scubadiver's blog

Hindsight and dealing with 9/11

Comment in today's UK London Evening Standard by Sam Leith, thought I would share.

"Ten years on from the horror of 9/11, I find myself returning to a counterfactual that has preoccupied me on and off ever sice. A thought experiment: what if, instead of responding as they did, the US had made the ultimate gesture of a hyperpower's self-confidence and simply turned the other cheek?

If they'd mourn their dead, rebuit the city, and treated the murders as a police matter - a grotesque crime rather than a military or political statement worthy of a response in kind?

Would it really have encouraged al-Qaeda? Or would it rather have made them seem vicious and small? And would the world, on balance, have been a better and safer place 10 years on than it is now? It's an open question - but I strongly suspect that it would."

Post 9/11 America has become the land of the fearful

"There is something sinister in the term Homeland Security. Homeland sounds a little too like Fatherland for comfort, a place demanding unthinking loyalty. Very un-American, one might imagine, but then Americans are not as free-wheeling as they like to think they are. Most of them like rules, enforced with a brand of passive aggression all the more unsettling for being delivered with a smile as bright as it is indifferent.

They don’t even manage the smile at JFK when you hand over your passport. Well, some do. Things have lightened a little since the early post 9/11 era when any foreigner was an object of suspicion. The Orwellian technology remains, however: the fingerprint scanner and camera, adding you to some vast, churning database, and increasingly for those boarding flights in the United States, the hugely intrusive whole-body scanner. Land of the Free-ish."

Eliza Manningham-Buller: "9/11 was a crime, not an act of war"

Deputy of MI5

On the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the United States on 11 September, the former director-general of MI5 reflects on the lasting significance of that day. Was it a "terrorist" crime, an act of war or something different? She offers a unique perspective on the event, its impact on the world and the repercussions which are still being felt today.

The BBC censorship has been lenient. Grey Owl has had a long post accepted and there is an interesting comment by Mike Ellis.


WTC construction slideshow

There is a link to Leslie Robertson's website, a structural engineer who worked on the original design. (interestingly the page mentions WTC7)

"We designed the towers to resist the accidental impact of a Boeing 707, perhaps lost in the fog while seeking to land. The impact of the Boeing 767s, commandeered by the terrorists, even though larger and flying much faster, was still unable to bring down the towers. The fire-resistive systems, however, did not and could not have contemplated the subsequent fire fueled by thousands of gallons of jet fuel."

There is a contact e-mail address at the bottom.

See No Truth, Hear No Truth, Speak No Truth

The entries on the blog are regular newsletters, but given we are at the 10 anniversary I decided to write an entry on how we may be able to use psychological research to engage more constructively with others. I have a degree in psychology (1999) but still have an interest in social psychological research.

“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, they will fight to protect it.” - Morpheus, The Matrix

I am a closet conspiract theorist

It was probably going to be the first of many meetings. Over the last few years, I had been told there is something wrong with me though I could not understand what it was. I had been encouraged by my doctor to visit a self-help group and, so here I was faced with a circle of chairs, all of them occupied except one. I sat down and I smiled nervously. The occupants of the other chairs nodded and smiled in my direction.

UK newspaper: "9/11 Ten Years on dispelled ten years of fantasy"

With the advent of the internet conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks have reached a larger audience than perhaps any other event and have raged on for nearly ten years.

The Conspiracy Files: Ten Years On aimed to put an end to this, detailing each preposterous theory and then shooting it down with fairly incontrovertible proof.

The error however was in entertaining the theories at all and the documentary lingered on each hypothesis for a little too long for no reason other than sheer sensationalism, adding legitimacy to a largely YouTube-based debate - an arena in which streams of Justin Bieber songs altered to sound as though they were performed by chipmunks can garner 47 million views.

All the classics were here; the exploding column supports on lower Twin Tower floors, the small hole made in the Pentagon wall, the debris found miles from the United 93 crash site.

Sherlock Holmes said that when you’ve eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth’ one conspiracy theorist informed us.

MI5 told Blair Iraq was no threat to UK

Britain faced no threat from Iraq when Tony Blair decided to take the country to war, the head of MI5 at the time of the invasion has declared.

Baroness Manningham-Buller disclosed that she had warned the then Labour Prime Minister that the UK would be at greater risk of terrorist attacks if he pursued military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The former director general of the domestic security service, who retired in 2007, described the Iraq conflict as a “distraction” from efforts to tackle al Qaida and warned that more terrorist attacks on British soil seemed likely.

Her comments, in an interview to mark the start of her three Reith Lectures, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week, represent the most outspoken criticisms to date of the 2003 conflict by such a senior figure in the intelligence services.

Mr Blair, and his former communications director, Alastair Campbell, have faced repeated criticism over the Labour government’s public case for military action.

