Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's Tempting to Laugh

But I felt more like crying as I read this post over at the Loose Change Forums:

I don't know about any of you guys but I have been having one difficult time trying to discuss this subject (the subject of 9/11 and what really happened) to anyone -- I include in this group of people who would rather not hear me: my wife, my adult son (age 37), my three daughters (all adults), and a few friends (a couple of whom I can't fault as they were being polite in an exchange of conversational points on the subject, but they also couldn't wait to leave the BBQ most quickly after I brought up the subject).

I've tried and I've tried to approach this subject (again -- 9/11, and what really happened) from what I consider to be a series of intelligent segways, cautious as to when the time seems otherwise appropriate to make it the subject of conversation, watching body language and facial expressions of the listeners when striving to express the mass of obvious contradictions in what we have been led to believe by our government. Nothing seems to work folks, not really.

I suppose I have managed to get enough points across to plant a seed for some, seeds that will hopefully grow into more understanding. I really feel frustrated in the entire matter.

I believe and I expect everyone to believe or at least give the matter sufficient and due concern to believe because the same is extremely important to us and our freedoms. I mean, for no other reason than there were thousands of lives lost that day, all innocent and many more innocents that have followed since as a result of our initially appointed President sending in the troops. What a waste of life and what a waste of belief in a network of lies that has absolutely no merit in truth -- yet the masses seem unmoved in their rock solid beliefs. They know what they saw on television that day and they just don't want to accept anything as horrid as a corrupt government behind the death and destruction. Getting beyond this belief barrier seems for some to be an impossibility.

I even approached the subject by sending an 'old' girlfriend, my first love that still means the world to me even today, a copy of the video speech made my Professor David Ray Griffin (I consider it to be very well done, very professional, packed full of facts and things to consider on their own right) -- the response was sadly something similar to others I have received -- Don't send me such trash again, saying she didn't have the time or desire for such nonsense. That breaks my heart, let alone confuses the dickens out of me. I am starting to wonder what it was I ever saw in this person in the first place if she wouldn't (or couldn't) accept the TRUTH in what actually happened to us as a people, as a nation. I'm lost and I'm even more confused (as to 9/11 facts) and it goes way beyond what it was that any alledged terrorist may have done to us -- I'm lost and I'm confused as to how best to get the word out to the non-believers, especially those I love and care about, let alone complete strangers. Maybe you can help?


This is the downside of conspiracy theories. I talk to a couple of my friends about the debunking we're doing here, but I don't dwell on it because I know it's not interesting to them. And I'm not obsessed with it. Well, maybe a little obsessed, but you know how it is; I believe that 19 Muslim fanatics trained by Al Qaeda committed 9-11, which is a whole lot less terrifying than thinking Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld committed 9-11.

My suggestions to Jerry B. would be to not think of his family as a sounding board for his 9-11 thoughts. There are many men (me for one) who watch NFL football with a passion. But I don't expect to have a twenty minute debate with my sister about whether Matt Leinart is the savior of the Cardinals' franchise. She doesn't care, and it doesn't bother me that she doesn't care. She might put up with five minutes because she loves me, but after that she's tuning out just as I would if she started talking about scrapbooking or something similar.

Find people who are into what you're into and talk about it with them. The good news is that you can do this a lot easier with the net than you could in the old days, and not just cyberfriends but real friends that you can meet with on a regular basis. I also really recommend blogging--duh!--because you can influence far more people with a blog post than you can by cornering them next to the barbecue.

I'd also recommend that he drop this conspiracy nonsense but we all know that's not going to happen. But I do feel for the guy, as I do for our CT readers. I know that you're serious about this, that this isn't a game to most of you. I'm not sure about some of the scam artists like Dylan and his buddies at LTW; as we have discussed in great detail here, they have played fast and loose far too often for me to believe they are really interested in the truth.

BTW, this post does reveals the flaw in the recent 9-11 Truth poll, which purported to find something like 40% of the people believe in some sort of coverup or conspiracy. If that's the case, how come this guy can't get anybody to talk with him about it?

I am Starting to Like Lawyers

Another filmmaker with a loose grip on reality gets sued. The NY Post, via Hot Air.

A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming the portly peacenik recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, who strongly supports America’s invasion of Iraq, said he never agreed to be in the 2004 movie, which trashes President Bush.

In the 2003 interview, which he did at Walter Reed Army Hospital for NBC News, he discussed only a new painkiller the military was using on wounded vets.

“They took the clip because it was a gut-wrenching scene,” Damon said yesterday. “They sandwiched it in. [Moore] was using me as ammunition.”

Steel Away

I noticed this while reading David Ray Griffin's Omissions & Deceptions last night, but it also gets highlighted in Loose Change a little after 36:05:

200,000 tons of steel shatters into sections no longer than a couple feet long.

This is of course ridiculous, as this picture shows:



It may be just part and parcel of the Loosers' penchant for exaggeration, like the "untouched" cable spools in front of the Pentagon. Griffin's a little more cautious (Chapter 2):

7. Most of the steel beams and columns came down in sections that were no more than 30 feet long.

Of course, the implication is that the building was demolished so that the steel beams and columns would be no more than 30 feet long. But what does this mean? Well, let's go back to the 47 steel columns that were at the core of the building. These columns extended the full height of the structure.

The two towers were about 1360 feet high each (1368 for Tower One, 1360 for Tower Two). So obviously the 47 steel columns were all 1360 feet or more (obviously slightly more since there were basement levels). If we divide that by the 110 stories in each tower we can see that the average height per floor was about 12 feet.

This means that in order to demolish the WTC towers so that most of the steel beams came down in sections that were no more than 30 feet long, they would have had to set charges every 2.5 stories, or on approximately 44 of the floors. Times 47 columns equals no less than 2,068 charges.

But even that won't do the job. Why? Because the buildings crumbled from the outside, not the inside. Some Truthers claim that the core should have survived. So the outside columns would have to be set with charges, once again on about 44 of the floors of each building, on about 240 columns this time.

But there's an even easier way to prove that the steel did not come down in sections "no longer than a couple feet long" (Loose Change) or "30 feet long" (Griffin). And in a delicious bit of irony, we can prove their mistake thanks to the efforts of another conspiracy theorist.

9-11 Eyewitness had a great view to film the collapse of the North Tower. The building first falls at 37:57, and at about 38:24 we see this:



It's not the greatest image, but it's much more obvious in the video footage. If you look in the middle of the picture there are several dark vertical shadows behind the smoke. These are clearly steel columns (like I say, it's much more obvious in the movie). As we watch, they teeter, then fall towards the building in the foreground (which I believe is World Financial Center 3). The cameraman even mentions that piece (he calls it a spire) at about 55:20.

But those steel columns appear to be at least 50 stories high, or about 600 feet. So even if those columns ended up in neat pieces 30 feet long, it was not due to "Controlled Demolition" because those columns were still intact after the building fell. I suspect that if they did indeed end up in pieces 30 feet long it was because that's where the columns were welded together and that they broke into those sections from the shock of the fall (or to be more precise, the shock of the landing). Or, far more likely, that they were cut into those sections post collapse so that the steel could be transported.

This is one of those little things that bugs me about the CT crowd. Despite the enormous destruction of 9-11, they always want to believe that the plotters wanted to limit the damage, by making the buildings collapse neatly (a farcical notion) into easily transported debris. It's like they believe President Bush said something like, "Okay, you can bring down the towers and Building 7, but I don't want any more damage than that. And let's hit the Pentagon on the side that was recently reinforced."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Loosers Threaten Copyright Lawyer

Gee, why doesn't this surprise me? Even Dylan has to try and keep his hordes in line.

ok guys, it's come to my attention that [the attorney] has been receiving threats. like, serious threats. i put up the lawsuit so people would know what was going on, not so people could e-mail her threatening letters. i just sent her my sincerest apologies, with a promise to put a halt to this behavior, which I shall re-iterate:Do not contact [her].

She does not need this; she was just doing her job. So please leave her alone. We are all mature, rational people, and we are going to work this through as such.

At this point the circumstances are as such:

1) The removal of some or all of the Naudet Brothers' footage from LC2E, which includes online versions

2) That's actually about it. We're doing everything within our power to comply, now that we have spoken to all parties concerned and are much more informed as to the situation. So for now, again, leave them alone, and I'll keep you posted as always.

Who Are These Fruitcakes?

The more you get into investigating the people behind these 9/11 conspiracy theories, the more you realize how interconnected these theories are with every moonbat theory that has come along. Whether it be neo-nazi propoganda, faked moon landings, or the US military bombarding Jupiter with anti-matter weapons; 9/11 is just one component in the nutbag arsenal.

