Conspiracy Realists of the World Unite

Saturday, June 23, 2007
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This article, written by Wilt Alston, can’t seem to make its way onto the libertarian websites. Of course, people hesitate to touch anything that questions the official stories surrounding 9/11- because it’s just too darn radical. I am happy to publish a very well-written and tenacious piece that is skeptical of the rubbish people have come to believe about the attacks. I think it’s a stunning piece, and it’s put into a hilarious context.
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Conspiracy Realists of the World Unite!
Hidden in Plain Sight, Part Third-
By Wilton D. Alston

In a previous essay, I looked closely at airport security – and I used the term “security” loosely. This essay represents the coup de grace of any rant about the lunacy of the war on terror – my opinion on the official explanation of the attacks of September 11, 2001. At the risk of publicly joining the ranks of proud tin-foil hat wearers before me, I may as well just come out of the closet. alston.jpg

The Official 9/11 Explanation Reads Like a Bad Movie Script

I’ve seen the rebuttals from the mainstreamers who call the “9/11 conspiracy theorists” idiots. I’ve read the article in Popular Mechanics. (I’ve also read the rebuttal of the Popular Mechanics article.) Now people who are not even really part of the mainstream have begun to attack the “conspiracy theorists” just as violently as the mainstreamers. (Most assuredly, dog and cats will be petitioning for their rights to civil unions next week.) Why is it that even the freedom-minded community seems to conflate the concepts of “inefficient” and “incompetent” with regard to the state?

I openly admit it. I have serious doubts about the official story, mostly because the question “Who benefits?” continues to ring in the back of my mind. (For the record, many have benefited – other governments, defense contractors, Russian oil production, etc.) So what? The State is inevitably inefficient in providing services, but that does not prove the State is incapable of doing anything. Let me hasten to add: nor does it mean that the government necessarily planned the attacks. There is a lot of space between being caught completely off guard and conceiving, carrying out, and covering up the attacks. Why does all debate center on one of the two extremes?

All that said, what drives me to examine the 9/11 attacks in this essay has little to do with which story actually might be legitimate. It has to do with the way people justify the fact that the official reports must be legitimate.

If you ask any mainstreamer about 9/11 and the possibility of any U.S. government involvement, you’ll get some variant of, “Look, they can’t even accomplish [pick some government service] properly! How could they possibly have pulled off that kind of conspiracy?”

In an example of what must be the largest dose of irony ever dispensed, people on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum are quick to cite Bush’s apparent lack of mental acuity as a “nail in the coffin” of any conspiracy involving the Administration. Call me crazy, but as far as I’m concerned the lack of ability of one smirking man in the Oval Office to plan such attacks is irrelevant.

First, the attacks were definitely a conspiracy, even according to the official story. So either some guys NOT from the U.S. came here, stayed for several years and planned/executed the whole thing – including actually learning to fly – and never had any “leaks” or miscues, or some guys who were already in the U.S. did some of the planning or were involved in some other way.

As an unapologetic opponent of a coercive state, I am comfortable with any of those possibilities. Since I already believe the State openly – as a matter of normal operation – commits theft and violence against its own, why would one or the other of those possibilities seem more plausible to me? Murray may have said it best in Rothbard on the Welfare State when he said, “When the aggression by a territorial state is only downward, towards its own population, we call this condition ‘peace’.” If that is how the State “imposes” peace, little more need be said about how they might justify war.

Whether the state is evil or incompetent, or both, is really not much to debate. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I’d prefer you use the term conspiracy realist if you don’t mind. My point of view is this: Conspiracies are the norm of any complex society dominated by the State, not the exception. That’s the reality. And there are quite a few others who seem to agree that some important questions about 9/11 remain unanswered.

Therefore, to say “the government can’t deliver mail on time, so they couldn’t have done it” is inconsistent for mainstreamers who believe government should exist: How much sense does it make to say, “The people who run my government are morons!” followed by “There oughta be a law!”? Note that given the official story – that 20-30 foreigners successfully hid their conspiracy here for years – the self-righteous anti-conspiracists rely on just as big a conspiracy as those of us supposedly wearing the pointy hats.

I can hear the moaning and groaning, and you may very well be right, but just for yucks, let’s look at the 9/11 attacks though a different prism – that of a Hollywood action movie. Imagine a producer pitching the idea to a movie studio: “Hey, I’ve got a fantastic idea for an action/disaster movie!”

