What Celebrity can teach us about Conspiracy Theory

In the very first post I did on this blog after Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies was published, I mentioned that I’d received a letter from a friend and fellow writer who is incarcerated in a federal prison, thanking me for the copy of the book I’d sent him. “You’ll be pleased to know,” he related, “that this is actually the 2nd copy of the book to get into MDC [Metropolitan Detention Center]. A…..leader of a China Town gang (tong?) saw me carrying it and pointed out to me that he had it in his footlocker and had just finished reading it. He’d ordered it from BN.com. When he heard I knew the author he made me promise to tell you how much he enjoyed the volume. This is the God’s honest truth!” I was flattered even though I didn’t really believe him. But when I visited him a few weeks ago, he brought it up again. “I promised Wong [not his real name] that I’d introduce you to him,” he said. A few minutes later, a line of prisoners, escorted by correction officers, filed into the visiting area (friends and family are marched into the visiting area that way too–it’s an unsettling experience). He called one of them–a stocky Chinese man with a shaved head and tattooed biceps–over to us. “Great book, man,” he said, shaking my hand.

I’m not blowing my own horn (ok, maybe I am a little–I’m far from jaded about my own very small share of renown); rather, I’m leading into some thoughts I’ve been having about fame and secrecy and how poorly they mix. Yesterday, I spent several unfruitful hours at my computer, reading about 9/11 Conspiracy theory. I couldn’t help noticing that most of the news pages I clicked on featured a lot of damaging information about Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is just one man and he has millions of dollars of hush money at his disposal. Huge corporations have linked their brands to his, so surely they have ample motive to pony up millions more. His transgressions involved no more than a handful (OK, maybe more than a handful) of women. Even so, he wasn’t able to keep his sordid secrets under wraps. But 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists believe that untold numbers of members of the US security apparatus, the media, the airline industry, first responders, the government, not to mention all the academics, engineers, architects, and researchers that would have had to be involved in the cover up–including otherwise reliably anti-government skeptics like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, Mike Taibi, and even me–have maintained their silence for eight years and counting, despite all the best efforts of the Truth Community to expose the Truth. Maybe Jesse Ventura’s new TV show or those hundreds of thousands of recently released pager messages will turn out to be the tipping point that changes the story forever…. but probably not.

I’ve noticed that many 9/11 Conspiracists choose one of the four major events of that day to focus their attention on–the Twin Towers, WTC7, Flight 93, the Pentagon–and establish a set of theories about it without regard to whether or not they are compatible with each other. For example, we’re told that the total absence of visible plane wreckage at the Pentagon and Shanksville (a completely bogus claim, by the way) is highly suspicious, that crashed planes don’t simply vaporize. But when passengers’ effects were recovered intact from the wreckage in lower Manhattan (including a passport belonging to Satam M. A. al-Suqami, one of the hijackers), we’re told that it was impossible that anything that fragile could have survived a plane crash and explosion (although just such items have survived other crashes and explosions), that it must have been planted to implicate him (although exactly why the Conspirators would have gone to so much trouble to implicate just Satam M. A. al-Suqami–who wasn’t exactly the linchpin of the plot–is not explained). The WTC was brought down by planes; the Pentagon was attacked by a missile. NORAD stood down, except when its fighters shot down Flight 93 over Shanksville. Flight 93 didn’t crash–its passengers’ telephone messages were faked and the local coroner said there were “no bodies” (a statement he tried to clarify in subsequent interviews but to no avail). Airplanes couldn’t have brought down the WTC buildings, so they were rigged with bombs, especially WTC7, which wasn’t targeted by a plane. For some reason, the bombs in WTC7 didn’t go off on schedule, so Larry Silverstein ordered it to be “pulled” at the end of the day–not only implicating himself but providing a smoking gun for conspiracy theorists. A bomb in WTC7 did go off in the morning; housing commissioner Barry Jennings witnessed it (and was murdered by the conspirators for his candor, but not before he’d given a bunch of interviews). If WTC landlord Larry Silverstein was in control of the bombs then he must have been a key player in the conspiracy. But what did he stand to gain by attacking the Pentagon and that field in Shanksville, PA? How did he get access to missiles and fighter jets? What was so important about WTC7 that it had to be destroyed, even at the risk of exposing the conspiracy? If he was only a minor player–a subcontractor, as it were–then how come his controllers didn’t keep a tighter rein on him?

