Looniest Of All 911 Conspiracy Theories

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    Looniest Of All 911 Conspiracy Theories

    by Gerard Holmgren


    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 Jimi 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 its hardly surprising that the events of September 11th,

    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 September 11 th - and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst conspiracy buffs - is that it was carried out by nineteen 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 nineteen Arab hijackers somehow managing to commandeer four planes simultaneously and fly them around US airspace for nearly two 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. This technique is known as 'the fruit loop' and saves the conspiracy theorist from ever having to see any of their ideas through to their (il)ogical conclusions.

    According to the practitioners of the fruit loop, nineteen

    Arabs took over four planes by subduing the passengers

    and crew through the use of guns, knives, box cutters and

    gas, and then used electronic guidance systems which they

    had smuggled on board to fly the planes to their targets.

    The suspension of disbelief required for this outrageous

    concoction is only for the hard core conspiracy theorist.

    For a start, they conveniently skip over the awkward fact

    that there weren't any Arabs on the planes. If there were,

    one must speculate that they somehow got on board

    without being filmed by any of the security cameras and

    without being registered on the passenger lists. But the

    curly question of how they are supposed to have got on

    board is all too mundane for the exciting world of the

    conspiracy theorist.

    With vague mumblings that they must have been using false ID - but never specifying which IDs they are alleged to have used, or how these were traced to their real identities - they quickly bypass this problem, to relate exciting and sinister tales about how some of the fictitious fiends were actually searched before boarding because they looked suspicious. However, as inevitably happens with any web of lies, this simply paints them into an even more difficult corner. How are they supposed to have got on board with all that stuff if they were searched? And if they used gas in a confined space, they would have been affected themselves unless they also had masks in their luggage.

    "Excuse me sir, why do you have a boxcutter, a gun, a

    container of gas, a gas mask and an electronic guidance

    unit in your luggage?"

    "A present for your grandmother? Very well sir, on you get."

    "Very strange", thinks the security officer, "that's the fourth

    Arabic man without an Arabic name who just got on board

    with a knife, gun or boxcutter and gas mask...and why

    does that security camera keep flicking off every time one

    these characters shows up? Must be one of those days I guess..."

    Asking any of these basic questions to a conspiracy

    theorist is likely to cause a sudden leap to the claim that we

    know that they were on board because they left a credit

    card trail for the tickets they had purchased and cars they

    had rented.

    So if they used credit cards that identified them, how does that reconcile with the claim that they used false IDs to get on to the plane? But by this time , the fruit loop is in full swing, as the conspiracy theorist tries to stay one jump ahead of this annoying and awkward rational analysis. They will allege that the hijackers' passports were found at the crash scenes. "So there!" they exalt

    triumphantly, their fanatical faces lighting up with that deranged look of one who has just a revelation of questionable sanity.

    Hmmm? So they got on board with false IDs but took their

    real passports with them? However, by this time the fruit

    loop has been completely circumnavigated, and the

    conspiracy theorist exclaims impatiently, "who said

    anything about false IDs? We know what seats they were

    sitting in! Their presence is well documented!" And so the

    whole loop starts again. "Well, why aren't they on the

    passenger lists?" "You numbskull! They assumed the

    identities of other passengers!" And so on...

    Finally, out of sheer fascination with this circular method

    of creative delusion, the rational septic will allow them to

    get away with this loop, in order to move on to the next

    question, and see what further delights await us in the

    unraveling of this marvelously stupid story.

    "Uh, how come their passports survived fiery crashes that

    completely incinerated the planes and all the passengers?

    "The answer of course is that its just one of those strange

    coincidences, those little quirks of fate that do happen

    from time to time. You know, like the same person

    winning the lottery four weeks in a row.
    The odds are astronomical, but these things do happen.

    This is another favorite deductive method of the conspiracy theorist. The 'improbability drive', in which they decide upon a conclusion without any evidence whatsoever to support it, and then continually speculate a series of wildly improbable events and unbelievable
    co-incidences to support it, shrugging off the implausibility of each event with the vague assertion that sometimes the impossible happens - just about all the time in their world.

    There is a principle called 'Occam's Razor' which suggests

    that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest

    explanation is most likely to be correct.
    Conspiracy theorists hate Occam's razor.

    Having for the sake of amusement, allowed them to get

    away with the silly story of the nineteen invisible

    Arabs, we move on to the question of how they are

    supposed to have taken over the planes.

    Hijacking a plane is not an easy thing to do. Hijacking it

    without the pilot being able to alert ground control is near

    impossible. The pilot has only to punch in a four digit code

    to alert ground control to a hijacking. Unconcerned with

    the awkward question of plausibility, the conspiracy buffs

    maintain that on that September 11th, the invisible

    hijackers took over the plane by the rather crude method

    of threatening people with boxcutters and knives, and

    spraying gas - after they had attached their masks,

    obviously - but somehow took control of the plane without

    the crew first getting a chance to punch in the hijacking

    code. Not just on one plane, but on all four. At this point

    in the tale, the conspiracy theorist is again forced to call

    upon the services of the improbability drive.

