It seems to be a rite of passage that if you subscribe to the ideology of a money-free world, you must also believe that 911 was an ‘inside job’. There may be a few reasons for this. Firstly, Peter Joseph’s popular and controversial film ‘Zeitgeist’ (2007) which tackled 911, religion, the banking cartel and other challenges to mainstream thinking may have had a lot to do with it. The movie was a thrilling exposé which ultimately spawned The Zeitgeist Movement, other movies and books promoting a money-free philosophy.
But perhaps the link between the 911 ‘inside job’ conspiracy theory and the money-free ideology lies at the heart of where these kinds of conspiracies come from and how they take hold. But more on this later.
I must admit that I sat very firmly on the fence of the 911 conspiracy for many years. I was more than happy watching the arguments flow to and fro like a tennis match – not making my mind up either way. But I will confess that I, like so many others, found the inside job theory truly tantalizing and almost intoxicating to consume. I watched all the videos, read all the websites, read the debunkers, watched the debunkers being debunked – all from the safe distance of my non-committed perch.
But while I found the theory enticing, something always stopped me from jumping down off my fence and saying ‘okay, where do I sign up?’ Now, finally I know why. Common sense overwhelmingly prevents it.
In this article I am going to attempt to debunk the 911 inside job theory in the same way as my own common sense prevented me from believing it. But before I go any further, here’s the important part:
Just because I don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theory does not necessarily mean that I fully subscribe to the official explanation either. The truth, I suspect, is somewhere removed from both extremes, yet undoubtedly much closer to the official explanation than to the conspiracy.
To my mind, it’s hard to doubt that there were holes and irregularities in the official NIST report and I for one would welcome the re-opening of that, or the setting up of another independent inquiry. I would also suspect that this is also the position of the many architects and engineers that form the well-known AE911 Truth group. They are probably far less conspiracy theorists as they are scientists concerned at some of the detail (or lack thereof) in the official report.
So I’m going to approach this in a rather unique way. I’m not going to argue the evidence either way, because – as we’ll see later – evidence doesn’t actually count for much when it comes to conspiracies. Also, much of the evidence has been so hotly debated already that most people will have already made up their minds whose evidence is conclusive and whose isn’t.
So instead, this debunking is a simple appeal to common sense and objective rationale. We’ll begin by simply imagining that the conspiracy theory is true, then looking at what else needs to be true if that were the case.
So our conspiracy theory runs something like this: A small group of US Government (or corporate) persons unknown set up a deliberate attack on American people using commercial airliners to strike at four locations, killing thousands of people and – combined with strategically-placed explosives – demolish (at least) both World Trade Center towers 1 & 2, part of the Pentagon buildings and another unknown target in order to justify military action either in Afghanistan or Iraq, or both.
I think that’s a pretty good summary? Now let’s apply some common sense.
This might seem like a facile reason to disprove the conspiracy, but it isn’t. Americans are insanely patriotic. It’s in their genes. While it is possible that a small few powerful Americans could be so unpatriotic and psychopathic as to wish the deaths of thousands of their fellow Americans for their own greedy ends, there is realistically no way that such a desire could ever have been carried forward or blessed by their contemporaries as a viable course of action. No rational-thinking American would ever agree that this was a good idea.
Even if you subscribe to the idea of a few black operatives, you would still be looking at a hard-core team of at least twenty people and dozens of complicit auxiliaries – which is just too many auto-genocidal psychopaths to warrant serious consideration. Also, plotting to kill so many American people in such a massive, chaotic bloodbath would undoubtedly be risking the lives of friends and family of the conspirators – and in the case of the Pentagon – their work colleagues.
So, for our theory to be true, a large group of high-ranking psychopaths and dozens of aides, so unpatriotic as to happily unleash carnage on thousands of their fellow Americans on American soil had to exist.
While it’s not impossible, it’s extremely unlikely.
There is simply no way that such a gargantuan secret as the intentional bombing of thousands of Americans by Americans could still be contained nearly two decades later. This is perhaps the most damning indictment of the conspiracy theory. When you consider the number of people who would have been in the know: the direct instigators, the possibly hundreds of auxiliaries who were privy to some of the organisational detail, or even those in officialdom who strongly suspected foul play – yet not one single outing from any military, political or corporate official occurred, despite the increase in state whistle-blowers and the likes of Wikileaks regularly receiving and publishing sensitive state and political information.
If a large group of people had pulled off such a controversial and complex organisation as this, at least one of their number would have certainly had the inclination and found a way to deliver their damning testimony through the proper channels by now. That this hasn’t happened makes the conspiracy toast in my view.
Again, as before, while it’s not impossible that such a massive secret continues to be perfectly contained, it’s extremely unlikely.
3. The Plan Itself
If the conspiracy were true, then at some point someone devised the plan. Picture yourself as one of the conspirators in the early days of hatching your evil plan. You could approach this in any number of ways. You could bomb an embassy in a foreign country. You could arrange to assassinate a strategic political target. You could frame a political opponent. You could instigate a civil war in another country that would ‘require’ your intervention. The point is, there are any number of easier ways you could achieve the same desired objective without committing mass murder on your own doorstep and risking the lives of your compatriots.
It gets even more preposterous if you factor in that as a conspirator, you would have also ‘known’ that the towers would not fall with plane impacts alone, and so have to further complicate your plans by organising a perfectly controlled demolition of the buildings in such a way that would never be detectable – knowing full well that the entire world would be watching you execute it live.
