I am wondering that myself. Although when you look at what happened to Van Jones this week for having signed a 9/11 petition back in 2004, and overall the cultural pressure to support the status quo, and the personal psychological resistance to considering government complicity, there is already a fairly justifiable reason why people would just go with it. I can certainly understand it.

I mean, look at what Arianna Huffington said about "truthers" just today: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/thank-you-glenn-beck_b_278839.html

She says she "despises" truthers, and has a formal policy to ban or not allow any blog content related to 9/11 criticism. And this is coming from the supposed progressive left. There's just too much pressure out there for people to want to stick their neck out. That being said, I will look into it more and let you know what I find out.

If you're interested in coming to the film screening, there's more info about it on my previous blog. It's this Wednesday, 7pm at Liberty Hall in the main theater. $3 to cover our rental costs, and we will be giving away some free DVDs of the film for the earlier arrivals. The film is "Fabled Enemies," which doesn't try to establish any alternative theories, but instead focuses on establishing thoroughly that the story as we have been told it cannot be true.


spinsparx 12 years, 10 months ago

The Mainstream Media does show the buildings being expertly demolished into their own footprint at free fall speed... anybody else see that? get a clue... there are literally thousands of them.

spinsparx 12 years, 10 months ago

thermite, building 7, ....HIJACKER'S PASSPORT FOUND IN RUBBLE? wow, they sure make those things sturdier than i thought ; ) I'd be massively embarrassed if I was the guy that bought that one!

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

On Van Jones:

One could argue that the truthers cause similar damage to those they exploit to try and lend credibility to wacko alternate scenarios of 9/11. The thought struck me a while ago when I first came across that "50 Government Officials, etc..." website. Most of the statements made by these so called experts are fairly innocuous in the broader context, but the truthers use their statements in a deceptive way. It would be interesting to make some calls and actually talk to these people and ask their opinion on the way their views have been exploited over the years. Their need for courage stems not from the opinions they express, but from the potential damage that involuntary association with the wacko fringe truthers will cause them.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

DOTDOT: I'm sorry, but you've lost me. You continue to fail to see the point of very simple things.

200+ Senior Military, Intelligence Service, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials Challenge the Official Account of 9/11: "Terribly Flawed," "Laced with Contradictions," "a Joke," "a Cover-up" http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/

Fairly innocuous? Please open your eyes. I'm guessing you came across this similar article through me, a year ago when I posted a similar blog and linked to it, and I did not use it to "lend credibility to wacko alternate scenarios of 9/11." Or use the statements in a deceptive way. The statements speak for themselves, if you actually could make a rational conclusion about them.

What they show, is that questioning the Official account of 9/11 is indeed, the responsible and patriotic thing to do. They show that the official account obviously has many, many flaws, and by that deduction can not be true. The 9/11 Commission was a cover-up. That is the opinion of many of the people quoted. What are they covering up? That is what the 9/11 Truth Movement wants to find out. That is why they continually press for a new investigation. AND THAT'S IT.

Get it?

The political construction of "wacko fringe truthers" and other labels are a a sort of blanket epithet that is only used to disparage and discredit the credible, responsible, majority of the real movement, who want answers about one of the most politically exploited, financially exploited pretexts for war and military spending in our recent history.

DOTDOT, I sincerely look forward to when you stop being a part of the problem, and start being a part of the solution.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

@DOTDOT: "I would like to see testimony from ONE individual with the credentials to express a valid opinion on the structure of these buildings."

Okay, here you go:

Former Chief of NIST's Fire Science Division Calls for Independent Review of World Trade Center Investigation http://www.opednews.com/article/genera_alan_mil_070820_former_chief_of_nist.htm

It's interesting that a question I get a lot goes something like this, "If there was such a large cover-up (involving in your example many people from NIST), how come no one has come forward in protest?"

And the answer usually is, "People have. But you haven't heard about it because the mainstream media refuses to report on these stories."

And I'm sorry to say that the reason they do not report on these stories is not because of the "big bad government," as you always refer to it. It is because of people like you, DOTDOT, and Joel, and thousands of other ordinary people who throw out terms like "wacko fringe truthers" that makes the climate around discussing 9/11 so inhospitable that the reporters and editors in the media won't cover the stories.

