by Claus Larsen
As long as humans have needed scapegoats, we have also invented reasons why we have picked on the right people. Within the past century, we have seen convoluted conspiracy theories about who really was behind big events like the Reichtagsfire in 1933, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Princess Diana. More local conspiracies abound, too: You will not be hard-pressed to find conspiracy theories in your own county which have yet to make it outside your borders.
By far the most popular myth today is about the terror attack on September 11, 2001. The movement behind this conspiracy theory is called “Truth”, and its followers “Truthers”. However, it is only the event that separates them from other conspiracy theories. The methods are the same, the arguments are the same. Like all other conspiracy theories, this one consists of innumerous sub-theories, each with its own group of believers – and non-believers. All conspiracy theories weave in and out of each other, to a degree that we can realistically talk about not many conspiracy theories, but one, all-encompassing one.
Even the moniker “Truth” is misleading. “Truthers” are not out to find the truth, but their version of the truth. It is apparent for most people that when two huge passenger planes crash directly into skyscrapers, it should not come as a surprise when the buildings collapse. Likewise, it is hardly an epiphany if a building (WTC7) collapses after being damaged severely by flying debris, burning uncontrollably for hours after.
Nevertheless, the “Truthers” have fantasized a story in which gravity is abolished, and where all knowledge of architecture, building construction, engineering and catastrophes is wrong. All of it – the attack and the subsequent damages – was a colossal conspiracy intended to justify everything that happened after that: The invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the abolishment of civil rights and a declaration of national emergency, all for the purpose of rejecting the current “world order” and enforce a new, a “New World Order”, or “NWO”.
This New World Order is the pivotal point for a lot of conspiracy theories: The world is really controlled by an almighty secret government, consisting of largely unknown people, with enormous power and influence. Their goal is to make ordinary citizens obedient slaves. But, thank God, we have the conspiracists, who cleverly, and, we are constantly reminded, at great personal risk – uncover this shadow government, and who are more than willing to lecture us about. You might recognize some of these ideas from other conspiracy theories, like the infamous Protocols of Zion1, the Illuminati2 and the Bush family, which in reality is related to the House of Windsor and also really reptilian aliens3 from outer space.
The fascinating, and appealing, about NWO is, that everything can and will be interpreted to speak in favor of the theory. Anything can either be discarded as irrelevant or be included as yet another piece of evidence, depending on whether you think it sounds plausible or not. There is no need for objective standards for evidence: One moment, you can see a statement from an anonymous sources as gospel, and right after discard a statement from a named source as irrelevant. You can find evidence in a bit of dust, and at the same time reject that the collapse of the buildings were due to passenger planes slamming into them. You are allowed this, because in Conspiracy Land it is not the quality of evidence that counts, but solely what feeds your paranoia. If you are ridiculed for this, why, that is just even more evidence that you are right.
It does not make sense to try to separate the different stories. All merge together to form The Great Story: There are secret forces that operates by scare campaigns and disinformation, seeking to achieve total control over the rest of us. Whether the implicated are FBI, CIA, the White House, the Windsor family, the jews, foreign intelligence agencies, multinational companies, underground movements or aliens that looks like us, is beside the point. Every conspiracy fanatic includes the parts of the story he thinks sounds plausible, until he believes he has his own explanation.
The Danish “Truthers”
Denmark also has its share, albeit a tiny one, of “Truthers”. On September 11, 2009, they celebrated the 8th anniversary of the terror attack, by demonstrating on Copenhagen’s City Hall Square. With a banner (black, to emphasize the doomsday sentiment) and stands with miserable reproductions of the Twin Towers and WTC7’s collapse, spiced with absurd claims, they were ready to capture the attention of people passing by.
Half an hour into the demonstration, they still had not caught more than a few. I had no problems getting one conspiracy fanatic, Thomas Torrens4, to talk to me. I opened with the obvious questions: What was the meaning of the demonstration? What was his stand on 9/11?
