Rethinking Conspiracy

The World Trade Center towers smoking on 9/11
Photo: Michael Foran/Flickr

The terms “conspiracy theorist” and “conspiracy nut” are used frequently to discredit a perceived adversary using emotional rather than logical appeals. It’s important for the sake of true argument that we define the term “conspiracy” and use it appropriately, not as an ad hominem attack on someone whose point of view we don’t share.

According to my Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the word “conspiracy” derives from the Latin “conspirare,” which means literally “to breathe together” in the sense of agreeing to commit a crime. The primary definition is “planning and acting together secretly, especially for a harmful or unlawful purpose, such as murder or treason.”

It was in this sense that Mark Twain astutely observed, “A conspiracy is nothing but a secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit in public.”

Conspiracies are common. If they weren’t, police stations would not need conspiracy units to investigate and prosecute crimes such as “conspiracy to import cocaine” or any other collusion on the part of two or more people to subvert the law.

Unfortunately, too many people smugly chide “conspiracy theories” as if they imagine that such a derisive characterization reflects superior intellect—whether or not they know anything about the issue in question. It’s a pitiful display of ego inflation and intellectual dishonesty, yet it appears to be a common approach preferred by those either short on information and critical thinking skills or harboring a hidden agenda.

Here are a few examples of past “conspiracy theories” that have been commonly derided but were later determined to be credible:

1933 Business Plot:  Smedley Butler, a decorated United States Marine Corps major general, who wrote a book called War is a Racket, testified before a congressional committee that a group of powerful industrialists, who had tried to recruit him, were planning to form a fascist veterans’ group that intended to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt and overthrow the government in a coup. While news media at the time belittled Butler and called the affair a hoax, the congressional committee determined that Butler’s allegations were credible, although no-one was prosecuted.

Project Paperclip:  After “winning” World War II, the US imported hundreds of Nazis and their families through “Project Paperclip,” so-named because ID photos were clipped to paper dossiers. It was set up by an agency within the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the CIA. Along with creating false identities and political biographies, Paperclip operatives expunged or altered Nazi records and other criminal histories in order to illegally circumvent President Truman’s edict that prohibited Nazis from obtaining security clearances. Thus, high-level Nazis waltzed into sensitive positions of authority and secrecy in the US military-industrial establishment, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), major corporations, and universities. These Germans were conveniently referred to as “former Nazis,” but “former” was commonly just a euphemism for “active” and “ardent.”

Consider the irony of the United States’ moon mission. In order to successfully land men on the lunar surface and return them to Earth, the US depended almost exclusively on Nazis. A notable example was rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, a member of the Allgemeine SS, who would eventually lead the US space program. Von Braun had exploited concentration camp labor in Germany to build V-2 rockets at Peenemünde, and German aviation doctors’ gruesome and often fatal experiments at Dachau and other prisons afforded information that would help keep American astronauts alive in space.

While many Americans would prefer to call it a conspiracy theory, the United States defeated the Nazi organization in Germany only to transplant that ideology directly into the US after the war, and not just among members of the lay population but, more significantly, among members of the very “military-industrial complex” that President Eisenhower (a five-star general during WWII) had presciently warned the nation about in his 1961 message of leave-taking and farewell.

Operation Northwoods:  Declassified documents revealed that in 1962 the CIA was planning to execute false flag terrorist attacks, such as killing random American citizens and blowing up civilian targets, including a US airliner and ship, in order to blame Castro and justify invading Cuba.

Gulf of Tonkin:  President Lyndon Johnson used a contrived version of this 1964 event to justify escalation of the Vietnam War. It was claimed that Vietnamese gunboats had fired on the USS Maddox. It never happened—or at best was grossly distorted and overblown—yet the story served to prompt Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which provided the public justification Johnson needed to attack North Vietnam. This led to the deaths of about two million Vietnamese people and fifty thousand Americans.

MK-ULTRA:  As its code name suggests, MK-ULTRA was a mind control program run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence for the ostensible purpose of discovering ways to glean information from Communist spies although its applications were undoubtedly more far-reaching. It employed various methodologies including sensory deprivation and isolation, sexual abuse, and the administration of powerful psychotropic drugs such as LSD to unwitting subjects, including military personnel, prisoners, and college students. Many of them suffered serious consequences. One biochemist, Frank Olson, who was secretly slipped a strong dose of LSD at a CIA meeting, suffered a severe psychotic break and died when, for whatever reason, he plummeted from his apartment window to the pavement below. Such revelations came to light in 1975 during hearings by the congressional Church Committee (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) and the presidential Rockefeller Commission. These investigations were hindered by CIA Director Richard Helms who in 1973 had ordered the MK-ULTRA files destroyed.

