Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Was 911 Caused by Global Warming?

with 26 comments


People keep helpfully sending me articles and such about the 911 conspiracy. Clearly a subject of some interest among people. 911 conspiracy theorists argue that the 911 attacks were an inside job, that elements of the Bush administration conspired to blow up the WTC and attack the Pentagon in order to justify and launch Bush’s War on Terror. The first question I always ask these folks is to explain the significance of the date: 9-11. If they can’t answer that, I know I am dealing with someone who hasn’t bothered to acquaint themselves with even the most basic superficial facts about 911, and I can safely turn my Ipod back up while they drone on happily about robot planes, missiles, and shaped charges. Hint: It wasn’t due to the fact that 911 is the emergency phone number in the USA.

However, since this ties in neatly with my obsession with logic and fallacious arguments, I thought I’d discuss a few random elements of the ever evolving 911 conspiracy theory. In fact the theory has grown to almost breathtaking levels, if they are to be believed 911 was the most elaborate conspiracy in history involving not only the destruction of the buildings, but elaborate plots to feed the media false information and even including such things as having witnesses on the scene to mislead the public about what they saw. At this rate, in a few years the conspiracy is going to involve everyone in America who doesn’t believe in the 911 conspiracy. Yes, that’s right, my anti-Bush and anti-war stand is all elaborate cover, I too must be part of the conspiracy. Sigh.

My first problem with the theory is this. The 911 conspiracy people are claiming that one of the most disorganized, politically and ideologically driven, and dare I say it, corrupt administrations in US history managed to put together the most elaborate conspiracy in history in their first few months of office? And not only pulled it off, but have continued the deception to this day? A conspiracy that must have involved hundreds of people, and a huge paper and email trail, yet not a single person nor shred of evidence has come to light? I mean, we are talking about the Bush administration here, right? The people who couldn’t even be bothered to plan the occupation of Iraq? Frankly, I have trouble moving past just this objection.

Another thing that others me is the method now being used to support their theories. Lately there has been a big push to obsessively go over every minute of news coverage that day and every other shred of information about that day in search of discrepancies in the time line, factual inaccuracies, or other evidence that supports their theory. While I admire their diligence, this type of evidence gathering is called retrofitting. This is where you search for evidence that supports your theory. This is neither logical nor scientific, because using this method one can support any theory. Using this method Velikovsky “proved” that Venus was spawned by Jupiter in historic times and Gavin Menzies “proved” that the Chinese circumnavigated the globe in 1421. Neither of those “theories” has any validity either, they have both failed miserably when put to any sort of scientific and logical enquiry.

In other words, because a reporter claimed that WTC 7 had collapsed when it was still standing behind her in the distance proves nothing except that a lot of rumour and mistakes were broadcast that very confused day. I’m sure she nor anyone else watching knew what WTC 7 even looked like, so confusion is understandable. I might also add, why in the name of God would people who were engineering a plot that would murder thousands of Americans go the the insane extra risk of involving elements of the media in their plan? It doesn’t make sense, in fact it’s kind of silly that it is even being seriously suggested.

Moving on to a few specifics now, the whole steel framed building thing. It’s been claimed that no steel framed building ever collapsed because of fire. This simply isn’t true of course, steel framed buildings burn and collapse all the time, what I think they mean as that no traditional steel framed skyscraper has ever collapsed as the result of a fire. This is true, no doubt about it, at least until 911 no traditional steel framed skyscraper had collapsed as a result of a fire. However, and it’s a pretty big however, there’s two major problems with this line of reasoning.

The first is that there has never been a fuel filled airliner crashing into a skyscraper before. So we are dealing with a unique situation here, not only was there a fire, there was also extensive damage caused by the crashing airliner. The thousands of gallons of fuel they was carrying added considerably to the fuel load in the building. (Some have tried to claim that the kerosene was all burned off in the initial crash and explosion, this is simply wrong, kerosene is about the least explosive liquid fuel.) So basically we have a fire of unprecedented scope burning in these buildings, fuelled by jet fuel, as well as hundreds of tons of furnishings, paper, carpeting, and sadly…human body fat. This enormous fire and crash damage is unprecedented, and it’s simply inaccurate and misleading to compare it to previous much smaller fires in steel framed buildings.

