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December 04, 2007


Sara - I hope things level out for your friend and her charges. I am not a big fan of most conspiracy theories, at least not ones in the last few decades. There are just too many people out there, too many collectors of information, too many ways to broadcast collected information etc. to really keep complex conspiracies secret. I am sure it can be done; just not likely anymore. At any rate, I don't know if you saw my response to you below if not, here is a reprint:

Sara - I, as you might guess, agree with you. I was extremely fond of TNH precisely because it was uncluttered and, with the exception of occasional off-color humor and sports blabbering (both of which I am quite habitually guilty), it was chock full only with people who had something to say and wanted to get down to business. For the most part, the discussions have been very good over at the new joint. There is an awful lot of ability imbued in the greater core group that EW has gathered, and it is all of our ultimate goal to effect some positive and substantive change. I think the new platform, when it is done being assembled (and they are not done yet I don't think), is going to be a lot more powerful for actually getting her, and our, work product across to the places and people that need to be reached. Can't stop progress, we can only make it our own and go along for the ride. I have been pleasantly surprised so far. Yours is a very needed voice, so come on over.

Sara & Bmaz - I went over to EW's new digs, but for some reason keep coming back here. Eerily quiet, especially after all the FDLers dropped in on the weekend. Glad to find both of you still hanging around.....

Sara - if you haven't yet read it, I recommend David Talbot's book Brothers, which describes RFKs attempts to find the truth following JFKs assassination. I grew up in an Irish Catholic household where for some reason, the triumph of the rich, glamorous and exciting Kennedys was also my parent's triumph - I have a great uncle in Boston who's most prized possession is a thank you note signed by JFK for working on his congressional and Senate campaigns, and which he still treats with all the reverence of the Shroud of Turin. I regret that we are still waiting for the rekindling of this kind of political passion, but I am still optimistic.

Yeah, I'll just have to visit both spots though I doubt I'll read all the comments over there as I have here. Once you get to know a few commenters - it some how builds on the context of discussion, and I don't like crowd noise.

Anyway, I have to agree that there seems to be a conspiracy for everything, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I find the aluminum cloud crowd laughable, but as an ex-engineer, I have serious misgivings about the official 9-11 story. It wasn't immediate, but I just can't get around building 7. That was demolition.

Anyway, RE JFK. Sara, I have a very good friend, and I don't want to give too much detail here, but he has a hand written letter from a doctor who saw JFK's body when it arrived at Parkland (before the FBI, CIA etc. got there in force) He describes exactly what the on duty surgeon had to say about JFK's wounds as he did the initial examination (this was a surgeon with years of daily experience with gunshot wounds). I have personnaly seen the aged letter written in pencil which describes multiple entry and exit wounds, and the descriptions absoultely make impossible a lone shooter. Anyway, I'd say less than 6 people have ever seen this letter, as it was never part of the public record. The man who wrote it is said to have never spoken of the matter again, as he was no fool.

So, agreed conspiracy theory has gotten out of hand, but conspiracies do happen, and the conspiracy theory complex, ironically, provides cover for the one's that really do occur. I'm not part of that complex, but I don't buy the official story of 9-11 - at least not all of it.

Thanks for the post. Glad your staying around.

Hi Sarah,

Hope things are going well for your friend.

I never really thought about it that way, but there does seem to be quite a little conspiracy industry in this country. The 9/11 "truthers" are perhaps the most pernicious because it's easier than ever to publish the stuff. All you need now is $25 a month or so and you can have a site with thousands of hits a week, provided you can spin the right yarn, of course. Over at a site called Screw Loose Change, they regularly cover the personalities in this "field", and as much as anything it sounds like corporate politics on a smaller scale. Backstabbing, alliances, etc.

I've always been suspicious of the official explanation for the Kennedy assasination, but in general I'm extremely skeptical of conspiracy theories, because, as you say, people have so much invested in them. What's more, in the end they just seem less plausible than the apparent explanations.

It wasn't immediate, but I just can't get around building 7. That was demolition.

No, it wasn't. Demolishing a building that size with explosives would take weeks of preparation, during which time it would have been a hard-hat zone. Only an idiot would rush into a burning, collapsing building to plant explosives. Only a damn fool would plant explosives when people were still occupying it. Those are the only two possible explanations for how it could have been demolished, and neither is plausible.

WTC 7 was on fire, having been hit by tons of debris from the towers. It almost certainly collapsed due to the damage.

"I regret that we are still waiting for the rekindling of this kind of political passion, but I am still optimistic."

I suspect much of the fixation on Conspiracy flows from this -- at least that part not part of the conspiracy-industrial complex.

Having voted (first vote) for JFK -- and worked in his campaign, and worked on the margins of his administration (as the academic coordinator of the first Peace Corps Project -- something that got lots of press), I think his importance is less in what he accomplished in law, more in what he did by stimulating a generation after the sleepy Eisenhower years. I think this fed the attraction to conspiracy ideas which ultimately are "we was robbed."

Which leads to the question -- how does this block normal politics?

But you see, cujo359. That is exactly the point. Damn fool or... Explosives are extreemly stable these days, they could have been planted weeks before, but very unlikely over just a very short period of time in a building with fires in it.

Building 7 was standing in perfectly sound shape, fires inside, but not low and not big. Tons of material hit the OUTSIDE OF IT but not the inside or sub structure, and to crumble in that classic internal fold. Come on look at the Oklahoma building after being hit with a blast that blew a side from it. Clearly more force as shown by the acute damage, but did that building collapse fully - no. Look at any war zone at any building. They only collapse like that from planned, controlled demolition. And they never ever collapse like that from fire.

Building 7 was a demolition. I can't say when the explosives were placed, but it was a demolition, and if there's a lie about that, it begs the question of what else is a lie.

watch a few of the videos on line. As incomprehensible as it is, the truthers have a point. try zeitgeist.com they lay out a very digestible truther's position if you don't mind the debunking of religion they open with. The 9-11 narrative they lay out is compelling.