Operation Mockingbird: This was a CIA media control program exposed by the Church Committee in 1975. It revealed the CIA’s efforts from the 1950s through the 1970s to pay well-known foreign and domestic journalists from “reputable” media agencies such as the Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsweek, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, Miami News, and CBS, among others, to publish CIA propaganda, manipulating the news by planting stories in domestic and foreign news outlets. During the hearings, Senator Church asked an agency representative, “Do you have any people paid by the CIA who are working for television networks?” The speaker eyed his lawyer then replied, “This I think gets into the details, Mr. Chairman, that I’d like to get into in executive session.” In other words, he didn’t want to admit the truth publicly. He gave the same response when asked if the CIA planted stories with the major wire services United Press International (UPI) and the Associated Press (AP). In his 1997 book, Virtual Government — in the chapter “’And Now a Word from Our Sponsor – The CIA’: The Birth of Operation Mockingbird, the Takeover of the Corporate Press & the Programming of Public Opinion” — Alex Constantine claims that during the 1950s “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts.” I’m curious to know what the estimate would be today.

CIA Drug Smuggling: It’s no longer a secret that clandestine arms of US Intelligence have profited from running drugs for many years. I first became aware of the issue when a Vietnam veteran claimed he had helped load opium cultivated in Laos onto military transport planes. The opium was turned into heroin and shipped around the world, sometimes in the visceral cavities of dead soldiers. A Hollywood version of these events is portrayed in the film Air America, but the movie is based on historical truth. When the US military presence in Southeast Asia declined and the focus shifted to Central America, cocaine became the new revenue source. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb ran a well-documented three-part series in the San Jose Mercury News called “Dark Alliance” alleging that traffickers with US intelligence ties had marketed the cocaine in Los Angeles and other cities where it was turned into the new and highly addictive form known as “crack,” inflicting a scourge that claimed the lives and freedom of thousands. One guy I met in Compton who had been arrested for crack possession described the drug this way: “It doesn’t really get you high,” he said. “You just want more.” Webb’s allegations were confirmed by an LAPD Narcotics Officer and whistleblower, Michael Ruppert, and the story received additional confirmation from CIA contract pilot Terry Reed, whose story is revealed in his 1994 book Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA. According to Reed, the sale of cocaine was used to finance the Contras in Central America when congressional funding was blocked by the Boland Amendment. He claimed the operation was run out of Mena, Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor. Military cargo planes were flown to Central America with military hardware, he said, and then returned to Mena loaded with coke.

I could add to the list, and it would be a long one. The Iran-Contra scandal, Watergate, the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), the Tuskegee syphilis experiment—there is no shortage of crimes that were planned and committed by two or more people and thus constituted conspiracy. Conspiracies happen, and before any crime is solved it spawns theories. There are people who look at these theories rationally using logic and discernment, and there are others who are illogical, engaging in fallacious, emotion-based thinking and jumping to unjustified conclusions based on little or no evidence. The term “conspiracy theorist,” however, has been manipulated to suggest only those in the latter category.

The John F. Kennedy assassination provides a good example of how the term “conspiracy” has been misapplied to disparage people who find fault with official versions of major events. After Kennedy was murdered, very few people questioned the Warren Commission’s verdict that Lee Oswald had shot the president unassisted, and anyone who challenged that belief was branded a “conspiracy nut” (or buff) unworthy of respect or consideration. Forty years later, a 2003 Gallup poll revealed that 75% of the US population believed there had been a conspiracy to kill JFK.

Apparently some people have a psychological need to protect themselves from unpleasant realities, so it’s easier for them to label others as conspiracy nuts than to assimilate hard but discomforting facts. In the case of the John Kennedy assassination, even a congressional committee, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded in 1979 that there had been a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy. They tried to soften that reality by calling it a “limited conspiracy” as if Oswald’s drunken cousin had helped him and not elements of US Intelligence, but the fact remains that the US government has officially admitted there was a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. “Conspiracy theorists” were finally vindicated, but I’ve never heard anyone apologize for disparaging their names and questioning their sanity.