One example of this is LTC (R) Robert Bowman. When I did a post on the "Scholars" for 9/11 "Truth", arguing that they were not the experts that they claimed to be, a reader commented that I missed Mr. Bowman. Supposedly he was the "former director of Advanced Space Programs Development for USAF under Ford", which I suppose would qualify him somewhat as a conspiracy theorist, so I decided to give him a look.

Conveniently, he has a website, he is even running for Congress in Florida. As I pointed out up above, these people are always connected to some other bizarre belief, so which are his? Mr. Bowman is a Bishop in some splinter group of the Catholic Church. OK, a little odd, but I am not going to make fun of someone's religious belief, so on from there.

Well since he is running for Congress, what are his political beliefs? Well, he wants to pass a constitutional ammendment, which would essentially ban corporations and much of modern capitalism as I understand it. Yeah, good luck with that one, Colonel.

So what other conspiracy theories does he hold? Well among other things he belives that the war in Yugoslavia was started by the CIA. This has now become the 1990's version of Holocaust denial. In fact on his webpage, he asserts that the Srebrenica massacre did not even take place.

1994: The US media reported carnage, mass rapes, disembowelment, and massacres of children by Serbs when Izetbegovic troops pulled out of Srebrenica. UN investigating teams reported 7/24/95 that they could not find a single eyewitness to any atrocity, even though they interviewed hundreds of Muslims in Srebrenica and in Tuzla, where the majority of refugees were taken.

OK, aside from the fact that this took place in 1995, not 1994 (July 11-14 specifically), and that "Izetbegovic [sic] troops", did not pull out of Srebrenica, they (along with Dutch peacekeepers) were overrun by Serb forces, this theory is insane. As someone who has spent a hell of a lot more time in Srebrenica than he has, I can speak with certainty, that these attrocities did happen. In fact even the Serbs admit it happened!

The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA said the commission's report on the 1995 massacre was being submitted to the Bosnian Serb government on Friday.

The report says "more than 7,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) were killed in Srebrenica," commission member Smail Cehic told SRNA.

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague has described the massacre as genocide.

In June the Bosnian Serb president admitted for the first time that Serb forces had committed the massacre - but he avoided giving a definite figure for the victims.

The reason they did not find any eyewitnesses is that they killed them all. They separated the men from the women, and proceeded to shoot 7,000 of them over the next 3 days. Is it just me, or does this remind anyone of the same logic that Loose Change uses with Somerset County coroner Wally Miller, when it uses his quote that he couldn't find any bodies to imply that he was saying there were no casualties?

Is there anyone connected with the 9/11 "truth" movement who holds normal political and historical beliefs, that are at least somewhat based in reality?

In Response to Perry Logan

Perry's included us in his links to other folks debunking the 9-11 "Truth" movement, but with an amusing disclaimer:

Lots of good debunking at this site, if you don't step in the right-wing BS. Needless to say, these people think the 9/11 Truth Movement are all liberals gone bad. But keep in mind, they voted TWICE for The Worst President Ever™. Thousands of women and children have died because of them. Yet even these poor, tortured souls can see right through the 9/11 Truth Movement.


I resent that remark; I only voted for Jimmy Carter once. ;)

But I would like to correct one thing. I don't see the 9-11 Truthers as liberals. Some liberals may be Truthers, but I'd suspect they're a small percentage. The Truthers are more likely to be anarchists or very far leftists. There are undeniably some people whom most of us would consider conservative also in the 9-11 Truth movement.

But more Truthers are far left than far right, just as more folks keeping tabs on the Clinton Death List in the 1990s were far right than far left (and just about as nutty). And indeed, Perry even notes that the Truthers like to snort at the "false left-right dichotomy" which is of course the favored trope of far Left celeb-blogger Arianna Huffington.

Anyway, we recognized early on that Perry was, in addition to being a 9-11 "Truth" debunker, a liberal. But in this battle we've got no quarrel with liberals. And he's very funny, which sometimes isn't easy for conservatives when you're debating folks who thought President Bush intentionally killed 3,000 Americans on 9-11.

And we'll try to tone down the right-wing BS. Right Donald--errr, James?

"Harvard Graduate" Warns Us All

A letter from a "Harvard graduate" is making the rounds on the Loose Change-pushing blogs.

Skidd's story is like many who grew up searching for the American dream, living in affluent Connecticut and graduating from Harvard University in 1983 with a BA in Government. And like so many others under the hypnotic spell of apathy cast by the Reagan/Bush years, she tuned out her country and politics, becoming disillusioned with corporate America.

"I tuned out and traveled around the country following the Grateful Dead for the next several years. I always knew something was terribly wrong, I just couldn't figure out what. I knew, even back then, that the Bush family, especially "Poppy", was pure evil. I have been deeply troubled by the JFK assassination my entire life, and always knew that it was a coup d'etat.


Followed the Grateful Dead around the country for several years? Let me guess, smoking lots of weed?

Skidd began seriously questioning the New World Order in 1990 when she found out about hemp and the marijuana conspiracy from Jack Herer's book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes". And according to Skidd, the campaign against hemp in the 20's and 30's amounted to a coup of the world's economy to favor petroleum products by outlawing the best renewable alternative.


Check.

This part of the article is just to establish the Skidd's credibility; she is after all, a Harvard graduate. But when we start reading her letter, it becomes obvious that she's loopy:

We are in very grave danger of losing our Constitutional Republic and our freedom forever. The controlled corporate media, which is owned by the powers-that-be, the global elite, the Illuminati, the New World Order, the secret world government, whatever you want to call them, is (obviously) complicit in this, so that although many prominent people are now speaking out about 9/11, there is little mention of it, and certainly there is no honest debate.

They will not tell us the "truth" until they have no other choice, because so many people already know, and even then they will try to "spin" it. Do not believe them! The electronic voting machines are rigged, so our politicians care not what we think or want. Republicans and Democrats are both involved. Skull & Bones John (W's cousin, by the way) wouldn't have saved us, and unfortunately neither will Al nor Hillary.


Bush & Kerry were cousins? Who knew?

I don't expect you to believe me, but please research these issues at the websites below and elsewhere, make your own decision, and take appropriate action! Watch the excellent 9/11 documentary Loose Change 2 (which will be shown to the British Parliament next month, June 14, 2006, I believe) on Google Video for free! Educate your family and friends! Our only hope is to wake up enough Americans to take back our country from these evil criminals before they strike us again.


On the Screw Loose Change Nutbar-o-Meter:

Unintentionally Hilarious Conspiracy Theory Question of the Day

I already posted on this in the comments, but I thought this was funny enough to deserve its own post. One of our regular readers points us to this blog, arguing that a plane did not hit the World Trade Center. It ends with this "provocative" question:

So, apart from the videos of the plane, this strange hole in the building and a few plane parts that may well have been planted on the streets, what IS the evidence that a plane hit the South tower?

A cynic could add, uhh, I don't know, how about the thousands of New Yorkers who saw the planes hit in broad daylight? But regardless I couldn't help but be reminded of that great Monty Python historical epic "The Life of Brian".

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Attendee: Brought peace?

Reg: Oh, peace - shut up!

Reg: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.

Dissenter: Uh, well, one.

Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there's one. But otherwise, we're solid.

No Windows on Second Plane?

You may recall that's one of the very early claims in Loose Change (about 9:02):

"It definitely did not look like a commercial plane, I didn't see any windows on the sides. "
"Mark, [sic] if that what you say is true those could be cargo planes. "
"You said, you didn't see any windows in the sides?”
"I didn't see any windows on sides. It was not a normal flight that I had ever seen, at an airport, it was a plane that had a blue logo on the front."

This is one of the advantages of there being so many different conspiracy theories; you can generally find evidence ignored by one group highlighted by another:

Monday, May 29, 2006

Comedy Gold At the Loose Change Forums

BG will no doubt gripe about this post, but we're here to educate and have fun at the same time. The good people over at the James Randi Educational Forum thread on Loose Change (which I highly recommend) pointed out some memorable stupidity over there:

Check out this "theory" on what happened to the passengers:

several months ago i was doing some reading on a possible alliance that has been in exsistance with the military government and an alien race. i call this race the Anunnaki. (i could talk hours about who the Anunnaki are, but i'll just say they're an alien race believed to have visited earth thousands of years ago, and still mildly remain here today.) the alliance is thought to be this. the aliens agree only to abduct a number of humans for their experiments. in exchange the aliens give those in the know technology. this has sed to have been going on since shortly after the roswell crash. to make a long story short ... i'm under the impression that its possible that all the passengers on the planes were offered up as payment to the Anunnaki in exchange for some greatly advanced technology. what technology ... i dont know, but something big, something that would be considered a valueable asset to those wanting to control the masses.

