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The "Ultimate 9/11 Truth Showdown": Taibbi vs. Griffin
October 6, 2008 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Matt Taibbi vs. David Ray Griffin Taibbi, to whose writing Metafilter frequently links, and who is currently on retainer at Rolling Stone, takes on Griffin, who is perhaps the most prominent member of the so-called "9/11 Truth Movement," in a knock-down, drag-out multiple-round bout (in three parts). Part II. Part III.
posted by Hat Maui (99 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think South Park said it best:

Stan: He was right, you did cause 9-11!
George W. Bush: Yes. Quite simple to pull off, really. All I had to do was have explosives planted at the base of the towers, then on 9-11 we pretended like four planes were being hijacked when really we just rerouted them to Pennsylvania then flew two military jets into the World Trade Center filled with more explosives and shot down all the witnesses in Flight 93 with an F-15 after blowing up the pentagon with a cruise missile. It was only the world's most intricate and flawlessly executed plan ever.
Kyle: [disbelieving] Really?
Stan: Why?
George W. Bush: The oldest reason in the world: money. The towers fell and the American sheeple all waved their flags. Finally we could invade Iraq and get the oil which made us all even richer than before.
Donald Rumsfeld: Beautiful money. Ha ha ha!

posted by you just lost the game at 4:25 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tried, but I couldn't make it past the first exchange. Taibbi asks a question, and in response, Griffin spends nearly 3 pages on an extended metaphor of being framed for murder, then doesn't even bother to answer the original question? Sorry, I got my fill of that kind of behavior during the Vice Presidential debate.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 4:29 PM on October 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


From page 1 of part 2, by Taibbi:

All of this 9/11 Truther stuff, it's a silly distraction. A country whose economy is about to go down the shitter, to the brink of depression, thanks to three-plus decades of routinely-ignored Wall Street deregulation just can't afford to be wasting its time arguing about thermite reactions and "morphing technology." Captivated by the comic possibilities of Truther literature, I realized this too late.
posted by waraw at 4:29 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The 9/11 Truthers needn't worry. One day, one of the dozens hundreds thousands of people required to carry out a conspiracy of this scale will crack and the true story will finally come out.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 4:31 PM on October 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


... then doesn't even bother to answer the original question?

It's worse than that - even after the huge essay of defensive unrelated crap, he claims the answer to the question of why the plan wouldn't have included not making Bush look like a moron for four straight minutes was that they were incompetent.
posted by odinsdream at 4:35 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Headache-inducing. I could not finish even the first part.
posted by Falconetti at 4:36 PM on October 6, 2008


I don't believe that the buildings were detonated by remote control, and I think I'll agree with the general sentiment that Taibbi's responses are mostly diatribes (you can't easily debate when you come off as a crazed nut), but it seems rational to start from the position that we're not being told everything about the matter, and that an objectively truthful history of the event would be politically embarrassing to the point of causing mass resignations and probably jail time for a few select parties.

Through the 9/11 Commission Report, we have Bush and Cheney's explanation for 9/11 accepted without question. Despite their history of lies and gross incompetence before and since 9/11, this account remains fully accepted without any measure of skepticism. Given the source, it seems astounding how little value the public puts into questioning Bush and Cheney's claims and conclusions, as astounding as the attacks on anyone who dares question the Official Account, who receive the kind of dogmatic reaction one would otherwise expect from religious fundamentalists defending their One True Faith.

Because of secrecy and misinformation from those in charge, in the end, we have people yelling at each other on blogs, and the criminals at the top get away free, which I suppose is the desired effect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:42 PM on October 6, 2008 [19 favorites]


If our leaders were capable of perpetrating such a massive conspiracy without a single leak, you'd think they'd be able to run the country without throwing us all into collective bankruptcy. Just sayin'.
posted by jamstigator at 4:43 PM on October 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nope. I had a friend who died on flight 77. This shit just pisses me off.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:45 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Matt Taibbi: I was greatly saddened when I read this answer, because it forced me to rewrite the entire first chapter of my next book, The 10 Most Retarded Things I Have Read This Year."
posted by lee at 4:45 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Blazecock, everyone is grokking what's going on except you. What exactly do you think we're not being told? What are the possible missing pieces? Grow up.
posted by alexwoods at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll agree with the general sentiment that Taibbi's responses are mostly diatribes (you can't easily debate when you come off as a crazed nut)

I think (hope?) you've got the wrong crazed nut there, BP.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2008


You're right, I meant to type Griffin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on October 6, 2008


BP: I think that the official 9/11 commission report probably fudges quite a bit. But I think it fudges things not to conceal a giant government conspiracy to murder thousands of innocent civilians and cause untold financial damage, but to cover the asses of a bunch of incompetents. Incompetents given hundreds of billions of dollars to protect us who can't even manage to stop a couple of fanatics with box cutters from staging a Jerry Bruckheimer movie live on national television.

They aren't covering up that they knew about it in advance, they are covering up that they didn't know about it in advance and they goddamn well should have.
posted by Justinian at 4:48 PM on October 6, 2008 [13 favorites]


Oh, my favorite bit was Griffin postulating that the NYC officials like Giuliani went along with the plan to avoid paying to have asbestos removed from the buildings. Does this moron have any idea the financial damage that NYC suffered as a result of the attacks? And they did it to avoid paying for asbestos removal?

what
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


What a terrifyingly hateful shitbag. I skimmed the first bit, and jumped to the end to see if Taibbi got anything through, and instead he realised the futility. Griffin's utter refusal to even listen to reason was astounding. I can't help but fear if you got him onto the subject of evolution he'd be just as bad.

Every fucking time, up to the end, his response was 'well, you say I need to explain the discrepencies in my theory, but you don't in yours', not realising that the very nature of the simple explanation for what happened is that the discrepencies don't matter.
Ugh.
posted by opsin at 4:53 PM on October 6, 2008


Hanlon's Razor.
Occam's Razor.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:53 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Blazecock, everyone is grokking what's going on except you.

That's not really the point. I don't intend to get into a debate about what happened, as much as I suspect we both agree on much (probably all) of the timeline and events, even if we may disagree on the causal relationships between and shared responsibilities of the parties involved on both sides.

I'm simply making an observation about how Griffin and Taibbi -- and folks just like those two -- have been set at each others throats to continue to debate the truth of a subject matter that has been closed off by this administration's overarching need to make everything -- through malicious culpability and/or criminal incompetence -- a secret.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:54 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I lost a friend in 9/11 too, but I refuse to write off any questioning of official story as equivalent and worthy of equal scorn just because I crave closure. I hate the way any questioning of the government story is shouted down as lunatic. Why is this one Bush Era Official Answer not questionable?

In this interview, Griffin sounds like an enormous tool, but Taibbi's questions are almost as dickish, as if it's a contest in assholery that he's determined to win. By the time Part II starts, Taibbi is most definitely being the bigger jerk, and trying to sound "cool" to boot.

Focusing on (apparent) contradictions, which is what it sounds like Griffin's book does (?), seems like a fine way to clear things up, though. Because if so, maybe that'll be a useful path to removing both the nagging questions as well as some of the backlash venom.

Like Justinian, my instinct is that most, if not all of any coverup voodoo here is probably "only" to hide incompetence, though I think the way the PNAC dominos fell is pretty discomforting too. But wanting to look at "who hid evidence of incompetence" and "who benefited" is not quite the same as "zomg! they radio controlled imaginary airplanes!"
posted by rokusan at 4:58 PM on October 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


“After all, the thing that was always the most unrealistic aspect of 9/11 Truther theory was this notion that anyone in power in this country would need to pull off a stunt like this in order to further its nebulous imperialist agenda. For the only conceivable motive for planning and executing a caper on this level would be to try to sway public opinion -- but public opinion has, for decades, already been more or less whatever the powers that be have wanted it to be.”

So...congress would have authorized the Iraq war anyway? Really?
The Habbush letter was real?
There was in fact yellowcake uranium from Niger being delivered to Iraq?
Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass distruction?
The Downing Street memo was bullshit?

I mean, why would they just make that stuff up if public opinion on Iraq is whatever they want it to be?

“All of this 9/11 Truther stuff, it's a silly distraction.... just can't afford to be wasting its time arguing about thermite reactions and "morphing technology."”

That’s true. I’m much more curious why the Bush administration would stonewall a non-partisan investigation.
Or how Cheney never really broke his ties to Halliburton.
Or the whole “we don’t torture” (by the way, we have to torture) thing.
Stuff like that.

I don’t get where Griffin’s coming from. I mean, this weird ass stuff is obvious.
So - yeah, waste of time.

But does anyone honestly believe that these people would send their country to war, kill scores of of their own solidiers not to mention many many otherwise innocent people in Iraq - but oh, no way we’d kill a few thousand people on our home soil. Why?
Because they’re Americans too?
Because they’re ‘incompetant’? (Yeah, folks with millions of dollars in their pockets and the resources of the last superpower in the world at their fingertips - what fuck ups they are, eh? Not smart like you and me - ‘scuse me while I drive off in my used 4x4.)

Honestly, I don’t care to bicker about details (which are mostly red herrings here and even in the case of some of the best evidence I’m admittedly an agnostic on) - either folks think it’s possible for individuals occupying the highest officers in their own government to do something like this or it isn’t.

Considering that more people in the past century died of Democide than any other cause like war, etc. - I’ll have to say, generally speaking - yes.
Did it happen here? I don’t know. But don’t tell me it’s ‘not possible’ man, sheesh.
This is on the level of arguing ‘God’ with a street preacher and using it as an example of cosmology.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:01 PM on October 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah, having lived in NYC a long time, I most definitely refuse to believe Guiliani could ever shut up about anything.