“9/11,” of course, is the current topic that yields the most accusations of conspiracy nuttiness. Anyone who challenges the 9/11 Commission’s conclusions are branded “conspiracy theorists” (or nuts, wackos or kooks) as were their predecessors when JFK was killed.

History repeats itself.

One of the strange truths about the 9/11 affair is that members of the 9/11 Commission also called the event a conspiracy. That alone shows the term is being intentionally manipulated. In the Commission’s view, the conspirators were exclusively fanatical Muslims, but somehow that investigative body has been exempt from accusations of conspiracy theorizing even though they called the event a conspiracy. Apparently one must challenge the official version of events to qualify as a “conspiracy theorist.”

I asked Jim Marrs, the popular author and critic of various official versions of history, what he considered to be the origin of “conspiracy” as a derogatory term and how it has been manipulated: “The term ‘conspiracy theory’ was consciously submitted to assets of the CIA back in a document from the 1960s to be used to counter factual information that was continually being made public regarding the Kennedy assassination. From there, these assets, including media personalities, pundits, academics and government officials, expanded the term to become a pejorative for any statements not complying with the Establishment line,” Marrs said. “However, its repetitive overuse, plus the fact that the 9/11 attacks obviously involved a conspiracy, today has lessened the impact of the term.”

Many critics of the 9/11 Commission report make some valid points, and it’s not fair to simply dismiss them as conspiracy theorists when the very people they’re countering also claim there was a conspiracy. The question is simply: whose conspiracy was it?

Even officials tasked with investigating 9/11 knew there was plenty of deception involved. Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, John Farmer, said on page four of his book The Ground Truth, “At some level of government, at some point in time, there was an agreement not to tell the people the truth about what happened.” In their book Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, the two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, outlined reasons they believe the government established the Commission in a manner that ensured its failure. These reasons included delay in initiating the proceedings, too short a deadline for the scope of the work, insufficient funding, and lack of cooperation by politicians and key government agencies including the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and NORAD. “So there were all kinds of reasons we thought we were set up to fail,” the chairmen said.

How much clearer can they be?

Conspiracies exist. They have always existed, and not wanting them to be true does not invalidate their existence. I think it’s time we reject the intentional misappropriation of the term “conspiracy” by forces attempting to manipulate public opinion and restore the term to its original and proper meaning. As long as we observe logic and reason, there is no intellectual dishonor in contemplating and discussing conspiracies, and doing so is imperative if we wish to retain what’s left of our liberties.

A version of this article was originally published at

[Correction, Oct. 28, 2014: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that a chapter title of Alex Constantine’s 1997 book Virtual Government is “Mockingbird: The Subversion of The Free Press by the CIA”. The chapter is titled “‘And Now a Word from Our Sponsor – The CIA’: The Birth of Operation Mockingbird, the Takeover of the Corporate Press & the Programming of Public Opinion.” The text has been revised to correct the error.]

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Shawn Hamilton

Shawn Hamilton is a writing teacher and has taught in the United States and Taiwan. He authored a recently published book with the satirical title, Be All You Can Be (the old US Army recruiting slogan) about an Air Force major who, in the latter part of his life, rejected use of our military as an instrument of US imperialism. He has worked as a capitol reporter in Sacramento for KPFA Radio (Pacifica) and written for various print publications. He received a Project Censored award in 2011 and writes poetry for fun. 

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  • Ian Rutherford

    the article is long overdue ..

  • dk

    Excellent article. But, thanks to Mockingbird, will never see the light of the MSM.

  • Structural Engineer

    9/11…Zero Evidence to support controlled demolition and a government conspiracy of the WTC sites.

    • There’s no way you’re a ‘Structural Engineer’. If you were, you’d know that these three buildings didn’t fall down because of airplanes or office fires. Who are you really?

  • What a silly thing to say. We can start with the free fall collapse of WTC 7. Free fall means all the building’s potential energy was converted into kinetic energy, which means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns as required by NIST’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis.

    • Structural Engineer

      Wow…Jeremy, that statement only shows your complete lack of knowledge of structural dynamics and simple physics. It was the kinetic energy that drove progressive collapse. God help you…
      BTW…WTC 7 collapsed for 3.25 seconds at greater than free fall acceleration.

