9/11 conspiracy theories

Office workers jump from the World Trade Center towers, September 11, 2001. Did a lone wolf group pull this off? Or is this an example of the threat of the religion of many wolves called Islam? Some say it's a false-flag pseudo-op, and political prisoners will soon follow.
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The saddest part of remembering September 11 is dealing with the myriads of 9/11 conspiracy theories, of both American and Arabic origin. Herewith some samples and a rebuttal.

9/11 conspiracy theories: the general thrust

The second plane hits the South Tower. Some 9/11 conspiracy theories said that this plane did not exist.

United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into 2 World Trade Center, September 11, 2001

All 9/11 conspiracy theories share this premise: the nineteen Arab suspects (mostly Saudi Arabian nationals) did not do the deed. Behind that premise lies another: that the Arabs did not have that combination of motive, opportunity and means that makes a murder case. Motive aside, many Americans cannot believe that anything less than a superpower military could lay on a complex operation like September 11. And many (though not all) Arabs want to deny that nineteen co-ethnics (and co-religionists) did such a thing.

Beyond that, those who propound these theories name different culprits, each with their own motives, opportunities, and means. What culprits anyone names says as much about his own motives as about those of the ones he accuses.

American 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: the Truther Movement

In American politics, a truther is anyone who accuses the United States government of engineering the September 11 attacks. (They have that name because they insist that they know the truth about what happened.) According to this site (and this), some of the 9/11 conspiracy theories are very wild. Some say that the hijackers of the four flights involved were covert US operatives on a suicide mission. Others say that the flights did not crash into those buildings, and all the passengers are alive and well on some South Sea island.

Brad Reagan, co-author of Debunking 9/11 Myths, reminds us that the first “truther” theories came out in the first year after the incident. Thierry Meyssan, in L’Effroyable Imposture, said that no aircraft crashed into the Pentagon. Doubtless he believes that the crew and passengers of American Airlines Flight 77 are enjoying an early retirement on Tahiti or Fiji. The problem: forensic scientists have identified DNA from Flight 77 passengers at the Pentagon crash site. So much for the bribed and disappeared passenger theory.

Others admit that the planes that many of us (including your editor) watched as they crashed into those buildings really did crash. But they then say that the government rigged 1 and 2 World Trade Center with controlled-implosion charges. To do that, the presumed US operatives would have had to aim those airliners at the precise floors at the center of upward collapses above, and downward collapses below. UAL 93, according to this narrative, was either a red herring—or aimed at the capital in a bid to destroy Congress and establish the President as a dictator.

This, then, is what moves those Americans who promote 9/11 conspiracy theories. They believe that President George W. Bush sought to:

  1. Justify a grand and old-fashioned campaign to seize Middle East oil fields as spoils of war.
  2. Change the United States into an authoritarian country—a “police state.”

That Congress survived is a miscalculation. So say the “truthers.” (That is, if they think that far. Many of them don’t even consider how UAL 93 complicates their theories, and fatally.)

Arab 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Jihad and Anti-Semitism

As the smoke of 1 and 2 World Trade Center filled the sky above lower Manhattan, Arabs literally danced in the streets of Ramallah and Jericho—or on rooftops in Jersey City. But four days later, according to Dan Klein at Jewish Exponent, the Arabs put out a different party line. According to it, the hijackers were not Arab, but Israeli—and specifically members of Mossad. The Syrian daily Al-Thawra said that Mossad warned 4,000 Jews to stay away from their World Trade Center jobs that day.

Anyone should see that that’s absurd. Nineteen people can keep a secret—but four thousand? Mossad wouldn’t dare give more than a general hint that their co-religionists should stay away. And everyone who got the warning would call the FBI immediately to share what he knew. If Mossad told them the whole story, they could never be sure that every one of the 4,000 would agree to the plan.

Blame America

A third set of theories has been current for the last ten years. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14), as a candidate for President, has said often that the United States has none to blame but itself for what happened. He does not, as the “Truthers” say, suggest that US operatives destroyed the buildings and possibly the planes. Instead he says that US foreign policy, in the Middle East, the Far East, and Soviet Central Asia, provoked the September 11 attacks. Among other things, Paul cites US diplomatic support for Israel against the so-called “Palestinian Arabs” as the provocation. He dares not suggest that the United States owes the Arabs reparations or an apology. But he has said that, absent the “bias” toward Israel and other US military involvement in the Middle East, September 11, 2001 would have passed as an ordinary day, and the World Trade Center would still stand.

The Patriot movement

Sadly, 9/11 conspiracy theories are current within the “Patriot movement.” Those who promote those theories most strenuously, have concluded that the phrase free government is oxymoronic, and that only under anarchy—lack of a ruler—is freedom safe. They cite a number of sad cases of clearly excessive, even unwarranted, use of force against armed suspects. The Ruby Ridge and Waco Incidents are the most prominent incidents they cite. Novelist John Ross (Unintended Consequences) put it this way:

A smashed-up wood-frame building pumped full of CS gas doesn’t say, “Come out.” It says, “You’re dead.”