And, I promise, I'm not a truther. I just think Dick wanted a war real bad, and I think there's more to 9-11 than meets the eye. I'm an engineer by training, specialty was fire protection (of buildings), I came to my decision slowly after reasoned consideration. I can't get around building 7. Believe what you like, but take a look before deciding, it ain't pretty.

For a definitive account of the JFK assassination (albeit one that makes only one passing mention of Ruth Paine) I'd recommend Ultimate Sacrifice by Lamar Waldron with Thom Hartmann (URL: http://ultimatesacrificethebook.com) The authors seem to get as close as anyone has ever done to fully dissecting the component parts of the conspiracy and deserve to be much more widely read. Certainly more deserving than the backwards revisionist books and mainstream documentaries that marked the anniversary in 2003 claiming Warren was right all along! Funny how in a media dominated by CSI this and CSI that, such elementary pieces of physical evidence as the President's shirt and jacket having matching bullet holes six inches below the collar line can be still be ignored (which refutes the suggestion a bullet entered the back of his neck and exited his throat then continued to strike Gov. Connally). Or indeed how the one intact bullet that was recovered could have caused all the damage assigned to it and still remained relatively pristine (when test firings showed severe deformation of similar bullets in less severe circumstances).

As for 9/11 I'd stop watching reruns of building collapses - you're looking in the wrong place. Try Florida and Daniel Hopsicker's sterling investigations in Mohammed Atta at the Mad Cow Morning News website (www.madcowprod.com)

First, there was a long and detailed account of how Marina Oswald came to live with Ruth Paine and what happened next in the New Yorker several years ago. (link)

I remember finding it very engaging (frankly, it's unusual for me to get all the way through a long New Yorker article, but I remember finishing this one over several days). Sara, did you catch it or what did you think of it? Only the abstract is available on-line; but I have the CD of complete archives and can email you if you missed it.

Second, there was an op-ed last week in the NYT giving a reanalysis of the Zapruder film of JFK's shooting that brought forth the seemingly banal theory that Zapruder didn't film the first shot, and using that to explain away some of the conspiracy fodder about the second and third (previously first and second) shots. I'm not a JFK conspiracy buff (though I once had a cabdriver who was) so I don't know how this plays into it. But I'm assuming, as simple and tedious as it sounded, it must have had some significance if they decided to run it on the NYT op-ed real estate. Any insight?

Third, on conspiracy theories in general, I can imagine two types: ones that seek to deny reality by constructing an alternative explanation for the present situtation; and ones that seek to genuinely explain unaccounted-for facts. The first type always tries to masquerade as the second, which makes life difficult. The guiding principle in human reasoning, I guess, is parsimony: "is this explanation for what I see the simplest one that accounts for everything I see." But using parsimony as a guide is itself is a philosophical belief -- there is nothing empirical that says the simplest answer is the right one. That said, I vote for continuing our moratorium on World Trade Center conspiracy theories.

Finally, to those still reading, welcome to post-emptywheel TNH. Sara is obviously still here and going strong, and I'm going to try to be around more than I had been. Things may move at a slower pace, but I think there's still a market for that in this big speedy world. Glad to have your company.

I too prefer the slower pace here and the thoughtful comments. While I enjoy FDL writers, and understand the change in "business" model, I really don't like the new web design at all. But I wish them well.

Read Peter Dale Scott's "Deep Politics."

Bldg 7 (which I've seen called the 'Rodney Dangerfield bldg of WTC' because it got so little attention) was hit by air blast, probably hit by debris, and had a fire burning in it for *several hours*.
It is not necessary to invoke a conspiracy to have it collapse.

The fire/structural engineers are studying it to see how to improve building safety: for one thing, fire safety testing of materials generally doesn't last long enough (usually 90 minutes or so), and for another, the small-scale models which have been used for simulations don't behave the same way as the full-size article.

Along with the New Yorker article mentioned about, you can also read "Mrs. Paine's Garage" by Thomas Mallon.

In fact, I recommned reading just about anything by Thomas Mallon.


I will go along with P J Evans on the buildings collasping on 9/11.

I would refer you to the fairly comprehensive program that PBS did on the buildings where after much study they came up with a model that fit the pictures taken, particularly the videos.

you are right in that there is a conspiracy industry, and you are right that there is a lot of evil people if we take just the recent happenings about killed wives, and girl friends.
Plenty of all kinds of bad stuff to go around.

All of us pay great attention to what we know about, and can relate personally and professionally to. I had a physics professor once who gave me an old Physics Handbook to look something up in. As a matter of fact, I still have it in the attic of grandmom's house, my repository of things I just don't want to throw away.
My mom doesnt' understand I am a packrat, but my grandmom does.

Anyway, the handbook was edited and written by an American Physicist
Edward Uhler Condon of the (Frank-Condon principle)

"The Condon Report, "A scientific study of UFO's" released in 1968, 1969.

It was a good work which was spoiled by a Briton's, Robert J Low's memo which is called the "Trick Memo" in which he said, in part:
"The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of non-believers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer." Low also suggested that if the study focused less on "the physical reality of the saucer", and more on the "psychology and sociology of person and groups who report seeing UFOs", then "the scientific community would get the message". (Clark, 594)"

The word "trick" essentially ruined the report. The UFOers and the public took it to mean that they were being deceived. No amount of explaining of what that term "trick" meant typically in the British Lexicon of the time or for that matter in the learned American Lexicon managed to gain the public trust.


"The Condon Report and the "Trick" Memo"


I think that emptywheel's new site will lend itself less to a few people discussing things in depth, and will go more toward the Firedoglake format of a lot of people saying very little in their comments, just in some instances single words, or short phrases, or just quoting someone with then added single words, or phrases. (i.e. very little new material)

In short, the blog is very padded with lots of posts that say very little.