  • Wow… dude, it’s called the Law of Conservation of Energy. Once again, free fall means all the building’s potential energy was converted into kinetic energy, which means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns as required by NIST’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis. God help you…

    • Structural Engineer

      Again…that comment shows you have no knowledge of simple physics. Yes, potential energy converts into kinetic energy, but it is the kinetic energy that is driving the mass of the building, collapsing the structure and the buckling/crushing of the support columns.

      If your statement was true, then kinetic energy would have
      no value, and could do no work. Keep in mind, Control Demolition (CD) also depends on the same simple potential energy to kinetic energy conversion. So you are also
      saying that a CD of the WTC buildings would be impossible because there is no energy left to collapse the building(s), after the columns are cut with explosives.

      Next hand wave please…

  • I am curious how “Structural Engineer” accounts for the molten metal that pooled at the WTC site–and the lateral ejection of steel beams during the collapses. I’m interested in understanding the science that explains those phenomena.

    • Structural Engineer

      Old stuff, debunked years ago.

      No molten steel was found at any of the WTC sites.

      Lateral ejections…come on, simple physics…step on a tube
      of toothpaste, and the paste comes out sideways.

  • You are arguing from ignorance.

    Old stuff, debunked years ago. No molten steel was found at any of the WTC sites.

    False. You evidently take statements like the following seriously:

    “I know of absolutely nobody, no eyewitness who has said so, nobody who’s produced it. I was on the site. I was on the steel yards. So, I can’t … I don’t know that that’s so. We’re talking around 2,600 °F. I think it’s probably pretty difficult to get that kind of temperatures in a … uh … in a fire.” – John Gross, Ph.D., P.E., NIST co-project leader for the structural fire response and collapse analysis, denying the existence of molten steel in the rubble

    First of all, you have the finding of iron microspheres in the dust, indicating that temperatures were reached capable of liquefying iron. Then there’s this:

    “Thermal measurements taken by helicopter each
    day showed underground temperatures ranging from 400 °F [204 °C] to more than 2,800 °F [1,538 °C].” — Professional Safety, the journal of the American Society of Safety

    “Underground fires burned at temperatures up to
    2,000 degrees. As the huge cranes pulled steel beams from the pile, safety experts worried about the effects of the extreme heat on the crane rigging and the hazards of contact with the hot steel. And they were concerned that applying water to cool the steel could cause a steam explosion that would propel nearby objects with deadly force.” — Occupational Safety & Health Administration
    (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor

    “Underground, it was still so hot that molten
    metal dripped down the sides of the wall from Building 6.” — Kenneth Holden, Commissioner of the New York
    City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

    “I saw melting of girders in the World Trade
    Center.” — Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, PhD, PE

    Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction, who was contracted to remove debris, reported seeing “literally molten steel” at the site.

    Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI), was also consulted for the cleanup operation, and corroborated that there were “hot spots of molten steel” in the rubble, including at the site of WTC 7.

    Ron Burger, a public health advisor at the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who arrived at the site on September 12, described the scene
    by saying, “it could have been a tornado or an avalanche or a volcano.” He added, “Feeling the heat, seeing the molten steel, the layers upon layers of ash, like lava, it reminded me of Mt. St. Helens and the
    thousands who fled that disaster.”

    Alison Geyh, PhD, an assistant scientist with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who headed a team of scientists sent by the School in response to a request by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, reported upon arrival at the scene, “Fires are still actively burning and the smoke is very intense…. In some pockets now being uncovered, they are finding molten steel.”

    Capt. Philip Ruvolo, a firefighter from Brooklyn firehouse Rescue Company 2, recalled: “You’d get down below and you’d see molten steel—molten steel—running down the channelways. Like you’re in a foundry. Like lava.”

    Joe O’Toole, a firefighter from the Bronx, recalled watching a crane lift a steel beam “dripping from the molten steel”.

    According to Greg Fuchek, vice president of sales for Linkpoint Inc., which made a Global Positioning System (GPS) used by the New York City Fire Department to assist with their efforts, “In the first few weeks, sometimes when a worker would pull a
    steel beam from the wreckage, the end of the beam would be dripping molten

    The Department of Sanitation (NYDS) was also
    involved in the effort, and “for about two and a half months after the attacks, in addition to its regular duties, NYDS played a major role in debris removal—everything from molten steel beams to human remains.”

