Posts Tagged ‘9/11 Truthers’
Picture unrelated. OK, at a friend’s request I reviewed this YouTube video: Major General Blasts 9/11 Cover-Up. In the video, one retired US Major General Albert Stubblebine gives his opinion on what happened on 9/11. He had more than a thirty year career in the army, and was deeply involved in the counter-intelligence game. He retired from the army in 1984. A few years back he was interviewed, as shown on the video. Do I recommend the video? Well, not really. This post is going to be written assuming readers haven’t watched it and aren’t going to watch it, watch it now if one has an aversion to spoilers. I watched it, and it felt like I’d watched an episode of Ancient Aliens. I will try to deconstruct it impartially, but I clearly am prejudiced.
The first third of the video is the man establishing his credentials. The good general’s long and august career in military intelligence, all the amazing things he had done and participated in. Every word true I am sure, the man had been at the heart of the beast, the inner circles of the USA’s intelligence community in his time. Unfortunately, none of this has any bearing on his arguments or his credibility. Arguments have to stand or fall on their own merits, the person making them is not relevant. I knew I was in trouble at this point, to spend a third of an interview pumping up the interviewee’s credentials bodes ill for what follows. I was not disappointed, the august general then raised the old “a plane didn’t hit the Pentagon” stuff that has been circulating since a French opportunist wrote a book about same shortly after 9/11. Nothing that I hadn’t heard before.
Still, let’s look at this a bit further. While his military intelligence credentials were long and impressive, he apparently has zero expertise in aircraft crash scene analysis. So no matter how credible his opinion might be in some regards, his opinion about the damage to the Pentagon is at best lay speculation. And like the collapse of the WTC towers, analysis of aircraft crash scenes is not “high school science,” it’s something best left to the experts. And the experts have no problem with the airplane caused the damage to the Pentagon scenario. That doesn’t completely settle the issue of course, experts have been wrong, but it’s not a promising start.
And if we are going to look at the general’s past to give credibility to his testimony, another problem crops up. The general has been deeply involved with the paranormal, UFOs, and what-not all his life apparently. This in particular I thought interesting: “A proponent of psychic warfare, Stubblebine was involved in a U.S. Military project to create “a breed of ‘super soldier'” who would “have the ability to become invisible at will and to walk through walls”. Stubblebine reportedly attempted to walk through walls himself, without success.” It certainly suggests to me that however effective Stubblebine was at his job, he certainly had an attraction for outlandish theories. Lastly, has there ever been any issue with Stubblebine’s loyalty to the government and army? Not that I’m aware of. Is it possible that he is simply playing his role to this day? The government loves 9/11 Truthers, nothing like keeping the Russians and Chinese guessing about what’s really going on in America. And much better than them investigating the real conspiracy, to use 9/11 as justification for countless endless wars and military spending that have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
Lastly, I have some problems with the “a missile hit the Pentagon” theory. First of all, one has to discount the numerous witnesses that saw the damn airliner fly into the building. One has to believe that the conspirators not only planted hundreds of witnesses with false testimony, they also prevented any witnesses, and there would have been lots of them, testifying about seeing a missile, not an airplane, strike the Pentagon. Then there’s the problem of what possible reason would the conspirators have for using a missile? And what happened to the plane and its 64 occupants? 125 people were killed in the Pentagon as well, including a general. The plotters didn’t want to kill the people on the airplane, but didn’t care about the people in the Pentagon? And this crash site was swarming with rescuers within moments of the crash, many of whom testified about seeing parts of an airplane and human remains.
In other words, if a missile did hit the Pentagon, we are talking a conspiracy that makes a Mission Impossible episode seem realistic in comparison. Hundreds of fake witnesses, hundreds of real witnesses silenced, fake damaged light poles struck by the plane in its final approach installed instantly after the crash, fake phone calls from the doomed airliner, a whole airliner and 64 occupants disposed of somehow, fake airliner parts placed at the crash scene moments after the impact … for what? What possible reason could plotters have for a plot so vast and insanely complicated? I can’t think of one, and I haven’t seen a conspiracy site even take a stab at the problem. If you’re going to dispose of the plane and its occupants anyhow, what’s the point of substituting a missile for the plane?