And for that matter, someone took my name Jodi over there, and though they are now sounding like me, I think that soon they will try to make their Jodi very crazy and even mean. I had started to use the name JodiDog, but last night they wouldn't let me in, even though the site gave me the correct password, etc.

But to put it more plainly, I will miss you Sara and your insight into the interesting history of our country.

: )

- Jodi (the original)

I'll check out the pbs special. It's not like I spend a lot of time on this, I'd like to think it all happened just the way we are told, but - completely to the ground, the towers yeah, I can see it - the steel reaches temp, a lot of mass gets moving, and there's no stopping it, but building 7, all the way to the ground at free fall speed. My minds still open, I'm just not sure what happened. All the same, I don't trust this administration, and certainly wouldn't put some level of involvemnet or at least inaction beyond certain elements of our 'leadership'.

i don't think i'm alone in realizing that i don't have the time, inclination or knowledge to study and come to my own conclusions about many disputed issues (jfk's death to 911).

... but that doesn't mean i have to accept on faith either an "establishment" explanation or an anti-establishment explanation (commonly referred to derogatorily as "conspiracy theories"). it may be uncomfortable, but i prefer agnosticism until/unless i've studied the matter for myself enough to come to conclusions based on the evidence that is available to me.

Glad to see you're still kicking over here, Sara. I always enjoy your posts. I'm a frequent lurker and rare commenter -just wanted to let you know I appreciate it when you share your take.

I will echo other comments that I like the no chaff approach of TNH, but I guess we couldn't keep ew to ourselves forever. I'm happy that she'll get her work more exposure, and she fits in well with Jane and Christy and the gang. But it is most definitely true that there are more fluffy comments at FDL. I'm thinking that ew will eventually "weed" many of them out:)

Who gets custody of Jodi?

italics off

presto changeo

since the shit stain is really an amalgamation of several freepers, joint custody ain't gonna be a problem

btw, them multiple personalities within the shit stain are beginning to fight against the other personalities,which makes the shit stain even funnier and more amusing

we got us a freeper version of Billy Milligan here

and ain't it a shame that the shit stain has all those personalities, and not one of them has an IQ above 65


Should have been the:

"Franck-Condon Principle" with J. Franck and E.U. Condon. I knew that looked funny.

Franck-Condon simply put

Lose them, not loose them


In my view, there are three roots for conspiracy in America in the early 20th century, and JFK could link to any of the three -- or none.

1. Prohibition. Created a secret society largely tolerated, and promoted local corruption. As local pols gained higher office, the corruption spread upward. And into the unions. And, in WWII, into the OSS and FBI for favors.

2. Hoover. Whacked out gay guy who started a political police and blackmail organization. Paid close attention to propaganda.

3. Russian tactics against radicals at the turn of the century, that the Bolsheviks learned the hard way -- and used. In the 20s, the Soviets organized The Trust of ex-pats in France to penetrate the British, French and German intelligence services. The attempt by Dulles and the Pope to negotiate a separate peace was known immediately by the Russians (and the Jewish underground), as were the ratlines. This led to a wilderness of mirrors, blackmail, and the madness of James Jesus Angleton.

Maybe generational change in the 60s and 70s quelled those fires. Maybe others started.

And sometimes there are actually conspiracies. Sometimes they are real. There was a conspiracy to invade Iraq. There was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Agree that sometimees bad things just happen, but one cannot discount the possibility of a conspiracy. Keep an open mind. That way new evidence gets put into the hopper. once a mind has been made up, new evidence to the contrary gets dumped.

No, I don't trust this administration either -- not at all, For instance, after all the Rhetoric on a Third World War, Iran and all, now we discover the DNI apparently told the President last summer, the new intelligence report significantly revised the estimate on Iran's Weapons intentions, and the President didn't follow up by asking, HOW? No -- it is on that sort of evidence, which has been around since January, 2001, that I don't trust the Bushies and the Cheneys. I don't need any sort of conspiracy to make the case -- just a zillion examples of why trust is not merited.

I think most of the 9/11 explanations fail largely because they don't deal with the Hypothesis that those responsible, (Atta's crew and their Al-Qaeda sponsors) have what, for them, is a coherent political/religious ideology that requires attacks such as those we saw on 9/11. I think this is the starting point for explaining anything about all those events -- it is the reason I still think Steve Simon and Daniel Benjamin's book, "The Age of Sacred Terror" ranks well up there as a point of departure in analysis. I don't think you can ignore the now pretty vast literature on motivation -- or much of the older literature dealing with 19th century anarchism, which had some similarities to al-Qaeda notions. I think most "conspiracy" promoters totally ignore all this material, and fix instead on too narrow issues. It is similar to making all sorts of arguments about who controlled Princip in late June of 1914, when he killed the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, sparking off the military mobilizations that resulted in World War One. Clearly there is merit in comparison/contrast between Princip and his sponsorship by Black Hand, and Atta, and his al-Qaeda sponsors. Such helps understand how non-state actors can indeed shape major events, but in the end, it was the military plans and assets of the Central Powers and Allies that "did" World War One. I suggest we can get a great deal closer to comprehension with comparative/contrast reasoning than we can via the short-cut of the search for conspiracy.

As to Kennedy. If you take yourself mentally back to November 21, 1963, it is easy to find lots of individuals and groups who hated Kennedy, and did not wish him well. What Bugloisi does in his huge and heavy book, (not one suited to reading on your lap) is catagorize all the elements of the propounded conspiracy theories, and essentially eliminate most of them, by examining carefully the suspect group. For instance, Bugliosi treats his readers to a 50 page summary of the History and Sociology of the American Mafia, and approaches the question -- were they involved? -- by testing whether sponsorship of Kennedy's assassination made sense in terms of the Mafia's interests. Only then does he test each of the propounded theories. With only one or two exceptions, virtually all of the theories fail this test.