Secondly, a point that 911 conspiracists seem to be for the most part completely ignorant of, the two towers were not a traditional steel framed building. Their construction style was in fact unique, no other building has ever been built like them. Instead of relying on a huge heavy steel framework that basically just sat there and supported itself through its own massive structural strength, the WTC consisted of a much lighter inner and outer steel lattice cores that were dynamically supported by the floors attaching the two frameworks to each other. Each whole building was one big structurally interconnected unit, and if they inner and out steel cores became disconnected, the whole house of cards would collapse. This is what most experts believe happened, the steel clips attaching the floors to the inner and outer frame were weakened by the fire to the point where they failed, and the whole shebang came down.

As for WTC 7 collapsing some hours later, and it was a traditional steel framed building, here we have a situation where an uncontrolled fire burned for hours. And WTC 7 was badly damaged by debris from the collapsing twin towers. Again, a unique and unprecedented situation. My point is that there is no need to invoke shaped charges or other exotic causes to explain the collapse of these buildings. There’s nothing mysterious about how and why they collapsed.

Oh well, as usual I expect outraged people to post links proving that I am wrong. The conspiracy theory is never going to go away, so in some senses I’m pissing into the wind here. It’s a shame really, because all this distracts people from the real and important questions about 911. The main thing being, how the hell did the most profligately funded defense and intelligence agencies in history fail so badly to detect and prevent this perfectly predictable attack? Let me review: Known target, known enemy who had tried to destroy the target before, method of attack that had been discussed as early as 1970. Frankly I find the almost mind numbing incompetence that allowed this to happen to be far more frightening than any conspiracy, and I do wonder if the conspiracists are sticking to their theory because it’s more comforting than the possibility that our bloated government and defense institutions really are basically useless?

This is the real tragedy of 911, and the reason it will happen again someday. The incompetence and internal politics that allowed 911 to happen have not only not been addressed, the people who allowed the problem to happen simply added another layer of bureaucracy to “fix” the problem. Not to mention adding fat to the fire by invading foreign countries and taking sides in insurgencies all over the world that had nothing to do with the USA, and thus inspiring millions of people who couldn’t have found America on a map to hate our guts. Yeah, that’s gonna help.

This is why I don’t worry abut another 911. It’s like worrying about the sun coming up, what’s the point? I just hope I’m not nearby when it happens.

(The above image of a flag found at the WTC site is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it is an historically important image. Credit: McCormick Tribune Foundation Freedom Museum)

Written by unitedcats

June 20, 2007 at 10:16 am

26 Responses

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  1. So, what is the significance of the date 9/11?


    June 20, 2007 at 10:46 am

  2. It was the date the British mandate in Palestine was granted by the League of Nations in 1922, and the creation of a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine got its start. It’s a significant and infamous date to Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general. Sorry, meant to link that in the post but hit “publish” by mistake.


    June 20, 2007 at 11:02 am

  3. Thanks, I did not know that.

    Great post by the way.


    June 20, 2007 at 11:08 am

  4. To many points to compliment you on. Great post I hope the “theorists” don’t come after your facts.I hope they read them but…


    June 20, 2007 at 11:35 am

  5. Fantastic. These guys never get past the a-priori nonsense; you cherry-pick and misinterpret information to support pretty much anything you want.


    June 20, 2007 at 11:45 am

  6. Doug,

    9/11 is also the anniversary of the US Marines invasion of Honduras in 1919.

    And a lot of other things.

    I doubt the Palestine mandate of 1922 can be given as the cause of this event.

    Why hasn’t there been a criminal investigation of 9/11/01?


    June 20, 2007 at 8:03 pm

  7. I was not saying it was the cause of 911, OBL was very clear that his cause was American troops stationed in sacred Muslim land. It was just the reason that particular date was chosen.

    They don’t want an investigation because it would reveal just how incompetent our intelligence and defense institutions are, the Neocons had their casus belli and ran with it. I do think it’s possible that some elements of our government had wind that an attack was afoot, and did nothing to prevent it, never dreaming that a few hijacked airliners could do such damage.


    June 20, 2007 at 8:16 pm

  8. If OBL has confessed that would seem more than sufficient evidence to get a grand jury indictment.

    Please tell me why we should believe any theory that isn’t tested in court?


    June 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm

  9. Well said Douglas, and as you concluded why are we not discussing why this came about, ie invading foreign countries and generally putting American noses where they don’t belong? Why is it so difficult for Americans to understand that they do not have the inalienable right to boldly go where no uncorrupted Government would ever dream of going? To so many of my friends world-wide this attitude/policy is simply outrageous at best, and is gaining them more enemies every day; not just fanatics, but thoughtful people who care whether we continue to fight pointless wars for the next century or turn our collective minds to more important things like global warming, mass extinction of wildlife and indigenous people the world over, and which Springfield will win the contest to host the premier of the Simpson’s movie!


