Conspiracy Theories

Goin' Down to South Park, Gonna Set Off Controlled Demolitions

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Last week's episode of South Park tackled the so-called 9/11 "Truth Movement"* with the kind of ballsy bitterness that can only be fully deployed against people no one takes seriously. Quick recap: Cartman, a 9/11 fantasiast, accuses Kyle of plotting 9/11. In uncovering the truth, Kyle is abducted by President Bush, who reveals that he blew up the WTC. But Kyle and Stan escape the White House and find that the 9/11 conspiracy is actually a government conspiracy cooked up to make the feds look competent—if the president can cover up the murder of 3000 people, is Joe Six Pack going to risk evading his taxes?

During the episode, kooks referred to 911Truth.org as the site to find out the best September 11 nuttery. Lo and behold, the website has latched onto South Park as a marketing device.

Hello, South Park Fans!

To those of you who already know that we don't know what happened on 9/11, you're definitely not alone–our Zogby poll in May found 45% of Americans want a new investigation because we know we were lied to! (Final report here). And for a long list of people within the government and military who also know, check out patriotsquestion911.com.

Another post on the site takes a darker view of Parker and Stone's tomfoolery.

In this episode, they resorted to channeling Beavis and Butthead by spinning out a whole show which was essentially a 30-minute excuse for asking: "How many different alliterative ways can we say "take a shit"? (Heh, heh, he said "fudge dragon"!)

It's funny the first couple of times, but it gets tired. Just like the refusal to face aspects of our collective reality gets tiring. Here's hoping for a fairer portrayal of 9/11 skepticism next time.

It's like Scientology, without the joiner fees.

(*This is the only Truth Movement I want to know about.)

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  1. Oh, well, if they call themselves “skeptics,” then I guess we have to take them seriously.

    Hey man, we’re just, you know, keeping an open mind and waiting for the truth to come out. You can’t really draw a conclusion yet, because there are still so many unanswered questions about global warmin-er, the 9/11 attacks.

    What have got against skepticism, anyway? Questioning is how science works!

  2. Of course, the most numerous and most powerful 911 conspiracy theorists are the people who think Iraq was behind it all…

  3. i was actually troubled by episode, particularly for the fat that a proper investigation was not conducted, that even the balless investigation was stonewalled by the bush admin, and that instead of ceding, at the very least, the notion that we deserve a real investigation and real answers, that those of us who suspect are government of wrongdoing are somehow dimwitted. i thought libertarians favored being skeptical and suspicious of government. and the notion that our governments are entirely inept and useless bespeaks a dark cynicism that betrays any defense of government at all.

  4. Still, the WTC buildings remain the only set I know about to fall ON CAMERA as if by controlled demolition, despite being allegedly brought down by the fire of the airliner crashes. Note that the NYC high-rise, into which that baseball pitcher flew last week, burned more as we expect a building to burn after being hit by an airplane.

    The WTC area was a crime scene. Why did officials cart off all the evidence without serious examination so quickly?

    Whoever was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, if there are good answers to the above questions, those answers have not been publicized. As long as those holes in our understanding remain, conspiracy theories will grow in them.

  5. As Penn and Teller noted on their Bullshit! show about conspiracy theories, there’s a difference between being skeptical and just “making shit up.”

    Questioning official explinations = being skeptical, turning those questions into a story of the American government’s culpability and prior knowledge of the 9-11 attacks, without evidence = making shit up.

  6. The best part of the episode, to me – the one thing that summed up my reaction to the truthers – had to be when Kyle sort of cocked his head and said “huh”.

    And I have to echo LL’s comment right above regarding Penn and Teller – if you haven’t seen that episode, see it now. If you have and know some people who haven’t seen it, show it to them. Tie people down if you have to.

  7. Which is worse – being skeptical about the official 9/11 story or considering South Park to have any merit whatsoever as social satire?

  8. For this South Park episode in article form (curiously similar), see Matt Taibbi’s “The Idiocy Behind the ‘9/11’ Truth Movement.”

    http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/42181/

    CHENEY: Of course, just toppling the Twin Towers will never be enough. No one would give us the war mandate we need if we just blow up the Towers. Clearly, we also need to shoot a missile at a small corner of the Pentagon to create a mightily underpublicized additional symbol of international terrorism — and then, obviously, we need to fake a plane crash in the middle of fucking nowhere somewhere in rural Pennsylvania.

    RUMSFELD: Yeah, it goes without saying that the level of public outrage will not be sufficient without that crash in the middle of fucking nowhere.

  9. The best part of the episode is where they state matter-of-factly that “25% of all Americans are retarded,” which explains conspiracy theorists.