His response was dismissive: “I don’t know. What do you think?”
What did he mean by that? Was he not part of the demonstration? He had to know what he was planning on telling people? No, that was not important. He felt it was more important to know what I thought.
It quickly turned out that Thomas Torrens was full of lies. He knew perfectly what his own stance was. He just wanted to make me unsure, first by shooting down my stance, and then carpet-bomb me with what he thought were convincing arguments, but which in reality were only oversimplified one-liners, memorized by numerous repetitions with his fellow kindred spirits. This pattern repeated itself with all of the conspiracy fanatics I spoke with: All set up this clumsy trap, after which they figured I would be easy prey.
It is possible that it works on others, but I am far too experienced to be confused by such ruffian methods. I maintained that since this was his demonstration, it was up to him to state why he was here. I insisted.
While Thomas Torrens was desperately trying to avoid the question, becoming more and more aggressive in the process, I noticed a man standing a few meters behind him, filming me with a camcorder. The man wore a black tshirt with “911 was an inside job” printed, so I figured he was also part of the demonstration. I asked Thomas Torrens why the man was filming. He replied that he did not know, because he could not see anyone filming. Grotesquely, he even refused to turn around and see for himself. There was a reason for his reluctancy: He knew perfectly well that filming was going on, and he also knew who the man was. The man – unfortunately, I never got his name, but he was Swedish, small of stature, excessively loud and already well on his way to complete inebriation – approached us, with his camera in one hand, and a strong beer in the other. When I asked him why he was filming, he ducked the question and started to scream at me that I was an ignorant idiot who did not know what he was talking about. Thomas Torrens had nothing to say about this man’s behavior or his filming activities, but he clearly thought it was acceptable behavior, because he and the drunk Swede took turns yelling insults at me, even though I had not yet said anything about my position on the matter. The only thing I had made clear was that I was not ready to blindly accept what they claimed, which they saw as a valid reason to abuse me verbally: I was stupid, I was ignorant, I had been hypnotised.
I tried to point out that such an approach was probably not the most effective one, if they wanted to contact people, but I failed to get the two gentlemen to calm down and focus on what they were here for.
As time went by, I discovered that this was a general trait with the present conspiracy fanatics. They all share the same underlying aggressiveness, which shines through in everything they do. They are not interested in hearing other explanations than their own. They call themselves “skeptics”, but their methods are anything but skeptical. They know in advance that they are right, and nothing can persuade them otherwise. If someone dares to question them and their conspiracy theories, they are roasted on open fire.
I was not alone in pointing this out. Several others had stood by, listening, heads shaking. Some also pointed out that of course the organizers of the demonstration should present their own views, and that they should answer what questions they were asked. Otherwise, it was absurd to even organize a demonstration.
Nothing of this affected the “Truthers”. No, the conspiracy fanatics were not here to clearly state their own views, it was about us, the non-believers. And then again, not, when the thin veneer of deceit peeled off. The lie was apparent to all of the onlookers.
I did manage to get out of Thomas Torrens that he believed that it was not Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden who were behind the terror attacks on September 11. No, among the culprits were various intelligence agencies around the world, e.g. from Israel and Pakistan. The drunk Swede left us, only to be replaced by another inebriated countryman. The second one, whose name I also did not manage to get, also had a firm grip around a bottle of beer. The group clearly had had to call in support from our Scandinavian brothers in order to make a two-digit crowd of people. Maybe half the participants were from Sweden.
This Swede was made of the same stuff as Thomas Torrens: Short leading questions, after which he was prepared to shoot me down. I had a bit more luck getting him to explain what this conspiracy fanatic believed in, even though he constantly tried to lob the ball back on my court. He also fumbled his arguments, and could hardly finish one claim before he jumped to the next. I was constantly interrupted, it was a struggle to get answers to even the simplest questions. There was no logic to his stream of words. It came like manure from a diarrheic calf, and with the same nutritional value.