I've wrestled with this question ever since 2k election fiasco penetrated my BS defense shield, convincing me that something was really, really wrong. The more I looked, the more I was convinced. And the more I was motivated from a political bystander into (I'd like to call it) a political scientist.

I have since worked endless hours on campaigns in various capacities, done the same in early 2k (I'm a programmer) in concert w/dozens of other SF bay area techies to get info on the web, LTE(s) and a bunch of other stuff. These last few years, I'd say on average I spend 20hrs a week (in addition to 60 hr. work weeks) on the web... just to keep up!!! Those hours I'd much rather spend on the tennis court, biking, or making luuuuv.

I am firmly persuaded, I'm sad to say, that BushCo and supporting MSM are in the full time business of creating conspiracy based constituencies, all in the service of masking very, very destructive actions on a breathtaking scope of real world forums. It never ceases to amaze me how many of my neighbors/friends/prof colleagues (etc etc.)... smart & educated people mostly, know next to nothing of BushCo corruption: US Attny purge, Enron/Ca. Energy "crisis" & federal enabling of the same, very precarious state of $US & consequences of it's very possible collapse... just thinking of the list makes me dizzy.

Knowing what I know about these guys has kept me free of a lot of self-delusion these other good folks live in. It's worth the price for me.

I've come to TNH for some time now, specifically for EW's scholarship on these issues which concern me. I enjoy the art/philosophy and other abstracted discussions as much as anyone (Moon of Alabama has satisfied these urges from time to time). But w/out meaning to criticize anyone else, finding good, accurate, useful information illuminating wrongs of this rw wanker world we now live in, keeping up and keeping clear about all that is my primary intention.

I'll very much miss EW here. I'm sure she knows what she's doing, but I stoppped spending time a FDL quite a while ago... too many "opinions", too little facts, and too much of the punchless liberal/progressive ranting which really doesn't move things forward too much... if anything, it feeds the rw media's continued charactarization of libs/dems/progressives as whacky.

Regarding effective human communication, to this day my favourite wordsmithing of what it is I admire most was Bucky Fuller's metric: (non) spontaneously illuminating.

Just my $.02 (USD) meandering global conspiracy assessment for today. Cheers!

Shorter Sara: If the rational and simple fits like a glove, don't bugger it up with the wild and complex.

"I am firmly persuaded, I'm sad to say, that BushCo and supporting MSM are in the full time business of creating conspiracy based constituencies, all in the service of masking very, very destructive actions on a breathtaking scope of real world forums." (jdm)

One thing that reliance on an explanation based in Conspiracy does is to disempower those who believe -- because if the "hidden hand" caused something to happen, most people will assume you cannot change the course of things, and thus why try?

And of course there are "hidden hands." There are corrupt and highly partisian election officials who select equiptment and create proceedures that intentionally result in dishonest elections. But are we better off focusing on the bad apple corrupt one -- or are we ahead by detailing the problem and putting forward workable solutions?

I think that question always has to be asked.


One of my friends say there aren't that many people who can keep a secret, so there goes my conspiricy theories.

On the other hand there is the matter of the US attorney firings, that seems like a conspiricy to protect certain interests.

And there still is that matter of the stolen election in Florida and perhaps Ohio...that causes one to ponder the odds...

And let us not forget the Gulf of Tonkin, the over throw of the elected government in Iran and Chile...and I bet you still would like to know why we invaded Grenada.

Some unexplained things are not innocent, benign or the result of a single mad woman with blood on her hands.

Is it a conspiricy that US Navy could keep the knowledge that asbestos caused cancer a top secret so that it could continue to build ships in World War II. My friend with black spots on the back of his lungs said they were still exposing workers and him to it in the 1970's when he was building subs.

So perhaps you and Arlin Spectar are right if you can swallow that a single bullet, undamaged by impact, passed through three bocies and fell undamaged to the cot on that fateful day in Dallas. But if Enron, the Savings and Loan crisis or our current banks control through black pool trading could and can happen, then yes, I'm willing to entertain it is possible that my Senator did not just fall from the sky.

And besides, some conspiricy theories, like the last Great Awk at Antioch are just fun to tell.


"One thing that reliance on an explanation based in Conspiracy(...)

AFAIC, a conspiracy is defined by actions of perpertrators, not as an abstract ("an explanation") concept applied, as (IMO) you suggest. I can live w/Webster's definition 1 for BushCo...

1 a: to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement b: scheme2: to act in harmony toward a common end

Interestingly (or not), when I saw your use of the word (conspiracy) it was def. #2 which first came to mind. A brief etymology for the word says:

c.1300, from O.Fr. conspirer, from L. conspirare "to agree, unite, plot," lit. "to breathe together," from com- "together" + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit). Conspiracy is from 1386; conspiracy theory is from 1909.

Also seems interesting to me that the former definition speaks to the "actors" (self evident), the later to the observers (fantasy?).

does is to disempower those who believe -- because if the "hidden hand" caused something to happen, most people will assume you cannot change the course of things, and thus why try?

One of the most useful "quips" I ever encountered:

enlightenment is the ability to make distinctions.

I think truth is always empowering. And I'm not so sure the "why try" crowd needs a conspiracy theory to be disempowered. I also think BushCo crowd defines their "conspiracies" by their own actions, w/their motives lending definition to the more nefarious variety of the word.

If anyone's "disempowered", it seems to me it's the many who accept their "conspiracies", as presented, for truth. I mean, what can be more "dis-empowering" than corruption?

And now that I think about it, IMO our language could use better definition than "conspiracy" (theory) for describing the circumstances at hand.