Karl Popper defined the conspiracy theory of society as “the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.” So who had an interest in the events of 9/11? It depends upon who you talk to. Leftists say that Bush/Cheney needed a casus belli to attack Iraq and secure its oil; radical Libertarians say that the oligarchs who control the US needed a “false flag” incident so they could suspend civil liberties–although few if any of them have been silenced or jailed or censored since 9/11; Alex Jones is still on the air and the Web, Steven Jones and David Ray Griffin are publishing and speaking; only a handful of American citizens have been tortured and imprisoned without charges–most of the people at Gitmo and other secret facilities are foreign nationals. And aren’t Bush/Cheney out of power? How secure is our hold on Iraq/Iran?

Many conspiracists–many more than I would have believed before I got professionally involved with conspiracy theory–believe that 9/11 was a Jewish plot. The Jews, in their telling, are interested in two things: money and Israel. Silverstein’s outsized role in the conspiracy is explained by his surname and his greed–9/11 was insurance fraud, a way for him to improve his investment. Israel wanted us to fight Iraq and their other Arab enemies. But the Bush administration was already militantly pro-Israel. And how have the Jews in general profited from 9/11? If it all comes down to Silverstein’s wanting to rebuild the WTC site on the insurance company’s dime without having to pay for asbestos abatement or demolition, then where are his shiny new buildings?

Conspiracists devise their theories in order to explain the otherwise unexplained–which is precisely what I find so confusing about 9/11 Conspiracy theory. Instead of clarifying things, 9/11 Conspiracy Theory makes them even more complicated than they were. Why a missile at the Pentagon? A bomb at WTC7? No plane at all at Shanksville? If Iraq was the ultimate target and the hijackers were fictitious, then why didn’t the plotters invent some Iraqi hijackers? Why didn’t they arrange to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq–or better yet (since these people have no compunctions about killing huge numbers of innocents) actually use some of them? If the Jews did it, then how come I didn’t get the memo? If the Israelis did it to gain American sympathy for their cause, then why did the supposed Mossad operatives who prove it (Sivan Kurzberg and the rest of the Weehawken Seven) jeopardize the project by publicly celebrating the destruction?

But mostly what I don’t understand is why celebrities’ sexual secrets–which involve just two people (a president and an intern, a golfer and a cocktail waitress, a senator and his chief of staff’s wife)–are so much harder to keep under wraps than something as vast and world-shaking as 9/11.

10 thoughts on “What Celebrity can teach us about Conspiracy Theory

  1. There are actually two Flight 93 conspiracy theories. One of them–the theory that 9/11 was perpetrated by the Bush administration–is bogus, as can be determined by simply checking any of the proclaimed evidence. Much of this so-called evidence was deliberately taken out of the contexts which demonstrate the opposite of what is claimed. See, for example, the Loose Change idiots, who used bits of footage and documents to concoct an explicitly fictional story that they decided to start calling real once the anti-Bush morons started believing it. Similarly for what is not explicitly fraudulent. None of the “9/11 truth garbage stands up to any kind of scrutiny, as Popular Mechanics demonstrated.

    Then there is the claim that the planned memorial to Flight 93 (0riginally called “Crescent of Embrace”) is actually a terrorist memorial mosque, which is 100% true. Again, this can be easily determined just by checking the easily checkable facts.

    Want to check the claim that a person standing between the tips of the giant crescent and facing into the center of the crescent will be facing almost exactly at Mecca? Just use any online Mecca direction calculator (like qiblalocator.com) to print out a graphic of the direction to Mecca from Somerset PA. Place this graphic over the Crescent of Embrace site plan on your computer screen and you will see that the Mecca-line almost exactly bisects the giant crescent. Takes literally two minutes. Links at my link.