Griffin seems to be trying to take all sorts of loose ends, some that ring true and some that do not, and tie them up into some increasingly-implausible (and very tangled) Grand Theory. I wish Taibbi would have remained more professional and coolly dissected Griffin's grander notions instead of dipping into "righteous rage" and insult.

(Note: I'm a crazy nutcase who reflexively distrusts anything this government says, so this tends to pollute my perception.)
posted by rokusan at 5:06 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a huge difference between asking 'questions' about the official story and having an intricately detailed minute-by-minute alternate history plotted out that you have an absolute religious fervor for. The troofers aren't asking questions, they're hiding from them.
posted by mattholomew at 5:11 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


“The troofers aren't asking questions, they're hiding from them.”

Yeah, solid point. This guy’s a nut.

I still can’t get over Bush Doctrine of striking first and unilateral invasion = “nebulous imperialist agenda.”
Preemption, Military Primacy, New Multilateralism, and the spread of ideology, that’s not imperialist?

Neocons long advocating the overthrow of Hussein, the PNAC original Statement of Principles with members Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, direct application of power full spectrum including unilateral military involvement, war of aggression, the whole:
“We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime”
that’s “Nebulous”?
Seriously?
Did they mince words there at some point?

That 9/11 perfectly dovetailed with their entire agenda could be anything from a coincidence to direct action.
But there’s no way this isn’t what they had in mind going down over the adminstration’s tenure.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:15 PM on October 6, 2008


Exactly, Mattholomew. I hate the way anyone daring to mistrust any part of the whole thing is immediately lumped into your alternate-history group. It's all either/or, like so much of modern red/blue America. Depressing, really.
posted by rokusan at 5:16 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Through the 9/11 Commission Report, we have Bush and Cheney's explanation for 9/11 accepted without question.

It's really quite simple.

The towers fell down because a very large plane flew into them, comprising several structural members, and then those planes set a very large, uncontrolled fire, which weakened the remaining structure until they collapsed. The collapse of 1WTC damaged a number of structural members of 7WTC, and set a large fire -- crumble, ignite, repeat.

The weakening of steel in what would seem to be mild heat is well known by anyone who even glances at a basic text on metallurgy.

The fact that the 9/11 truthers fail so badly at physics and metallurgy -- subjects I am qualified to judge -- leads me to believe that they are probably just as wrongheaded in subjects I am not qualified to judge.

I'm reminded of Sagan's critique of Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. He noted that he found many of the biblical comparisons interesting, but the science was so utterly bad that the theory was clearly untenable. Later, talking to a priest, he found that the priest had found the scientific theory quite interesting, but the biblical theory was completely nonsensical.

Indeed, if I were to posit a conspiracy theory, I'd say that Bush is *paying* the 9/11 truthers, so that anyone trying to investigate the real happenings of the day could be dismissed as one of those crackpots who thinks that the CIA, with the help of the Gnomes of Zurich and the Orbital Mind Control Lasers, blew up the WTC using liquid explosives made from Gatorade.
posted by eriko at 5:37 PM on October 6, 2008 [20 favorites]


“nebulous imperialist agenda.”

It's more of a nebulous imperialist mandate rather than any sort of specific agenda.
posted by spiderwire at 5:42 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The idea that there is any room at all to debate what physically happened regarding airliners, buildings, etc is insanity, plain and simple. There's not a shred of evidence, physical or circumstantial that even implies otherwise. These are 'truthers' and IMO deserving of therapy or, failing that, internet ridicule and two-minutes-hate.

Of course we can all debate who knew what when and sundry details like that but by its very nature we'll never really have any concrete facts until everyone involved is long dead. So arguing about What Happened That Day is either madness or pointless.

On Preview: what eriko said.
posted by Skorgu at 5:42 PM on October 6, 2008


God, did I just read all that?

Look, I sympathize with Taibbi, and see plenty of myself in him, but he's not arguing effectively. The simplest answer is to continue to assert the laws of causality and probability.

For example, sure, let's say that there was thermite residue in the wreckage of the WTC. Does that mean that thermite may have been used? Sure, yeah. Does it mean that it was used, or even that it was likely that it was used? No. Or, the continued assertion that no other building like this had collapsed in the same manner absent explosives. Well, given the fairly uncommon underlying structure of the WTC, and the fairly small number of buildings even halfway similar that have been demolished—hell, let's even leave aside that. That something has not happened before is not evidence that it did not happen. That's basic logic; you can't argue from lack of evidence and be sound in your conclusions.

Every single gap or discrepancy adds to the conclusion that the official story has gaps and discrepancies, not that the conclusion reached (CONSPIRACY) is valid.

But OH MY GOD, folks who saw the crash with their own eyes don't necessarily agree! Rent this guy Rashomon and get him the fuck out of here.
posted by klangklangston at 5:50 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, there's plenty of science and factual evidence supporting the official position on 9/11 (or close enough for government work). This information is presented in boring documents that no one reads unless they're professionally compelled to do so. Meanwhile, as with anything of any significant complexity, there are cracks and leaps of logic that doubters will use to get their foot in the proverbial door (see also: "what good is half an eye" regarding evolution).

Truthers use this ignorance of the evidence, and the fact that the evidence is not and will never be and can never be exhaustive, as the foundation of their platform. Any claim that can fit into a logical gap in the official story, must fit into it until conclusively disproved... and the moment it is, they can just concoct a new theory. It's like the million monkeys at a million typewriters, except the core truthers are pretending that EVERYTHING the monkeys type is Hamlet.

But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Some people are just healthy skeptics who are exploring other options. We want to keep those people on our side, and Taibbi's patronizing, platitudinous questions make us look like the ones failing basic rigor. Griffin's positions are well worth condescension, but condescending lowers us more than it does them.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:12 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


“It's really quite simple.
The towers fell down because a very large plane flew into them,”

Yeah, I think that’s where the trolley leaves the rails. (Although the official explaination has huge gaps - even in the most elementary physical discriptions. The official story on WTC7 sounded like complete bs to me. Essentially (and maybe it was the fault of the press, I don’t know) “it was fire.” Well, buildings don’t just collapse because of fire. So I did some digging and found, yes, WTC7 had taken a major hit from falling debris. Why should I have to chase down that information myself? “Uh, fire” doesn’t cut it for me. I can see how someone bit more emotional can get in a twist about it)

But - the official motive was - what? They hate our freedom?

There are conversations to be had here as to who knew what, when they knew it, why rules were changed just before 9/11, why they were changed back after, all sorts of SOP stuff that went seriously awry that day. But most certainly on foreign policy and what it is we’re pursuing that would drive some folks to do this.

That conversation is most definately not being had. And it is in favor of this wacko nonsense. Given the long standing history of disinformation and agents provocateurs (COINTELPRO, the NYPD at the 2004 RNC, et.al.) I’d take only a small grain of salt with the idea someone’s paying these folks to be wackos.
Maybe they’re just emotional and bent up.

But hell, no one else is doing any investigating. We’re barely talking about foreign policy nationally, much less this.*
Someone somewhere’s happy about that whether by design or happenstance.
And things don’t just ‘happen’ in politics (to quote FDR)

* and we should. Terrorists don't just 'go away' if the policies that incited them remain.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:15 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


All this gibberish about the melting points of steel and demolition squibs makes me suspect eriko is correct - the truthers are viewed as an asset by the guys at the top. What really needs to be investigated is the network of connections between arms dealers, power brokers, intelligence agencies and terrorists. And that's probably what the 911 commission is covering up, if anything: oops, we were messing with some shit and it blew up in our faces.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:15 PM on October 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


(And to be clear, I’m not countering Riki tiki’s position that it’s out there - I’m just saying it was a lousy job explaining it - maybe because the feds were trying to cover their asses? I dunno. Explaining it a certain way meant the insurance company paid off? I have no clue. Just saying, I shouldn’t have to do my own leg work when the commission I (and you) are paying to lay it all out for us says essentially ‘It’s ok, trust us.’ and pawns off the same ‘bad intelligence’ rhetoric the administration’s been using)
posted by Smedleyman at 6:19 PM on October 6, 2008


Are you people reading the same article I am? Because I'm about done with Part I and my attitude is, regardless of how insane Griffin's position may intuitively sound, he at least attempts to provide evidence and reasoning for why he thinks the way he does, whereas Taibbi basically just calls the guy an asshole. I am not a conspiracy advocate, but if you are going to engage in a debate, perhaps you should actually maybe DEBATE and not just roll your eyes and be like 'come on dude, you seriously fuckin believe that, like DUDE!'

Just so my position is clear: at least Griffin attempts to illuminate HIS (no matter how nutty) reasons for his position. I am seriously hoping that in parts 2 and 3 Taibbi attempts to provide rebuttals for the points that y'all think are so ludicrous. Because ya know, when Griffin says things like 'x,y and z survivors of the Pentagon crash say they saw NO airplane parts' I would like to hear someone whose job it is to rebut that shit give actual evidence like 'x, y and z are known publicity whores and are in such and such a group of nutters and nothing they say should be given any credence' versus just 'DUDE COME ON YOU ARE SO FUCKING STUPID!!'

I'll continue reading now and hope that Taibbi tears this dude to shreds with his actual intellect and, ya know, investigative journalism chops.
posted by spicynuts at 6:31 PM on October 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


People are still arguing about this stuff? You know there are real problems that need attention here in reality world.
posted by gallois at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


For example, sure, let's say that there was thermite residue in the wreckage of the WTC.

Okay. There was thermite residue in the remains of WTC.

I'd bet a large sum on this. Am I crazy?

No. Thermite is Iron(II,III) Oxide or or Iron(III) Oxide + aluminum. When it reacts, it releases lots of heat in this reaction.

