The 9/11 Truth Movement and Conspiracy Theorists – A Call To Readdress Priorities
“The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.” - Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844 - 1900)
On Thursday February 15th 2006, BBC Radio 2’s “Jeremy Vine show” devoted a large section of the broadcast to “9/11 Conspiracy Theories” in light of the then upcoming BBC program “The Conspiracy Files”. The show gets around 5.8 million listeners a day while it’s on primetime noon till two, Mondays to Fridays. On as guests to discuss the “9/11 Conspiracy Theories” were former MI5 agent David Shayler and journalist Brendan O’Neill, who authored the article “Meet the No Planers” for The New Statesman magazine.
“You won’t believe the latest one”, said Jeremy Vine while quickly reminding the audience of what was later to come in the show, “Or maybe you will” he continued, “which is that the planes were not planes they were Hologramed Missiles.” At which point the nation listening collectively recoiled in a mixture of bewilderment, disgust and disbelief (Or at least that’s how I imagined normal British people, going about their daily lives, would react upon hearing such insanity). Where would such mad nonsense come from? Where would Jeremy Vine have got that idea and got in the context where it would be relevant enough to mention? Well it appears from David Shayler’s mouth;
"Yes, I believe no planes were involved in 9/11… The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes… Watch the footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center”.
That’s a quote of David Shayler taken from Brendan O’Neill’s article “Meet the No Planers”. Now if that is a misquote why has it not been edited? Or “The New Statesman” and Brendan O’Neill sued? David Shayler insists that he was misquoted, but his objection to what is in error is incredibly vague. It seems that he’s refuting Brendan O’Neill’s comment - “he (Shayler) denies having seen two planes crash into the World Trade Centre”, but that’s contradicted by his earlier statements. He also doesn’t at any point during the live broadcast to millions of people, reject and condemn the idea that “Holograms” were used on 9/11. Rather he seems to just let that utter absurdity remain completely unchallenged.
The power for “no planes” to delegitimise 9/11 Truth, and every credible point that can be made in arguing for a real investigation, is illustrated to perfection by this broadcast. The first question Jeremy Vine asks is, “David first of all I gather you think they weren’t planes that went in”, this and Shayler’s acceptance of the accusation renders almost everything else later mentioned totally unacknowledged. “Watch what happens when that object hits the building, and I don’t believe that’s consistent with a plane hitting the building”, Shayler states briefly before switching the subject to controlled demolition. Shayler spent almost five times the amount of time detailing the controlled demolition hypothesis as he did for the “no planes”, but that’s all completely ignored because of the clear absurdity of the “no planes” idea.
This is demonstrated by the fact that immediately after Shayler’s finished talking about controlled demolition, Jeremy Vines asked him again “So we thought we saw two planes going in, if they weren’t planes what were they?”, Shayler responds to the question by saying, “that’s for other people to decide”, while simultaneously advocating the bizarre notion himself. Shayler also goes on to falsely claim that “no black boxes were recovered”. This is contradicted by credible reports from Fireman cleaning up Ground Zero, who state the Black Boxes were actually found, and confiscated by the FBI. Jeremy Vine’s follow up question is “but didn’t we see them going in?” - which I’m sure reflected the same confusion felt by most people listening. Shayler’s response is to say, “Well we saw something going in didn’t we”, Vine asks again “What was it if it wasn’t a plane?” to which Shayler replies “I’m going to ask you, I’m going to ask you, what do you base your evidence on that Flight 11 went into the North Tower?” , “I watch it on Television” says Vine, and round and round it goes.
Indeed this isn’t the first time David Shayler has had a host of a show trying to get his head around something as ridiculous as “no planes” (which the vast majority of people in the 9/11 Truth Movement also find absurd). Here’s a partial transcript from an earlier mainstream TV appearance he made on Sky News;
STANFORD: ...I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself... but the shot... the iconic shot which is emblazoned in all our minds, those of us that were around that day, and were reporting that day, of planes hitting the tower... how do you explain that?