    Lee Turner, a paramedic who arrived at the site on September 12 as part of a volunteer effort, gave an account of what he witnessed there to U.S. News & World Report, five levels below ground: “He remembers seeing in the darkness a distant, pinkish glow—molten metal dripping from a beam—but found no signs of

    Guy Lounsbury, a member of the New York Air National Guard who arrived on site on September 22, reported, “One fireman told us that there was still molten steel at the heart of the towers’ remains. Firemen sprayed water to cool the debris down but the heat remained intense
    enough at the surface to melt their boots.”

    Herb Trimpe, who worked as a chaplain at the site for the American Red Cross, said on cold days in January, you could still feel the heat from the underground fires. He recalled, “I talked to many contractors and they said they actually saw molten metal trapped, beams that had just totally been melted because of the heat.”

    Photographer Frank Silecchia took photos of red
    hot metal being lifted out of the debris.

    The LiRo Group, a construction and engineering group involved in the cleanup operation, reported
    in a company newsletter that “The removal of debris from the collapsed areas requires the safe lifting and maneuvering of very heavy steel beams, often twisted and tangled from the force of the collapse. Some beams pulled from the wreckage are still red hot more than 7 weeks after the attack, and it is suspected that temperatures beneath the debris pile are well in excess of 1,000°F.” A photograph of red hot metal being removed from the debris with a time stamp of
    October 21, 2001, more than five weeks after the collapses, was included in the
    newsletter article.

    “Very high temperatures occurred in the burning
    floors of the buildings prior to collapse and during the first few days of active surface fires, as shown by the melting of metals. Later, infrared surveys showed surface temperatures in the collapse pile were as high as 30 K above ambient in October, and much higher subsurface temperatures were inferred from the lower portions of removed steel beams glowing red. The subsurface of the collapse piles remained hot for months despite use of massive amounts of water to cool them, with the last spontaneous surface fire occurring in
    mid-December.” — Aerosol
    Science and Technology, August 17, 2010.

    The New York Times reported on the unexplained phenomenon of “a truly horrible object: a charred and pitted lump of fused concrete, melted steel, carbonized
    furniture and less recognizable elements, a meteorite-like mass that no human force could have forged, but which was in fact created by the fiery demise of the towers.”

    A History Channel special, “Relics from the Rubble”, also discussed “the meteorite”:

    “Narrator: One of the more unusual artifacts to emerge from the rubble is this rock-like object that has come to be known as “the meteorite”.

    “Bart Voorsanger, Architect: This is fused element of
    steel—molten steel—and concrete, and all of these things all fused by the heat into one single element.

    Steel members collected by the Port Authority
    showed evidence of extremely high temperatures at the time of the collapses, such as members that had been bent without any cracking. “We saw a lot of
    pieces like this,” said Mark Wagner of Voorsanger Architects and Associates, who visited the WTC site during the cleanup operations. “Typically, when steel bends, it buckles and tears. The smooth bend on
    this piece shows the steel became malleable—a pretty good indication of how hot it was.”

    “Relics from the Rubble” shows viewers one such sample from one of the Twin Towers:

    “Narrator: This eight ton steel I-beam is six inches thick. It was selected to be preserved for future generations for the near perfect horseshoe-like bend, formed during the collapse.

    “Unidentified Worker: I find it hard to believe that it
    actually bent because of the size of it and how there’s no cracks in the iron. It bent without almost a single crack in it. It takes thousands of degrees to bend steel like this.

    “Mark Wagner: Typically, you’d have buckling and tearing on the tension side, but there’s no buckling at

    Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl examined steel from
    the debris and observed that connections that had joined floors to columns had been bent, but without showing any cracks, which would have been the case if
    the steel had been cool. “That could only happen if you get steel yellow hot or white hot—perhaps around 2,000 degrees,” he observed.

    Similar to the eutectic steel (FEMA report, Appendix C), Dr. Astaneh-Asl described steel flanges that “had been reduced from an inch thick to paper thin”.

    The New York Times reported that “One piece Dr. Astaneh-Asl saw was a charred horizontal I-beam from 7 World Trade Center”, which “had clearly endured searing temperatures. Parts of the flat top of
    the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized”.

    As for “simple physics”, again, free fall means all the building’s potential energy was converted into kinetic energy, which means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns as required by NIST’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis.