But are we better off focusing on the bad apple corrupt one -- or are we ahead by detailing the problem and putting forward workable solutions?

Seems to me it's not a "bad apple", but a lot of bushels (now there's a useful pun!!!) Also seems to me that "workable solutions" do not have an effective input-mechanism under the current (BushCo) arrangement. I would go so far as to say BushCo's mission, in a large part, has been to destroy long proven workable solutions.

I think that question always has to be asked.

What's your answer?

I once had a fairly radical economics professor in college. But he was not fond of conspiracy theories either. In fact I line he said I still remember some 30 years later: Generally speaking, I don't believe in the conspiracy theory; rather, I believe in the incompetency theory"

Seems to that the conspiracy in Oswald's case is right out in the open, it's so obvious that it took years for people to see it. Bear with me. This is not going any place too weird. In extreme short, the main reason that there's such a swirl of conspiracy around Oswald is completely logical. It's simply because he was, at different times, and in different ways, a member of the KGB, the FBI, and the CIA. No, he was never exactly an agent but he was an informer, a defector, and a reverse defector. Dozens, probably hundreds, of people in those agencies--and presumably other agencies related to them--knew of Oswald, kept elaborate files and records on him and at various times considered him one of them. All of those agencies and the people in them who might have interacted with Oswald went ape-shit crazy after JFK was killed. They were all worried, of course, that blame might land on them. So, they started spinning from day one. Assume that Oswald acted alone and you'll still have a zillion secret agency employees running around in circles to avoid taking any heat, conspiring in all directions to put the blame elsewhere. Even if the number and rank of the KGB, CIA, FBI agents involved with Oswald from the beginning was quite small and low, surely their bosses and theirs bosses bosses were involved in the spin, in the conspiracy. And there you have it. IMO, that accounts for most of the weirdness and it's so significant, so commonplace, that it's nearly always missed. Oswald really was in contact with all kinds of conspiracies but they were state conspiracies and those actors were also involved in the investigations, complicating things even more. In a way it doesn't matter if he acted alone, since he wasn't alone in the first place.

I recommend, oddly, fiction, Delilo's Libra as a good place to rethink the Oswald conspiracy. Mailer's books are pretty solid as well. Sure the details are a little screwy and both writers think, rightly, IMO, that Oswald essentially acted alone. But they put together the big picture in a fairly convincing fashion and shift the focus to the official day-to-day conspiracy of intelligence and national security during the Cold War.

In a similar fashion, I assume that the "conspiracy" in 9/11 is that the hijackers used some aspects of US intelligence networks to, say, get their paperwork together and make connections and that the hijackers were kinda known to various intelligence services around the world. They were all the kinds of guys that knew, more or less, who the primary tenant of WTC 7 was. They had watched 3 Days of the Condor and knew their Afghanistan history and the role of 41 in Saudi politics, and so on. Once the planes hit, dozens of agencies in assorted countries had to spin like crazy to avoid taking any heat. The hijackers were all guys who 10 years earlier would have been fighting in Afghanistan. They knew the score and they were playing along at the same game and with similar players. It's such a big conspiracy that it's taken a few years for the scope of it to shake out. And, no, it doesn't depend on radio control anything or laser beams or even Cheney's safe to make it a big whopping conspiracy mess.

If anything, I do believe that some of the crazies _are_ getting secretly paid to spout crap just to muddy the picture and make the 9/11 Commission report seem more credible. To make stuff like official Saudi and or US interaction with some of the hijackers seem way out there and perhaps just on principle since they did manage to attack a major CIA installation. So, there, I guess I do believe in conspiracies after all.

...One of my friends say there aren't that many people who can keep a secret, so there goes my conspiricy theories...

One of the better counters to that is Bletchly Park. The US and the UK managed to keep a huge secret program, involving 10s of thousands of people doing perhaps the most important war time work in England completely secret for years. There's no evidence that the Germans knew about Bletchly and there's no evidence that the real history of the park was public knowledge until fairly recently. It was a conspiracy of thousands of ordinary UK citizens, various academics, and military officers and it stayed absolutely secret, more secret than the Manhattan project before the bomb, until the mid-70s.

Also, it's worth noting that very little is publicly known about the NSA and yet thousands of people work there and they have very large installations and the EU even wrote a lengthy report about one of its programs.


Yes, there are those who immediately latch onto every conspiracy theory that comes down the pike and assume that every inconsistent fact in an "official explanation" is the product of omnipotent conspirators. But there are also those who dismiss conspiracies out of hand. They are no less (or not much less) blinkered in their thinking.

Sure, incompetence is often a better explanation explanation than malicious intent. But it isn't ALWAYS. And sometimes the "conspiracy theory" is that public officials are covering up a massively incompetent screw-up (e.g. "the Oklahoma bombing was a sting operation that went awry" or "Bush officials knew there would be a hijacking but didn't know that it would be suicidal and homicidal on the scale that it was").

Call me old-fashioned, but I just believe in having an open mind. I also believe that it is perfectly acceptable to be open to an idea, even if one cannot prove it immediately. Thus, I am open to the idea that WTC 7 was a demolition job, although I would not go around ranting about how it has been "proven."

Leaving aside any forensic analysis of 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination, it is clear that both the government and the media covered up aspects of those incidents, regardless of any official involvement in the crimes beforehand. Maybe it was, as anon suggested, innocent parties who were covering their asses. Or maybe it wasn't. But there was certainly suspicious behavior.

Was Nixon involved in the Kennedy assassination? I can't say for sure, but I have a hard time thinking of an innocent explanation for Nixon having a code word ("Bay of Pigs") for the assassination and being obsessed with not having facts get out about it.

Was there a cause besides the fires for the three WTC collapses? I can't say for sure, but shipping all the steel from those building to China, as fast as possible and before analyses of the structural failures are complete, does trigger my "cover-up" radar.

