Posts Tagged ‘debunking’

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Pseudoscience & the “study” of “conspiracy beliefs” from message board postings
An open letter to Michael J. Wood et al.

mw337@kent.ac.uk

Regarding: “What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories

I read with some interest your “study” of some message board postings concerning the September 11th attacks. I found your efforts less than compelling. Random samplings of arguments on message boards are a legitimate way to understand the September 11th 2001 attacks? No. But it is a convenient way of lumping large disparate groups of people into simplistic categories in order to smear them.

As someone who has intensely studied the issue for some 13 years and counting, I would have to say that your approach is hamfisted, ignorant, and even juvenile. You and your partners have relied upon your own concepts of “belief” and “theory” and the utterances of message board posters, but lack a firm foundation to compare or contrast any of the information that was analyzed.

In other words, you don’t have an expert knowledge of the US government cover-up of the September 11th event (or even acknowledge it), nor of the many high-level government whistleblowers surrounding this issue. You lack an even rudimentary understanding of the event, and therefore have no basis to judge the competing arguments, at all. Nor do you concede the obvious fact of conspiracies throughout history, actual state crimes, of which there are numerous examples. This would lead to an examination of motive, and that the state gains an incredible amount of power after failing to stop an attack, including the power to wage foreign wars of aggression with impunity.

You know: 1 + 1=2 type stuff.

It is not difficult to engage in a conspiracy. Any two individuals on planet earth can commit a crime together, and voila: there’s a conspiracy. The idea that conspiracy is rare or even non-existent(!), as some mainstream media pundits have argued, is absurd on its face and should discredit the author entirely. As an obvious example, you–as someone purportedly studying government conspiracy–should be well versed in the Iran-Contra fiasco of the 1980s. Colonel Oliver North was convicted, with ten others, to refresh your memory. So, is someone who “believes” in the Iran-Contra conspiracy more or less prone to “belief” in conspiracy, as per your definitions and comprehension?

Clearly we have a problem when you divide the public based upon generalizations that cannot possibly hold true when tested against real historical facts. The knowledge, or ignorance, of these facts is paramount.

So, Mr. Wood, did the Iran-Contra conspiracy happen? Are you a “conspiracist?” Do you engage in “belief” about it?

Next, your “psychological study” has not even a mention of the concept of disinformation. This omission discredits your work. Disinformation is the deliberate seeding of the public debate with false data in order to muddy the waters and make discovery of the true facts of the conspiracy more difficult. It throws off the dogs. Disinformation is rampant and easily achieved as soon as any individual concocts a false narrative and presses “send” or “post.” Apparently this has never occurred to your team, as it received zero scrutiny.

Some number of message board trolls will turn out to be posting disinformation, in my decade-plus experience with them, a situation your study failed to even conceptualize, nevermind correct for. Others post misinformation. This is the problem with relying upon message board flame wars for your data.

Therefore your study is tangential and irrelevant to learning what actually happened. Its approach reinforces the idea that psychological pseudoscience has relevance to the facts of real world crimes and terrorist events. It champions a specious view, one founded upon ignorance and random arguments over misinformation and disinformation, rather than seeking to understand what is actually known and what is unknown, to date, about the criminal attacks you purport to study.

Similarly your “study” commented on other controversial topics without any accompanying examination of something the rest of the world likes to call “evidence.” You and your cohorts feel supremely confident in pronouncing sweeping generalizations about “belief” without providing context as to why someone would hold such a belief (factual evidence). It is for this exact reason that I have labeled your efforts “pseudoscience.” You have divorced some abstract concept called “belief” from the hard evidence that causes such “belief.” Cause and effect are alien to your own theories, at least as presented in your “psychological study.” Your article ends up lightweight pondering and lacks the gravity of facts, or the due diligence required to examine and test those facts.

You have come to this party from ignorance, and you remain there, blissfully unaware of the veracity of any of the data, whatsoever. That’s a pretty harsh criticism, but is warranted.

PS.

Mr. Wood, was the September 11th attack not a “conspiracy?”

Joe Giambrone

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by Joe Giambrone

I have personally pushed to uncover the truth behind the attacks of September 11th since the summer of 2002. It was then that my wife took me to a little library in Moreno Valley, California, a tiny desert town. There we viewed a documentary film / evidentiary presentation called The Truth and Lies of 9/11, by former LA police detective Michael C. Ruppert. This is a fantastic film, and it changed my life, noting how Ruppert gathers a vast amount of evidence and brings an authority and a scrutiny to many claims and counter claims. That film is an excellent resource to introduce people to the myriad gaping holes in the US government’s stories concerning those paradigm-changing attacks. Ruppert touches on the complete collapse of the US air defenses, massive insider trading on the airlines and WTC firms through a bank connected to a high-level CIA official, and also the head of the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad, who was exposed for allegedly ordering money transfers to the lead hijacker: Mohamad Atta in Florida!