    Want to verify that every mosque is built around a Mecca direction indicator called a mihrab, and that the classic mihrab is crescent shaped? Again, following my links to the documentation, this verification takes literally 2 minutes.

    The list goes on an on, as far as you want to check it. A full featured mosque includes about a dozen typical mosque features. All are manifest in the Crescent of Embrace design, all on the same epic scale as the half mile wide mihrab.

    In addition to being important in itself (the need to stop another Islamic plot that is proceeding unimpeded because our elites are scared of being branded “Islamophobic,” not unlike the case of Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood massacre), the Flight 93 mosque is also a revealing test case for people who claim to debunk conspiracy theories. If the truth is that there is a real conspiracy, will they follow the truth to that conclusion, or are they just anti-conspiracy nuts, only trivially different from the conspiracy nuts they debunk, fixated on their presumptive conclusion to the exclusion of reason and evidence, whether that conclusion be that there is or isn’t a conspiracy in the particular case?

    There IS such a thing as a real conspiracy, as al Qaeda’s 9/11 plot proves. Flight 93 is supposed to be the symbol of our woken vigilance. It would be most perverse if antipathy to recognizing conspiracy were to result in the Flight 93 becoming a monument instead to our rejection of the vigilance demonstrated by the murdered heroes of that tragic flight. I invite you to demonstrate that you are neither a conspiracy nut nor an anti-conspiracy nut, but a truth lover, following the facts wherever they may lead.

    I don’t know if you are left or right and I do not care. The need to stop a demonstrable al Qaeda sympathizing plot is something we should all be able to agree on.

      1. Thanks for taking a look Arthur. I would make a distinction between fact checking and endorsing. It is only fact checking that is needed. Whether one endorses my particular interpretation of the facts is unimportant.

        For instance, whether the Mecca-orientation of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent is intentional (my view, based on a mountain of evidence), or coincidental (as the Park Service claims), the American people just need to know the fact that the crescent really does point to Mecca, so they can decide for themselves whether it is okay to have the memorial laid out in the shape of a mosque, whether it be on purpose or by accident.

        The Park Service acknowledges the almost-exact Mecca orientation in its internal documents, but denies it in public, even trotting out an academic fraud to tell the public that there is no such thing as a direction on planet earth:

        “Daniel Griffith, a geospatial information sciences professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round.”
        http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07230/810465-85.stm

        Yet Griffith’s own internal report to the Park Service starts out by affirming the almost exact Mecca orientation of the crescent:

        “In other words, the arithmetic computations reported by Mr. Rawls are correct (except for what can be considered rounding error).”
        http://www.nps.gov/flni/parkmgmt/upload/01052007-2.pdf

        This is posted on the Park Service’s own website. They tried at first to release only part of the internal report, but when I produced some further bits that they had not made public, they put up some unedited documents. (Griffith’s is padded with pages of idiotic cavils before he finally acknowledges that I am right about the only thing he was asked to assess: whether the giant crescent actually does point to Mecca).

        The first issue here is the Park Service lying to the public about things that the public would not tolerate. In addition to Griffith, the Park Service sought advice from two Muslim scholars, both of whom acknowledge the likeness to a mihrab while offering patently dishonest (and mutually exclusive) excuses for dismissing this likeness. One said not to worry, no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before. (http://www.nps.gov/flni/parkmgmt/upload/memorialdesignbriefingpaper.pdf ) Think the public would by that one? Neither does the Park Service, which is why they deny the Mecca orientation when talking to the press.

        The other Islamic scholar claimed that to be considered a proper mihrab, the Mecca orientation would have to be exact. (Also at the nps.gov link.) This is an obvious lie, since for most of Islam’s 1400 year history, far flung Muslims had no accurate way to determine the direction to Mecca, with the result that many of the world’s most famous mosques are oriented 10, 20, 30 or degrees away from Mecca. The Flight 93 crescent, pointing less than three degrees from Mecca, is highly accurate by Islamic standards.

