Conspiracy Theories

May 6, 2014

Researcher John Farmer, not related to 9/11 Commission Staff member, John Farmer, has done original primary source investigation which sheds light on the presence of debris from United Airlines flight 93 (UA 93) at Indian Lake.  Here is a YouTube link to an animation he has created.

The animation is based on radar data files from Washington Air Traffic Control Center (ZDC) and clearly depicts the effect of prevailing winds on the debris from the 10:03 impact of UA 93. Wind direction was East Southeast, about 125 azimuth, which carried the debris over Indian Head Lake.

This should resolve all speculative ideas about the presence of debris at the lake.

Farmer has also determined that the catastrophic event that created the debris field occurred no later then 10:03:33, a time consistent with the established impact time of UA 93.

March 1, 2012

Readers who are following the extended speculation about controlled demolition of the World Trade Center using thermitic material of some sort will be interested in a just completed study. James R. Millette, Ph. D., MVA Scientific Consultants, has concluded that:

“The red/gray chips found in the WTC dust at four sites in New York City are consistent with a carbon steel coated with an epoxy resin that contains primarily iron oxide and kaolin clay pigments.

There is no evidence of individual elemental aluminum particles of any size in the red/gray chips, therefore the red layer of the red/gray chips is not thermite or nano- thermite.”

February 11, 2012

The truth community has been given its formal dismissal from the pantheon of conspiracy theories.  Garry Trudeau, in the incisive tradition of “Doonesbury,” has administered the coup d’ grace.  A caller to ‘myFACTS’ asked for “fresh evidence that 9/11 was a government conspiracy.”  The Doonesbury response: “I’m sorry, sir, by I’m showing our truther line has been discontinued.”

November 4, 2011

Ryan Mackey published a definitive and detailed essay, “The Great Internet Conspiracy; The Role of Technology and Social Media in the 9/11 Truth Movement.” Mackey’s work is must reading for anyone seriously interested in conspiracy theories in general and the 9/11 conspiracy theory, in particular.

Mackey makes the interesting point that the 9/11 truth movement peaked in 2006, fueled largely by the release of the 9/11 Commission and NIST reports. That clearly documented spike resulted because those reports gave conspiracists voluminous material to nitpick. The logical conclusion is that an additional investigation, as called for by conspiracists, will solve nothing. Rather, it will simply provide addition information to nitpick. The parallel is President Obama’s release of his birth certificate. All that release did was add fuel to the fire.

My own experience in corresponding with conspiracists is that I am presented with a series of questions which, when answered, simply lead to more questions. The personal lesson learned is that there is no benefit to engaging any conspiracist in a conversation. I am confident that no member of the 9/11 Commission or Staff will ever engage in a debate with any conspiracist. I knew, intuitively, that the 2009 release of the Commission workfiles would draw attention. I also knew that the release gave me an opportunity to expand on my work while on the staff of both the Commission and the Congressional Joint Inquiry before it. Therefore, I started my own website for several reasons, but two specific.

First, it game me a place to accumulate/publish articles in a way useful, not only to me, but to serious researchers and historians, as well. That was, and is, important because nearly all my work is based on primary source information, much never before made public.

Second, it game me a forum to establish the topics I would address and the manner in which I would address them. To that end, I created a neutral framework for analysis that anyone can use to establish a body of evidence for any alternate theory as to what happened on 9/11. To date, and consistent with Mackey’s analysis, no one has used my framework or, using any framework, come up with a body of evidence to support any thesis other than the one that occurred–a terrorist attack.

October 19, 2011

Dave Thomas, President, New Mexicans for Science and Reason, teaches at New Mexico Tech and has written extensively on conspiracy theories.  Specifically, he recently published “The 9/11 Truth Movement: The Top Conspiracy Theory, a Decade Later.”  Thomas focuses primarily on the events in New York City and continues to deal with the several conspiratorial claims concerning the destruction of the World Trade Center complex.  I leave that endeavor in Thomas’s capable hands.

My position is the fact-based understanding that the World Trade Center was twice catastrophically struck by commercial airliners hijacked by terrorists with the specific purpose of flying the planes into the north and south towers of the Center complex.  In so doing they caused the near complete destruction of the entire complex to include building seven.  Those who argue differently are wrong and some of them are intellectually dishonest in so doing.  tThomas is more than capable of sorting all that out and has done so in multiple articles and posts, to include the one cited.

He concludes with an interesting observation.  “As Ted Goertzel pointed out in his recent SKEPTICAL INQUIRER article ‘The Conspircy Meme: Why Conspiracy Theories Appeal and Persist,’ ‘When an alleged fact is debunked, the conspiracy meme often just replaces it what another fact.'”  Thomas then concludes, “In another ten years, will the 9/11 Truth movement have developed new arguments, or will it stick with [its] polished claims…?  Either way, it appears this American conspiracy theory classic is here to stay.”

Stay it may, but the movement, such as it is,  is destined to remain in analytical box canyons riding in circles seeking a way forward when the only course of action is to retrace their steps and start over.


September 8, 2011

The website “Slate” is publishing a series “Where do Conspiracy Theories Come From?  The fringe,” by Jeremy Stahl.  This a comprehensive, fact-based, and quite useful series of articles.  In complements similar work done by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan in their new book, The Eleventh Day.

Despite the work of Stahl, Summers and Swan conspiracy theories will persist, but increasingly on the margin with irrelevance as an unwanted but inevitable goal. One bright spot is that Dylan Avery appears to be coming to his senses.  Young and impressionistic at first, Avery is simply too smart and talented to be taken in over the long haul.  It will be interesting to see how he extracts himself out of the morass.  Watching the National Geographic special featuring Avery, Richard Gage, and David Griffin in roundtable discussions, one cannot help but observe that Avery appears to be asking himself why he got trapped with those guys.

