Sounds like Fisk had a stroke and started buying into Troofer nonsense this week. I'll get right to the relevant passage and in honor of Mr. Fisk I think we'll Fisk it.
But - here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon?
It's so embarrassing when journalists just don't look before they leap. No airplane parts at the pentagon? Really? This is still a question for him? The no plane nonsense is so silly that even the conspiracy cranks denounce it as a trojan horse attempt to discredit their movement.
Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled?
Muzzled officials, blah blah blah. Snore. Substantiate or go away.
Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field?
Airplane parts miles away? That old mistake? Miles away by Mapquest - a hysterical and oft repeated error from the conspiracy nuts - but much closer as the crow flies. And it didn't land in one piece. 93 was approaching the speed of sound as it slammed into the ground. It wasn't like a take-off or landing crash. It was a full-speed collision with a solid object. So I don't know where he gets this "single piece" nonsense.
I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers - whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C - would snap through at the same time?
This is just embarrassing. Again and again the engineers and fire experts have explained that not only was kerosene not the only fuel in that fire, but that steel doesn't need to melt to deform and weaken. And the critical failure lead to rapid downward pulverization of the floors beneath. Now how in the world can a journalist repeat such a weak point so credulously?
(They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower - the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) - which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it?
Again boring, we have the freefall myth. And WTC7? Hmm, maybe it fell to the ground because it had been compromised by the debris from the falling towers? A huge chunk of the structure was damaged, fires were raging, diesel fuel tanks were blowing up, and the girder structure of the building could not sustain the load in the presence of all that heat.
The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7.
NIST will release their report at the end of the year, and there is already plenty of material from NIST and others on why the conspiracy of wtc7 is nonsense. And no one can come up with a plausible explanation for why wtc7 would have to be destroyed with demolition as part of some false-flag nonsense. The cranks love it, but I think it's the weakest link they have.
Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering - very definitely not in the "raver" bracket - are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive".
I'll believe that when I see it.
How embarrassing that Fisk has exposed himself as a poor journalist, and yet another hit against the Independent for being a major source of crank nonsense.
- Log in to post comments
Better than that we have the faster than freefall myth: freefall from the roofs of WTC 1 & 2 was a good 1 second longer than 8.1 seconds. Clearly the bungee cord manufacturers of America were in on the conspiracy.
Fisk has always been on the edge and has a hell of a resume.
I think that once you get to a point in your life that you're battling the establishment media on a daily basis, you just say, "Fuck it" and let loose with minimally filtered streamofconsciousness. It's not like his legacy would be without question except for this.
Nobody's perfect. I prefer flawed heroes anyway.
Aye, I was quite disappointed in the guy when I read this.
Maybe he needs to watch that history channel documentary. Cheers for pointing that out as well, good watch.
Indeed, Fisk really embarrasses himself in that article. He denounces the "ravers" and then goes on to repeat their claims verbatim, as if they have never been dealt with. I have "The Great War for Civilization" on my bookshelf, unread, and now I may never get to it.
A guest blogger over at Ezra's place fell for this crap over the weekend.
Fisk: "What about that letter allegedly from Mohammed Atta? He says things that NO MUSLIM WOULD SAY!"
Just like the Troofers who say that since the hijackers went to a strip club, the whole thing never happened. Just as they presume God-like flawless omnipotence onto the U.S. government, they also presume total rationality and sincere logical behavior onto Jihadists.
One time I was debating a guy at the Reason.com blog about "free-market" environmentalism. I pointed out that private ownership doesn't necessarily solve the extinction crisis, since, for one example, the dealers in rhino horn WANT the species to go extinct so their own stockpiles will grow more valuable--like the spice in "Dune." His response was that this can't be true because it is economically irrational. Apparently the people who eat rhino horn and tiger penis to cure backache and become sexually virile because the witch doctor told them to are actually rational!
Mark, you've got an HTML formatting error that's eating the second half of the sentence "Hmm, maybe it fell to the ground because it had been ..."
The thing I don't understand about this whole 9/11 cons-hoax thing is what the hell is the motive???. I mean, the only options are:
1. There were no planes. Which leads to claims of holographic projectors or expansion of the conspiracy to pretty much all of NYC and half of Washington DC (i.e. pure fantasy).
2. There were planes. In which case why in the name of crazy Cheney would they need to blow up the buildings from inside too? Did they think, "Oh, nobody's going to back a war on Iraq if we only burn down the WTC. We better make sure to blow them up, too!" Quite aside from the absurdity of installing the explosives throughout the buildings and nobody noticed, why would they do it?