    And when Stan asks at the end, “well, who IS responsible for 9/11?” they answer, “A bunch of pissed-off muslims of course. What are you, retarded?”

    That’s how I feel about anyone who talks about “controlled demolitions” despite the scientific evidence so well layed out by the editors at Popular Mechanics and others.

  10. “Retarded.”

    That word will never stop being funny.
    And useful.

    the WTC buildings remain the only set I know about to fall ON CAMERA as if by controlled demolition, despite being allegedly brought down by the fire of the airliner crashes.

    See?

  11. … or considering South Park to have any merit whatsoever as social satire?

    Oh, they definitely have done social satire with merit. For example, as a smug Prius owner, I can assure you they completely nailed their satire of smug Prius owners.

  12. Interesting to attack skeptics….coming from posters on a site backed by a political movement that questions the existence of global warming, tobacco-related cancers and the relationship between drunk-driving and car accidents.

  13. ” Note that the NYC high-rise, into which that baseball pitcher flew last week, burned more as we expect a building to burn after being hit by an airplane.”

    yes, because the 2 passenger private plane, flying at low speed is comparable to a full sized jet airliner, traveling at over 500 mph and loaded with thousands of gallons of fuel…

    lol…

    talk about “retarded”

  14. South Park was funny.

    Then Matt and Trey met John Stossel and put him in charge of all story ideas. Now it is lame. Sure there is a funny bit every once in awhile (they still have comic timing), but the heartfelt message required for each episode has gotten tiresome and gets in the way of the comedy far too often.

  15. Which is worse, Ed, to be retarded or a fucking anonymous loser jerk who has no problem insulting people who never did anything to him. i.e., pathetic?

    The way some people get their kicks is … well, retarded.

    Ed, if you have useful answers to the questions, produce them. If you can’t, you’re worse than a jerk or retarded. You’re a wannabe drover. Quit wasting the time of real people.

  16. 1) The buildings fell on camera because the plane crashes happened, attracting every camera crew in NYC and the surrounding area.

    2) We know the crashes happened because at least one of them was caught on camera (both? not sure) and there were numerous eyewitnesses to both of them.

    3) Given the subject matter of this thread, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tim Cavanaugh for banning Dave W.

  17. Oh, well, if they call themselves “skeptics,” then I guess we have to take them seriously.

    Hey man, we’re just, you know, keeping an open mind and waiting for the truth to come out. You can’t really draw a conclusion yet, because there are still so many unanswered questions about global warmin-er, the 9/11 attacks-er, “Evolution” .

    What have got against skepticism, anyway? Questioning is how science works!

    -sorry guys, couldn’t resist.

  18. Well, there is EVIDENCE that a certain people with links to poisoning wells in the past had foreknowledge of the attacks. There is NO evidence YET that THEY carried out the attacks, but…

  19. Whit, your comment would make sense if the airliners had blown up and immediately consumed the buildings. They didn’t, and we all saw it. Fire spreading throughout the building over time is the official explanation of the collapse of not only the two that got hit by planes but also the third WTC building that was hit by nothing.

    In the crash last week, a similar thing happened. A fire was started by an airplane crash, it spread, and … no collapse, nothing close to it. Now, of course we’re talking about different buildings, different times and means of construction, and many other variables. But my point is that THIS building burned as we expect buildings to burn — as every other highrise except the WTC towers EVER burned.

    As I said to Ed, if you can answer the questions or provide other explanation, great. But if all you have to offer is insult, take it to Comedy Central. After they ran that excreable roast of Shatner recently, I suspect that you are in their demographic.

  20. James Anderson Merritt is the only thing funnier than South Park I’ve seen this week.

    Seriously, dude, the Cory Lidle crash is different from the WTC crash in the same way that if I crash into your house with my bicycle it’s going to cause a different reaction than if I crash into your house with an M1-A1 Abrams tank.

    Saying that every building other than the WTC burned differently would be more helpful if you could point us to another building that got hit by a fully-loaded airliner.

  21. Making fun of reta-, er, conspiracy theorists is what this thread is about, JAM.

    Lighten up. Maybe your football helmet is on too tight.

  22. James Anderson Merritt

    If you have real questions, most can be addressed here.

    http://www.debunking911.com/

    I watched it happen live on the streets of NYC.
    There was no controlled demolition.

    Dr. T.

    Both planes/crashes were caught on camera.

  23. James, how many other highrises have burned while filled with enough fuel to send a large passenger jet across the continent?

  24. James,

    The difference was in the sprinkler systems, and the size of the buildings.

