In this course I have assigned a conspiracy debunking book on widespread conspiracy allegations concerning the events of 9/11/01. That book, compiled by the journal POPULAR MECHANICS: Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up, attempts to silence the avalanche of suspicion triggered by attacks that day. You can obtain the essence of those suspicions by consulting the many “Truther” sites on the Web. To a general reader, explain what we ought to think about 9/11 in the wake of this confrontation over what actually happened on that fateful day and why.
Explain why you reached this conclusion. Address this question: How successful can the most thorough debunking be in the wake of allegations of the sort made by the Truther movement? I own several books and CD’s making the case for conspiracy for your use if you wish to consult one or more of them. Of course, the internet is full of that material. You might want to entitle your essay, “Can conspiracy doubts ever be put to rest? ”. From the minute the first airplane hit the World Trade Center on that fateful morning September 11th, 2001 the entire nation was moved.
Then when two more planes came crashing into the other tower and the Pentagon, the nation was crushed. It was the most fatal terrorist attack ever committed against the United Stated killing nearly 3,000 people. Thousands of children were left with one parent or even became orphans. September 11th quickly became our biggest national tragedy since the JFK assassination. After the attacks, many changes could be seen in the country beginning with the government. Immediately after the attacks security shot up, which quickly sacrificed some citizen freedom.
For example, the USA Patriot Act was passed in 2001 to give law enforcement agencies surveillance powers over U. S citizens. This led to creation of the Information Awareness Office whose goal was to develop technology that could collect and process massive amounts of information about every individual in the United States. The information would include Internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, utility bills, tax returns, and other available data all of which would be used to trace patterns of behavior that could help predict terrorist activities.
Another change that became apparent after the attacks was a change in the American mentality. There was a surge of nationalism that rose in the country for the first time since World War II, people began rallying around the popularized phrase, “United We Stand,” in hopes of remaining resilient and keeping the American spirit alive despite the devastating attack. But at the same time there escalated a storm of suspicion leading to stories that would challenge the phrase “United We Stand”, stories better known as conspiracy theories.
Conspiracies first became publically voiced by a collective of organizations and individuals known as the Truth Movement. Supporters of the movement, or Truthers, question the accepted explanation provided by the government of the planes unknowingly being hi-jacked by a terrorist organization. Instead they suggest that the United States government took part, in some way, in the events that occurred on September 11th. “Truthers” conspiracies can be divided into two main forms: LIHOP (Let it happen on purpose) and MIHOP (Made it happen on purpose).
Pretty self-explanatory, the LIHOP belief is that at least a few key members in the Bush administration had some foreknowledge of the attacks and ignored them or even weakened the nations defense to ensure the planes were not intercepted. For example, Michael Meacher, former member of Tony Blair’s cabinet is one who “claims that the United States knowingly failed to stop the attacks”. Another motive for this conspiracy is suspected insider trading due to the large amount of put options placed on United Airlines and American Airlines stocks just before 9/11.
Those were the two airlines involved in the attack and the identities of the traders have never been made public. MIHOP, on the other hand, is a much more extreme type of conspiracy in that supporters of it say the government in fact helped or destroyed the twin towers. There are various conspiracies within MIHOP as to how it was done but the main one is the belief that the buildings collapsed due to a controlled demolition and that explosives had been placed in the buildings in advance. This theory arose due to physicists and architects who question the demolition of the towers by the planes.
They argue that the “impact of the aircraft and the resulting fires could not have weakened the buildings enough to initiate a total collapse”. They believe that the buildings would not have “collapsed completely, especially at the speeds that they did, without any additional energy involved”. They also questioned media sources published cause that the towers had collapsed due to “melted steel” by noting that steel physically could not melt at the temperature in the building. This became a prominent “fact” that swayed many people towards demanding the truth from the government.
The inside job conspiracy went viral when college student Dylan Avery created a film called Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup, which argues “the September 11th attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the United States government, and base the claims on perceived anomalies in the historical record of the attacks”. Avery uses clips and photos of the attacks and narrates over them with and underscore of hip-hop and other urban music. Millions of people watched the documentary including internationally, and many people believed it began questioning the government.