    June 20, 2007 at 8:56 pm

  10. Agree with you there, 911 was a crime and should have been treated as such. By treating it as an act of war because it suited their agenda, Bush and company gave OBL undreamed of legitimacy.


    June 20, 2007 at 9:00 pm

  11. There’s no statute of limitations on murder. Charges can still be filed, at any time. This should happen asap.


    June 20, 2007 at 10:20 pm

  12. Hell, that would reveal just how badly the FBI botched what investigation there was, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. —Doug


    June 21, 2007 at 6:44 am

  13. Almost sounds like a conspiracy theory, Doug.

    Of course we remember that one plane that wasn’t grounded. All other air travel was at complete ground stop.


    June 21, 2007 at 10:15 am

  14. Some conspiracies are very real, the Watergate Cover-up or the Contra Affair for example. There are suspicious things about the aftermath of 911. I wish that got as much attention as shaped charges or Pentagon missile fantasies. Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter, other than aid in understanding how we got into this self perpetuating mess called the “Global War on Terror.” The important thing is to figure out how to avoid making this war worse, if not actually get out of it. —Doug


    June 21, 2007 at 10:36 am

  15. I suspend my judgment on all of those things, Doug. I certainly think that the Bush administration moved quickly to profit from 9/11.


    June 21, 2007 at 10:40 am

  16. (Excuse me, I don’t suspend judgment on there being conspiracies, or Watergate and Iran-Contra having been notable examples.)


    June 21, 2007 at 10:41 am

  17. Speaking of conspiracies, have you any thoughts on the pending jail sentence of I. Lewis Libby?


    June 21, 2007 at 10:48 am

  18. The whole situation never sounded too important to me in the greater scheme of things, so I haven’t really followed it. I’ll read up on it. —Doug


    June 21, 2007 at 11:03 am

  19. It’s related to how we went to war in Iraq on false information (propaganda).

    The argument was largely based (at the time) on the assumption that Saddam Hussein had or was attempting to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction including quantities of uranium from Niger, Africa.

    Nothing could have been further from the truth.


    June 21, 2007 at 2:39 pm

  20. A few minutes spent reading thru the morning’s events on 911 timeline reveals a complete chaos of communication, in every way, on every front, that gives the lie to any possible conspiracy – a word which suggests at least a modicum of organized efforts. It makes for hilarious reading, if it weren’t also so sad.


    June 22, 2007 at 6:20 pm

  21. Zo,

    There was a conspiracy.

    It isn’t possible to doubt this.

    One person cannot bring down four airplanes.


    June 22, 2007 at 7:55 pm

  22. Not possible to doubt ? One person cannot bring down 4 planes. 19 highly trained,well financed and ultra dedicated people could/did.Libby perjury and obstruction ,good reasons for lock up. The conspiracy there though is special prosecutor ends up prosecuting on an unrelated matter. Think hard.I’m begging ya. Bush et al in your mind kill 3ooo people on 9/11. Thrust the economy to a near tragic place and launch a war they wanted ? But the same people couldn’t quietly whack a pseudo-spy and her beltway hack husband.


    June 23, 2007 at 2:18 pm

  23. in2thefray:

    “19 highly trained,well financed and ultra dedicated people could/did.”

    That’s a conspiracy. 19 people.

    This evidence should be tried, and those involved beyond the 19 (presuming that it is broader than just those few) should be charged and convicted.


    June 23, 2007 at 2:20 pm

  24. I just learned that California has a sitting grand jury in every county at all times.

    I wonder how citizen complaints are handled in New York.


    June 23, 2007 at 2:29 pm

  25. […] involving charges being placed in the building. I’ve explained at length why the “aeroplanes brought down the towers” theory works just fine, it’s simple and fits the observed evidence. Let’s try […]

  26. Sorry this is a little late, but I’ve noted that your wiki link says the British Mandate officially began on the 29th September 1923. There are other dates associated with the mandate:

    From Martin Gilbert’s “Jerusalem in the 20th century”, p85 and p100, 101:

    Lloyd George accepts a mandate from the League of Naitons, 24th April 1920;

    24th July 1922 League of Nations approves Mandate;

    16th September 1922 League decides to establish the Jewish Agency.

    I don’t find a reference to the date 9/11 1922.


    July 4, 2007 at 2:09 am

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