Friday, June 30, 2006

Wisconsin Teacher Under Fire

For endorsing the crackpot theories of 9-11:

The instructor, Kevin Barrett, is co-founder of an organization called the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance, which claims the Bush administration planned the attacks to create a war between Muslims and Christians. He argues that members of the faiths must work together to overcome the belief that terrorists were to blame.

"The 9/11 lie was designed to sow hatred between the faiths," Barrett has written on the organization's Web site.

"Either we discuss the compelling evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, or there is precious little to talk about."

Barrett, who did not return calls Thursday and an e-mail seeking comment, has taught a class on cultural folklore and is scheduled to teach an introductory class on Islam this fall in Madison. He has said he discusses his views on Sept. 11 in the classroom.

You may be surprised at my take on this. I don't see it as a big deal that the teacher's talking about his nutty ideas on 9-11. I can see the school looking into whether he's teaching the assigned subject adequately, but assuming that's the case it doesn't really bother me. He's teaching college students.

A Looser Lies? Say It Isn't So

In the previous post Korey Rowe was praising the Taliban freedom fighters of Afghanistan. We continue here at the 15 minute mark:

So they decide to tell us to clear the place, make sure the place is cleared. Obviously there is no one here. The buildings that were supposed to be there were rubble, there were like, maybe a quarter of the wall was left. I was told to climb up this hill, and clear this small hole that was in the side of the hill, because there might be someone hiding in there, with an AK-47 or an RPG or something. So I walk all the way up to this hole, I look down, and there is a slim-jim wrapper in the hole. I mean, obviously SF had been there, and they had even stayed in the hole I was clearing the night before.

Hey, is it our fault that SF is always a step ahead of you 101 pukes? De Oppresso Liber.
Anyway, he continues:

CNN, like I said is up the hill, at this point everyone is pissed, we are carrying all this ammo, so we are like, you know, we’re going home, let’s spendex it. So there is a beautiful couple of caves, so we take that 800 pounds of C-4 and we decide to blow up the caves, the whole time CNN is right there with the camera. It’s cool stuff, guys just blowing stuff up, right. So after that is like, guys we you got all that ammo, let’s go out to the field and shoot it. We got on-line, and we’re just blasting away. And then I go home, and I don’t think about it. Everyone goes home, nobody thinks about it. It’s over. As soon as we get back, it’s Iraq, nobody thinks about it.

You don't think about it, huh? That is odd, because you seem to have thought about it enough to have given a newspaper interview about it. And you told a rather different story:

Finally, in May, Rowe and a group of soldiers were sent on a mission to destroy a suspected al-Qaida camp.

"We had satellite surveillance telling us there were terrorist camps," he said. "We trained and practiced and trained and practiced."

The group flew in at night and explored a maze of caves, only to find abandoned ammunition.

"We searched and blew up the caves to make it unusable," he said. "We were lucky there was no one there. We were lucky we didn't get attacked."

He then describes how CNN edited the footage to make it look like a real attack. Could be, wouldn't be the first time CNN made up a story, but given the Loosers loose hold on the truth, I would have to check it out.

Kore Rowe Meet Cindy Sheehan

Korey Rowe is being interviewed by Alex Jones, shown on the Loose Change blog. Now apparently he is getting into Cindy Sheehan territory, at the 12 minute mark:

Pat Tillman was killed by fratricide, but for weeks after the incident the military said he was killed by freedom fighters, by Taliban freedom fighters on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

OK Korey, you can do like John Walker Lindh and go join them, if you honestly believe that freedom is what they are fighting for.

BTW notice they mispell his name at the beginning? Heh.

It Was the Elves That Done It!

I talked previously about Jim Fetzer's inane comments on the radio, but he was actually the host, the guest he was nominally interviewing was fellow "scholar" Judy Wood, famous for her billiard ball theory. I read this comment that Judy made, on the JREF forum, and I thought the poster was just parodying her, but no, she actually said this. From the 27:15 mark, of the first hour:

Judy: Part of my research work has been to look at engineering in nature. How does nature design structures? And perhaps we can copy those designs and use them in engineering designs. And one thing that struck me about the World Trade Centers is that they are very much like trees. Core, outer core, inner core. A tube within a tube design, and that is what allows a tree to wave in the breeze.

Fetzer: Marvelous!

Judy: But also I started thinking about how do trees come down? They don’t start turning into sawdust from the top down.


Judy: With sawdust flying out.

Fetzer: That’s a perfect parallel, because what we actually have with the twin towers is they are blowing up from the top. Each floor is blowing up. So the sawdust, turning a tree into sawdust is perfect! Judy, absolutely a perfect analogy!

Judy: And recently I gave a talk at an engineering conference where I showed some diagrams of the buildings being built and I showed, “If this were a tree and the Keebler elves cut out this big chunk out of the side here, for their little house, where their dwelling is. Would that affect the towers?” And everyone in
the room could see, that no, the way the structure is designed, it can’t bring it down.

Fetzer: And the little house would be analogous to the plane impact?

Judy: Right, you could have several planes, the planes hitting the towers were like a bullet being shot into a tree.

Fetzer: Excellent! Excellent!
I do not know what to say to that. I am literally speechless.

Dylan Ducks Mark Roberts

Over at the Screw Loose Change Myspace page (which has an amazingly active discussion section):

Update: My mistake, that's at Dylan's Myspace page.

LA Story

Here's a post from a Truther that goes through the entire LA confab organized by Alex Jones last weekend. First, get the diligence:

The conference was 12 hours each day, Saturday and Sunday. There was only time for one 15 minute break each day because the amount of information was so vast.

Vast? Or half-vast:

WTC Building 7:

1. Why did Building 7 go down completely on top of itself?
2. Why did it fall so fast?
3. Why was there a call to research only the 8-46 floors? Why aren't they researching all the floors?
4. Why did the owner of Building 7 call for it to be taken down at all? A plane never hit it.

Good summary of the conference from the Truther standpoint. I had to smile at this closing comment, though:

3. I felt completely normal. I was around people who think the same way that I think. It felt so nice.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Another Lie From Fetzer?

Sheesh, no wonder this guy likes Dylan so much; they both lie like Joe Isuzu. Right after the exchange on the Colmes show with the guy whose uncle died in Pennsylvania, Fetzer says this:

I've got another Air Force colonel who's responsible for air crash investigations, told me the crash site looked to him like they brought a bulldozer out, dug a ditch, put some trash in it and blowed (sic) it up.

Hmmm, perhaps he means noted Air Force colonel Wally Miller (actually the coroner for Somerset County, where Flight 93 went down?

Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11. He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says, "like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it."

Certainly sounds like a revision of the same quote.

Jim Fetzer Condemns All Structural Engineers to Hell!

lyI would like to move on to another subject, but this guy is really ticking me off, and every time I listed to something he says I just find one idiotic statement after another. Now Fetzer is getting into one of the key rules of conspiracy theories, if experts disagree with you, there must be some ominous reason. From an interview with fellow "scholar" Judy Wood, at the 40:50 mark of the second hour:

I am disgusted, disgusted with the structural engineers who know the truth about this and are keeping their mouth shut. There’s a special place in HELL, reserved for them. And they are going to deserve it.

Yeah, that is the obvious answer, it is not that you are a blithering idiot who doesn't know what you are talking about, it is that every single structural engineer in the world is a coward. The ironic thing is the "scholars" claim to be a bunch of experts, including some mysterious structural engineers that they cannot produce.

Only 30 seconds later, Fetzer shows why no structural engineer agrees with him:

Steve Jones who has done a tremendous amount of study about the physical possible alternative about the physical explanation of the collapse believes that a very powerful explosion known as thermite was used, and a sulfer enhanced version known as thermate was used, in that in order to bring about the pulverization of the concrete, the office furniture and all that. It may very well have been in a nano-technology enhanced version called super-thermate. That this could account for the phenomena that were observed here and explain all the evidence we have available about the collapse.

Fetzer calls thermite an "very powerful explosion" (I listened to it 5 times to make sure), by which I assume he meant to say "explosive". Either way he is an idiot. Thermite is not an explosive much less a "very powerful" one. It is a mixture of aluminum and iron oxide that when ignited produces tremendous heat, it does not explode. It is not used an an explosive, but an incindiary for welding or military grenades. The stupid thing about him saying this, is if he would have paid attention to "Scholar" co-founder Jones, Jones explains this at length. And he wonders why no structural engineer takes him seriously!

