Monday, August 14, 2006

Halcyon Days For 9/11 Conspiracy Freaks

STRANGE BUT TRUE: For some people, the apparent image
of a Satanic face in the smoke from the Twin Towers
corroborates the theory that 9/11 was a government plot.

I encountered a fair number of conspiracy theorists over a long career as an investigative journalist.

Almost without exception, these people shared three traits:
* A passionate, sometimes messianic belief in their pet conspiracy theory.

* An ability to suspend belief and lack of skepticism.

* An ability to use facts that bolstered their conspiracy theory and reject those that did not.
My personal favorite was the fellow -- an investigative reporter, if truth be known -- who learned that an antiwar group had stolen the nose cone of an intercontinental ballistic missile from the loading dock of a facility run by a major defense contractor with the help of an insider. He interviewed the peaceniks and extensively researched the nose cone and its destructive capabilities. His story ran in a major daily newspaper over screaming headlines that a nose cone with enormous destructive potential was bounding around in the back of some hippie van.

There was only one problem. Neither he nor his editors had bothered to try to ascertain what was in the nose cone. I was called in after the story ran and belatedly asked that key question. The answer: The nose cone was an empty shell. A correction almost as long as the article followed and the reporter resigned before he could be fired. Ahem.

* * * * *
It is because of my real-world experiences that I have yet to read or hear of a 9/11 conspiracy theory that I can take seriously.
No, I do not believe that Vice President Cheney ordered the 9/11 attacks.

No, I do not believe that Jewish interests planned or knew of the attacks and that 4,000 Jews who worked at the World Trade Center stayed home that day.

No, I do not believe that the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled detonations of explosives within the towers.

No, I do not believe that the Pentagon was struck by a missile and not a jetliner.

No, I do not believe that key government officials knew about the attacks in advance but purposefully let them happen. (*)
These are halcyon days fo 9/11 conspiracy freaks. Some have impressive academic and scientific credentials and are anything but wack jobs, and their voices will only get louder and their claims more widely disseminated as the fifth anniversary of the attacks approaches.

Steven Jones is a leading advocate of the theory that the Twin Towers were destroyed from within to carry out a political agenda. A tenured physics professor at Brigham Young University, he believes that the molten metal present at the site after the attacks is evidence that a high-temperature incendiary called thermite, which can be used to weld or cut metal, was involved in the towers' destruction.

His theory has been embraced by an organization of like-minded conspiracy theorists which concluded in a report that
"The World Trade Center was almost certainly brought down by controlled demolitions" and "the government not only permitted 9/11 to occur but may even have orchestrated these events to facilitate its political agenda."
His theory is sharply at odds with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government agency, which found fires caused by the crashing jetliners were more than sufficient to collapse the buildings from the inside in a chain reaction once the floors began falling.

Where Jones and his fellow travelers and I part company is over a little matter that they do not factor into their theory because it doesn't fit it: The molten metal that they cite was almost certainly aluminum from the planes.

* * * * *
The patron saint of the 9/11 conspiracy theory movement is George Bush, and virtually all the theories stem from dissatisfaction with the official explanations of what happened that day.
It is easy to understand why. The president and his administration are secrecy obsessed. They even lie about things that there is no reason to lie about. Dick Cheney does a pretty good imitation of being evil incarnate, even if he isn't that Satanic image in the smoke from the Twin Towers.

The administration resisted any investigation into the 9/11 attacks. It agreed to creation of the 9/11 Commission only after being shamed by widows of men who died in the Twin Towers. There has yet to be a Warren Commission-type of investigation into 9/11 and almost certainly won't be.
The administration's explanations about why none of the 9/11 jetliners were intercepted have been under attack by conspiracy theorists sinced Day One. Those explanations have recently been revealed as lies.

Are these lies part of a conspiracy to cover-up what really happened? Yes, but what really happened were embarrassing communication breakdowns in the White House, Pentagon and the nation's air defense system. Sorry, but there was no government plot.
No matter, this plays perfectly into the hands of the Steven Joneses, who can say with some authority, "See, we told you so!"


(*) This is not to say that the intelligence community did not have information that attacks were being planned. In fact, CIA, FBI and NSA officials -- as well as some of Bush's own White House advisors -- had detailed intelligence that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda was plotting an attack on the homeland and even knew the identities of some of his confederates, who were in country and learning to fly large passenger jets. But they could not get the attention of higher ups.


CWhite said...

Apparently you haven't viewed or researched the material offered at

The US government is not targeted, but serious questions are exposed.

For example, why are there only four commercial crashes in history with NO evidence of the titanium engine blades discovered? Oddly, all of those crashes were on 9/11/01.

Shaun Mullen said...

Thank you for the link. 911loosechange is indeed an interesting site.

CWhite said...

Thank you for treating my post in a fair manner.

I am slow to yell conspiracy, but the evidence presented at LooseChange did disturb me.

There are enough questions raised there that a truly thorough investigation would be in order.