Fe2O3+ 2 Al -> Al2O3 + 2 Fe + ΔH

(or)

Fe3O4 + 8 Al -> 4 Al2O3 + 9 Fe + ΔH

Thus. The "residue" of thermite is aluminum oxide and iron. I'm utterly unsurprised that they found such in the wreckage of the WTC, after heating up a bunch of aluminum and ferrous metals -- hell, there would have been a nontrivial amount of aluminum oxide and iron in the towers before they fell!
posted by eriko at 7:00 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


and the fact that the evidence is not and will never be and can never be exhaustive, as the foundation of their platform. Any claim that can fit into a logical gap in the official story, must fit into it until conclusively disproved... and the moment it is, they can just concoct a new theory.

Truthers should try to book their conventions with Creationists so they can get a group discount.
posted by Cyrano at 7:03 PM on October 6, 2008


Smedleyman:
So...congress would have authorized the Iraq war anyway? Really?
The Habbush letter was real?

Wait, the - if anything - more comical war against Panama was opposed by what majority in congress, remind me? And note that if they created this whole bloody conspiracy just to invade Iraq, why didn't they even bother to include one (1) Iraqi national in the terrorist roll call?. Why was there not a single immediate and obvious connection between Iraq and the hijackers? indeed why did the Bush administration from the first hours insist that it is Bin Laden's work, a person I remind you that had a very oppositional relation with the Iraqi regime? Instead they have to rely on some sort of fictional letter - which was so ridiculous that even Chalabi said it was a fake - two years after the fact?

There was in fact yellowcake uranium from Niger being delivered to Iraq?

No but this has nothing to do with 911. If you're claiming that the US government routinely tries to invent and forge things, and generally tries to misdirect, I'm with you. I will also agree enthusiastically with the premise that US governments are routinely engaged in crimes of war and nefarious deeds of all kinds. Hell, I'm certain that killing thousands of civilians would not be much of a moral concern with most of them. But there is a huge gaping abyss between forging a letter or committing war crimes against brown folks of the islamic faith and conspiring to commit murder on an unprecedented scale against US citizens, with thousands of complicit witnesses involved upon whose collective silence you depend for dear life (as obviously were such a conspiracy to be uncovered it would mean the death penalty for all involved). That's what Taibbi is saying and that's what Griffin does not answer.

Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass distruction?
Wait, actually this is a point against conspiracy theories; if the US government can routinely weave a conspiracy involving tens of thousands of government employees willingly taking part in the murder of 3000 of their countrymen, then surely, surely, they would be able to plant the odd chemical weapon factory in disrepair, the anthrax laboratories, the nuclear material, in occupied Iraq?

The Downing Street memo was bullshit?

I mean, why would they just make that stuff up if public opinion on Iraq is whatever they want it to be?


Again why would they bother going through all these diversions and lies were they responsible for 911? Why not involve an Iraqi, or someone with decent relations with Saddam? And "public opinion" in the US, as Taibbi notes, demonstrated against the war in numbers not seen since the sixties. They didn't care. They blew the war, destroyed a country completely, sank in a quagmire and *still* the Bush regime got re-elected (well, you know the way they usually get re-elected - and no one did anything about it).

How many would have lost sleep if Bush were to actually nuke Iran? Would a 9/11 be necessary?

And finally: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not only isn't Griffin providing it, he refuses to answer Taibbi's questions preferring instead to make his "case".
posted by talos at 7:07 PM on October 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Indeed, if I were to posit a conspiracy theory, I'd say that Bush is *paying* the 9/11 truthers, so that anyone trying to investigate the real happenings of the day could be dismissed as one of those crackpots...

That was also in the South Park episode.

I do think there's some Rove-style well-poisoning at play. Sure, I suspect they're hiding something, probably incompetence and maybe malfeasance... or another dozen Bin Laden Determined-type memos, maybe, because these clowns are ALWAYS hiding something. The way any questioning of any part of the White House's story is conflated with "ozmg troofers!" just shuts it all down perfectly. I just can't swallow that this is the only topic in the last 8 years that these guys have been honest about.

The nonsense about "steel can't melt!" is a perfect example of sound and fury, yup. I'm pretty sick of hearing that, too.
posted by rokusan at 7:22 PM on October 6, 2008


Again why would they bother going through all these diversions and lies were they responsible for 911?

That's one of the best lines of argument, Talos, and it seems to cut through some of the fog with the more wild-eyed theorists. If it was all some government run setup, after all, one would expect they'd have inserted at least one plausible Iraqi in there... maybe a Palestinian or two... someone other than our closest allies from the Kingdom of Saud.

But man, those dominoes. As much as they didn't do the deeds themselves, those lil' neocons must have cackled like evil toddlers at Christmas in the days following.

9/11 happened, and then we handed them everything they ever wanted... even the stuff they'd already stolen in secret.
posted by rokusan at 7:34 PM on October 6, 2008


And that's probably what the 911 commission is covering up, if anything: oops, we were messing with some shit and it blew up in our faces.

It's not too fucking hard to figure out. We supported these guys who called themselves "Taliban" because they were fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We siphoned money to a guy called Bin Laden and supported a bunch of puppet regimes in oil-rich Muslim countries, which pissed a lot of people off. We let the whole thing fester for a few decades and it bit us in the ass.

Oops, I just wrecked the coverup, curse those history books
posted by spiderwire at 8:22 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Taibbi basically just calls the guy an asshole.... I am seriously hoping that in parts 2 and 3 Taibbi attempts to provide rebuttals for the points that y'all think are so ludicrous...

Sadly, no. He just calls him an asshole some more. Louder, and in longer paragraphs.

(And he sure sounds like an asshole... but still, that's not what Taibbi should be doing here. It's weird when the voices playing the sane, rational role are the strident and intolerant ones.)
posted by rokusan at 8:31 PM on October 6, 2008


But there is a huge gaping abyss between forging a letter or committing war crimes against brown folks of the islamic faith and conspiring to commit murder on an unprecedented scale against US citizens, with thousands of complicit witnesses involved upon whose collective silence you depend for dear life (as obviously were such a conspiracy to be uncovered it would mean the death penalty for all involved). That's what Taibbi is saying and that's what Griffin does not answer.

Actually, a real covert-op would have probably taken a much simpler approach, requiring a lot fewer parties' involvement: Just identify some bad actors already known to our covert intelligence community to be actively engaged in a terrorist plot and then do a few little things here and there to help them make it a bigger than expected success (let one of the hijackers travel under a visa but don't tell the FBI until after he's already been in the country for a while, for example). Even the plotters themselves wouldn't have to know who that mysterious benefactor helping them get 'counterfeit' visas really is, and so on.

The fact that our civilian and military leadership and the intelligence community actually did once float a serious proposal to stage fake terrorist attacks in the US to hasten a war with Cuba (this is the "Operation Northwood" incident others mentioned above; note that someone recently vandalized the Wikipedia entry on the topic to suggest it's a hoax--but it's not; the source documents were all declassified through official channels and are available from the National Security Archives, so their authenticity is well-established, like it or not). Those plans were kept secret for something like 40 years or more, and they entailed nothing less ambitious than a 9-11 scale operation.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:32 PM on October 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


The fact that [sic] our civilian and military leadership and the intelligence community actually did once float a serious proposal to stage fake terrorist attacks in the US to hasten a war with Cuba [...] this is the "Operation Northwood" incident others mentioned above

Interestingly -- but perhaps unsurprisingly -- no one did mention this above.
posted by spiderwire at 8:39 PM on October 6, 2008


We siphoned money to a guy called Bin Laden and supported a bunch of puppet regimes in oil-rich Muslim countries, which pissed a lot of people off. We let the whole thing fester for a few decades and it bit us in the ass.

You mean the same Bin Laden whose family until recently owned the controlling share in Bechtel, one of the firms given no-bid contracts for the Iraq War cleanup? The same Bin Ladens who bailed out George W's failing oil company?

When you really step back and look it, it's basically just the story of two black sheep from wealthy families (one whose grandfather bankrolled the Nazis and plotted to overthrow FDR; the other whose culture just hates ours for having too much freedom, or so we're told), each in different ways and for different reasons doing his best to destroy America, isn't it?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:43 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


You mean the same Bin Laden whose family until recently owned the controlling share in Bechtel, one of the firms given no-bid contracts for the Iraq War cleanup?

No, I was referring to the Bin Laden of Broadway musical fame
posted by spiderwire at 8:47 PM on October 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


No, I was referring to the Bin Laden of Broadway musical fame

Oh I love that one! No one does "jazz hands" better!
posted by saulgoodman at 8:50 PM on October 6, 2008


Saulgoodman is getting mixed up with the other conspiracy thread from yesterday, which did mention Operation Northwood.

All these conspiracy threads happening at the same time... seems kinda suspicious... hmmm....
posted by rokusan at 8:56 PM on October 6, 2008


Bin Laden: The Musical
posted by rokusan at 8:57 PM on October 6, 2008


Spiderwire, not that I don't occasionally mangle my grammar, but your snooty little '[sic]' really wasn't necessary if you only meant to make a grammatical point--or if it was necessary, you put it in the wrong place (that string of conjunctions at the beginning of the subordinate clause is clumsily constructed, sure, but if you meant to point out some imaginary subject/verb agreement issue here, there isn't one--'fact' should be singular here).

If on the other hand, you meant to make a clever point about the controversial nature of the factual claim, then you still overstepped.

It's a fact that the proposal was floated; it's not conjecture. The source documents detailing the plan were declassified through normal channels and have never been officially disputed, to my knowledge. And here they are at the National Security Archives. So the fact that the plan was floated is not in dispute. Controversy tends to focus on the question of whether anyone in leadership really took the plan seriously, or if it was a speculative planning exercise.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:20 PM on October 6, 2008


This piece was made 100 percent better when I stopped reading the Truther's ornate bullshit and just skipped to the Taibbi pieces.

