Friday, January 4, 2008

9/11 conspiracy nuts sometimes actually make right-wing nuts sound reasonable by comparison

There was apparently much hubbub about this video that was removed from Google and then rejected by YouTube. Take a moment if you'd like to view it yourself. Now then, setting aside any political motives that may have been behind its removal, the video is just plain bad. I have many thoughts on the poor argumentative style of the video's author, at least based on one viewing about five minutes ago, in between phone calls at work. The video contains three clips from news reports that apparently aired on 9/11/2001:

1. Some schmuck off the street, shortly after the towers collapsed, gave a lucid explanation of how he witnessed the buildings collapse due to the intense heat of the fires.
2. Some schmuck on TV (in voiceover) offers his opinion that it is possible that the towers' collapse could have resulted solely from the force of the impact of the airplanes and the heat of the resulting fires.
3. Some other schmuck on TV, also in voiceover, explains how Osama Bin Laden, from his safehaven in Afghanistan, has been poised to launch attacks on the U.S. with as many as 3,000 fighters, etc., etc.

The video offers these three clips, again and again, as proof of...something, but I'm not sure what. Clip 1 is shown to demonstrate, presumably, that no ordinary shmuck off the street on a morning as insane as 9/11/01 could possibly offer such a lucid explanation of things unless he was planted there by the true architects of the attacks. I think Clip 2 is offered to make the same points. Clip 3 is apparently offered to show how quickly the puppetmaster of 9/11 introduced the meme that it was all the doing of the evil jihadis. The final conclusion of the video--its exhortation to its viewers? "Think about it."

OK, I've thought about it, and whoever edited this video is either full of shit or so determined to accuse the Bush administration (or whoever else is intended to fill the puppetmaster role, since it is never made explicitly clear--I'm sticking with Puppetmasters, I think) of even more mass murder and mayhem that s/he can so easily ignore the basic rules of logic and argument structure. This is actually no different than the simplistic good vs. evil meme that is behind every thought, word, and deed of the Bush administration, just focused differently. The Bush administration, in this view, is Evil, and anything that helps them in their Evil quest must have been their doing. Or something like that.

Clip 1: The schmuck with the unusual clarity of thought and voice in the midst of such a tragedy. Was he stating an opinion of what he saw, mustering up as much gravitas as he could for what would likely be his only appearance on telelvision ever? Was he in fact a plant put in place by the Puppetmasters to introduce the "myth" that the towers were brought down by airplanes? How the hell should I know?

Clip 2: The schmuck on TV with the opinions re: the cause of the collapses. Was he a readily available public official who could offer the public something, anything, other than the news anchors' voices on a day when almost everyone sat glued to the TV? Was he purposefully placed in the studio by the Puppetmasters to further introduce Schmuck #1's elaborate hoax about the airplanes? How the hell should I know?

Clip 3: The question here seems to be how did this schmuck have such a detailed and comprehensive report prepared by 9:30 a.m. on 9/11/01? Could it be that Osama bin Laden was already a subject of much concern after the bombings in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and on the U.S.S. Cole in Aden harbor, and therefore news agencies likely had information on him and his operation(s) at hand and needed something, anything, other than the news anchors' voices on a day when almost everyone sat glued to the TV? Didn't America already have a tendency (whether justified or not) to think of Arabs whenever something blew up? Could it be that this was yet another part of the Puppetmasters' plot to...uh...bring up some Arab guy to distract the public from the fact that...okay, I really don't know where the Puppetmaster argument would go from here.

Just a few points (keep in mind, of course, that I am limiting myself to the clip in question and what I guess could be called "conventional wisdom" about the 9/11 attacks; i.e. I have not taken the time to do background research on the specific clips in the video, beyond the commentary offered in the video and the contents of the clips themselves):

- Schmuck #1, to my knowledge, has never publicly opined on the crisis outside of his fifteen seconds of fame on that terrible morning. The conclusion that fires from the jet fuel weakened the steel supports, blah blah blah, came from other people later on. I don't know who Schmuck #1 is, but I assume that if he was actually quoted in, say, the 9/11 Commission Report as an expert whose opinions and testimony prove the "fire hypothesis," then the author of this video would have mentioned something about that. So either Schmuck #1 is just an unexpectedly cool customer with detailed opinions offered in a crisis situation, or he is part of a conspiracy so large that it must include both engineering experts and shmuck-on-the-street testimony.

- Regarding Schmuck #2, insert the entire above paragraph, but change "schmuck-on-the-street" to "schmuck-in-the-studio."

- As for Schmuck #3, I didn't hear him say anything about bin Laden that I hadn't already learned, prior to September 2001 from other news sources.

From what I have been able to read or watch (and stomach) regarding the whole 9/11 conspiracy movement, just about all of the "evidence" is based on strange turns of phrase on the day of the attacks or from officials during and after that day and from video evidence that can only be seen if your TV color and contrast is adjusted correctly. There is no (or very very little) positive evidence of any actual event, statement, or deed--rather, it is all based on bizarre inconsistencies in individual officials' statements and the misapplication of various logical concepts, such as Occam's Razor (e.g. here). It reminds me a bit of those videos people have of their dogs, where they alone are convinced that the dog is speaking when it's really just dog noises. Schmuck # 1 and 2, by themselves, prove nothing except that the opinion of the "fire hypothesis" might have been quite common on the morning of 9/11/2001. Schmuck #3 doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, and he only proves that we have a knee-jerk reaction to suspect Arab terrorists when something blows up.