    If you look at the most recent crash site, you will find a building honeycombed with internal walls designed to contain fires.

    The plane did not penetrate beyond the outer row of appartments and the sprinkler system was not compromised.

    In the WTC incident, the aircraft pnetrated deep into the structure, with some parts even flying out the other side. The sprinkler system was destroyed and the entire floor burned.

    So, in one building you had a small fire in a building designed to contain fires in very small spaces, wherein the fire was aggressively fought. In the other case you had a big, uncontrolled fire affecting the entire area of the structure on multiple floors.

    When I was in the Navy, one of my battle stations was to be in charge of a repair locker. I know how quickly unfought fires can weaken steel. A wood or paper fire with sufficient air in an enclosed space can quickly raise the temperature of the walls to > 1000 F.

  25. The script has been written; BushCo is evil. 911 theories help confirm that, therefore they are correct. Questioning them is futile.

  26. As James Meigs from Popular Mechanics put it, “The collapse of the World Trade Center is the most intensively studied engineering failure in world history, and thousands of pages of reports, experts, some affiliated with various branches of government, major engineering schools, there’s no indication in any of that work to support any of these ideas of demolition or anything like that.”

    And that Comedy Central Shatner roast did give us this gem:

    “And speaking of Bill, Betty White just shat-ner pants.”

  27. Which is worse – being skeptical about the official 9/11 story or considering South Park to have any merit whatsoever as social satire?

    ——–

    Please just go away. Your act has worn very thin.

  28. Ed: First, there was nothing in my post about conspiracy theories. I did indicate that I found official explanations of the collapse unconvincing against the visual evidence available to me. I certainly said I never doubted the facts that planes crashed into buildings. Your response was to label my comments “retarded.” So if this thread is about making fun of conspiracy theorists, then you far exceeded the job description. Asking me to lighten up after unprovoked insult is … further insult. I realize that some people get their kicks by taking pot shots anonymously, but that only begs for a moderator.

    Brian24: Your comparison is not apt at all. If the planes had AT ANY TIME, exploded in huge fireballs and consumed the entire buildings, then you would have a point. But what actually happened is that the bulk of the two towers stayed up even after the crashes, and it allegedly took spreading fire inside to weaken the building steel enough to permit the “pancaking” effect. In last week’s crash, there was fire well above and beyond the immediate crash effects also. Yet nothing like the WTC collapse occurred. Tarran’s post concerning the internal firefighting system in last week’s high rise was on point, but such explanations make me curious as to how the 9/11 crashes destroyed the sprinkler systems throughout the WTC towers, when we would have expected such systems to provide some mitigation of the fire at least in some parts of the buildings.

    Thoreau: Et tu? Man, I feel like one of the lower floors of Building 6 after all of the piling on here. Again, if there had been a huge fireball explosion to consume one or more buildings, the business about each plane carrying “enough fuel to cross a continent” would make more sense. But, as far as we can tell, the contribution of this fuel, whatever it may have been, was a lot less remarkable.

  29. Why stop at 9/11? I’m sure everything else is under control of the Freemasons and their dark plots.

  30. Fire spreading throughout the building over time is the official explanation of the collapse of not only the two that got hit by planes

    The fire did not spread through the whole building. However it was intense enough and did enough damage to critical structural members in the four or five floors immediately affected that the whole structure was fatally compromised. The lower floors collapsed from the upper floors collapsing on them. They were designed to support the static load above not a dynamic load of tons of debris crashing down.

    but also the third WTC building that was hit by nothing.

    The third WTC building was hit by the facade of one of the towers which actually did fall away from the tower. So much for “controlled demolition”.

    The WTC area was a crime scene. Why did officials cart off all the evidence without serious examination so quickly?

    They needed to remove debris to recover remains. There was no room to store it on site. Exhaustive examination was conducted on materials (everthing from structural steel to the fireproofing) at the offsite locations they were taken to.

    Whoever was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, if there are good answers to the above questions, those answers have not been publicized.

    Every answer I gave above is either from a NOVA episode on PBS or the Popular Mechanics debunking articles.

    It is entirely reasonable to have a healthy skepticism of official explanations. But “9/11 truth” stories are typical conspiracy theories based on a web of untruths, halftruths and irrelevent facts.

    And to dismiss “burning the Reichstag” theories is not to give the Bushies a free pass. God knows they have enough to answer for with their manifest negligence in the time leading up to this.

    I notice that other, smarter people have responded while I composed this post. I’ll post it anyway (if the squirrels lt me0 because i went to a lot of trouble for it.

