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September 11th And The Bush Administration
September 4, 2003 7:30 AM   Subscribe

«Clearly, one of the most critical questions of the twenty-first century concerns why the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were not prevented. As I outline below, there are numerous aspects regarding the official stories about September 11th which do not fit with known facts, which contradict each other, which defy common sense, and which indicate a pattern of misinformation and coverup. The reports coming out of Washington do very little to alleviate these concerns.» 22 questions to chose from and decide which ones are nightmares of a conspiracy theorist and which ones must be answered.
posted by acrobat (70 comments total)

 
I'm sorry, I've just been deafened by the sound of yet another tiresome leftie academic grinding his axe.

Are there any real grown-ups left here who have some knowledge of how incredibly hard accurate intelligence work is, how difficult it is to discern the signal from the noise, and then to decipher an enemy's true intentions from the few facts you've got at hand?
posted by mojohand at 7:49 AM on September 4, 2003


mojo, no, I don't know how difficult... etc. but you seem ready to explain. I just know how difficult it is to swallow everything the Bush administration says and does. And it's not just me; the whole bleeding world poses this question.
posted by acrobat at 7:54 AM on September 4, 2003


I'm having a really hard time wrapping my brain around #13. Probably because what it implies is so horrific. The author doesn't take into account that the second tower was hit much lower than the first, so there was more weight above the point of weakened infrastructure than the first tower, which I've always thought was the reason the 2nd tower fell first.
posted by archimago at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2003


mojohand:
Yeah, man. Seeking truth suX0rz!

Seriously, would there be any manner in which an inquiry into these matters would be acceptable to you? And do you even have any actual gripe with the piece that was linked? You know, a wise man once told me that refuting something is a good way ot debunk it, whereas pre-emptive whining about "lefties" just makes one look intellectually lazy.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:03 AM on September 4, 2003


"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out there," as they say.

It is not logical that Bin Laden was involved, and actually impossible, unless he was involved in the capacity of collusion with US authorities, or at best, in the context of the US knowing all along what he was up to, and deliberately allowing him to do it.

Statements like this one make this a difficult thing to believe. For one, why isn't it logical that Bin Laden was involved? What's the reasoning for this?

12) The USA and Bin Laden are not the enemies they pretend to be. It is established beyond doubt that senior members of the Bush administration have close links to the Bin Laden Family and this relationship is still going on behind the scenes.

The Bush administration is not necessarily the USA. If the Bush administration is involved (I'm not saying yes or no on that, by the way), the collusion either goes as far back, if not farther, to the Bush pere administration, or the Bush W administration has been very busy indeed in the first year of its term. Also, once again, show me the "established beyond doubt that senior members of the Bush admin have close links to the Bin Laden family" and what exactly those links entail.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 and the current occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't agree with everything this guy says, but statements like ...9/11 serves as a pretext for a never-ending war against the world, including preemptive strikes against defenseless, but resource rich countries. It also serves as a pretext for draconian measures of repression at home... sound right on the money to me. I can't imagine an administration going to such lengths as this man claims to achieve its ends, but then again, I'm not in politics, I don't run a country that is as powerful as the USA, I'm not Machiavellian.
posted by ashbury at 8:05 AM on September 4, 2003


#23: This may blow your mind, d00d, but it's technically impossible for CIA/FBI to know everything, everywhere, all the time and act on it accordingly. Crazy, eh?

Guys, if we had taken a bunch of oustanding precautions prior to Sept 11th, which may have included immigration crackdown, dubious civil liberty infringements and tax $ spent on invesigations (which many of you would have deemed "racist" and a "paranoid" on behalf of the CIA), how many of you would still be whinging on about it? You bitch when the gov't does too little to protect us and moan when they do too much. Another day at MeFi.
posted by dhoyt at 8:09 AM on September 4, 2003


ashbury:
I believe that it has been established that the bin Laden construction firm was contracted by the Carlile Group, and it has been alleged that bin Laden associates were major investors in Harken, W's failed oil company.

This one has always been most worrisome to me:

16) Revelations of profits made by insider trading relating to the 9/11 attacks, point to the top levels of US business and the CIA.

No one denies this? Everyone here remembers hearing about this at the time, no? At the time, it just didn't seem that major that this nonsense was dismissed as morbid coincidence. But now I would posit that this merits another looking-into.

dhoyt:
So, if it turns out that some of this evidence does have merit, and the Bush administration had some complicity in the 9/11 attacks, should we just ignore it? Does that abuse of power pale in comparison to the egregious harms of MeFi lefty whining? Yeah, somebody's always going to make kneejerk complaints about everything. You could distinguish yourself from those people by addressing issues instead of caricatures.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2003


Well, Acrobat, if you really want to know how intelligence failures occur, a good place to start would be Ephraim Kam's Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988. It documents how things like this happen (Grand Prize Winner: Soviet Government, 1941, who didn't miss 22 underground terrorists, but 3 million troops, 600,000 vehicles, and 12,000 aircraft)

But you're not, really, are you? This is just round 28,743 of the "We Hate Bush fest, and boy I wish you folks would take this to Democratic Undergound or some such.
posted by mojohand at 8:19 AM on September 4, 2003