One thing should be mentioned: Thermite5, and the special kind called nanothermite6. Not the small vermin, which eats wood houses and books, but a mix of powdered aluminum, iron oxide and other compounds. Thermite, when ignited, develops very high temperatures, around 2500 degrees Celsius, and is typically used to weld railroad tracks, and for military purposes.
It is important to remember that the explanations from the “Truthers” of why the buildings collapsed have changed dramatically over the years. In the beginning, the focus on on ordinary explosives as the real reason. When that claim was thoroughly debunked, the “Truthers” characteristically refused to acknowledge that they had been wrong. Instead, they bet all their money on thermite, which they (now) claimed to have found evidence of, based on some of the photos taken at Ground Zero. It was not long before also this claim was demolished, primarily because the needed amount of thermite exceeded even the most ambitious (NWO-supported, of course) terrorists’ abilities. What is a conspiracy fanatic to do? Repeat the exercise, and come up with yet another theory. Now, it was nanothermite who dunnit!
Nanothermite is thermite made from nanoparticles, which should make the effect even more powerful. Apparently, it could only have been agents from the American government (which in turn is under the control of the secret government) who had access to this material, which would be clear evidence that Bush, Cheney and other secret powerful men (presumably E.T. and the monsters from the Alien movies) were the real culprits.
No doubt the “Truthers” will abandon nanothermite and move on to yet another farfetched explanation. But for now, nanothermite is the favorite fetich among them.
The current “Truther”-hero is Niels Harrit7 of Denmark. He has promoted himself as a full-blown “Truther” with the claim that four dust samples taken from the area around Ground Zero in the days after the attacks prove the existence of nanothermite. The Swede I was talking to had all the arguments ready, except the most important: I had to drag an explanation of what thermite and nanothermite really was out of him (he constantly wanted to move on), but he failed to appreciate the problems with the study of the dust samples. He claimed again and again that they were found immediately after the attacks. In reality, they surfaced more than six years after8. In other cases, the conspiracy fanatics would never accept such a doubtful source, but because it supports their beliefs, the source is of course credible.
Wherever the dust may come from, it is not possible to determine if it consist nanothermite or not. Thermite – nano or not – is primarily made from aluminum and iron oxide, better known as ruse. Both substances were found in both Twin Towers and WTC7, so it should not be surprising to find them in the debris.
The Swede did not find that explanation convincing. No, no, and no again: It had to be nanothermite, because it could not be anything else (yes, dust and rust) – and that was the end of that. He held on to this, even though I could tell that he knew himself that he was on very thin ice indeed.
It did not get better, when he suddenly claimed that, among others, it was the Pakistani secret service that had warned the American authorities about the upcoming attack. Unfortunately for him, I could recall Thomas Torrens claiming that the very same secret service was one of the organizations that had been planning the attacks. How did that work? How could the same secret service both plan the attacks, and warn the Americans about it? Where was the logic in that?
That small paradox was summarily dismissed with the argument that I could not expect that everyone in a political party would agree on everything – could I?
Perhaps not. But we were not talking about politics – were we? We were talking about concrete evidence of who was behind the September 11 attacks. How could conspiracy fanatics expect to convince people, when they could not agree on a consistent theory themselves?
That was not relevant! I had to grasp that! How stupid could I be? That was small stuff!
I did not get much more out of the Swede, who had run out of both arguments and beer. His place was taken by Jeppe Severin9. Contrary to the others, he had absolutely no problems telling me what was behind his presence: He was there to warn us – the silent sheep – against “them”. “They” were primarily the Rotschild-family, which controlled the Bilderberg group, which – as we all know – are the real world rulers.
The granularity was lacking, though: Jeppe Severin only had a foggy idea of who were really in this secret power base. The Rotschilds, yes. But who among the Rotschilds? That was a good question. The Rotschild family stretches over many generations, and when someone is a real conspiracy-Rotshcild and who is not is impossible to determine. Maybe the name is the decisive factor, who knows? Jeppe Severin sure did not.