And the "Pentagon got hit by a missile" meme. What, they were able to hijack two planes for the WTC, but knew there was no chance in hell they could hijack one for the pentagon, so they used a cruise missile?
As far as I'm concerned, arguments over the purported evidence are pointless, when the whole plan don't make no sense. At least the moon-hoaxers have a self-consistent motive; these guys are just nuts.
This is god-awful, Fisk was once a widely respected journalist, with at least one good book to his credit (one on Ireland during WWII "Caught in a Free State" is a standard on the subject). I also like his book on Lebanon (where he lives) "Pity the Nation".
His editor should have stopped him making an ass of himself. I won't even buy "Great War for Civilization".
Yeah, I don't think so. Looking at Ezra Klein's site there's the usual bunch of -- "This site's usually high quality is diminished by referencing a news article that propagates a particular meme. Only a certain type of nuttiness is to be tolerated."
One of the commentariat there said:
I think what the basic problem here is that the US government has only half-assedly addressed what is arguably one of the biggest events in a 100 years and certainly the biggest of the last generation.
The 9/11 commission report was an incomplete political attempt to uniformly whitewash both the democrat and republican shortcomings. In the presidential debates the candidates themselves seem to contradict the 9/11 comish report and the media goes along (i.e. the Ron Paul/Guiliani exchange).
As a nation of nuts and non-nuts, we expect answers (credible, thoughtful answers) to come from the government with all its resources, and not necessarily from the vast resources available to Popular Mechanics(?). It's sort of silly to say -- "Ah, that's been answered by the team from Popular Mechanics. Isn't that enough for you?" Well, no. It isn't. They (PM) aren't jack to me; I expected something like the Challenger Rogers Commission where scientists like Feynman didn't let the government off. The 911 commission may have had more credibility if it had a few non-party members.
I no longer like to think in billions -- instead I always substitute "one thousand millions" whenever someone says billions. So how many millions in comparison have been spent by the government in explaining the physics of 9/11 and the mechanics of the events? My view -- not very many. Has the government called on scientists to construct clear models? Not really -- and why should they? Because that action led to this action that's costing us two to three thousand millions a week. That also will remain unexamined.
I can see some logic that such a governmental/scientific study may wind up being classified (mainly by making people in general smarter about where the weakness points are). But there's ways around that.
So nuts are not of consequence and they should only be fisked or ridiculed? Once again, no -- because being nutty, does not preclude one from also being smart, disciplined, obsessed, violent, etc. Nuts can really do damage if we treat them dismissively.
Given, -- that is a lot to expect, and perhaps unreasonable, but after reading the Fisk piece, I am wondering -- when you read a clearly political piece (the guy lives in Beirut, eats & breathes the Arab street), do you expect it to be unbiased and totally compliant to universal truths? Whatever universal truths may be.
But what's the point Ted? Do you really expect that if they just spend a few more thousands of billions they're going to find out the planes were just holographs? Or that it was hushaboom controlled demolition from the top down? Or that the people picking up body parts at the pentagon are all liars? Or everyone on 395 that day was hallucinating?
There is no compelling reason to further investigate these claims. The conspiracy theories are fundamentally-flawed and non-parsimonious. The type of investigation that you really want - to further show Bush's incompetence - is not going to happen with him in office, or even when he's not. Maybe when it's a historical rather than political issue - when documents are freed up 50 years from now. Besides, it would be redundant. What more evidence do we need than everything he's done on the record.
No investigation is going to change the basic facts on the ground. Those buildings were hit by planes. Islamic fundamentalists did it.
The point isn't to change the basic facts but to be transparent. And spending a few (tens) millions on that is piddling. I'm not really looking to blame Bush because I don't think he's to blame for 9/11. 9/11 was karma. Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes the windshield. But with all the money that we have to piss away, I can't believe that I'm supposed to believe the boys at Popular Mechanics lab as the final authority. If that's the case, then federal funding for academic science is on precarious footing.
Step back for a second and tell me that it isn't silly to say, "Uh, well the boys at Pop Mechanics are the final word on this." That's outright silly considering our resources.
Again, I go back to the Rogers Commission for a sorta model, if you compare it to the 9/11 commission, you'd note a striking contentiousness in the 9/11 version. The Wikipedia entry bears out some of my points, but I'm too lazy to check if troofers have been working overtime on it. The criticisms of 9/11 commission seem to ring true to me as I recall recent history.