Look, I love Bush-bashing and 911-conspiracy, but seriously, acrobat and Ignatius, this is getting kind of tedious. This post is extremely similar to at least a dozen others over the past year, and certainly below the standard of at least half of them. As archimago pointed out, #13 postulates a whole demolition team is in on the conspiracy in addition to all the people in the Bush administration, the Air Force, the Pentagon, etc. I believe there are still a lot of things being covered up, but it's frankly unbelievable that there was a plan at this scale involving so many people, none of whom have said word one about it. It's stuff like this that gives ammo to the lefty-bashers, making the tinfoil-hat slur seem reasonable. Dial it down, already.
posted by soyjoy at 8:31 AM on September 4, 2003


But you're not, really, are you? This is just round 28,743 of the "We Hate Bush fest, and boy I wish you folks would take this to Democratic Undergound or some such.

Are none of the questions in the article valid? You are the one making this into a binary hate-Bush-or-don't-ask-questions festival. Why would you recomend a book to someone, only to tell them that you know they don't really want to read it? My guess is it's because you don't place any value on real discourse.

This isn't about left vs. right. Nothing in the link is about tax rates, big government vs. small government, states' rights, abortion, or the New Deal. You are being abjectly and unneccesarilly combative, which only makes you look silly. That you are doing so while trying to establish yourself as some sort of voice of reason proves that at least you have a sense of humor.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:31 AM on September 4, 2003


I wish you folks would take this to Democratic Undergound or some such.

Or why not take the discussion to a group of people who don't almost-uniformly already agree with you??

This is what I've never understood about the average MeFi political post. You have a gripe against the Christian Right/Bush/Ashcroft/2000 Election with perceived concrete "evidence" via InfoClearinghouse, Indynews, Counterpunch, Salon or Common Dreams, and post it to a largely-lefty site as if you deserve a pat on the back? Take it to a freaking conservative message board and hash it out there. Maybe you'll both learn something about each other.

Or better yet, fashion some giant puppets and placards and go preach in front of the White House, or on street-corners in the Deep South. What are you afraid of? Why circle-jerk endlessly with people that almost uniformly agree with you?
posted by dhoyt at 8:31 AM on September 4, 2003


Ignatius, my point is that, much like in math, I want to see "the working out". It's not enough for me to read that so-and-so has ties to whoever, I want to know what those ties are in the article itself so that I can judge on my own whether the ties in question are important or not. In this case, I remember the fact that the Bin Ladens and Bush clan have business ties, but this does not mean that Osama himself has ties. I seem to recall that his family his disowned him, or something, which, if in fact is true and they really consider him dead to them, means that those ties mean something very different than is implied in this article.

I can conspiracy theorize with the best of them, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if the government knew all about the 9/11 attacks, and that there was collusion between all of the Bin Ladens and the Bushes, but for the sake of this article, the speculation the author makes is simply that, speculation. His questions may be valid, but I want to see the exact why's and how's that make them valid.
posted by ashbury at 8:36 AM on September 4, 2003


I believe there are still a lot of things being covered up, but it's frankly unbelievable that there was a plan at this scale involving so many people, none of whom have said word one about it.

Agreed. It doesn't take much effort to point out that the demolition "theory" is ridiculous. It's nice that someone actually did so, ya know, instead of just saying how much they hate homolefties or whatever.

It's stuff like this that gives ammo to the lefty-bashers, making the tinfoil-hat slur seem reasonable.

Stuff like what? Like asking that an argument be addressed on its own merits, rather than prejudged based on one's opinion of a website (metafilter) which didn't even produce the article in question? Unfortunately, I think you're right. Those are the instances in which you are most likely to see allegations against the "stupid lefties."

If you're actually eing rational, you can shelve the ideology stuff. You won't need it.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:37 AM on September 4, 2003


How was it possible for the World Trade Center’s two towers to have completely collapsed as a result of two jet planes? The towers in fact stood for forty-five and ninety minutes after the crashes.

so does this guy believe they planted bombs in the building? as part of an insurance scam? really now.
posted by destro at 8:42 AM on September 4, 2003


Rationally speaking, I see it's too bad the left can't get it's act together. Libertarians and Constitutional conservatives could use some effective help reigning in Patriot-Act type excesses. But I can't help it, it's just so deeply satisfying to see this left...