But even better is the person who debunks this "theory":

In my view this is a smokescreen for the raping and pillaging of ancient knowledge around the world, the keeping down of once great civilisations and the old magicians trick of look over here while we pick your pocket. I propose Icke was given this info and he took it in good faith btw, rather than invented it himself as this is a story that has been around before. Icke often raises his friend Credo to fill in a lot of the spaces in his theory or to back up his view but I am afraid Credo is a sham (his created name translates to I believe, his parents were very perceptive), he comes from a country on it's knees and I can not fault the guy by clinging onto an untruth in order to survive/prosper. I have to hand it to them, it is a great story but if it is wrong, could we be looking in a more wrong direction? That is some good misdirection right there if so.
If he is right, the Queen is a shapeshifter, Prince Charles is the anti-christ, Bush has to drink childrens blood in order to hold a human form and we are all indeed f****d. Truely, I say that with no irony, if he is right, we may as well sit down and wait to be bled as we are royaly down the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Yet More Comedy at the Loose Change Forums

The geniuses over there have hit on the brilliant idea of writing the insurance companies that insured the World Trade Center in the hopes of getting them to appeal on the basis that Silverstein was in on the plot.

if someone were to send all research data to this insurance company. They would have an open and shut case. Imagine the amount of exposure building 7 would get. for the insurance company it's either one of two things. Use our research and open a new can of worms or kiss 4.5 billion dollars goodbye.

Update: Truthers aren't very in tune with the real world; a number of them have commented that this is a great idea. It might be, if it weren't for the fact that the insurance companies paid off on WTC 7 a long time ago, and the building has recently been rebuilt. DOH!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Loose Change Telephone Game

When I was in grade school we used to play the telephone game, where one kid whispers a sentence into the ear of the person sitting in the seat next to them. By the time it gets clear around the classroom it has mutated into something completely different, and usually pretty amusing. Well this is how conspiracy theories work.

In the movie Dylan and company claim:

But on Thursday the 6th, bomb sniffing dogs were abruptly removed from the building.So who authorized all this?

President Bush's brother, Marvin, was Board of Directors at Securacom from 1993 until fiscal year 2000.


This takes two completely separate, although technically correct pieces of information, and runs them together to form a false impression.

First of all, not all bomb sniffing dogs were removed from the buildings, just the ones that were part of the extra security. The Loose Change folks manage to turn a heightened security period into some type of security lapse. Kind of like how politicians complain that if you were planning to increase the spending of a program 8%, but you only increase it 5%, then you are cutting spending.

Secondly, as the movie says, Bush left Securacom (actually Stratasec) in 2000 He was gone over 14 months by the time the attacks came around. And as a member of the board of directors, he would have had nothing to do with the day to day operations anyway, much less the security dogs. Stratesec did not run security for the WTC, they were just responsible for electronic security systems. The dogs were part of the port police, and possibly other companies working on contract. By putting these two completely unrelated facts together though, the filmmakers are able to give the viewer a completely false impression, although they technically never "lie".

But the telephone game doesn't stop here. In their extra video footage, one of the trio, who apparently never even saw his own movie promotes Marvin Bush to "head of security at the World Trade Center".

So now that this already been changed, even before getting out of the original group, I was not at all surprised to see this posted in a list of 9/11 "facts" in response to an editorial yesterday.

27 Marvin Bush involvement with the security security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles International Airport. He gave the order to have the bomb sniffing dogs removed before 9/11. security contracts for the WTC complex ended 9-11-01

You start out with one thing, play fast and loose with the connections, and before you know it, you have a whole new list of "facts".

Update:

One could have all sorts of fun with this rhetorical device. For example, from my upcoming feature film "The Secret Lives of the Loose Change Guys"

In 2003 prisoners were sexually humiliated in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They were stripped naked, dog collars were put on their necks, womens' underwear was put on their heads. Who ordered this to be done?

In 2003, Loose Change producer Korey Rowe was serving in Iraq.

In The Sewer

Guess who got a Cease & Desist letter?

Copyright infringement is such a beeeayatch!

Hat Tip: JREF Forums

My Response To Allah

Allahpundit on Hot Air brings up the topic of free speech, versus showing respect for those who disagree with you. He points out this editorial by Howard Kurtz criticizing the disrespect shown to Senator John McCain during a recent campus graduation appearance. I first became aware of this situation earlier in the week when I read a similar column by Ann Coulter, herself hardly a huge McCain supporter. Anytime you can get Howard Kurtz and Ann Coulter to agree on anything, you have a remarkable story indeed.

Allah also brings up the 9/11 conspiracy theories, and how there is this explosion of outrage, often for outrage’s sake, without taking into consideration what you are attacking. There is also another side to this that I feel is fascinating, the self martyrdom of those involved. People march in the streets, post on internet forums, and celebrities constantly make public appearances, all screaming at the top of their lungs how they don’t have freedom to speak their minds, not realizing the irony. Then they praise themselves for the courage to speak out. Is this really courage though, or just self involvement? As Ann Coulter puts it:


This week the world gasped in awe at the raw heroism of Jean Rohe, the student at the New School who gave a speech attacking the commencement speaker, Republican Sen. John McCain, at the commencement ceremony.

We mostly heard about Rohe's bravery from Rohe — and, really, who is in a better position to judge? As Rohe herself put it: "If there's one thing that I know about myself, it is that I care for people, and in that sense I have a great deal of character."

When I was an undergrad, I had the honor of meeting Elena Bonner, the widow of Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov, when she visited my class before a speech she was making. Most Americans nowadays don’t even know who Sakharov was, much less appreciate his significance, but he was a man who gave up everything he had. He was a hero of Soviet science, and an icon for a generation, and he gave that up and was forced into exile because he stood for freedom and human rights. And yet people consider themselves a hero because they interrupt Republicans during a speech, or post an idiotic conspiracy theory on a bulletin board.

In any case, later that night when Elena Bonner spoke, she opened the floor up for questions, most of which were appropriately on the topic of human rights in the former Soviet Union. Then one student got up and began ranting for 5 minutes on the oppression of gays in the United States and how they are not allowed to marry.

Bonner replied simply, “I wish we had your problems.” The student didn’t seem to understand, it wasn’t about him.

But this is getting worse. Before it was just a few self involved activists, now it is becoming an entire generation. Perhaps it is technology? The Internet has done some wonderful things, without it I couldn’t be posting my thoughts for people to read, but in making information so readily available, it has also made it cheap. Before, if you wanted to learn something, you actually had to go out and find a book and read it, or seek out someone who was an expert in the area, and ask them about it. Now you just do a quick google search and the information appears right before you. No need to think about it, or analyze it, the truth is instantly in front of you, it is in a video, it must be true!

What happens then though is you get information without wisdom, it becomes nothing more than a number of unrelated points superficially connected. The movie Loose Change is the perfect example of that. A trio of uneducated 20-somethings make a movie based off of screencaptures of conspiracy websites, and suddenly they are seen as speaking from authority. They never had to do the hard work to turn this information into wisdom, and thus it has no value. If they would have been required to have had more years of experience in order to accomplish this, if they had to exert more effort into compiling what went into their movie, then perhaps they would have paid more attention to the validity of their claims. Instead, they just wallow in their own arrogance, and declare themselves the bearers of the truth.

Why Now?

Allahpundit asks a great question:

Also, I’m a free-speech guy, but … someone sent me this link the other day and it made me want to open a vein. What’s with all the news about 9/11 conspiracies lately? Pages like that being circulated, Loose Change on Google Video, that Zogby opinion poll saying 45% of Americans think 9/11 needs to be investigated further — it seems like we’re reaching some kind of critical mass lately, but I’m not sure why. Consider this an open call for the Screw Loose Change guys to offer their theories.

Well, I have a few thoughts on that that I'd like some feedback from our commenters on:

1. The approaching five year anniversary of the attack. This works in the 9-11 CT crowd's favor in two ways. First, our emotions are no longer quite as raw as they were in the early days. We can see this with Hollywood's sudden willingness to use the events of that terrible day in movies like United 93 and the upcoming World Trade Center. It also focuses the Truthers' efforts. They know (Dylan mentions it in virtually every interview) that on 9-11-06 the nation's attention is likely to focus on the attacks in a way that won't happen again for another 5 years. It is my impression that the Kennedy Assassination CT experienced its first boomlet (helped quite a bit by showboat Jim Garrison) also around the five year mark.

2. Loose Change itself. It galls me to admit this, but LC is a slick movie with elements that keep an audience raised on MTV hooked--hip music, animation, and "factoids" presented in such a rapid-fire manner that your attention is focused on details, not the big picture. Try watching some of the other CT movies, which are about as interesting as filmstrips on Soviet wheat production in the 1950s.

3. Google Video/YouTube and broadband access to the internet. The fact that Loose Change can be downloaded for free or watched in streaming format means that there's no cash outlay required. As the old saying goes, if it's free I'll take three. I suspect that for every person who's seen the movie at a screening or purchased a DVD, there are 100 who've watched it online.