People talk a lot shit about Reagan, but he wasn't this cheap. You say:
But there's a difference between further investigating these claims and what I'm asking for -- disproving them methodically and with authority, which so far has been largely dismissive. The 9/11 commission is a joke and half; I don't need to wait 50 years and get senile to know that it's been scrubbed, cleaned and pressed, it's politicized, and cheap. If you don't fix it now when the cultural memory is fresh, it's headed into conspiracy lore of biblical proportions.
It's my preference to do the investigation transparently because it's the right thing to do. To me, it's amusing either way, but I do think that not being as transparent as possible, is badly dangerous to whatever remains of the republic.
I engage you because I think perception is serious and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. When people are agitated, one needs to bring them to a common understanding using calming tones. Fisking with a sharp stick won't make them go away; it'll just incense them further and I'm not really sure what your goal is. (The then in what then?) Yes, some of the theories are silly, but so what. The fundamental problem aren't the fantastic theories of the fringe, but that the government has done a really, really, crappy job of bringing closure.
Well Ted, I'm unconvinced that additional data will satisfy conspiratorial thinkers and cranks. It's just not consistent with their behavior.
Also, Pop Mechanics wasn't the end all here. Go to NIST, FEMA etc., they have significant studies of these problems as well. NIST was linked in the article.
I think Ted's saying this goes beyond conspiratorial types, to ordinary people who are justifiably afraid of terrorism and want some sense that the govenment understands what happens and how to prevent it.
The same applies to accidents and natural disasters like Katrina and the Twin Cities bridge collapse; people were justifiably outraged at events that could have been softened or even prevented, but for our leaders' seeming lack of concern for the country's infrastructure.
In all cases, the government's attitude seems to be "eh, whaddaya gonna do?" And it's really an exercise in ass-covering, more than anything: looking too deeply into what went wrong during 9/11 or Katrina will point fingers squarely at the people in charge.
Plus, the Bush administration benefits mightily from a lack of transparency. It breeds uncertainty, and fear, and they've shown no qualms about cynically exploiting that for political advantage.
Unfortunately, Fisk has always been partial to a conspiracy theory based upon little more than wishful thinking. He has a reputation becasue he writes well, and every so often his theories are correct. But a lot of the time they are wrong, and more importantly, its usually impossible to verify what he claims.
I think that Mark is right to say that a governmental study of whether 9/11 was an inside job would not make any difference. To fund a non-governmental panel to investigate would also not make any difference. With a "conspiracy so immense" any findings, no matter where they came from, would be discounted if they reached the conclusion that 9/11 was not an inside job. It would be no different from the government striking a panel to study whether humans have evolved from earlier species -- a certain group will not accept the findings, ever. If you want to have a commission to analyse the foreign policy and security decisions that led to 9/11, that's an entirely different thing.
Personally, I don't think the government should spend money investigating crazy claims from people who are mentally disturbed.
Read the damn NIST reports; the mechanics of the WTC tower collisions, fires, and collapse initiation have been investigated methodically and are understood in impressive detail. Those buildings were brought down by impact damage and fires from plane collisions. More money is not going to magically make the conspiracy nuts read (or understand) the papers they've been ignoring.
Ted, I agree with Mark. An in depth (i.e., expensive) study by the government would not satiate conspiracy nuts. You sight the Rogers Commission, but I think the analogy is wrong. The Challenger explosion was an engineering problem, and the study was needed to reveal the cause of the explosion and the fact that engineers knew about the problem before the launch. If a huge missile had shot down the Challenger, and all of America had seen it on the broadcast of the launch, then Reagan would not have spent a lot of money figuring out how the Challenger had blown up. With 9/11, there is enough existing evidence and eyewitness accounts to make the narrative accepted by a vast majority of the population. If all this Troofer jive had some real traction and began influencing the thoughts of mainstream America, then the government should act.
A better analogy would be the Warren Commission. Did that shut up the conspiracy theorists about the Kennedy assasination? No. Would a similar study by the government on 9/11 shut them up? Again, no.
This article depressed me so much when I read it. Seriously. Monbiot is right, 9/11 denialism is a parasite eating away the credibility (and resources) of a lot of the left. In a weird way, it's easier and more satisfying to blame it all on our government, isn't it? It makes the problem at once by-definition insoluble and simple. I think that's the real reason why this won't ever go away. I just hope that eventually more of the left wanders back into their senses.
I just hope that eventually more of the left wanders back into their senses.
I don't notice a significant number of the US leftist population being interested in troofer crap, but maybe that's just the leftist blogs I lurk at.