    So now that our incredibly lucky hijackers have taken

    control of the planes, all four pilots fly them with breath

    taking skill and certainty to their fiery end, all four pilots

    unflinching in their steely resolve for a swift meeting with

    Allah. Apart from their psychotic hatred of 'our freedoms',

    it was their fanatical devotion to Islam which enabled them

    to summon up the iron will to do this. Which is strange,

    because according to another piece of hearsay peddled by

    the conspiracy buffs, these guys actually went out drinking

    and womanizing the night before their great martyrdom,

    even leaving their Korans in the bar - really impeccable

    Islamic behavior - and then got up at 5 o'clock the next

    morning to pull off the greatest covert operation in history.

    This also requires us to believe that they were even clear

    headed enough to learn how to fly the huge planes by

    reading flight manuals in Arabic in the car on the way to

    the airport. We know this because they supposedly left the

    flight manuals there for us to find.

    It gets better. Their practical training had allegedly been

    limited to Cessnas and flight simulators, but this was no

    barrier to the unflinching certainty with which they took

    over the planes and skillfully guided them to their doom.
    If they are supposed to have done their flight training with

    these tools, which would be available just about anywhere

    in the world, its not clear why they would have decided to

    risk blowing their cover to US intelligence services by

    doing the training in Florida, rather than somewhere in the

    Middle East, but such reasoning is foreign to the foggy

    world of the conspiracy theorist, too trapped in the

    constant rotation of the mental fruit loop to make their

    unsubstantiated fabrications seem even semi-believable.

    Having triumphantly established a circular delusion in

    support of the mythical Arabs, the conspiracy theorist now

    confronts the difficult question of why there's nothing left

    of the planes. Anybody who has seen the endlessly

    replayed footage of the second plane going into the WTC

    will realize that the plane was packed with explosives.

    Planes do not and cannot blow up into nothing in that

    manner when they crash.

    Did the mythical Arabs also haul a huge heap of explosives

    on board, and mange to deploy them in such a manner that

    they went off in the exact instant of the crash, completely

    vaporizing the plane? This is a little difficult even for the

    conspiracy theorist, who at this point decides that its easier

    to invent new laws of physics in order to keep the delusion

    rolling along.

    There weren't any explosives. It wasn't an inside job.

    The plane blew up into nothing from its exploding fuel load!

    Remarkable, quite remarkable.

    Sluggishly combustible jet fuel which is basically Kerosene, and which burns at a maximum temperature of around 800 degrees Celsius has

    suddenly taken on the qualities of a ferociously explosive demolition agent, vaporizing sixty-five tons of aircraft into a puff of smoke. Never mind that a plane of that size contains around fifteen tons of steel and titanium, of which even the melting points are about double that of the maximum combustion temperature of Kerosene - let alone

    the boiling point - which is what would be required to vaporize a plane. And then there's about fifty tons of aluminum to be accounted for. In excess of 15 lbs of metal for each gallon of Kerosene.

    For the conspiracy theorist, such inconvenient facts are

    vaguely dismissed as 'mumbo jumbo'. This convenient

    little phrase is their answer to just about anything factual or

    logical. Like a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a hat, they

    suddenly become fanatically insistent about the devastating

    explosive qualities of Kerosene, something hitherto

    completely unknown to science, but just discovered by

    them, this very minute. Blissfully ignoring the fact that

    never before or since in aviation history has a plane

    vaporized into nothing from an exploding fuel load, the

    conspiracy theorist relies upon Hollywood images,
    where the effects are always larger than life,
    and certainly larger than the intellects of these cretins.

    "Its a well known fact that planes blow up into nothing on

    impact", they state with pompous certainty,
    "watch any Bruce Willis movie."

    "Care to provide any documented examples? If it's a well

    known fact, then presumably this well known fact springs

    from some kind of documentation -
    other than Bruce Willis movies?"

    At this point the mad but cunning eyes of the conspiracy theorist will narrow as they sense the corner that they have backed themselves into, and plan their escape by means of another stunning backflip.

    "Ah, but planes have never crashed into buildings before,

    so there's no way of telling." they counter with a sly grin.

    Well, actually planes have crashed into buildings before

    and since, and not vaporized into nothing. "But not big

    planes, with that much fuel", they shriek in hysterical

    denial. Or that much metal to vaporize.