He then continues with lies about how they could have got this into the WTC, which we have covered here before from Loose Change:

And that during the two weeks, before or prior to 9/11 there were abnormal security lapses in the twin towers. Major sections of the buildings were closed down. The employees were sent home. The security apparatus was shut off. And teams, being described as engineers, were sent in an out of the buildings to have free access to all parts of the building ostensibly to do recabling in the building but it had never happened before. And Steve estimates that as few as 10 men, uhh 40 men, making 4 trips apiece could have planted enough thermate to bring about the explosions that we observed in all of those effects.

This is a mixture of two conflicting stories. One from Ben Fountain, who said there were unusual emergency evacuations, and Scott Forbes who said part of the weekend before 9/11 the power for part of one of the towers was shut down for work (but there were no unusual evacuations). Nobody was sent home, Forbes actually talks about being there while some of the work was going on, and the security was not shut down. Of course with Fetzer this magically morphs into engineers had free access to the "buildings"

You Need a Credit Card to Do That!

As Pat pointed out, there is an abundance of material from the Alan Colmes' interview of Jim Fetzer, however, the rumors that we are starting up a sister site “Screw Jim Fetzer” are just premature speculation. Not that this would be a bad idea, but I don’t think the pun would work…

Regardless here is another example of the inanity, and utter disregard for truth in the 9/11 “truth” movement. They are insulting, arrogant, and even lie about their own assertions. From the 16:20 mark of the interview:

Alan: Joe in Seattle, hello.

Joe: Hi Alan, very good point by the way, I got two things I want to say. Number 1, you are now talking to someone that is directly involved in this big conspiracy. My uncle died in Pennsylvania, so I guess this guy figures my uncle is part of the conspiracy, my aunt…

Fetzer: (yelling) What do you know about what happened in Pennsylvania?! I am sorry your uncle is dead, but what do you know about what happened?

Joe: You’re not sorry. You’re an idiot. You’ve got no idea what is going on, you are making things up. You’re hypothesizing and it’s really great.

Fetzer: This is quite ridiculous. I’ll be glad to talk about Pennsylvania. I had residents call me, and tell me that they explained to the FBI that they heard explosions in the air before anything hit the ground and the FBI would not write it down. I have had other citizens there write me letters and tell me they were taking by officials to a search area far larger than the officially designated area and the sheriff told them that if they mentioned it to anyone the sheriff would deny it. I…

Joe: I could give you a list of all the names
(unintelligible interspersed talking)

OK, well all we have established here is that Fetzer is a jerk, who bases his theories on anonymous sources. But we already knew that, let's continue:

Alan: Alright, alright, Joe you’re claiming your uncle was on the plane and your uncle died on flight 93?

Joe: My uncle was on the plane, and was talking to my aunt during the hijacking.

Fetzer: Oh really!

Joe: I guess my uncle is a liar.

Fetzer: On a cell phone? That’s incredible because you can’t make those cell phones! We have a professor of computer science flying all over the country with different cell phones. He tries...

Joe: Oh God!

Fetzer: At altitudes above 2000 feet, at speeds above 230 it is almost impossible. It is almost impossible to make the connections. The relays…

The professor that Fetzer is talking about, A. K. Dewdney, did a study, which he elaborately called "Project Achilles" But it was not based upon "flying all over the country with different cellphones" It involved two Motorola cell phones flying around in a Cessna over London Ontario. Even then it was not "almost impossible" to make a call above 2000 feet, he noted a 75% success rate at 2000 feet. Maybe there is some other study he is talking about, if so it would be nice if he could share it with the rest of us.

But let's continue, here Joe from Seattle gets the Screw Loose Change award for "comeback of the day":

Joe: Yo Einstein! Have you ever been on a plane, there is a phone on the back of every seat there?

Fetzer: You think those hijackers were just going to let passengers make cell phones, or those.... those.... plane phones? You need a credit card (voice cracking) to do that! It is kind of (unintelligible)

Joe: (laughter)

I think that bit speaks for itself.

Now as we continue, we find out that Fetzer considers himself a combination between Socrates and Steven Seagal:

Fetzer: One thing I thought about these hijackers that is kind of bizarre. If I had encountered a bunch of hijackers with boxcutters, I would have taken my luggage and beat ‘em to death.

Joe: Well I guess Alan, I guess my aunt’s a lying... well you know.

Alan: Are you suggesting his uncle is probably alive somewhere?

Fetzer: No, I am not suggesting he is alive. I am saying he has no idea how exactly how he died. And look I had a friend…

Joe: I think he died in a plane crash!

Fetzer then goes off about a friend who investigates air crashes. There is no doubt the 9/11 "truth" movement is the best evidence against itself.

Fetzer Bites on Barbara Olson Story

As noted below, Fetzer was definitely trying to avoid the topic of the passengers and what happened to them; so desperately that when the topic of Fox News Commentator Barbara Olsen came up, he jumped on it (about 10:30):

Colmes: Wasn’t Barbara Olson on one of the planes? The one that hit at—

Fetzer: Great, let’s talk about Barbara Olson, we have discovered that those cellphone calls would have been physically impossible at speeds—at altitudes above 2000 feet and speeds above 230. AK Dewadney (sic), who’s a professor of computer science from Western Ontario has discovered that it becomes less and less possible to make those connections at the altitudes and speeds of these planes they would not have been possible. Now, Barbara Olson, according to her husband, called him, but he has given three different versions of her call, and get this, Alan, her name is not listed on the Social Security death index. If she’s dead her name ought to be listed there. It’s not.

Colmes: Are you suggesting Barbara Olson’s not dead?

Fetzer: There have been reports, that I haven’t been able to verify, that she was arrested in Europe, her husband is now retired and he has moved to Europe. You figure it out.

Colmes: Ted Olson’s living in Europe?

Fetzer: That’s what I understand. And Ted Olson’s an interesting guy, you know, even though he was the Solicitor General, he observed that—this is probably his most famous quote—that he could imagine infinitely many reasons why the American government might lie to the American people. That’s a lot of reasons, Alan.

Colmes: So you’re suggesting that Ted Olson and his wife are together, living in Europe?

Fetzer: That would be my best guess, Alan. I can’t claim to know that, but it makes sense with what we do know.

This is sheer, unadulterated nuttiness. First, on the Social Security Death Index, there are several reasons why somebody might not appear:

* The death was not reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
* The death occurred before the Death Master File was maintained in a computer database. About 98 percent of the deaths in this database occurred between 1962 and the present.
* The person did not participate in the Social Security program.
* Survivor death benefits were (are) being paid to dependents or spouse.
* A recent death may not be indexed yet.
* Human error. (Before you give up, read the section titled "Missing Entries in the SSDI.")

Did Olson have any minor children? They might be receiving survivor benefits. And anyway, why do CTers latch onto lists like this? If you'll notice, this is similar to the claims that the planes couldn't have been destroyed, because their tail numbers were still on an NTSB list. Do they really believe that the conspirators would put together this vast plot, but forget to retire the tail numbers, or add somebody to the Social Security Death Index? The answer, as best I can tell, is that it buys them another moment or two of having somebody listen to their stupidity.

As for Barbara Olson's arrest in Europe, here's the "report" that Fetzer is referring to. The "story" was broken by Tom Flocco, who's one of the nuttiest of the nutbars. His original version of the story had Olson being arrested at the Austrian-Polish border; that was changed to the German-Polish border when it was pointed out that Austria and Poland aren't contiguous.

Flocco is a fruitcake who has broken other "scoops" before, like:

Bush, Cheney and Blair indicted!

Katherine Harris dead!

Update: Commenter Manny was kind enough to point us to this article on Ted Olson from Mid-May:

A former U.S. solicitor general will help Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel appeal his murder conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying Monday the case will focus on when the charges were filed.

Theodore B. Olson has argued 43 cases before the nation's highest court, including representing George W. Bush in the disputed presidential race of 2000.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ducking the Question of the Passengers

Notice the artful dodging by Fetzer in this segment of the Colmes show. It's clear that Fetzer wants to talk about anything but the passengers and so he continually tries to steer the argument towards other topics (begins at about 8:55):

Colmes: But we know there were actual passengers on those planes who died.

Fetzer: Alan, what do you know about it? You weren’t there, you have no idea about those planes.