        The Park Service covers all this up by telling the public that the crescent does not point to Mecca at all. The documents to prove they are knowingly misleading the public are all available on the Park Service’s own website, but the press won’t cover it. As with so many other things, the only way the truth gets out is if the blogosphere is able to circulate this information.

  2. Your heavy-handed and biased account of “conspiracy theorists” bespeaks your own agenda. “Leftists” believe Bush responsible?
    How abou the hundreds of uniformed police, firemen, pilots, and armed forces members who are decidely NOT “leftist” who are convinced that 9/11 was perpetrated by forces within the US Government?

    Planes did NOT bring down any of the WTC buildings, especially true for WTC7 which you seem to be ignorant of, was NOT STRUCK by one.

    FACT: No building can be brought down by fire in a symmetrical, free-fall collapse. It is a violation of the laws of physics, despite what NIST attempts to prove (and doesn’t). You need pre-planted explosives. Conspiracy. Period.

    1. “Airplanes couldn’t have brought down the WTC buildings, so they were rigged with bombs, especially WTC7, which wasn’t targeted by a plane. For some reason, the bombs in WTC7 didn’t go off on schedule, so Larry Silverstein ordered it to be “pulled” at the end of the day–not only implicating himself but providing a smoking gun for conspiracy theorists.”

      How could you think I didn’t know that WTC7 wasn’t struck by an airplane? For what it’s worth (and I know that anecdotal evidence isn’t worth very much), I was an eyewitness to the attack. I have a close family member who worked in WTC7 too.

  3. Hollis Glaser,

    Nonsense. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was kept secret for 40 years. What are you talking about? Threats, intimidation prove very effective in keeping secrets. So does overwhelming profits.

    Please.

  4. ‘FACT: No building can be brought down by fire in a symmetrical, free-fall collapse. It is a violation of the laws of physics, despite what NIST attempts to prove (and doesn’t). You need pre-planted explosives. Conspiracy. Period.’

    And herein lies the central problem with conpiracists: the assertion of opinions as ‘facts’. They aren’t facts – they’re merely your assertions.

    Placing the word ‘fact’ at the end of an assertion and stamping your feet like a child doesn’t make it a fact any more than me writing ‘I am George Clooney’s more handsome brother. Fact’ makes it so.

    1. I’m not big on ad hominems, but Joseph Ciolino posted this himself on AE911Truth.

      I am a classical pianist and music historian. I believe our republic has been hijacked by a rogue government. I’m not an expert but the first time I saw a video of the collapse of Building 7 I knew in my heart that it was a planned demolition.

      In other words, his “proof” is his intuition.

  5. I found it interesting that the corporate puppet, Tiger Woods was mentioned in this piece. What’s even more curious is how Tiger Woods’ February 19th, 2010 press conference, just happened to be staged on the same day that the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’s press conferences took place. The AE911truth press conferences were planned long before Tiger Woods’ puppet masters decided he should have his. And guess what press conference garnered all the attention on the 6 o’clock news that day and which ones didn’t even get a mention?

    It amazes me how obvious it all is, yet people’s memories are short and denial seems to be fashionable. Make no mistake about it, I am no Clinton supporter and let’s cast conspiracy “theories” aside for a moment , and let’s remember, the US gov’t spent more on investigating a presidential blow-job, than it did on the blantant presidential lies and betrayal that led nations to war in Iraq; costing billions of dollars and countless lives. In other words, even when it’s not conspiracy theory, but right out in the open and in everyone’s face, these scoundrels get away with it and so many people are willing to just shrug it off. Then the new administration comes in and says, “Let’s not dwell on the past; let’s just move forward.” Hmmm…can the people ever win with this system we got? And it’s so unhealthy when there is so much distrust in gov’t. I’m mean, why should any young person join the military if they’re clued into what’s really going on? It’s a sad situation…so very sad. I heard a friend say that the young people coming home in caskets, from the war, aren’t so much heroes, but rather suckers. As much as it stung to hear those words…well…
    :’0(

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