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What Should I Do? (Conspiracy Theories)

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Pennoid's picture
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Sep 17 2015 02:07
What Should I Do? (Conspiracy Theories)

I have a friend who is getting into 9/11 conspiracy theories. What are the best courses of action for combating any of this? My plan is to not be too aggressive, but when it comes up to target key questions regarding unsubstantiated evidence. So much of conspiracy theories rely on finding some obscure point of doubt, and then leveraging that doubt as a means to support some long-winded counter-narrative. "Jet fuel can't melt steal beams! (which is obviously not true, and the reality is more complex buuuut) and besides Bush WANTED to get in those wars and he knew about the attacks look at the kindergarten video/pix!!!"

So my whole line with this person, who is otherwise scientifically literate, is to press for clear evidence.

Any other resources out there?

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Sep 17 2015 03:08

There's a couple of things on libcom already that might be useful:

https://libcom.org/library/against-conspiracy-theories-why-our-activism-...

https://libcom.org/library/how-overthrow-illuminati

It's a tough question. I my personal experience, I tend to just circumvent it. I'll give it a little pushback and then make the argument that basically, even if all that shit is true, if we bring down capitalism, we bring down the structures these shadowy cabals rule through in anyway. And then I just basically say, well, look if you ever have problem at work or with your landlord or whatever you can still turn to me.

FWIW I find people tend to grow out of it. I think it does become a problem when these folks begin to interfere with social movements on the ground, but even then, I think these ideas get more traction in politically-based movement than in material ones. I mean, I've never heard of a trade union that had occasional to combat truthers the way that the Occupy movement did, for example.

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Sep 17 2015 17:15

Yeah, I'm hoping its just a phase. They jut have to work with someone for the next few weeks who they respect that is a truther, and so I think they're a bad influence :/

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Sep 17 2015 17:23

Similar to Chilli, I asked the "so what?" question. So what if it is an inside job? What changes? The US still went to war, is still in a state of emergency and so on. Whether it was an inside job or al-Qaeda wouldn't have changed anything about what happened in the wake of 9/11. Typically, truthers don't have an answer beyond impeaching Bush and others. And what is the point of that? What does it achieve? Couldn't you put all that time spent investigating the truth into something that has a more direct influence on your life?

I'm not saying that I've always been successful with this approach; if they've already drunk the kool-aid there is little that can be done.

Black Badger
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Sep 17 2015 18:58

Also this:
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/lawrence-jarach-democracy-and-con...

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Sep 17 2015 19:31

The answer to the "So what?" line of reasoning, the reason why people become so obsessed with this, is that they see it as a catalyst, a checkmate against "the people in power" which would spawn massive popular resistance out of nowhere. Thank V for Vendetta.

Here's a legit debunking of the shitty physics behind the idea they bombed the towers: The Physics of 9/11 by Manuel Garcia Jr.

That being said, 9/11 was an inside job. As early of 1996 there were talks of 9/11 style attacks on a major player inside the intelligence community. There's a 150-year history of false flag operations that's quite profound. Clinton was made aware of the exact threat in 1999. Bush was warned twice, ultra-specifically, by top advisors once in 2001 and again as late as August 2001.


Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US

Cryptography students found this information in the PDB when it was declassified in 2004:

Quote:
An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [redacted] service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike


There's also this:

The Guardian wrote:
General Mahmoud Ahmed, the then head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wired $100,000 before the 9/11 attacks to Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker. It is extraordinary that neither Ahmed nor Sheikh have been charged and brought to trial on this count. Why not?

Ahmed, the paymaster for the hijackers, was actually in Washington on 9/11, and had a series of pre-9/11 top-level meetings in the White House, the Pentagon, the national security council, and with George Tenet, then head of the CIA, and Marc Grossman, the under-secretary of state for political affairs. When Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as having sent the money to the hijackers, he was forced to "retire" by President Pervez Musharraf. Why hasn't the US demanded that he be questioned and tried in court?

There's no conspiracy, it's all there plain as day. Ask the wives responsible for making the official 9/11 commission report (Bush admin fought attempts for a commission) how they feel about it. They're furious and unsatisfied, they think the official report is a massive whitewash. None of the aforementioned were explored by the commission. Open and shut.

Then there's all this. Later in the vid, they show a Cheney clip where he talks about giving the orders to "shoot it down", referring to United 93.

[youtube]cdCAKYYH3Yo?t=5m16s[/youtube]

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Sep 17 2015 19:38

oh shit.