I'm simply making an observation about how Griffin and Taibbi -- and folks just like those two -- have been set at each others throats to continue to debate the truth of a subject matter that has been closed off by this administration's overarching need to make everything -- through malicious culpability and/or criminal incompetence -- a secret.

I think you should read the entirety of Taibbi pieces, because I think you'll like it, because he touches on that sentiment somewhat -- that there's much more bullshit happening out in the open, which both belies the Truther's claims and raises the possibility that we're missing it because we're focused on bullshit like the Truther movement itself.

But I think it fudges things not to conceal a giant government conspiracy to murder thousands of innocent civilians and cause untold financial damage, but to cover the asses of a bunch of incompetents.

This concept reminds me of the hulabaloo about "UFO cover-ups" at Roswell. People forget that Roswell was the home of the 509th Bomb Group, which at the time was the only military organization in charge of nuclear weapons. Given what we now know about human radiation testing and other Cold War shenanigans, it shouldn't surprise anyone that something, somewhere at Roswell was covered up. It just wasn't aliens.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:21 PM on October 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Spiderwire, not that I don't occasionally mangle my grammar, but your snooty little '[sic]' really wasn't necessary if you only meant to make a grammatical point--or if it was necessary, you put it in the wrong place (that string of conjunctions at the beginning of the subordinate clause is clumsily constructed, sure, but if you meant to point out some imaginary subject/verb agreement issue here, there isn't one--'fact' should be singular here).

Your sentence was half a syllogism followed by a long parenthetical, and consequently didn't make sense. I assumed that the beginning of your sentence was intended to read, "The fact is that," as then it would be making a claim which the parenthetical would be qualify. I thought it a conservative edit. But yes, your sentence did require a [sic] somewhere, though you can take it as "snooty" if that sort of thing really gets your hackles up, I suppose.
posted by spiderwire at 9:39 PM on October 6, 2008


Given what we now know about human radiation testing and other Cold War shenanigans, it shouldn't surprise anyone that something, somewhere at Roswell was covered up.

Now imagine if for making that (very conservative and reasonable) conjecture you're immediately labeled a wacko conspiracy troll and thrown into the same camp as the most radical alien autopsy crazy-people, ridiculed and dismissed.

While you're still dizzy, notice that you're now every person who dares ask "What the fuck were these simulated terrorist hijackings on 9/11, anyway, and why the hell was Cheney, of all people, involved?"
posted by rokusan at 10:13 PM on October 6, 2008


But - the official motive was - what? They hate our freedom?

I don't think any reasonable person really believed this, once the dust settled. Arundhati Roy pointed out that if this had been an attack on "freedom" and "democracy", why not fly into the Statue of Liberty during tourist hours? That would have been a tremendous "fuck you" to democracy. No, the hijackers flew into the financial and defense centres of America. Because, as bin Laden himself said, this was retribution for America's support of Israel and the deaths of Iraqi children due to Gulf War 1 and the sanctions.

Seriously, the only surprise - given the amount of hate that had been building up against America, and the willful ignorance of the intelligence community and executive branch - was that this didn't happen sooner. The only cover-up going on takes the form of the various and sundry officials pointing fingers and making half-truths to cover their own incompetent asses, which collectively makes for one dubious commission report.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:49 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Are you people reading the same article I am? Because I'm about done with Part I and my attitude is, regardless of how insane Griffin's position may intuitively sound, he at least attempts to provide evidence and reasoning for why he thinks the way he does, whereas Taibbi basically just calls the guy an asshole. I am not a conspiracy advocate, but if you are going to engage in a debate, perhaps you should actually maybe DEBATE and not just roll your eyes and be like 'come on dude, you seriously fuckin believe that, like DUDE!'

Ayup. My reaction pretty much. Taibbi failed pretty miserably here, even if I do sympathize with him. Anybody who's been around the block enough times knows that you got to stand well back from the crazy, or you're going to get that shit all over you.

On the other hand, I am sympathetic to the general idea that the fuckers in Washington are more evil as well as more incompetent than we know.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:09 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I assumed that the beginning of your sentence was intended to read, "The fact is that," as then it would be making a claim which the parenthetical would be qualify.

"Would be qualify?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:10 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, that whole first paragraph is a quote. I messed up. COMMENT TRUTHERS UNITE!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:12 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a general rule, criminal conspiracies don't lead to advances in material science.
posted by Malor at 12:29 AM on October 7, 2008


I think Taibbi comes off as impatient because he's just spent months writing an investigative book about the Truther movement. In The Great Derangement he pretty effectively debunks most of their talking points.

Here's a funny excerpt from the book wherein he imagines the conversation in the smoke-filled room where Cheney and company came up with the conspiracy.
posted by Optamystic at 12:36 AM on October 7, 2008


It's not too fucking hard to figure out. We supported these guys who called themselves "Taliban" because they were fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We siphoned money to a guy called Bin Laden and supported a bunch of puppet regimes in oil-rich Muslim countries, which pissed a lot of people off. We let the whole thing fester for a few decades and it bit us in the ass.

Mmm hmmm. What needs to be investigated is how long the connections were open, and whether or not intelligence agencies had connections to terrorists right up to the event. Was there an Emad Salem type on the inside? That'd be grounds for CYA.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Taibbi's book has its origins in a couple of articles he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine: :The Idiocy behind the '9/11 truth' movement", and "Before the 9/11 Conspiracies, There Was the Oklahoma Bombing". He describes his interactions with the 911 truth crowd: it isn't really surprising that he should be rather aggressive towards its proponents.

And IMHO after the first question there is no room but for comedy: Griffin states that not only has the Bush cabal managed to stage a near perfectly orchestrated plot of mass murder, on an unprecedented scale, inside the US, which has been kept pretty much under wraps to this day despite the fact that hundreds - nay thousands - of people knew about it, but that this plot was perpetrated by people who were blindingly incompetent in managing it every which way - or as Griffin says: "perhaps the planners were not very bright". IMHO there is not much to say after that than "come on dude, you seriously fuckin believe that, like DUDE!", but Taibbi still manages to ask questions which also go pretty much unanswered by any meaningful definition. I'm disappointed that he didn't respond with the "Nancy May" to the charge that perhaps Ted Olson really wanted his wife dead and he lied because he was part of the conspiracy:
With regard to Ted Olson, your argument is based on the assumption that his wife, Barbara Olson, really died, and that he truly loved her. Both of those things may well be true. But I certainly do not know that they are, and I suspect that you do not, either.
That is a sort of logic Taibbi has to argue with throughout the piece. Not knowing whether Ted Olson loved his wife, or whether she is "really dead", means that he was in on a conspiracy to off her along with thousands of others or that she's hiding really well, leaving behind a life of luxury to live in some sort of witness protection program on steroids, one presumes. I don't think that a meaningful debate is possible.

None of this is meant to imply that the Bush cabal is not insanely evil, or that they had the slightest pangs of conscience for causing close to a million dead Iraqis and 4 million refugees. I wouldn't even dismiss the "they allowed it to happen through inaction" conspiracy theory off-hand. However to believe that something as implausibly elaborate and pretty much unhidable as this was necessary to rally the US public around the flag and attack an oil-rich country, flies in the face of known historical precedents.
posted by talos at 5:50 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


They aren't covering up that they knew about it in advance, they are covering up that they didn't know about it in advance and they goddamn well should have.

Quoted for fucking truth.
"With regard to Ted Olson, your argument is based on the assumption that his wife, Barbara Olson, really died, and that he truly loved her. Both of those things may well be true. But I certainly do not know that they are, and I suspect that you do not, either."
Oh, man. Dude.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:19 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think Taibbi comes off as impatient because he's just spent months writing an investigative book about the Truther movement.

And yet, Griffin has spent 7 years writing what, SIX books I think, and manages to display both patience and civility. Which must be extremely difficult for such a nutter. Whereas Taibbi, who has something like 99% of this particular audience on his side, is foaming at the mouth after writing ONE book?
posted by spicynuts at 6:19 AM on October 7, 2008


To be fair, it's not really clear that Ted Olson would even be capable of love as humans know it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:28 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is almost as embarrassing as the debate tour with George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens.

Note to Taibbi:

Your personal sense of outrage doesn't automatically serve as a barometer for what makes a good story.

Also, of all the things to get upset about, Griffin's pretty far down on the list. This is like Richard Dawkins writing a missive on how much Christians piss him off. Yeah, we get it ...
posted by krinklyfig at 7:50 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


No TL;DR tag?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:54 AM on October 7, 2008


I wouldn't even dismiss the "they allowed it to happen through inaction" conspiracy theory off-hand. However to believe that something as implausibly elaborate and pretty much unhidable as this.

Bad news for you, Talos: by suggesting even THAT, you'll now be officially thrown in the full-blown conspiracy wacko camp, and any future comments you make regarding 9/11, the government, or commercial aircraft will be ridiculed because you're a troofer now, like it or not, and fair game for scorn.

See, on 9/11 alone, there's no room for degrees of skepticism. It's all black/white, official story or nutcase, with no room at all in between. It's that sort of intolerance, which is now hip, that turns otherwise rational skeptics into White House apologists. It also scares a lot of people who might otherwise question the official story into silence.

"Shut up and believe what the government says, or you're a retard." is the new cool.
posted by rokusan at 8:58 AM on October 7, 2008


I thought I was interested in this subject before I started reading the article. By the eighth or ninth paragraph I realized that I'm not interested anymore.
posted by JT at 9:04 AM on October 7, 2008


Your sentence was half a syllogism followed by a long parenthetical, and consequently didn't make sense. I assumed that the beginning of your sentence was intended to read, "The fact is that,"

spiderwire: I'm sorry. On review, that's exactly right, and I shouldn't have taken such umbrage to your correction. I didn't even properly parse my own sentence!

posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 AM on October 7, 2008


"The fact that our civilian and military leadership and the intelligence community actually did once float a serious proposal to stage fake terrorist attacks in the US to hasten a war with Cuba (this is the "Operation Northwood" incident others mentioned above; note that someone recently vandalized the Wikipedia entry on the topic to suggest it's a hoax--but it's not; the source documents were all declassified through official channels and are available from the National Security Archives, so their authenticity is well-established, like it or not). Those plans were kept secret for something like 40 years or more, and they entailed nothing less ambitious than a 9-11 scale operation."