...running around exchanging perfervid conspiracy theories like the fpp-linked article and marginalizing themselves to the vanishing point.
posted by jfuller at 8:44 AM on September 4, 2003


Oh come on, Reilly, Go look at the orginal link again. Davis isn't seriously trying to engage mistakes in US intelligence gathering/interpetation, of which there were plenty, no doubt. It's a highly selective citing of some very dubious evidence, all cut from the same "Bush/the US is at the source of everything wrong in the world" fabric that we get treated to about 4X day here, which is why although dhoyt is probably right, I myself have hit my gag-limit.
posted by mojohand at 8:45 AM on September 4, 2003


dhoyt, dear, we're still trying to convert YOU, can't you see? And I'd definitely go preach in front of the White House, were I an American or in America. But no, I live far away, a have a different mother tongue, but I'm nonetheless affected, like billions of other people, by American politics. I had to read your history, both the bright and the dark side of it, I had to find out about the people in power, their think tanks, their invasions and their schemes (some of which my people have felt on their own skin) and DO something about it. I really don't know what you mean by "lefties" and I don't care whether someone agrees with what I say. I just wish this nightmare (please don't ask "which nightmare" will stop sometime soon before more damage is done.
posted by acrobat at 8:52 AM on September 4, 2003


I can conspiracy theorize with the best of them, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if the government knew all about the 9/11 attacks, and that there was collusion between all of the Bin Ladens and the Bushes, but for the sake of this article, the speculation the author makes is simply that, speculation.

fucking whackos

WHACK-O
posted by clavdivs at 8:53 AM on September 4, 2003


We the people of the US allowed this, not one man or administration. Time to take the blame and look at what you perceive as important issues, security and or social welfare in this country. Not blaming, it won't bring back the dead, time to take notes and learn. No one party will fix any of this. Surprise no one is asking the US to surrender to the UN to let them run the country. When does anyone put their faith in man/woman to always be right? No one is perfect.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:56 AM on September 4, 2003


much like in math, I want to see "the working out". It's not enough for me to read that so-and-so has ties to whoever, I want to know what those ties are in the article itself so that I can judge on my own whether the ties in question are important or not.

I would suggest reading his sources then and judging the data based on his primary sources. The author is summing up what his research has gathered, which is what writers who research do. Whether or not you buy into his theories, at least he offers his sources for dissection if one were so inclined. Yes, he could have been better at his "according to's" and "as evidenced by's", especially given he is a university prof, but instead of bitching about his lack of proof, read his sources which he plainly lays out for you to investigate and discredit at your leisure.
posted by archimago at 9:00 AM on September 4, 2003


Like asking that an argument be addressed on its own merits, rather than prejudged based on one's opinion of a website (metafilter) which didn't even produce the article in question?

Huh? Iggy, the link (assuming that's what you meant, since MetaFilter is supposedly about the links, not the arguments) is being addressed on its own merits. A lot of times in these threads there's name-calling and trolling from the right, but this isn't one of those times (on preview: OK, that was before clavdivs showed up), and you're coming off as defensive and wild-eyed. The fact is that while this link does raise (or rather, restate) some interesting questions, it doesn't do so in a very consistent, or overall logical, way. There's little to no citation of sources (a la an interesting day) and wild speculation based on ignorance, like the towers-couldn't-have-fallen-from-the-planes'-imact nonsense. If this had been the first link of this kind ever posted here, it would be worth trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, but given that it's not, it should meet a higher standard of originality, newsworthiness or presentation if it's not going to be slammed.
posted by soyjoy at 9:00 AM on September 4, 2003


I was disappointed to find no instructions as to how to make one's own tin-foil hat.

This administration can't even keep electricity flowing or gas prices down... I suggest that even if they had wanted to set up such an operation as 9/11 (which appears to be the subtext of the article) there is no way that they had either the muscle or the brainpower to make it work.
posted by clevershark at 9:02 AM on September 4, 2003


Fine.

I have to apologize, and then I'll probably extricate myself from this thread for good. I didn't post the fpp, nor do I think it's particularly compelling, nor do I find informationclearinghouse to be a dependable source. The reason I'm getting worked up is that the way people engage "conspiracy theories" has always been a pet peeve of mine.

I've long been in love with the notion of the "marketplace of ideas," and in my experience its basic tenet holds true whenever it's tried: that a discourse in the spirit of peer-review will lead the group engaged in the discourse to truly explore an idea, and it gives ideas standards to meet. This is why hearing something dismissed as a conspiracy theory always makes me groan. By refusing to discuss and vet something, you are only allowing it to fester in its own (real or perceived) illogic.

Look at neo-nazis in the US and Europe. Here (the US), they have their little marches, publish newletters, and wear silly clothes. We know who they are, we have all heard their xenophobic babble, and they have rightly assumed the status of marginalized fuckheads. But in much of Europe, neo-nazism is illegal, the groups are pushed underground, they don't speak or publish in public, and in some countries they are a legitimate social force to be reckoned with. I would posit that if white supremecists in Europe were given the same freedoms of expression as white supremecists in the states, the public would have more uniformly and bindingly decided to reject them.

The same principle applies to any idea, especially the stupid ones. Rationality is not a finite commodity, and it is not to be reserved for ideas that meet some a priori appearance test. Ask Galilleo. In all honesty, I can't imagine putting in the effort to accurately refute timecube, but anything with relevance ought to be addressed. Real broad social rejection of an idea springs from the same process as acceptance, and a meme won't go away until this process has been begun.

So really, I don't think much of the link (except for the insider trading bit, which is freaky as hell), but I also don't think much of a community that ignores ideas when it has the intellectual resources and capacity to actually put it to bed.

on preview: soyjoy, you were the only one really dealing with the link on its own merits when I tyoed that. The others were just decrying Metafilter's formulaic citizenry (ironically in a rather formulaic way).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:04 AM on September 4, 2003


The towers in fact stood for forty-five and ninety minutes after the crashes.