The good news for those of us not in the CT camp is that the 9-11 "Truth" movement is still not yet ready for primetime. Operating in the shadows, with very little support, the Truthers have been forced to cooperate, and this will be their downfall. There's an old saying (seldom observed), "no enemies on the Left", which meant that the Left should focus its efforts on defeating the Right, not on intramural squabbles between the Trotskyites and the Stalinists. So it has been (largely) in the "Truth" movement. They have not purged their ranks of the kooks like Holocaust and Apollo moonwalk deniers. Moreover, they have not successfully driven out the bad ideas, and now many of those (the "no-planes" theory, and the "no cellphone calls" theory) are indelibly associated with the movement via Loose Change.

I mentioned the other day that "Scholars" for 9-11 Truth founder Stephen Jones declined to critique Loose Change on Air America Phoenix, claiming he hadn't seen the film. I find that rather curious, since the film is highlighted on their front page as "A Good Place to Start" (among several others). Any group which fails to vigorously drive out the rogue elements among the movement will eventually be overwhelmed by them.

A Poet Is Inspired

By watching Loose Change, into this:

They want you to believe
The stories they conceive
My god, your god
Were all at odds

Were a nation at war
Of nation third world
Nuclear powers unsure
An arms race, for sure
How long before our soil turns red
For all the bodies
From all the bloodshed

Friday, May 26, 2006

More On Jesse

I posted on Jesse MacBeth's most recent scandal on The Chief Brief. Now he is faking documents too. Someone should tell the "Scholars" for 9/11 "Truth". Oh wait, I did. They don't care.

Of Billiard Balls and Executive Toys

Earlier, some commenters brought up the billiard ball theory, from mechanical engineer Judy Wood. It is called this because she compares the collapse of the World Trade Center towers to dropping a billiard ball off of the roof. The entire starting premise of this is of course false, since the collapse did not start at the top, and continue all the way to the ground, but knowing this, we will continue on.










She then argues, that in reality we have to look at this as a series of 110 billiard balls. Each billiard ball falls to the floor below it, where it conveniently comes to a complete stop, and then another billiard ball begins to fall, starting from a complete stop, coming up with a leisurely 87.9 to 96.7 second collapse. This is of course ridiculous.










Buildings like this are engineered to hold the static weight of the floors above them. This is several orders of magnitude less than the force exerted by the floors falling on them. This is analogous to holding a bowling ball in your hand, versus dropping it on your foot. I guarantee the second example will get your attention more than the first. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a floor would absorb the tremendous force of the floors above it slamming into it, wait a minute, and then collapse under the significantly less static weight which is now being exerted upon it. Rather, it would collapse immediately under the tremendous force of 300,000+ tons of building hitting it, just like a football linebacker stepping on a soda can, and then pass along its additional weight to the floors below it.

Ironically, the easiest way to describe the physical phenomenon, is listed on Ms. Wood's website on this topic, the executive toy known as "Newton's Cradle".











Click here for an example of how it works.

This demonstrates the principle of momentum. If you drop a ball on the left hand side, a ball on the right hand side swings up. With more force (two balls) two balls swing up. Note that this happens instantly, the momentum is passed through immediately to the next object, just as one floor would to another. The balls don't stop and think about it for a minute before swinging up at a slower speed. Of course this is the extreme example, with perfectly elastic balls, but it makes the point. In the collapsing towers each floor would provide some drag, like pushing a heavy cart through mud rather than on a concrete path, but in no way would it stop it. This is why the debris shooting out to the side can be seen falling faster than the towers itself.

On her website Ms. Wood brings up the topic of momentum, and then in an exceptionally convenient, and completely unscientific manner, just assumes it away.

I wish I could just assume away the fact that there was an attack on the World Trade Center in the first place, 3,000 people would still be alive, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

Debunking the Debunkers Who Debunk the Debunkers

Is not all that difficult. On our sidebar, you'll see a link to 9-11 Myths, which is a terrific site dedicated to debunking the Truthers. Mike presents a myth, then proceeds to shatter it, with logic and links to source data.

So obviously what is required from the 9-11 "Truth" movement is for somebody to debunk 9-11 Myths. And indeed, somebody named Chris Morganti has provided that noble service, for which he is often cited by Loosers on their forum.

Unfortunately, even a brief look at Morganti's site reveals it is not up to the task of proving or disproving anything. His "debunking" of 9-11 Myths consists mostly of saying "I don't believe that."

Check out his discussion of "foreknowledge".

On the claim that Ashcroft stopped flying commercial planes after a credible threat (true with regard to official business, although Ashcroft continued to fly commercial when taking private trips), and that this indicated foreknowledge of 9-11, 9-11 Myths provides three links to debunk the foreknowledge nonsense. Morganti's response?

All this proves is that John Ashcroft lied about not being warned to fly. Also, Michael Moore is most definitely NOT part of the 9/11 Truth movement. Michael Moore totally white washed 9/11 in his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

No links, no logical argument, just an assertion.

On the warning that Willie Brown received (true) from Condoleezza Rice (false), Mike provides a logical argument, buttressed by links to two newspaper articles. Chris responds with this:

All this proves is that Mayor Willie Brown didn't take Condoleeza Rice advice. The thing you have to think about is, is it just a coincidence so many public officials decided not to go to New York, or not to fly on the day of September 11th?

I think you get the picture. We don't have to worry too much about the folks debunking the debunkers. They're bunk.

Moron 9-11 Eyewitness

BG pointed this movie out to us a week or so ago, and I reviewed the first 30 minutes last week. I happened to see another brief clip of this movie while browsing around, which is off the scale in nutbar heaven.

Unfortunately that clip does not appear in the second half hour of the movie (he's saving the best for last), so we'll have to discuss that at a later date.

The Good:

I wrote last time that he missed the collapse of WTC 1, the North Tower. That turns out to be wrong; after packing up from the first pier he was on, he moved up to another pier (named after Hoboken's most famous blue-eyed boy--anybody? Bueller?), where he had a good view of the second tower going down.

He (or whoever worked with him) makes some reasonable attempts at being scientific. Recognizing that the sounds he's hearing across the water are happening much earlier than the sights he's recording, he pushes back the sounds from the city to compensate for the delay. This may cause some confusion because of course the people on the pier with him are reacting to what they see, but he appears to have done it correctly regardless, to capture the sounds of the city in real time with the camera.

And the footage of the collapse of the second tower (first shown at 37:57) is tremendous. This is one case where distance actually helps, you really get a feel for what the time is on the event. Of course, what you get a feel for is that it's nothing like 8 seconds, which is what the seismic record indicates. Which again tells me that the numbers people are throwing around on a lot of their calculations are dead wrong. I'm not quite convinced the building is down at 38:11, which is a lot later than the official estimates. You do see bits of the building still falling away as late as 38:31 (apparently part of the core) and this is a big (my guess is 50 stories high) part.

The Bad: The conspiracy part, same as last time. In this 30-minute segment we still don't get the big theory (wait for it in a later post, it's off the Nutbar-o-Meter), but the little stuff grates. The narrator says that lots of people could have been easily saved by police helicopters, the choppers were ordered away. They were ordered away because the smoke and the fire made flying close to the towers dangerous.

The Ugly: When discussing the arrival of the first fighter planes over New York, he expresses disgust rather than relief. "Where were you guys?" he asks. Of course, he's already told us that he took a shower after hearing the first plane hit the WTC; hardly the reaction of somebody who knew we were under attack, which was why he and the military missed the second plane into the WTC.

Food for Squirrels: More explosions seem evident. It's always scary accepting footage from a CT, and sounds are particularly easy to fake. But they should also be reasonably easy to check, since there were a lot of live mikes in downtown Manhattan. I've seen no evidence in the first 60 minutes or so that the guy is lying to us; he's just making wild accusations. In that respect he's far more honest than Dylan and company.

As history this is really quite tremendous footage. I'd give it an A to A plus--this time he's got the subject building squarely in his sights, we see the North Tower fall with no obstruction. It's actually better than many of the closer shots.

The conspiracy theory here is pretty sedated, but the innuendo should be enough to tick off anybody with law enforcement or military background.

Coming Soon: 9-11 Eyewitness: Nuttier than Loose Change?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hi Dylan, This is Your Brain, Do You Miss Me?

One of the most offensive parts of Loose Change is where they mock the victims on Flight 93 making their desperate phone calls to their relatives.

A man claiming to be Mark Bingham called his mother, Alice, who was visiting his sister-in-law. The caller says, "Mom? This is Mark Bingham."

When was the last time you called your mother and used your full name?

" I just want to tell you that I love you. I'm on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys on board and they have taken over the plane and they say they have a bomb. I'm calling you from the Airfone," and then " You believe me, don't you, Mom?"