I remember reading a discussion with someone who used to work for the DoD, perhaps even here on MeFi, where he talked about how he worked in an office where the only goal was to come up with incredibly outlandish scenarios and float them for criticism and comment internally. He said, basically, that everyone trying to make a name for themselves tries to come up with the most offensive, evil, and absurdly memorable plans possible—that everything from killing every firstborn son in Iraq to nuking Lichtenstein has been "proposed" and commented on, under the theory that it's always better to have a plan if something "unexpected" happens. These are the same folks who say things like, assume an alien invasion that includes clones.

So that "plans" were "floated" for any obscene eventuality no longer surprises me, and I don't see it as evidence of a government inclined to act on those plans.
posted by klangklangston at 9:21 AM on October 7, 2008


""With regard to Ted Olson, your argument is based on the assumption that his wife, Barbara Olson, really died, and that he truly loved her. Both of those things may well be true. But I certainly do not know that they are, and I suspect that you do not, either.""

And Taibbi should have hit him for solipsism here—Frankly, his rebuttal is based on the assumption that both Ted Olson and his wife exist. I've never met them.

In fact, the whole conspiracy is based on the assumption that the WTC attacks occurred. I wasn't there; I doubt either Taibbi or Griffen were there. I've never met anyone who was there, directly. Wasn't one of the comments about the WTC attack how much it looked like special effects? If "voice morphing" as employed by the government is so sophisticated, why couldn't they have faked the entire thing?

HOW DO I KNOW YOU EXIST MR. GRIFFIN?
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


See, on 9/11 alone, there's no room for degrees of skepticism. It's all black/white, official story or nutcase, with no room at all in between. It's that sort of intolerance, which is now hip, that turns otherwise rational skeptics into White House apologists. It also scares a lot of people who might otherwise question the official story into silence.

Oh, whatever. This, in your comments, is the first time I've ever even heard of such an attitude, so it really can't be all that widespread. Given that most of the people commenting in this thread seem to hold a similar viewpoint to talos, as do I, you might be a little over-alarmist.
posted by LionIndex at 9:29 AM on October 7, 2008


I think Taibbi comes off as impatient because he's just spent months writing an investigative book about the Truther movement.

...Which raises a critical point for me: As much as the Truther movement with all its bizarre and incredulous speculation is, I think we can all agree, an enormous waste of time and energy, how much bigger a waste is it to devote time and energy to debunking and/or ridiculing them?

When Taibbi or anyone else lets themselves be drawn into clashes with the Truthers, time and energy is absorbed into the quivering miasma of the Truther movement. Months spent writing books that malign an already marginalized movement with no practical influence on mainstream opinion is time not spent figuring out what actually went wrong on 9/11 and why. In fact, it just helps add more support to the idea that the Truthers are making arguments that are worth arguing about.

Clashing with the Truthers just adds a few more clowns to the circus, it doesn't draw the crowds away from it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:37 AM on October 7, 2008


So that "plans" were "floated" for any obscene eventuality no longer surprises me, and I don't see it as evidence of a government inclined to act on those plans.

Yeah, I tried to point out the controversy surrounding that point earlier, too. My understanding, though, is that this particular plan drew a lot of attention precisely because it did seem to go well beyond the kind of purely speculative planning that's SOP for the DoD (it was signed off on by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went through several higher level steps of review, etc.).

Also, just because US civilian and military leadership ultimately decided the plan didn't pass a sanity check, that doesn't mean the plan didn't have real support within the military rank and file. Whoever conceived it might have taken it a lot more seriously than those around him/her did.

And this plan was hatched roughly in the same era as: So we took a lot of very psychotic plans seriously enough to implement them in those days.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on October 7, 2008


Frankly, his rebuttal is based on the assumption that both Ted Olson and his wife exist. I've never met them.

This reminds me, as I read the article, it struck me that from time to time Griffin acts like a Fair Witness from Stranger In A Strange Land. He refuses to make any assumptions in support of the official story, no matter how reasonable. Maddening.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:06 AM on October 7, 2008



And yet, Griffin has spent 7 years writing what, SIX books I think, and manages to display both patience and civility.


To me, it looks more like Griffin immediately started typing overly-wordy enthusiastic responses in a huff. Really, blowhards don't answer in concise statements, they get paranoid and excitable and chew your ear off with all kinds of babble that have very little to do with your assertions or the questions asked.

Which is what Taibbi does to an extent, but he's just a blowhard, not the blowhard being challenged here. If you whittle Griffin's responses down to a single sentence per challenge, the shit still doesn't make any sense. It comes down to "I am ignoring the relevance of your assertion because I have this other shit over here that does not make sense, so your assertion also smells funny, therefore the truth is not as it seems."
posted by mikeh at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2008


It's all black/white, official story or nutcase, with no room at all in between. It's that sort of intolerance, which is now hip, that turns otherwise rational skeptics into White House apologists...

Oh, whatever. This, in your comments, is the first time I've ever even heard of such an attitude, so it really can't be all that widespread.

Maybe not. I know I'm at least as sick of blowback overreaction to skepticism as I am of the truther grand-master-conspiracy stuff. It's like idiotic one-upsmanship.

So... yeah, I do think a lot of sane people get shouted down unfairly. Maybe not here, now, yet. And that's good. Apologies for the pre-emptive (?) alarm.
posted by rokusan at 11:01 AM on October 7, 2008


[Griffin's response] comes down to "I am ignoring the relevance of your assertion because I have this other shit over here that does not make sense, so your assertion also smells funny, therefore the truth is not as it seems."

Is it too late to nominate him for VP?
posted by rokusan at 11:02 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Wait, the - if anything - more comical war against Panama was opposed by what majority in congress, remind me?”

Ok - the war in Panama didn’t need congressional approval. Under the War Powers resolution presidents can operate the forces in certain ways (I don’t particularly like how it’s done, but there it is). The president in fact reported to congress under the war powers resolution. Although some members of the mostly Republican congress at the time favored stronger and called for Bush I to beef up measures and work with other countries to remove Noriega - even if they did have a problem with it - congress really didn’t get a chance to say anything about it.
If you remember the Senate adopted an amendment oking going after Noriega with law enforcement and multinational forces - they had in fact defeated an amendment authorizing Bush I to go in with military force to remove Noriega.
But when Bush did go in, ostensibly against what congress manifestly had in mind, they couldn’t say anything about it really - congress was out of session.
The first session ended Nov. 22, 1989, the second session didn’t begin until Jan. 23, 1990. The operation began, more or less, December 20 and was winding down by the time congress got back in session it was a done deal. Most of the extra combat forces left about 60 days after their deployment.
And it was popular with the public after the fact, so not a lot of congressmen raised a stink about it.
But again - that’s my point - he got away with that didn’t he? Right, wrong, good, bad, it’s a done deal. He got his way.

“Why was there not a single immediate and obvious connection between Iraq and the hijackers?”

I have no idea. Iraq had WMDs, remember?

“indeed why did the Bush administration from the first hours insist that it is Bin Laden's work, a person I remind you that had a very oppositional relation with the Iraqi regime?”

Really? bin Laden and Saddam were at odds? Gosh, I thought they were really chummy. Or did I just hallucinate all the rhetoric talking about the links between Saddam, Iraq, and The Base?

“No but this has nothing to do with 911.”

No but the statement: “ After all, the thing that was always the most unrealistic aspect of 9/11 Truther theory was this notion that anyone in power in this country would need to pull off a stunt like this in order to further its nebulous imperialist agenda”- does.

The point being they have manifestly pulled off myriad other stunts in order to futher the imperialist agenda - so...

“If you're claiming that the US government routinely tries to invent and forge things, and generally tries to misdirect, I'm with you”

Then we agree on my core point.


“But there is a huge gaping abyss between forging a letter or committing war crimes against brown folks of the islamic faith and conspiring to commit murder on an unprecedented scale against US citizens, with thousands of complicit witnesses involved upon whose collective silence you depend for dear life”

No. No, there isn’t. I’ve just written about a guy getting shot in front of a whole party of people who went missing for more than two years.
That isn’t a theory.
Look, what were in contention here is over “could it be done?”
Not - was it done.
I’m not saying it was done. I don’t know. I have some substantial doubts in terms of practical effect (not complicity or ‘people wouldn’t’ or some such).

But I am saying yes, it could have been done. You don’t need thousands of people to be complicit, you only need to beguile some folks on the inside - that manifestly was done with the drills. You also need to have information and power directed through a few single points - that too was done with the changes in the law putting Rummy and Chaney center stage of ops and taking away decision making from some other folks.
From there it’s a simple matter of intimidation or subversion - blood or silver. You’re with us, and you take the money, power, privilege, etc. or you’re against us and you’re dead, perhaps your family, etc.
You don’t need thousands of people for a conspiracy. The less the better.

Indeed -the 9/11 operation itself from the terrorist POV - was a conspiracy - how’d they pull that one off? Just lucky? Our air defense was that bad? Did they just happen to pick the perfect day to execute the attack?
Why didn’t the terrorists have thousands of people in on it? Compartmentalization.

There have been thousands of successful conspiracies from the inception of our own government (revolution) to intelligence community operations, financial stuff like Enron which was only revealed after the whole company went down - and we’re still feeling the effects of that goddamned law that was slid in under the wire - and hell Watergate only got busted because of a fluke - that would have worked otherwise - you telling me G. Gordon Liddy would have eventually talked?