Yup. It's called a large amount of burning jet fuel interacting with a central-point steel structure. Extreme heat weakens most metals. It's called physics.
posted by clevershark at 9:05 AM on September 4, 2003


but instead of bitching about his lack of proof, read his sources which he plainly lays out for you to investigate and discredit at your leisure. archimago

I don't have the leisure time to track down his sources that aren't online, nor do I have a lot of time to wade thru kilobytes of online information. This kind of article should have it's sources cited directly after the information is used, with links to said sources and if possible, to sources that are readable here and now. I realize that I'm asking a lot, but so is the author in asking me to believe him.

clavdius, I don't know what you're referring to - care to elucidate? Are you calling me a whacko? I don't have a problem with that, but if you are, I would certainly like you to explain your reasoning.
posted by ashbury at 9:13 AM on September 4, 2003


I was disappointed to find no instructions as to how to make one's own tin-foil hat.

That tin-foil hat thing just keeps getting funnier and funnier.
posted by jpoulos at 9:16 AM on September 4, 2003


The author does disservice to his case by mixing rather incredible arguments (such as 13), irrelevant (such as 8 and 20), or logically uncompelling (21 & 22), along with most of the others which are more or less possible to explain otherwise, with the really tough questions:
  • (9) Why were the FBI called off its investigation of Osama bin Laden and the Saudi Royal Family prior to 9/11? Moreover, why were the FBI Agents ordered to curtail their investigation of these attacks on October 10, 2001?

  • (16) Revelations of profits made by insider trading relating to the 9/11 attacks, point to the top levels of US business and the CIA. [but we don't have enough concrete evidence on this yet]

  • and most disturbingly:
  • (11) Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency (ISI) was indirectly involved in September 11th. The links between Al Qaeda, Pakistan’s ISI and the CIA; and, between the ISI, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban Axis are a matter of public record.

  • More on item 11: here and a long list of references can be found here. Note however that they point to a different sort of conspiracy and a different kind of CIA culpability...
    Oh and this item lends itself nicely to all sorts of conspiracy theories!
    However please note that a lot of people on the left are hardly fans of conspiracy theories. Check out this David Corn Article and this list of articles from Znet...
    posted by talos at 9:17 AM on September 4, 2003


    I don't mean to scare any of you guys, but....

    MANY OF THE 9-11 HIJACKERS ARE STILL ALIVE!!! IN FACT, ARABS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9-11!!! US EXPERT SAYS 9-11 AN INSIDE JOB!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!
    posted by dhoyt at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2003


    clevershark, how do you get a central-point steel structure, as you call it, to collapse vertically in a perfectly straight line by heating up a point in its middle? "It's called physics," you say. I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I don't know what happened on Sept 11, but this to me has been the most puzzling issue since the day in question. Ask any demolitions expert: to engineer the vertical collapse of any tower takes months of planning and staggering amounts of engineering expertise. To do it by crashing planes into it off center near the middle, then waiting a few hours, strikes me as preposterous. It has never made any sense to me that the towers collapsed perfectly at the speed of gravity, without any major deflection to either side.

    The key questions to me are: Does jet fuel burn with the kind of intense heat it would take to soften the central pillar? And if the pillar was indeed softened in the middle, would that result in the kind of collapse we saw? Watch the videos. I simply cannot understand it.
    posted by George_Spiggott at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2003


    Rush Limbaugh the other day was talking about how 9-11 was actually Clinton's fault, because Reno and Clinton treated terrorism as a criminal matter and not as a matter of war, thuis sealing away important evidence in Grand Jury testimony.

    So I would argue that people of all stripes are looking for someone to blame, because clearly there was a failure somewhere.

    As for this list, I agree with Talos. A lot of bunk, but some very interesting questions which I don't see being addressed. The stock trading thing is especially wild, because it seems to prove that some people with big resources and stock market savvy knew about the attacks.
    posted by cell divide at 9:43 AM on September 4, 2003


    ashbury -- You're faulting the author for using resources that are not online, just because HIS article is available online?

    I already stated before you that he does a poor job of citation, but that doesn't mean that he hasn't read up on the subject. We are far from a completely-digital world. We still have these things called books, and some of them even contain vast bibliographies that of course no one has time to read all of. But basically you are saying that you don't have the time to prove it as mere speculation, you just know that it is because there are no footnotes.
    posted by archimago at 9:47 AM on September 4, 2003


    The author does disservice to his case by mixing rather incredible arguments...along with most of the others which are more or less possible to explain otherwise, with the really tough questions.

    I agree. Some of these are serious questions, and some are screwball ideas. I'd also like to see specific citations to specific allegations. I believe the administration is covering some things up, but it's their own incompetance rather than any nefarious involvement.