He continues, “It all starts when a group of 20 to 30 Arab nationals come to America and begin to implement a heinous terrorist plot.” The studio execs begin to drool. “They decide to hijack between four and eight commercial aircraft simultaneously.” (The premise has to begin with more than four planes, since no reasonable plan could expect 100% success.) One of the studio execs starts to squirm and asks, “You mean these guys simultaneously hijack multiple planes?” Our hero says “Yes! Yes, but that’s not the best part.”

The producer continues: “They learn to fly over two years while they live in the U.S.” Another studio exec starts to squirm. “What kinds of jobs do these guys have? Aren’t flying lessons expensive?” Our hero is undeterred. “That doesn’t matter! The important thing is they learn to fly and implement their plans right under our noses! Isn’t that a fantastic concept?”

One of the execs protests, “You cannot be serious! They live on next to no income while spending big cash for flying lessons and not drawing interest from the FBI? Aren’t there ‘terrorist watch lists’ and whatnot, developed by the CIA?” (Reality Check: Recall that all the hijackers’ identities were supposedly known immediately after the attacks, so they had to have been on a watch list or three before the attacks – at least it seems that way.)

Our hero thinks of an analogy. “Think of it this way, can’t you envision 20-30 American citizens, some of whom are known terrorists, going to say, Australia or some European country, getting dead-end jobs, learning to fly commercial jets – telling the instructors that learning to land is not a requirement – and not drawing significant enough attention to be arrested or detained for sever
al years?” Realizing the stupidity of such a suggestion, he decides to backtrack a little.

Sensing that he might be losing his audience, he slams down what he knows will be a winning shot, “Anyway, you know intelligence agencies didn’t work well together back in the day – that’s what the Patriot Act corrected. Even if these guys were identified as rather unusual, no one would have suspected them as terrorists.” Heads finally nod in agreement. (Reality Check: A normal CIA analyst stationed in the Middle East could easily release several hundred reports to the intelligence community every week – each one detailing possible plans of attacks aimed at the U.S. or someone else, including the names of likely suspects. These reports have to go someplace, and given that the CIA isn’t supposed to work domestically, it would seem that any pertinent information would therefore have be shared with somebody – even before USA Patriot – unless the reports are just thrown away, or lost, or stored in some big box like the Ark of the Covenant from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”)

Smelling blood, our hero goes in for the kill. “In the climactic scene, one of the terrorist planes crashes into the Pentagon!” The execs go crazy. “The Pentagon? That’s what, 15 miles from some huge air force base? That plane would be shot down long before then! Now that is totally implausible.” Our hero just grins. “There just happens to be a huge military exercise planned for that same day. So no fighter planes are available to intercept the airliner, even after it has been off-course for over an hour.”

One of the execs, who had been quiet up to that point, now chimes in. “So you mean to say, that even after Payne Stewart’s little private plane got a coordinated fighter escort 15 minutes after going radio silent, this huge commercial jet, one of four hijackings on the same day, is able to fly all over the East Coast on its way toward Washington, D.C., the seat of our government, and reach its target successfully?”

Our hero, sporting a deranged smile (and evidently an avid reader of Popular Mechanics) returns that volley with, “You’re wrong! It took well over an hour for any escort jets to reach Payne Stewart’s plane. That’s plenty of time for a plane piloted by terrorists who just learned to fly to find and attack the Pentagon!” (The last time I was in D.C. I got terribly lost trying to get out of town, and I was driving a car and had a map – but I digress.) The execs let out a collective sigh of disgust, rise to their feet in unison, and leave the room. To our hero’s dismay his would-be blockbuster ends up in the trash. Hey, it was a stupid premise anyway, right?

Conclusion

I appreciate this chance to clear my conscience of a few things that have been bothering me. As is my habit, after a particularly fruitful bit of (hopefully) intellectual catharsis, I now have a plan of action.

I plan to watch tonight’s new episode of “NUMB3RS” in just a few minutes. After that, I plan to watch a new episode of “Dr. G. – Medical Examiner.” Thank you for your support. Feel free to develop your own plan. (Wait. Given that so many folks in the U.S. are already following very similar plans, maybe the points I make above are more widely known and believed than I thought!)

One other point, before I leave this horse to quietly decay right next to the rotting carcass of the Constitution: You know what really chaps my shorts? No matter which story one believes, a few questions deserve further review.

Without the State screwing up at every turn, would we have even had the 9/11 attacks?

Even if they still occurred – which frankly, without U.S. imperialism is damned doubtful – would we have responded to them in the way that we did?

Exactly what has the State done since 9/11 that makes the next attack less likely?

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