So thanks. You are certainly doing your part.

Joel 12 years, 10 months ago

"DOTDOT, I sincerely look forward to when you stop being a part of the problem, and start being a part of the solution."

And that, Tim, is why you're full of bullshit.

DotDot has, I think, very reasonably tried to engage you. (He did a much more reasonable, mature job than I, admittedly.) But he looks at the evidence -- not the distortions of the "50 Government Officials" page, and not the unending "questions," but the evidence -- and comes up with reasonable conclusions.

And rather than recognize DotDot's good-faith effort to do those things, rather than recognize that he might've examined and considered the evidence and simply come up with a different conclusion -- well, you hit him with a dumb, glib cliché that makes him responsible for your failure to convince him.

Which is always the case. The failure of conspiracy theories never, ever rests on the theorists or their lack of evidence or their overreach of imagination. It's always the fault of the people who don't "get it." How tedious. How predictable. And what a waste of supposedly bright minds.

I call "bullshit" and don't engage you like you want, Tim, because I know how the debate will end up precisely the way it did with DotDot. (For whom, incidentally, I don't pretend to speak.) Sometimes, the best thing to do is call something the bullshit that it is and move on.

Because the truther conspiracies are bullshit. Pure and simple.*

*....and I'd say that just about exhausted a few years of goodwill I earned here at Lawrence.com! It was fun while it lasted!

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

"DotDot has, I think, very reasonably tried to engage you. (He did a much more reasonable, mature job than I, admittedly."

  • This is certainly true and I respect him for it (even given the "lively," I will call it, nature of our back and forth comments. The sarcasm in my last comment is only tit for tat for his last comment and I'm guessing he (as well as I) have the good humor and spirit to take it in jest.

"Sometimes, the best thing to do is call something the bullshit that it is and move on." - Well, you have clearly made up your mind on this. Your response of course does not even attempt to address the multiple issues I and several other people after me have made with your simple and disrespectful "conclusion."

You are not even listening to what I am saying. Closed ears. Closed eyes. Open mouth.

Once again, I have reiterated the main thesis of the 9/11 truth movement over and over again, which is this: "The 9/11 Commission was a cover-up. This is the opinion of many of the respected people quoted at www.PatriotsQuestion911.com So what did the 9/11 Commission cover up? That is what the 9/11 Truth Movement wants to find out. That is why they continually press for a new investigation. AND THAT'S IT."

Despite this simple position, you continually muddy this idea and mix it up with "truther conspiracies" and other epithets that blur real cognitive thinking and discussion. You obviously have no desire to discuss the issue on an intellectually honest and respectful level, so I guess we're at the end of the road.

"I sincerely look forward to when you stop being a part of the problem, and start being a part of the solution."

In saying this, I am only looking for one very simple thing, which is for people to acknowledge that the Official 9/11 Account has enough flaws in it to warrant a new investigation. You can stop right there. You don't have to have alternative theories. You don't have to jump to any conclusions.

Instead of attacking people with disparaging labels and calling people "peddlers of bullshit," I would simply like DOTDOT and you to respect those who make responsible criticisms of the 9/11 account. To defend the rights of people who do stick their necks out to find out the truth.

The "problem," as I see it, is the behavior which you have so kindfully demonstrated, which is to bully, name-call, ridicule, and put down those who have an opinion different from your own. Your behavior certainly does not uphold the journalistic ideal of "preserving and encouraging a diverse marketplace of ideas." And yet you are a journalist. That, to me, is sad.

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

Joel: May your roast be ever dark, and your Laphroig bottle always full. It's weird how our roles are reversed on this thread. You are usually the nice one.

Tim: James Quintiere called for a peer review and questioned the lack of analysis published for WTC7 in 2007. There has been, as a visit to the NIST site will show, much more information and research made available in the intervening years. I have been watching this for years, now, and my curiosity about what happened and the truther movement actually has nothing to do with you, believe it or not. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings, but my opinions of the truther movement have evolved well outside this little blog. I 'spose it is healthy that you think so much of yourself, though.

I got an idea! Why don't we go get a few beers and then wring each other's necks. That way we'll both feel better.