    Item 11 has always troubled me:
    Andrews Air Force Base is a huge military installation about 10 miles from the Pentagon. On September 11th there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready fighter jets at Andrews.
    I used to lived outside DC, and I know that fighters were stationed there at one point. I've never seen an explanation for why fighters weren't scrambled from Andrews. (His uncited allegation aside, I know it's possible that there weren't any planes there to send, but I haven't heard an explanation one way or the other.)
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2003


    archi - from the standpoint of the reader, an assertion must be considered speculation until it's backed up. Even if the sources of these points aren't online, what's to stop the author from excerpting the relevant sentence in a given book, pasting it in at the bottom of the page, and linking to it from within the text? The fact is, sourcing has been changed from the standard it was at ten years ago. When you publish something on the Internet, putting a "here, read all of these books if you want proof" at the end is just not good enough - and leads any would-be critics of your claims to say "see, he can't back it up!" Especially for claims this important and extreme, any proof should be presented in a user-friendly way to stave off that critique. Again, look at "an interesting day" linked above for how it is, and should be, done.
    posted by soyjoy at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2003


    I used to lived outside DC, and I know that fighters were stationed there at one point. I've never seen an explanation for why fighters weren't scrambled from Andrews. (His uncited allegation aside, I know it's possible that there weren't any planes there to send, but I haven't heard an explanation one way or the other.)

    It seems to me, and this is complete speculation, that people just didn't know what the hell was going on until it was too late. I mean, Christ, I watched the whole damn thing on TV that morning, the Today show, and until the second tower was hit they were saying they thought it was a small plane into the first tower.

    Chaotic times do not precise information make.

    The stock market thing is definitely a red flag. The rest of it... who knows? I have a very hard time believing anyone would intentionally facilitate such a thing. But it's simple to believe that there were some who had a pretty good idea it was coming and let it happen, for it would indeed enable them to use the event as a pretext for all they wished to do, anyway. And now they are doing just that.
    posted by kgasmart at 10:04 AM on September 4, 2003


    I will join the chorus of voices challenging the 'conservatives' to discuss the data and ideas and not simply descend into ideological dung slinging. Your inability/reluctance to engage this argument in a real way is tantamount to surrender, the last act of a desperate group attempting to maintain its self-image in opposition to steadily mounting evidence to the contrary.

    I notice also a thread running through most arguments against this picture of 9/11 rests almost entirely on a supposed implausibility. On the idea that a government would not simply do/allow an atrocity of this magnitude to occur. This is simply not the case. It has occurred many times. For instance it is a generally accepted historical fact that FDR knew about Pearl harbor before the attack by the Japanese. Several thousand American service men died in the attack. The implausibility argument simply withers in the face of historical precedent.

    In fact if you visit the web site for a Project for a New American Century you can download a PDF of a strategy paper from september 2000 which details more or less the post 9/ 11 political/military neo-con maneuvering of the Bush administration. However the authors start a round of hand wringing toward the end concerning how, given the current (then) political climate, their agenda might never be realized. This concludes with a particularly chilling quote in light of the current discussion:

    "Further, the process of transformation,
    even if it brings revolutionary change, is
    likely to be a long one, absent some
    catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a
    new Pearl Harbor."


    http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

    p63 of 90 (top right)
    posted by randomnfactor at 10:06 AM on September 4, 2003


    Sorry folks, this conspiracy nonsense reeks of Lyndon Larouche-style paranoia.
    posted by Durwood at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2003


    a generally accepted historical fact that FDR knew about Pearl harbor before the attack by the Japanese

    Generally accepted among the tin foil hat crowd, that is. Actual historians differ.
    posted by ednopantz at 10:18 AM on September 4, 2003


    George_Spiggott: Just because you can't understand it doesn't make it preposterous, and those "key questions" that have been eating you up have long since been answered. You might wish to read some of the literature on the subject, such as congressional hearings or some of Jim Glanz' series on the WTC in the NYTimes.
    posted by ptermit at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2003


    Can we lay the "tin foil hat" meme to rest, please? If you disagree, simply explain why. It's not good thinking to dismiss a hypothesis simply because it appears to be too outlandish. If it's so outlandish, an actual refutation should be easy to come by. Thank you.
    posted by muckster at 10:21 AM on September 4, 2003


    Sorry Durwood, you obviously missed the point of the preceeding post, or more likely, didn't even read it. Are you simple enough to believe that labelling a point of view refutes it?

    In rational discussion we provide reasons for our points of view. Unless you want to engage in irrational discussion, which would be lovely, but I think it would be inappropriate for this forum.
    posted by randomnfactor at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2003


    For instance it is a generally accepted historical fact that FDR knew about Pearl harbor before the attack by the Japanese.

    Horseshit. That very discussion has been called The Mother of All Conspiracies, and has been fashionable to tout as fact for 30+ years. Please talk to an historian before making such a confident claim.

    Did you hear the one about Mikey from the Life cereal commercials?
    posted by dhoyt at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2003


    Most of these questions could be (and are) asked of FDR and Pearl Harbor. They're governed by the same kook logic, it seems. (Eek. Seems like randomnfactor buys the argument. Well, one man's kook is another's prophet, I guess.)

    This sort of conspiracy-mongering depresses me immensely. There's plenty of real atrocities from the Bush administration -- why do we have to make up stuff?
    posted by ptermit at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2003


    Guys, if we had taken a bunch of oustanding precautions prior to Sept 11th, which may have included immigration crackdown, dubious civil liberty infringements and tax $ spent on invesigations (which many of you would have deemed "racist" and a "paranoid" on behalf of the CIA)...

