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September 2, 2007 6:26 PM   Subscribe

BBC - The Conspiracy Files 911. A look at the conspiracy culture, internet movie makers, many unresolved questions and some politics. Finally the truth? [Google Video]
posted by homodigitalis (59 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked this doc, because it showed both sides of the argument. It also has that distinctive british distance that makes it more watchable then so many hysterical or 'scary' internet movies.

Still some thinking and personal judgement required.
posted by homodigitalis at 6:30 PM on September 2, 2007


Read this with a British accent, it's fun!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:37 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The planes were launched from the grassy knoll.
posted by caddis at 6:48 PM on September 2, 2007


Surely this...
posted by Poolio at 6:50 PM on September 2, 2007


Finally, the truth.

.
.
.
.
?
posted by LordSludge at 6:54 PM on September 2, 2007


It was Col. Mustard with the candlestick in the ballroom.
posted by Avenger at 7:01 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE DOWNLOADED
posted by Ryvar at 7:02 PM on September 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wendellendwellandallthatshit.

Get the popcorn.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 PM on September 2, 2007


In fact, I want to start a MetaTalk thread in anticipation of this one going bonkers. 3.2.1. . .
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:26 PM on September 2, 2007


Ok! t was a conspiracy from he highest levels and now--what do we do about it?
posted by Postroad at 7:27 PM on September 2, 2007


Worth repeating. As Gore Vidal says- there's no need for a conspiracy when everyone is thinking the same way.
posted by wfc123 at 7:27 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


"We're not that stupid, but we're not that smart."
posted by ZachsMind at 7:40 PM on September 2, 2007


Man, those Loose Change guys are fuckin nuts. 9/11 couldn't have been an inside job because 9/11 NEVER HAPPENED! IT WAS ALL A HOLOGRAM!

check the facts people
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 8:04 PM on September 2, 2007


uh huh

so what was this conspiracy supposed to accomplish? - and couldn't it have been accomplished by less drastic means?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:05 PM on September 2, 2007


yeah .. weird ... conspiracy people...ha ha .. silly ... But I remember watching it live on TV and right away thought the building 7 collapse was kind of ..whatever...a disconnect. Theres some other stuff ripe for the conspiracy types... not a bad film. thanks for posting
posted by celerystick at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2007


One of the captions in the video reads "Newark, New York" - I guess British viewers don't know or care about New Jersey.

This is a pretty good video.
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 PM on September 2, 2007


"If a large passenger jet crashed into the Pentagon, why was the hole in the exterior wall apparently so small?"

I get annoyed each time I hear this one. How does a theory like this continue to get consideration when there were so many witnesses to what actually happened? (myself included)
posted by itchylick at 9:07 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why should British viewers care about New Jersey? New Yorkers sure don't! (/snark)

Isn't it really a question of which conspiracy, rather than whether there was one? After all, the official story is also a conspiracy.
posted by Goofyy at 9:08 PM on September 2, 2007


I WANT TO BELIEVE
posted by Poolio at 9:30 PM on September 2, 2007 [7 favorites]


The problem I have with most of the conspiracy theories is that most of them would require personal involvement, or at least complicity, on the part of people I personally know (including people who witnessed the plane fly over Arlington or actually impact the Pentagon, or who saw -- and in some cases have personal photos of -- recognizable plane-pieces in the debris afterwards, etc.).

I guess I can see where a conspiracy theory could arise, but sometimes I think the people behind those theories need to take a step back and consider just how big the number of people involved would have to be for some of the wilder ones. It would make the Manhattan Project look like kids whispering in a tree fort.

Ultimately I know this isn't an argument that's going to stop a conspiracy theorist (hey, I could be in on it too, or lying); it only convinces me, because I trust the people involved. But I think that's the best defense against runaway paranoia.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:40 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


*gets popcorn, watches as Science and Facts crash into the Twin Conspiracies and explode in a huge fireball of truth*
posted by fandango_matt at 9:44 PM on September 2, 2007


I WANT TO BELIEVE

after doing similar experiments of my own in a city park, i have come to the definite conclusion that the reason the twin towers collapsed was because no one duct taped them back together

and it is a FACT there was not enough DUCT TAPE in the buildings to FIX them on 9/11

WHY?????

it HAS to be a conspiracy
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 PM on September 2, 2007


so what was this conspiracy supposed to accomplish?