Although it was poorly made, it successfully convinced thousand of Americans that the government was involved in the attacks on September 11th. A third main conspiracy of 9/11 is Israeli foreknowledge or even involvement in the attacks. This conspiracy arose first when it was reported that the Mossad (Institute of Intelligence and Special Operations in Israel) informed both the FBI and CIA in August 2001 that “as many as 200 terrorists were slipping into the United States” and planning “a major assault on the United States. Earlier the Israeli intelligence agency allegedly warned the FBI that it had picked up indications of a “large-scale target” in the United States and that Americans would be “very vulnerable. ” More support for the Israeli Conspiracy Theory arose when FBI agents arrested five Israeli’s for “puzzling behavior” four hours after the attack. The Israelis were caught filming the smoking buildings from on top of a van in a parking lot, with what was interpreted as cries of “joy and mockery”.
To add to the suspicion, FBI found $4,700 cash hidden in the van along with foreign passports and a box-cutter. They were put in detention for 2 months where they were subject to interrogations and lie-detector tests before being deported back to Israel. This arrest, in combination with the suspicion of Israeli foreknowledge of the attacks, lead to the creation of the commonly believed conspiracy of Israel’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
In light of all the rising conspiracies circling September 11th, valid scientific evidence was done in hopes to quiet the hysteria and debunk the conspiracies. It’s difficult to know for certain if the government had any foreknowledge of the attacks to debunk any LIHOP theories, as the information would all be extremely confidential if true. But much evidence was brought forward with the plan to refute controlled demolition myths and other common conspiracy theories of 9/11. The first myth debunked was that of the “melted” steel.
Although it is true that at 800 -1500F jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel (2750F). But what researchers noted was that the steel only had to be weakened, not completely melted, to bring down the building and according a senior engineer at the American Institute of Steel Construction, “steel loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F”. This would have weakened the steel enough to maximize the impact of the plane and bring down the tower thus invalidating the “melted” steel myth.
Loose Change was quickly debunked, but unfortunately that still didn’t stop it from breaking 10 million Internet views. But how many of those 10 million knew that Loose Change began as a fictional screenplay about Dylan Avery and his friends finding out 9/11 was a government conspiracy? Avery makes mention of this in every interview he does. He had no money to professionally cut the film until he met conspiracy buff Phillip Jayhan who paid for Avery to get his film off the ground. The only thing is, Jayhan didn’t think it was fiction.
Jayhan accepted conspiracies about 9/11 prior to the film and believed that the aircrafts were carrying missiles and that there were bombs planted in the towers beforehand. Avery, realizing now that the financial future of his film and his dreams of fame and fortune lie entirely in selling Loose Change as a factual documentary, discovers over the course of the production that, in fact, the plot behind 9/11 is real. Another contradictory fact in Avery’s assumption of 9/11 as an inside job is that he and all his friends are still alive.
Since he is essentially arguing that the government has no problem killing 3,000 innocent people, this raises the question: if his documentary is true, and we’ve established that the government has no ethical qualms about killing thousands of its own people, then why wouldn’t the government kill Avery and his friends as well? What are a few more lives to them to ensure the success of this conspiracy? Whatever reason it may be that the government supposedly orchestrated this conspiracy; it must have been worth it to them to cause so much suffering and loss of life.
So if there’s any truth to this, then you can undeniably bet that the government wouldn’t let a couple of college kids jeopardize their entire operation by allowing the video float around on the Internet. As far as the Israeli Conspiracy Theory goes, it has been debunked simply as an example of anti-Semitism in America. There is not one piece of solid evidence that suggests that Zionists had anything to do with the attacks. The “blame the Jews” theme is one that goes back 2,000 years, it is not new in any way.
It was stated that 4,000 Jews failed to show up to work at the World Trade Center on September 11th. This was proven wrong when a reported 10-15 percent of victims of the World Trade Center attacks were Jewish, indicating no mass absence. The “4,000” figure had apparently come from a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that some “4,000 Israelis” were believed to be in the New York and Washington areas, where the attacks occurred. This figure was seized upon by conspiracy theorists, and “Israelis” was broadened to “Jews”, in an attempt to bolster the false theory.