And so they conclude that any external enemies that the United States seems to have, are either figments of overheated imaginations, or falsely accused scapegoats. In other words, external enemies do not exist. Thus they serve only to excuse the government to abridge civil liberties and keep Americans under constant surveillance. They go further: the government, they say, encourages Americans to “snitch” on one another. The common warning,

If you see something, say something

becomes an open invitation to vengeful or mercenary informers. These soi-disant Patriots would say instead,

If you see something, keep your trap shut, because it’s none of your business!

In rebuttal

Brad Reagan and his friend Dave Dunbar have offered the best scientific rebuttal to the 9/11 conspiracy theories. But no rebuttal will work without addressing the philosophy behind such theories.

Understand this: your editor holds no brief for an agency called the Transportation Security Administration (“Thousands Standing Around”). That agency has used an excess of political correctness, along with plain old-fashioned bully instinct, to make life miserable for air travelers. Some freedom-loving groups sternly tell their members never to fly again until some future action abolishes that agency. (At least, not out of an American airport. Perhaps they recommend driving up to Toronto or Montreal if they need to go overseas.)

But the United States government did not plan or execute the September 11 attacks. Neither did Mossad. That latter is a lie comparable to the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. And those who tell that lie, do so for the same motive.

The kind of people who planned the September 11 attacks are still at large. Indeed, authorities are now looking for three of them, who plan to blow up a car on a bridge or busy street in New York or Washington. The Qu’ran commands them so to act. True enough, a simple car bomb is a damp ladyfinger firecracker compared to hijacking four airliners and crashing them into buildings. But that operation is real, and every American should want someone to stop it.

And the Qu’ranic motive is real. Surah 9:5, the “Verse of the Sword,” couldn’t be clearer:

Fight and slay the infidels wheresoever ye find them! Seize them! Besiege them! Ambush them with every stratagem! But if they repent and follow Allah and pay the poor-due, then let them go their way. Lo! Allah is Forgiving! Merciful!

The government did not make this up. Authoritative Qu’ran translation sites contain this text.

Time travel?

One more element deserves mention, if only to condemn it before it becomes current. Rumors have it that the Russian scientist Vadim Chernobrov has built a device that can displace an object in time. Micah Hanks at MysteriousUniverse.com doubts it. But one other source alleges that the CIA has discovered a “tunnel in time” in the Antarctic and is trying to replicate it. Furthermore, two other Russian mathematicians said more than three years ago that experiments at CERN might prove that time displacement, i.e. time travel, was possible.

Your editor has no reason to believe that Dr. Chernobrov, or CERN, or the CIA has anything like a time machine. But it’s only a matter of time (pardon the pun) before some “truther” charges that Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Robert Patrick, or Sam Worthington, or Kristanna Loken went back into time to plant incriminating texts in the Qu’ran or the Hadiths or both. Nineteen Eighty-four meets The Terminator—for that is how a “truther” thinks.

George W. Bush’s blind spot fuels 9/11 conspiracy theories

Time travel aside, several “Patriots” have asked your editor a rhetorical question to this effect:

If the Muslim enemy is as deadly as you say, then why didn’t George W. Bush seal the border and have all Muslims deported?

The answer: because George W. Bush had a blind spot. He secured the airports (though how effectively, even security professionals dispute) but failed to secure the border. And he made the same mistake that many people make: saying that the nineteen men who hijacked the planes, also hijacked Islam.

Where to go from here?

The various 9/11 conspiracy theories are at best, wastes of time, and at worst, deadly distractions. The man now holding office as President has given the American people ample cause to fear their government. Arguably, certain senior career officers at the FBI and ATF have given more direct cause, and for far longer. But to deny that external enemies exist, ill befits—or behooves—the American people. Sun Tzu would certainly agree that no law of war limits a person’s enemies to one at a time.

So freedom-loving Americans should stop offering theories that independent investigators have already discredited. One can argue whether the American response to the September 11 attacks was and is appropriate in every particular. One can ask why the government has neglected the most basic element of homeland defense: an armed citizenry. One can also ask whether our security is in the most effective hands. But to return to a pre-September 11 world, which itself was not safe (witness Ruby Ridge and Waco), is not only unavailing but impossible. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are a means toward that pre-September 11 return goal. They are the stock-in-trade of leftists and anti-Semites, and have no place in a movement of genuine lovers of freedom.

Featured image: Office workers jump to their deaths from the World Trade Center, preferring death by fall to death by fire.

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Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

16 Responses to 9/11 conspiracy theories

  1. Donald R Laster Jr says:

    Having watched the 2nd plane hit the WTC I can say it was an obvious attack. I would say look at what happened and how Islamic celebrated. Learn the real history of the world.

