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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  January 2005

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE January 2005

Subject:

Re: some conspiracy theories

From:

Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 27 Jan 2005 12:07:43 -0800

Content-Type:

multipart/alternative

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (149 lines) , text/enriched (208 lines)

As Chandler implies, like the twin towers most conspiracy theories
collapse of their own weight, however, only to be transmogrified and
re-emerge, most often. While real conspiracies do happen (and one has
to believe 9-11 was a conspiracy of some sort) I tend to be skeptical
of such things, unless there is substantial evidence.

Here are some things that do seem valid to me:

1) the Bush administration, with its own narrow pre-occupations, simply
ignored pretty loud warnings, and has been covering up for its
stupidity ever since, as well as turning it its considerable
propagandistic skills into taking 9-11 to be a valid cause for endless
war, and for getting its way even on unconnected issue such as social
security and taxes.

2) as I have written elsewhere al Qaeda was concerned with causing a
gigantic media splash and was concerned with hitting what it saw, not
as "freedom" as Bush would have it, but with power, which it saw,
somewhat mystically as emanating either from the US military or from
office buildings. The WTC and the Pentagon were among the world's
largest office buildings, both, incidentally, built by government
agencies; the Us embassy in Kenya, the earlier target, was also a
pretty large office building for that country. I think it is quite
possible that al Qaeda believed that the World Trade Center was in fact
the headquarters of world trade; in reality it was a-hard-to-rent
location for what amounted to back offices for mostly secondary Wall
Street firms such as giant commercial insurance agencies. It had only
a very indirect connection to world trade at all.

3) al Qaeda believed it could take down the remaining superpower,
because it credited itself and its allies with taking down the Soviet
Union in Afghanistan, a war which directly preceded the complete USSR
collapse. It had targeted the WTC in '93 apparently by chance, because
its allies happened to have settled in the US directly across from
these imposing structures.. Testimony surfaced that the '93 bombers
thought they could topple one tower into the other by placing their
truck bomb in the base of the one. Their theory was ridiculous; they
assumed much more rigidity to the structures than they actually had; it
would have been virtually impossible to have one fall into another like
rigid blocks.

4) Khalidh Shaikh Mohammed, the inventive mastermind of 93 and 9-11,
then adapted his idea hatched in the mid-nineties of hijacking a dozen
jumbo jets and filling them with explosives and aiming them at various
targets. Somehow he realized that jet fuel itself was a pretty good
explosive; that was why the planes chosen for the 9-11 hijacking were
just starting out on transcontinental routes and so would be full of
fuel. But he apparently still thought of the buildings as rigid
structures that could be made to topple into one another if hit, as was
carefully done, from opposite directions, towards one another. His
genius was tempered by considerable mechanical engineering ignorance,
but he got a lucky break. I doubt that anyone realized that the fires
would burn as they did, nor that that would cause the oddly designed
structures to collapse downward as they did. But remember, these
structures were built as large and as devoid of internal bracing as
engineers felt was possible (to maximize office space and views out)
and all that with no thought of their being hit by large planes.
Anything built so close to the envelope of the possible is vulnerable
to unexpected events.

5) As for the collapse of the additional building, you cannot leave out
of the account the tremendous shock of the collapse of the two
neighboring gigantic buildings that were on a shared sort of
sub-foundation with it. They each collapsed very fast, and must have
caused tremendous vibrations , shaking and probably cracking just with
their falls. These were each hundred story buildings with each story a
concrete slab an acre in area; it seems to me wild to suppose those
crashes wouldn't bring down smaller buildings in the vicinity.

6) Why was the effect of 9-11 quite as traumatic to the national psyche
as it has been? there are several reasons, but I think perhaps the most
devastating had to do with the four hijacked planes themselves. This
had become a country in which jet travel had become thoroughly routine
and seemingly extremely safe, with latent fears of flying easily
repressed on the basis of the routine and mundaneness of the whole
experience. It was also a country that took its safety from any foreign
involvement or threat equally for granted. Look how much more lax we
were for instance, than Italy, where every passenger had to undergo
multiple screenings by heavily armed security people before getting on
a flight. Even going into a bank in Western Europe required a clear
security check. Suddenly that whole sense of blase safeness was gone.
In addition the familiar skyline of NYC had abruptly been changed, and
the fall of the towers was captured on TV, and thousands had died.
Then, to gain viewers, TV networks used their ability to create text
across their images to describe the events in the most demagogic ways.
By coincidence, the Pearl Harbor movie had just recently come out, so
"Attack on America" and "America's New War" took minimal imagination to
contrive, and other media took up that trope pretty quickly. Of
course, al Qaeda was flattered; even Bush and Cheney knew a good thing
(for them) when they saw it. War was just what they needed and wanted,
and now they had it, and won't let go.
Best,
Michael
On Jan 27, 2005, at 9:19 AM, Chandler Davis wrote:

> Several things about the theories taken up in D.R. Griffin's book are
> convincing, a few collapse of their own weight, and several deserve
> further study. Note that Griffin knows that of mutually contradictory
> conspiracy theories ONLY ONE CAN BE TRUE, and Griffin doesn't endorse
> any one. This tentativeness is helpful and refreshing; it, and his
> great labors in assembling questions raised by diverse suspicious
> observers, make quite sufficient reason for praising the book, and
> I agree with the reliable people like Howard Zinn who have done so.
>
> Experts seem to disagree on whether the fire in the twin towers could
> have got the supporting steel members hot enough to account for their
> collapse. How then could the attackers have expected the towers to
> collapse? We have at least three alternatives: (a) that Al-Qaeda or
> somebody knew more about the vulnerability of the towers than their
> designer did, (b) that the attackers (and whoever was co-conspiring
> with them) expected to cause much fewer casualties than they did, and
> (c) that the towers were readied in advance for demolition. On the
> face of things, (b) is much the most plausible.
>
> There was something fishy about a third WTC building collapsing much
> as the twin towers had done, but without being hit by a jet plane or
> anything else. No conspiracy theory with coherence explains this
> strange event, so for the present it does not lead me to support any
> of them; only it does increase the plausibility of theory (c), that
> buildings were readied in advance for demolition. It sure doesn't
> get rid of major problems with that scenario!
>
> I wish Elaine Scarry or somebody else experienced in casting a
> skeptical eye on FAA reports of crashes had looked closely at the
> official report of the crash into the Pentagon. I agree with this
> criticism of what Griffin calls the official story: If a large jet
> plane crashed into the Pentagon, why was the hole in the wall so small
> and what became of the plane's wreckage? Again, I can't deduce from
> this weak link in the official story any support for any other
> coherent story. The picture regarding eyewitness accounts of the
> plane approaching the Pentagon is murky: (1) There were MANY such
> accounts. (2) They disagree widely. Proponents of several theories
> claim support from these eyewitness accounts.
>
> Forensic examination of the ruins of the twin towers was thwarted,
> just as in the case of the Pentagon damage, and with much less
> credible justification on "security" grounds. I haven't seen any
> news stories about recovery of bodies of passengers in the hijacked
> planes; in my ignorance I am left wondering if forensic examination
> of the bodies --which might have implications for the official story
> of the crashes-- is also being suppressed, and if so, why.
>
> In short, examination of the evidence is needed. I have no apology
> for my open-mindedness-- and no excuse for not getting to work on
> the questions myself.
> Chandler Davis
>

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