Colmes: Are you saying there were not passengers on those planes?

Fetzer: None of those hijackers were named on any passenger manifest. None of them was the subject of any autopsy. Five, six or seven have turned up alive and well, living in the Middle East.

Colmes: Now you’re talking about the hijackers, but the passengers there were actual passengers on those planes, right?

Fetzer: Well, there were passengers somewhere, but whether there were actual passengers on the planes as they were impacting the building is an interesting question. Everything was pulverized, Alan. All the concrete on the office floors was pulverized, all the office furniture was pulverized,

Colmes: No, but there were passenger records of people on those flights.

Fetzer: And they don’t include any hijackers, Alan.

Colmes: But they were real airplanes with real passengers on them.

Fetzer: Yeah there were real airplanes, but let me tell you something, if you look at the NTSB’s raw data, for these aircraft, which I observed on a spreadsheet this weekend, Dylan Avery who made Loose Change showed me a spreadsheet. You go for those four planes and you cross on the data and it’s all blank—it’s all blank Alan. Now, the NTSB had a formal obligation to investigate those crashes and it hasn’t done so. Why do you think it hasn’t done so, Alan?

Colmes: I don’t know the answer to that question, but what I’m trying to—my job is to give the questions, you’re going to answer them—but my point is that there were civilians, Americans who were on those flights, right?

Fetzer: Well, there were some, but the whole business about how many were paid and that whole sort of thing or compensation—

Colmes: What do you mean, paid?

Fetzer: Alan it’s very spotty.

Later, they get back into it:

Colmes: Are you saying that the other people on all the other planes—

Fetzer: No, no, I’m not saying that. Obviously there were bodies around; there don’t seem to be enough bodies to make up what was a full complement. You know, each of those planes, Alan, was curiously about one quarter full—you actually could have put all those people together on any one of those airliners.

I suspect that last claim is untrue as well.

Now, is that nutty or what? There were bodies around but not enough of them, so maybe they put all of the passengers on one of the planes? Wouldn't there then be even fewer bodies?

As for his claim that "none of those hijackers were named on any passenger manifest", one of the JREFers pointed us to this.

Listening to Fetzer, I get the feeling that I'm tuning in the Phil Hendrie show. Hendrie's schtick is that he disguises his voice and pretends to be someone with a wacky opinion on something. He then interviews himself, switching voices back and forth. It's mildly entertaining for about 10 minutes, but of course it's so over the top that you have to marvel when some of the callers to the show don't seem to understand that it's all a gag.

Moron Jim Fetzer

I'm working on doing a partial transcript of the Alan Colmes show last night with Jim Fetzer of the "Scholars" for 9-11 Truth. It appears to be a gold mine of CT nuttery. Here's a nice, obvious lie from Fetzer:

(3:25) Fetzer: We have found that the twin towers cannot have been brought down even by the combined impact of the aircraft and those fires. Those fires were really quite modest; turns out the steel that was used to construct those buildings was certified by Underwriters’ Laboratory up to 2000 degrees for six hours, the fires that were going on there were oxygen deprived as indicated by the billowing black clouds, Underwriters’ Laboratory estimated they averaged only about 500 degrees a temperature far too low to cause the steel to even weaken---(interrupted by Colmes)

Of course, Underwriters Laboratories did not certify any such thing.

But his allegations drew a sharp rebuke from UL, which said Ryan wrote the letter "without UL's knowledge or authorization." The company told The Tribune "there is no evidence" that any firm tested the materials used to build the towers.

"UL does not certify structural steel, such as the beams, columns and trusses used in World Trade Center," said Paul M. Baker, the company's spokesman.

Ryan was fired, Baker said, because he "expressed his own opinions as though they were institutional opinions and beliefs of UL."

"The contents of the argument itself are spurious at best, and frankly, they're just wrong," Baker said.

Scholars in the Crosshairs

I've listened to most of the Colmes/Fetzer show now, and I'm angry. Fetzer is a complete jerk. Loose Change is quiet right now, so I'm going to spend some time taking a closer look at the Scholars for 9-11 Truth. Anybody who can help out in any way would find their efforts greatly appreciated. Especially helpful would be transcriptions of Fetzer's appearances on radio shows; the nuttier the better. I am working on his appearance on Colmes yesterday; that's turning out to be a gold mine of disinformation.

Part of the reason the "Scholars" have been getting a reasonably free ride in the press is because of the innate credentialism of journalists. I'll admit, I thought they were mostly concentrating on the CD claims about 9-11, but Fetzer's a full-bore nut who even believes that Barbara Olson is alive.

They Are Losing It

If you need any convincing of the mental instability of the conspiracy theory crowd, give a listen to this interview with Jim Fetzer by Alan Colmes, the liberal half of Hannity and Colmes. Fetzer comes on and tries to pump up his academic credentials, heck I was ready to sign up for a class, but quickly degrades into lunacy. Even one of the CTers here admitted he acted like a jerk. It is obvious Fetzer is a huge Loose Change fan, he discusses many of the movie's theories and even talks admirably about Dylan giving him a spreadsheet of "evidence". This kind of puts a damper into the theory that the "scholars" are supposed to be the more conservative academic wing of the party. Warning: this will most likely get you upset, especially when Fetzer starts screaming at the caller from Seattle whose uncle died on flight 93. If you can hold on that long, the caller has a great response though.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Must Watch Video

Pat and I noticed this first draft of a video named "The Usual Suspects" by a man named Karim, on a post at the JREF forum:

Unlike a certain popular Google video, which will remain nameless, it does not consist of screenshots of blogs and wikipedia references, it is nothing but clips of Al Qaeda videos, along with the translations. Included are several clips of bin Laden and al Zawahiri, including the famous confession video, as well as videos by several of the hijackers, recording their reasons for carrying out the attacks. It is quite eerie, but well worth a watch.

Click here for the video.

Origins of the Conspiracy Theories

I thought I'd do a little poking around in the Usenet Newsgroup alt.conspiracy during 2001 to see how much of the current conspiracy theory nonsense was being proposed and embraced during the first week after the attack.

For those not familiar with Usenet, it's a completely separate segment of the internet, devoted to groups with common interests. There are Usenet newsgroups for politics, comic books, football teams, weightlifters, crossdressers, you name it, if more than ten people in the world are into it the odds are strong there's a Usenet newsgroup for it. It's somewhat similar to today's web-based forums, and the latter have even adopted some of Usenet terms, like threads and posts.

Alt.conspiracy, as you might expect, is the home of the folks who listen to Art Bell and Alex Jones and Jeff Rense. It was a vibrant group back in 2001; there were 4,120 posts (counting replies) to the group in the eight days from 9/11 to 9/18/01.

It didn't take long for Operation Northwoods to come up; this is the earliest mention I could find, from the Monday after the attacks:

The following excerpt from James Bamford's "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency" (Doubleday, 2001) provides very disturbing information that is directly relevant to the events of September 11, 2001.

Interestingly, "controlled demolition" came up blank. However one guy did mention CDI.

Nor does drones (there are a couple of hits but not talking about drones into the WTC) or PNAC. Amazingly, there were no sightings of the neocons. However, their religion did not escape notice; Jews came up 78 times. Though looking through it, most of the posts are about how we shouldn't have supported Israel, that's why we got attacked. The Mossad came up 34 times, and several of the posts directly imply they staged 9-11:

My vote is Israel. Mossad, or whatever their deep cover is.

LIHOP and MIHOP hadn't evolved yet as shorthand for the two flavors of conspiracy theory, but I did find some very relevant posts with the term "let it happen". This appears to be the earliest one:

I have been thinking about this a little lately and was wondering what anyone else thought of maybe the US intelligence community allowing these hijackers to commit this heinous deed in order for us to engage these people with the huge backing of the US populous ala Pearl Harbor (the US govt. knew they were coming but allowed it to happen so that we would have to be engaged in WW2)

Cellphones? A.K. Dewdney was not around to run Project Achilles to tell folks that cellphones didn't work back then. There were two mentions of cellphones in the week after 9-11, both of which accepted the general principle that cellphones would work.

So interestingly, one of the later pieces to make it into Loose Change, the whole bit about Operation Northwoods was arguably being discussed earlier than the rest of the conspiracy theory.