Anyways, we all know that the WTC towers were brought down by Formosan Termites weilding DEATH RAYS FROM OUTER SPACE!!!!
Everytime someone says tha gubmint-diddit, I can't imagine how Uncle Sam came up with the amount of coordination and grace under pressure to commit such an atrocity and manage to keep a lid on their involvement.
While it may be difficult to comprehend how people believe such ideas absent compelling evidence, it should be even more disturbing to see that such accusations might actually square with the past behavior of those being accused.
Of course, I know who'd be the ringleader *if* it had actually gone down that way. Truthfully I could see Cheney doing it. He's the type of guy who'd give Lucifer the creeps. It's hard to sleep some nights knowing he "represents" me. I wouldn't even suppose a motive would be necessary.
PS: A'ight, you caught me. I'm not a mind reader nor was I born omniscient. Surely Cheney is innocent. But that still doesn't mean I would leave him alone with my kids or trust him to safeguard the world's peace.
I considered who did a better job -- the Warren or Rogers Commissions. IMO, the Warren commission was something to learn from, not further emulate. It was a closed hearing; not classified, but closed -- and that led to 3-4 official re-examinations, plus a few TV reviews. Not a model outcome really.
OTOH, the Rogers commission was fairly controversy free, and I remember watching a good deal of it somewhere; so to me was a better model for transparency.
You're right that one was scientific, and the other political, but I feel that transparency is the soap that you wash conspiracy off with. I still go back to 9/11 commission. Who on that commission wasn't politically or commercially compromised? Apparently in a nation of 300M that was the best we could do. Two political parties represented, and not a single iconoclast. (Well, Henry the K would have been THE iconoclast, but for some reason he resigned the position.)
I've briefly looked at the NIST report. Looks relatively busy, and in another administration, people may be able to take it at face value. Maybe NIST and FEMA are the two agencies to rise above the political fray in this administration. Although I hear that many agencies are stacked with political cronies and operatives, so it's possible that impinges their credibility as well.
My question still stands: What is the proper way of dealing with conspiracies? Ignoring them so they'll go away? Sorry, but in a transparent government, if the constituent wants it explained 50 times, it should be explained 50 times. Someone else doesn't get to decide "that's enough" out of annoyance.
Here's how I would deal with big, controversial events:
1. Hold public hearings; be inclusive; request public participation; assign ombudsmen to represent different POVs. Follow-up the initial report with periodic review.
2. Decide on lessons learned and courses of action that broadly benefit the constituency and start remediating to show that the public good vs. special interests are at stake and being addressed.
3. Change the laws to make government more transparent. It doesn't help that you tell me to get rational and educated while the government tells me that "ignorance is strength" (i.e. reclassifies and obscures development of public policy).
If you leave conspiracies dangling or unaddressed they may turn into justification for totalitarianism. My opinion.
I find Leila Mouammar's blog interesting reading. Particularly the appendixes, because they don't necessarily sound like the ravings of batshitcrazy people. You don't have to accept them as truth; only as narrative to a scene. General Gull's interview is interesting, and the kind of thing you'd be hard pressed to erase from the memory of teh internets.
So, the same government that totally effed up everything in Iraq, and New Orleans, had the experts and operations capable crew ready and able to blow up buildings in 3 states... and make sure that nobody talked about the biggest story of the decade? Is that what the Troofers are saying?
Looking at the bright side, I was worried from the Article Headline, that something happened to Carlton Fisk!
If Bush and his cronies had been in charge of Al-Qaeda's attack, the first plane would have missed the towers and crashed in the Hudson River. The second plane would have been stolen and used to smuggle illicit weapons to covert forces near the Colombia-Venezuela border. The third flight would have been canceled, due to a key hijacker having been injured in a hunting accident, by Dick Cheney. The fourth flight would have gotten lost, and crashed into the Eiffel Tower.
llewelly - You are correct, but we feel it is only proper to point out that The Whitehouse would have called it a Complete Sucess and Mission Accomplished.
"No investigation is going to change the basic facts on the ground. Those buildings were hit by planes. Islamic fundamentalists did it."
Those do look like the facts in the light of current knowledge.
Articles like this are an unfortunate distraction from the suspicion I and others have long held that Bush et al. had foreknowledge that some form of attack was coming, and were prepared to "allow" it to go ahead because it would serve their geo-political purposes - the Pearl Harbor effect. It wouldn't be the first time a plane had flown into a tall building, after all, even if they knew the details of the plan to that extent.
I just think it ended up being a far more spectacular and disastrous attack than they anticipated.
Now THAT's what I call a conspiracy theory!