It is not a problem for Jeppe Severin or his fellow conspiracy fanatics if the names are missing: That is just “evidence” that the power base is secret! The lack of names is not regarded as a weakness, but a strength: One is not fumbling in the dark, but have yet another reason to believe the story.
Dick Cheney10, I was told, was the only one who “controlled” Dulles Airport11, which meant it had to be him who ordered the security cameras turned off, so they did not record the terrorists. Ha! Evidence of NWO!
How was that supposed to work out? Cheney’s “control” had to mean that the security staff had gotten direct orders from Cheney to turn of the cameras? Were the security staff also in on it? That particular part of the story was not something Jeppe Severin had thought about, but that did not make him stop and consider if he could be wrong. Massive plotholes are no hindrance for a conspiracy fanatic to believe something or not.
The explanation of the missing “whisteblowers”, those who break their silence and tell the public that they were involved with planning and carrying out the operation, was obvious: Nobody dared, because they were afraid to lose their jobs. However, Jeppe Severin had no problems believing firmly in anonymous FBI-sources who claimed to have been an active part, but were afraid to step forward. He considered these unnamed sources highly trustworthy, and believed them to be clear evidence of the conspiracy.
But anyone can claim to have heard anything from anyone. It does not even have to be anonymous FBI sources. I could also claim that an anonymous source in the White House told me, clandestinely and under the duvet cover, that Obama in reality is a transvestite/animal fetichist with a penchant for broccoli in various bodily orifices – but that does not make it more true, even if I myself consider the “source” supporting of my beliefs12.
For a conspiracy fanatic, the reliability of anonymous sources is determined by what they (reportedly) say: If their statements support the conspiracy fanatic’s fantasies, the sources speak the truth. If they kill the story, the sources are obviously lying: Just yet another example of the misinformation we are fed by NWO.
Like some of his fellow believers, Jeppe Severin attempted to play the scientific angle. It quickly became apparent that he only had a very rudimentary knowledge of even the simplest scientific concepts. I got the impression that Jeppe Severin was not altogether happy himself, listening to what he himself said. He seemed to realize that he was talking gibberish. It is one thing to persuade yourself of something, but quite another when you express it to others. It is only when you try to explain your ideas to others that you discover if they make sense at all. Jeppe Severin certainly needs to do his homework.
Next was Anders Otte13. A true master of the mind, with a disregard for material things and personal hygiene (the obligatory beer was also found in his hand). Excessively talkative, but very temperamentally intolerant to diverging opinions. Like all conspiracy fanatics, he does not consider wrong data to be any hindrance to the validity of the explanations he eagerly defends.
At one point, he claimed that the temperature from the burning jet fuel cannot reach above 280 degrees Celcius, which meant that it would be impossible to melt the steel beams in Twin Towers, which again meant that it could not have been the fuel that was the cause of the collapse. Unfortunately, he did not have his own arguments in place, because he claimed seconds after that the temperature could also be several hundred degrees higher. When I pointed out this discrepancy to him, I received the usual answer: It was irrelevant. I should not be bothered with it!
Like all conspiracy fanatics, Anders Otte could not stick to the truth. The official explanation – which the conspiracy fanatics loathe – does not say that the steel melted, but that it was weakened by the intense fire, after which the structure collapsed. The National Geographic Channel has recently shown a program14, in which they effectively debunk the claims of the “Truthers”, one being the question of the steel beams subjected to the heat from jet fuel. In the experiment, the temperature reached above 1000 degrees Celsius, and the steel collapsed less than four minutes after ignition. This is the natural explanation of the collapse of the building – which the “Truthers” reject altogether.
Anders Otte also repeated the popular myth that no steel buildings up until then had collapsed by fire alone. Again, we see the dishonesty that permeates the entire “Truth” movement. Anders Otte “forgot” to mention that the structure was severely damaged when the planes hit the buildings. But why concern oneself with such minor things? It is irrelevant! Apart from that, there are in fact several examples of steel buildings collapsing from fire alone15 – examples which the “Truthers” are busy explaining away, or simply ignore. Ir-Re-Le-Vant!