Follow the money.... it was to sell popcorn.
posted by pompomtom at 10:17 PM on September 2, 2007 [4 favorites]


sometimes I think the people behind those theories need to take a step back and consider just how big the number of people involved would have to be for some of the wilder ones. It would make the Manhattan Project look like kids whispering in a tree fort.

I recall the closing arguments in the O.J. Simpson civil trial, where Daniel Petrocelli whipped out a graphic that said something to the effect of "Either O.J. Simpson killed these people, or everyone on this list is lying."

And the list is, like, 100 names long.

So multiply that by a few hundred thousand, and you'd come close to what it would take for 9/11.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:23 PM on September 2, 2007


Questioning 9/11 … With Caution: Robert Fisk & ravers, wing nut, train wreck, comments, possible British plot to disrupt lefty, progressive, website.
posted by hortense at 10:27 PM on September 2, 2007


Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!
posted by Poolio at 10:32 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Poolio: September 11 changed everything.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:34 PM on September 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


*golf clap* for fandango_matt
posted by Poolio at 10:44 PM on September 2, 2007


September 11 proves there was a conspiracy.
posted by Poolio at 10:50 PM on September 2, 2007


Holy crap there's some strong stuff in here! Around 49 minutes, they intercut Bush joking about WMDs with US soldiers terrifying Iraqi civilians, set to Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner". So much for detached impartiality. I'm impressed.
posted by nowonmai at 11:15 PM on September 2, 2007


hortense, thanks for the link. Robert Fisk has crystallized my thoughts almost exactly.
posted by zardoz at 11:34 PM on September 2, 2007


Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

Ewoks are midget pr0n for Wookiees.
posted by Neale at 11:39 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The hopeless stupidity of 9/11 conspiracies by Matt Taibbi
posted by Ljubljana at 11:44 PM on September 2, 2007 [5 favorites]


As with all matters, I'm gonna need confirmation from one or more of the Baldwin Brothers or at least one Sheen before passing judgment on this documentary.
posted by deern the headlice at 1:35 AM on September 3, 2007


Not to be outdone, the Brits have their own conspiracy theory about the London Bombings on 7/7. Its a similar story about the Government being involved for this or that reason.

More interesting though, is a This American Life segment about a survivor of the attacks who was singled out by the Truthers as a Government plant, spy, or composite of several secret gov't spies. The story is by a BBC reporter who meets with the woman and with the leading London conspiracy theorists, all leading to a climactic retelling of when the survivor attends a Truther meeting. Very interesting story and the reporting is spot on.

You can listen to it here (act one, about 20min).
posted by boubelium at 2:36 AM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or does it seem that all conspiracy theorists are men?
posted by boubelium at 2:49 AM on September 3, 2007


No boubelium, it's not just you.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:23 AM on September 3, 2007


As wacky as some of the "theories" are (the planes were flown by remote control, there were mysterious bulges on the outside of the planes, Rudy Giuliani showed leadship), the repetition of the "it would take too many people to keep quiet" argument always strikes me as childishly naive.

If 9/11 were a well-planned inside job, it would take surprisingly few people in key positions doing specific tasks and lots of regular folks who followed orders. Afterwards, the contractors who did the really dirty work (planting explosives, etc.) would take their cash and move to Rio, while the typical Government position of "keep your mouth shut or we'll kill you" would suffice for everyone else, as anyone involved with the military or intelligence community knows. An underling who actually comes forward is automatically branded a conspiracy nut and ignored.

One fact that is undeniable: no one has ever been fired for incompetence for what happened September 11, 2001. There is a real conspiracy for you.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:44 AM on September 3, 2007


Ljubljana - that was great:

BUSH: So, what's the plan again?

CHENEY: Well, we need to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. So what we've decided to do is crash a whole bunch of remote-controlled planes into Wall Street and the Pentagon, say they're real hijacked commercial planes, and blame it on the towelheads; then we'll just blow up the buildings ourselves to make sure they actually fall down.

RUMSFELD: Right! And we'll make sure that some of the hijackers are agents of Saddam Hussein! That way we'll have no problem getting the public to buy the invasion.

CHENEY: No, Dick, we won't.

RUMSFELD: We won't?

CHENEY: No, that's too obvious. We'll make the hijackers Al Qaeda and then just imply a connection to Iraq.