Salon On Loose Change

As we have mentioned before, 9/11 crosses political boundaries. Now Salon, hardly a conservative site, comes out with a good debunking of Loose Change, or in CT parlance a "hit piece":

I've heard some of Avery's fans describe his movie as "the red pill," the drug that takes Keanu Reeves down "The Matrix's" rabbit hole. During the past month, I've swallowed the pill about a half-dozen times, following Avery and other 9/11 skeptics down a treacherous path toward the alleged truth. I'm sorry to say I didn't find it; much of Avery's film has been debunked even by fellow 9/11 skeptics, and some of its theories verge on the bizarre. If you care to look, you won't find a shred of proof that Flight 93 landed in Cleveland, or that the World Trade Center was stuffed with gold bars, or that the Pentagon was hit by anything other than a commercial jet.

But that's not the whole story. "Loose Change" may traffic in fiction, but it sinks its hooks in. If you're unfamiliar with the official story -- if you haven't, say, perused the hundreds of pages of documentation supporting the 9/11 Commission's conclusions -- you may well find the movie's false reality strangely seductive. And going online to debunk "Loose Change" doesn't necessarily boost your faith in the 9/11 Commission's story; following the path that Google presents in response to queries like "pentagon plane crash" or "world trade center collapse" could make matters worse. While discovering flaws in the movie's claims, you'll find yourself bumping up against entirely different 9/11 theories, some of which propose a theory of the case that's far stranger than you'd ever imagined. Once you jump down the rabbit hole, you find it goes only deeper.

Loosers Make Salon

Farhad Manjoo does a pretty good takedown of the Loosers.

Quizzing Dylan Avery on the events of 9/11 is like taking a peek into an alternate history, a parallel universe of half-truths and audacious propositions that rarely ever disturb the peace of the reality-based world. In another time, that long-ago pre-digital age, you might have dismissed such theories as the rantings of a crank; what a young man like Avery believes about a world-shattering event like 9/11 would seem to be of little consequence to the larger narratives that have grown out of the misery of that day.

But these are days of amateur experts and self-made provocateurs, an era in which a young man with a laptop and a few far-out ideas can easily garner a huge audience in the self-referential online watering holes that dominate modern rhetoric. In the spring of 2005, Avery released "Loose Change," a feature-length documentary film that proposes that the terrorist attacks on America weren't terrorist attacks at all, and were instead conceived, planned and executed by people at the highest levels of the government. Though it has not been distributed in theaters, Avery's film -- sold on DVD and available for free online -- has emerged as the leading gateway drug for thousands, and possibly millions, of converts to the "9/11 truth movement," the loose affiliation of skeptics who doubt the official story. The film has transformed Avery into one of world's most influential proselytizers of the theory that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job."

I love the characterization of LC as a gateway drug. As you can tell, Manjoo mostly finds the CTers amusing and nutty, but he does seem to buy into the WTC7 story here:

Then I watched what are perhaps the most compelling images supporting the notion of a forced demolition -- the many videos showing the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11. The collapse, which FEMA also pinned on the fires started in the neighboring twin towers, is extraordinary; the building simply disappears into itself, disintegrating like it had been planned for weeks. In one shot from CBS News, Dan Rather, narrating the scene, says the sight is "reminiscent of those pictures we've all seen when a building was deliberately destroyed by world-class dynamite to knock it down." His immediate reaction seems just right -- the building falls so gracefully, so cleanly, it's mystifying.

Of course, controlled demolition of WTC7 doesn't make any sense on its own, which I believe is why the Truthers push it; it's the gateway drug again.

Hat Tip: SLC reader Rick.

The Screw Loose Change Myspace Page

A friend of the blog started up a Myspace Page. As I've mentioned in the past, Myspace seems to be the place where all the blogs commenting favorably about Loose Change, so it's excellent to have representation over there. Lots of good content, and it's adding friends quite rapidly. Excellent job!

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Little Boasting About the Blog

In less than two months, we've had over 66,000 visitors. Incredibly our average visitor length is 8 minutes, which may be because our average pages view per visit is 3.5. To give you something to compare that to, Instapundit's (a terrific blogger who could only improve if he linked to us more often) average visitor length is 9 seconds. Power Line, which cannot improve by linking us? Uh, they get folks for 2 seconds. I'm not kidding.

Let's do a little fun math. Power Line supposedly gets 66,000 visitors a day. For 2 seconds apiece = 2,200 minutes. Screw Loose Change gets 816 visitors a day. For 8 minutes apiece = 6,508 minutes.


Where's the Leak?

I was reading about the recent NY/LA Times stories on the monitoring of suspect international banking transactions, and it got me wondering. It appears the CIA can't order out for pizza without it leaking to the Washington Post first, where are all the leaks regarding 9/11? Just look at all the leaks that have happened, the CIA rendition program, NSA tapping of calls to foreign phones, the NSA data mining, the Valerie Plame Kerfuffle, which incredibly involved not just leaks, but leaks about leaks. Despite all this though, not a single word on the 9/11 conspiracy, despite the fact that hundreds, if not thousands of people from multiple organizations must have been involved in the murder of thousands of their fellow citizens. Yet not a peep, not even some chemist from the CIA e-mailing Steven Jones his favorite thermite recipe. Makes you wonder...

In Praise of the Daily Kos

This little post may get me drummed out of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, but I am going to praise the Daily Kos and its proprietor, Markos Moulitsas. I was not aware of this previously, but apparently Kos has a standing rule against posting the 9-11 "Truth" stuff.

Diaries on certain topics are likely to generate angry responses. Most of these topics fall under the general heading of "conspiracy theories", i.e. "JFK was killed by Martians". The rule for posting such diaries is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". The more extreme the claim, the higher the burden of proof that commenters will demand. If you can't provide evidence to back up your claim, it is best not to post the diary. This guideline also applies to recommending extraordinary-claims diaries. If a diary makes an extreme claim with little or no evidence to back up that claim, it shouldn't be recommended, no matter what that claim is.

Controversial 9/11 Diaries

DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

1. refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks

2. refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse

Authoring or recommending these diaries may result in banning from Daily Kos.

It is relevant to note that this procedure was instituted over at Kos on July 8, 2005, the day after the London subway bombings.

General nutter Mike Malloy of Air America apparently just found out about this, and went off onto one of his typical rants. The segment on Kos and 9-11 Truthers begins about 9:22. Here's a transcript of Malloy's tirade.

When I listen to people who question the official story of what happened on 9/11… it stimulates me to question it myself. Now, as in any of these instances, there may be certain people involved in the 9/11 Truth community who I might consider or you might consider to be really out there in tin-foil hat land. And that may be because of our perspectives.

On the other hand, there are people who challenge the official story of September 11th who are as solid, and sensible, and logical as you are, and as I am.

So, this is a story, (the attack on this country September the 11th, 2001), that became the basis for US foreign policy… according to Bush and these murderous bastards who now run this country.


Here's an interview with an NYPD helicopter pilot who saw the second plane make its attack run:

Here's the Woo-Woo Credo:

7. Memorize all the sci-babble terms used in the Star Trek series. They are very useful if you get cornered by a skeptic, and you need to come up with some sort of "scientific" explanation. e.g., Inertial Dampeners.

Yes, how did they manage to get the fake plane into the videos of dozens of amateur videographers? Quite simple, really; they just reversed the polarity.

Do You Have Conspiracy Stress Disorder?

There are many symptoms:


I only go on a rant with my GF who glazes over after I get realy nuts.

But usualy its depresses me so much to talk about to other people I just cant bare to tell some people becuase I cant stand seeing that look in their eyes of apathy.

Sadness, Anger and Crying:

I am usually just really sad when I talk about what is going on, I am fairly calm for the most part when I explain what is going on. I get angry, but dont lose it too often.

Sometimes I just sit and cry over what is happening, I sometimes cannot believe what I am seeing, hearing and feeling.

Others experience insomnia:

TRUST ME!!! I feel for him, I'm the same damn way... sleepwise that is. I haven't slept more than 3 hours a night on weeknights in years, and once in a blue moon, on a weekend I'll get a good one in though. Doesn't suck as bad as one would think though, actually it's the norm for me now, so no biggie.

Left untreated, some CSD sufferers may even become suicidal:

I too, like you people, live this every day and it really can get you down. Occasionally I feel like quitting and wanting to be dead.

You know who these folks remind me of? This guy:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top 37 Lies... Err 41 Lies...