I don’t want to belabor this point and I’m chewing up a lot of space as it is -but do some research into basic conspiracies - you don’t need a lot of people to pull off big things. It’s that simple. I know this from an operational standpoint.

But from the other end - don’t make the assumption that the power isn’t shared. Anyone who had anything to gain by this would have been included. And they would keep their mouths shut.

I’ve spoken to many people who would press a button if it meant the death of someone (in China, say) and they got $1,000. It’s easy to keep upping the dollar amount until they say ‘yes.’ Most people say yes. I myself wouldn’t do it. I wondered about that (since I’m no blushing virgin) until I posed the question to my mom who was clearly appaled and said “that’s disgusting.”

But for the most part - killing 3,000 people and carting home, say, $100 million (at least, with a nice ‘more power’ cherry on top) is a no brainer for many folks. Especially the sort of folks who seek power and wealth (no big surprise, eh?).

It’s not like Katrina proved they wouldn’t let people die if they’re inconvenient, eh?

“then surely, surely, they would be able to plant the odd chemical weapon factory in disrepair, the anthrax laboratories, the nuclear material, in occupied Iraq?”

If I’ve already broken into your house and looted the place and gotten away with it - why do I need to keep the cover story in place?

“Again why would they bother going through all these diversions and lies were they responsible for 911?”

That’s a point arguing for “it did happen” - I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that it is within the realm of possiblity - given they’ve gone through all these other diversions and lies.
This point seems to argue - they’ve lied so much - why would they lie more?


“Not only isn't Griffin providing it, he refuses to answer Taibbi's questions preferring instead to make his "case".”


“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers” - Proverbs for Paranoids

Griffin’s case, especially in the details, doesn’t hold much water for me. I think I’ve been clear on that. But again - not saying it went down as an instrument of foreign policy - but there’s no practical reason why it couldn’t have.
And indeed - whether they did or not - they certainly exploited the hell out of it. So - if we’re talking why would they ‘bother’ - why bother bringing up 9/11 all the time after the fact if it was the single greatest example of their extraordinary incompetance and inability to safeguard the country?

Stop thinking I’m attacking your reasoning. You’re looking at this stuff as honest, forthright individuals who feel the need to cover something up when they’ve done something wrong.

That just isn’t the way of these things. “Right” doesn’t enter into it. Nor do looks. Only thing that matters is the bottom line. What’s done.

And that’s my argument against the “it’s impossible” thing. They’re in Iraq. Billions upon billions of taxpayers dollars have been spent (or suddenly gone missing) - with little explaination.
Maybe they didn’t need a stunt like this to pull it off. Maybe they thought they did. I don’t know.
Either way - it’s pretty clear they got away with something here isn’t it?
And if they got away with killing ‘brown people’ and stealing and funneling contracts to cronies and giving rotten food and shitty water to our own people - is there some reason to think they wouldn’t think they could get away with something else?



“And IMHO after the first question there is no room but for comedy: Griffin states that not only has the Bush cabal managed to stage a near perfectly orchestrated plot of mass murder, on an unprecedented scale, inside the US, which has been kept pretty much under wraps to this day despite the fact that hundreds - nay thousands - of people knew about it,”

Yeah. No one ever gets away with the large scale politically motivated killing of their own people. No preparation or conspiracy ever works because people always know about it and the perpetrators are just so shocked they totally just stop doing it and there’s never a dispute.

It’s happened many other places, countless number of times. Only real question is why it couldn’t happen here. I don’t buy the “because the U.S. is already so willing anyway” bullshit.
It’s like arguing whores can’t be raped.

"Concentrated political power is the most dangerous thing on earth." - Rummel

Was it probably like Griffin or other folks of that ilk say? No.
I don’t know that Bushco was directly behind it, I don’t know if they ‘let it happen’ or cover up after the fact or some variation.
But *could* they have? Yeah. Any of those things. But I really have no idea if they did.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


‘fait accompli’ - couldn’t remember that phrase. Gah.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2008


Indeed -the 9/11 operation itself from the terrorist POV - was a conspiracy - how’d they pull that one off? ... Why didn’t the terrorists have thousands of people in on it?

Exactly. The manifest fact that it didn't take thousands of people actively managing an elaborate master plan to pull of the 9/11 attacks is irrefutable proof that it doesn't require a massive coordinated effort to pull off such attacks.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:19 AM on October 7, 2008


"Exactly. The manifest fact that it didn't take thousands of people actively managing an elaborate master plan to pull of the 9/11 attacks is irrefutable proof that it doesn't require a massive coordinated effort to pull off such attacks."

That is not always true. A small business owner takes many years and many employees to build up a couple million in cash assets.

A bank robber takes an afternoon.
posted by PenDevil at 11:49 AM on October 7, 2008


So now we're arguing over whether the perpetrators had a work ethic?
posted by fleetmouse at 12:13 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The manifest fact that it didn't take thousands of people actively managing an elaborate master plan to pull of the 9/11 attacks is irrefutable proof that it doesn't require a massive coordinated effort to pull off such attacks.

But the Bush administration didn't just have to conduct the attacks. It had to conduct these attacks, make it look like just 19 guys, and operate a cover-up spanning dozens of military and civilian agencies. A completely different order of effort.

On a simple level, if you don't care about getting away with it (for instance because you will be killed in the act), commiting a crime is easy compared to commiting a crime and getting away with it so totally that the authorities don't even consider you a suspect.

it could have been done

That's impossible to deny, but people are jailed for things they are shown beyond reasonable doubt to have actually done, not what they're philosophically capable of. So for people who would like to see members of the Bush administration held accountable in a court of law, "9/11 Truth" is at best a sideshow. At worst it looks a lot like a Rovian ploy, but maybe that's thinking a bit too much like the Icke-alikes.
posted by WPW at 12:26 PM on October 7, 2008


"It comes down to "I am ignoring the relevance of your assertion because I have this other shit over here that does not make sense, so your assertion also smells funny, therefore the truth is not as it seems.""

The Chewbacca defense.
posted by klangklangston at 12:32 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I don't think any reasonable person really believed this, once the dust settled.”

I’m talking appearances and what the administration was trying to present. Don’t think for a moment I’m trying to refute what reasonable folks thought.

Beyond that - I favored going into Iraq at first dispite what I was seeing in the press because I knew several things that weren’t readily public. As it turns out, that was all b.s. Mostly for the benefit of people who were in the know and could make heavyweight decisions (not that I could, but I still do have a lot of contacts, and a lot of them got burned).

But as has been pointed out here - you don’t need to gull the public for long. And indeed - once gulled, you don’t even really need to cover anything up. Ideologues just invent a new story that retroactively covers what occured.

“but people are jailed for things they are shown beyond reasonable doubt to have actually done, not what they're philosophically capable of... So for people who would like to see members of the Bush administration held accountable in a court of law, "9/11 Truth" is at best a sideshow”

I agree with the second part. With the caviat that there isn’t a whole lot of other investigation going on. So yes, it’s amateurish and probably does more harm than good, but it’s not a side show, it’s center ring.
Unless we convene a nonpartisan impartial investigating committee. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

And that leads to my (slight) disagreement with the first part of your statement. While I agree we jail people for crimes based on evidence - we certainly investigate them if they had means, motive and opportunity (and we don’t have to prove motive).

Did they have means? Most certainly. If I have contacts to bin Laden through the intelligence community (and they did) or through his family (and they did), I can get him to run an operation to hit the towers. From my end I can plug up the response time just enough (run some simulations say, a training op) to give them a window to pull it off.

Did they have opportunity? Most certainly. They rewrote certain key laws giving them exactly that kind of opportunity. Irrespective of whether this was through direct malfeasence or incompetance or whatever.

Did they have motive? Most certainly. Indeed, it’s been the stated purpose of key members of the Bush administration to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. There was even (albiet conjecture) a statement to the effect that another type of event on the order of Pearl Harbor being necessary. I’ll grant there’s some latitude there in that perhaps they could have (and manifestly did) pursue other means to get us into a war with Iraq, so perhaps motive doesn’t have the kind of weight behind it that it should.
But again, we don’t need to prove motive to convict.

Now I’m not arguing the likelyhood of an honest investigation happening. I’d like to see one - and really I’d like to see it proven that they had nothing to do with it and that there was some low level but critically placed dufus who leaked information to the hijackers and maybe some propaganda/black bag arm of The Base filled some guy’s pocket to get the law changed regarding air defense response or lobby for it - whatever.

If only to have some ground, some legitimacy to the Bush government -just to know there’s some line somewhere they wouldn’t cross.

I suspect tho’ it’d be something on the order of the investigation into Abu Ghraib. Bunch of fall guys and not one top level officer gets gigged (well, Karpinski lost rank, but A. BFD and B. I’d put her in the ‘fall guy’ category).

But I readily cede there’s a range of plausibility here correlated with the amount of effort one has to do - or would have to do - to uncover evidence and as a result, there’s a whole lot of unsubstantiated speculation.

My argument is more toward a graduation vs. any hard and fast lines. I’m not positing a “you can’t prove God doesn’t exist” argument. More of a quantum theory of truth here - some things are more probable than others - and that’d be one of my criticisms of the official 9/11 story.

F’rinstance - in the Abu Ghraib case, like the 9/11 stuff - there appears to be a great deal of information that is ‘privileged’ - we’re not allowed to see. Some lawmakers saw it. The public didn’t.
So by definition - they’re withholding information. Reason enough to investigate. I’d sure like to know the truth of any matter - whatever it is.
At the very least for accountability and transparency.

Otherwise we have these kind of speculative clusterfucks which completely destroys the credibility and legitimacy of the government AND the people who are looking for the truth of things.