" Yes Mark, I believe you, who are these guys? "

Then he was interrupted by someone who was speaking in a low-toned male voice, speaking what sounded like English.

After 30 seconds of muffled sounds, the caller repeats " I'm calling you with an Airfone. "

His mother asks him again, " Who are these guys? "

After another pause he returns and asks again, " You believe me, don't you, Mom? "

There was another pause, and the phone just trailed off.

The insinuation of course was that this call was faked. The arrogance involved in this is astounding though. Dylan and company pretend to know whether it was Mark Bingham, better than his mother and two other relatives, who the filmmakers can't even bother to identify correctly.

ALICE HOGLAN, SON MARK DIED ON FLIGHT 93: Yes, he did. The call came in at 6:44 a.m., which would have been 9:44 Eastern time, and we spoke for maybe three or four minutes. He actually talked to three people. He was able to tell Kathy, his aunt, my brother Vaughn's (ph) wife, "I want to tell you guys that I love you in case I don't see you again." And then, Kathy said to him, well, "we love you too, Mark, talk to your mom." And I came on the phone, and Mark -- I heard Mark's voice and he said: "Mom, this is Mark Bingham." And I could tell from that that he was a little agitated. And he said, "I want to let you know that I love you."

They claim that this is because scientists were able to change someone's voice on a tape recorder, but this is not a recorded conversation! This was a live conversation with three different people. How did whoever faked this conversation know enough about the family to fool all these people? How did they even know where to get a hold of his mom, she wasn't at home, she was at his aunt's house? How did they even know which of the women was his mom? Oh yes, applying Occam's razor the obvious answer must be that it was all faked using cutting edge voice morphing and AI technology.

And of course only seconds later it gets even stupider, when Dylan and company explain that making phone calls from an airplane was technologically impossible back in 2001.

But to be honest, none of that matters. Why? Because none of these calls could have taken place.
If so, I want my $11.99 a minute back. And don't even get me started on those ripoff in-flight catalogs...

Update: A reader says that I mischaracterized the voice morphing technology. I am a bit hampered though, by the fact that the film does not describe the technology in detail, but they do make the point that this is not real time interactive technology, so my point still stands. Here is the relevent part from the movie, at the 1:10 mark.

So how is it possible to fake a person's voice? In 1999, the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico revealed their voice morphing technology. General Carl W. Steiner, the former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Special Operations declared on tape, " Gentlemen! We have called you together to inform you that we are going to overthrow the United States government. "

Another example was Colin Powell saying, " I am being treated well by my captors. " With just a 10-minute recording of somebody's voice, they are able, in almost real time, to clone someone's speech.

Steiner was so impressed, he asked for a copy.

Strange Witness

We have discussed numerous times before how Loose Change misuses witnesses. Here is another example, at the 51 minute mark.

Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition, Inc. Told the American Free Press, that in the basements of the World Trade Center, where 47 central support columns connected to the bedrock, hot spots of "literally molten steel" were discovered more than a month after September 11th. These incredibly hot areas were found at the bottoms of the elevator shafts down 7 basement levels. The molten steel was found "three, four, and five weeks later, when the rubble was being removed. " He said that molten steel was also found at World Trade Center 7.

OK, first of all, the fact that this was reported by the American Free Press automatically makes it suspect. But how exactly did he know this, he is the president of the company, not a technician? Well it turns out he probably found out second hand, hardly the most scientific method.

But let's look the big picture. Where else have we heard of Controlled Demolition Incorporated? Oh that is right, only 4 minutes later Loose Change is suggesting that the company is behind blowing up the World Trade Center! Not to mention ruthlessly destroying innocent old storage tanks everywhere.

So essentially we are to believe, that molten metal could only be caused by the use of explosives, and the man who so conveniently told us about it, is the man who supposedly caused it in the first place. Gee, you would think that the head of a demolitions company would recognize the effects of his own demolition, and say... shut up about it! This is as idiotic as the theory that Larry Silverstein casually admitted to ordering the destruction of World Trade Center 7.

Leading Member of 9/11 "Truth" Movement Admits Arab Hijackers Carried Out 9/11

In researching my previous post on the organization "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" I came across this radio interview with group co-founder James Fetzer. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked to hear him basically deny the very theory his organization was based on, that 9/11 was not carried out by Arab hjackers, but by the US government. From the 2:36 mark:

And that we tried to justify it by giving false reasons, such as the existence of weapons of mass destruction, or that there was collusion between their leader, and a fellow known as Osama bin Laden, when in fact they were politically mortal enemies. Or that, his country, Iraq had been in involved in 9/11. Alex it’s hard to believe, but of those 19 hijackers, 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia. Two from the United Arab Emirates, and the number from Iraq was, ze-ro. Ze-ro. Ze-ro.

I thought there were no hijackers. I thought it was a drone and/or a cruise missile. Some are even telling us that Osama bin Laden himself doesn't exist. And now we have one of the leaders of the "truth" movement telling us that it was 19 Arab men who were behind it? I don't know who to believe.

Origin of the Loosers

It's well-established that Dylan was inspired to make Loose Change after meeting with James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano). Here's a pretty good backgrounder on Dylan, Korey & Jason.

"Loose Change" re-examined several questions on the attack. Copies of the film are sold at anti-war protests all over the country, and the film has been screened worldwide-from New York to London. Even the notoriously conservative Fox News has interviewed Avery and aired portions of the film. "We're getting massive e-mails from people in England, Australia, and Canada wanting to show screenings of "Loose Change 2," says Bermas. Avery, Rowe and Bermas formed LTW. Now the three boys have found themselves in the public eye, fielding questions from the media, as well as from viewers. Though the response is welcome, it was, at first, overwhelming. "It's been quite a ride," says Rowe.

Actually I'm pretty sure it was just a local Fox station that interviewed the young lad; they explained how they got that one in the phone conversation with Eric Hufschmid; basically they saw a reporter at an event, talked up their film and got an interview out of it.

There are a couple horselaughs in the column:

Avery began writing about three conspiracy theorists who believed our government planned the September 11th attack. It was a plot, they theorized, to panic Americans into giving up civil liberties to create the illusion of public safety. "It was completely fictional," Avery says. "Back then I didn't have the answers."

Wait a minute guys, I thought you were just asking questions?

And this drew a snort:

How do the boys respond to the film's detractors? "We respond to our critics with respect," says Bermas. Viewer comments are encouraged on their website's forum at: www.loosechange911.com. "See the film and form your own opinion," they ask. "Do your own research. If there's real evidence supporting it, please tell us."

Yeah, and if there's evidence that Loose Change is filled with lies and misleading information, you can drop it in the circular suggestion box.

We do learn that Bermas' family is a lot wiser than he:

In part, thanks to "Loose Change 2," evidence of flaws in the 9/11 Commission's report has reached mainstream news. Yet some Americans continue to scoff. Why? "Some people just can't see it," says Bermas. Bermas tried to show "Loose Change 2" to his family, but "they just left the room. They just couldn't watch it."

Are some critics of the 9/11-movement 'critics by design?' "An FBI operation to disrupt the peace movement began in the 1970s," Bermas says. "They tried to make Martin Luther King and his movement look bad. So yes, there are some people who are actually working within the government and trying to cause trouble," he adds.

That's typical of Bermas, who's one of those libs who can't quite get his history straight. Remember him at Ground Zero trying to remember what the other country Hitler invaded was? And the notion that government agents are trying to sabotage this film is ridiculous, right Donald, errrr, I mean James?

Hat Tip to this guy, whose post on Loose Change features some pretty strong language, but which is worth reading if that doesn't bother you.

Who Are the Scholars for 9/11 Truth?

As Pat and I get further into this subject, we will inevitably get into people not directly involved in the movie, but those that feed the frenzy of conspiratorial theory. One such organization is the "Scholars for 9/11 Truth", who pop up with increasing frequency as some type of "expert" authority for the 9/11 "truth" movement. Sort of a Jedi Council for conspiracy nutbars. So I decided to look into them further, and see just how authoritative they are.

A look at their website reveals they are certainly full of themselves. Boldfaced headlines scream out the word, "experts" at every turn:


EXPERTS CLAIM OFFICIAL 9/11 STORY IS A HOAX

Scholars for 9/11 Truth call for verification and publication by an international consortium.

Duluth, MN (PRWEB)
January 30, 2006 -- A group of distinguished experts and scholars, including Robert M. Bowman, James H. Fetzer, Wayne Madsen, John McMurtry, Morgan Reynolds, and Andreas von Buelow, have concluded that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11.