I have updated the 4 part list of Lies and Distortions that you can find at the top of the page. I added some sources and added 4 lies. There are more, but no use piling on. I would like to take this opportunity to address some points that I have seen people raise regarding this list.

First of all, some question the fact that the links given, reference this blog or other debunking sites. Yes, they do, since it is pointless to reinvent the wheel and restate all the complicated sourcing and arguments needed on some of these complex issues. Every one of these links is sourced at some point (you might have to click once or twice) to as reliable sources as can be found. No neo-nazi newspapers or crackpot fake industrialists allowed. I would like to point out, that despite repeated invitations, no CT here has ever pointed out a single case of us using fake sources or distortions to make our points. They just don't happen to agree with our conclusions.

Secondly, one thing people have asked is regarding the order of this list. It is ordered chronological to the movie, although new additions will not be, since I don't feel like reordering all 4 posts. One thing I have noticed, not only with this, but with the "viewer's guide" and the Screw Loose Change movie, is that CTs go through the first ten minutes, and declare that the "debunking" does not address any crucial points of the film, then give up, feeling assured in their knowledge of the truth of Loose Change.

Well, the first 10 minutes or so of the film don't address any crucial points of the film either. It is mostly just a bunch of irrelevent and loosely connected background, along with some weird music and Hunter Thompson quotes. So it is a little ridiculous to expect us to be any more topical than the material we are dealing with at that point. I guess this is what you get in dealing with people with ADD. You wasted an hour and 21 minutes of your life watching this movie. You might as well spend another hour finding out how fraudulent it is.

Reuters Reports on Truthers' Confab

Not much info here:

Los Angeles: They wore T-shirts asking "What Really Happened?," snapped up DVDs titled "9/11; The Great Illusion," and cheered as physicists, philosophers and terrorism experts decried the official version of the September 11 attacks that shook America to its core.

Some 1,200 people gathered at a Los Angeles hotel on the weekend for what organisers billed as the largest conference on the plethora of conspiracy theories that see the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York as, at best, official negligence, and at worst an orchestrated US attempt to incite world war.

"There are so many prominent people who are incredibly well-respected who have stated that the evidence is overwhelming that 9/11 was an inside job," syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones told a news conference.

"There are hundreds of smoking guns that people need to be made aware of," said Jones, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

That's the entire article.

Tail Numbers and Occam's Razor

I must apologize, just a few posts back I warned everyone never to underestimate the stupidity of conspiracy theorists, and now I have done just that. A couple of months ago, when I read the "Viewer's Guide" I noticed a claim regarding the tail number of United 93, but decided it was too silly a point to merit an entire post on it. I was wrong, apparently the CTs consider it not only a valid point, but serious enough to challenge me for avoiding addressing it:

The flight path and other planes in the area opens the door to plane switching (like the plan outlined in the northwood documents), the tail number being seen later, and no recording of the flights.

hey james. do a entry about the tail numbers. I dare ya.

OK, so here goes, but first, an aside to set the stage. There is a principle known as Occam's Razor (or alternatively and more correctly, Ockham's Razor), which states that generally, the theory which requires the fewest number of assumptions is the correct one. For example:

The other day I woke up, went out front to get my copy of the Wall Street Journal and noticed a puddle on the ground.

How did that get there? Well here are two entirely possible theories:

Korey Rowe, in a fit of rage over Screw Loose Change chartered a C-130 with the proceeds from their movie, and using a new high tech glider developed for the Special Forces, performed a HALO jump to my front porch, where he dumped a bucket of water on my front steps, all to get my slippers wet when I retrieved my morning newspaper.

Or alternatively: Given I live in Seattle... it rained.

Now keeping that in mind, let's look at the claims of Loose Change, at the 1:05 mark:

It's an interesting postscript that Flight 93 was spotted on April 10th, 2003 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, by David Friedman, a United Airlines employee who records all of his flights. The tail number, N591UA was spotted on Flight 1111, a United Airlines 757.

David Friedman apparently posted this on his family blog, which is no longer up, but I will assume that their reports of him writing this are at least true. But why do we have to take Mr. Friedman's word for it? The FAA's Bureau of Transportation Statistics keeps a publicly searchable record of all flights for purposes of recording flight delays. So what happens when we look up United Flight 1111, leaving out of Chicago O'Hare on April 10th, 2003? (click to make it bigger)

The tail number is N594UA, not N591UA. Just a bit of scribbly handwriting away.

So going back to my previous example, which of the following two theories involves the fewest assumptions:

A. The conspirators hid the plane for nearly two years, without changing the tail number, then took it out of hiding for one flight, allowed an employee too see it, and then hid it from the world forever, first having gone back to forge the FAA records to cover it up, conveniently having a tail number available which was only one off.

Or alternatively:

B: Some guy accidently wrote a 1 instead of a 4.

Which is it dear readers, A or B?

Loose Change Laugher O' the Day

From a forum post on the "Scholars" Symposium (emphasis mine):

Charlie Sheen was an awesome speaker, I have to admit I was skeptical of him, but it was only because of how the media portrayed him of course. I am annoyed at myself for falling for that in light of how much I know the media sucks, lies and ommits stuff. He was amazing and I can definitely see how much he knows and how serious he is. The fact that he even put his career and credibility on the line is just inspiring in itself. He just seems solid.

Gee, I would hate to see anything happen to Charlie Sheen's credibility.

Inside the Conspiracy HQ

(Click on picture to expand to readable size).

Hat Tip: SondraK via JREF forums. Cartoon by Filibuster Cartoons.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

More On Those Shoulder Launched Cruise Missiles

Earlier, both Pat and I, posted on the rather bizarre segment where Loose Change talks about a cruise missile attack on the Pentagon (when they are not talking about an A3 Skywarrior attack) while at the same time showing a test firing of a shoulder launched anti-tank weapon.

The Loosers here indignantly complained that we were just nitpicking, and they never actually said a shoulder launched missile was used, but rather that was just the video they happened to have for this segment.

Well, the Loose Change boys, who thankfully show no end to their stupidity, thus providing us plenty of material to write about, have in fact provided us proof that they had actually considered the possibility of a shoulder launched missile being used in the attack on the Pentagon, while being interviewed on the Fred McChesney Show on Air America (H/T Loose Change Creators Speak):

Tim in Tempe: The presumption is that possibly a missile hit the Pentagon. It would have had to come from either a ship or a plane, correct?

Rowe: Or ground. Actually, it could have been a Javelin round, which is a two-man team can carry a Javelin round. It costs upwards to around $750,000 for the equipment for one round to actually have the piece that locks whatever you are shooting from. I mean, you could shoot it…

Caller: And it could cause the damage that was shown…

Rowe: I mean, if the missile inside and it can be modified .Yes, it could do that, but it would have to be significantly modified. But I mean, I would lean closer to a missile being shot by an airplane.

Yeah, OK. Obviously Specialist Rowe didn't learn anything when he was assaulting with the first wave into Afghanistan. A Javelin, which looks even less like a Boeing 767 than a cruise missile does, has a shaped charge warhead of all of 8.5KG, and would not punch a 90 foot wide hole in the side of the Pentagon, and continue through 3 rings of the Pentagon while dispersing airplane parts, much less cause a huge fireball billowing into the air.

Once again, you must be careful not to underestimate the stupidity of the Loose Change creators.

An Open Letter to Dylan Avery

This terrific letter came to me via email today from Jasa Slavjansky:


I am now familiar with your film "Loose Change", as well as the critique of the film by Mark Roberts. Recently, I saw what appeared to be a screenshot of a "personal profile" for yourself akin to something on either a blog, myspace page, or some other similar account owned by you. In this screenshot, it shows a quote, allegedly from you, that "Mark Roberts is CIA".

Now, assuming that you did write those words, I think this might be a valuable lesson for you: Have you ever wondered why some people call you a conspiracy nut, kook, or other derogatory terms of this nature? Well it might have a little something to do with the fact that you(assuming you did make such a claim) feel compelled to label anyone who disagrees with your theory as a part of the conspiracy itself. And you wonder why people refer to these things as conspiracies?

I read Mr. Roberts critique, and the ease with which many of your film's claims are debunked, particularly the ease by which the actual facts are found(via Google in many cases) is shocking. Basically, based on the amount of factual errors in this film, we can only come to two conclusions:

1. The "researchers"(including yourself), as in most conspiracy theories, started with a preconceived conclusion, and then purposely cherry-picked any story that seemed to support this conclusion while ignoring everything that doesn't. In other words, at a great deal of deliberate deception was involved(something like the Bush case for war in Iraq).

2. Complete incompetence. And while we're on that note, please deny that one of your colleague's on a radio show claimed that the damage to the Pentagon could have been done with a Javelin missile. Seriously, I DEMAND an apology for that remark that is idiotic beyond all mortal comprehension, seeing that the Javelin is an ANTI-TANK missile with a HEAT warhead- something that tends to leave a hole no bigger than a PENCIL. Here is a link that will explain both these concepts to you and your colleagues:

But I digress...

The point is, conspiracy believers have no right to complain about this label when they constantly label anyone who questions them as an agent of the CIA, Mossad, Illuminati, or simply paid-disinformation operative. For my questioning(simply questioning) of the 9-11 controlled demolitions theories, I have been over the past year or so been accused of being:

1. A CIA agent.
2. A Jew(by self-proclaimed "white nationalists")
3. A Neocon(I am actually more or less a socialist who actually left the United States to live in Europe)
4. A paid agent of Larry Silverstein.

Everybody that contradicts or fails to support the conspiracy is accused of being part of the conspiracy. Does that sound even remotely rational to you? If so it would explain a lot. My advice, next film you release should have the support of a credible demolitions-expert or structural engineer. Otherwise don't bother.


Friday, June 23, 2006

More 9/11 "Truth" Movement Deceptions

A few days ago, I asked the conspiracy theorists here to provide an example, any example of how we, or our related sites and resources use lies, misrepresentation, logical fallacies, quote mining, or similar deceptions to make our argument. Thus far, I have received no response other than a disagreement as to whether the 9/11 commission did a good job or not. An arguable topic no doubt, but hardly a scathing indictment of the ethical standards of this blog.

Regarding those same tactics used by the 9/11 truth movement, I can find so many examples, that I have a hard time finding enough time in the day to document all of them. The current scandal of the day, appears to be testimony by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta before the 9/11 Commission, in which he supposedly testified that Dick Cheney had given an order for defenses to be stood down. This theory was most recently put forward by general conspiracy nutjob, and founder of the 9/11 "Scholars" Jim Fetzer, on the FoxNews program Hannity and Colmes:

Colmes: What evidence do you have that the government knew, that Cheney knew, that anyone in the chain of command knew ahead of time that this attack was going to happen on 9/11? Can you give us any piece of evidence that would substantiate that argument?

Fetzer: Absolutely, for example Norman Mineta testified to the 9/11 commission that he observed Dick Cheney in an underground bunker when a young aide came up to him and repeatedly told him, “Sir it’s 50 miles out, sir it’s 30 miles out, sir it’s 10 miles out. Does the order still stand?”

Cheney turned around, jumped on him, nearly bit off his head and said, “Of course the order still stands. Have you heard anything different?”

This is of course, an overdramatization, of what Mineta actually said, which was:

MR. MINETA: No, I was not. I was made aware of it during the time that the airplane coming into the Pentagon. There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, "The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to, "The plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the vice president, "Do the orders still stand?" And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?" Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant. And --

Not content to merely overdramatize the event, Fetzer then adds his own ominous spin to the testimony:

The order had to be, to not shoot down the plane that was approaching the Pentagon. After all, the order should have been to shoot it down. Shooting it down would be the obvious thing to do, when you consider that you are going to lose the passengers on the plane if you shoot it down, but if you don’t you are going to lose the passengers of the plane, and also the personnel and property at the target.

But what, other than this fervent desire on the part of Fetzer that this be some type of evidence against Cheney, indicates that this order he is referring to is to "not" shoot down the plane?

Absolutely nothing. Once again, we are dealing with conspiracy theory logic, you start with the conclusion, and work backwards to interpret the evidence to fit it.

The obvious question, which has been raised by conspiracy theorists in the comments here, is then why didn't the 9/11 commission follow up on this "smoking gun"? Well, the answer to this is, THEY DID! If you continue into Mineta's testimony, just a few moments later, he continues (emphasis mine):

MR. MINETA: And so I was not aware that that discussion had already taken place. But in listening to the conversation between the young man and the vice president, then at the time I didn't really recognize the significance of that.

And then later I heard of the fact that the airplanes had been scrambled from Langley to come up to DC, but those planes were still about 10 minutes away. And so then, at the time we heard about the airplane that went into Pennsylvania, then I thought, "Oh, my God, did we shoot it down?" And then we had to, with the vice president, go through the Pentagon to check that out.

MR. HAMILTON: Let me see if I understand. The plane that was headed toward the Pentagon and was some miles away, there was an order to shoot that plane down.

MR. MINETA: Well, I don't know that specifically, but I do know that the airplanes were scrambled from Langley or from Norfolk, the Norfolk area. But I did not know about the orders specifically other than listening to that other conversation.

MR. HAMILTON: But there very clearly was an order to shoot commercial aircraft down.

MR. MINETA: Subsequently I found that out.
So once again, not only does the evidence not support the conspiracy theory, IT DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS IT! But through their habit of quote mining, they avoid coming to terms with this? Mineta, who was actually there at the time, thought that this referred to an order by Cheney to shoot a plane down, it was only the conspiracy theorists, in order to get the evidence to fit their conclusions, who subsequently reinterpreted it to mean the exact opposite.

I have asked this numerous times in the past, but I never get a response from the "truthers", if the truth is supposedly on your side, and we are nothing but a bunch of delusional "shills", why is it that you have to constantly lie, distort, and misrepresent evidence? While you can't come up with a single example of us doing that?

I honestly want to know.

Sell, Sell, Sell

I have addressed the issue of the put options before, but one of our commenters brought it up, and I have read more on the issue since then, so I figured it merited addressing. It is one of the genuinely interesting subjects brought up by the conspiracy theorists, that can actually be discussed intelligently without immediately diving into nutcase zionists with thermite charges theories.

As some have pointed out, the 9/11 Commision report I have previously mentioned, refers to an investigation into ties with Al Qaeda, which they consider part of a coverup, because it would be irrational to conclude Al Qaeda had anything to do with this, and they should have investigated ties to shadowy neo-con/Zionist/Illuminati banks etc. instead.

But, as the report says (emphasis mine):

A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10.

This missed the larger point that the investigators not only found the purchasers of the stock to not be suspicious, but the purchase itself was not suspicious. In this case, the puts were only part of a trading strategy to hedge their investment in UAL stock. In this case:

The investor
bought 95% X 3,150 put options (going short) = 299,250 shares
bought 115,000 shares (going long)

At the time their stock was selling for around $30 a share, so we are to believe that these evil international banker conspirators, upon knowing that 2 United Airlines planes were going to be hijacked, went out and bought over $3 million of stock in the company? Not the most likely plan.

Buying stock and taking out a put option to hedge it, is a common investment strategy by the way. There is actually a mathematical way to calculate how many options you need to buy based on its value and volatily, called the delta, which is way beyond the scope of this post, but click on the link if you are interested in an explanation.

Regardless, even if this was some type of conspiracy, how much money was made off of purchasing these options? Not that much. Insight Magazine did an article on this and found the following:
On Sept. 6, 2001, the Thursday before the tragedy, 2,075 put options were made on United Airlines and on Sept. 10, the day before the attacks, 2,282 put options were recorded for American Airlines. Given the prices at the time, this would have yielded speculators between $2 million and $4 million in profit--hardly what any analyst would call a killing in the options markets. Based on historical data for both airlines, the put options just prior to Sept. 11 neither were dramatic nor unprecedented.

A lot of money for you and me, but peanuts by international banking standards.

Much has been made regarding the volume being more than usual, but options trading is not like regular stock trades, where shares trade hands constantly, options are contracts largely taken out by investment firms, that are purchased from other investment firms. Thus, they are not anonymous, if someone does something unusual, they have to come back to collect their money later, and whoever got cheated is most likely going to look into it. Additionally the volume varies wildly depending on the investment climate and the firms involved.

Loose Change mentions 3,150 options as being 4 times its daily volume. But as Insight reports, this was not that much of an unusual amount. On October 19, 2000 6,625 put options on UAL were sold, over twice the amount of September 6, 2001. That was up from just 374 puts the previous day. Oddly enough, I don't remember any hijackings of UAL planes taking place any time soon after that.

The same goes for the other two companies mentioned. In actuality, if someone wanted to make money of the attacks, the best way would not be to buy puts in the companies involved, but to short the entire market, or buy oil futures. The Dow dropped over 16% in the weeks after 9/11, and buying puts on the much larger index market could have been done in larger quantities without drawing any attention, but then again the Loose Change boys couldn't put this much more complex theory into an ominous looking graphic in their movie that could be understood by their 20-something audience.

Update: An October 8th, 2001 article in Barron's, puts another nail into the coffin of this theory:

One large UAL put order was sent to the bustling CBOE floor in the days prior to Sept. 11 by a customer of Deutsche Bank. The primary trading post for UAL expected to handle the whole 2,500-contract order.

Instead, the customer split that into chunks of 500 contracts each, directing each order to various exchanges around the country, according to people familiar with the trade. Moreover, some of the options have yet to be exercised, possibly because those customers' accounts have been frozen.

But some option veterans say there's nothing unusual about either the size or manner in which the order was handled. Options in UAL are heavily traded, usually by institutions hedging their stock positions. Activity in AMR options also isn't conclusive. The heaviest trading was not in the cheapest, short-dated puts that would have provided the biggest gains to a conspirator with foreknowledge of the events of Sept. 11. Moreover, at least one analyst had issued a "sell" recommendation on AMR the previous week.

Finally, these and many other options had grown quite cheap in the weeks prior to the terrorist attacks -- another reason put buyers might have been legitimately attracted to them.

Does Adam Sandler Know?

Perhaps he'll have to pen an additional stanza to the Hannukah Song:

And now, dear friends, I have decided to reveal to you the name of yet another crypto-Jew. This time, the culprit is a man who is only the latest in a series of dynastic leaders, all of whom were and are Jews and all of whom have carefully and watchfully guarded this Great Secret. I hereby stamp myself—according to the reigning criteria or rules promulgated by the Illuminati elite—as a bonafide anti-Semite merely by once again calling a Jew a Jew. Fact: GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, is a Jew.

Towards a Taxonomy of the CT Class

Anybody ever put together a guide to all the people? Not so much for the purposes of rounding them all up in our special neocon prisons, you understand (as useful as that might be), but just so we can understand who believes what conspiracy, or if they don't endorse a specific version, they're just "asking questions", then which questions?

We could come up with an easy taxonomy on the CTers. Although the possibilities seem endless, they're fairly finite.

1. Overarching Plot:

a. 19 Hijackers controlled by Osama Bin Laden (Official Theory)
b. 19 Hijackers controlled by Osama Bin Laden and allowed to operate the 9-11 mission by persons in the US government. (LIHOP)
c. Plot perpetrated by US government, means indeterminate. (MIHOP)

2. World Trade Center 1 (North Tower): Attack

a. Hit by American Airlines Flight #11, a 767.
b. Hit by another plane.
c. Not hit by a plane.

3. World Trade Center 2 (South Tower): Attack

a. Hit by United Airlines Flight #175, a 767.
b. Hit by another plane.
c. Not hit by a plane.

4. Pentagon: Attack

a. Hit by American Airlines Flight 77, a 757.
b. Hit by another plane.
c. Not hit by a plane.

5. Flight 93

a. Crashed in Shanksville, PA.
b. Shot down.
c. Landed elsewhere.

6. WTC 1,2: Collapse

a. Structural failure due to impact and fires.
b. Controlled demolition.
c. Other cause.

7. WTC 7: Collapse

a. Structural failure due to impact of collapsing building and fires
b. Controlled demolition.
c. Other cause.

8. Who's really behind it

a. Al Qaeda
b. PNAC/Neocons/Zionists
c. Other people

I think that largely covers it, except for one addition to each list:

d. Refuses to disclose/discuss

We all know this one. "We don't know what happened, we're just asking questions." I could add a question about what happened to all the passengers on the planes if they were not used in the crashes, but most of the CTers know enough to confess that they don't know.

I tried to make the categories a little loose so that the CTers are easily categorized. In all cases, the Official Theory is shown as "a" so that we know lots of "a"s indicates a general agreement with the official theory and a lack of "a"s indicates a general disagreement.

You are welcome to use general logic to establish a position on a particular theory by a CTer, but please indicate that logic so others can check.

Loose Change grades out the following:

1. c
2. d (however it does appear to rule out a)
3. d (however it does appear to rule out a)
4. d (however it does appear to rule out a)
5. c
6. b
7. b
8. b

In the cases of the three planes which hit the buildings, (2-4), the Loosers clearly do not believe any of those are the passenger planes, so we can rule out a.

Some of the Truthers will grade out with all "d"s; these are the folks who are really "just asking questions". Professor Stephen Jones? All "d"s I suspect except for 6 and maybe 7 being "b".

Korey Rowe Supports Threatening Lawyers, Exaggerates War Record

I was doing some research when I discovered a group called Veterans for 9/11 Truth, which I hope are more "veterans" than the scholars are “scholars”. I noticed this short interview with Looser Korey Rowe, also a veteran and gave it a quick listen.

At first he plays lawyer. I am not sure what law school he graduated from, but he should get his money back. From the 2:30 mark:

Essentially what is going on, although I can’t comment a lot, it is in a legal process right now but, uh essentially what happened is the Naudet brothers about 2 weeks ago saw Loose Change, didn’t like the representation of the material, got in contact with Paramount who owns the rights to their footage, and Paramount got in touch with a lawfirm that represents them, and sent us a very threatening letter, and which is actually enough to disbar a lawyer for doing that kind of thing. Just threatening us left and right, calling us all kinds of names, telling us we are doing things for the wrong reasons, making money off the deaths of people, and telling us that we had to take down the website, take the movie back from anyone we sold it to, make sure the copy is destroyed, remove every copy from the Internet, which is completely impossible.

Then he reveals how they decided to deceive the Naudet brothers, and got all excited when the nutjobs at the Loose Change Forum start threatening the lawyers (previously discussed here):

So what we did, we decided that we would make these people think we are going to comply, make these people think that we are going to go ahead and shut down. We took our website down, put up the lawsuit. We didn’t even put up their contact information, people went out and found it, put up their pictures, and their phone numbers, and had people call them. They called us and begged us to take this off of our site because they couldn’t handle the amounts of threats they were getting. And I said if you can’t handle it, take down the suit. (laughter) They actually haven’t come across and sued us yet, they did send us the first initially threatening letter.
Later, when asked what wars he served in, he replies:

Uhh, I was in the initial invasion of Afghanistan. I flew into Khandahar Airfield, took over Khandahar Airfield with the Rangers, and my unit, which was the 187th Rakkasans, the 101st Airborne. I came back, I did a 6 month short tour.
Uhh, no. You were not in the "initial invasion of Afghanistan". The initial invasion of Afghanistan was mostly conducted by the 5th Special Forces Group, with some support from the 10th Mountain Division, and the Marines. When Kabul fell on November 13th, 2001, you were still in training. The very first units of the 187 didn't get to Afghanistan until January 2002, some didn't get there until April.

Hey, it is great that you served, but be honest about it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Loosers Have Found Their Messiah

Charlie Sheen will appear at their conspiracy conference this weekend.

No word on whether Denise Richards will be attending...

Lefty Blogger Sees Through Loose Change

Not everybody is fooled.

Do yourself a favor. Just watch even 15 minutes of the above-linked video, and pay attention to all the ways in which it manipulates you to take it seriously. The way it establishes itself as ethical right off the bat by dedicating itself to those that died in 9/11. The way it incorporates live footage. The "voice of God" narration. The endless stream of facts that sound like something he knows but you don't know. The witnesses you know nothing about (keeping in mind that Michael Moore is now being sued by somebody featured in Fahrenheit whose interview was edited to make it project something other than what the guy believed. And that this particular filmmaker is also being sued by French filmmakers whose footage he copped without permission... not a responsible way to go about making a documentary.)

Think about this stuff. Think about how the media at every step preys on your ignorance and insecurities to win you over. Television. The drug of the nation. Step back and look at what commercials are actually saying. Watch what commercials play when. They're watching you. Car and beer commercials during Monday Night Football. Clearasil during the Gilmore Girls. Product placements. Wonder why your five o'clock news reports what it does, and pay attention to the order of the stories it plays. (American Idol news was recently the lead on Good Morning America. We're in a war. Tell you anything?) Don't ever read/watch from a single source. Wonder about every documentary's angle. (And that includes segments on 20/20 and Frontline and all that shit you might take for news.)