    "Yes but not hijacked planes!" "Are you suggesting that

    whether the crash is deliberate or accidental affects the

    combustion qualities of the fuel?" "Now you're just being


    Although collisions with buildings are rare, planes

    frequently crash into mountains, streets, other aircraft,

    nosedive into the ground, or have bombs planted aboard

    them, and don't vaporize into nothing. What's so special

    about a tower that's mostly glass? But by now, the

    conspiracy theorist has once again sailed happily around

    the fruit loop. "It's a well documented fact that planes

    explode into nothing on impact."

    Effortlessly weaving back and forth between the position

    that its a "well known fact" and that "its never happened

    before, so we have nothing to compare it to", the

    conspiracy theorist has now convinced themselves - if not

    too many other people - that the WTC plane was not

    loaded with explosives, and that the instant vaporization

    of the plane in a massive fireball was the same as any other

    plane crash you might care to mention. Round and round

    the fruit loop.

    But the hurdles which confront the conspiracy theorist are

    many, and they are now forced to implement even more

    creative uses for the newly discovered shockingly

    destructive qualities of Kerosene.

    They have to explain how the Arabs also engineered the elegant vertical collapse of both the WTC towers, and for this awkward fact the easiest counter is to simply deny that it was a controlled demolition, and claim that the buildings collapsed from fire caused by the burning Kerosene.

    For this, its necessary to sweep aside the second law of

    thermodynamics and propose Kerosene which is not only

    impossibly destructive, but also recycles itself for a second

    burning in violation of the law of degradation of energy.

    You see, it not only consumed itself in a sudden

    catastrophic fireball , vaporizing a sixty-five ton plane

    into nothing, but then came back for a second go, burning

    at 2000 degrees centigrade for another hour at the impact

    point, melting the skyscraper's steel like butter. And while

    it was doing all this it also poured down the elevator

    shafts, starting fires all through the building.

    When I was at school there was a little thing called the entropy law which suggests that a given portion of fuel can only burn once,

    something which is readily observable in the real world,

    even for those who didn't make it to junior high school

    science. But this is no problem for the conspiracy theorist.

    Gleefully, they claim that a few thousand gallons of

    Kerosene is enough to:

    - Completely vaporize a sixty-five ton aircraft

    - Have enough left over to burn ferociously enough for

    over an hour at the impact point to melt steel - melting

    point about double the maximum combustion temperature

    of the fuel

    - Still have enough left over to pour down the elevator

    shafts and start similarly destructive fires all through
    the building

    This Kerosene really is remarkable stuff! How chilling to

    realize that those Kerosene heaters we had in the house

    when I was a kid were deadly bombs, just waiting to go

    off. One false move and the entire street might have been

    vaporized. And never again will I take Kerosene lamps

    out camping. One moment you're there innocently holding

    the lamp - the next - kapow! Vaporized into nothing

    along with the rest of the camp site, and still leaving

    enough of the deadly stuff to start a massive forest fire.

    These whackos are actually claiming that the raging inferno allegedly created by the miraculously recycling, and impossibly hot burning Kerosene melted or at least softened the steel supports of the skyscraper. Oblivious to the fact that the black smoke coming from the WTC indicates an oxygen starved fire - therefore not particularly

    hot - they trumpet an alleged temperature in the building of 2000 degrees centigrade, without a shred of evidence to support this curious suspension of the laws of physics.

    Not content with this ludicrous garbage, they then contend that as the steel frames softened, they came straight down instead of buckling and twisting and falling sideways.

    Since they're already re-engineered the combustion qualities of jet fuel, violated the second law of thermodynamics, and redefined the structural properties of steel, why let a little thing like the laws of gravity get in the way?

    The tower fell in a time almost identical to that of a free falling object, dropped from that height, meaning that its physically impossible for it to have collapsed by the method of the top floors smashing through the lower floors. But according to the conspiracy theorists, the laws

    of gravity were temporarily suspended on the morning of September 11th. It appears that the evil psychic power of those dreadful Arabs knew no bounds. Even after they were dead, they were able, by the power of their evil spirits, to force down the tower at a speed physically impossible under the laws of gravity, had it been meeting

    any resistance from fireproofed steel structures originally designed to resist many tons of hurricane force wind as well as the impact of a Boeing passenger jet straying off course.

    Clearly, these conspiracy nuts never did their science homework at school, but did become extremely adept at inventing tall tales for why. "Muslim terrorists stole my notes, Sir." "No Miss, the Kerosene heater blew up and vaporized everything in the street, except for my

    passport." "You see Sir, the school bus was hijacked by Arabs who destroyed my homework because they hate our freedoms."

    Or perhaps they misunderstood the term 'creative science' and mistakenly thought that coming up with such rubbish was in fact, their science homework.

    The ferocious heat generated by this ghastly Kerosene was, according to the conspiracy theorists, the reason why so many of the WTC victims can't be identified. DNA is destroyed by heat - although 2000 degrees centigrade isn't really required, 100 degrees centigrade will generally do the job. This is quite remarkable, because according to the conspiracy theorist, the nature of DNA suddenly changes if you go to a different city.

