The 9/11 Delusion

When I saw in last Monday’s Guardian that Charlie Brooker was taking aim at 9/11 conspiracy theories, I hoped that he’d use his wide audience to present a logically watertight argument, in an entertainingly acerbic register. And buried within his piece was the quite probable suggestion that the paperwork alone would be impossible to conceal. Unfortunately, because he’s evidently paid by the ad hominem, he also said that every conspiracy theorist might as well believe that he is the Emperor of Pluto, and unleashed a firestorm in the online comments. By opening up too many fronts in this debate, he left himself open to attacks, even from other Guardian commentators.

Let us consider a single event from 9/11: the collapse of 7 World Trade Center, a 47-storey skyscraper which stood across Vesey Street from the main World Trade Center site. It collapsed at 5:21pm that day, but, unlike 1 and 2 World Trade Center (the north and south towers, respectively), it was not struck by an aeroplane.

As yet, the official report on the collapse has not been published: the working hypothesis is that fire and/or debris caused a critical supporting column to fail, ultimately leading to the collapse of the entire building.

A widely held conspiracy theory is that the building was destroyed by controlled demolition.

At present, there is no definitive evidence that proves either hypothesis: why then should we prefer one over the other? The conspiracy hypothesis can be proven, but not disproven. Any “proof” of the official hypothesis can be probabilistic at best, as it will be based on simulated physics with limited precision and an inherent (albeit possibly small) uncertainty. And that uncertainty leaves the door open for the possibility that Larry Silverstein ordered the demolition, or that thermite was used to hide the typical hallmarks of a controlled demolition, amongst other possibilities.

On the other hand, you can disprove the official hypothesis in a simple manner. Simply find one person who was involved in the conspiracy to admit his involvement. This could be one of the cabal who planned the atrocity, one of the secret services who executed it, one of the demolition experts who planted the explosives in the building, one of the building workers who saw explosives being installed, one of the emergency services who ordered the building’s evacuation or one of the news media who apparently reported the collapse before it happened.

Conspiracies do happen, but they can only succeed when the number of participants is limited: otherwise human fallibility makes it vanishingly improbable that the whole endeavour can remain a secret. And that is why, unless somebody comes forward and claims responsibility or provides legally credible witness evidence, I cannot (and we should not) believe that 7 World Trade Center was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

2 Responses to “The 9/11 Delusion”

  1. Conspirama says:

    The 9/11 Delusion…

    When I saw in last Monday’s Guardian that Charlie Brooker was taking aim at 9/11 conspiracy theories, I hoped that he’d use his wide audience to present a logically watertight argument, in an entertainingly acerbic register. ……

  2. [...] mrry Derek Murray’s weblog « The 9/11 Delusion [...]

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