I mean - even if this particular event happened exactly the way they say it did (and even if it did - we’re still leaving out huge swaths of culpability - one of which was raised above in terms of blowback from running bin Laden in Afghanistan against the Soviets).

But whatever it is - they’ve gotten so used to obfuscation they apparently do it by knee jerk. And they have obfuscated it and emotionalized it and used 9/11 time and again politically to make it mean what they want it to mean.
(Whether they did it or not, they sure got away with it)

So whether we completely buy the official story or think it was UFOs from beneath the hollow earth that hit the towers - no one really trusts the Bush adminstration anyway, yeah?

But you’ve got otherwise level headed folks actually defending the administrations position on this vs. the emotional folks, the “wackos” (and the wackos!), etc. etc. - precisely because they’re looking for the objective truth.
(And if it is such nonsense -why waste the time ‘debunking’ it on behalf of the Bush administration? Does anyone seriously engage the holocaust deniers? Or stick up for their points that are factually correct? No. F’em. Same deal here. I mean - what’s the investment? Ok, some whackjobs think on 9/11 the towers were hit by missiles. So? Only reason I can see to decry them is that folks think something other than that happened - either the official story or some variation of the con. If it’s the official story - why? Who gives a shit if Bushco catches some grief? Let some nutjob ask Bush if he’s stopped wearing his grandma’s panties - just to hear him have to deny it. Or you’re an apologist for the Bush administration. Otherwise - folks are looking to reduce the signal to noise ratio - and then why not agree that some legitimate investigation - sans flying saucer theories - needs to be done and take the dupes money to fund it?)

Meh, it is a bit of a waste of time all around, I’d agree.

And for any folks on either side of the equation - there are plenty of other things to go after Bushco for, investigate, etc. - that have a higher probability of bearing fruit because there’s more evidence for it and so it’s more plausible and you’ll get less resistance from the objectively minded.

So yeah, there are other things more worth spending time on in terms of investigating and indicting Bushco on than their involvement on 9/11, tough to prove anything - I’ll readily agree.

And yet...none of those other more serious investigations seem to be happening, do they?

And doesn’t look like they will happen any time soon either, do they?

So...Fait accompli. What the hell do they have to fear or worry about covering up?

Hell they could admit it like Ollie North (that would be treason he admittd to btw, but he got off - thanks ACLU!) and wind up ‘heroes’ because they did it for the good of the country. Get their own talk shows too.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:09 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Obviously that last was a bit of hyperbole)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:16 PM on October 7, 2008


But the Bush administration didn't just have to conduct the attacks. It had to conduct these attacks, make it look like just 19 guys, and operate a cover-up spanning dozens of military and civilian agencies. A completely different order of effort.

No, the Bush administration didn't have to conduct the attacks and make it look like someone else. Why should they when they could just make it easier for someone else to do it? It's not like no one's ever tried to bring down the WTC before, like it was some big secret the towers had in many eyes a pair of giant bulls-eyes painted on the side of them. Helping someone else pull it off with minimal exposure would be a cinch. For example, an extremist group with close ties to foreign intelligence services with whom our intelligence services maintain working relationships (an outfit known for its willingness to get even the ugliest jobs done) might lend a hand, say. We might start sending that country billions in essentially untraceable payments to encourage their cooperation. It's a crazy idea, sure, but it might begin to seem less incredible if there were some evidence of administration officials having ever previously engaged in illegal activities with those same foreign intelligence services. But I'm just talking crazy now, of course.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:48 PM on October 7, 2008


“But I'm just talking crazy now, of course.”

That is the hell of it. At the time some things are so monstrous they sound like crazy talk. Especially if you start talking motive.
And if you’re on the inside - really there’s nowhere to go. Hell, even the lowlevel whistleblowers are eaten alive (Bunny Greenhouse comes to mind).

One of the great films on conspiracy was “ Conspiracy ” with Kenneth Branagh.
One of the best moments was when Kritzinger, deputy head of the Reich Chancellery shouted that the Fuhrer had denied - personally denied - that the Jews were being exterminated.
And Heydrich says “And he will continue to do so.”
And there’s this pause and Kritzinger gets up, heads for the door and just stops. And he gets it. And he comes back and sits down.

What do you do if you’re sitting at that table?

It’s clear that there are some fanatics, some folks who just go along, and some people who are deeply against it (whether in principle of law like Stuckart or order like Kritzinger or viscerally like some of the military folks).

It’s not enough just to have courage there. There’s no question you’d be crushed and killed. Bit much to ask for some pencil pushers.

(Of course, I’d do it, but then, I’m quite used to disregarding my own death as a matter of course. I’d probably be one of the guys trying to kill the bastard paper hanger. Didn’t work out too well, but y’know, there’s no excuse to fail. We’re all going to die of something, might as well make it meaningful - RIP Georg Elser and Hans Oster. The wiki on German resistance is worth a read. Some of those guys were hard mothers. But a government can get away with pretty much anything as long as it’s got popular support. - I mean you’re Joe Kraut c.1938-ish - and after Hitler’s led your country out of the great depression, gained significant turf in the Rhineland and annexed Austria and folks’ bellies are full for the first time in years you run out in the street (analogous to posting on the ‘net perhaps) and yell “Hitler’s killing all the Jews! In Concentration Camps!” people are going to think either you’re a nut or aren’t going to want to rock the boat - or point out the obvious and more plausible concept: why kill off such a great source of cheap labor? So yeah - it’s crazy talk. Even if it’s true. Perhaps especially if. Reminds me of the bit from “The Insider” with 60 minutes not going with the tobacco story - exactly because it’s true. But this stuff is so hard to see.)

It’d be nice if the real villians walked around in costume touting their plans for world domination.
I do respect the folks trying to keep the 9/11 truth folks honest (given their intentions are earnest) for their dedication to the truth.
I respect the 9/11 truth folks for pushing to find the truth - even as some of them apparently lose grasp of it.

Maybe there are ways to do certain things better. I can’t really quarrel with anyone who’s motives are - ultimately - the same as mine, albeit in a different style or form.

The real tragedy is that we give in to acrimony and discord amongst ourselves.

And I can’t believe that this, too, isn’t in someone’s interest. It’s certainly not in any of ours.
And it’s not any grace on my part to accord credit to those who pursue the truth of the matter. Hopefully the end result will be clarity.
But if it isn’t - we are at least, all of us, even in failure, not the monsters that are hiding from us.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:18 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I make it a point never to initially trust anyone, even when they seem to make sense, if they have something to gain economically. If someone is making a living out of arguing for or against these mysteries, I'll listen, but take it all with a grain of salt. Still, and I ask this quite honestly, I'd love to know how a steel-core building, designed to take the impact of an aircraft (maybe two, according to the architect), managed to collapse perfectly into its own footprint at a near free-fall speed. Then, it happened again. Then it happened again to a building that wasn't even struck. To my knowledge it had never happened before. I really want to know. And, as a former member of the United States Air Force for over ten years, I'd like someone to tell me why there were no aircraft scrambled when I know we launched F-16s for far less in the past. I don't know who is right, but I know when something is wrong. Meanwhile, while everyone argues over trivialities, the world goes down the toilet and corporations get billions for being incompetent and greedy. I think we should just believe them on principal since the alternative is more surreal. But, that's just me.
posted by FrankBlack at 4:37 PM on October 7, 2008


Still, and I ask this quite honestly, I'd love to know how a steel-core building, designed to take the impact of an aircraft (maybe two, according to the architect),

Can you link to that statement by the architect or structural engineer? Because just the concept of designing such a building is almost patently ridiculous; maybe it could survive the impact alone, but the impact plus the fire? Even the replacement designs by various architects for the WTC didn't make such a claim, instead relying on being able to safely evacuate people to other parts of the building.
posted by LionIndex at 5:15 PM on October 7, 2008


Wow, that was even less enlightening than I thought it would be. Though I give Taibbi credit, I would've given up as soon as I saw that elaborate multi-page nonanswer to the first question.
posted by meta_eli at 5:17 PM on October 7, 2008


“I'd love to know how a steel-core building, designed to take the impact of an aircraft (maybe two, according to the architect), managed to collapse perfectly into its own footprint at a near free-fall speed. Then, it happened again. Then it happened again to a building that wasn't even struck.”

Yeah, this is kind of what I’m saying FrankBlack. The official story sux.

Now - as it happens - there are very reasonable explanations and solid principles behind how it all went down. For example (as I mentioned above) the WTC7 thing flipped me out for a while - the “building that wasn’t even struck.” Most of the surface stuff I’ve read more or less said “it was a fire.” Well I know a thing or two about demolition (not, er, civil professional) and yeah, fires don’t work like that.
But there is a photo out there...and damned if I can find it again - shows you what a pain this is - but it shows WTC7 before it fell. It sure looked like both the towers fell right on their own footprints - but they didn’t. Just a trick of perspective. Tons of steel and concrete fell across the street. And a lot of it hit WTC7 pretty hard. Hard enough to rip the face right off it and damage enough of the core structure such that a fair sized fire - not hot, but constantly burning and without being limited by sprinklers or fought by firefighters (many of whom were dead or injured and/or couldn’t get to the building) - and so weakened the already pretty damn well f’ed up building enough to drop it.

Now there’s other stuff on the twin towers. Some of it’s fishy. But only because of the explanations in the press and by the administration. Dig into it and you’ll see that the engineering is pretty solid.

But the fishy stuff - let me put it this way - if your house gets robbed - you give the insurance company the actual price you paid for your t.v. and stereo, or do you fudge a bit?

That is, in part, why I think - maybe (because I’m no expert, I’ve dug into this a bit, but I’m speculating here) - there’s this schizm between how the forensic engineers lay it out and what the official story is.

“I'd like someone to tell me why there were no aircraft scrambled when I know we launched F-16s for far less in the past.”