Final thought: At least with regard to the JFK assassination, numerous persons have come forward with allegations that the CIA, mafia, and other elements were involved. Whether one chooses to believe those persons is up to each individual. But it is nonsense to argue that there was no conspiracy because "you couldn't keep everybody from talking" and then proceed to ignore all the people who have talked since that date.

The biggest conspiracy of all was the one the Bush administration just pulled off.... WMD's in Iraq.

"As to Kennedy. If you take yourself mentally back to November 21, 1963, it is easy to find lots of individuals and groups who hated Kennedy, and did not wish him well."

I can't remember of anyone being so vilified and hated beyond all reason as Senator Clinton is and I fear for her life.

People who worked at Bletchley Park didn't talk about it until decades later. When you have a clearance of that level, not talking about it is the standard ('need to know and you don't' is one way to put it). You won't find out what's going on in classified programs in the US by talking to the people involved, either. It takes someone really stupid to do that, or with other motives. (See, for a recent example, Scooter.)

I think 7 World Trade Center most likely collapsed due to a combination of damage from debris falling from the two big towers, plus fire that was fueled by the 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel in the building. Here's a copy of a March 2002 New York Times article that explains the theory for the collapse. (It's on a conspiracy site; there's a link to the Times article.) The fire weakened transfer trusses.

Videos of the 5:28 p.m. collapse of 7 World Trade lend vivid support to the truss-failure theory. Roughly 30 seconds before the building goes down, a rooftop mechanical room starts to disappear, falling into the building's core. Then a second larger rooftop room sinks. The building then quickly collapses.

Both rooms were above sections of the building held up by the trusses. Other video evidence shows fire concentrated in the floors containing the trusses and the fuel tanks.

There were fuel tanks on the fifth, seventh, and eighth floors, and the preliminary FEMA report says, "Loss of structural integrity was likely a result of weakening caused by fires on the 5th to 7th floors." The building was 47 stories tall, so when the trusses collapsed, it was like dropping a 40-story building on top of a seven-story building, which might explain why the building fell straight down. (Note: I am not a structural engineer.)

if you're going to do controlled demolitions, what do you need the planes for? Al Qaeda had tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Even if it was an inside demolition job (which I do not believe), why not just do that and frame al Qaeda for it?

The whole conspiracy theory angle is too over-the-top. Supposedly the government's sinister agents shot a missile into the Pentagon, shot down Flight 93, planted explosives into WTC1 and WTC2 and flew planes (or drones) into them, planted explosives in WTC7 and "pulled it," and took the real people on the real planes and made them disappear somewhere. It's too elaborate.

I always advise people to put away their theories and deal with the physical
facts on the ground.

In the case of the JFK assassination, the bullet holes in the back of JFK's shirt and jacket are 2" to 3" below the wound location required by the "official" lone gunman theory.

Bugliosi DOES NOT address this fact in his book at all, instead he glosses over it in the CD that accompanies the book, literally saying, "So what?"

The physical facts of the case don't match the "official" conclusion -- so what?

Bugliosi is fraud. Before anyone claims that JFK's clothing was "bunched up" at the moment he was shot, compare the following two films:

JFK on Main St 90 seconds before shooting:

JFK on Elm St. less than 10 seconds before the shooting:

If you look closely, JFK's jacket rode over the top of his shirt collar on Main St., but his shirt collar was highly visible at the back of his neck on Elm St.

JFK's jacket dropped in Dealey Plaza.

Vince Bugliosi is a big fat liar when he claims his book is exhaustive.

kirkaracha | December 05, 2007 at 11:16 said:

The whole conspiracy theory angle is too over-the-top. Supposedly the government's sinister agents shot a missile into the Pentagon, shot down Flight 93, planted explosives into WTC1 and WTC2 and flew planes (or drones) into them, planted explosives in WTC7 and "pulled it," and took the real people on the real planes and made them disappear somewhere. It's too elaborate.

I agree w/most of that. I do think it likely flight 93 was shot down: the broad debris field, eye witness accounts of what sure sounds like US fighter planes just prior to crash... but, I can easily envision a scenario where decision makers may have done that w/best intentions after watching towers collapse (not that I agree or disagree). Or in other words, I don't necessarily see nefarious motives there.

However, I have remained troubled by Andrews AFB being shut down that day... something that never happens. How could there be no planes in the air?... Andrews drills for such events as their primary purpose. And the NJ air traffic controller, who spoke to press saying he notified appropriate authorities (NOORAD?... I don't remember) after transponder was shut off in 1st plane... as I recall, some five minutes after takeoff. Whatever lapses may have allowed 1st plane to hit tower, how can the 2nd, +/- 90mins later be so excused in light of such a warning? That air traffic controller was threatened w/prosecution if he spoke to press again, and his interview tape was later "accidentally" destroyed.

Yet AFAIK, there was no investigation into the processes following his notification, nor honest statements re: what did or didn't happen in the NOORAD pipeline thereafter.

Something's really wrong there. I don't ascribe an explanation ("conspiracy theory"), but something's really wrong there. But seeing the past years of BushCo, nothing would surprise me.

Glad to hear that Sara and 'pockets will still be posting after 'wheel's departure.

What's happened to JamesB3 ? Haven't seen any posts from him in a while...

Buildings don't pancake collapse in free-fall speed in the direction of greatest resistance with no loss of momentum.

That cannot physically occur. Official Story Kool Aid drinkers would have us dismiss Newton's First Law of Motion?


It's time to join the real world, folks.


The Twin Towers were 110 stories tall. The planes hit WTC2 (the South Tower) between the 77th and 85th floors and hit WTC1 (the North Tower) between the 93rd and 99th floors. So essentially WTC2 had a 25-story building dropped onto it, and WTC1 had an 11-story building dropped onto it.

Buildings don't pancake collapse in free-fall speed in the direction of greatest resistance with no loss of momentum.

