It cannot have escaped the notice of many of us that there seems to be a social phenomena where otherwise rational persons simply declare an event they do not understand a conspiracy; a convoluted and complicated maze of twists, turns and dead ends, rather than adopt healthy scepticism and open mind to examine hard evidence and common sense. This stretches from 9/11 to the moon landings and more. It is generally bad practice to take any information at face value or rely on a single source, but it is also fairly easy to find ourselves making a cynical guess at what is really happening when an actor endorses a product or other celebrity announces their retirement to spend more time with their families. What happens when a large portion of people believe in a set of ideas that fly in the face of any real findings and only make sense in a very set context? We’re already surrounded by it. It’s called religion and the same, if not very similar, patterns of behaviour are evident.
This is not to say that the world is devoid of conspiracy and it must be acknowledged that human responses to folklore and mythology have played a huge part in the shaping our societies so it is reasonable to conclude that these conspiracy theories are becoming a new breed of folklore and urban mythology. It is said that Anne Boleyn continued to whisper prayers after her beheading in 1536, reported by eyewitnesses at the scene. Now, after tireless observation and scientific examination, we know that it takes a few minutes to die. It is also a good example of why unexamined, unqualified and solicited ‘eye-witness accounts’ are unreliable. Combine this with the Chinese-whispers effect on a tradition of verbal source-free story telling and there we have a very unreliable means of conveying information. In a multimedia society the spread of these tales is easier and faster than ever before. Where previously these stories were spread by word of mouth we self publish our work on blogs, post videos and none of that information need be entirely accurate (this is why I make it very clear when I am speculating rather than assert my views and provide sources for my information). The older it a story is the more the more likely it is in the eyes of some and deemed and believable for its own sake.
Of course there are greedy businesses who ‘conspire’ to cheat their employees and customers to get as much out of them as they can for as little as possible. There are of course some politicians who lack the self-control and integrity not to mislead or cheat their constituents. This does not mean that they are all to be mistrusted. In the all-or-nothing mentality of the conspiracy theorist the duplicity does encompass all. These stories of government cover-ups do not fade out because once they go on-line the add to the already-present wealth of fabricated innuendo that has flourished on the internet they are there for good. The theorists have been enabled to place themselves as equals of legitimate news sources and act to contradict every thing they say on principle. After all, where would they be with their fact-less findings without real stories to litter them with? Without the internet these stories would have died, old, alone and toothless, locked forever in the Forgotten Attic of Bollocks, whereas now they are immortalised on the internet AND they are spreading.
Where religion is born out of ignorance and superstition, the modern conspiracist thrives only on the gaps in the story. Like the creationist tirelessly pointing out gaps in the fossil record etc, they will when confronted with an answer declare a new gap and merely add a layer to their story to account for it. Like the religious faithful we come across the petulant challenge of ‘prove me wrong!’ because without a shred of evidence to prove themselves right, this is an easy and useful distraction. The argument from ignorance is probably one of their most frequently used statements. Coming in a close second and third are the ever credulous ‘You’ll never convince me‘ and ‘There’s no way…‘ (the fingers go in the ears and cue the mental la la la). Add to this a lethal dose ‘I don’t see how‘ as if their opinion should be enough to convince the rest of us, and we have the recipe for someone who wrongly believes themselves to be a critical-thinker.
Refusal to accept evidence is not critical thinking and nor is beginning with an asinine conclusion and regressing back while still rejecting anything that does not fit the ready-made theory. Most concerning is the air of megalomania surrounding those like Avery. They are absolutely convinced of their own mental superiority and exude smugness over what they have ‘discovered’ and, sneering, they dismiss all who do NOT see them as they do and believe every word, as fools who have been brainwashed by the government. Often their theory relies on the basis and view that even the participants were mentally deficient in some way. This is all while ignoring the fact that their preferred version of events is even more complex and implausible than the actual chain of events.
Before I get to my prime example of urban story-telling, I would like to add that these apparently brilliant and devious conspiracies are not actually up to much. Why? Because crack-pots and kooks like Dylan Avery ‘know‘ about them. In the same way of the self-brain-washed minions of organised religion, the true devotee of conspiracy and cover-ups never veers from their personal obsession with minute and irrelevant trivialities, which without even one in perfect synchronism with the rest then the whole plan would fall apart. The more this is pointed out to them the more they convince themselves that those pitiful little details are crucial to what makes the ‘plan-whole’. How is this similar? Well if any of you have ever tried to hold a sensible conversation with a devout Anything, you will have noticed that when the issue of empirical and real evidence comes up the logic becomes yet more circular they revert to gut-feeling and the non-logic of their scripture, condemning (however indirectly) the non-believer for even doubting their claims let alone questioning them. A good example of this was on ReapSow Radio last week.