If your plan was to alter the political landscape, initiate a war and evade detection, there would be any number of easier, less risky ways to achieve the same end. If you start at the point where there was no plan, then it quickly becomes apparent how this particular plan – with all its complexity, variables and things that could go wrong – would simply not be a plan that any smart, rational group of people would arrive at.
While it’s not impossible that someone would devise such a ridiculous, convoluted plan, the events of the day far more readily correlate to that of an enraged (and partially bungled) fundamentalist attack on America, where maximum death and destruction was the only objective.
4. The Evidence
We have all heard the video testimony of fire-workers talking about explosions in the buildings. We have seen the videos of molten metal and heard the testimonials of materials and fire experts adding fuel to the fire of the conspiracy theory. We have seen discrepancies in the videos. We have heard about the bad piloting skills. We have learned how crucial evidence was cleared quickly from the site. We have seen the anomalies in news reports. We saw the collapse of Building 7.
The more you examine any complex event, the more anomalies and strange occurrences you will find. But just because those anomalies don’t fit the official explanation doesn’t mean you automatically get to cry ‘conspiracy!’ These anomalies – if verified as true – could have any number of different explanations – of which an ‘inside job’ conspiracy is just one. For example, there would be numerous possible reasons for witnessing explosions or melting metal inside a building into which a jumbo jet had just crashed – like jet fuel, aluminium fires, gas or oxygen tanks, etc. On the balance of likelihood, it is just far more probable that these kinds of conventional explanations would account for these events more readily than a self-induced all-American bloodbath.
In the case of WTC Building 7 – widely seen as the ‘smoking gun’ since it collapsed when no plane hit it – the same applies. There are many possible explanations why this building appeared to collapse neatly into its own footprint – of which the ‘inside job’ conspiracy is just one. For example, the building may have been deliberately demolished by fire-workers on the day as part of their site safety plan. Or, the building may have been severely structurally compromised in ways that were not obvious in the videos. On balance, either of these two explanations are eminently much more likely to explain that building’s collapse than the inside job theory.
Weighing it up
The point is, wanting something to be true does not make it true or any more likely. If you begin with the premise that it was a conspiracy, your mind will play tricks and fill in the blanks to help you arrive at the desired result. Whereas, if you weigh up the events of 911 dispassionately, without a care for the result either way, by simply asking ‘what is the most likely thing to have happened?‘ you will, as I have, hopefully arrive at a more reasonable response.
At the very least, try this mental exercise by proposing some alternative ‘non-conspiracy’ explanations for the particular anomalies that you believe to be ‘proof’. If you can come up with many, then it proves you are being objective. I can certainly think of several more ‘conventional’ and likelier explanations for all the popular 911 anomalies.
The problem with this conspiracy theory is that many people really want it to be true. But just because your government makes you angry sometimes doesn’t mean they are plotting to kill you. Conspiracy theories borne out of these already-held feelings of distrust and fear are really nothing more than a form of wishful thinking – which is why we need to talk about conspiracy theories and where they come from.
Wikipedia have a great article on conspiracy theories. If you subscribe to any of the popular conspiracy theories, then I implore you to go and read this page. It’s important. The reasons behind conspiracies are well-known and well-documented. And it makes a lot of sense.
Common features of conspiracy theories are:
- They are unfalsifiable and self-reinforcing. Proponents will often claim that refuting evidence has been tampered with and is part of the conspiracy – rendering a convincing proof impossible. As such, their convictions tend to become more and more reinforced as every evidence presented to them now appears to support their theory.
- They help make sense of the world. Conspiracy theories give a sense of order and predictability to a chaotic world. It is somehow more comforting that a powerful agency meticulously planned something down to every last detail rather than a completely random catastrophe occurred. It is the very same mechanism that makes religions so popular – the belief that there is a grand designer to all things rather than random, uncontrolled chaos.
- They attract supporters with a pre-determined point of view. For example, those who harbour anti-government sentiments will be far more likely to subscribe to a theory that blames the government for something because it supports their world view. This creates a cognitive bias where the believer is only interested in aspects that might confirm the theory rather than weigh up all aspects equally.
There is no doubt that discrepancies and some strange things occurred around the events of September 11th, 2001 – possibly even including some ‘covering up’ or unscrupulous people taking advantage of the situation – but, while the ‘inside job’ conspiracy may appeal to the James Bond movie part of our brains, it is, on balance of what we know to have happened, an extremely unlikely explanation of those events.
Why do I care?
Because I’m so impassioned about moving towards a money-free world, I find the continued associated arguments for the 911 conspiracy in the face of common sense deeply counter-productive to our efforts. It’s difficult enough to convince people about the potential benefits of a money-free world without also trying to convince them that their government engages in secret plots to kill its own citizens.
Those who advocate a money-free world seem particularly attracted to this idea, presumably because they see money and its agencies (government, corporations) as the enemy. But they aren’t the enemy. Our only enemy is ignorance. We, the people, are the ones who perpetuate the myth of money through our daily actions. Until that changes, there will always be plenty of agencies ready to take advantage.
911 was a day of shocking and incredible scenes where innocent people in planes were slammed into buildings, causing fires and catastrophic structural collapses. If, like me, you would prefer not to see events like this happening again, then let’s get to work on removing the conditions for this kind of behaviour beginning with blind faith, money, ignorance and fear.