At this time, we were joined by two young American tourists, who were somewhat surprised to find 9/11 conspiracy fanatics in Denmark. They knew about the movement, and had even watched the Loose Change video16, one of the “Truther” movement’s highlights. They were less than impressed, though. They also dug into Anders Otte’s claims, to which he reacted very negatively. This self-appointed expert was in no time being thoroughly debunkd by two tourists who nailed him to the cross with pivotal questions.
One example was some calculations which Anders Otte claimed proved that WTC7 could not have collapsed on its own. When asked by the two Americans who had made the calculations, Anders Otte had to admit defeat. He did not know – but then, it was not relevant!
They would have none of it. They pointed out, correctly, that such calculations were useless, since anyone could claim that “calculations” had “proven” something. Anders Otte also found that irrelevant.
Finally, it became too much for him. After having been flogged by us, but without admitting a smidgen of his obvious defeat, Anders Otte gave up and disappeared for less demanding pastures – and yet another beer.
We withdrew a bit from the group, to discuss what had happened, when yet another “Truther”, Michael Højgård Hansen17 approached us. Maybe he thought that we had not participated in the debate, because he was friendly and pushed a flyer into my hands, a flyer which I had already been given. Among several other things, the flyer claimed that two planes had caused three buildings to collapse. I immediatedly pointed out that it was misleading: It wasn’t the planes as such that caused WTC7 to collapse, but the debris from the falling towers and the subsequent uncontrollable fire that lasted for many hours.
That did not go down well. Just like the other conspiracy fanatics, his demeanour changed in a second, from friendly condescending, to being unpleasant aggressive. With furrowed brow and accusatory voice, he claimed I had attacked him personally. After I explained to him the difference between an attack on his arguments and an attack on his person, he tried to jump to something else, but I held fast: Had I attacked him personally or not? It took a while before he admitted that I had not attacked him personally – but he did it.
Since I had no intention of walking into their trap this time either, I got straight to the crux of the matter, and asked him what had caused the collapse of WTC7, since he obviously did not buy the “official” explanation. He was not too happy about that, because he would also have liked to shoot my arguments down, but eventually, he pointed, like his fellow fanatics, at nanothermite, which, he claimed, was explosives. When I pointed out that that was not the case18, he then accused me of splitting hairs.
Splitting hairs? Did he really not see the fundamental problem of claiming a wrong cause for the collapse, if that was a pivotal point in his theory? Nah. I was just splitting hairs. After yet another repetition of the familiar accusations, he moved on to more susceptible victims.
My time was spent, and I had to move on to other things on my list. I took a last look at the demonstration: It was the same people standing about, waiting in vain for the hypnotized masses to discover The Real Truth. The huge gathering had not materialized, and very few had stopped to hear about the cause. I h3ly doubt that they had many new converts.
If you want your message to get through to people, you have to be controlled and articulate. You also have to present your message in a simple, coherent and convincing way. If you are aggressive, incoherent and unpleasant, you can be sure that people will be less than willing to listen, even if you have the most convincing case in the world.
It should be obvious to most people: You do not get drunk at your own demonstration, or walk around looking like a bum. You do not hurl abusive things after passers-by, or scream uncontrollably “9-11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB” incessantly to people’s faces. You do not put your audience down, or threaten them to leave, just because they dare to disagree with you.
It was an altogether embarrassing affair. The small group of fanatics simply committed public relations harakiri, in public. They harassed people walking by, they threw back h3 beer constantly, they shouted at people, they constantly spewed utter nonsense. People listened to them briefly, shook their heads in disbelief, and moved on.
I do not know if those Danes who share the paranoid beliefs of this small group to larger or smaller degree quite realize how these beliefs are being managed publically. But I h3ly doubt that many would approve of what happened on City Hall Square that day. I simply cannot imagine that all that many would like to be associated with people so lacking in good behavior.