RUMSFELD: But if we're just making up the whole thing, why not just put Saddam's fingerprints on the attack?

CHENEY: (sighing) It just has to be this way, Dick. Ups the ante, as it were. This way, we're not insulated if things go wrong in Iraq. Gives us incentive to get the invasion right the first time around.

BUSH: I'm a total idiot who can barely read, so I'll buy that. But I've got a question. Why do we need to crash planes into the Towers at all? Since everyone knows terrorists already tried to blow up that building complex from the ground up once, why don't we just blow it up like we plan to anyway, and blame the bombs on the terrorists?

RUMSFELD: Mr. President, you don't understand. It's much better to sneak into the buildings ourselves in the days before the attacks, plant the bombs and then make it look like it was exploding planes that brought the buildings down. That way, we involve more people in the plot, stand a much greater chance of being exposed and needlessly complicate everything!

CHENEY: Of course, just toppling the Twin Towers will never be enough. No one would give us the war mandate we need if we just blow up the Towers. Clearly, we also need to shoot a missile at a small corner of the Pentagon to create a mightily underpublicized additional symbol of international terrorism -- and then, obviously, we need to fake a plane crash in the middle of fucking nowhere in rural Pennsylvania.

RUMSFELD: Yeah, it goes without saying that the level of public outrage will not be sufficient without that crash in the middle of fucking nowhere.

CHENEY: And the Pentagon crash -- we'll have to do it in broad daylight and say it was a plane, even though it'll really be a cruise missile.

BUSH: Wait, why do we have to use a missile?

CHENEY: Because it's much easier to shoot a missile and say it was a plane. It's not easy to steer a real passenger plane into the Pentagon. Planes are hard to come by.

BUSH: But aren't we using two planes for the Twin Towers?

CHENEY: Mr. President, you're missing the point. With the Pentagon, we use a missile, and say it was a plane.

BUSH: Right, but I'm saying, why don't we just use a plane and say it was a plane? We'll be doing that with the Twin Towers, right?

CHENEY: Right, but in this case, we use a missile. (Throws hands up in frustration) Don, can you help me out here?

RUMSFELD: Mr. President, in Washington, we use a missile because it's sneakier that way. Using an actual plane would be too obvious, even though we'll be doing just that in New York.

BUSH: Oh, OK.

RUMSFELD: The other good thing about saying that it was a passenger jet is that that way, we have to invent a few hundred fictional victims and account for a nonexistent missing crew and plane. It's always better when you leave more cover story to invent, more legwork to do and more possible holes to investigate. Doubt, legwork and possible exposure -- you can't pull off any good conspiracy without them.

BUSH: You guys are brilliant! Because if there's one thing about Americans -- they won't let a president go to war without a damn good reason. How could we ever get the media, the corporate world and our military to endorse an invasion of a secular Iraqi state unless we faked an attack against New York at the hands of a bunch of Saudi religious radicals? Why, they'd never buy it. Look at how hard it was to get us into Vietnam, Iraq the last time, Kosovo?

CHENEY: Like pulling teeth!

RUMSFELD: Well, I'm sold on the idea. Let's call the Joint Chiefs, the FAA, the New York and Washington, D.C., fire departments, Rudy Giuliani, all three networks, the families of a thousand fictional airline victims, MI5, the FBI, FEMA, the NYPD, Larry Eagleburger, Osama bin Laden, Noam Chomsky and the fifty thousand other people we'll need to pull this off. There isn't a moment to lose!

BUSH: Don't forget to call all of those Wall Street hotshots who donated $100 million to our last campaign. They'll be thrilled to know that we'll be targeting them for execution as part of our thousand-tentacled modern-day bonehead Reichstag scheme! After all, if we're going to make martyrs -- why not make them out of our campaign paymasters? Shit, didn't the Merrill Lynch guys say they needed a refurbishing in their New York offices?

RUMSFELD: Oh, they'll get a refurbishing, all right. Just in time for the "Big Wedding"!

ALL THREE: (cackling) Mwah-hah-hah!
posted by blahblahblah at 7:28 AM on September 3, 2007 [12 favorites]


My overall take is that there's no way there could have been a conspiracy ahead of time, for the simple reason that the entire leadership fucking panicked. Bush sat there with My Pet Goat for fifteen years, and eventually fled to Air Force One, and didn't touch down for two days. Cheney just disappeared. No leadership, just wusses in panic mode.