“If you can fixate on the illogical, the ludicrous, and the beyond ridiculous, you don’t need to worry so much about the harsh realities of the world as we know it. You can live in a cocoon of paranoia, obsessing about Bush and Cheney and the rest of the Illuminati and their fictitious roles in the 9/11 attacks, instead of focusing your attention on the realities of a very scary world.” – Richard Roeper – ‘Debunked‘
‘Loose Change – Final Cut‘ by Dylan Avery is a film with more holes than a round of Swiss cheese! Amateurish and panic-stirring, riddled with half-truths and outright nonsense, repeated rumours, and unfounded innuendo, yet despite this and beyond all reason it became a huge hit on both DVD and on-line. To deal with every problem in the film, could fill a book but it is worth demonstrating the lunacy behind his fevered rantings. Never once has anyone involved in the his plot has anyone broken ranks and told the ‘truth’. Hundreds if not thousands of people have to have been involved in 9/11 yet there is no hard proof of them. No disgruntled employee has decided to go public on their boss after a crisis of conscience. Not ONE credible journalist has been able to dig up any shred of reliable evidence on even. This is because the conspiracies are not real. If even two people have a secret, it usually gets out somehow so a secret involving the number of people who these theories would require, would be impossible to keep.
I will get this across now to save time. The steel in the WTC did NOT have to melt in order for the towers to collapse. I have commented in threads like before and been greeted by unanswerable questions, as if it leant more weight to their ‘argument’. Their supposedly ‘irrefutable evidence’ of controlled demolition explosives in the foundations of the towers is trotted out with gay abandon while the their whole idea hinges on the fact that the fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel. But it did NOT need to melt in order to collapse in the manner that it did. The combination of stress from both the collision and the 1500 degrees Fahrenheit temperature from the fires that broke out and spread would have caused the steel to lose 75% of its strength and thus to crack and sag, compromising the overall integrity of the buildings. When Korey Rowe, the producer of the film ‘Loose Change‘, was challenged about the factual errors in his production he replied that the were aware of the errors but “had left them in on purpose in order to make people discredit us and do the research themselves“. Embarrassing and obvious problems and gaps are passed of as the results of deliberate disinformation from the imagined plotters and designed as part of the plot in order to throw ‘real’ activists and investigators off the trail. Does this not bear a remarkable resemblance to the creationists’ loony claims that either god or Satan ‘planted’ fossils in order to deceive mankind and test our faith or that evolution is Satan’s conspiracy against god (this list could go on for ever so I’d rather not drag it out)?
“As the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, I would observe that our members, building on prior research by earlier students of 9/11, have established more than a dozen disproofs of the official government account, the truth of any one of which is enough to show that the government’s account–in one or another of its guises–cannot possibly be correct.” James H. Fetzer
Umm, no they aren’t. The first on their list deals with the impact of the planes, that I dealt with earlier. This post is not aimed at disproving the 9/11 conspiracy theories but to point out the behaviour patterns (denial of contradictory evidence, reproachful of those who disagree with them) and the dogged adherence to their theories (dogma and doctrine.) I touched briefly on this topic in my ‘New World Disorder‘ post, but I really did feel that it was worth a closer look. There are even schisms between the different schools of thought with regard to whom was really responsible. Just like organised religion it has been turned into an industry and, rather than the families of the victims, it is the theorists (priests?) are the ones making a profit and winning public attention. With hundreds books and DVDs flying off the shelves and into the hands of the impressionable, and the media still unable to leave it alone, what is truly remarkable is that in nine years not one of these self-appointed detectives has even come close to revealing anything new or incendiary about the ‘true perpetrators’ yet they cling to their ideas with devotion. At the same time they find the idea of a plot by a religious madman in a cave too difficult to believe, let alone to be true. In their minds there must always be more to it than the evidence suggests and then go so far as to claim all the evidence, already presented and accepted, has been planted to throw us of the trail.
“…the conspiracy theorist takes some kind of psychological and emotional comfort in believing in the most complex, most outlandish scenario imaginable…” Richard Roeper – Debunked
The favourite technique of Avery’s is to use a mixture of short and lengthy, sound bite video clips of the news coverage from the morning of the attacks on the WTC while the world was still in dumb shock over the events as they unfolded. Preliminary reports are passed off for final news after investigation. CNN and FOX clips of reporters at the scene are used with ‘eye-witness’ accounts explosions inside the building from passers-by, people on the ground who talk about what to them “did not look like” commercial passenger aircraft. All of this is presented as evidence for a ‘conspiracy’. Breaking news that’s 100% accurate AND eye-witness reports that don’t either conflict or turn out to be a load of rubbish? THAT would be extraordinary!
Karl Schwarz, quoted as saying that the engine found at the Pentagon was from an A3-Skywarrior, (A plane model which was retired from service in 1991) is a notorious conspiracy theorist and was also incorrect in identifying the type of engine which was used with an A3 had one ever been deployed. It was not the case. We have also been told in the same film that Charles Burlingame (pilot of flight 77) was part of a simulated exercise demonstrating the scenario of a plane flying into a building. Loose change insinuates that Burlingame was only a pilot for American Airlines since 2000. The reality is that he joined in 1979 and was a reservist with the Pentagon until 1996. He had retired from the Navy several years before this supposed scenario exercise. The claim that Bin Laden was visited in hospital in America by a CIA agent on 4th July is also a fabrication. There is absolutely no proof of that claim so must be assumed false. Both the hospital and the CIA have denied the rumour. At every step hearsay and rumour is miraculously, though I hazard to use that word, transformed into evidence of a conspiracy in much the same way that scriptures were composed and became ‘holy writ’ more than 300 years after the fact. In 2000 years, after the spin of the rumour mill has long since slowed (does it ever really stop?) will children be presented with conspiracy manifestos rather than holy books (a practice I deplore by the way), and be wearing miniature aircraft or buildings in the place of fish and crucifixes?