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago


Saying that the truther movement is only interested in a new investigation and THAT IS IT is, sorry to say, not up to you. That may be your assessment or understanding of it, and if it were so, then I, ALONG WITH THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA would be on board.

But on a more fundamental level, here's the thing. I don't need to believe the government knocked the buildings down. I don't need some secret conspiracy. I tend not to even consider it seriously, because what the big bad government did with the aftermath is BAD ENOUGH already. W was a fool, Cheney is a bull headed hawk with incredible financial stakes in an Iraq war, Rummy is, well, you see what I mean. What these idiots did to the United States during the Bush administration is no secret, and the MSM has been all over it for years. So why spend time on secret fantasies when the real stuff is staring us in the face?

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

"Because what the big bad government did with the aftermath is BAD ENOUGH already."

I've heard you make this statement of reasoning before, and it still sounds like an example of self-deception.

"Another simple example of tension free self-deception regarding 9/11 concerns the "blowback" theory. This is the idea that certain people in the Middle East, who the US government has been bombing and blockading for many years, might gather up the means and organization to strike back with vengeful acts of otherwise irrational violence, by attacking symbols of western wealth and power. One reason this theory is so obviously confabulatory is that its proponents cling forcefully to it, but yet could never, under any circumstances, consider the "managed blowback" theory. That is, they would never allow the thought that powerful people might notice, and then manipulate, exploit and even promote, such vengeance.

One particularly interesting example of these two simple forms of confabulation, the redefinition of conspiracy and the "blowback but never managed blowback" theory, is found in the book: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein. This book is well written, apparently well researched, and very frightening.

The most interesting aspect of The Shock Doctrine, however, is the way in which Klein handles the idea of a conspiracy surrounding 9/11. After going to great lengths to describe what can only be called a long-term conspiracy to economically exploit (and torture) a string of entire nations, she adds a small disclaimer section near the end of the book, saying, "No conspiracies required." It's a bit like reading the Bible and struggling through a new section at the end claiming "No deities required.

In this disclaimer section, which might have been added simply to ensure the book got published and promoted, Klein goes on to suggest that "The truth is at once less sinister and more dangerous [than the 9/11 conspiracy]." She struggles slightly in an effort to explain that --"wars waged for control over scarce resources ... create terrorist blowback." The ideas here are clearly meant to separate the book from any implication that certain powerful people, in the wars they have recently created to seize control of scarce resources, could ever have helped along (or managed) the events that were absolutely needed to initiate the whole process." - http://www.filmsforaction.org/blogdetails/?num=210

If you can't even seriously consider the possibility, then my god, give me a break.

DOTDOT 12 years, 10 months ago

I suppose. So if A profits from B, then it follows that A could be suspected, in retrospect, of causing B. Like on Law & Order. Fair enough.

Then A would be the US government and B would be the 9/11 event.

But wait a minute. How much money is the truther industry worth? I know, I know. You say most truthers don't make squat. Quest for truth at great personal sacrifice and all that. But there has got to be somebody gathering the unwashed minions like yourself under the profit motivated umbrella. I mean, with trillions changing hands, even the big bad government is made of people who make less than you and I do. Taking into account the similarities between the truther movement and the US government, lets look at motivation. Since the truther movement wouldn't EVEN EXIST without 9/11, there is infinitely more at stake than even Cheney and his cohorts at Halliburton could have profited from the Iraq war.

Therefore, we are faced with a more logical scenario:

A is the truthers, B is the 9/11 event.

The truthers knocked the buildings down in such a way as to cause this exact controversy. Every death on 9/11 and every death in Iraq and Afghanistan is blood at the hands of the truthers. THIS is what the government is hiding. They have even offered the use 50 top government officials as a smokescreen to keep the movement alive.