    That's right, if you are killed by an Arab terrorist in New York, your DNA will be destroyed by such temperatures. But if you are killed by an Arab terrorist in Washington, your DNA will be so robust that it can survive temperatures which completely vaporize a sixty-five ton


    You see, these loonies have somehow concocted the idea that the missile which hit the Pentagon was not a missile at all, but one of the hijacked planes. And to prove this unlikely premise, they point to a propaganda statement from the Bush regime, which rather stupidly claims that all but one of the people aboard the plane were identified

    from the site by DNA testing, even though nothing remains of the plane. The plane was vaporized by the fuel tank explosion, maintain these space loonies, but the people inside it were all but one identified by DNA testing.

    So there we have it. The qualities of DNA are different, depending upon which city you're in, or perhaps depending upon which fairy story you're trying to sell at any particular time.

    This concoction about one of the hijacked planes hitting

    the Pentagon really is a howler. For those not familiar with

    the layout of the Pentagon, it consists of 5 rings of

    building, each with a space in between. Each ring of

    building is about 30-35 feet deep, with a similar amount of

    open space between it and the next ring. The object which

    penetrated the Pentagon went in at about a 45 degree angle,

    punching a neat circular hole of about a 12 foot diameter

    through three rings - six walls.

    A little later a section of wall about 65 foot wide collapsed in the outer ring. Since the plane which the conspiracy theorists claim to be

    responsible for the impact had a wing span of 125 feet and a length of 155 feet, and there was no wreckage of the plane, either inside or outside the building, and the lawns outside were still smooth and green enough to play golf on, this crazy delusion is clearly physically impossible.

    But hey, we've already disregarded the combustion

    qualities of jet fuel, the normal properties of common

    building materials, the properties of DNA, the laws of

    gravity and the second law of thermodynamics, so what

    the hell - why not throw in a little spatial impossibility as

    well? I would have thought that the observation that a solid

    object cannot pass through another solid object without

    leaving a hole at least as big as itself is reasonably sound

    science. But to the conspiracy theorist, this is 'mumbo

    jumbo'. It conflicts with the delusion that they're hooked

    on, so it 'must be wrong' although trying to get them to

    explain exactly how it could be wrong is a futile


    Conspiracy theorists fly into a curious panic whenever the

    Pentagon missile is mentioned. They nervously maintain

    that the plane was vaporized by it's exploding fuel load,

    and point to the WTC crash as evidence of this behavior.

    That's a wonderful fruit loop.

    Like an insect which has just

    been sprayed, running back and forth in its last mad death

    throes, they first argue that the reason the hole is so small

    is that the plane never entered the wall, having blown up

    outside, and then suddenly backflip to explain the 250 foot

    deep missile hole by saying that the plane disappeared all

    the way into the building, and then blew up inside the

    building - even though the building shows no sign of such

    damage. As for what happened to the wings - here's where

    they get really creative. The wings snapped off and folded

    into the fuselage which then carried them into the building,

    which then closed up behind the plane like a piece of meat.

    When it suits them, they'll also claim that the plane slid in

    on its belly - ignoring the undamaged lawn - while at the

    same time citing alleged witnesses to the plane diving

    steeply into the building from an 'irrecoverable angle.'
    How they reconcile these two scenarios as being compatible is

    truly a study in stupidity.

    Once they get desperate enough, you can be sure that the UFO conspiracy stuff will make an appearance. The Arabs are in league with the Martians. Space aliens snatched the remains of the Pentagon plane and fixed most of the hole in the wall, just to confuse people. They gave the Arabs invisibility pills to help get them onto the planes. Little green men were seen talking to Bin Laden a few weeks prior to the attacks.

    As America gears up to impeach the traitor Bush, and stop his perpetual oil war, it's not helpful to have these idiots distracting from the process by spreading silly conspiracy theories about mythical Arabs, stories which do nothing but play into the hands of the extremist Bush regime.

    At a less serious time, we might tolerate such crackpots with amused detachment, but they need to understand that the treachery that was perpetrated on September 11th, and the subsequent war crimes committed in 'retaliation' are far too serious for us to allow such frivolous self indulgence to go unchallenged.

    Those who are truly addicted to conspiracy delusions

    should find a more appropriate outlet for their paranoia.

    Its time to stop loony conspiracy theories
    about September 11th.


    sKally, BOO! klass

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    I agree with all of it. It makes sense.

  • sf

    Damn, talk about irony. Only one comment?! Amazing.


  • Robdar

    Sure, we're not being told the whole truth. But I doubt it's all one big conspiracy. Even if it is one big conspiracy, what do you think we should do about it?

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