There's no way there was a conspiracy; they would have wanted to project the idea of being calmly in control. They'd have had great speeches, with artificial 'rough edges from our hurry', ready to go.

I do still wonder, though, if Flight 93 was shot down. I think that one bit could be plausible. It'd be a hard thing to prove either way. Had I been president, I'd have given the kill order: it would be a terrible thing to live with, but better than letting it hit the target. Being the one in charge means, sometimes, you have to carry that kind of weight.

But, as the BBC says, conspiracy before the event? Absolutely not. Conspiracy to hide their own mistakes after? You bet.

As we've learned over the last seven years, that's their fundamental MO: bumble and lie.
posted by Malor at 9:54 AM on September 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


These links led me to "Screw Loose Change", a video rebuttal to the "Loose Change" thing. In Part 13 at the 5:30 mark there's a screenshot of a MetaFilter page. I wonder which page it is?
posted by sidereal at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2007


I think that this documentary did a decent job with debunking some of the easier material (4000 Jews not going to work, etc.) but it really didn't do much with some of the other head-scratchers like the collapse of WTC 7 or the interesting story of Charles Burlingame.

Ultimately, I do not believe that 9/11 was an inside job. However, I do believe that WTC 7 was demolished, probably because of sensitive information or equipment held within the various government offices there. I also believe that while we do not know if 93 was shot down, I have no issue believing that if it was the administration would concoct a more heroic story to cover it up, a la the Jessica Lynch/Pat Tillman fabrications.

I imagine that people who are sucked fully into the conspiracy theorist's explanations arrive there because they, like myself, have an equally hard time believing the official accounts (or conspicuous lack thereof).
posted by rollbiz at 10:28 AM on September 3, 2007


meh. i kind of half-believe it was a much more reality-based conspiracy. as in, yeah, the people who carried out the attacks really did carry out the attacks in pretty much the way we all think they did (flying airplanes into the towers and pentagon), but hey, since some of them just happened to be affiliated with the same guys the current crop of political leaders were engaged in real conspiracies and illegal arms deals with just a few years ago, you can't help but suspect there might have been some smaller-scale logistical support and tacit approval. the PNAC report's rosy view of a pearl harbor (or 9-11) style sneak attack on US soil potentially having the positive consequence of unifying the American public doesn't do much to hurt that kind of thinking either.

still, the "OMG! it was demolition explosives" talk sets my teeth on end. we all saw the damn planes hit.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:30 AM on September 3, 2007


rollbiz - the "Screw Loose Change" video(s) went into the WTC7 collapse a lot more than any of the conspiracy videos I've seen. The conspiracists would have us believe that WTC7 was sitting there whole and undamaged when it suddenly collapsed for no apparent reason. In fact it was severely damaged, with a 20-story gaping hole, and was raging with fire on the inside. Then the penthouse collapsed, then one corner of the building collapsed, and then the whole thing went down. If you look at the videos, it doesn't seem very mysterious.

Is there a peaceful, non-accusatory, non-threatening way for me to ask what you mean by, "I do believe that WTC 7 was demolished"?
posted by sidereal at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2007


I'm not going to spend two hours on this, so cannot comment.
posted by bonaldi at 12:05 PM on September 3, 2007


Lower Manhattan was confettied with documents on 9/11, not a few of them no doubt sensitive.

If you want to instantly destroy a given bunch of sensitive documents or computers or what-not, there are plenty of easier/cheaper/less dangerous ways of doing it than of demolishing an entire building.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:19 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


the "OMG! it was demolition explosives" talk sets my teeth on end. we all saw the damn planes hit.

Imagine how it is for me. I was standing on the corner, buying fruit, and the first plane flew right over my head. I saw the stripes, I saw the windows.

But I still have to read articles by people who claim that there is 'incontrivertable evidence' that they were all drones. And if you disagree, you get attacked, viciously attacked. That Taibibi piece hit it dead on. The 'truth movememnt' is a funhouse mirror image of the neo-cons.

