Friday, September 22, 2006

Demolishing conspiracy theories

Like Ellis Sharp, I'm not convinced by the unofficial 9/11 conspiracy theories. But the other night I watched the 9/11 Mysteries film recently uploaded to Google Video. It is seriously unsettling stuff, made all the more disturbing by its sober analysis of the collapse of the twin towers and WTC7. I'd really like to witness a public debate about it and all the questions it raises.


  1. "Wrong In All Directions: The Term 'Conspiracy Theory'

    This phrase is among the tireless workhorses of establishment discourse. Without it, disinformation would be much harder than it is. 'Conspiracy theory' is a trigger phrase, saturated with intellectual contempt and deeply anti-intellectual resentment. It makes little sense on its own, and while it's a priceless tool of propaganda, it is worse than useless as an explanatory category."

    - Jamey Hecht

    Amen. It's a cant term and a highly effective thoughtstopper, so it's no wonder Bush and Blair are so fond of it. As Gore Vidal once said: "'Conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."

    See also:

    - warszawa

  2. You might note that I used the term "unofficial" ahead of CT. The official story is CT too. All should be subject to the same patient analysis.

  3. warszawa9:21 pm

    "All should be subject to the same patient analysis."

    Well, by whom, and for how long, and how, exactly?

    I have to say that I think you're missing the one truly essential point: the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, who have singularly failed to make a convincing case, despite having had access to evidence now either deleted, destroyed or sent to China. For reasons of "national security", most of the remaining evidence remains entirely inaccessible to the blogosphere's patient and impatient analysts.

    By "the prosecution" I mean, of course, the notoriously secretive, mendacious and bellicose Bush administration, which is now also prosecuting an endless war on the basis of that incomparably useful crime. They claim to have demonstrated the guilt of 19 Superstudents acting in the name of something called "Al Qaeda". Quite clearly, they have done nothing of the sort; but their grotesquely implausible, threadbare, self-contradictory and false account of that crime did (and still does) provide them with a handy universal casus belli.

    Neither you nor I nor any other blogger is obliged to be Miss Marple. The post I linked to above - Jeff Well's "Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11" - is already enough to make nonsense of the Bush Gang's account of that incomparably useful crime.

    There are many other excellent analyses of the official conspiracy theory. Here, for example, is Benjamin DeMott in Harper's Magazine, superbly dissecting the rubbish served up to us by Kean, Hamilton, and Zelikow:

    "Whitewash as Public Service

    How The 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation"

    His analysis is admirably patient, but not endlessly so, and his anger is entirely justified.

  4. I think the clearest evidence for the prosecution is two bloody great planes flying into the towers. After that, yes, it's pretty unconvincing.

    The patience I'm referring to amounts to watching these documentaries questioning the official conspiracy theory and judging for oneself using common sense. Watching "Loose Change" for example had me saying "But ... but ... but" throughout even if it is eye-opening in other ways. The film I link to in this blog didn't provoke such questions, and for that reason was far more convincing.

    I should point out the title of this blog entry refers to the demolishing of the official conspiracy theory, as well as those with a more scattergun approach.

  5. I agree absolutely about "Loose Change", which is a "documentary" for Counterstrike addicts. It does more harm than good, because it's become incredibly popular despite including several implausible claims and quite a few demonstrably false ones.

    But as I say, it's really entirely beside the point whether this 19-year-old boy or that 60-year-old professor makes a mistake, gets something wrong, or fails to substantiate his suspicions 100% on the World Wide Web. The evidence is hidden, and the burden of proof lies with the Bush Gang, who have failed to make their case and who have placed themselves above the law. That's where everyone's focus should be.

    By the way: In my impatience with Ellis Sharp's post, I forgot to mention that I really like your blog (so it annoyed me all the more to see you agreeing with him). I've just seen his reply to the comments I made at John Pistelli's blog. As ES has comments disabled on his own site, I'll post a reply to him at Qlipoth sometime next week.

    - warszawa

  6. warszawa,
    just out of curiosity, do you begin your day by googling the phrase "conspiracry theory" and castigating everyone who uses it, however popularly? ah well, soldier on:)

  7. warszawa12:04 pm

    No, Matt, I just have an aversion to words that function as thoughtstoppers, especially when they're used so unthinkingly by writers who locate themselves on the left. (What do you mean by "popularly", by the way?)

    "Boredom is the desire for happiness left in its pure state." - You start every day fortified by this motto? ah well, soldier on:)



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