    ...you'd be in the same boat as you are now, but with 3000 more living Americans and a couple of fine-looking towers.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2003


    George_Spiggott, this also has some good info on why the towers collapsed the way they did.
    posted by Cyrano at 10:32 AM on September 4, 2003


    But basically you are saying that you don't have the time to prove it as mere speculation, you just know that it is because there are no footnotes. -archimago

    No, I'm not saying that it's speculation, I'm saying that until I read his sources, it's speculation. It's a very fine, if not obvious, point.

    I also feel that while you are correct in that the world isn't yet completely digital, the Internet is a major source of information. He's posted his thoughts and findings online, therefore his sources should also be online. If I were reading his article in a book (yes, I've heard of them) or magazine, I would expect that I have the time to do the research and examine his sources.
    posted by ashbury at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2003


    25 Nov. - Secretary of War Stimson noted in his diary "FDR stated that we were likely to be attacked perhaps as soon as next Monday." FDR asked: "the question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without too much danger to ourselves. In spite of the risk involved, however, in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese be the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in anyone's mind as to who were the aggressors."
    posted by randomnfactor at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2003


    25 Nov. - FDR says that it would be unwise for the US to shoot first. BFD.
    posted by ptermit at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2003


    This all kind of reminds me of the quote from the IRA a while back:

    "Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You have to be lucky always"

    I think a major terrorist attack on the United States was (and sadly, probably still is) inevitable. It doesn't matter how many attacks you foil or what precautions you take, because eventually one will sneak by you. As long as the terrorists are willing to keep trying, it's simply a numbers game.

    So, we knew the terrorists were trying to get us before 9/11 just like FDR's administration knew the U.S. was going to come to blows with Japan. I think a lot of the conspiracy-ness surrounding both events stems from that knowledge. That two such spectacularly successful attacks (viewing the attacks as individual events and not long-term strategic mistakes) could take place when we knew something must be coming makes some people think a conspiracy was afoot.
    posted by Cyrano at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2003


    I suppose many would prefer a link to the Vince Foster "murder."
    Or perhaps to the Ron Brown "murder."
    Maybe a link to any of Jeff Gerth's pieces of garbage in the NYT during the nineties?
    Geez, those same conspiracy theorists who hated Clinton are now defending Duhbya and calling anyone who questions anything about Dear Leader as "tin-foil hat" territory.
    No hypocrisy observed here.
    How about addressing the issues instead of attacking the messengers?
    Isn't that a novel idea? Naa! Never work! You're wrong!
    posted by nofundy at 10:56 AM on September 4, 2003


    This is the intellectual equivalent to seeing an image of the Madonna in a pumpkin.

    The author makes plenty of wild claims, but gives us little reason to believe that there is anything here but the speculation of an imaginative mind.

    Also, I think it is a bit premature to consider the events of 9/11/2001 "one of the most critical questions of the twenty-first century." Unless this individual has special insight into the future, this is also an unfounded claim based on speculation.

    Does anyone know what the author's PhD is in? I am curious.
    posted by moonbiter at 11:00 AM on September 4, 2003


    I think the posted article is irresponsible not for the seriousness of what it alleges, but for the fact that it does not reference the fantastic amount of scrupulous research which has gone into compiling a composite picture of 9-11: NOT from tinfoil hatted, raving conspiracy freaks but from publicly available sources of decent to excellent repute ( published government documents, news reports from well regarded news sources, and so on ) .

    The online "Complete 9-11 Timeline" is far and above the best source for a comprehensive overview.

    The author, Paul Thompson, writes in his introduction:

    "This webpage is meant to be a comprehensive resource for anyone attempting to understand 9/11, the anthrax attacks, and the "war on terrorism." Once you start reading, I think it will become clear that there is much more going on than the "official story" claims. The mainstream media is the one that's failed to "connect the dots". There are an amazing amount of intriguing news stories that have squeaked into the media but not reached a wide audience, and/or have not been properly followed up or placed into context.

    You might call some or all of this "conspiracy theory." The term "conspiracy theory" is bandied about to discredit ideas that run counter to what is widely believed. But sometimes the official story turns out to be a lie - look at what the Nixon Administration was claiming and the press generally reporting when the Watergate story was in its early stages, for instance. The alternative to conspiracy is "coincidence theory." At some point, when enough "dots" line up, the thought that everything is just coincidence becomes the wildest theory of all.

    I don't know exactly what happened on 9/11. I have my theories and hunches, but it's an extremely complicated plot, and there are a number of plausible explanations for part or all of the story's aspects. Also, I don't want to force my ideas down your throat. I'm using the timeline to draw attention to interesting stories that you may not have read."

    Hardly a raving lunatic, this Thompson fellow. Rather reserved, actually.