  31. Mr. Merritt:

    Compare the chemical potential energy represented by the thousands of gallons of jet fuel contained in a large commercial airliner with that represented by the hundred or so gallons in a private plane.

    Then consider that the thousands of gallons are deposited inside a building with very large air passages from floor to floor and no major firewalls within floors. The WTC design was effectively that of one of those chimney charcoal starters that use a piece of newspaper and the natural draft created by the combustion gases to get charcoal heated up to cooking temperature within 5 minutes.

  32. “I’m sure everything else is under control of the Freemasons and their dark plots.”

    Freemasonry isn’t free, you know.

    ___

    J A M-

    There is a piece of footage, of the second tower, from a position to the side and opposite the point of impact, and nearly level with it. I suppose such a fortuitous point of observation might add fuel to the fires of conspiracism, but… I only saw the clip once, at very slow, almost frame by frame speed. It is possible to see the airplane approaching, but not the actual impact. The plane slowly disappears as it enters the building, as if part of some surreal magic trick; there is an instant where the plane has vanished, but the building still appears to be intact and undamaged. Ta-Daaah!

    And then a monstrous flame front is seen passing through the interior, which blows out most of the exterior of the building which can be seen. It was a massive explosion, not merely a fire.

    Don’t know if that helps or not. I have no idea who owns or controls that film; I may have seen it on the BBC News, but I cannot recall definitely.

  33. Any bets that 9/11 conspiracy theorists also believe that Republicans are somehow manipulating global oil markets to drive down gasoline prices in order to get reelected? The neurosis doesn’t end at 9/11.

  34. Dan T said: Which is worse – being skeptical about the official 9/11 story or considering South Park to have any merit whatsoever as social satire?

    Couldn’t there be a third alternative? That simply posing such a question with a straight face suggests that your headgear is oven-tempered for flexible strength?

    And regarding the cited 911truth.com excerpt: “. . . spinning out a whole show which was essentially a 30-minute excuse for asking: “How many different alliterative ways can we say “take a shit”? (Heh, heh, he said “fudge dragon”!)”

    Alliterative? Fudge Dragon? Clearly, this guy’s English class was some sort of covert government front organization that had little to do with teaching students basic facts about their language.

  35. What kind of retarded shadow-conspirators would feel the need to hit the WTC with planes AND bombs? The WTC had already been bombed by Muslim fanatics eight years earlier. So why the fuck bother with planes this time?

    Furthermore, how can you dependably aim the planes at the sites where the bombs were planted? (Unless I’m misunderstanding, and the bombs actually exploded elsewhere and we somehow missed it.)

  36. We do! (The Stonecutters Song)

    All: Who controls the British crown?
    Who keeps the metric system down?
    We do! We do!

    Karl: Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?

    Lenny: Who keeps the Martians under wraps?

    Alien: We do! We do!

    All: Who holds back the electric car?
    Who makes Steve Gutenberg a star?
    We do! We do!

    Skinner: Who robs cave fish of their sight?

    Homer: Who rigs every Oscar night?

    All: We do! We do!

  37. Doesn’t it strike people as just a little odd that all the targets of the 9/11 attacks were buildings? Who builds buildings? Freemasons! Don’t try to tell me that’s a co-incidence..

    I’ve always lumped conspiracy theorist in the same group as overly religious people. Both sets seem unable to accept the world is random and bad things happen to perfectly innocent people for no good reason, so they develop an “invisible hand” which guides humans events – be it some sort of mysterious God or super secret all powerful government/corporation conspiracy.

    No amount of reasonable argument or evidence to the contrary can convince the most devout followers otherwise. You can’t prove that Cheney is NOT behind everything anymore than you can prove God does NOT exist.

  38. James,

    Popular Mechanics does a pretty damn good job of explaining exactly why the buildings collapsed the way they did. As others have pointed out, this has been studied in depth and there is zero evidence for a controlled demolition. Unscientifically speaking, how many people would have to be involved in planning and carrying out a planned demolition and what are the chances that not a single one of them would come forward afterwards and not a single shred of evidence of this massive undertaking has been found?

  39. Sorry, that link should have been to the previous page of the report.

  40. I was quite impressed with the Popular Mechanics treatment of the issue. I understand they have so much information on the topic that they have published a book, too!

    Of course, as the grandson of a Freemason, everything I say is probably part of The Conspiracy?.

  41. db: My point was to express doubt about whether the airplane fuel was a primary contributor to the major damage in either the WTC or the Lidle cases, not to suggest that the small amount of fuel in a private plane could cause the same amount of damage as the large amount of fuel in a jet airliner. I studied thermodynamics and chemistry, too.