So General Stubblebine, no disrespect intended, but I am not persuaded by your testimony. I am impressed though, his story was beautifully crafted to have tremendous appeal to people who were already suspicious of the US government and harbored doubts about 9/11. (I didn’t even go into that aspect of the video.) By accident or design, the good general’s testimony has earned an honored place in 9/11 Truther lore. Good for him.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, being yet another image making the rounds on Facebook. I have no idea who holds the copyright. Trust me, it’s funny of one gets the joke. Show it to your kids if you need it explained. )
Well, the last post unless further evidence comes to light or there is some other rational reason for me to revisit the issue. Moving right along, I promised I would provide one commenter with responses to her responses to my questions on this post. My original questions are in italics, her responses in bold, and my comments on same are in normal type. Here we go! Whee!
1. Why 9/11, when a vastly simpler and far less risky false flag attack would have the same result?
Proving a negative is impossible – but I would say the “theater” of it all was the goal – a snuff film to be seen far and wide. The destruction of such phallic symbols – the public castration of America in plain view for all to see – not just destruction but public emasculation made it a psychological attack. Basically I’m saying for the very same reasons given to the 19 lone gunmen with box-cutters – humiliation of a people and a country.
Actually, proving negatives is at the core of the scientific method, not to mention accident/criminal investigations and numerous other endeavours in our civilization; it’s most definitely possible over a wide range of circumstances to prove a negative. Four backpack bombs in four major city transit systems would have had he same result, maybe even worse because the images of carnage would be so much more graphic. Israel has routinely used the most trivial terrorist attack to justify war and the suspension of violence, as have numerous other actors throughout history. The Tonkin Gulf Incident was so trivial that it begs belief to think a nation would go to war over it, yet Congress fell all over itself giving Johnson a blank check to do as he pleased. I’m not saying it couldn’t have been a plot, but I find it hard to believe that the putative planners of this event would come up with such a fantastically complicated plot when much lesser plots would achieve the same effect with far less risk of failure or detection. I should add as an aside, the breadth of this putative conspiracy has to be mind blowing, with conspirators exercising control over huge areas of America’s government, military, and media. Um, if your secret cabal already runs everything, why take this kind of chance?
2. Why WTC 7, a building no one had ever heard of.
I believe it had to do with what was inside the building – and is now destroyed and/or stolen. Others would know more.
OK. Didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this one, eh? The gentle reader took the trouble to email her responses, and this was one of them? And, um, saying that “the explosion destroyed the proof” is, well, internally consistent at least. Circular reasoning I believe is another term for it.
3. How, exactly, did they recruit people into this conspiracy?
Between compartmentalization, greed, fear and “following orders” I don’t believe it required the recruiting of too many people. And I imagine with time more whistle-blowers will emerge.
Well, it’s been a decade, and none of the people who were tricked into murdering thousands of their fellow citizens has come forward. If Nixon was around he sure would envy this crew. And, well, I admire your imagination. My question wasn’t really answered though. How, exactly, would one pitch a plot like this to get a response other than “Have you lost your mind?”
Well, the esteemed commenter added a codicil of her own, which for completeness sake I will repeat and comment on:
I didn’t give the truthers much thought until the financial crisis of 2008 – and in the process of researching that crisis and wondering how, as a self-proclaimed informed individual I could have missed such a mess, I came to the conclusion 9/11 was “an inside job” – i.e., I do not believe in the official version.
I am not capable of stating how it was done but Judy Wood’s theory is intriguing.
The hardest hurdle for me was the media complicity necessary but I now realize how vastly compromised the MSM is and how brainwashed and propagandized my fellow Americans are. It isn’t pretty but the dumbing down of America is a very real event.