    As General Wesley Clark slyly observed, the US military conducts routine reviews of operations regardless of success or failure in order to always attempt to draw lessons which will improve future military operations. So why has the Bush Administration fought tooth and nail against any meaningful investigation of the worst terrorist attack in US history. Should we hold our government to a lower standard than the US Armed Services?
    posted by troutfishing at 11:03 AM on September 4, 2003


    randomnfactor - That quote is a zinger. It raises an interesting point (for me at least) - Why is it so unthinkable that Presidents or those at the higher reaches of power could at least allow a 9-11 to occur?

    Think of it this way - Those who move in the circles of greatest power and influence in US government ( and politics in general ) routinely make decisions which result in tens or even hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    Decisions to go to war or to end one, to enforce (or not) certain environmental decisions or to ban or discourage ( or not ) addictive substances ( cigarettes and alcohol, for example ) - these are all decisions which can save many thousands ( or tens and even hundreds of thousands ) or condemn them to death, whether directly or indirectly.

    FDR presided over WW2, and perhaps he let Pearl Harbor happen because of his sense of the danger of ascendant fascism and militarism in Germany and Japan. And would he have been wrong? Had Hitler triumphed, Germany would have had rocketry far superior to anything the allies possessed and if Nazi scientists had finally succeeded in developed Nuclear weapons well...........it's safe to guess that Hitler would have had no reservations about sending Nazi ICBM's to obliterate American cities to force an American surrender. So Roosevelt's "Pearl Harbor gambit", if true, could have been a wise choice for US public opinion was at that point evenly decided on whether or not to go to war.

    Truman made the ( horrendous ) choice to incinerate hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians - a good choice? The debate on this still rages.

    Nixon and Kissinger had their "Secret" bombing of Cambodia which killed untold numbers of peasant farming minding their own business ( and it was not "secret" to them at all ).

    I cannot think of a US president, whether Democrat or Republican, who has not made these sorts of momentous, gruesome decisions.

    Of course, the motivations behind the decisions are all important. I can construct all sorts of fanciful scenarios in which 9-11 was "allowed to happen" in the best interest of the US overall. But anyone who cannot see how those used to making enormous governmental decisions might occasionally be tempted to make a few which served a private agenda - anyone who professes to not be able to envision this is, in my estimation, either lying or posesses the imagination and intellectual grasp of a potato.

    Well there. I feel better.
    posted by troutfishing at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2003


    Here is more "unanswered questions. Seems people want their questions answered yet if not, consider a conspiracy behind it. Earth is not a vacuum so physically nothing is constant nor will everything happen the same over and over.
    posted by thomcatspike at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2003


    moonbiter: His Ph.D. is apparently in special education.

    Walter E. Davis, Associate Professor, Sport Studies
    Education: B.A. (Physical Education), Graceland College; M.A & Ph.D. (Special Education), Univeristy of Connecticut
    Research Interests: Pedagogy; Motor Development/Control in Disabilities; General Systems Theory applied to Biological and Social Systems.
    E-Mail: wdavis@kent.edu
    posted by ptermit at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2003


    Let me direct fellow mefites to an article included in the list I posted earlier:
    Michael Albert and Stephen Shalom:"Conspiracies Or Institutions: 9-11 and Beyond".
    "... Why are conspiracy theories regarding 9-11 not credible?

    "For each of the different conspiracy theories, various possibilities exist for who was conspiring. Thus, when we take into account all the permutations of who was involved for each different theory, we have at least several dozen different conspiracy theories for 9-11. The average Leftist is supposed burrow among all this, virtually endlessly. Yet in fact none of these theories is even moderately persuasive..."


    And goes on to debunk a few of the points Walter E. Davis raises.
    Worth a read especially the rest of paragraph 10...
    posted by talos at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2003


    Talos, great article. A must-read for anyone who believes, or has considered believing in major conspiracy theories.
    posted by cell divide at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2003


    I haven't read the whole thread, but I wanted to add that, irrespective of the validity of any of the other points in the article, #13, on the way he towers fell, is complete and utter horseshit, and the presence of it completely calls into question the rest of the points. Within an hour of the second tower's collapse, a little surfing and conjecture led me to a pretty good explanation for the failure mode of the buildings. Further reports from "official" engineering studies in the subsequent months backed up what I thought. If anyone's interested, I'll dig the relevant material (written for non-techies on a music newsgroup I'm on) up. Even if the terrorists didnt expect total collapse, it was a serendipitous (from the terrorists' standpoint) result of the initial attack.
    posted by notsnot at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2003


    Troutfishing: You ask the most important question:
    " So why has the Bush Administration fought tooth and nail against any meaningful investigation of the worst terrorist attack in US history?"