SHAYLER: Well I would say to anybody, look at that footage, slow it down, and come to your own conclusions. I very firmly believe that what you're seeing there is not consistent with a plane going into a building, but people have got to make their own minds up.
STANFORD: I'm sorry, I don't understand that. What do you mean? There was a plane or there was not a plane?
SHAYLER: I would say to people, look at the footage, yeah? From all the angles, and see how that plane goes into the building.
STANFORD: Every angle shows an aeroplane, hitting the building.
SHAYLER: It shows an aeroplane-- it shows SOMETHING... melting into a building. Not hitting a building.
When you have a plane hitting a building like that you expect to see the wings start to fracture, you expect to see explosions when the engines, full of fuel, hit the buldings. You expect to see blowbacks of parts coming back off the building.
When you slow it down, you see a plane melt into the building, then you see the explosion once it's inside.
STANFORD: You ha-- You'll be aware of the offense some people will take...
SHAYLER: I'm trying to get the truth...
This is proof Shayler should know full well the effect that talking about “no planes” has when he’s making a media appearance, so he can't be given the benefit of the doubt.
For the remainder of the segment on the Jeremy Vine show, Brendan O’Neill manages to associate 9/11 scepticism with almost every nutty “conspiracy theory” type nonsense imaginable. And he does this without any successful or significant challenge from Shayler, as Shayler had pretty much handed him every bit of ammo he needed in the first opening seconds of the “debate”. By claiming something as incredibility ridiculous as “no planes hit the WTC” and by condoning with out objection the idea that “the planes were Hologramed Missiles”, Shayler did an infinitely better job than any “debunker” could dream of.
It’s commonsense that by destroying one’s credibility in a debate by advocating absurdity, anything else you then put forward, credible or not, is quite rightly not often going to be taken seriously. Shayler had his personal judgment and opinion made almost completely worthless by his own actions. What’s worse though is that he was introduced as a representative of the 9/11 Truth Movement, so he not only damaged his own personal standing, but that of the Movement’s also via unwarranted association.
To be representing something you have to be reflecting what it is that the Company, Group, Social Movement etc actually stand for. The 9/11 Truth Movement stands for the fact that we still don’t know the truth about 9/11, and that we should. It stands for the fact that a real investigation into the attacks is of critical importance. It does not stand for fringe, crazy “conspiracy theories” about “no planes hitting the WTC”. So in effect David Shayler was not at all representing the 9/11 Truth Movement, he was representing his personal opinion. But as a consequence of this fact never being clarified, the millions of people listening would indeed confuse Shayler’s mad ideas with the broader 9/11 Truth Movement. Something for which David Shayler has yet to apologise for, or even try to correct.
After the segment with Shayler and O’Neil had finished, Jeremy Vine then moved on to take calls from the public. One of the callers in particular was actually able to even out do Shayler in reinforcing the “crazy conspiracy theory” stereotype, in relation to 9/11 Truth. This individual was able to incorporate falsehood about the demolition of the Towers by claiming that, “For months before 9/11 they were taking people out on floors and actually planting these explosives right”, Vine interjects “How do you know that”, the caller replies “because people who have actually worked there have actually admitted to it, they’ve said ‘yea we went in there and put controlled demolitions in there’ “. He obviously based that wild statement around the testimony of people like Scott Forbes and the “Power-Downs”. But nowhere in that testimony is there proof of people confessing that, “yea we went in there and put controlled demolitions in there”.
But if that wasn’t damaging enough the same caller when pressed by Jeremy Vine on who “They” are blurts out to the 5.8 million people listening;
“They is basically a secret society that has been on this planet for more than 100,000 years, mate we talking about 100,000 of human history, human manipulation, it’s the deceit, the spiders web of deceit mate is beyond all comprehension, this is why it’s so unbelievable… What is the missing link? Because I can tell you the missing link mate it’s got nothing to do with monkeys, we are a genetically engineered race mate. There’s a reptilian race underneath this planet that genetically created humans as a slave race mate, we need to wake up!”