At points where the narration contradicts the footage we are shown, we are expected to believe it without question. To doubt the word of these unqualified strangers is tantamount to calling them out for liars (you can just be wrong without being a liar). I do not think they were lying, but I do think that they were frightened and mistaken due to their fear. It happens. Accounts from the ground tell of explosions ’20 or 30 storeys’ below the point of impact. The continuous footage did not show this. In another instance we are told that the plane which hit the Pentagon, did not damage the lawn, even when the video I was watching was showing me something completely different. Also, the explanation of ‘vaporised’ passengers was never offered despite what Mr Avery would have us believe. Parts of the Flight 77 were recovered and recovery teams did in-fact report finding body parts in the wreckage which would not have happened had they truly been vaporised.
There is a theory that the fourth plane, (flight 93) did not crash in Pennsylvania, but landed safely in Cleveland, where the 200 passengers and 93 crew were whisked away to live out the rest of their lives in a secret (and conveniently empty?) NASA Research center.
- Who built this facility?
- Where is it?
- How did they organise 293 people so quickly and easily?
- Presumably NASA and the US government etc paid off ALL building contractors, labourers too, or did they have to build it while blindfolded?
- They have been ‘hidden’ now for nearly 10 years so what do they do for supplies and utilities?
Alarmingly there are those who doubt even the validity of the recorded phone calls from passengers before the planes hit their targets. The fact that a lone call did not go through to the intended destination, due to a failed credit card, but instead was spent speaking to the Viacom supervisor reporting what was happening, rather than merely hanging up and trying again, is deemed by some as ‘enough evidence’. to claim that it was all staged. The sites which claim that 9/11 was a government plot are just as vague, paranoid and confrontational to non-believers as the creationist sites which claim that evolution and secularism are a plot between the government and Satan against the ‘American family’. The source of this rumour that Flight 93 landed in Cleveland? Associated Press made an error on one of the most chaotic days in living memory.
As with religion, the more layers that are being added to this vast and grandiose plan, the more that are NEEDED to explain away their own inconsistencies and on it goes. Avery had decided that it was a plot before he even began his ‘investigation’ all he had to do then was find the right half-truths and rumours to fit. He believes the motive was the “$160 billion in gold which was stored in the World Trade Center” and that only a couple of hundred million was ever found. In summary:
- The US government planned a ‘controlled demolition’ of the WTC but made it look like a terrorist attack to give them justification to invade Afghanistan. (The crew and passengers Flights 11 and 175 were in on it too or “pawns in their game”?)
- The plane that hit the pentagon killing 125 Pentagon staff and more than 59 people on board flight 77 was part of the same plot,
- A fake crash site was set up in Pennsylvania, which would mean the permanent incarceration of 293 innocent people (or not as some would have it).
- All of the above was motivated by a plan to steal gold (regardless of how many people it would have taken to organise, and pay off for their silence, NOT ONE of them has come forward with the ‘truth’ even in the hope of even more?)
- the Republicans, under Bush, were even close to being savvy (and evil) enough to plan this and the deaths of 3000 people in order to top up their coffers a bit?
Compare this twisting and winding tale with Noah’s flood, the slaughter of the innocents, and any virgin birth in any selection of world mythology. It is sadly stories like this which long outlive the truth. 9/11 WAS a conspiracy but the reality of the situation was traumatic enough without making up more of it. On the morning of September the 11th, religious fanatics organised the hijacking of four passenger aeroplanes and crashed them in an attempt to bring the western hemisphere to a standstill in a declaration of war against democracy and freedom of choice. I was only 20 at the time and changing the pricing in the shop of the builders’ merchant where I worked as the administrator for when it was announced on the radio. For the sake of perspective, for nearly a third of my life, my country, along with many others, has been embroiled in a religiously triggered war (however much we say it isn’t) which shows no sign of ever ending. Sadder still is the fact that there are children alive, not old enough to remember NOT being at war, my son included. This is another way that religion is dangerous and anti-humane. It masks reality in an exciting story-book context that even grown adults are expected to swallow whole. In order to distract, dazzle and excite ourselves, individuals are working even harder to ignore the often rather dull truth behind an alluring mask. Reality might not be as exciting or interesting as the intricate fantasy to some, but at least it is real and sometimes you do just have to take things at face value regardless of how painful it is.
- Debunked – Richard Roeper
- The Skeptics’ Guide to Conspiracies
- Voodoo Histories – David Aaronovich
- http://911scholars.org/(this is just plain scary)
- Loose Change.