    • Structural Engineer

      Besides mine quoting, do you have a any REAL evidence of liquid viscous molten steel? Like a link to a picture?
      BTW…none of the WTC buildings fell at free fall acceleration. WTC 7 fell at GREATER than free fall acceleration for about 3.25 seconds, which can be explained with a multiple stage progressive collapse.

  • Again…that comment shows you have no knowledge of simple physics. Yes, potential energy converts into kinetic energy, but it is the kinetic energy that is driving the mass of the building, collapsing the structure and the buckling/crushing of the support columns.

    That comment shows that you are the one who has no knowledge of simple physics. Again, it’s called the law of Conservation of Energy. A mass in free fall can do no work.

    Once again, free fall means all the building’s potential energy was converted into kinetic energy, which means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns as required by NIST’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis.

    To put it another way, if the mass of the building was buckling columns, it wouldn’t have been in free fall.

    “The fact of free fall is literally proof of demolition. A mass in free fall can do no work. And if something was being destroyed, it’s not being destroyed by the falling mass. It was destroyed to enable the mass to fall.” — David Chandler

  • “Old stuff, debunked years ago” (Structural Engineer)
    That’s one way to deal with an issue I guess–just pretend it doesn’t exist. There were not only witnesses to molten metal at WTC but also film footage of it along with thermal imagery. There was a time when people were quick to believe your brand of “logic: but it’s no longer sufficient. I enjoyed your toothpaste tube analogy though. That was truly funny.

    • ResearchGuy

      He had a close “brush” with the truth. ;-)

  • Besides mine quoting, do you have a any REAL evidence…?

    You ask as though eyewitness testimony was not real evidence. How odd. I didn’t know judges told juries to disregard their testimonies when several dozen credible eyewitnesses identify the same suspect as the killer. Oh, wait, they don’t…

    Beyond that, I’ve already referred to photo and video evidence in addition to the wealth of eyewitness testimony.

    There just isn’t any question about it. We have the proof that there was molten iron at the WTC.

    none of the WTC buildings fell at free fall acceleration

    False. WTC 7 collapsed at free fall. If you knew anything about the subject, you would know this, too, as it is uncontroversial, having been acknowledged by NIST in its final report.

    But, of course, as we have amply seen, you have only a pretense of knowledge about the subject and no real interest in actually gaining any.

    • Structural Engineer

      In other words you have nothing…only a delusional fantasy based on fabricated evidence and lies.
      I wish you well…but someday you are going to have to face the fact you wasted your life believing in a lie.
      BTW…this is my last post your site. I have other things to do. And will not waste my time or yours debating this subject.

  • “Structural Engineer” made a request: “[D]o you have a any REAL evidence of liquid viscous molten steel? Like a link to a picture? Here, SE, are a few related links for you to ignore: (0:35)
    Firefighters are probably unreliable witnesses in your world, but their opinion would count in court. (1:43)
    No this isn’t jet fuel pouring from the building–or melted aluminum (which would be a different color). (6:01) More molten metal testimony and shots of huge chucks of steel malformed by intense heat.

  • What an extraordinary demonstration of willful ignorance.

    You are still welcome, of course, to produce an actual argument. The facts are as I’ve stated them.

  • I appreciate your taking time to post, SE. It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want to “waste [more] time…debating this subject,” but you will recall that it was you who brought it up.

    The article was about the misuse and manipulation of the term “conspiracy,” not 9-11. You initiated the discussion on 9-11 by claiming there was “Zero Evidence to support controlled demolition and a government conspiracy of the WTC sites.” You can’t publicly present a bold claim like that and not expect anyone to challenge it.

  • Javed Mir

    –“9/11,” —

    If this incident is not what does it appear then how can this mystery be unravelled? In case this tragedy has been played by the Americans themselves, then it is well played!

    • I guess you could say it was “well-played” in the sense that the event justified ushering in illegal wars and other Constitutional violations, but “well-played” sounds like commentary on a tennis match. “Diabolical” sounds like a more appropriate word choice.

      The Kennedy assassination was also “well-played” according to the standard noted above although it signaled the beginning of the end of any pretense of genuine US democracy. 50 years later, well over a majority of US citizens believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy and cover it up, so it may take a hundred for the public to assimilate even more traumatic national events, but it will eventually happen.