    Isaac:
    ===
    but also the third WTC building that was hit by nothing. -me

    The third WTC building was hit by the facade of one of the towers which actually did fall away from the tower. So much for “controlled demolition”. -you

    ===

    Well yes, there was falling debris from the other buildings, but the official explanation uses this as the kickoff point for a series of events that culminated with a fire and a similar collapse in building 7. So much for the “thousands of gallons of jet fuel” explanation (though the “working hypothesis” of some investigators is that the fire in building 7 was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that was in the building to power generators — they cannot prove this, nor can they prove that jet fuel actually did horrible things in the building). We are asked to believe, in one case, that impacts and thousands of gallons of jet fuel were needed to create the freak pancaking collapse of the two big towers, but that the third building basically went down from the impact of falling debris and its consequences. It seems more credible to me that the bigger towers also were damaged more by the impact and its consequences, then by the “thousands of gallons of jet fuel.” Clearly, flammable jet fuel could have made things worse, but the official explanation apparently argues for the creation of a raging inferno inside the buildings even without it.

    Also, Isaac:
    ===
    Whoever was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, if there are good answers to the above questions, those answers have not been publicized. -me

    Every answer I gave above is either from a NOVA episode on PBS or the Popular Mechanics debunking articles. -you
    ===

    As are most of the online replies to questions about what happened on 9/11. Clearly, this is mass publicization at its finest, a good deal of echo-chamber effect on both sides of the controversy. Still, having AN answer doesn’t mean you have a GOOD answer, and the officially blessed explanation — which I have also seen from the sources you cite and others — just seems too rube goldbergish to be credible. That doesn’t mean it can’t be true — people have earned good money entertaining crowds with real-life rube goldberg contraptions — only that it seems very unlikely to be true. I’ll believe that the experts and investigators are onto the truth when they can replicate anything close to the events of 9/11 by setting up similar conditions and initiating similar causes. Until then, I remain very skeptical.

    Also, Isaac:
    ===
    The WTC area was a crime scene. Why did officials cart off all the evidence without serious examination so quickly? -me

    They needed to remove debris to recover remains. There was no room to store it on site. Exhaustive examination was conducted on materials (everthing from structural steel to the fireproofing) at the offsite locations they were taken to. -you
    ===
    Are you trying to tell me that you believe the same care was taken with that evidence as we would hope would be taken in a regular murder investigation? That chain of custody rules were scrupulously observed? That evidence was effectively locked away from tampering or even garden-variety damage or corruption? That pieces were adequately photographed before being moved, tagged, and then kept together or otherwise organized so that their physical orientation at the crime scene might plausibly be recreated, or at least considered, in subsequent investigation? If you believe it, then what is the basis for your belief? The say-so of some official? Multiple testimonies of people who have little reason to lie? Photographic or videotape evidence of how the investigation was handled? How do you know what you know, well enough to criticize those who express reasonable doubt? Getting at remains (or, even better, survivors!) is a good reason for clearing debris, and even for being a little rushed and sloppy about it. But the more rushed and sloppy you are, the less even exhaustive study of the compromised evidence will tell you anything with certainty.

    Hardly a day passes before we learn that some new official report or another on some important topic is incomplete, politically biased, or otherwise compromised. Why do we want to put so much trust into the official tale in THIS case? That’s the real question of interest to me. Is it just that we need to believe so badly that, deep down, the people we put in charge of our country are good and have our interests at heart? The profligate spending, budget deficits, and immense national debt are compelling evidence that our leaders don’t really care about what happens to this country, as they keep taking us further and further into uncharted, dangerous waters when they could choose another, more responsible course any time they wanted. So pardon me if I don’t have that same blind trust. I don’t need a President to be my “commander in chief.” I don’t need Congress to perform greenback liposuction out of my wallet and turn into financial collagen injections for politically determined “worthy projects.” I don’t need Senators instructing me in moral behavior. Do you? I’ll tolerate them and their activity to a point — a point which was passed long ago, in my opinion — but expecting me or anyone else to actually trust them, or to accept their pronouncements without a lot of push-back, is just asking too much.

    As far as the independent experts consulted by PBS, Pop Mech, etc., my reading of their ideas and conclusions doesn’t support conspiracy theories on the one hand, but it also doesn’t lead to an explanation of what happened on 9/11 that one can accept without a great deal of faith. Those who scoff and jeer here do so as if the matter were settled, all the hard facts known, and robust conclusions reached. In the sources cited and elsewhere, I see mostly the refutation of conclusions that one alleged piece of evidence or aspect of the case, or another, indicates nefarious conspiracy. I see very little in the way of coherent, testable narrative about how the disaster actually happened as it did. There are lots of “working hypotheses,” but we’re still a long way from a real explanation, as I see it.