I do not know the author of his video, I do not know where he stands on the broader issues, and I do not know exactly where he stands on who is ultimately responsible for 9/11 (because he certainly doesn't say so in this video). I can only assume that he is saying that it could not possibly have been just the work of Arabs and burning jet fuel. Beyond that, we might as well say the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it.

Let me tell you where I stand: I think a bunch of crazed religious zealots carried out a plan to do as much damage as they could to the U.S. as they could, and they happened to succeed (from their point of view, they got lucky). I think a president and his administration, who were well on their way to permanent mediocrity in early fall 2001, seized upon the event in the most craven, cynical way imaginable in order to solidify their hold on power. I think that any involvement the administration might have had with the terror plot prior to 9/11 was limited to ignorance and negligence. I think the administration's obsession with secrecy, an issue long before the morning of 9/11/2001, added to some people's natural suspicion that those who are in power will do anything to keep and/or increase it, and that this same obsession with secrecy has only encouraged stranger and stranger conspiracy theories, until it is difficult to distinguish between those who contend the Bush administration allowed 9/11 to happen through neglect and those who say that the jet airliners that crashed into the WTC were drone aircraft piloted remotely by someone else.

I also think that Dick Cheney probably masturbates to the stories about how he is the Puppetmaster orchestrating this whole thing from the very beginning, only wishing that it were truly so.

Here's a "common sense" question for the conspiracy theorists--one that I have not yet seen answered at all: Considering how wrong the administration has been about pretty much eveything else they've ever done, how did they manage to get this one, albeit enormous, plot to go so incredibly right?


Dave said...

The video in question is the stupidest video on 9/11 and anyone who has seen it knows this to be true.
Why you would box this video in with all the excellent videos on 9/11 is beyond me.
Get a grip Cryptic_Philosopher.

cryptic_philosopher said...

"all the excellent videos on 9/11"

For example???...???...

Brad D. said...

Other "good" 9/11 videos

Zeitgeist movie (Part 2 about)

ThePowerofNightmares By: Adam Curtis

I might try uploading the movie to YouTube myself, I don't by the "It got censored from Google part". I think the video author is just trying to get his/her 15 minutes as well.

All conspiracy stuff aside, it does seem rather coincidental that the buildings fell just like they do in a controlled implosion, it would be interesting to see a simulated mathematical model of crash

cryptic_philosopher said...

I'm unclear as to what alternatives there are to falling "just like they do in a controlled implosion." The idea of NYC skyscrapers toppling like dominoes is both horrifying and strangely comical--however, since this particular series of collapses involved a combination of severe structural damage on upper floors and gravity, straight down is pretty much the only direction to go. This is a common fallacy whose name eludes me--does the collapse of the WTC resemble a controlled demolition, or are controlled demolitions designed to resemble such collapses? Also, although I am not a structural engineer by any stretch of the imagination, the collapses of 9/11 hardly seem "controlled," considering the amount of damage to the surrounding area.

A very lengthy (and more extensively researched) analysis of many conspiracy claims can be found here.

tanabear said...

The fact that 9/11 was an inside job has been well established at this point. The only people who cotinue to deny this obvious truth are those who continue to injest to much neo-con propaganda.

crypticphilosopher writes, "the collapses of 9/11 hardly seem "controlled," considering the amount of damage to the surrounding area."

You are confusing "controlled" with an implosion. Conventional demolitions or implosions attempt to bring a building straight down as to limit the damage to adjacent structures. WTC7 is an example of this. WTC1,2 were simply blown up top-down via the aid of explosive charges. "Controlled" means that the explosions are precisely timed, where the explosions begin is not the determining factor.

Todd Stadler said...

I want what Tanabear is smoking. "The fact that 9/11 was an inside job has been well established at this point." That's a patently ridiculous assertion. I mean, at best it could only be true in a rather insular circle. But for a fact to be "well established", it has to, you know, be (1) established, and (2) done so by a decent number of people. Based on everything I read (which is more than just Web sites with "911" in the domain name), it is neither of those.

cryptic_philosopher said...

Hear hear, Todd. If I had time, I'd single tanabear out for more deconstructive mockery, but I'll just second what you said.

tanabear said...

Why is the assertion ridiculous? We do know that the WTC1 and 2 were destroyed via explosive charges. Once that has been established then 9/11 is at least, in part an inside job, regardless of whatever else happened.

The FBI does not even list Osama bin Laden for being wanted in the 9/11 attacks.

However, let's assume that you believe the official story, then 9/11 is still an unsolved crime. The 9/11 Commission actually states,

"To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance."

So they are stating that they do not know who funded the 19 men and besides it isn't important. Whoever funded them would be responsible for mass murder. Why isn't the Bush Administration trying to find and catch the real killers?

Todd Stadler said...

Seriously, Tanabear, get out and talk to people more — people outside your circle. "We do know that the WTC1 and 2 were destroyed via explosive charges"?! No, we do not know that at all. You might believe that, but that's a different thing. To listen to all the conspiracy theories, you'd almost forget that planes hit the towers. ... Or did they?!?!

I'll grant you make some interesting points about the Bush administration not being terribly interested in actually solving this crime. It's evident to me that they were more interested in exploiting the aftermath than actually solving it or preventing another one. That doesn't mean that they were behind 9/11. Given the Bush team's track record, it's far easier to believe in its incompetence and stubbornness than it is to believe that they're a bunch of masterminds who had this whole thing planned from day 1.