      • Javed Mir

        Thank you so much for giving additional information. Kind regards

  • The usual quote-mining of Farmer; here’s another quote from him you won’t see 9-11 Truthers mentioning:

    “Well, let me just say that I think the [9-11 Commission] report is, uh,
    extremely accurate, and- and sets forth the facts of 9/11. And we
    actually did point out in the report the discrepancies between the
    accounts that were given and what we actually found.”

    See interview with Farmer in 2009 here:

    As for Kean and Hamilton’s “set up to fail” comment, Conspiracy Theorists always seem to forget the next line in their book:

    “What we could not have anticipated were the remarkable people and
    circumstances that would coalesce within and around the 9/11 Commission
    over the coming twenty months to enable our success.”

    • Wow, an attempted defense of the indefensible 9/11 Commission. Extraordinary.

      John Farmer, from Brainster’s own source:

      BF: OK…. (commercial break) … OK, one more question from Glenn Beck: “Why did the Bush administration cover up the fact that the head of the Pakistani intelligence agency was in Washington the week of 9/11 and reportedly had $100,000 wired to Mohamed Atta, considered the ringleader of the hijackers?”

      JF: I don’t know whether that’s true. I can’t comment on that- that’s- you know- I don’t know.

      BF: Have you heard that allegation before?

      JF: God, no, I haven’t.

      BF: Do you think, if it is true, is it an appropriate question to ask, and to get an answer to, from someone?

      JF: Uh, if it’s true, absolutely.

      Now, then…

      The final report of the 9/11 Commission assured us that “To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks.”

      One might be inclined to think that the inability to track the money trail to the parties responsible for financing the terrorist attacks was a significant failure in the investigation, were it not that the report also assures us that “the question” of who funded the operations “is of little practical significance.”

      The report then adds, perhaps somewhat superfluously, that “we have seen no evidence that any foreign government—or foreign government official—supplied any funding” of the attacks.[1]

      And thus we are encouraged to put our minds at ease and forget about the matter. Nothing to see here. Move along.

      Of course, “the question” of who financed the hijackers trail wasn’t always considered to be “of little practical significance.” Immediately following the September terrorist attacks, the financial evidence was regarded as “the ‘smoking gun’ linking Osama bin Laden to the September 11 terrorist attacks”, “hard evidence which will be crucial in the continuing effort to maintain an international coalition behind the US-led military effort once fighting starts”[2], a “key link to bin Laden as the mastermind of the overall plot.”[3]

      On October 1, CNN reported that, according to law enforcement sources, “As much as $100,000 was wired in the past year from Pakistan to Mohamed Atta, the suspected leader of the terrorist hijackings…”[4] The Guardian reported that “The man at the centre of the financial web is believed to be Sheikh Saeed, also known as Mustafa Mohamed Ahmad…”[5] CNN followed up several days later, confirming the multiple identities of Sheikh Saeed (spelled “Sheik Syed” and “Mustafa Muhammed Ahmad” by CNN), a terrorist who had been released from prison in India after an Indian Airlines flight had been hijacked to obtain his release.[6]

      But then the investigation of the financial evidence took an unforeseen turn.

      The Press Trust of India reported that the money trail led directly to the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency. The Pakistani paper Dawn picked up the story and reported on October 8 that “Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed has been replaced after the FBI investigators established credible links between him and Umar Sheikh…” The paper added that “Informed sources said there were enough indications with the US intelligence agencies that it was at Gen Mahmud’s instruction that Sheikh had transferred 100,000 US dollars into the account of Mohammed Atta…”[7]

      The Times of India reported on the 9th that “The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahmud.”[8]

      Agence France-Presse picked up the story on the 11th and inquired further, reporting that “A highly-placed government source told AFP that the ‘damning link’ between the general and the transfer of funds to Atta was part of evidence which India has officially sent to the US.”[9]

      If one could point to a clear point in time at which “the question” of who financed the 9/11 operations went from “smoking gun” to being “of little practical significance”, then this was clearly it.

      See also:

      • ResearchGuy

        So many excellent responses here by Jeremy, on top of the excellent original article by Shawn, I thought I would just try to get this article and its discussion back to the top of people’s … viewscreens. :)

        • eviloftwolessers

          I appreciate your effort to revitalize this thread, ResearchGuy, I’ll do what I can to assist; There have been some good responses although, in some, one can detect a peculiar intellectual arrogance that is both condescending and patronizing. Respondents who feel intellectually threatened by conspiracy theories and take pains to distance themselves from them should really consider what Jim Marrs tells us in the article—that such inflexible attitudes did not appear in the culture spontaneously but were intentionally cultivated by US intelligence agencies which, at the time, wanted to deflect attention away from the JFK assassination. -shawn

        • Thanks, ResearchGuy.