EVERYBODY has an angle. Everybody. Your girlfriend, your boyfriend, channel 4, the BBC, Michael Moore. Everybody wants something out of you. Sometimes, it's a good thing. But a lot of the time, you fall for crap that compromises you.


She's obviously a critical thinker, and aware of the power of images to deceive.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Open Mike Night at Screw Loose Change

As you can probably tell from some of our recent posts, Pat and I have been following the goings-on at the Loose Change forums and other CT hangouts. One thing I have noticed is how they automatically discount sites such as this, 911 Myths, the Screw Loose Change video and Mark Roberts' "viewer's guide" as "debunked". In fact one 9/11 "scholar" remarkably announced that 9/11 Myths was "disinformation" and "phony", even though he admitted he had never even read it.

I have never actually seen an example though. We have gone to great trouble to provide readers with scores, if not hundreds of examples, of factual misstatements, lies, distortions, misquotes, fake experts and logical fallacies in Loose Change, but I have yet to see a single example of any of us doing this.

So I am inviting (actually requesting) all of our CT readers to please point out how we are doing this, because I am genuinely curious. E-mail your conspiracy theory pals for help if you want. Please point out how we are doing this. And please, stick to actual facts, I don't care whether you think I am rude because I called Steven Jones a nutjob, or whether Markyx thinks the music sucks. All of us have taken stated positions on hundreds of issues of fact, if you want to contest those, then please address those, rather than quibbling over our politeness.

Unlike the Loose Change people, I will not delete your posts simply because you disagree. In fact if anyone thinks they can do a good enough job, e-mail me, and if you can make a credible point I might give you your own post. But as I said, stick to facts, point out how we are demonstrably wrong, not just the typical circular logic that you think "WTC7 was a controlled demolition, because you think it looked just like a controlled demolition". Also please, no spamming, if you want to make a direct argument against us, that is great, but no cutting and pasting 5,000 of your favorite links.

Loosers Losing It

It's quite apparent that the folks over at the Loose Change Forum are starting to get a little rattled. James pointed in the post below this to Dylan's "I'm still just a kid" response to Gravy's terrific compilation of some of the idiotic things the Loose Change producers have said over the last couple years.

Check out this post by 76 Trombones over there:

Okay, I started this thread, and I'm not saying i'm sorry, because I'm always in favor of free discussion. But I am somewhat sorry that I came to this forum to begin with. I found it through a friend of mine who knows I have major issues with the WTC collapses. Basically, he told me that this was THE place to come for alternative discussion. But mostly I've just lurked here because alot of the discussion here has been childish. Alot of emotions but not always alot of logic or common sense.

But I started this thread because I was genuinely p.o.'d. From what people said, The attacks on LC were personally motivated and didn't get to the truth behind 9/11. So when I read the first few pages of the Mark Roberts piece, I assumed that everything was taken way out of context, and I relied on what people said here about disinfo.

But I am nobody's toady, and I always want to know what's what for myself. So in the past day I read the rest of the "hit piece" and listened to several of the interviews that were referred to.

And I'm sorry, guys, but I cannot support LC after hearing the things I heard. I didn't listen to everything, in fact I deliberately skipped around to be as random as possible. And what I heard just isn't right. From what I heard, the quotes were not taken out of context. They are what they are. And alot of them are just plain nasty and stupid and wrong. And relying on Jason Bermas? This guy is a crackpot, plain and simple. He's a f***ing idiiot. And Dylan and Korey seem to look up to him as Mr. Knowledge.

Nice to hear that some people can be reached. Not all, however. Get this post:

Dubfan, the "WE" you speak of sounds strangely like a group of professional researchers and a speechwriter.

And some of us Truthers say that the government is hiding something. Not in your case. You're as transparent as glass, and we can see straight through you.

I'd hazard a guess and say that for every spook name on this forum there would be three individuals, one for each 8 hour shift, and a couple of researchers. Am I close?

Let's not forget the interns!

Lame Excuse O' the Day

On their forum Dylan defends himself against all the stupid things Mark Roberts cataloged him saying:

if[sic] there was [sic] an entire group of people dedicated to recording and scrutinzing[sic] EVERY WORD you've spoken since 2004, i [sic] bet there'd be some pretty dumb stuff in there too.

we're [sic] kids in the middle of a learning process here. yea [sic], I say "I mean," because i'm [sic] still a kid, and I'm still kinda stuck in that mode, but I'm getting better.

Yeah, OK, you are kids, that is a rare moment of honesty. But this isn't every "EVERY WORD" you have spoken since 2004. It is not like CNN is following you around with a camera, these are the promotional materials that you are distributing to push your movie. If you can't even make yourself look somewhat intelligent in your own propaganda, then you really need help.

Dylan Discovers More "Evidence"

He's pathetic.

Other than that, right now I'm stuck in wonderful Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Yeah. God bless Contintental Airlines.

To make a long story short...we've been speaking with ticket agents, and, yes, at LEAST two planes landed here on 9-11. The two women were scared to even think about it...

Of course, it is hardly a shock that two planes landed there; the more important question from dipstick Dylan's standpoint is whether either of them was Flight 93.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If Dylan Had Done His "Fictional" Film

I suspect it would have ended up quite a bit like Who Killed John O'Neill. This film is very reminiscent of "A Beautiful Mind" complete with the conspiracy theory diagrammed on the wall:

I could only watch about 15 minutes of the movie before I got a headache. It's arty to the max, almost completely black and white, with lots of shouting. It seems almost like it was shot using madmen as actors (actually there appears to be only one actor, although he plays several different roles).

More Eyewitness "Evidence"

Here's a rather bizarre clip:

First off, obvious problem beyond whether they "dubbed in" the woman claiming it was not an American Airlines (sic) is that the film appears to be taken from several miles away. Second question is whether the woman has any expertise as a plane spotter?

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Loosers In Their Own Words

Mark Roberts, aka Gravy at the JREF Forums, has done the 9-11 Truth Debunking movement another huge service by compiling a terrific PDF file of the Loosers Dylan Avery, Jason Bermas and Korey Rowe in their own words. He listened to a huge number of interviews with the Loosers to put this together. I mean, I know how excruciating it can be, I mean, like transcribing, Dylan's long ramblings. I mean. Be sure to read the interview near the end with Bermas, where he endorses every conspiracy theory under the sun. The phone conversation with holocaust denier and 9-11 nutbar Eric Hufschmid comes in for particular attention. Get this yukking with Dylan and an interviewer, and remember that Loose Change is dedicated to those we lost on 9-11:

Blood: And these pilots, I mean, we interviewed Debra Burlingame, whose brother Chick was the one supposedly flying that plane that hit the Pentagon–
Avery: Oh, that’s right! I heard about that!
Blood: –And of course she is a TOTAL shill for the Republican Party, she also spoke at the [Republican National] Convention. And is it ABSURD that she went on and on about how her brother was ex-military, how she knows that her brother and the other pilots fought for their lives, against these deadly terrorists–
Avery: Yeaaah, yeah. Whatever.
Blood: (mocking an Arabic accent): It is my preevilege to keel you with thees box cutter!
Avery: Ha ha!

More discussion of this file here. Terrific job as always by Mark.

BlogCritics Reviews Loose Change

You get the feeling that the reviewer is realizing as he goes on just how goofy Loose Change is, but he started out writing a positive review:

Just my blurting it out like this simply doesn’t do the film justice. Avery isn’t simply rambling on about conspiracies. The man did his homework. He piles the evidence on sharply and efficiently and doesn’t infer but states his opinion clearly for all to hear. But the documentary is simply an over-sized PowerPoint slide-show presentation and this constitutes its weak point. But having made this film with loose change, it would be difficult to expect more.

This film, as anything that criticizes the actions of the government following the attacks, is harshly criticized itself. But the film’s detractors' arguments also stand up as well. I won’t go into them here because there are far too many of them. To look them up, start with a Wikipedia search of Loose Change.

The factuality of the film’s arguments is in question, no doubt. You get a feeling from the film that the reason for the carpet bombing of evidence and facts is a tool to distract the viewer from seeing the manipulation of evidence and quotes to achieve a desired result or conclusion not unlike an O’Reilly Factor episode.

Still, he gives it three stars (out of five).