I wrote extensively on government information clampdowns such as the disappearances of the planes’ black boxes from evidence after firefighter Nicholas DeMasi had already told the press that he recovered three of the four units. The unprecedented destruction of evidence, the structural steel from the towers, should have been considered Obstruction of Justice and tampering with a crime scene. Malfeasance by the unelected Bush regime, they were warned about the upcoming attacks so many times that their refusal to act is beyond suspicious and appears to be prima facie evidence of high treason. The cover-up of Saudi agents who assisted the hijackers here in the USA, such as Omar Al Bayoumi, similarly establishes that treason occurred and continues to occur under two successive administrations. I may pen a future book entitled The Age of Treason.

With that out of the way, not everything said and typed out there on the wild and wooly web turns out to be true, supportable, or in context. More than that, the farther out there a claim sounds the more substantiation and hard evidence it needs to pass scrutiny. The statements people make about the attacks of September 11th need to be kept to an extremely high standard, a standard that resists “debunking,” the favorite term of the opposition. This opposition remarkably opposes “truth,” and their largely anonymous trolls regularly disparage the very idea of seeking the truth. This would be a comical situation if not for its direness, as the 9/11 attacks are trotted out repeatedly when America wants to wage wars of aggression abroad and steal protected freedoms here at home. The attacks are now a rationale for Washington to seize power and shirk accountability, and this, I believe, was the main motive that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place.

Most people who talk about the September 11th attacks in a critical fashion today tend to focus on WTC Building 7 and the apparent controlled demolition there. This is not the only aspect to the attacks that invites scrutiny, and much more can and should be said. But one thing that does not in any way prove complicity by the government is a specific interview segment by Larry Silverstein, then owner of the World Trade Center. Silverstein stood to gain large insurance settlements from the attacks, and his authority would likely have been a factor if the buildings were pre-wired for demolition ahead of the attacks. Silverstein is a suspicious character, but not for the reason usually cited.

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The famous Silverstein quote, which first circulated widely due to its inclusion in the film “Loose Change,” goes as follows:

“I remember getting a call from the fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.’ And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse. (America Rebuilds…)”

It is highly problematic to claim that Silverstein meant “pull the building,” as if this was an admission of controlled demolition. That is completely out of context, and in fact makes zero sense for several reasons. Now, I have argued this point previously and was confronted by the irrational rather than by any analytical approach to this issue.

If Larry Silverstein was a co-conspirator in demolishing his buildings, then he had no incentive to admit this on a taped interview for public television. How stupid can people imagine him to be? He can’t be a brilliant criminal mastermind and a complete idiot simultaneously. That’s cognitive dissonance.

But the logistical specifics of his conversation are glaring and at odds with that claim anyway. Silverstein talked to a “fire department commander,” not to a demolition company. Fire department commanders fight fires. They do not blow up buildings in the middle of the greatest terrorism attack in US history. If anyone demolished Building 7 it was certainly not a NY City fire department commander.

The fire department commander discussed “loss of life” as in thousands of dead firemen, those actual victims of these overwhelming attacks. Silverstein acknowledged this loss of life in the call and proceeded to suggest they stop, as the building was of less value than the lives.

The entire out-of-context claim against Silverstein is that the single word “it” refers to “the building,” as opposed to the word “it” meaning “the firefighting operation.” The two competing statements would read, “…maybe the smartest thing to do is pull the building,” or conversely, “…maybe the smartest thing to do is pull the firefighting operation.”

Silverstein’s full quote clearly implies that “it” refers to the firefighting operation and not to controlled demolition, and that is what Silverstein himself clarified in a press release shortly after the controversy spread. The claim that he meant something other than what he himself says he meant is specious, and that claim certainly would not count for anything in an actual court of law. It is a red herring then, proof of exactly nothing.

Further, the final phrase of that exchange, “…and we watched the building collapse,” is the official story! There is nothing incriminating about this exchange whatsoever. Using it as some kind of gotcha blurb can only destroy the credibility of the person making the claim.

Credibility counts when pressing for the truth in a sea of misinformation and disinformation. That is a battle I have fought tooth and nail for over a decade now. Weak claims are just that: weak. False claims are the worst, and unfortunately this Silverstein “pull the building” claim is demonstrably false on its face. This is the type of mistake, or sloppy reasoning, that the “debunkers” capitalize on to discredit the entire 9/11 Truth Movement. If you care about the integrity and credibility of the movement and want it to actually succeed then reexamine what evidence you push out there on the world and what exactly it proves or does not prove.

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