    • Betsy Ross says:

      I’d say, “Truthers” or not – that there are still very many unanswered questions about 9-11. HUNDREDS. And that the official story most likely is fictionalized to a degree, and whether it was Arabs or whoever, there was an ulterior motive. And after what has occurred this past ten years since, the government has never violated Americans civil rights as much as is now the case.

      As does many Americans who have not had sufficient answers to most of their questions – and just why so many perished in the busiest metropolitan area in this country on a sunny autumn morning.

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  6. Fergus Mason says:

    Unbelievable. Something we agree on. I’m pleased to see that even CNAV thinks “truthers” are nuts.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Of course they are. The evidence pointing to the perpetrators, or at least to those that the government originally identified as such, is overwhelming.

      In my experience, “nine-eleven truthers” fall into two groups:

      1. antiwar, and
      2. anti-Western.

      Both want to discredit the rationale for going to war. The straight anti-war crowd fear the military. “War is the health of the State,” and so forth. The anti-Western crowd don’t want to admit that the Muslims had a big score, and are trying to protect them.

      Little do the anti-Westerners realize that some of their own constituencies would be subject to summary execution if the perpetrators, or at least those who inspired or perhaps even sent them, get their way. And the anti-war crowd never seem to learn this vital lesson:

      Pro pace, para bellum.

      • Aziza says:

        wow are you seriouse? just because some people aren’t eating the [deleted] that they are fed every chance they get and don’t completely kiss ass and trust everybody on telivision it doesnt mean that they’re crazy, or hate war or that they’re trying to protect the Arabs. we are actually OPEN MINDED. we look at ALL of the possibilities. ALL OF THEM. and that doesnt mean that we are oh so fond of the arabs or anyone else in the east, nor are we rascist and discrediting all the signs of their innocence. What proof exactly do you have, besides what you have seen on the news, (which is mostly lies anyways), that anybody had a “celebration” of any kind? oh, right, NONE. and why is it that the government so mysteriously doesn’t have ANY proof or supporting evidence that any foreigners did it? and why is it that it was AIRED ON THE NEWS that it was litterally IMPOSSIBLE for those planes to have done that and that it was RIGGED and exploded from the INSIDE. I’m not saying that the government did it, I’m not saying that any of the conspiracy thingys are true, but I’m trying to say that you shouldn’t go off and ragg on the arabs and all Muslums who are actually kind american citizens just trying to live happy lives nor should you totally allow it on YOUR OWN POST, and by doing that be absolutely disrespectful of those who don’t and WANT to be at peace with people who share the Earth with them. lemme ask you. if you are SUCH a christian man and believe in the bible then why not LOVE THY NEIGHBOOR… LIKE IT SAYS. I apologize about the fact that I don’t agree with taking mindless violence to another country without even attempting trying to reason like a civil being and slottering women and children and helpless village people walking around in socks and sandals. Everybody who has died in this war has don nothing but try to live a normaal life like you and I. how would you feel if another country, lets say russia, brought a war over here and started shooting everyone they saw and hated you and all of the americans that live in russiaas if they were such terrible people? im sure ud think it was unfair right? that your family must be put at risk and your children watched every second to avoid getting their legs blown to shredds in mine feilds. and all of those who ACTUALLY MATTER and deserve to die, and have actually commited criminal acts that are over there are STILL ALIVE AND WELL, ecxept for osama bin laden who people CLAIM has been asassanated. which i honestly believe is totally fake because we didnt see a body AND the government has had a BILLION oppertunities to kill him, interviews and all and this was after 9/11.this page is honestly sad and im tired of every post i read being littered by your own opinions when thats NOT YOUR JOB. BE PROFESSIONAL. you should be trying to sort things out and get the facts not putting whatever you were raised to think wherever you want. shameful.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Where do I begin? I only regret that I did not download a video of an ABC-TV outtake that someone uploaded to some video server, maybe ABC’s own. It showed a film crew that was with an NYC Public Works crew at a manhole. Suddenly they looked up as American Airlines Flight 11 cannoned into the North Tower. “HOLY [CENSORED]!” cried the crew leader, as they then rode to the tower to get close.

          That was a material point. You have said something at clear variance with a material point. And here is another material point: I watched the second aircraft bank sharply and vanish into the South Tower. So I reject out-of-hand every allegation you make about the government rigging those towers to explode. Do you mean to tell me that the Port Authority really installed high explosive on every floor, probably when the building went up?

          Let me tell you something about Islam that you are obviously trying to hide. On the day that those towers fell, I searched three separate authoritative translations of the Koran for the word “Fight.” And I found it. “Fight and slay the infidels wheresoever ye find them!” It couldn’t be any clearer.

          “Trying to live a normal life”? Look, pal, there are two kinds of locals in Iraq and Afghanistan: terrorists and ordinaries. The terrorists fight us; the ordinaries welcome us.

          I don’t need you to tell me how to do my job. Do it once more and I will ban your IP. Consider yourself warned.

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