Please link to some scientific documentation by a structural engineer. The Boston conference you mention features a bunch of the usual non-structural engineers, including "long-time 9/11 researcher and former BYU physics professor Dr. Steven Jones," who thinks Jesus visited North America.

Again, if you're going to plant demolition charges, why not just blame Al Qaeda for that? Are we really suppose to expect the idiots who bungled the response to Katrina could plant demolition charges undetected by any of the tens of thousands of people working in the buildings?

> So essentially WTC2 had a 25-story
> building dropped onto it,

And 76 floors of redundantly-designed steel beams offered NO resistance to this 25-story building?

Physically impossible.

Produce the structural engineers who have replicated anything remotely like this.

!@#$%&^*I*&^%$# conspiracy theorists with *NO* understanding of engineering or physics.

Buildings fall *down*. If they fall sideways, assume something else is involved. WTC did NOT fall sideways.

Concrete is *HEAVY* (about a ton per cubic yard). The space between floors is NOT heavy - it's air. No strength in this situation, no resistance to the weight falling on it. This is also why they don't fall sideways: it takes a h*ll of a lot of force to do that to a heavy structure (wood-frame buildings are not heavy structures), and airplanes are not be heavy. (There are buildings that have had planes crash on their rooves and stood up, but they didn't have fires as a result of the crash inside them, either.)

The process started when the steel beams holding up all the floors above the impact area heated enough to deform, and (like a softening candle or a softening pillar of ice cream) couldn't hold that load up any more. Those floors came down on the ones below them like a sledge hammer onto a house of aluminum cards; of course the structures failed. They weren't designed for that kind of thing. (Remember, they were designed *in the mid-60s*, before computers could model this; also remember, if you're one of those who like the demolition version, that the people who take down bridges and buildings get the plans for them and then then they do thorough checks to see what the actual structure is like; that isn't a simple walkthrough job.)

PJ - yeah concrete is heavy, and I never had any problem with the idea that once those top floors started moving there was no stopping it. I've seen a tape by a very not nutty, and very qualified professor that says it wouldn't happen that way, but my guy is that probably it did.

I'm not sure what buildig 7 was doing with giant tanks of diesel in it, I guess it could be so. Again, seems unlikely - the complete destruction, but I suppose it could happen.

I keep coming back to the idea that probably cheney had intel to know the date of OBL's attack, and he just made sure no one stopped it. Perhaps even made sure it was a success, by planning things that would prohibit effective response.

All I can say is Bush's reaction when the agent whispered in his ear was not suprise. The look read to me more like a guy thinking "well, here we go". Or "now it is done" - no suprise registered at all. I can't say the administration did the act, but I think they knew it was coming, and found it convienient for their very well documented adgenda.

We'll never know the truth any more than we know the truth about Kennedy. We know the lie, but we don't know the truth.

A conspiracy with high stakes is usually not easy to organize and put into motion a careful plan of action. Think of all the disagreements and personal incompatibilities that plague efforts at organizing projects of all kinds; then there are all the logistical and technical and financial problems and whatnot that must be dealt with. There are some successful complex conspiracies, certainly, but they are few in comparison to the failures, I'd bet. Complex conspiracies are so hard to pull off that we should be very skeptical of complex conspiracy theories.

I wrote “complex conspiracies” because simple conspiracies often are successful, as we see in politics, in business, and in human relations generally.

Having a dualistic world in which each person would be unalloyed good or evil would be convenient. Rather than that we have a world in which each of us is a mixed bag of character traits; it can all get rather disconcerting, even maddening. There is enough evil intent and conduct by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to cope with without having to believe that they are absolutely evil beings who would have airliners crashed into skyscrapers as a key part of an elaborate power scheme. Moreover, we can't feed a convenient fantasy and roust out the facts we need simultaneously.

Is it possible that after the 1993 bombing of the WTC, they actually wired up the buildings with explosives so that if it were bombed again in the basement they could possibly prevent the buildings from toppling over into other buildings nearby?

How did the building that was hit second, collapse first when most of the plane fuel exploded in a huge fireball outside of it?

Why was molten steel found 70 feet below ground many weeks after the collapses?

How did Bush know he wasn't a target of the hijackers on 9/11 when he was 5 miles from an airport on a publicly known photo op in an elementary school full of children? He and his secret service were so sure he wasn't a target that they were willing to sacrifice an elementary school full of children to prove they were right. If you fart in the presence of the President and the secret service they will first dive on the President then scoop him up to an undisclosed location immediately. The first plane hit the WTC before Bush even arrived at the school. At that point the FAA thought there were at least 8 planes hijacked. The FAA and the Secret Service have direct communications.

The pilot that flew into the Pentagon could not even fly a prop plane yet we are supposed to believe he executed what air traffic controllers called "top gun maneuvers" in order to fly several feet off the ground at 500 mph to hit the Pentagon on the first floor and causing the least amount of damage he possibly could by flying into a newly constructed area that had just been reinforced instead of nose diving from the top.

Debris from Flight 93 was found up to 8 miles away from the crash site yet we are supposed to believe it wasn't shot down.

It took 15 mins for a jet to intercept Payne Stewart's plane when it went off course but on 9/11 sNORAD was asleep at the wheel.

PJ said (among other things), 'buildings fall down'. As far as I know, other than on 9/11, there has never been a total collapse of a steel framed building due to fire, even though some buildings were hit by planes or burned for up to 26 hours. There were three on 9/11, and they all fell at almost free-fall speed.

And, by the way, doesn't our air defense system routinely scramble and intercept flights gone astray? Of course they do.

Does it at least arouse your curiousity that the most heavily defended building in the world (the Pentagon) was so completely undefended after everyone in the US knew we were under attack?

Trying to answer these or any of dozens of other obvious anamolies all lead you to the same conclusion - inside job.