Their most famous member, and co-founder, is Steven Jones, a physicist at Brigham Young University. He has become famous for publishing a paper on the WTC collapse. Thus far this paper though, has only been reviewed, not in a journal on physics, or structural engineering, but in a Marxist journal of political economy. BYU itself has rejected his work. Dr. Jones primary research has been, not in structural engineering or the reaction of metals to heat, but in cold fusion, which even in the physics community is regarded as bordering on alchemy. Even more bizarrely, his other famous published work was one right out of the World Weekly News, claiming that Jesus visited Central America based on ancient Indian artwork.

So maybe the "scholars" have other "experts" from whom Dr. Jones (Indiana?) is relying on, so I decided to look over their list of "full members" described here as:


Currently, S9/11T has four categories of members: full members (FM), who have or have had academic appointments or the equivalent;

I compiled the list of members and categorized them by specialty, position and institution, which actually was rather difficult. Oddly enough many of the members don't list their qualifications or university, which is quite strange, since every professor I have ever met is more than happy to go on for hours about their academic credentials.

I came up with a list of 76 members, expecting it to be full of Ivy League engineers and distinguished Middle Eastern scholars, experts bent on proving that the US government, and not Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Centers. I was wrong.

Out of the 76 "experts" the most common academic discipline was philosophy, with 9 members, including a co-founder. Since 7 members did not even list an academic discipline, this was 1/7 of their credentialed membership. English/literature and psychology came in next with 5 members each. Even theology and "humanities" came in with 4 and 3 members respectively. Among actual scientific fields, physics was way in front, with 5 members, including the aforementioned Dr. Jones. I am not sure as to their academic credentials though, at least one of the "physicists", Jeffrey Farrer, isn't even a professor, he is a lab manager at BYU. One has to wonder whether Steven Jones' janitor is also listed as an associate member?

So how many engineers do they have? Out of the 76, a grand total of 2. Jean-Pierre Petit, a French aeronautical engineer, who despite the obvious handicap of being French actually seems to have a relevant qualification. Curiously enough though, he doesn't seem to have written a single word on 9/11. He has written though, on a mysterious plot by the US military to bomb Jupiter with anti-matter weapons!

The second engineer is Judy Wood, who has been mentioned in the comments here for her bizarre billiard ball from the top of the World Trade Center theory. OK, Ms. Wood is an actual Mechanical Engineer at Clemson, but thus far her work has been primarily focused on the stresses of dentistry. A fascinating field no doubt, but hardly relevant to planes crashing into buildings.

So how many structural engineers are listed? Absolutely zero. How many experts in Middle Eastern studies, or the Arabic language? Also zero. But they do have a professor of social work!

So I thought, maybe I am being too narrow minded? Maybe these are just America's best and brightest minds, even if they are working out of their fields of specialty. Noam Chomsky at least, regardless of what you think of his kooky politics, is a respected professor of linguistics at MIT. So I looked up this list of the top 20 universities in the world (17 located in the US) from the Economist, expecting to find the schools of our distinguished scholars to be well represented on it.

Wrong. A total of one professor, Kevin Barrett, a Professor of Folk Lore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was represented.

Total number of "scholars" from the Ivy League, zero. Total number of "scholars" from Tunxcis Community College, one.

Three Hour Radio Show on Loose Change & 9-11

Dr Mike Newcomb of the Phoenix Air America station dedicated a full show to the Loosers and Truthers yesterday. Unfortunately, their producer did not return my email requesting to be allowed on the show and I was unable to get through on the listener lines. I did manage to email the host on the cellphones versus Airfones issue, and he read my comments on the air, even mentioning Screw Loose Change.

You can download the MP3s of the show here. Sadly, Dr Mike, who had been a skeptic of Loose Change only a week or two ago, is now at least something of a convert to the "Truth" movement. This highlights the problem with Loose Change; it's slick and entertaining enough that it can convince intelligent people (and although I disagree with Dr Mike's politics, he's a smart guy). Obviously if he were to dig deeper with a skeptic's attitude, he'd pretty quickly realize that it's all a con job. But how many people are going to dedicate the time and effort?

During the second hour, Jason Bermas (one of the producers) appears, I believe about 20 minutes into the segment. My email gets read over the air during the third hour starting at about 27:28. That hour mostly features Stephen Jones, the BYU physicist, who claims that he hasn't seen Loose Change (hence no need to critique it).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Real Conspiracy

Proud Kaffir over at Red State has done some digging and he's found the real culprit behind 9-11:

1. A coalition of leftists/socialist/communist groups (L.S.C.) lead by International A.N.S.W.E.R. Just look at the sites selected for the attacks: Walls Street and the Pentagon, respectively, the center of the exploitive capitalist world and the center of operations for the military that protects these horrible capitalists. To the L.S.C., these places are the center of all evil in the world. Ward Churchill was not the only liberal who thought these people deserved to die, so did the liberal perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

Who was the New Mexico professor who said that anybody who bombed the WTC and the Pentagon got his vote?

He's also amused at how one of our CT commenters (take a bow, NESNYC) believed his Clinton conspiracy theory, which of course was just a gag.

All, I can say, PK, is just bring up the Zionists if you really want to see some interesting comments.

The Dumbest Argument Against the Official Story?

Here's a lamebrained effort by one of the "Scholars for Truth". This article is highlighted on the front page of their website.

The probability of a compound event to have occurred is the product of all sub-events necessary to accomplish the compound event. The underlying assumption is that the probability of each sub-event is independent of the probability of another sub-event. The following sub-events appear independent of each other. All of them have a low to extremly low probability. In order to simplify the demonstration, we arbitrarily assigned a probability of 0.1 (or 10 percent) to each of the following selected propositions which underpin the official account. Skeptics may try other combinations of probabilities, higher or lower, in order to test the methodology.

1. Four young, healthy and educated Muslims who possess large chunks of cash and like to party, can be expected to prepare for many months to sacrifice their lives in a murderous hijacking operation.

2. Four groups of Muslims can be expected to board four different aircraft in the United States on the same day without raising suspicion.

3. Young muslim men, known to have been in Afghanistan, would be expected to receive a visa to the United States in order to learn to fly.


(intervening assumptions taken out to summarize):

21. A high rise steel building can be expected to collapse on its own footprint after a raging fire.

22. Debris from a crashed plane can be expected to be found many miles from the crash site.

The compound probability of the above events is the product of the individual probabilities or 0.1**22 (0.1 in the 22 exponential). The actual figure is so small that it practically nears zero.

If one accepts the above propositions (even by increasing their probability of occurrence to 0,5), it follows that their compound probability is near zero. In fact, it suffices that a subset of the above propositions be shown to have a compound probability of near zero, to invalidate the official account on 9/11.


This is of course an absurd way to look at 9-11, as a simple analogy will prove.

Suppose we have a baseball team. What are the odds that our shortstop will hit .324 and score exactly 127 runs? My guess is that only 1 shortstop in 1,000 has had that exact line.

What are the odds that our second baseman will score 117 runs? Let's peg that one at 1 in 500.

A third baseman that hits .300 with 98 runs batted in? Preposterous, no better than 1 in 800.

That our pitching staff will have one guy who wins 20 games, another with 18 wins, and a third with 16? Probably no better than 1 in 100.

That the team will win 114 games in the regular season? No way, Jose--1 in 1000 at best.

So we add all those odds up and what do we get? There is only 1 chance in 40 trillion that this team could actually exist. And yet it did; it's the 1998 New York Yankees.

This is the problem with his analysis. You cannot start with something that has already happened and assign probabilities to each aspect of the event and think that you've proven that it could not have taken place. What are the chances that Bill and Hillary would meet at Yale? You can start out with the slim odds that either of them would be born (millions of sperm cells racing to fertilize the egg), add in the relative rareness of boys from Arkansas being accepted to do undergrad work at Georgetown and then to move on to Yale Law, the chances that they would meet up that one day in the library, the chances that Hillary wouldn't already have a boyfriend, or that Bill wouldn't have fallen for somebody with bigger hair... you get the point.

Free Fallin' Again

An emailer named Nick McKenzie sent in this analysis. Because Blogger will not take superscripts, I have indicated them with a ^ symbol, so when you see s^2, that means s squared:

I am Canadian so I know the mesurements and my equations in metric, not imperial.

Acceleration due to gravity is 9.8m/s^2.

The WTC stood 415m tall (south tower, the one mentioned in the video) and had 110 floors. Each floor was therby around 3.772m tall. (415/110) Since the aircraft hit around the 80th floor, we will measure the speed from there. the 80th floor was around 301.76m high (3.772 x 80).

So- total displacement= 301.76m
initial velocity=0m/s
time=around 10 seconds. (time suggested in loose change)

d=iniv(t0 +1/2a (t^2)
301.76=0(10)+1/2a(102)
301.76=0 +1/2a(100)
3.0176=1/2a
6.0352=a

Therefore the tower fell with an acceleration of 6.0352m/s^2, around 3.8m/s^2 slower than freefall speed.

