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23. Sep 2007

Death to 9/11 conspiracy theories

Mother Jones kører en hel serie om reaktionerne efter 11. september, og giver bl.a. en glimrende opsummering af diverse konspirationsteorier:
The Pentagon Attack
Theory: A missile, not American Airlines Flight 77, hit the Pentagon. The two holes punched in the side of the building were much smaller than the wingspan of a 757. According to a French author, the building was struck by a satellite-guided missile fired as part of an attempted military coup.
Fact: Crash investigators concluded that the main hole in the Pentagon was smaller than the plane's wingspan because one wing was sheared off and the other was damaged on impact. The second, smaller hole was made by the jet's landing gear. And if a missile did strike the Pentagon, why was DNA from the passengers of Flight 77 found in the rubble? Finally, Flight 77's black box was unearthed at the site.

Remote Control
Theory: The two planes that hit the Twin Towers weren't piloted by hijackers but directed by remote control.
Fact: Boeing said these planes could only be piloted from the flight deck. In addition, the passengers and crew made phone calls describing hijackers taking over. In a call minutes before the crash, American Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong told ground personnel, "Our Number One has been stabbed and our Five has been stabbed. Can anybody get up to the cockpit? Okay. We can't even get into the cockpit. We don't know who's up there." A second flight attendant on Flight 11 told an American Airlines ground employee, "Listen to me. Listen to me very carefully," and then went on to describe the hijacking as it unfolded.

The Twin Towers Collapse
Theory: The Twin Towers collapsed because demolition charges were planted inside them, not because of fire and structural damage resulting from American Flight 11 and United Flight 175 plowing into them. The buildings had been designed to withstand great stress and the fires were not hot enough to melt steel. And, if the buildings had collapsed, they would have fallen at an angle—not pancaked straight down, as only buildings destroyed by controlled demolition do.
Fact: Planting enough explosives to blow up the Twin Towers would have required considerable preparation, such as hacking away concrete and steel to position the charges. The work would have taken weeks, possibly months, and could scarcely have gone unnoticed. Additionally, no evidence of explosives has ever turned up at Ground Zero or on debris from the towers. The explosions set off by the crashes ignited fires that did not melt the buildings' steel structure but significantly weakened it, causing its design to fail. Floors crashing down upon one another with enormous impact took the building down.

Dogulas Rushkoff tager også bladet fra munden i en artikel i ArthurMag, hvor han gør op med diverse gakkede konspirationsteorier om 11. september:
Yes, I believe that 9-11 theorizing debilitates the counterculture. It robs us of some potentially creative thinkers. It replaces truly important questions with trivial ones. It marginalizes more constructive investigation of American participation in the development of Al Qaeda as well as its subsequent aggravation. And perhaps worst of all, it is precisely the sort of activity that government disinformation specialists would want us to be involved with.

That’s why, instead of nodding along with their long-winded, preposterous yarns under the false belief that any critique is better than no critique, we—the informed, intelligent, and reasonable members of the war resistance—must instead disassociate ourselves from this drivel. In other words, we must draw the line between the kind of analysis done by Greg Palast and that done by Pilots for Truth. If we don’t apply discipline to our thinking, we risk falling into the trap that even some of our best intellectuals have—like Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham, who on reading a bit too much 9-11 conspiracy, has concluded that it all has some merit.

The war profiteers are absolutely delighted that so many of us are still distracted by this phantom menace. And they delight in our belief that the central government is really powerful enough to pull something like this off. I’ve been interacting with intelligence people for the past three years, going to conferences and writing articles promoting an open-source approach to national security. After these encounters, I can assure you—anyone who knows anything about our government knows that a conspiracy on this order is well beyond their capabilities. Hell, the administration couldn’t even “find” weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They can’t even reveal a Valerie Plame or fire the few remaining honest US attorneys without a complete backfire. Conspiracy is not what these folks are good at.

Our government excels at doing its really bad stuff out in the open. They break laws in order to spy on citizens, and refuse to acknowledge objections from lawmakers or justice. They take taxpayers money and give it to the companies they run. They acknowledge the many billions of dollars that go missing, and offer not even a shrug. They put the people who formerly lobbied on behalf of industries in positions running the agencies that are supposed to be regulating them.
Som Rushkoff konkluderer, er det i det lys svært at se diverse konspirationsteorier i form af påstande om den amerikanske regerings involvering i angrebet 11. september som andet end selvsamme regerings uvillige håndlangere: the most logical conclusion I can draw from the existing evidence is that 9-11 theorists are themselves covert government operatives, dedicated to confusing the public, distracting activists from their tasks, equating all dissent with the lunatic fringe, and provoking the counterculture’s misplaced belief in the competency of its foes.

Og det er måske, som Rune Engelbreth også antyder andetsteds (og Rushkoff konkluderer), netop den egentlige konspiration.