    Again, the many holes in the official account provide ample space for conspiracy theories to grow. Add the fertilizer of the political corruption or incompetence scandal of the day, and a thousand conspiracy theory flowers will surely bloom.

  42. “I’ve got a Raging Clue!”
    The South Park epidsode was funny, and Parker/Stone clearly put 911truth.org in front of the public, which is more of an even-handed treatment then you’ll see in most commentary.

    I didn’t even know there WAS a controversy until recently, and that was when I heard about the third tower—which, let’s face it, is a pretty damned strange thing to have to explain. I just read the Popular Mechanics article, which btw is at: http://tinyurl.com/rjjpt
    It would appear that the debunking isn’t quite complete yet…

    There’s a clip of the aftermath of a B-25 bomber that struck the Empire State Building just after WWII on Youtube. There was a fire. As you probably know, the ESB is still standing. (Granted, the B-25’s not a 757, but it’s a better comparison than the bicycle/tank analogy.)

    I’m not convinced, just suspicious. (Imagine, a libertarian who believes in conspiracies!) One argument that really stands out on the “debunking” sites is that 911 would require too much co-ordination by the government. It’s too complicated to be true.

    Hmmmm. “Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone…” According to most surveys, most Americans don’t believe that one either. Then I thought about Salvador Allende, Diem, Gulf of Tonkin, Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Shah of Iran.

    More recently, in 1990, Walter Hickel was elected governor of Alaska. He was elected as the candidate of the Independence Party, which advocates the secession of Alaska from the United States. On election night, I remember watching on tv, how all the networks called him an Independent—without mentioning the rest. Of course, he was only an independent in the sense that he wasn’t a democrat or republican. There is a difference, you see? It wasn’t George W. Bush or Bill Clinton’s fault, as far as I know. But you didn’t know about that footnote in history until just now, did you?

  43. James,

    I don’t necessarily take the “official” explanation entirely at face value. The details of the event are necessarily theories, as we’re not going to rebuild the towers and fly more planes into them to see what happens. It may be that some aspects of these theories are wrong.

    However, to leap from “not everything about the attacks is adequately explained by the available theories” to deciding that there were no hijacked planes, that the government planned the whole thing, or that the towers were felled by explosives is assery of the first degree. Two large jet planes fly into two large buildings at 500 mph and explode in front of us. A couple hours later said buildings fall. I’m pretty willing to link the two, unless you can come up with some pretty convincing evidence to the contrary.

    It’s not any different from evolution. Yes, there are some problems with some of the theories about the specific mechanisms by which evolution works, and there are some things about it we don’t yet understand (and maybe never will). However, evolution is real and does exist. The broad strokes of our knowledge are sound.

  44. Kevin
    “third tower—which, let’s face it, is a pretty damned strange thing to have to explain.”

    Try this (not strange at all)
    http://www.debunking911.com/pull.htm

    James A M
    “I see very little in the way of coherent, testable narrative about how the disaster actually happened as it did. ”

    Here is the coherent narrative– planes crash into buildings starting paper, carpet, desks and whatnot on fire. Impact of crash knocks heat protection from steel beams (and knocks out fire suppression). Fire heats up steel beams which lose strength. Weight of building on steel beams causes the upper floors to collapse. Design of tower (a strong outer skin with floors hanging off the inside-think of crushing an aluminum can by standing on it) makes the collapse look much like the pancake effect seen in contolled demolition. Note that the second tower hit falls first due to the fact that plane hit at an angle and damaged more support structures, placing more stress on the beams. Burning debris catches WTC 7 on fire… fire crews are busy (put low priority on fighting the fire) and let it burn until it collapses. The most impressive piece of the story is that the towers were designed to survive the kinetic impact of a 747, and they worked as designed. The fire protections system failed because it was designed to work without considering the kinetic effects of the plane crash.

    Where are the holes in that story?
    Some of the details of the event will always be missing. But the general narrative is both coherent and complete.

    Details of this explanation have been modeled extensively (the only real way to test without building a new WTC complex) and hold up under scrutiny. Your distrust of the official story is admirable, but you need to be willing to recognize the difference between controversial assertions and coherent explanations of events.

    On the streets of NYC I discussed the unfolding event with a former steel worker who worked on the WTC. He predicted that the towers would collapse due to the fires (he even correctly predicted which would go first). The narrative was coherent as the events unfolded. Why not now?

  45. MM,

    Clearly that construction worker was in on the plot. See how well-organized they were–they were on the street convincing you even as events unfolded!