9/11 conspiracy theories: 10 years later

Now has over 600 comments.

It may be 10 years since the attacks in the US on 11 September, but conspiracy theories have not faded over time, says Mike Rudin.

Numerous official reports have been published since the Twin Towers fell, but just when a piece of evidence casts doubt on one theory, the focus then shifts to the next "unanswered question".

Here are five of the most prominent 9/11 conspiracy theories circulating in online communities.

1. Failure to intercept the hijacked planes

2. Collapse of the Twin Towers

3. Attack on the Pentagon

4. The fourth plane - United Airlines flight 93

5. Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7

9/11 evidence diagram


this diagram is meant to be a general overview of the connections between all the different aspects of the evidence. I think it is generally accurate but there might be some things wrong with it. Let me know what you think.

Each of the magnifying glasses initiates a popup on the website to a list of questions. A fair bit of other stuff on the site as well.

I have links to 6 different playlists on my website ( which correspond to the different parts of the diagram.

9/11: They Didn't Act Alone

A few pro-truth comments after the article

For their new book, 'The Eleventh Day’, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan trawled through thousands of documents, piecing together a definitive account of the attacks.

On September 11, bereaved family members will mark the 10th anniversary of the cataclysmic terrorist attacks on American cities. They will gather around the pools of remembrance at the newly opened memorial, where the names of the 2,982 known victims who died on the day and in the earlier bombing of 1993 are engraved on parapets of bronze. President Obama and his predecessor, George W Bush will be on hand.

Two official inquiries have investigated the who, the how, and the why of 9/11. A decade on, however, many questions remain. Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cohort plotted and executed the operation, but did they act alone? Only days after the onslaught, President Bush's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said the terrorists "live and work and function and are fostered and encouraged, if not just tolerated, by a series of countries… I know a lot… It's a sensitive matter."

The 9/11 Commission Report: the even less truthful edition

Published for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this new edition of the authorized report is limited to the Commission’s riveting account—which was a finalist for the National Book Award—of the attack and its background, examining both the attackers and the U.S. government, the emergency response, and the immediate aftermath. It includes new material from Philip Zelikow, the Commission’s executive director, on the Commission’s work, the fate of its recommendations, and the way this struggle has evolved right up to the present day.

Teachers reluctant to discuss 9/11

Teachers are reluctant to discuss the September 11 attacks on America because they fear it will provoke racism and Islamaphobia in class, according to a survey.

Those in schools with high numbers of Muslim children are particularly concerned about talking about the atrocity - despite it being arguably the defining event of the 21st century so far.

Alison Kitson, faculty director at the Institute of Education at London University, which carried out the survey, said teachers should "grasp the nettle" and tackle the subject. They should credit children with more maturity, she said.

Four in five teachers (81 per cent) said that when teaching the topic, it was a challenge to break "students' stereotypes and prejudices about other cultures".

The academics polled almost 200 teachers across the country and also visited eight schools: four in London, and one each in Leeds, Worcestershire, Oxford and Surrey.

At two schools, teachers showed "serious resistance" to raising the subject, while in another there was "some resistance" from staff.


Renegade Pictures and a 9/11 production for BBC3

A message I received on Facebook (and I think I know what your response might be!):


What do you think happened on 9/11?

Was 9/11 the work of Al Qaeda? Or perhaps you think the public aren’t being told the whole story?

Who do you think was responsible for committing one of the biggest atrocities of the 21st Century?

BBC Three and Renegade Pictures are looking for young people to go on a road trip across New York to investigate what happened on that fateful day.

If you subscribe to conspiracy theories, then please contact the team ASAP at

therese dot byrne at renegadepictures dot co dot uk

Muad'dib acquitted

Real name Anthony John Hill, he was acquitted of perverting the course of justice after sending his DVD "7/7 Ripple Effect" to the trial judge and jury foreman of a case involving Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32. They were being tried at Kingston Crown Court, England, wrongfully accused of helping the four accused individuals of the London 7/7/2005 bombings.

Charlie Sheen faces protest from 9/11 conspiracy theorists

He's recently taken on the issue of bipolar disorder amongst many other topics in his live stand-up shows.

But there's one cause that Charlie Sheen has been apparently shy of talking about recently - his conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Sheen has been vocal in the past about the attacks, asserting that the World Trade Centre, in his view, was blown up in a 'controlled demolition'.

Now conspiracy group The 9/11 Truth Movement are threatening to protest at his live shows, accusing him of neglecting to talk about the matter.

Mark Dice, a prominent member of the organisation, told TMZ that the former Two And A Half Men star has abandoned them after once being a keen supporter.

He said that Sheen should be using the limelight he is currently enjoying to promote the group.
'[He should be] asking hard questions about what happened on 9/11 and the resulting wars ... not bragging about smoking crack and sleeping with hookers,' Mr Dice told the website.