So this individual not only managed to spout disinformation about 9/11, he also managed to associate any 9/11 scepticism with shear, complete and utter insanity about “a reptilian race underneath this planet” that “genetically created humans as a slave race”. Some people might say that it can’t get any worse than that and at least Shayler, damaging as he was, doesn’t go that far. But unfortunately they’d be wrong, because Shayler does indeed go that far and has done so while addressing people at a 9/11 Truth meeting in Leeds, England;
“Evolution doesn’t explain anything because it doesn’t exist”, “The Sumerian Tablets… are stone records and according to those stone records a race of beings came here, created us genetically.”
David Shayler is not alone in making completely sensationalist claims, which reinforce the “conspiracy theory stereotype”. An individual named Ian Crane, the quote “Leader of the 9/11 Truth campaign for the UK and Ireland” manages to include;
His passion for “Crop Circles”, Princes Diana being assassinated because “she was tapping into her higher self’”. He also seems to insinuate that Diana was becoming the reincarnate of “Hypatia”, who was the “Liberian of the Library of Alexandria”. “They knew who she was” he says, while displaying pictures of both of them and pointing to the “resemblances”. He also “explains” how a race of Space Aliens called the “Anunnaki” created mankind, and that they come from the planet “Nibiru” or “Planet X”. This “Planet X”, according to Ian Cane, “is in are Solar System… and every 3600 years it comes back in very close orbit to the planets in our Solar System”.
When most people come across scepticism about the official 9/11 account, their knee-jerk reaction is often to think something along the lines of “Oh that’s just probably rubbish, ‘conspiracy theories’ are always about crazy things”. So it’s already an uphill battle for the majority of us in the 9/11 Truth Movement, who understand how important credibility is. People like David Shayler, Ian Crane and the individual who called in to the radio show, all dramatically increase the incline of that uphill struggle. And they do this by unfairly associating 9/11 Truth with the things that do otherwise justify the stereotype of “conspiracy theory”.
It is vital to the 9/11 Truth Movement’s success that the “conspiracy theory” label be broken. Like him or loathe him, Conservative Leader David Cameron is successfully doing a very similar thing in trying to break the old image of the Tory party, in relation to himself. He knows the old stuffy image of the Conservatives is very unpopular amongst many people in Britain, and he will not be elected if that stays unchanged. So it’s little surprise that every other week there a stories about “David Cameron and Cannabis”, “David Cameron and youths who wear hoodies”, “David Cameron and rap culture”, “David Cameron and his new hip website”. Breaking stereotypes is often always key to the success of movements or campaigns that have negative connotations attached to them. This is an absolutely critical fact, and especially for 9/11 Truth!
So what can we do to break the “conspiracy theory” stereotype? Well we can’t forcibly remove people like David Shayler and Ian Crane for satiating their apparent beliefs. But we can collectively correct the situation, by making the credibility of the Movement as big a priority as it’s other primary objective, which is the securement of a real investigation into the attacks. This is something of immense importance and is in my opinion long overdue.
We should also take heed of the invaluable firsthand advice from people like Dr William F. Pepper;
"So I’m going to say this group, more then any other that I can think of in terms of a movement, is going to be infiltrated, is infiltrated and there are going to be all kinds of efforts to subvert your work, all kinds of efforts to corrupt your work and all kinds of efforts to discredit you. Please understand that and take it in the spirit in which is being given because this is what will happen and probably is happening. So please your work is too important, your mission is too precious. Be careful in every aspect of the work, make sure your allegations, your claims are well founded because if there not you will be discredited."
- Dr. William F. Pepper, 9/11 Truth Conference, Chicago (June 2006)
It’s not paranoid to sensibly take into consideration things like the history of “Cointelpro”, and coordinated disruption and infiltration of political movements. It would be an exception to the rule if the 9/11 Truth Movement weren’t subjected to such criminal activity. Indeed going back to David Shayler’s previous appearance on Sky News, Jonathan Margolis the other guest in studio with Shayler hypothetically accused him of such;
MARGOLIS: "There's a saying in Yorkshire where I used to work, "Them that believe nought, will believe ought." ... in other words if you take someone that is routinely skeptical about everything, you can actually sell them anything.
Now if I went out... tomorrow, and started a theory that David Shayler is actually... is one of THEM, he's not really departed from-- he's still part of MI6, SIS, and that he's been put amongst us to spread a CRAZY conspiracy theory about 9/11 and 7/7... in order to discredit the right-thinking people that are beginning to have their doubts... so if you are a farmer in Ohio, and you are beginning to think, "Well, it could be. Could all have been a plot by the government," then, I can say, "well look, at how nutty, these guys are..." and so you can discredit them."
Now I don’t intend to seriously charge David Shayler of still being part of the intelligence services, because to the best of my knowledge there’s zero evidence of that. But I do certainly intend to voice my utter disgust and objection to the way he has damaged the 9/11 Truth Movement’s credibility in front of millions. That type of demonstrable incompetency and lack of appreciation for what plainly sounds absurd to everyone else should not be tolerated. David Shayler’s self-appointed “leadership” position should certainly be questioned and scrutinized as much as anyone else. It is only through such a process of fair criticism and objection, that such gross misrepresentations of the 9/11 Truth Movement can be avoided and corrected in the future.
Again the idea that “no planes” is representative of the movement is a complete travesty, as it is so soundly rejected as insulting and absurd by the absolute vast majority of us. But it’s all to easy for the media to associate 9/11 truth with such nonsense when so called “representatives” endorse it. Laying to rest the myths and misconceptions about 9/11 truth being something advocated by “crazy conspiracy theorists” is going to be a challenge. But it’s not in anyway as if it can’t be done, it can and it is, but the process on that front could be infinitely faster. If we will only readdress are collective priorities and give the credibility of the Movement the focus it deserves, then I believe perhaps one of the most important milestones in the development of 9/11 truth as an issue could be reached.
In closing I’d like to finish with some more impeccably stated and much needed advice from Dr William Pepper (This is taken from Michael Wolsey’s radio podcast “Visibility 9-11” which can be heard in full here);
“My concern with the 9/11 Movement, worldwide but particularly in the United States, is that it not get subverted and misdirected in terms of it’s very important work of exploring facts and seeking evidence and examining evidence and looking for the truth. To the extant that your movement can be labelled as incredible in terms of the position it takes, it will be diminished and it will be looked upon as just another group of conspiracy theorists with no bases in foundation, in fact and reality. And that’s what the 9/11 people in every organisation that’s a part of that movement have got to be very much aware of. Because it will only take a small group of people to discredit the entire movement, and that small group of people you can bet will have their positions heralded and published on, and the rest of the movement will be tarred with that brush.”…
“People will come in, and they will try to establish some roots and some ties and some credibility within an organisation, and as that is done they go on and will promote disinformation, activities and ideas that will discredit and divert people away from an actual truthful search.” …
“Build your case brick by brick, factual brick by factual brick. And you go along slowly and steadily and you just build the range of factual material as though you’re actually preparing a case for litigation. As though you’re actually preparing a case for prosecution, either civil or criminal, and you need to have the standards that would be required in a court of law. That means you need very strict evidentiary standards, you cannot take it as a fact something that someone just said, you need to be able to confirm that fact, you need to be able to have independent indications and evidence that something is so. Then you go, once you build that fact, you go to the next, you just go steadily so that you can defend everything that you’re saying. So that you don’t get off talking about “Spatial Laser Beams” knocking down buildings, you don’t make those huge leaps of conspiratorial faith, you go fact by fact. It’s less glamorous, less exciting, it’s very tedious but you have to do it.” - Dr William Pepper is an international attorney, was a close friend of Dr Martin Luther King in the last year of his life and lawyer to the King family.