They should all share the same sinking ship. Oh wait, they do. Unfortunately it's called the USA and I'm on it too.....
posted by lumpenprole at 12:26 PM on September 3, 2007


I'm convinced. British accents always mean t-r-u-t-h.
posted by telstar at 1:06 PM on September 3, 2007


Counter-debunked.
posted by telstar at 1:39 PM on September 3, 2007


head-scratchers like the collapse of WTC 7

Why is it a head scratcher? There is a simple, reasonable obvious explanation. Is there some evidence of the building being blown up? It fell straight down, gravity works that way, look at the twin towers. Demolition experts just help a building do what it naturally wants to do - go straight down. I imagine if the building fell over on its side people would take that as evidence of a conspiracy because the building didn't fall like most buildings should.
posted by stbalbach at 1:43 PM on September 3, 2007


Bonaldi: "I'm not going to spend two hours on this, so cannot comment."

It was one hour and you still managed to comment.
posted by itchylick at 2:00 PM on September 3, 2007


Newark, NY
posted by lodurr at 2:13 PM on September 3, 2007


However, I do believe that WTC 7 was demolished, probably because of sensitive information or equipment held within the various government offices there.

Conspiracy theorists say World Trade Center 7 is the best proof for controlled demolition because it wasn't hit by airliners and only had a few fires. ...but while building 7 wasn't hit by an airliner, it was hit by the large perimeter columns of the Tower collapse. It was 400 ft away but the towers were more than 1300 ft tall. As the tower peeled open, it easily tilted over to reach building 7.

But this website also reveals a more disturbing finding: the 9/11 "Truth" movement is caught deliberating editing video footage to make the case that WTC7 was demolished. (scroll down three pages to the "Here's Why" section).
posted by storybored at 2:43 PM on September 3, 2007


After trying to see what evidence 9/11 conspiracy theorists have to support their allegations, the results are pretty disappointing.

I'm starting to think that 9/11 conspiracy is the Left's answer to creationism.

The same faith-based argumentation. The same refusal to consider expert opinion (there has not been a single civil engineering association or structural engineering association who has supported a demolition scenario, quite the opposite). The same refusal to use Occam's razor.

Ah, what's the use.

The 9/11 attacks were intelligently designed. Have a good day.
posted by storybored at 2:59 PM on September 3, 2007


sidereal - These links led me to "Screw Loose Change", a video rebuttal to the "Loose Change" thing. In Part 13 at the 5:30 mark there's a screenshot of a MetaFilter page. I wonder which page it is?

An unsubstantiated early report posted on MeFi on the day of the attacks. More info here.
posted by blahblahblah at 4:44 PM on September 3, 2007


itchylick
posted by bonaldi at 6:04 PM on September 3, 2007


An unsubstantiated early report posted on MeFi on the day of the attacks.

Gee, I thought everyone knew about the dancing Israelis.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 10:30 PM on September 3, 2007


“...for the simple reason that the entire leadership fucking panicked.”
Who says Bush was in charge of the conspiracy (nutcases aside) or was anything other than a front (a job he does poorly, yet achieves adequacy)?
Hell, who believes he’s actually running the country now?

From linked - The hopeless stupidity of 9/11 conspiracies by Matt Taibbi: “Your basic Reichstag fire scenario, logical enough so far.”

So....from there it’s pretty much a ‘how’ argument, innit?
Some of the hows are pretty stupid. Doesn’t undermine the motives.
The (perhaps) brilliant performance of the base that day doesn’t eliminate the fact the government’s performance that day was so poor as to actually facilitate the event. Cheney’s actions alone demand an investigation, if only into policy. But none of that is going to happen any time soon. Which in and of itself stinks.
It set the whole tone for this “terrorists - what can you do but spend all kinds of money and rescind civil liberties and even then not expect basic competance and common sense?” schtick.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2007


Unbelievable to consider the hubris of Dylan Avery regarding Popular Mechanics' efforts to debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories: "Their authority is tractors, okay? They should stick to what they know, okay? Popular Mechanics is the last company that should be investigating "9/11"."

...whereas the investigative efforts of engineering wunderkind, political scientist, historian, chemist and physicist extraordinaire Dylan Avery, college dropout from Oneonta, are worth taking seriously? Wow.

I think the best refutation of this nonsense is the simple fact that if Avery were somehow exposing a great government false flag conspiracy, the intelligence and defense agencies would have made him disappear a very long time ago. As Richard Clarke said "I think the problem with all of these conspiracy theories is that they presume the government is competent."
posted by inoculatedcities at 12:59 PM on September 6, 2007


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