    It seems to me that the powers that be have gone a long way towards making any discussion impossible. How do we preserve a democracy in the face of calculated attempts to keep the citizenry in the dark? I'm no tin foil hatter, but I would seriously ask whether anyone--especially Bush apologists--believes that the administration is being forthright with us on this subject. Does anyone believe we are not being manipulated and yes (gasp) routinely lied to?
    posted by ahimsakid at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2003


    On of the reasons conspiracy theories are running so rampant is the total lack of transparency in the Bush administrations actions after 9/11. Bush has fought very hard to keep all information about 9/11, Al Queda, BinLaden and beyond hidden from view. Why didn't we (American citizens) get to have an open and effective investigation about 9/11? The government spent more time and money investigating Clinton then anyone has investigating the terror attacks on the WTC. The government has provided no answers beyond "total war," no answers to the difficult questions, no solutions to create a safer world or America. When the truth is buried below politics and power, conspiracy theories are going to take hold and grow.
    posted by elwoodwiles at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2003


    re: #13 (which is full of completely misinformed assertions that, to this engineer's mind, undermines this guys credibility)

    In addition to what ptermit and Cyrano have posted, here is the full report on the WTC collapses (including WTC 7.) It gets more technical than the pbs materials, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

    True conspiracy nuts will probably want to discredit it because it was published by FEMA. However, the team that wrote this report includes some of the most respected structrual engineers and fire protection experts in the country.
    posted by pitchblende at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2003


    Truman made the ( horrendous ) choice to incinerate hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians

    toasty
    posted by copmuter at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2003


    buildngs go boom. happens every day somewhere in the world. happens to murkins, everything changes. murkins have playstations and incredible hulk movies.
    posted by quonsar at 12:30 PM on September 4, 2003


    When you publish something on the Internet, putting a "here, read all of these books if you want proof" at the end is just not good enough - and leads any would-be critics of your claims to say "see, he can't back it up!"

    Wow, thanks for declaring such! I'm sure we can all rest easy now that you've decided what does and does not qualify as evidence. Thanks for deciding that the printed word no longer counts!

    BTW: anyone who uses "tinfoil hat" from now on forfeits. Automatically. Oh, and people who debunk conspiracy theories are as paranoid and reactionary as those who fervently believe in them. Guess what? Your government lies all the time. That's their job - to do horrible things that you will never hear about, while you congratulate yourself on your spectacular intellect while you slowly rot in front of a computer screen or television set. And the reason that you automatically deny anything that seems a bit "kooky" is to protect your own sense of decency and faith that the government actually cares about you at all or has your best interests at heart. Accept it. Deal with it.
    posted by solistrato at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2003


    Wow, thanks for declaring such! I'm sure we can all rest easy now that you've decided what does and does not qualify as evidence. Thanks for deciding that the printed word no longer counts!

    Oh...kayyyy, solistrato. Dunno what made you so defensive, but I'm not deciding, I'm describing. It's not up to me, it's just a description of how people interpret stuff they find on the Internet. If you want to believe that the Web hasn't changed anything, and this bibliographical style of sourcing is taken as proof by most savvy Internet users, fine, go ahead. But I think you would have seen a very different thread here if the author had used (or -*cough#13cough* - been able to come up with) actual point-by-point citations linked to sources.
    posted by soyjoy at 1:08 PM on September 4, 2003


    The 21st century has 97 years to go. You aint seen nothing yet.
    posted by Satapher at 1:54 PM on September 4, 2003


    I'm with troutfishing and ahimsakid on this one.
    Why all the secrecy if there's nothnng to hide?
    Same goes for the Raygun records.
    Same for the Cheney energy cabal meetings.
    Ad infinitum.
    What the hell are they so desparate to hide?

    Mushrooms and conspiracy theories grow in the dark when shoveled bullshit.
    posted by nofundy at 6:53 AM on September 5, 2003


    Who Knew? The Unanswered Questions of 9/11
    posted by muckster at 8:09 AM on September 5, 2003


    ... that a group of quietly efficient attackers slipped unnoticed into the United States and blended into an anonymous, open society, leaving the authorities no chance to pick up their trail—what Seymour Hersh, citing a former FBI counterintelligence official, has labeled “the superman scenario.” Bush himself encapsulated this view two weeks after the attacks when he said: “These terrorists had burrowed in our country for over two years. They were well organized. They were well planned. They struck in a way that was unimaginable.”

    Considering all the available evidence, that has to be the wildest conspiracy theory in circulation and it's the official line of our government.

    From muckster's link:
    ...the National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring Mohammed Atta’s phone calls while he was in the United States, and translated several conversations between Atta and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed...

    I had never heard that unbelievable factoid before. Here is the article it first appeared in last year. The article claims a court order would have been required to tap his phone calls, which would mean that he must have been suspected of something nefarious. At the time the FBI was offereing a $2 million dollar reward for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
    posted by euphorb at 11:03 AM on September 5, 2003


    nofundy: Why all the secrecy if there's nothnng to hide?

    Couldn't/isn't the same argument made for things like the Patriot Act? Don't use stupid arguments, especially if you hate it when the "other side" uses them too.
    posted by Snyder at 5:13 PM on September 5, 2003


    Couldn't/isn't the same argument made for things like the Patriot Act?

    Boy, that's an easy one to answer. No, the same argument can't (legitimately) be made the other way because it's being applied to our government, which according to our nation's oldest document, "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." Secrecy makes informed consent impossible. The same can't be said of citizens and the need for governments to know everything about their citizenry. Citizens aren't created by governments, and are not inherently beholden to them. Thus the analogy you're trying to make is completely bogus.

    Well, you asked.
    posted by soyjoy at 1:04 PM on September 8, 2003


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