Visit Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth or the Journal of 911 studies for a more scholarly discussion.

Sara, You have my gratitude for slogging through the Bugliosi book. But he was extremely unconvincing in the several TV appearances promoting the book -- and he wasn't facing very tough questioning. Maybe he wrote it to get the mafia off the hook. ;>

I'd say it was watching Ruby's assassination of Oswald live that made it impossible for a whole generation of us to accept the lone gunman explanation. Not to mention what has come out in the decades since about the huge gum-ups and bigfooting that made a real investigation impossible while the evidence was still fresh.

Sometimes there are conspiracies. For instance, the network that funnelled aid to the contras in defiance of Congress and shipped arms to Iran for the release of hostages. The associations, penumbras and emanations of that Enterprise are enough to make a conspiracy theorist of anyone who was watching closely during the period...

The Twin Towers were not built like most other buildings, so you shouldn't be surprised that they behaved differently than other buildings. Unlike most buildings, the outside walls supplied most of the Twin Towers' vertical support. They were built that way to maximize floor space instead of having columns throughout the floors. So the planes' hitting the exterior walls damaged the buildings' vertical supports. The planes also damaged the central columns in the center around the elevators and stairs that provided the rest of the vertical support. Finally, the impact blew the fireproof insulation off of the supporting beams. The planes' gas started a fire of the combustible elements (papers, desks, etc.) that was hot enough to weaken the beams, and when they gave out the buildings fell down.

PBS/NOVA presentations: Impact to Collapse/9/11 Conspiracy Theories

How did the building that was hit second, collapse first when most of the plane fuel exploded in a huge fireball outside of it?

Because it was hit lower down and had more weight pressing down. Also, more of the core columns of WTC2 were damaged by the impact.

In the PBS/NOVA show cited above the pancake collapse theory was illustrated, showing one floor after the other fall straight down. But in the illustration the massive steel tri-core was left standing!!

Thank you for the cite. PBS/NOVA makes the case for controlled demolition.

One the subject of controlled demolition, it need not have been a "government inside job" to wire them. When Larry Silverstein bought the complex the previous March he may have had them wired as a contingency plan in case of a terrorist attack -- nothing more than an old fashion insurance scam. He had plenty of opportunity to get the job done.

they all fell at almost free-fall speed.

You used a radar gun on them, I take it?
The estimate I saw was that WTC7 fell at about 50mph (73 ft/second). Not even close to free-fall speed.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED READING for all you 9/11 conspiracy theorists:
Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture by Mario Salvadori (this is a really intersting book)

Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail by Matthys Levy, Mario Salvadori, and Kevin Woest

The Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles R Pellegrino (not architecture)

And for the love of Ghu, understand that buildings are designed to fall straight down: do you really want any building (not necessarily a highrise) to fall sideways? Stop and think about it for a few minutes. You don't need conspiracy theories and hidden explosives to explain it.

(BTW: how the h*ll were those hidden demoliton charges planted without everyone in the building noticing? They'd have had to move a lot of stuff to do it. For Ghu's sake, it took a week of nights to replace the carpet tiles on the floor where I work, and that was with us clearing everything off the desks and panels beforehand! That's just one floor in a building much smaller than either of the towers. You're claiming that they did two or three buildings without anyone, including building maintenance and security, noticing and calling the cops?)

It took 6.6 seconds for WTC7 to fall.

Free fall speed from that height: 6 seconds.

Why don't you post the relevant passages from the books you cite, PJ?

And why do you assume people didn't notice unusual events in the buildings in the weeks leading up to Nine Eleven?

See "9/11 Mysteries" for accounts on that score.


Sorry to be OT, but I'm finding it impossible to register at EW's new site.


Elliot, if you're trying to use the name "Elliot Ness" then you will have to delete the space between names. If it's a different problem, then I can't help.


Re JFK: some background you might want to consider:


P J,

you can't convince them. They don't won't to be convinced.

Just the facts, ma'am. The Kool Aid set has no answer to this:


Shit Stain Jodi believes the towers did not fall as a result of the collision and fire? Well I'll be a shit stain too.

Grew up just outside of Yellow Springs. Caught between a large family who was mostly employed at Wright Patterson Airforce base and the progressive town of YS.

Did you know that President Kennedy was the last President to demand that Israel open their doors to inspections of their nuclear facilities? Information at the IAEA's website.

The biggest conspiracy pulled off lately was WMD's in Iraq

Kathleen, Sy Hersh did a book called "The Sampson Option",(Random House, 1991) detailing how LBJ enabled Israel to export from the US vital materials and equipment for their Nuclear Program during his administration. Essentially, Hersh's investigation details how such that was under quite strict export controls was quietly and illegally provided to Israel between about 1964 and then continuning into the Nixon term. In essence, LBJ gave away the critical knowledge and materials, and Hersh researched who, when, from where, and how the money worked. It is no wonder LBJ and those who followed him made no demands for Israel to sign on to the international inspection treaty -- the time to do that was when they were opening up the store for easy shopping.

Hersh's work is well known outside the US, particularly in India and Pakistan, and is always part of their argument as to why they too should not sign the international inspections treaty. But if you go back and look at the treatment of Hersh's book by US reviewers, and whether his works gets many cites in the literature -- you'll note he was just attacked as an anti-Semite, (the Dershowitz treatment), when he published, and thereafter his story was just ignored. It is precisely this sort of thing that brands us as hypocrits, and the sad thing is all too many Americans don't understand it, even if our own journalists do quality jobs developing the story. By the way, what is true of Nuclear is also true of Biological and Chemical processes to create weapons systems. The evidence is in print that the US quietly supplied Israel with the systems, and has remained silent with regard to compliance with treaties, while at the same time evidence of proliferation and non compliance is something we beat others about the head with in international settings and conferences.

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