I don’t believe the official version either. Governments routinely lie, although usually in relatively transparent and predictable ways. I also agree that the MSM is now a government/corporate shill, no argument there. And yes, the American population has been so propagandized and manipulated by media, government, and a failed politicized education system that critical thinking appears to be a lost art. Tens of millions of Americans passionately believe in stuff that is transcendentally absurd in any rational sense.
Me, I believe I’ll have another beer.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit. Credit and copyright: Maniac World I chose it to illustrate the concept that things aren’t always they seem. Plus, it made my head hurt to look at, sort of how I felt after I looked at the Judy Wood web page. Please tell me it’s satire. Please?)
I see there have been a lot of comments on my previous two 9/11 Truther posts. I haven’t even been reading them to be honest, though I will at some point. Maybe. Primarily because I don’t want to get upset or cause hard feelings, people do seem to get emotional around 9/11 conspiracy theories. And since I am still experiencing blunted affect as a result of my stroke, anything involving emotion is a minefield for me. Also, I seriously doubt anyone is going to say anything I haven’t heard before. Lastly because I like to examine things from original principles, so I have been keeping my mind clear while I give 9/11 more thought. Or thoughts …
I’m still amazed at the conviction of 9/11 Truthers. Suspecting there is a conspiracy is one thing, being absolutely convinced that your explanation is the only possible explanation is something else entirely. This is another reason why I am not terribly inclined to debate with Truthers, debating with people who can’t imagine that they are wrong is generally not very productive, though sometimes it does lead to new lines of inquiry. I’ve made it very clear there is evidence that could convince me it was an inside job. Apparently, correct me if I’m wrong, there is no evidence that could convince a Truther that the buildings collapsed as a result of natural forces.
Speaking of natural forces, one of the arguments Truthers often make is that “it’s basic physics.” Um, no, it’s not. Not at all. These were very large buildings subject to unique events. Tons of structural details. All sorts of unknowns. It’s not like anyone has ever flown jet aircraft into buildings as part of any scientific study. This is not basic physics, it’s expert physics. Which means even the experts are going to have trouble parsing this event, and lay people have no chance. Even a cursory glance at any discussion between experts in the field bears this out. So, um, anyone who says that somehow “basic physics” proves their point in this debate is well, ignorant at best. Dishonest at worst.
Which, to be honest, I’ve been guilty of myself. For years Truthers have been telling me that the fact that these buildings “fell into their own footprints” is proof they were deliberately demolished. And I have rejoindered with some variation of “basic physics says that is the only way these buildings could collapse.” Well, after reviewing the various collapse videos, I was wrong. These buildings, particularly the first tower that collapsed, most definitely did not collapse into their own footprints. The top part of it was almost perpendicular to the street when the rest of it started down. Yes, when the buildings ultimately completely failed, most of the motion was straight down as the huge masses involved would suggest, but all sorts of stuff happened first, and during. From some video angles, yes, the buildings came straight down. From others, all sorts of shit was going on. These collapses were much messier than the “collapsed into their own footprints” meme.
So, um, I’m less impressed by the Truther position than before I opened this can of worms. And eager to move along. Still, a commenter took the trouble to email me their answers to the questions I posed on my last 9/11 Truther post. I was hoping my skeptical commenters would field those, but alas I didn’t express that explicitly. So, gentle reader and commenter, I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t respond to your answers, and I will dedicate a post to that in the near future. Could be fun, and since I haven’t looked at your answers yet, maybe I will be blown away and have to review my thinking. It’s happened before.
(The above image of Tower Two “collapsing into its own footprint” speaks for itself.)
OK, Wikipedia is down, so I can’t write the post I was planning on writing. Well, maybe I could, it’s not like the whole Internet is down yet. The SOPA thing is getting a lot of attention, so maybe it won’t come to pass after all. However, whatever excuse I may use, I decided the comments on my last 9/11 conspiracy post were … fascinating. I was going to write a comment in response, but realized I could squeeze a post out of it. And, well, people took the time to write a lot of long comments, the least I can do is respond.