  46. On the streets of NYC I discussed the unfolding event with a former steel worker who worked on the WTC.

    I hope you didn’t call him a steel worker to his face. It sounds to me like he was an ironworker. They don’t like to be called steel workers.

  47. Isaac,
    I didn’t ever call him a steelworker (I didn’t recognize the distinction until now), I mainly listened and asked questions. I thought the fire protection on the beams would mean you would get a burned out skeleton of steelwork, he said the heat would be enough to weaken the structure and cause a collapse with that many floors above the impact zone, and then he pointed out that the South Tower was hit lower and across more structure and said it looked ready to go. It did, less than 5 minutes later.

    After watching that occur, we were able to predict the timing of the North Tower collapse fairly accurately. I recall saying to the woman next to me “It’s getting ready to fall, I hope they got everyone out” about 30 seconds before the North tower collapsed.

  48. I want to know what was supposed to be the target of Flight 93?

  49. tiny plane hitting conventional skyscrape != massive plane hitting unique skyscraper.

    The WTC was uniquely prone to this sort of collapse, due to the way the floors hung from the perimeter of the building. They built it this way to avoid having uprightbeams taking up floorspace, as they do in normal skyscraper.

  50. I’m a steelworker/ironworker and I hear different terms in different locations. It’s colloquial.

    The Navy calls me a steelworker, i.e. I erect steel structures.

  51. A further example is the B-25 collision with the Empire State Building in the WWII era.

    Again it was the relative size of the plane compared to the mass of the building that prevented any collapse.

    As the NOVA story pointed out, it was not the jet fuel fire which weakened the WTC structure, but the sustained heat from the burning contents – paper & wood mostly – which caused the supports to soften and collapse.

    I remember when the WTC was built that they spoke of how the towers could withstand the impact of an airplane collision – they had the ESB collision in mind. They just didn’t allow for a fire which would last for over an hour. The jet fuel actually burned off in the first few minutes.

  52. Mainstream man says,
    “Details of this explanation have been modeled extensively (the only real way to test without building a new WTC complex) and hold up under scrutiny. Your distrust of the official story is admirable, but you need to be willing to recognize the difference between controversial assertions and coherent explanations of events.”

    First, thanks for your attempt to provide a coherent explanation, and for suggesting that the next step — testing through modeling — has also been attempted.

    Have you seen these models and can you vouch for their acuracy? Has the scenario you describe actually been tested in real, physical models, or just in the computers? If so, I am surprised that documentary evidence of such tests isn’t everywhere — as videos in YouTube, for cripes sake — as it would certainly serve to shut a lot of people up. It is clear that, five years later, a great many people are concerned with and confused about this issue; if they need educating, where are the educators? Instead, we get the anonymous yahoos shouting people down with crude insults.

  53. James,
    Here is a place to start…

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911153219.htm

    For more technical information try this citation

    Stability of the World Trade Center Twin Towers Structural Frame in Multiple Floor Fires

    J. Engrg. Mech., Volume 131, Issue 6, pp. 654-657 (June 2005)

    Really… there are a lot of people very interested in how and why these things happened the way they did. Smart people using very sophisticated tools. Everything I have seen converges on (a more detailed version of) the simple story I tried to outline.

  54. James Anderson Merritt:

    This is my first comment. I haven’t insulted you, shouted you down or piled on. I laughed out loud reading some of your comments but not so loud that you could hear it and I didn’t mean anything by it, it was spontaneous. I have read every post on this thread, some by people who have put me in my place before. I think you’ve been treated with enough respect by enough intelligent comments to feel that you’ve been treated fairly. If you still think the 911 attacks could possibly be the result of a government conspiracy then there is NOTHING anyone could say to make you change your mind. The problem isn’t the facts, the problem is you have some kind of mental block that prevents you from seeing them. I believe there is NO WAY to get through to you until you solve this mental problem of yours, no offense intended.

  55. Here is another good article…

    http://www.luxinzheng.net/publications/english_WTC.htm

    Complete with pictures.

  56. Calliope,
    An “invisible hand,” eh? That sounds pretty fishy to me too. I can’t think of any other group that has faith in invisible hands.

  57. MSM-

    You kick ass! Do you have a blog so I can comment there? Or would you like to comment at my blog?

    http://www.inactivist.org

  58. Some people think radical Muslims caused 9/11, others point to the U.S. government … I’m one of the few who thinks it was the shapeshifting lizard ruling classes.

  59. Also, 4 planes, 4 corners on nature’s simultaneous harmonic 4-day time cube.

    COINCIDENCE?