I just hope you are not so blind with confabulation that you cannot see the clarity of my gift to you, which is the pathway to the solution to the problem.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 10 months ago

That is, indeed, brilliant logic, on your part, enough such that it made me laugh, as I assume you intended. So thank you. :p

planetwax 12 years, 9 months ago

Is it too hard to look at the facts? Did it not startle everyone here when the twin towers fell into their own footprint, and that building 7 did, even though it did not have extensive damage done to the building? Did it not startle everyone here that much of the remains from Ground Zero were immediately carted away, off of American soil? How about the molten steel that remained fluid for weeks? How about the pillars of the towers that had diagonal cuts in them, as is done in a demolition? How about the testimony from the janitor who heard suspicious noises on the empty floors of the trade center for weeks before 911? Why were these floors empty and why were the elevators programmed to skip them and why did one need an access key to enter those floors? How about the plumes of smoke that come before each falling floor, that can be seen in videos? How about finding Thermite?? What about the strange timing of the War Games which prevented the military from responding to the attacks? Why were bomb sniffing dogs removed from the Twin Towers five days before 911? Interestingly, it was a Bush-linked company providing security at the the trade centers. "George W. Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines, according to public records. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family." ~Margie Burns, Prince George's Journal

Let's look at facts, people. Our country's constitution has been left in shreds by our last administration, and the current one isn't doing much to restore them. If people are going to live in ignorance and fear, then we are doomed. Truth is power. Look for truth instead of turning it into a dirty word.

DOTDOT 12 years, 9 months ago

"Look for truth instead of turning it into a dirty word."

I heartily agree! A good first step is to look up the definition of the word "fact."

Get back to me when you are ready.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 9 months ago

"But here's something I really don't understand: when did it become uncool to ask questions? When did questioners become imbeciles? Who gets to hand out the tinfoil hats? When did it become cool to believe what we're told? In the words of Mr Hicks, did I miss a meeting? When did so many of the cynics and sceptics, so many of the sharpest brains I know (hello Charlie Brooker!) think that the cool thing to do is mock the questioners, and defend the party line. How stratospherically uncool is that? You want to know who's cool? Gareth is cool, Mohsin in the pink shirt is cool, the girl in the pink pants is cool. Charlie Sheen is cool, Julianne Moore is cool, Dario Fo is cool. And today, perhaps for the first time in my life, I'm cool too."

Charlie Skelton is a writer and actor, covering the 9/11 protests that took place today outside of the BBC. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2009/sep/11/ground-zero-bbc-protest

tribalzendancer 12 years, 9 months ago

City Of New York Concedes 9/11 Coalition Has 30,000 Valid Signatures To Put Referendum For 9/11 Investigation On November Ballot http://www.911blogger.com/node/21221

<p>Salon.com asks: Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition? http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/11/truth_petition/

The White House - Press Office - Notice of continuation of the National Emergency - Sept. 10th, 2009 http://www.911blogger.com/node/21231

Polls show broad skepticism among Americans of official 9/11 narrative http://www.911blogger.com/node/20824

DOTDOT 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure coolness is the issue, and I don't trust people who think it is. The real problem is not when truthers became imbeciles. The trouble started when imbeciles became truthers.

tribalzendancer 12 years, 9 months ago

DOTDOT, have you had a chance to watch Fabled Enemies yet? It is viewable online.


The film is not your usual conspiracy romp. It actually spends most of its time pointing out evidence that the terrorists had support from, and financial and intelligence ties to foreign governments, including Pakistan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The interesting point that this film raises is, usually the big complaint from the 9/11 movement is that the mainstream media doesn't cover stories critical of our handling of 9/11. So it's a bit surprising that most of the film is comprised of mainstream news reports, sourced from ABC, FOX, NBC, Newsweek, Times, the Washington Post, etc.

There is actually a good deal of information that the mainstream media has covered. The problem is, it was usually aired or published only once, and not followed up on, and usually forgotten as the years went by and the overall story (of blamelessness on the part of our government and lack of help from any foreign governments) took shape.

The news media can report on these stories comfortably because, while, by themselves, the stories are concerning and troubling, they ultimately make no harsh conclusions. The news anchor goes to his next story and you're left to get on with your day. It is when all of these stories are put together, dozens of them into a single narrative, that these pieces make sense in the greater context, and the larger picture together is quite damning.

Anyway, if you haven't watched it I'd recommend checking it out.


tribalzendancer 12 years, 9 months ago

To Joel,

After thinking about it further, (and assuming you have made a sincere attempt to investigate this issue) I remain shocked and in disbelief by how you have responded to my article and my comments, and your opinion of the 9/11 truth movement in general.