    • Brainster: “What we could not have anticipated were the remarkable people and circumstances that would coalesce within and around the 9/11 Commission over the coming twenty months to enable our success.”

      They succeeded? Really? What was it, exactly, they believed they had succeeded doing? Explaining what really happened? The Warren Commission made the same claim.

  • Gratitude to you for this article!

  • ResearchGuy

    Great article, Shawn, one that shows that massive high-level conspiracies have happened over and over. People who don’t know that are in no position to discuss the likelihood of another event being explained by such a conspiracy, with all the usual such as “so many people couldn’t keep a secret” and so on. It’s called “reasoning in a vacuum” (at least that’s a polite term for it).

    REAL structural engineers who have studied the issue and are not beholden to the government say things like what’s in this article:

    Physics and chemistry trump psychology, especially armchair psychology such as that which is engaged in by so many attempted debunkers.

  • RaiseMoreHell

    Most of these have been public for years, but more Americans need to know about them. Cointelpro, MK Ultra, and others were reported about (by alternative sources) while they were still going on. Paperclip is pretty much old news, but the support and investment by US business interests that helped both Mussolini and Hitler rise to power are still rarely mentioned.

    My prejudice against most who peddle current conspiracy theories has nothing to do with whether they are or aren’t true. I suspect many are, and most have at least some origins in truth. What boggles my mind is the incredible naivité of most of the peddlers. They seem to think that all we need to do is expose their particular revealed truth and the people will rise up. These proven conspiracy theories, should, if anything, disabuse them of that notion. If you want to change the power structure of this nation and its direction in history, you need to do real education and real organizing based on it. The “truth” is not a magic bullet. While some of these shocking horror stories may assist in that regard, the main outlines of U.S. history (as it happened, not how it is taught) should be plain enough. For instance, the campaign to end the reconstruction of democracy in the South after the Civil War was carried out quite openly as well as quite successfully. Recently, was the effort to ensure that not a single Wall Street criminal would go to jail for their crimes in 2007-8 any sort of secret? Currently, does James Inhofe make any secret of who he serves and his (and many others) dismissal of science over fossil fuel interests or of their desire to subvert the general welfare, shutting down our constituted government to do so, if necessary?

  • Hello RaiseMoreHell,

    “Peddling” has a negative connotation, suggesting the ideas are being promoted for financial gain (which I also disdain). To your credit you admit your prejudice against the peddlers for being “naïve,” but naïve because they falsely assume others will hear their message and rise up, which suggests an ideological motive rather than a pecuniary one.

    You say, “If you want to change the power structure of this nation and its direction in history, you need to do real education and real organizing based on it.”

    I agree, but what is “real education” if not finding out what really happened historically? We’ll have no clue if we simply allow those in positions of power to interpret events for us and tell us how to feel about them as they try to do nonstop. We can’t organize effectively unless we know the situation, and that means finding out the truth about events we’ve been systematically lied to about–constantly and with malice–by a group of self-interested Plutocrats.

    RaiseMoreHell, you say, “While some of these shocking horror stories may assist in that regard, the main outlines of U.S. history (as it happened, not how it is taught) should be plain enough.”

    My point is such stories ARE the main outlines of US history. Call them crimes and we understand. Call them conspiracies and we become drooling imbeciles. That was kind of the point of my essay: The word “conspiracy” (and its related terms) has been intentionally manipulated–Jim Marrs refers to the word as having been “weaponized.” That means it’s been manipulated in the service of propaganda and has thus ceased to function as a legitimate and useful word.

  • johntwofeathers

    “Rethinking Conspiracy” ran is the latest edition of Australia’s New Dawn magazine:

  • Great article, thank you!

  • Excellent article!

  • Here’s a good article on the same subject by Michael Fullerton:

  • umbrarchist

    Funny how skyscrapers must hold themselves up. The designers had to determine the distributions of steel and concrete before construction began. So is there a tacit conspiracy of scientists and engineers about not discussing that information for analysing the Twin Tower’s collapses.

    If the physics of skyscrapers dictates that was impossible due to aircraft impact and fires then all of our engineering schools have a problem.