Lets find time instead.Given list same as above except lets put 9.8 for acceleration and solve for t.

d=iniv(t) +1/2a(t^2)
301.76=0(t) +1/2(9.8)(t^2)
301.76=4.9(t^2)
61.584=t^2
7.84=t

Therefore, if the WTCs had fallen at freefall speeds they would have fell in 7.84 seconds, almost 2 seconds off from Avery's doctored tape that attempts to prove the towers fell at freefall speeds.


Let me point out here that I am still uncertain how anybody can look at the WTC videos and pinpoint the exact time the towers stopped falling. As we have discussed, the heavy parts the debris field falls faster than the towers themselves. In addition, much of the dust and stuff falls slower than the towers, resulting in the buildings themselves being obscured.

We Must Be Doing Something Right

Looks like we're getting under Dylan's skin.


(Click on picture to enlarge)

If you click on "assinine websites" (sic) you'll come right here to Screw Loose Change.

Dylan says: If you guys really knew what went on behind the scenes 24-7, and if you actually took the time to meet us in person before drawing conclusions about us or our work, then your assinine websites and your "Viewer Guides" would drop off the radar pretty damn quick.

Funny thing, Dylan, but in the adult world your work is supposed to stand on its own.

Note as well that the Loosers have to close their comments because they can't handle the "Truth". We've kept our comments open despite the fact that a lot of our comments are from 9-11 conspiracists linking to the craziest stuff. Go over to the forums he says?



DOH!

I also note that Dylan has yet to acknowledge Bin Laden's statement yesterday. Hiding your head in the sand?

On the Screw Loose Change Nutbar-o-Meter, Dylan rings the bell:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ben Fountain, Meet Scott Forbes

I have already discussed how Loose Change takes a quote from Ben Fountain, who worked in the South Tower, out of context (and outright lied) to make it look like he suggested that conspirators were given the opportunity to place explosives in "both twin towers and World Trade Center 7" due to "a number of unannounced and unusual drills ".

Now even if we ignore the fact that Loose Change's own source points out that extra bomb sniffing dogs were working the towers during this time, and that Ben Fountain was only speaking about the tower he worked in, how could they place the thousands of explosives in the short time of a fire drill? Well the Loosers point to another man, Scott Forbes in order to fill in this hole.

Well, there are several problems with this theory. Scott Forbes also worked in the south tower, which still leaves the other two buildings unexplained, without a single witness to explain how hundreds of technicians could have placed thousands of explosive charges, without any of the security, workers, or bomb sniffing dogs noticing.

Furthermore, in an interview, with Killtown, a pro-conspiracy blog no less, Scott Forbes directly contradicts Ben Fountain's account (emphasis mine).

KT: Besides the "power down" the weekend before 9/11, was there any other unusual activity going on related to the WTC? There was one guy, Ben Fountain, who worked on the 47 floor of the WTC 2 who said there was an unusual amount of evacuation drills. Did you experience any of those?

SF: We had regular fire/evacuation drills, but not an unusual number.

In the usual logical flexibility displayed by conspiracy theorists, they amazingly manage to use two completely contradictory eyewitnesses, to support the same theory!

Even if we accept Scott's word, and not Ben's, all he is saying is that the power was out in part of one tower for about 24 hours. He never claims the building was blocked off from witnesses, and even talks about being there himself for part of the time. So could thousands of explosive charges really have been placed, even in this one tower, in a public building in a 24 hour period, without anyone noticing?

Well here is an example of the work that goes into a controlled demolition, on a building only a fraction of the size of just one of the towers (emphasis mine):

The button to bring down the 30-story office tower at Seventh and Houston streets, one of the tallest buildings ever to be imploded, will be pushed at 8 a.m., said John Angelina president of D.H. Griffin of Texas, a Houston company that has served on the demolition team, which also includes Midwest Wrecking in Fort Worth.


Crews have been working feverishly this week on the final preparations on work that began in November.


"We'll work as hard today as we have in the last four months," Brian Choate, Midwest Wrecking's chief executive, said Thursday.

Bin Laden Admits Responsibility for 9-11 Again

What's more, he denies Moussaoui was in on the plot:

"He had no connection at all with Sept. 11," the speaker, claiming to be bin Laden, said in the tape posted on the Internet.

"I am the one in charge of the 19 brothers and I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them in that mission," he said, referring to the 19 hijackers.

The al-Qaida chief said the Sept. 11 hijackers were divided into two groups, "pilots and assistants."

"Since Zacarias Moussaoui was still learning how to fly, he wasn't No. 20 in the group, as your government has claimed," bin Laden said. "It knows this very well," he added.


Reached for comment, Loose Change director Dylan Avery discounted Bin Laden's claim. "This is just another example of the US government's voice morphing technology in action. They know that the 9-11 Truth movement is gaining traction with the American people as revealed in the latest Zogby Poll."

Just kidding about that last part, but wait for it....

Zogby Poll Distorted

Check out this press release by 9-11Truth.org:

The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans' belief in a 9/11 cover up or the need to investigate possible US government complicity, and was commissioned to inform deliberations at the June 2-4 "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future" conference in Chicago. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been a cover up (with 10% unsure) and 45% think "Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success" (with 8% unsure). The poll of American residents was conducted from Friday, May 12 through Tuesday, May 16, 2006. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.9. All inquiries about questions, responses and demographics should be directed to Zogby International.


But get the slanted way the poll is presented. When 42% believe there has been a coverup, that's big. But when 48% believe there wasn't get how that's described:

"...(only 48% said no)"

Same with the new investigation--"only" 48% said no.

But I poked a little deeper into the poll (Word Document), and found some gems among the dirt:

Both men and women and residents in each of the four regions are more likely to say the U.S. government and 9/11 Commission are not covering up anything. Majorities who agree include Republicans (64%), 50-64 year-olds, married adults, suburbanites (59%), Protestants, those with at least some college education, and people with annual household income of $50,000 or more (57%).

Majorities (50%-56%) of Democrats, 18-29 year-olds, Hispanics, single adults and those who are divorced/widowed/separated, residents of small cities, and adults with less education than a high school diploma believe the government and 9/11 Commission are covering up something. Nearly half of independent voters (48%) agree.


So the more education you have, the less likely you are to believe in the conspiracy theory? Well hush my mouth!

On the new investigation?

Republicans (70%) and people with annual household income of $75,000 or more (64%) are the most likely to say the attacks were thoroughly investigated. Other majorities who agree include up to 58% of whites, 50-64 year-olds, residents of the East and West, college graduates and those with some college education, and people with annual household income of $50,000-$74,999.

Majorities in several sub-groups feel the attacks should be reinvestigated. The most likely are Hispanics (67%) and African Americans (64%). Other majorities include up to 57% of Democrats and independents, 18-49 year-olds, residents of the Central/Great Lakes, high school graduates and those with less education. Between 56%-61% of people with household income less than $25,000 agree.


Now it's tempting to sigh and say, okay, let's have another investigation. But you know what the problem is with that? It's that no investigation will be accepted by the Truthers that doesn't conclude that the WTC was brought down by controlled demolition by Bushitler and his cronies.

Fly Right

One of our readers points us to this excellent article on the left-leaning political site Salon, written by a commercial airline pilot on the bogus 9/11 theories being thrown out there by the uneducated. It is well worth a read.

It's true there's only a vestigial similarity between the cockpit of a light trainer and the flight deck of a Boeing. To put it mildly, the attackers, as private pilots, were completely out of their league. However, they were not setting out to perform single-engine missed approaches or Category 3 instrument landings with a failed hydraulic system. For good measure, at least two of the terrorist pilots had rented simulator time in jet aircraft, but striking the Pentagon, or navigating along the Hudson River to Manhattan on a cloudless morning, with the sole intention of steering head-on into a building, did not require a mastery of airmanship. The perpetrators had purchased manuals and videos describing the flight management systems of the 757/767, and as any desktop simulator enthusiast will tell you, elementary operation of the planes' navigational units and autopilots is chiefly an exercise in data programming.

You can learn it at home. You won't be good, but you'll be good enough. "They'd done their homework and they had what they needed," says a United Airlines pilot (name withheld on request), who has flown every model of Boeing from the 737 up. "Rudimentary knowledge and fearlessness."

"As everyone saw, their flying was sloppy and aggressive," says Michael (last name withheld), a pilot with several thousand hours in 757s and 767s. "Their skills and experience, or lack thereof, just weren't relevant."

The Second Level Conspiracy

If you've seen Loose Change, you are aware of what some people consider the conspiracy of 9-11; the passenger planes were diverted to another location, the WTC was hit by cargo planes, the Pentagon was hit by a missile, the two towers (and WTC 7) were brought down by controlled demolition, and the cellphone calls were faked.