I’ve told members of the truth community that correspond with me that their arguments have placed them in analytical box canyons, cul-de-sacs, from which the only way out is to retrace ones steps and start over.  One hopes that the talented young Avery is doing just that.

Prior postings

This page provides a means of commenting or referencing conspiracy theories as items on interest come to my attention.  Let me say at the outset that there is no credible explanation of the events of 9/11 other than that investigated and reported by the Congressional Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission.

Those who claim otherwise have not provided a body of information–pre-event, event, and post-event–to support their suppositions.  They cannot because there is none.  Most such claims are based on eye witness accounts, media reports, and participant recall, disregarding or discounting primary source evidence.

Most claimants are seriously misguided, a few are outright intellectually dishonest.  For some the pursuit of conspiracy theories has become a cottage industry, a means of making a living in parasitic manner. A small number quixotically believe they are right, to the point of dogma.

With that short preamble in place I will comment periodically as things come to my attention and we begin with the author, Patricia Cornwell.

June 18, 2011

I am reading Port Mortuary, a Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, and copyrighted 2010 by CEI Enterprises, Inc. I ran across an interesting passage on pages 203-204 as Scarpetta commented about her niece, Lucy.

“My niece and her theories about super-thermite…[as Jamie Berger] “drank too much wine and spent a lot of time in the kitchen, arguing with Lucy about 9/11, about explosives used in demolitions, nanomaterials painted on infrastructures that would cause a horrendous destruction if impacted by large planes filled with fuel.”

Scarpetta did not subscribe to her niece’s contentions.  “I have given up reasoning with my phobic, cynical niece, who is too smart for her own good and won’t listen.  It doesn’t matter to her that there simply aren’t enough facts to support what has her convinced, only allegations about residues found in the dust right after the towers collapsed.  Then, weeks later, more dust was collected and it showed the same residues of iron oxide and aluminum a highly energetic nanocomposite that is used in making pyrotechnics and explosives.”

Then Cornwell, in the voice of Scarpetta, made an uncharacteristic technical misjudgment.  “I admit there have been credible scientific journal articles written about it, but not enough of them and they don’t begin to prove that our own government helped mastermind 9/11 as an excuse to start a war in the Middle East.”

Cornwell is correct in her burden-of-proof assessment, but wrong about the existence of “credible scientific journal articles.”  There are none.

July 11, 2011

It came to my attention today via a Google alert that the blogger, Shoestring, published, in April, a list of the false reports of hijacked aircraft on 9-11. That is a project that I have had in the back of my mind for sometime.  Shoestring’s work obviates that need and fills a gap in the collected information concerning 9-11 and I thank him for that work.

The compilation, as a list, is a good one-stop shop for researchers and historians concerning this subject.  The context and analysis, however, need to be used with caution.  Shoestring, along with most current day researchers, extrapolates meaning far beyond the list itself and implies conspiracy, implicitly.

Here are some facts based on primary source information.  At the end of the battle that morning—and here I use 1028 EDT, the time that the TSD track for the by then notional UA 93 “landed” at Reagan National Airport—NEADS had received notification of just six potential hijacked aircraft, AA11, UA 175, AA 77, Delta 1989, the unknown from Canada, and UA93.  See my page “Audio Clips of Interest” for audio links. Here I include the spurious report of a aircraft taking off from JFK and headed for Washington as a garbled reference to AA 11.

NEADS tracked and forward told just one of the six, Delta 1989.  The Commission Report documented that NORAD reported just two of the six to the NMCC.

NORAD confirmed that American 11 was airborne and heading toward Washington, relaying the erroneous FAA information already mentioned. The call [Significant Events Conference] then ended, at about 9:34.

NORAD what’s the situation? NORAD said it had conflicting reports. Its latest information was ‘of a possible hijacked aircraft [AA 11 reference] taking off out of JFK en route to Washinton D.C.’…At 9:44 NORAD briefed the conference [air threat conference call] on the possible hijacking of Delta 1989.

There is no correlation to Exercise Vigilant Guardian as speculated in the preamble to the list. The NEAD tapes for the exercise are available and I have written a series of articles about it that includes multiple audio files.

Neither list, Shoestring’s or the NEADS count, includes the most significant event that morning, the only time that the air defense fighters actually checked out a target.  At 1007, the same time that NEADS was informed about UA 93, it was also dealing that a report of an unknown over the White House.

The two events were recorded at the MCC position as overlapping and confusing, one to the other, on the surface.  However, a detailed review of the audio files reveals that the specific language “identify by type and tail,” and “negative clearance to fire,” pertained not to UA 93 but to the unknown.  That unknown was later determined to be one of the Langley fighters.  The air defenders intercepted themselves.  I have included that clip under Audio Clips of Interest,” as well.  A reason that it was not included on the NEADS list may be that the MCC considered, briefly, that the unknown over the White House might be the one from Canada. already on the list.

Statements by General Arnold (21 events) and Colonel Marr (29 events) are global in nature, referring to the entire day, to include Operation Noble Eagle.  Even those lists are likely conservative.  For example, once on station over New York Center, the Otis fighters, alone, responded to multiple requests from air traffic control to check out tracks of interest.

Concerning the attack and counterattack only, the NEADS number is just 6 events.  On the FAA side, a white board listing ultimately numbered just 11 suspect events during the day, as listed in Shoestring’s account.