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Sep 17 2015 19:57
Jamal wrote:
The answer to the "So what?" line of reasoning, the reason why people become so obsessed with this, is that they see it as a catalyst, a checkmate against "the people in power" which would spawn massive popular resistance out of nowhere. Thank V for Vendetta.

Here's a legit debunking of the shitty physics behind the idea they bombed the towers: The Physics of 9/11 by Manuel Garcia Jr.

That being said, 9/11 was an inside job. As early of 1996 there were talks of 9/11 style attacks on a major player inside the intelligence community. There's a 150-year history of false flag operations that's quite profound. Clinton was made aware of the exact threat in 1999. Bush was warned twice, ultra-specifically, by top advisors once in 2001 and again as late as August 2001.

There's no conspiracy, it's all there plain as day. Ask the wives responsible for making the official 9/11 commission report (Bush admin fought attempts for a commission) how they feel about it. They're furious and unsatisfied, they think the official report is a massive whitewash. None of the aforementioned were explored by the commission. Open and shut.

Then there's all this. Later in the vid, they show a Cheney clip where he talks about giving the orders to "shoot it down", referring to United 93.

hahahahahhhahhahha

ha

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Sep 17 2015 20:31

Oh boy. I read the Manuel Garcia stuff, it's useful.

But telling someone that their house might burn down if they don't replace the old sockets does not equal their house burning down being insurance fraud. This shit just smacks of like overblown misapplications of "plausibility."

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Sep 17 2015 20:37

And FWIW the person does not harp as much on the controlled demo aspect, but is in line with what Jamal says which is that Bush "had to know" and false flag so on and so forth.

So hashing this out could be useful here. Or just really depressing.

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Sep 17 2015 22:08

Believe/think/get depressed over what you want. I've made no conjecturing, just posted sourced facts from high level officials.

Also, I didn't mention Bush. He was at an elementary school reading books, remember?

The important thing here is the "so what". Regardless of who was involved, look how it ended up being used ideologically. As Paul Jay mentions in the link I provided, even if the conspiracy nutters end up being right in 50 years, there are massive problems with what happened after regardless. I.e. implementing the PNAC and Patriot Act.

I remember ten years ago I used to joke about the government spying on my phone calls and emails. I've been covering the webcam with black tape on my laptop since my first computer that had one. People thought I was crazy. A lot of people would have Agent's reaction to that. A lot of people are still having Agent's reaction.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they ain't watchin

ajjohnstone
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Sep 19 2015 11:24

I have read a lot on the Kennedy assassination, enough to determine that one person, LHO, killed JFK, but it is not actually a very popular position to say that the Warren Commission got it right.

I always try and argue ...present me with the one detail that convinces you that it was not LHO and if i can successfully refute your claim, will you accept other so-called facts are not necessarily true or have a very different interpretation.

Invariably, once answered, they simply shift to another "fact" and when that is disproved, they move on to another and another and another...often totally contradictory to their previous arguments but they never seem to notice that.

Can you win with the Twin Towers?...Only if the person is open minded enough to be prepared to admit he is fallible and made mistakes from wrong information. A tall order. But don't give up...i have changed peoples thoughts on the JFK assassination. But less through the presentation of ballistics and hard forensics... but simply by addressing the logic of it...If a conspiracy of such a great order is required to kill a person, surely if all those resources were put to use to politically discredit Kennedy and lose him the upcoming election was a much easier and practical method, particularly in regard to JFK, a saint he was not.

Same with the Twin Towers, if you want to create a reason to go to war or create a state dictatorship, there are a lot of easier ways more guaranteed to work.

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Sep 19 2015 12:31

Personally, I cut the conspo wing nuts a fair bit of slack. Their beliefs are not much more stupid than the widely popular view that capitalism is natural and just needs modifying through the ballot box or the beliefs of soppy liberals that think we can create fair capitalism with fairtrade coffee and Saturday morning trips to the farmers market. They're certainly a damn site more entertaining.

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Sep 19 2015 12:37

DP. Shit, the mind control drugs planted in my baked beans are making me confused, I don't know what I'm doing. Nurse, NURSE...

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Sep 19 2015 21:31
ajjohnstone wrote:
I always try and argue ...present me with the one detail that convinces you that it was not LHO and if i can successfully refute your claim, will you accept other so-called facts are not necessarily true or have a very different interpretation.

Invariably, once answered, they simply shift to another "fact" and when that is disproved, they move on to another and another and another...often totally contradictory to their previous arguments but they never seem to notice that.

Like a lot of beliefs the facts come afterwards to justify it and can be abandoned if not useful. Which also tends to mean that they are extremely credulous of anything that isn't the official story, which they obviously distrust in every aspect.