  60. anonymous yahoos shouting people down with crude insults

    I am not anonymous!
    I…am…a…man!

  61. A few comments, after having been away for a while:

    1. Buckshot – I don’t have a mental problem, and although you make a big show of being polite and even-handed, to suggest that I do have a mental problem is to show your true hand. I am surprised that Thoreau seems to be chortling along with the gang in here; he always seemed to be a classier guy than that, but you learn something new every day. I have seen him being treated as something of an insider around here in recent months; perhaps he has caught what I like to call “Jonah Goldberg” disease. Or perhaps it was always there and needed only the right environment to flower.

    2. Earlier, someone mentioned the Reichstag Fire, and why 9/11 wasn’t an homage. Others have said that conspiracies cannot be kept secret for long. Please keep in mind that the Reichstag fire happened in 1933, and it wasn’t until 1946 — after Hitler’s defeat and death — that people stood up in court and testified about how that fire really happened. One of those testimonies included an anecdote about how Goering claimed responsibility on a knee-slapping, joking way (though apparently taken seriously by the witness) in 1942. So the question of “who really started the Reichstag fire” was still a matter of rumor and innuendo as late as 1942 — NINE YEARS after the deed. Would the culpability of Hitler’s own goons EVER have been uncovered by law enforcement or courts, had Hitler WON his portion of WWII? We’ll never know. But we know that an effective lid was kept on a conspiracy that changed not only a nation’s fate, but the world’s, for at least nine years.

    The point being that you don’t have to keep a conspiracy secret forever — just long enough until it is water under the bridge and we all have to put it behind us and move on.

    3. MainStreamMan: Thanks for the link. Yes, I have seen computer simulations. I asked above whether there have been physical simulations that confirmed the engineering theories and/or computer simulation predictions. If so, I asked, why haven’t those movies been played — or those experiments repeated — ubiquitously for the past several years, as they would surely serve to quiet many would-be critics of the “official story.” As entertaining as the website was, it didn’t address my issue.

    4. I finally saw the South Park episode in question, and I can now appreciate how comments I had initially taken to be just rude were actually intended-to-be-hip parrotings of lines or attitudes from the episode. That will teach me to participate in a thread that is based on a cultural event, without studying said event first. The irony, of course, is that I am a great SP fan and have seen every episode and the movie, just not that one until a few days ago. I completely appreciate now how comic my first comments in this thread were. Glad I was able to amuse you all.

    All I am saying is that, by and large, you all don’t know as much as you claim to know, or would like others to believe you know. Unless you personally analyzed all of this evidence and independently came to your conclusions (it sounds as if some actually made that attempt, and my hat is off to you), you are taking a lot on faith. Your government has given you ample reason to distrust it over the past couple of decades, and I suggest that the mental problem in play here is the desperate desire to believe that the people in charge know what they are doing and have the population’s best interests at heart.

    I have never claimed that there WAS a conspiracy of anyone but “pissed off muslims” to bring down the towers, etc. But even for entertaining the possibility that others might be involved, perhaps even others in our own government, I get jeered in a so-called skeptical forum. Given the subject matter of the SP episode, and the attitudes and lines of dialogue it contributed to the atmosphere in here, I can understand that initial reaction. But as the discussion has progressed, I have been rather appalled at the level of patronization. Are you folks compelled to set upon the unwary, like screeching bands of baboons? It seems so. I detect a deep desire in the alpha-participants in this forum to be mainstream opinion leaders. Anything that threatens to give them even the scent of the unorthodox, or to link them to fringe elements in any way, is to be beaten down, swept away, and vigorously denied and denounced. Such behavior is reminiscent of the cliche college fraternity, which isn’t that far removed from the pack of baboons I mentioned earlier.

    For those who sincerely tried to broaden my own perspective on this matter, thank you. I think the question of whether the government had a hand in this (it certainly BENEFITTED opportunistically, regardless) is very separate from the mechanics of how it all went down. It is perhaps a red herring, or at least futile, to hope that one can discern a smoking gun in the recordings and the rubble, and trace that gun back to perpetrators who are different from those we have been told to blame. But, when all is said and done, if it is established that NONE of the alleged anomalies hold water, if it is established that the government was neither at fault nor to blame for any of what happened on 9/11, this still will not give ANY evidence in support of the proposition that the government, much less the current regime, is actually trustworthy. Unfortunately, I believe that the need to cling to the belief that the government is trustworthy muffles a lot of 9-11 related criticism, and stifles a great deal more investigation, which might actually address a broader range of questions than we have seen answered so far. Don’t play along with that; please.

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