I understand the frustration that followed the attacks on September 11, 2001. The world has changed, and some of the changes are definitely not good. But to succumb to insanse conspiracy theories does more harm than good. If you disapprove of the way society is going, use the democratic ways you have. Do not begin using dubious methods. Do not invent crazy conspiracy theories with no connection to reality. Do not hurl insults at people. Do not lie to them.
Censorship, censorship! Not.
Conspiracy fanatics love the notion that they are persecuted by NWO and the men in power. Countless stories abound about people who have been censored, even killed, because they tried to tell The True Story about NWO.
Despite this widespread campaign of suppression, the “Truthers” have nonetheless succeeded in having thousands of websites, all dedicated to revealing this secret knowledge. They have “successfully” managed to get in the media, in newspapers, on radio and television. How can this happen, to be able to stand in the middle of the Copenhagen City Hall Square, and freely tell anyone, if there is such an all-encompassing and all-controlling power base behind everything?
The fact that the demonstration was able to take place is final evidence that they are wrong: There is no conspiracy to suppress the views of the “Truthers”, quite contrary. Several of them have been on television, Niels Harrit among one of those with the most appearances. It is simply not correct that someone is out to silence them.
It is true that they have not had unlimited access to the media, but that goes for everyone. You cannot force yourself onto the media whenever you wish to do so, because in that case, you do not have a free press. But that is exactly what the “Truthers” want to achieve: They want to dictate the press what should be written, how it should be written, and who writes it.
They also lie to people, when they demand an “investigation” of the events on September 11. The “Truthers” claim to demand an independent investigation of “what really happened”, because “they did not know themselves”. Nonetheless, they demand that this investigation is manned with people who are already convinced of a giant conspiracy was behind. The result of this investigation is a foregone conclusion.
The purpose of the demonstration is not merely the ultimate hypocrisy, it is to mislead people. “Truthers” lie.
The final irony
The irony of the “Truther”-movement is that they are guilty of what they warn us “stupid” of. They argue that a small clique of people fool the majority of the population with untrue stories, to scare us into submission. The method of all conspiracy fanatics is the same: The fanatics tell us unlikely stories, lie about their real agenda, and try to scare and intimidate the rest of us into accepting their version of the truth. There is no difference at all between conspiracy fanatics and those they warn us against.
The conspiracy fanatics are in reality the true misinformation agents. Who they work for? Your guess is as good as mine…
The group behind the demonstration, i11time.dk (“in the 11th hour”), put up this video, to illustrate how the demonstration went.
The video is edited to create the impression that there was a throng of people present: It looks as if the group got in contact with a lot of people, all of them expressing great interest in the conspiracy theories.
The truth is somewhat more depressing (for a Truther): There were very few people who stopped to listen. All in all, the group got only a handful of new members, from the thousands of people passing by.
Here is a picture of reality:
In the video, you can see two police officers, listening to a member of the group. After a short while, they smile, and move on. I bet they are NWO agents…
Yours truly is nowhere to be found in the video. Oddly enough.
- Protocols of the Elders of Zion
- David Icke
- Thomas Torrens
- Niels Harrit
- Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe (PDF)
- Jeppe Severin
- Dick Cheney
- Dulles Airport
- Not true. I just had to make up something as crazy.
- Anders Otte
- 9/11: Science and conspiracy
- Fire Protection Engineering Magazine
Steel Buildings that collapsed due to fire before 9-11
- Loose Change
- Michael Højgård Hansen
- Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- – NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster FAQs (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- – NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster FAQs – Supplement (August 30, 2006) (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- – NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster FAQs – Supplement (December 14, 2007) (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (U.S. Congress)
- The Pentagon building performance report (PDF) (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- The 9/11 Commission Report (PDF) (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States)
- World Trade Center Building Performance Study (Federal Emergency Management Agency)