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Sep 19 2015 21:56

I work beside someone who when poked with a stick will talk at length about just how 'interesting' the conspiracy stuff is - give any slack and it changes from being just plain interesting to irrefutable fact in about 60 seconds. Like anyone else not mad, I dodge any engagement with these sorts of people, but being stuck with I agreed to look up one his other hobby horses - some fucker who claimed to be a time traveller on Crazy FM radio somewhere in the States. I went into work the next day livid with myself for wasting a couple of hours of my life.
My take on dealing with 'friends' who believe this 'interesting' stuff is typically to stare blankly at them and explain they much mistaken.

ajjohnstone
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Sep 20 2015 00:29

I became a sceptic as a teenager...an avid reader of many para-normal stuff...Von Daniken's Space gods and Bermuda Triangle...When i learned they were based on false facts (Historians and archaeologist had explanations for all the photos and all those calm blue seas and experienced sailors turned out to be incorrect) I was more than prepared to doubt Uri Gellar when he turned up...even if i didn't know how it was done, i knew instinctively he was a cheat. If i had amazing psychic powers would i be making my living bending spoons and keys (actually Gellar did get a little more ambitious and became a human dowser...i'll take you to the gold...just show me a map or fly me over the area...of course, i'll help out, Mr CIA and Mrs Mossad)

I think when people deeply held opinions are found to built on crumbling foundations, people do go into denial mode, (similar to Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to take two popular images) and then the debate and discussion turns into what is seen as a personal attack, questioning more than just faith ... believe me it can result in very passionate defence of the irrational, such as the time i quizzed someone on the spirit messages he got from a medium and tried to suggest that the medium used cold-reading and he, himself, may have given out the clues for those and he threw a punch...which missed...and it ended with me being the one to apologise to defuse the situation...for stepping on such a touchy topic as saying he was gullible.

By extension, haven't we witnessed over the years that when we are critical of rival political beliefs, objectivity can be quickly forgotten in the exchanges. So anything we can learn on how to convince conspirators that they just might have a stilted view of an event helps us in the wider political debate

Jub
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Sep 21 2015 08:49

I never understood why so many anarchists invest so much belief in official government accounts of terrorist attacks, assassinations, etc. As Jamal said, there is a long and documented history of government sponsored terrorism. Given that the institutions of power have not fundamentally changed in their nature since the times of now-declassified state-sponsored terror, and that even in modern times we know there has been infiltration and radicalisation of activists into bombing things (like Debenhams) by police, it does quite deeply bother me that anarchists tend to issue blanket dismissals of any alternate theories from the state's own when it comes to these kinds of topics.

Anarchists, of all people, should really be the most aware of how the state re-writes the narrative of terrorism. After all, the british security state was near enough created to combat 19th century anarchists. I mean it wasn't, it was to fight and infiltrate the Fenians, but after them it was the anarchists. And so began the history of the British government's "counter" terrorism.

So Pennoid, what I reckon you should do with your friend is to firstly commend her/his distrust for the state and desire for the truth. Make clear the distinction between real skepticism of government accounts and nonsensical stuff like OMG REPTILIAN AGENDA EXPOSED. That stuff is exacerbated by special branch, I swear to god

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Sep 21 2015 17:47

It's not really a case of investing belief in official accounts, it's more that it is a waste of time spending time on conspiracy theories. Time that could be spent on organizing against the fallout of shit like 9/11, And just because there is a long and documented history of black ops terror does not mean that 9/11 was an inside job. Such an argument would be a logical fallacy (and this argument is itself used by conspiracy theorists; see e.g. Loose Change or Zeitgeist).

Jub
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Sep 21 2015 20:07

I find exposing the underhanded evil deeds of governments is a fantastic tool in destroying their perceived legitimacy. People are generally far more interested in MI5-related scandal than, for example, reading Proudhon. Well pointed out though, of course just because there is a history of state sponsored terrorism doesn't mean that all terrorist attacks (and/or sept. 11th specifically) are orchestrated by the state. It's just… 2.3 trillion dollars… budget analyst office… building 7's symmetrical fall… and the official report said the financing of the attack was "of little practical significance."

Anyway so long as nobody believes the official story I'm happy, there is definitely no point in trying to convince other people of one's own pet theory (which is exactly what Zeitgeist does and probably Loose Change too, although I've never watched it), something I'm sure the intelligence services are happy to see.

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Sep 21 2015 20:30

Sure, exposing the dirty dealing of states are always good. But you should be careful in picking your choice. I'd say something like the Gulf of Tonkin or lying about the existence of WMDs in Iraq are better than 9/11 for that purpose.