There were a bunch of training exercises going on.
Also a lot of planes had been recently shunted off out of the east coast. It led to a lot of confusion.
Also the scramble rules had been changed such that only the SecDef could authorize civilian aircraft intercept - as a former zoomie you can probably see the serious errors in that as an SOP even without what happened on 9/11.

And the rules were changed right after 9/11, back to what they had been.

Could be a bunch of guys at the top (Rummy, et. al.) liked playing military (Bush in his flight suit, f’rinstance) and were the power consolidating types anyway. Could be someone influenced policy. Could be someone was in on it, maybe running their own game. Could be any number of things really.

As has been said above - it’s not *evidence* of anything. Blatent stupidity perhaps. I mean - that’s what happened.
But drawing a conjecture from it is hard.

But hey, maybe Liberace really was straight. He won a libel lawsuit against The Daily Mirror for insinuating he was gay, he always denied he was homosexual. He dated women (like Sonja Henie) and was apparently engaged to Joanne Rio.
But either way - critics went after him for that and other things (the schmaltz mostly) and he responded “I cried all the way to the bank.”

(Meh. I believe in secular karma. You become what you do. I don’t think I’ll ever become a man of peace (I’m trying), but at least I’m not living in the self-made hell a lot of those folks must be living in. Oh sure, I can be a dick like anyone else sometimes. But I can look at myself in the mirror. My wife loves me. My kids are happy. I’ve got a lot of friends and people trust my word. I don’t know that the combsucker can say that.)
posted by Smedleyman at 5:21 PM on October 7, 2008


Never mind; I found something approximating the quote: "It is impressive that the World Trade Center towers held up as long as they did after being attacked at full speed by Boeing 767 jets, because they were only designed to withstand a crash from the largest plane at the time: the smaller, slower Boeing 707. And according to Robertson, the 707's fuel load was not even considered at the time. Engineers hope that answering the question of exactly why these towers collapsed will help engineers make even safer skyscrapers in the future. ASCE will file its final report soon, and NIST has been asked to conduct a much broader investigation into the buildings' collapse."
posted by LionIndex at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2008


Recommended reading:

Foucault's Pendulum

Cosmic Trigger

The problem with conspiracy theories is that so many paranoid people latch on to them. There is a low s/n ratio in the media available. And even the good researchers tend to have enormous egos and chips on their shoulders. It attracts obsessive and mentally unstable people, and I've interacted with quite a few of them. However, I can appreciate the approach that Robert Anton Wilson took, which is to believe nothing, but that it's worth knowing about these belief systems, if nothing else than for curiosity's sake (he even compiled an encyclopedia). There is something of a political movement attached to the 9/11 truther movement. Ron Paul may not look sane to some people here, but he raised a hell of a lot of cash in a hurry, and I guarantee a lot of it came from people who believe there is more to the official 9/11 story.

Myself, I really became immersed in this for a while, fully inside Chapel Perilous, as RAW used to call it. I made it out, but it was not easy, and I had a pretty bad encounter with depression during that time. I will say that the more you let yourself get drawn into this tangled web of interwoven threads, the less you think you know, and the more paranoid you get. In a way, the thinking seemed almost cult-like in certain groups. But, particularly with the last decade of history, it's not hard to believe that the people in charge aren't telling you everything, and that we're powerless to do anything about it. The problem for a lot of the people involved in trying to get "the truth" out there is that their efforts are not always constructive and contribute to the sense that they cannot do anything to change the way things work. And if there is something else to be uncovered, sadly, I don't think any of the people trying to study it today are going to succeed in any form in uncovering it, and even if they do, who will believe them? If it were to happen, it will be decades from now, when all the principals are dead, and when there is distance enough from the event to see it in the abstract.

But I can't really think about this stuff too much anymore, not right now. Not so great for my mental health, spending too much time turning this over. I am more often than not concerned when a friend brings it up, mostly because I feel like there is no way to conclude such a conversation without feeling frustrated, left feeling like the bad guys have got it all over us, and we're screwed. And I can't get mired in that, because there's really nowhere to go from there.

If there is something else to this, I hope the truth will be known, but I'm not the guy to do it. But I don't think that's Mike Ruppert, Alex Jones or David Icke, either. Nor David Ray Griffin.

But Taibbi's hardly novel for pointing this out, and I can't work up the anger he seems to hold for the people who believe this. He treats it like shooting fish in a barrel, and it just seems a bit mean spirited to concentrate so much of his venom (to mix metaphors) on such a character.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:16 PM on October 7, 2008


Noam Chomsky was asked about his opinion of 9-11 theory, he pointed out that every authoritarian organization on the planet will take advantage of this event to increase power. Strange that a Dr of religion can "debunk" the NIST study and be taken seriously,me thinks the movement is a mutation of the religious right,magical thinking, Christian Identity types.
Listening to Dr. Griffin is not so painful as reading, Here George Kenney gives the good Doctor a lot of line to unspool his crazy ideas.
posted by hortense at 8:08 PM on October 7, 2008


I believe that in this one single, solitary, isolated instance, in contrast to almost every other utterance or policy move on the part of the Bush administration, this particular question among all others, unique and different in every way from all other aspects of Republican politics, this one, lonely time, they were telling the truth.
posted by telstar at 11:37 PM on October 7, 2008


Still, and I ask this quite honestly, I'd love to know how a steel-core building, designed to take the impact of an aircraft (maybe two, according to the architect), managed to collapse perfectly into its own footprint at a near free-fall speed. Then, it happened again. Then it happened again to a building that wasn't even struck.

Except that they did not collapse perfectly into its own footprint. It collapsed all over the surrounding area causing significant damage to buildings across a four-lane highway, and health problems for residents of half of Manhattan. It certainly was not a controlled implosion carefully designed to fold inward to limit the damage to surrounding property.

Reports of firefighters working on WTC7 reported significant structural damage to the face closest to the twin towers, including (to my memory, because I don't want to look up those accounts again) a gouge 10 stories high and visible sagging of the corner closest to the towers.

But, blessed disco ball, could it at all be possible that the architect, working in an era before supercluster modeling of impact damage, was wrong about the capabilities of his design, not unlike William Mulholland, or NASA managers?

But looking at the timeline, it's not clear to me what could have been done given the minimal information available, an air traffic control system that relied on pilot communication and cockpit transponder controls, and hundreds of civilian aircraft in the sky at the time. The biggest change that I'd make in order to improve response is to develop a tamper-proof transponder protocol, possibly combined with GPS. By the time our national air traffic control system cleared the airspace, it was too late.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:52 AM on October 8, 2008


"an air traffic control system that relied on pilot communication and cockpit transponder controls, and hundreds of civilian aircraft in the sky at the time... By the time our national air traffic control system cleared the airspace, it was too late."

That was after changes in the system were made. Before that flights were routinely intercepted if they got even a whiff of a hijack. And for years before 9/11 there had been drills for hijacked aircraft intercept. And for months before the event there were drills for exactly this sort of contingency.
The "we were overwhelmed" thing is easy to buy on the surface - but it's crap. On a normal day they can track everything in the sky plus mosquitos. Problem that day was there were hundreds of shadows in the sky because of the drills and people were getting false readings.
I'm not drawing any conclusions from that here - whether it's a cover story, people playing CYA or whatever - it's simply not true.

“But I can't really think about this stuff too much anymore, not right now. Not so great for my mental health,”

Yeah, I’ve been there. I think humans need to preserve, not callousness, but a sort of “fuck it” factor. I mean right now as I type this there are people starving in the world, people are dying of thirst or drinking filthy water, children are being sold into slavery, people are being murdered left and right by their government, husbands or wives, friends, lovers - at some level you have to just accept that you can’t really tackle it all.

Almost an ego thing. No, wait, no almost about it.

I was a superhero for a while. I mean, there really wasn’t anything I thought I couldn’t do. I was personally smarter, stronger, faster, more capable than nearly anyone I knew or knew of. Then my eyes got opened and I realized I was powerful only because I’d been swimming in such a small pond. And the world got bigger and bigger. And I realized that all the amazing (to couch potatos) things I could do - didn’t really amount to much.
And I took that step into a larger world. I stopped believing in violence as a remedy and rose to that occasion. (Rah! for me). And realized that even as I’d gained - the world had gotten exponentially larger. So I gained mercy and compassion. I knew the power of non-violence and saw the foundation of civilization was cooperation.
Yet every step forward I took, I got bigger, but the world doubled and redoubled. Even as I lost much of my ego (oh, I retain the superficial, but I don’t take myself anywhere near seriously - I mean ‘superhero’? c’mon, man.).

The thing that pretty much saved me from drowing in it was something I learned (ironically) from Hagakure -"Treat great matters lightly, treat small matters with the greatest seriousness."

I used to think that was about paying attention to detail, and it is, but it’s also about devoting energy to those things to which you can control and, more importantly, developing a clear and true base from which to act.
Refinement in the small matters, the little kindnesses, the personal virtues - and their subsequent expression in all your actions.
Once that is done you will naturally influence great matters. But more importantly, great matters will not influence you.

(Oh, I sound bad ass there, but I’m not. I mean, it’d be great if I had my shit that together. But I can see the path from here man, and that’s where it is. People had the right idea from the start after 9/11 - they gave blood, they went out and volunteered, they took care of each other. It’s artifice that got in the way of that)

“If one really wishes to be a master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the act becomes an "artless art" growing out of the unconscious” -D.T. Suzuki
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a huge difference between asking 'questions' about the official story and having an intricately detailed minute-by-minute alternate history plotted out that you have an absolute religious fervor for.

CTRL+Ved for emphasis.

In the absence of any evidence, jumping to a nearly-insane OMG IT'S A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY explanation type of explanation just makes you look silly.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:15 AM on October 10, 2008


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