As with many aspects of life, so with terror events. Size matters.
The events of 9/11 were unbelievable. Those of us who saw the second plane hit tower 2 – LIVE – on that fateful Tuesday have often described themselves as feeling as stunned as in the greatest scene from any disaster movie.
I was the same. The official story was the only story for me, for 3 years, well after we’d trashed Afghanistan and after we’d pulverised Iraq, despite a very active commitment to stopping that clearly mendacious and imperialist war.
But in 2004 I tripped over a BBC article saying some of the hijackers were still alive. Whoa, what gives? And indeed, from different parts of the world men had phoned in saying why am I being blamed for this? Yes, that’s my name, my passport photo – yet here I am! And I had nothing to do with those events.
And so my own reading began. But the mere size of the official story: 4 passenger planes, 19 hijackers, hijackings at the same time, cell phone calls, national targets, centres of American power and prestige, including the seat of US military might, all crashed, including a brave fightback, two towers collapsing into dust, nearly 3000 dead, itself beggars belief. We’re stunned, we’re in shock at even the possibility of the events. It’s all we can do to lend ourselves to the official story.
And then, having carefully taken it all in, what’s the likelihood that we’re going to dismantle it and very carefully adopt a whole other set of facts? Hmm, well, very small. We KNOW what happened therefore these other so-called facts must be wrong.
But we kid ourselves that we do history this way.
We forget that we’ve read Sherlock Holmes! Only the facts matter, and when you’ve eliminated the other possibilities… We forget that every cop is a ‘conspiracy theorist’ but use that label to shoot down any challenge to the official story, as if a label has any merit in itself.
We’re trained to respect authority: parents, teachers, schools, experts, government, the media, the BBC, the Stuff We’ve Learned… Questioning it isn’t easy, whether it’s our economic system doomed to failure, or that our governments could actually completely sell us out to the banks, or that the winsome Blair could lie through such white teeth.
We learned so many many details about the official 9/11 story, how can we possibly bring ourselves to question it? There is too much that we’d have to change. How could we be certain about ANYTHING?!
Well, tough. Details of a story are how you catch liars out. Does it match up? How are the alibis? Is the story airtight? – What happened? Did everyone give up watching crime shows in Britain over the last 10 years??
But the scale of 9/11 remains Everest – or Alice’s rabbit hole. The 9/11 Commission Report has 567 pages! Who’d bother mastering that stuff, let alone the counter story?
Almost no-one. The lie, if it is a lie, is too big. Hitler and Goebbels nod. So what must we do? We must attack the – conspiracy – theorist – whacko – nutjobs – whenever they present themselves. We must hold onto our beliefs intact. Don’t get into detail, avoid discussion, just slag them off. They’re ignorant, they’re a distraction, they waste their lives on trivia, what use are they!?
So what are the details we should avoid? No. No. No. Really! You’re much better off just slagging them off. Remember, go for the man not the ball. Hmm. Well, just in case, what’s the stuff I should avoid?
Sigh. Well, ok. One. How the buildings came down. Say FEMA and the NIST reports covered it; they proved it was fire. But avoid the detail. They’ll say they’re the only steel-framed buildings in history to collapse due to fire; tell them, don’t forget the planes, duh! If they mention thermite and nanothermite being found in WTC dust just say they were mistaken or it was planted, or something. They’ll bring up WTC7 which came down about 5.20 in freefall, no plane involved, symmetrically, on its footprint. But stick to your guns: it had serious fires, etc. – don’t get into cops and countdowns over radios. When Silverstein said pull it, remember he meant the fire team inside, not the building. Silverstein? He’s the guy who bought the whole site for a few billion six weeks prior. But best not go there. The hijackers: avoid talk about precise identities, avoid 8 or 9 of them still alive. And avoid the official stuff! Definitely avoid the FBI not wanting Osama bin Laden for 9/11 because there was no “hard evidence”, and really avoid the FBI saying in court that cellphone calls don’t work from aircraft at altitude. No-one can do anything with that stuff! When Rumsfeld mentioned the missile that hit this building or Flight 93 being shot down, or when Bush talked about the terrorists who planned to plant explosives in the towers, these were just slips of the tongue – they got confused. Remember, a 757 hit the Pentagon, its wings folded up, it slid inside the 16’ hole and burned up. The FBI has all the evidence. Don’t talk about air force pilots jumping up and down wanting to fly, or Andrews base only 10 miles away. Don’t talk about the July change in orders which routed hijack interceptions through Rumsfeld. Or the number of military wargames going on causing chaos. Or the way air force changed its story 3 times. Remember Barbara Olson? Well, forget her. The FBI said in court her calls didn’t happen. So forget about her husband Ted’s story or that she’s the only one who mentions boxcutters. We KNOW what they did! Don’t get into Shanksville and precisely what evidence was on the ground, and don’t confirm that the scar the plane crashed in pre-existed. Again avoid the cell phone calls being impossible cos that means the whole Let’s Roll thing is at risk and, boy, do we need our heroes. William Rodriguez may be a hero but he’s clearly confused by the day – he didn’t feel a huge basement explosion in tower 1 at 8.30: nothing happened till 8.46! The seismograph is anomalous, the huge spikes just before each tower fell are coincidental, just noise. Don’t get into Cheney watching the attack on the Pentagon happen live from the White House bunker.
Phew, that’s a lot to remember! No – don’t remember ANY of it! If they talk about these things and you’re getting nowhere, remember: just walk away. Say you haven’t got time for this. Or that it’s all been disproved. Or look it’s ten years ago we’ve all got our lives to get on with.
What if they say, “Mom, this is Mark Bingham”? Look! Just walk away. Remember, you’ll never get anywhere with someone with that level of delusion.