And there are definitively lots of shady shit that happened both before or after 9/11. I'd say prior you'd have a case for criminal neglect (given how credible the threats were), and after they made a huge mess of the investigation (e.g. why was the steel beams sold as scrap and exported so quickly? why did they give the investigation so little? and so on). But still, what's the point of going into all of this? I know quite a lot of conspiracy theories due to knowing a couple of folks peddling such stuff and because I think it's entertaining (yes, MI5 scandals are definitively more exciting than Proudhon). But that's where my interest stop in pursuing them. In my experience, almost every single conspiracy theory end up with some version of the Elders of Zion.

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Sep 21 2015 20:45

I haven't read the report all the way through, but I see no major reason to doubt that the attacks were carried out by people whose ideology led them to think it correct and effective. There is a lot of precedent for that activity. There is however a lack of historical precedent for the United States gov't attacking it's own citizens (rich and poor) in the most populated of it's metropolitan areas.

Further no one here (or anywhere) has furnished evidence that Bush had any knowledge ahead of time, or any involvement in planning the attacks (for which there exists no evidence) and the same goes for the CIA and the FBI. The closest one can do is point out that the failed ideology of the terrorist, who may be indignant about western imperialism, but are clinging to reactionary traditionalist views about religion, government, etc. committed an act of terror. That stuff happens.

The best people have offered is poorly sourced claims that a Pakistani official may have funded them, and that because the united states did not pursue his prosecution aggressively, it must have been involved.

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Sep 21 2015 20:55
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Further no one here (or anywhere) has furnished evidence that Bush had any knowledge ahead of time, or any involvement in planning the attacks (for which there exists no evidence) and the same goes for the CIA and the FBI.

Actually, parts of the CIA and the FBI did know about the attacks ahead of time. Steve Coll documents this in the carefully researched Ghost Wars. The problem was that those who knew and took it seriously didn't necessarily manage to convince their superiors of the credibility of the threat (IIRC this was partly also due to turf wars between various agencies, battle for funding and so on).

When it comes to involvement, I am in no doubt that it was Bin Laden and Co.

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Sep 21 2015 22:41

I will check on that Khawaga. I meant to clarify that paragraph before posting.

vicent
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Sep 21 2015 23:23

my experience in dealing with such people is to, firstly vaguely agree and encourage, and direct them towards more documentaries of a similar -vague populist- vein Wall of Films (but more informed) such as Obey , Four Horsemen , Manafacturing Consent!! , Food Inc. etc.

Then you show how people can win Machinist against the Machine , Ditching the Fear ! Working class /unmediated /direct action. And presto they're a communist

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Sep 21 2015 23:33

I for one don't think the US government bombed its own people, or that there were controlled demolitions. I just think they knew about the attacks and higher ups failed to act sort of like "fuck it, let it happen, we'll go to war"

Jub
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Sep 22 2015 11:14

Kwality wee film made this month about the financial side of this, if anyone is interested: https://www.corbettreport.com/911-trillions-follow-the-money-video/

I think the higher ups very well could have let it happen, but even in that case are the CIA not responsible for the radicalisation of the Islamic fundamentalists in the first place? Like with the UK's security services and the IRA, they had informers all over the place

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Sep 22 2015 17:40
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I think the higher ups very well could have let it happen, but even in that case are the CIA not responsible for the radicalisation of the Islamic fundamentalists in the first place? Like with the UK's security services and the IRA, they had informers all over the place

Yes they are. Ghost Wars goes into how the CIA, the Saudi KSA and the Pakistani ISI aided and built up bin Laden in Afghanistan from the 1980s onwards (i.e. after the Russian invasion). Chalmers Johnson also discusses some of this in his book Blowback.

factvalue
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Sep 22 2015 17:49

http://metanoia-films.org/counter-intelligence/ - good on CIA independently acting multicellular structure to counter tired 'commonsense' 'how could everyone in the intelligence community have known and no one say anything' ramblings against MIHOP.

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Sep 22 2015 17:51

Right, all of which is to say, they should have (and must of) realized that they fucked up in supporting and arming these cats, but still does not point to planning or involvement of that level, just that they had forewarning that something might happen (as noted in the document that Jamal Posted). This is important for rebutting my friend as this was their original claim that "Bush knew and let it happen."

factvalue
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Sep 22 2015 21:05

No one I've come across knows what happened but given that CIA is structured to allow cells to operate independently and in total secrecy from each other it's difficult to entirely rule out either MIHOP or LIHOP, no matter how you weigh your probabilities.