Thank you for the comments. That being said, I don’t recall saying anything about my beliefs about what happened on 9/11, I was writing about my take on 9/11 demolition theories. And what people did write about my putative beliefs was wrong. However, that’s not the point. I also didn’t appreciate the few remarks casting doubt on my judgment etc, but, I won’t deny that on some levels I have poked fun at 9/11 Truthers, so, fair enough. And I’m sorry the comment thread devolved into endless listing of the various items 9/11 Truthers use to make their case. Seriously, did anyone think they were posting anything I hadn’t seen a before? I mean really.
So I stand by my original statement, all of the evidence submitted by 9/11 Truthers is interpretive, it’s only evidence because the Truthers say it is. None of it is hard evidence, none of it would stand up in court. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying if Truthers want their theory to be widely accepted, they need evidence that 90% of people are going to look at and say “Oh My God.” Evidence that actually is on point: Who’s idea was this conspiracy? Who were their co-conspirators? Who set the charges?
However, moving past all that, because there’s no profit to be had there, great, the Truthers think the evidence they have is convincing. I have no interesting in debating it, and I’m sorry if I gave that impression. My point, that essentially every commenter seems to have missed: Convince me the 9/11 Truther Theory is a logical theory, defend it logically. Answer my questions:
1. Why 9/11, when a vastly simpler and far less risky false flag attack would have the same result?
2. Why WTC 7, a building no one had ever heard of.
3. How, exactly, did they recruit people into this conspiracy?
This is just a logical exercise, right? My questions aren’t rhetorical questions, I don’t have preset answers. I do admit, my lifelong study of how and why humans commit terrible violence played a part in why I ask these questions. Mostly though, just as I said, logic. If 9/11 Truthers are proposing that the Bush Administration committed what would be one of the most heinous crimes in history, they should be able to defend their theory. All of it.
“On your way, Bud,” said Colonel Harper, “and good luck to you”
(The above image is of the US aircraft carrier Bunker Hill after being hit by two kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa in 1945. It’s a National Archive photo, so pretty much public domain under US copyright law. 400 people are dead or dying in this image. 402 counting the kamikaze pilots I suppose. Hell of a thing, suicide attacks.)
Well, recently I have had negative encounters with both 9/11 conspiracy believers, and 9/11 conspiracy skeptics. It’s kinda what I do I guess. By negative encounters, I mean encounters that frustrated and annoyed me, I’m not casting aspersions. Not yet at least. On the plus side, it cleared up my thinking on a number of issues, and inspired speculation along several lines. Even better, it engendered a lot of passionate discourse, so it’s a perfect blog topic.
OK, I will do this systematically. To start with, my current opinion on 9/11 conspiracy theories involving controlled demolition of the three World Trade Center (WTC) buildings that collapsed on 9/11. Let us call them 9/11 Truthers, they are pretty much the mainstream 9/11 conspiracy movement now. To wit:
I am extremely skeptical for one general reason, and because of a number of “logical bottlenecks” that are difficult or impossible to explain. The general reason is that 9/11 conspiracy theories are based on zero evidence. By that I mean they are based entirely on interpretation of public records. More specifically there are as yet no computer files, memos, recordings, conspirators, etc. that have been found that directly speak of any sort of conspiracy to blow up these buildings. It’s a purely circumstantial case at this point, and hell, until there is real information, who are we going to indict?
Secondly, there are a number of questions raised by the controlled demolition hypothesis that are very hard to answer. Or the answers raise new questions, so they aren’t really answers at all. I won’t bother to list all of them, just some of what I think are the more salient ones:
1. Why? This is the question that would come up the first time the conspirators met. “Why, exactly, are we going to do this Mr Bush?” Bush looks blank. They were already in power, a few backpack bombs in subways would give them all the casus beli they needed for the War on Terror. Why such an elaborate complicated plot involving mass death and damage?
2. Why WTC 7? The plot already involves four hijacked airliners and blowing up two buildings, why complicate an already complicated plot by blowing up a building that no one has ever heard of?
3. Lastly, and thanks to the keen human insight of my august father, how, exactly, would one recruit people into this plot? This isn’t like ordering cops and soldiers to attack rioters or demonstrators or other sub-groups that can be dehumanized. “Psst, want to get in on a plot two blow up some national landmarks and kill thousands of Americans?” I don’t think that would work very well.
So, moving right along, first my annoyance with the skeptics. I have always found skeptics somewhat annoying. They often go beyond skepticism to outright disdain and ridicule. I’m sorry, but if you are claiming to be the voice of reason, then you should make your case with reason. I don’t see how it can be any other way, but I have been ridiculed and called names for even suggesting that.
In this specific recent case, it was very politic, I just got kind of bored with the group. I like to approach things from original principles. I’ve read all the evidence surrounding 9/11 conspiracies, I’m still a skeptic, but I enjoy attacking the problem logically. “If 9-11 Truthers are correct, does this lead us to any testable questions?” is a very interesting question to me. Alas, I’ve done a poor job of expressing it apparently.
On the plus side, I left the group without any snarkiness on my part, since none was warranted. I hope. The old Doug could never have done that. Heck, I really shouldn’t even have left the group, but that part of me is changing too. Still, as my friends know, under my charming exterior, I am more than part misanthrope. Since I see it’s now possible for me to find out how much Neanderthal DNA I have, maybe I’ll get to the bottom of this.
Last but not least, the 9/11 Truthers. Well, they seems to have achieved almost a cult like status. I could be wrong, but it appears to me that many Truthers are absolutely convinced that their explanation of the events of 9/11 is the only possible explanation. And that anyone who disagrees is either deluded, or an agent of the government. They can’t seem to accept even the possibility that they might be wrong.
So debate is kind of pointless, and ends up being endless argument over interpretation of the data. The particular example that got my goat is the videos showing the collapse of WTC 7. In one video there is a piece of building facing apparently falling at free fall speed, as if there was nothing underneath it. Truthers insist that this means it must have been a controlled demolition. Um, yeah. I’m not an expert at building collapse. I do know that if a lay person tells me that this tiny fragment of debris in a videotape is proof positive of their theory, I say bullshit. If they claim an expert said it, I check with the other experts. And in this case I did, a few dizzying pages of math I didn’t understand and comments I could barely parse, and one thing was clear. The experts weren’t exactly sure what accounted for this piece of debris’ apparent motion for that second or so, but there are all sorts of possibilities. Which ends the probative value of this particular snippent of film in any rational sense.
This does highlight a feature that seems common to, well, cult like beliefs. They assiduously look for evidence that supports their theory. The problem with this what some would call a “logical” approach is that with sufficient enthusiasm it can be used to “prove” any theory. In the nineteen fifties Velikovsky “proved” that Mars and Venus were comets that sprung from Jupiter in historic times. Some people still believe him. Some people believe the Moon Landings were a hoax. Some people believe Nostradamus predicted the future. I’m sure others have said it before me, but they are all falling into the same logical trap. Confirmation bias is the bane of mankind. Science is looking at all the pieces and seeing how they best fit together to make a picture. Cultists, r whatever ne wants to call them, start with the picture … and find pieces that fit.
I will conclude with this though. Some of the above beliefs are lot crazier than others. Whatever people believe, they are all normal people. The 9/11 Truther I recently met is also a vegan activist. Vegan activists are trying to make the world a better place for people and animals, what’s not to admire? And I will gladly admit that I think it’s entirely possible, if extremely unlikely, that I will get a call at 5am from the East Coast tomorrow telling me to turn on my TV. And when I do, it will turn out that a 9/11 co-conspirator came forward, and had provided to wikileaks hundreds of audio and video recordings that incontrovertibly showed that the 9/11 attacks and the entire War on Terror had been plotted by a small cabal in the White House and the CIA. And that the other conspirators had already fled or had been captured and were frantically confessing, naming names, and begging for mercy and protection … because millions of Americans were gathering on the Washington Mall demanding their heads.
Wouldn’t that be something?
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s from Wired Magazine. It’s a cave man, a Neanderthal man to be exact. I used it to illustrate my Neanderthal nature. So I don’t need to explain myself, since that explains it. Right?)