Many Americans took offense to these claims, not just Jews. The hysteria of 9/11 gave rise to a strong sense of fear and suspicion amongst American citizens and ultimately could have lead to another McCarthy epidemic where everyone suspects everyone. The Bush Administration did little to silence the fear; in fact they encouraged it by putting up signs and commercials about fighting terrorism. Instead, what our country needed, as it had in the past, is an administration that counseled us and reminded us “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”.
Had the government done a better job of instilling this sense of courage amid the country, people would be less suspicious of each other and continue to think logically throughout all the madness. There were even more conspiracies that circled the nation in regards to the Pentagon attack on that same day, many of which assert that a plane did not even hit the building, but rather a missile. Supporters of the theory deny there even being a plane involved in the Pentagon attack instead, a missile fired by elements “from inside the American state apparatus” was what was responsible for the attack.
This belief is shared by Dylan Avery and explained in his documentary. In fact, its rise to conspiracy theory most likely occurred due to the millions of people who watched the documentary. It is truly astonishing how widely believed this theory is, yet how much solid disproving evidence is simply looked over. First and foremost, the remains of the bodies of the crew and passengers of American Airlines flight 77 were found at the Pentagon crash site, and were positively identified by DNA testing.
This fact alone, that debunks the entire theory, is merely ignored by Avery and supporters of the missile theory. In addition, aircraft debris as well as the flight’s black boxes were also found at the site. Finally, people seem to forget that the attacks happened in broad daylight. Numerous eyewitnesses saw the plane strike the Pentagon. Some even saw passengers through the plane’s windows. Missiles don’t have windows or carry passengers. It’s amazing how evidence that leads to a certain conspiracy theory can be proved wrong but still fails to convince believers that the theory is invalid.
Despite the cold hard facts of scientific debunking, conspiracies of September 11th will always be around, and believed. If there is any doubt to what the government tells its citizens, conspiracies will quickly arise and they will gain followers. This is true about conspiracy theories today and has been a pattern since the before the founding of our nation. Some of these theories may be completely illogical to the average, moral person, but supporters of it will continue to support it no matter what debunking evidence is brought forth to them.
The evidence is either refuted or completely ignored due to how widely believed the theory is. People create such a strong belief in a certain conspiracy theory that they will close their minds to all other possibilities and simply will not believe any evidence against it. It is that firm belief that keeps conspiracy theories from ever being quieted unless they are found true. Individuals and organizations like The Truth Movement firmly disagree with the government’s explanation of what happened that day. Even the most thorough debunking ails to quiet Truthers because their ideology is based on the notion that the government is hiding something from us. Within the movement there are different conspiracy theories, but on the whole, Truthers believe the government is holding out on its citizens and not telling us everything there is to know. To help silence the questions, the government had to be more up front with the country immediately after the attacks in order not to raise such suspicion. But chances even that would not have been enough to quiet an entire movement of conspiracy theories against the government.
Now finally we’ve reached the million-dollar question: What are we supposed to think about what happened on 9/11 in wake of all these conspiracy theories? Ultimately, the answer to this question relies on how much one trusts their government. If you have confidence in the United States government then you believe that they would never be involved in the biggest terrorist act against it’s own people. Although at times I do suspect the government of not exposing all the truth, I have no doubt that they will do anything in their power to protect its country.
Thus, I do not believe that they were in any way involved in the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans, and tens if not hundreds of thousands of more lives in the conflicts that ensued because of it. Unfortunately, I do not think the Bush Administration handled the aftermath of the attacks well. The nation was in disbelief and turned towards the government for support and explanation. Instead of being there for the country at a time of great fear, they instilled more fear by blowing up a “War on Terrorism”.
Had the Bush Administration taken a stronger leadership role it would have eased conspiracy theories. But when it comes down to it, there will never be an end to these theories for as long as there is even a government. Conspiracy theories rise from fear and distrust. Until a government can gain 100% trust from its people, there will always be suspicions following tragic national events. Conspiracy theories can never be quieted, but its important to research the facts to find the truth and not simply accept what is given to you, be it by a conspiracy theory or the government.