I am asking this seriously: would you, in good conscience, be able to call the families of the victims who are demanding a new investigation "peddlers of bullshit"? *1

Would you call six out of the 10 9/11 Commissioners "peddlers of bullshit"? *2

You can not be serious. I'm afraid you've dug yourself a hole here. After taking such a hard-line position it might be hard to make concessions, or admit you may not be completely right, but just look at the statements made by the 9/11 Commission.*2

You cannot lump these people in with the "wackos" you associate with all 9/11 criticism.

Regards, Tim

*1 http://www.filmsforaction.com/film/?Film=3&Title=9/11:_Press_for_Truth

*2 http://911summary.com/911c.php

jonulasien 12 years, 9 months ago

Okay, streamfortyseven, I just have to comment on this. You really believe that the government shot a missile into the Pentagon and tried to convince everyone that it was a commercial airliner? Wow. If that was true, that could be among one of the most ill-conceived ideas anyone has ever come up with. Just take this into consideration: I don't know if you have read up much about Mike Walters' eye witness account of the pentagon crash. His quote is famously used in documetaries like Loose Change etc. explaining that he saw what appeared to be a missle shooting into the pentagon. The problem is the documentary "filmmakers" chose to exclude a critical part of his quote: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/452570/september_11_pentagon_eye_witness_mike_walter_changes_his_story/ The first part is what the documentaries include and the second part is what they exclude. So while you sit at home browsing the internet for more evidence to support your claims, think about who it is that is really lying to you and instilling you with unnecessary fear. Is it the government or a couple of kids that were rejected from film school and were desperate for attention?

DOTDOT 12 years, 9 months ago

"You cannot lump these people in with the "wackos" you associate with all 9/11 criticism."

It's a good thing nobody has tried to. Accusations of bullshit peddling are directed at bullshit peddlers. The lunatic fringe no more represents those with a legitimate stake in the veracity of the 9/11 commission report than it represents the laws of physics.

In any case, conspiracy theorist's offense at being labeled lunatics and their wont to accuse the rest of us of complacency are well documented in the cloud, and nothing that is said on this thread will change this, no matter how well we play our parts.

BTW. Do a youtube search on Mike Walters, and you can see the whole original interview.

jimmyjms 12 years, 9 months ago

Here's the question that sticks in my mind:

The United States of America is the most wealthy, well-armed, and well protected country in the world. Largest military, most weapons, all of that.

The Pentagon is (supposedly) the most well protected building in the country, if not the world.

Yet every layer of our myriad defenses were penetrated not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times by people who can only be quantified as amateurs. And following this breach, every person who should have been in charge of making sure that something like this wouldn't happen (but failed) has been promoted.

How, exactly, does that happen? It should be beyond question that the scenario of "planes as weapons" was not a new idea...I mean, there are pictures, text and testimony of our own gov't officials discussing the idea pre-9/11.

So how did our country get caught with its pants down four times in one day?

DOTDOT 12 years, 9 months ago

Here's the reality that sticks in my mind:

Terrorists can accomplish big things with small effort, governments can accomplish only small things with big effort.

At 9/11, I was working for a guy who flew missions in 'Nam, worked as a test pilot for Boeing, and flew commercial for decades. What he said at the time was with a little training (Flight Simulator, for instance), YOU could fly a 747 into a building. Avoiding buildings and landing safely are a lot harder, and are skills the terrorists didn't necessarily need to master.

What is scary is that, while the buildings were symbolic, there are more efficient ways to terrorize Americans (accusing the gubment of complicity being only one). And what surprises me is not that the terrorists were able to circumvent security and knock some buildings down, its that it doesn't happen more often. The fact that it hasn't, I believe, has less to do with Homeland Security, and more to do with the mysterious minds of Jihadis.

Seriously, if you want to bring the US economy to a screeching halt, target a couple of Walmarts in Anytown.

DOTDOT 12 years, 9 months ago

"The Pentagon is (supposedly) the most well protected building in the country, if not the world."

And who said it was? This is the kind of rhetorical abuse that pisses me off. I have no idea which building in the country is most protected and neither do you. Here's a clue. If you have information that a particular building in this country is the most protected building in this country, then it's not.

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