Debunking Conspiracy Theorists Paranoid Fantasies About Sept 11 Distract From the Real Issues
by Gerard Holmgren, 9 January 2003
Copyright Gerard Holmgren. Jan 9 2003.
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From: EcoNews Service <[email protected]
Date: Sunday, February 16, 2003 1:05 PM
Astute observers of history are aware that for every notable event there will usually be at least one, often several wild conspiracy theories which spring up around it. "The CIA killed Hendrix" "The Pope had John Lennon murdered", "Hitler was half Werewolf", "Space aliens replaced Nixon with a clone", etc, etc. The bigger the event, the more ridiculous and more numerous are the fanciful rantings which circulate in relation to it.
So it's hardly surprising that the events of Sept 11 2001 have spawned their fair share of these ludicrous fairy tales. And as always, there is -- sadly -- a small but gullible percentage of the population eager to lap up these tall tales, regardless of facts or rational analysis. One of the wilder stories circulating about Sept 11, and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst conspiracy buffs is that it was carried out by 19 fanatical Arab hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden, with no apparent motivation other than that they "hate our freedoms."
Never a group of people to be bothered by facts, the perpetrators of this cartoon fantasy have constructed an elaborately woven web of delusions and unsubstantiated hearsay in order to promote this garbage across the internet and the media to the extent that a number of otherwise rational people have actually fallen under its spell.
Normally I don't even bother debunking this kind of junk, but the effect that this paranoid myth is beginning to have requires a little rational analysis, in order to consign it to the same rubbish bin as all such silly conspiracy theories. These crackpots even contend that the extremist Bush regime was caught unawares by the attacks, had no hand in organizing them, and actually would have stopped them if it had been able.
Blindly ignoring the stand down of the US air-force, the insider trading on airline stocks -- linked to the CIA, the complicit behavior of Bush on the morning of the attacks, the controlled demolition of the WTC, the firing of a missile into the Pentagon and a host of other documented proofs that the Bush regime was behind the attacks, the conspiracy theorists stick doggedly to a silly story about 19 Arab hijackers somehow managing to commandeer 4 planes simultaneously and fly them around US airspace for nearly 2 hours, crashing them into important buildings, without the US intelligence services having any idea that it was coming, and without the Air Force knowing what to do. The huge difficulties with such a stupid story force them to invent even more preposterous stories to distract from its core silliness, and thus the tale has escalated into a mythic fantasy of truly gargantuan proportions.
It's difficult to apply rational analysis to such unmitigated stupidity, but that is the task which I take on in this article. However, it should be noted that one of the curious characteristics of conspiracy theorists is that they effortlessly change their so called evidence in response to each aspect which is debunked. As soon as one delusion is unmasked, they simply invent another to replace it, and deny that the first ever existed. Eventually, when they have turned full circle through this endlessly changing fantasy fog, they then re-invent the original delusion and deny that you ever debunked it, thus beginning the circle once more.