What you may not be aware of is that there is a second level of the conspiracy, even more clever and diabolical than the first. Among the people involved in this second level of the conspiracy are Dylan Avery, Korey Rowe, and Jason Bermas.

Yes, believe it or not, Loose Change is actually part of the conspiracy! By putting out this horrifically flawed movie, and by getting it publicized by various outlets, Avery and company are sabotaging the real 9-11 "Truth" movement.

Here's an image by Eric Hufschmid that explains it all:



Here's a very rational analysis of how this all works. He even cites Screw Loose Change!

True Believers

This isn't a Loose Change specific post, but it is a big controversy in the blogosphere right now, many of our readers are commenting on it, and there are a lot of parallels with the "9/11 truth movement".

Someone named Jesse MacBeth is claiming to be a "Special Forces Ranger" who commited mass atrocities in Iraq, has made a video with an organization called "Peace Films" attesting to this, and is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. I won't go into the reasons why he is fake, if you are interested in that go to the posts by Pat here, and by me here and here.

So I went over to the Peace Films website, where they have a guest book, which until the recent outrage was mostly filled with adulations from the far left anti-war movement. Now it is largely really pissed off veterans and their supporters. There are still some holdouts however, some true believers, who are convinced by the truth behind this fraud. I was struck by the similarities between these people, and the conspiracy theorists we run across while making this blog.

First of all, Pacifica Radio:

I would like to interview Mr. Macbeth for my radio show. It airs on KPFT90.1FM (Pacifica) in Houston on Sunday Nights. I can be reached by phone at (281)***-****. I am eagerly awaiting your call, e-mail, or both.

Obidike Kamau
If you remember, Pacifica Radio is one of the sources Loose Change used regarding rumors of 9/11 warnings. At least the American Free Press isn't involved, yet.

The Illuminati ties, and other strange theories:

I just want to Thank You brother, your are right in what you are doing and Yes Amerika has become just paid to murder,but you are doing the right thing I too am speaking out on the way State Hospitals plan deaths rapes and know about it and do nothing. If you can get me intouch with this man I would be pleased I have some questions. Thank You for speaking out I Knew it all the time since 911.

Wayne (aka) king Opain Morin Jr
From: CA
Website: http://www.illuminati-news.com/lie-detector.htm


It takes courage to speak up, even if you are lying!

Well done. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and speak!! I can say I am a bit dismayed at the vehemence of denial of certain posts. Truth hurts, especially if you are being fed a lot of horse menure through the conventional media channels! We need more real stories from independent sources like these to be told!!!
Fourth, an almost religious fervor. It is everyone else who must be brainwashed!

Can´t believe (well, sadly, actually I can when it comes to 'blind'/brainwashed americans) some of the comments here yelling Jessie ain´t legit. Ehhr? You can´t be 100% sure about many things in life, but what would make anyone not believe him? It ain´t exactly new things he is coming forth with, at least not to us with our eyes open. But it is very good that he does come forward and telling it like it is - people can´t hear it enough. The more people hear it, the more likely it is they´ll wake up to it.
And finally, any lies put forward by the movement, are the fault of those who are opposed to the movement.

Something about this website reeks of a strawman to hurt the credibility of war protestors.


Update: One more connection, I was perusing the site of the "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" a fringe group of mostly philosophy and eastern religion professors making a pretense of serious scholarship, when I noticed the lead item in their news section:

Testimony from a former U.S. Army Ranger

"We Are the Terrorists, folks!"

I guess they aren't that interested in the truth.

They even add this rather ironic commentary:

9/11 Truth is one of the big factors in putting a stop to this. I hope everyone will do something to get this message out to 1 new person - perhaps we could save some lives. This video is about 20 minutes long

Actually Hotair was one of the big factors in putting a stop to this.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lame Attempt at 40 Reasons to Doubt the Official Story

One of the commenters over at Liberal Avenger brought up the 40 reasons outlined at 911Truth.org.

It's an incredibly weak effort; surely they should have picked the 10 best? Some have some arguable validity, here are my potshots at some of the others:

3) Pentagon Strike
How was it possible the Pentagon was hit 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began? Why was there no response from Andrews Air Force Base, just 10 miles away and home to Air National Guard units charged with defending the skies above the nation's capital? How did Hani Hanjour, a man who failed as a Cessna pilot on his first flight in a Boeing, execute a difficult aerobatic maneuver to strike the Pentagon? Why did the attack strike the just-renovated side, which was largely empty and opposite from the high command?


Note that by the third "reason" they're reduced to "asking questions". BTW, Hanjour overshot his first approach at the Pentagon, which was why he had to execute a difficult aerobatic maneuver.

5) Flight 93
Did the Shanksville crash occur at 10:06 (according to a seismic report) or 10:03 (according to the 9/11 Commission)? Does the Commission wish to hide what happened in the last three minutes of the flight, and if so, why? Was Flight 93 shot down, as indicated by the scattering of debris over a trail of several miles?


At 10:03. No, it does not wish to hide what happened in the last three minutes of the flight. No, Flight 93 was not shot down. There would be no need to hide that fact if it were true.

6) Did cell phones work at 30,000 feet in 2001? How many hijackings were attempted? How many flights were diverted?

See? It's just questions which have already been answered. Suppose we ignore the Airfones for a moment (since the CT crowd never acknowledges them). And suppose we accept that AK Dewdney's fine research for Project Achilles is indeed correct on this point, that at 32,000 feet the odds of getting through were less than 1 in 100. How long will it take, say 20 people hitting redial on their phones before a couple get through? A few minutes maximum, I'd say. And that's before we get into the fact that the planes were all at much lower than that altitude for most of the time that they were hijacked. As for the other two questions, there were 22 hijackings attempted that day but 18 were prevented by the timely efforts of the Justice League of America, and there were thousands of flights diverted that day when the national ground stop was ordered.

11) Insider Trading
a. Unknown speculators allegedly used foreknowledge of the Sept. 11th events to profiteer on many markets internationally - including but not limited to "put options" placed to short-sell the two airlines, WTC tenants, and WTC re-insurance companies in Chicago and London.
b. In addition, suspicious monetary transactions worth hundreds of millions were conducted through offices at the Twin Towers during the actual attacks.
c. Initial reports on these trades were suppressed and forgotten, and only years later did the 9/11 Commission and SEC provide a partial, but untenable explanation for only a small number of transactions (covering only the airline put options through the Chicago Board of Exchange).


Can we say something obvious here? If you note in Item c that the airline put options have been explained then why do you include them in your suspicious activities in Item a? And Item b is a nutty thing that comes in for brief attention in Loose Change at about 1:15:00:

Reuters reported that Convar, a German computer company, is responsible for helping companies and accountants of New York to restore their data from over 400 hard drives that were recovered from the World Trade Center's rubble. Convar recovered information from 32 different computers that suggested insider trading took place on 9-11.

This claim makes no sense. First, suppose a bunch of insider trading did go on on 9-11. Would the guys doing it forget that they were in the building that was going to get hit? Second, there would obviously be records of this trading elsewhere, otherwise where's the profit? So the supposed value of destroying the computers is nil. This is the kind of stupid stuff that makes me wonder if any of these guys understands basic financial markets and how they work.

New people are added to the conspiracy at #23 (Eliot Spitzer, New York Attorney General and current gubernatorial candidate). And the media:

28) Media Blackout of Prominent Doubters
The official story has been questioned and many of the above points were raised by members of the US Congress, retired high-ranking officers of the US military, the three leading third-party candidates for President in the 2004 election, a member of the 9/11 Commission who resigned in protest, a former high-ranking adviser to the George W. Bush administration, former ministers to the German, British and Canadian governments, the commander-in-chief of the Russian air force, 100 luminaries who signed the "9/11 Truth Statement," and the presidents of Iran and Venezuela. Not all of these people agree fully with each other, but all would normally be considered newsworthy. Why has the corporate-owned US mass media remained silent about these statements, granting due coverage only to the comments of actor Charlie Sheen?


Yeah, hey media, why don't you mention the Truthers have the president of Iran on their side? Sheesh, we took flack for noting that Dylan Avery had a new fan, but 9-11Truth wears it like a badge of honor.

By the time they get into the 30s the Truthers have abandoned any idea of making sense with their questions:

35) Did 9/11 prevent a stock market crash?
Did anyone benefit from the destruction of the Securities and Exchange Commission offices at WTC 7, and the resultant crippling of hundreds of fraud investigations?


No, 9-11 caused a stock market crash, although of course that took place days later because the market was quickly closed.

37) The "Little Game"
Why was the WTC privatized just before its destruction?


This may be a minor thing but the WTC was not privatized. It was leased on a long term basis to Silverstein. The transaction had been the subject of a protracted open bidding process.

On the Screw Loose Change Nutbar-o-Meter, I give it a: