UK Independent Review of "The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 - The Third Tower

The Weekend's TV: The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 – The Third Tower, Sun, BBC2
George Gently, Sun, BBC2

Yet more tall stories with no foundation

Reviewed by Thomas Sutcliffe

Monday, 7 July 2008

Imagine an infection that actually feeds on the only antibiotic available to counter it and you have some measure of the problem in dealing with conspiracy theories. When conspiracists encounter solid evidence against their favoured scenario, they have only two options available to them. They can compromise their religious belief in the narrative they've constructed, or they can simply enlarge it, extending the conspiracy so that, amoeba-like, it absorbs this irritating foreign body and digests it whole. Almost invariably, they choose the latter, and The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 – the Third Tower, a film about the collapse of World Trade Centre Building 7, offered several choice examples of the process. What conspiracists believe about Building 7 is that it was deliberately destroyed, brought down by a pre-planned explosion so that the evidence proving government complicity in the events of 9/11 would be shredded. They base their conviction on footage of the collapse, in which it does indeed look as if the building has been brought down by controlled demolition. They then shore up this ill-informed impression with oddities picked from the rubble of that day – passing remarks, inaccuracies in the news coverage, fragments of debris – all of them carefully sifted and separated from their context so that their larger meaning is obscured. And woe betide you if you suggest that the resulting collage is implausible in any way.

Mark Loizeaux did, a demolitions expert who pointed out that preparing a large skyscraper for demolition takes months of work and requires a cat's cradle of wiring all over the building. Not only that, but the amount of explosive required to bring down Building 7 would have shattered windows for hundreds of yards around, whereas the only windows broken in nearby buildings were those directly exposed to falling debris from the Twin Towers. A large chunk of grit for any amoeba to swallow, you would have thought, but rippling weirdly around the edges, that's just what happened. Richard Gage, founder of the ironically titled Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, speculated that either specially concealed charges had been laid when offices were remodelled or that they had actually been incorporated into the building when it was first built in the 1980s, the government showing an impressive grasp of forward planning in the field of nefarious skulduggery. Other conspiracists took a simpler route: if Loizeaux was undermining their theory, then he must be part of the conspiracy, too. Indeed, now they thought of it, nobody was better qualified to have done the job. Loizeaux and his employees became the object of a hate campaign.

As did Jane Stanley, a BBC correspondent at the time of the attacks who became notorious to conspiracists because she discussed Building 7's collapse in a two-way with the studio in London at a time when it was still visible over her left shoulder. This is another cherished "smoking gun" for the cranks, and one that's nicely illustrative of their thinking. Asked what she could tell viewers about the reported collapse of Building 7, Stanley replied, "Well, only what you already know. Details are very, very sketchy." She was thinking on her feet, she explained, having been confronted with a statement that she had no way of checking. She described it as "a very small and very honest mistake", which wasn't quite true, since the "very honest" response to the original question would have been "I can't tell you a bloody thing about any collapse because this is the first I've heard of it, and frankly I don't know which way is up right now". One wishes BBC correspondents would occasionally adopt this degree of candour, but habits die hard and the engrained instinct is to conceal your ignorance rather than advertise it. So you have a choice: either the BBC had inadvertently revealed that, in concert with other broadcasting organisations, it was working from a prearranged script drawn up as part of the biggest conspiracy in world history, or a flustered reporter did the best she could in the middle of a breaking story. Probability of the former, vanishingly small; probability of the latter, approaching certainty, and yet if you opt for flustered cock-up, the conspiracists will dismiss you as a hopeless dupe of the new world order. Incidentally, if you're minded to send me a long email denouncing my gullibility and directing me to websites offering incontrovertible proof that Dick Cheney did it, don't bother. As you may already have guessed, I'm in on it, too.

It's not entirely surprising that people make up their own thriller stories if the commercially available ones are as dull as George Gently, a Northumberland-based detective drama in which Martin Shaw takes the lead. Why Gently? Because George Growly would be a bit too obvious even for a drama this committed to genre expectations. Peter Flannery's script gives some good, taut lines to the sidekick, the only character with space enough to surprise you, but it wasn't enough to stave off sleep.

Give me a break

Look's like the Independent is trying to cash in on the "conspiracy" traffic.

More ridiculous statements from the newspaper which produced Robert Fisk's questions about 9/11 --

Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11
Saturday, 25 August 2007

"But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. . . . I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the "raver" bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive"."

Just finished watching it,

Just finished watching it, and I must say it was least a bit more balanced than the first go round.

I will say that my girlfriend was appalled at Dylan Avery's performance toward the end of the show.
For future reference (not directed at Dylan, but anyone): If corporate media cameras are aimed at you, try to be as classy as you can, and for gods sake, dont let the F word slip out, and for gods sake, if it does, dont do it again! Somehow I dont think it makes the movement as a whole look too good, imo.

9/18 was an inside job! So maybe 9/11 was too...


Unfortunately I missed the show, I thought it was going to be repeated, but it looked like the older one they did, so I don't know. I'm reading mixed reactions about it on the internet.

But I think these egregious attacks by elements in the 'liberal press' in the UK designed to mischaracterize everyone, that just miss the real point of what 9/11 Truthers are campaigning for really are getting old.

I don't have any problem with the blowback thesis at all. The long running Anglo-American imperialism, messing around in the Middle East, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the very real issues in the Occupied territories and so, and it makes a lot of sense, the only problem with it is, is it correct ?

I mean come away from the strictly conspiracy-oriented stuff out there, and just start with Paul Thompson's incredible timeline as Jon Gold often recommends and begin your own research. And it doesn't take long to come to the reasoned realization, that we probably don't know the full story of 9/11. Anyone who maintains some utterly rigid and disparaging position to the contrary seems to be addicted to sheer intellectual dishonesty and that's what saddens me about people like this Sutcliffe, people like George Monbiot, and so on.

I don't know about a conspiracy among all these journalists, but it can seem that there is a trend; an implicit reflexive ideology and some degree of self-deception that pervades those persons both individually and culturally when it comes to this topic.


>>I don't know about a conspiracy among all these journalists, but it can seem that there is a trend

Someone should write up an article on this, do some research and get at it -- what's with these types? I suspect it's psychological and about their feelings of rejection of and by authority . . . when they begin to feel themselves wading into territory that could make them look silly, they freak out, reject it outright and become illogical about the whole thing . . . like you say, rigid. What happens to these seemingly intelligent people? It would make a fascinating essay. The Noam Chomsky video posted recently is a good example of the absurdity.

The other question is how to handle it, to get through to them. What will get through to these types? Anger won't work. They are used to having a lot of anger themselves at real authority and they won't respond to that. They see themselves as intellectuals, but they become intellectually dishonest at the drop of a hat when their ego is put to the test, so appealing to their intellect doesn't work because they are "turned off."

I think that Steven Jones' paper (Fourteen Points) is a good example of one possible way -- extreme kid gloves mixed with humor but also truths, and sincere requests for dialog, not attack. That is, if someone wants to actually dialog . . .

Who Cares?

More business as usual damage control based on rationalizing.

The best revenge is to keep getting our information to the public.