The Fascinating Psychology of People Who Know the Real Truth About JFK, UFOs, and 9/11

9.11.11Sept11Attacks10thAnniversaryByLuigiNovi24William Saletan suggests that conspiracy theorists aren’t really skeptics, at Slate:

To believe that the U.S. government planned or deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, you’d have to posit that President Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans. To believe that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings, you’d have to imagine an operation large enough to plant the devices without anyone getting caught. To insist that the truth remains hidden, you’d have to assume that everyone who has reviewed the attacks and the events leading up to them—the CIA, the Justice Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, scientific organizations, peer-reviewed journals, news organizations, the airlines, and local law enforcement agencies in three states—was incompetent, deceived, or part of the cover-up.

And yet, as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl points out, millions of Americans hold these beliefs. In a Zogby poll taken six years ago, only 64 percent of U.S. adults agreed that the attacks “caught US intelligence and military forces off guard.” More than 30 percent chose a different conclusion: that “certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military, and economic motives,” or that these government elements “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks.”

How can this be? How can so many people, in the name of skepticism, promote so many absurdities?

The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.

Conspiracy chatter was once dismissed as mental illness. But the prevalence of such belief, documented in surveys, has forced scholars to take it more seriously. Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you’d expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor. But it’s not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking.

In 1999 a research team headed by Marina Abalakina-Paap, a psychologist at New Mexico State University, published a study of U.S. college students. The students were asked whether they agreed with statements such as “Underground movements threaten the stability of American society” and “People who see conspiracies behind everything are simply imagining things.” The strongest predictor of general belief in conspiracies, the authors found, was “lack of trust.”…

But the survey instrument that was used in the experiment to measure “trust” was more social than intellectual. It asked the students, in various ways, whether they believed that most human beings treat others generously, fairly, and sincerely.

[continues at at Slate]


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168 Comments on "The Fascinating Psychology of People Who Know the Real Truth About JFK, UFOs, and 9/11"

  1. I think a more productive field of study would be why some people still automatically believe “official versions” of any controversial event.

    • Jason Limbert | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:40 am |

      It would be a waste of time. People who “automatically” believe in official versions are just a reflection of people who “automatically” believe a conspiracy is lurking round every corner. They stand on opposite sides of the fence, but are not that unlike.

      • Taan Maat | Dec 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm |

        No, the people who believe official stories don’t collate any information, they do zero research, they allow compromised talking heads to formulate their reality. The same can be said of the spoonfed who look to singular personas for conspiracy truth. When it comes down to it though, it’s useless to even engage in conversation with someone who has held the same belief since day one, unlike a skeptic who has been in the abyss that is the 9 11 megaritual since day one.
        “I watched the popular mechanics special debunking 9/11”
        fucking laffo.

        • Jason limbert | Dec 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm |

          Says who, you? Based on what information? Is the 1969 moonlanding a hoax? What about the Mars rovers? After all, that’s the official story. What about a round Earth as opposed to a flat one. The cure for polio. What about the bad effects of smoking. After all, they’re just “official stories” pablum fed to people who don’t collate information. You didn’t negate my point, you reinforceed it.

    • Yes, exactly.

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

      The Ministry of Counter Misinformation is alive & well.

  2. astrofrog | Nov 20, 2013 at 8:41 am |

    Yet another article about how those crazy conspiracy theorists are craaaaaazy.

  3. Chris Sky | Nov 20, 2013 at 8:45 am |

    The only people who believe what the government tells them, are the ones too stupid to think for them selves and see the BIG PICTURE. The Big Picture? EVERYTHING that happens was planned in advance for one purpose. To continue consolidating power/control/wealth to the political and banking class at the expense of the “99%”.

    • Unlicensed Dremel | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:07 am |

      Amen and hear hear!

      • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

        got to thinking
        you could have a sidekick
        it’d have to be a drill sergeant or an ex drill sergeant though

    • How ’bout the REALLY BIG PICTURE?

      “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
      The Political/Banking class? pfft… they’re pawns that enjoy temporal power/pleasures. The Spiritual Archons know they can use these pawns for their own ends, which are likely much worse than you imagine.
      I think many of the counterculture actually embrace the elite’s amoral philosophy, and have no right to judge them. Maybe they’re just jealous they don’t have all the sex, drugs, and rock n roll power that the elite have.

  4. Let the demonstrations of what the article is talking about begin!

    • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:26 am |

      there seems to be some ‘line noise’ concerning the “not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking” part. must be that guy with a screwdriver. i wonder. are there copies of the truth inside of Disinformation and vice-versa? heh. the best way to break a habit is to make it, how else would the scheme “growth by process of elimination” work in regards to employee fodder? om nom nom.

      apparently small populations are the ‘grazing grounds’ of psychiatrists while medium populations are the ‘g.g.’ of scientists and large populations are the ‘g.g.’ of governments’ *cough*. hmm nothing to see here. surely there’s no scientific discovery to be found out about the human herds. surely it’s all legit. “Mr. Jefferson I say I say”

      • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

        Dear Armonde,
        We hope your stay at the Embassy Suites was superlative.
        We look forward to your continuing relationship with our agents of global functioning.

        • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

          i said i was gray
          they said which way
          i said Esau or Jacob
          they said oh-kay

  5. Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:16 am |

    9/11 was an IQ test. If you buy the official story you are a moron and can’t think for yourself. If you disagree, I don’t care because you are an idiot.

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

      It may be dangerous to assume an understanding of the underlying variables being studied in any given psych test. If you look at the way the wind is blowing, as indicated by articles such as this, the aims of the end user may be quite antithetical to upholding the ‘intelligence’ of a certain population.

      • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

        Well, basically, anarchism is not an ideology. Its reality. Some people realize this instinctively, others don’t. People who realize it are often found at the very bottom echelons of society and also at the very top.

        I think its people in the middle who most often live in fantasy land probably because the fantasy works for them.

    • whatgives? | Dec 7, 2013 at 8:55 am |

      Brilliant! Can I put that on a tee shirt?

  6. Tchoutoye | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:18 am |

    There’s one reason (compelling enough to be the only one you really need) to believe that the WTC buildings were brought down by controlled demolitions: it’s the theory that is the most consistent with the laws of physics. The official story, steel buildings collapsed from office fires (in the case of WTC7 very minor fires, yet the collapse was predicted in advance despite this never happening before), demands putting your faith in miracles instead of science. It is the 21st century version of George Orwell’s “2+2=5”.

    • So what? Even if it wasn’t a conspiracy, 9/11 led to the United States disemboweling itself through erosion of civil liberties and an embrace of fascism veiled as democracy defending itself. When East Germany fell the world recoiled when the Staatssicherheit’s actions were revealed to the world, balking at the fact that a state could be so paranoid as to pursue almost total surveillance of it’s people. When the NSA’s monitoring of virtually all communication in the United State was laid bare, most Americans didn’t bat an eye.
      Even if they didn’t plan 9/11, those who allowed this to happen deserve to be deposed, tried and convicted. Conspiracy or not, 9/11 stripped away what remained of democratic principals in the United States. The police wear camouflage now. The drones see all. Your e-mail is monitored. Secret courts pass verdicts you can’t know due to ‘national security’. Torture is not torture. Welcome home.

      • astrofrog | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:52 am |

        Yes, and as you note, 9/11 enabled all of it. That enabling is premised entirely on the widely-held belief that the attacks prove an existential external threat. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that the security measures are bullshit and the wars immoral, but so long as belief in the official version of 9/11 remains widespread those arguments will get you nowhere. THAT’s “so what”.

        • Even if the 9/11 attacks happened as the official narrative claims, it wasn’t an existential threat.

          On the other hand, if the attacks occurred as the 9/11 Truth movement claims, they do pose an existential threat.

          • astrofrog | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

            That may be your perception. There are a lot of people who would vehemently disagree with you that “Islamofascism” is not an existential threat to the West.

          • The only thing that can destroy America is America.

            And it is.

          • astrofrog | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |


          • You seemed to entirely miss my point. The argument over whether or not 9/11 was a government plot keeps attention away from the very real destruction of American ‘values’ which has occurred day by day since 2001. Analyze and extrapolate the evidence of what happened that day all you like, spend your days arguing and debating and what are you left with? Very real crimes such as the invasion of Iraq and expansion of the surveillance apparatus going unchallenged while so many are busy asserting that there’s just no way jet fuel could burn through steel girders like that. The leaders of the United States are engaging in tyranny, regardless of the causes.

          • I agree. The conspiracies (and open crimes) that have happened since 9/11 interest me far more than the conspiracies that happened that day.

          • rhetorics_killer | Nov 21, 2013 at 12:49 am |

            “it wasn’t an existential threat.”

            You got a point! From overhere, in Europe, the fact is quite obvious: a ‘mere couple of thousands’ is nothing compared to our latest war standards, and yet the event is staged and ressented as a major uncurable traumatic blow. One reason for this, I think, is the high spectacular grade of this piece of land art; another lies in the weakness and suggestibility of present humans; I guess there are many more. But trully, the fact is overstated, since Al qaida never set up another high profile killing.

          • I’m not sure the weakness and suggestibility of present Americans extends to all humanity, but because of America’s already existing psychological damage, 9/11 was a major uncurable traumatic blow. “Al Qaida” apparently knew exactly how to push the crazy man to commit suicide.

          • rhetorics_killer | Nov 22, 2013 at 5:25 am |

            “Al Qaida”

            Sorry for having omitted quotes, a clever detail.

            And yeah, the symbol was quite adequate. Perhaps a teaching for future conflicts: a bunch of victims carefully chosen may reach goals as efficient as regular mass-massacres.. Mass-media make a difference..

    • DrDavidKelly | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

      Exactly. That’s the kicker. I don’t believe in the alternative version because I’m fixated on an alternative world view. I don’t believe because it seems as though the laws of physics support an alternative view. If you then throw in all the who whos, nanothermite, WTC7 blah blah … it starts looking like a pretty robust idea, more robust than the official account. That’s why most truthers believe, it’s evidence based – the best kind of belief. I’m a bit tired and a little offended by articles such as these. Trying to discredit a movement because they have some sort of flawed psychology. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence … well guess what? We got the evidence.

  7. Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:28 am |

    Quote: “To believe that the U.S. government planned or deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, you’d have to posit that President Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans.”

    What’s so hard to believe about that? They presented “evidence” of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to the UN that they knew damned well didn’t exist. And how many Americans died pointlessly in that conflict?

    No, the reason I can’t believe that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ is that it was carried out successfully.

    For Chr*st’s sake, this lot can’t even get a g*d-d*mned web site up and running, and you want me to believe they successfully engineered a massive, multi-billion dollar cover-up involving tens of thousands of participants? Yeah, right!

    • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:34 am |

      Every time I see a Jet fly over head I am reminded that not everyone in the world is an idiot.

      • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:45 am |

        Only someone with too much time on their hands is generally capable of appreciating this distinction, but: there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

        Intelligence is the ability to speedily and reliably process large volumes of information within the parameters of an arbitrarily designated paradigm. Nothing special, just following directions.

        Wisdom is the ability to select a paradigm maximally responsive to your context. For example, writing a review of an economics thesis based on said theory’s ability to achieve a balance between the needs for material sustenance, social cohesion and accomodate innovation instead of, say, some aesthetic quality of the book’s cover art.

        My experience is that, on balance, the intelligence of Western culture has raised foolishness to an exquisite level of polish.

        • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:08 am |

          Well, I look at it this way: Maybe its not wise to want to be rich and powerful, but its something almost everyone wants, as evidenced by lottery ticket sales and casino revenues. Not everyone is intelligent enough to get it, but some are. This creates a type of pecking order in the World. This pecking order is a lot more real than a lot of the things people commonly believe. Its common for over educated types to calls self made billionaires idiots, but that’s not how I see it.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:20 am |

            Not that I’m disputing anything you’re saying, but I don’t get the feeling you read (or understood) anything in my last post. It’s like you fast-forwarded past the points that bored you.

            Which would be unfortunate, because it’s important. This world is full of highly educated fools.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:26 am |

            No offense, intended. I have actually given a lot of thought to the type of thing you just said. The point is though, blowing up the World Trade Center as a false Flag ploy to create an open ened ongoing war with the Middle East is just the kind of foolish/intelligent thing you are talking about. Is it not? Do you doubt that Western Civilization created nuclear weapons? You seem to be contradicting yourself.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:28 am |

            I have to doubt that, because your answer had nothing to do with my post.

          • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:42 am |

            and then did god send unto abram

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:50 am |

            Ok, Liam, whatever. Tell yourself you are talking over my head with your deep philosophy, otherwise I would be rapt.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:58 am |

            No, I’m just telling you what is obvious to anyone who actually read what I wrote: there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

            All you did is to ignore me and go on about how intelligent the elites are. This isn’t complicated Ted.

            In fact, your chain of “non-response responses” is an example par excellence of the problem. You’re so concerned about proving your ability to mechanically process information that you never stop for a second to assess context.

            This doesn’t make you stupid, but it does severely undermine the value of your observations.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:02 am |

            Ok, so your argument is it would take wisdom and not simply intelligence to carry out a false flag operation (that almost half of the people in the US don’t buy) in order to embroil us in an interminable war in the Middle East?

            That doesn’t make sense to me. Its seems like it would take the kind of cunning (bereft of the greater wisdom)you are talking about.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:27 am |

            Not at all.

            What I am saying is that even a minimally wise person would realize that there are limits on an organization’s ability to control events.

            You seem to believe that a machine with 10’s of 1,000’s of enormous moving parts (i.e., operatives and transactions in the billions of $$$s) would be no more prone to breakdown than a machine of 10 cubic inches and 3 working parts.

            Yes, false flag operations happen every day. But to say that it is possible for an unwieldy behemoth like the US government to conduct a flase flag operation and successful coverup on the scale of 9/11 in total silence is patently foolish.

            Somehow you have trouble believing that America’s foreign policy could anger Middle Easterners enough to attempt terrorism?

            Or that the US would magically be able to stop each and every attempt? Or that it is more difficult for a handful of determined terrorists to keep a secret than it would be for 10’s of 1,000’s of 9-to-5 bureaucratic drones?

            And in the end, why should the US bother with such unecessarily complicated bullsh*t? All they had to do was provoke the attack. If they wanted to involve the US into a war all they’d have to do is master the media spin from an actual terrorist attack. Which they did.

            You forget that an equally logical reaction to the attack would be to re-examine the American foreign policy that provoked it. You assume that the public are such machines that the only possible outcome was going to war.

            Like Stalin said, it’s not votes that win an election, but the counting of votes.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:35 am |

            Feel free to disagree, like I said.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

            In some ways your analogy of the machines is a little off.
            Complexity itself does not need to be the underlying factor for breakdown. Simple machines fail for the exact same reasons that complex ones do. Imprecision, friction, materials defects fatigue all of which are highly calculated variables in complex systems.
            For example the commercial automobile could be made in a way that it could essentially experience no breakdown. The underlying cost would be higher and you would put several well designed sectors of the economy out of business.
            The issue is not the mechanical machine but the nature of the business machine surrounding it which needs elements of designed obsolescence to perpetuate the function of the meta-machine.

            I am not arguing for or against any of the factors/ramifications of any scenario for 9II, I just think that some of the pitfalls you describe may have been surmounted at an operational level and are in fact functioning aspects of deep hierarchies of control nefarious/or otherwise.

          • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

            oh jeez be careful
            i don’t claim this darkness, but you are bumping into me 😉

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

            you of course would not underestimate my own immersion in fields of darker matter.

          • Jin The Ninja | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm |


          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

            Can’t agree with you on this one. Complex machines are always more prone to failure than simple ones.

            Yes, they fail for the same reasons, but the complicated ones fail more often because each part represents an additional opportunity for failure.

            Especially when the individual parts themselves are so complicated as the human mind. Despite DARPA’s best efforts, the idea that it is possible to obtain the sophistication and responsiveness of an engaged human being while eliminating the possibility of poor judgment or subsequent defection is clearly ridiculous.

            I don’t see how that’s even remotely arguable.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

            War is about breaking things not building things. You have some things mixed up.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

            You act like in order to say sabotage the large hadron collider, you need to be able to build it from scratch.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

            Is a roller bearing more complicated than a simple wheel & axle? Yes it is. But it will not experience failure at a rate higher than that of any individual component. The multiplicity of individual components does not increase the rate of failure. The odds are the same. You are not talking about the results of probability but underlying interpretations of the phenomenon such as propensity vs. frequency. In fact the more complicated bearing reduces the chance of failure for both wheel & axle because it is a more efficient distribution of the forces involved.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

            I respect you too much to get petty, but I think a roller bearing (i.e., a metal ball sliding within a groove) is a lot simpler than a pair of wheels and axel which involves friction at at least three points (i.e.,each wheel and the drive shaft) instead of one (i.e., the surface of the bearing).

            I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree for the time being. Maybe over time we may come closer to a common approach.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

            have you ever met anyone who doesn’t seem particularly intellectual, yet seems to control everyone around them? Some people are masters of game theory and of seeing the big picture. They are shrewd and cunning and adept at manipulation. They know how to let other people do busy work for them and then they receive the pay off.

            They focus on leverage and things like that. The moving parts of things, really a lot of criminals are like this.

            England was conquered by people who couldn’t read. OK? There are historical precedents for these types. They hire smart people. The Norman’s weren’t concerned about not being able to read because they had Bishops and Priests to read stuff to them. A lot of these Barbarian conqueror types created Universities. The world has always been ruled by Pirates. Read some Bucky Fuller. He knew the score.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

            We can disagree : )
            I won’t push the engineering on this one.
            A further point though – one thing about a complex machine that is easy to interpret as greater chance of failure is the cascading nature of failure in such a machine if a single component fails.
            Also I am not saying that a poorly designed/constructed complex systems aren’t going to crash and burn. But so will a pry bar made from potmetal.

          • The United States is the most efficiently controlled totalitarian system in the world. It even succeeds in convincing its captive population that they are free.

          • Simplicity is subjective.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:14 am |

            Not really.

          • I disagree.

          • What goes into making a ball bearing, compared to a “simple” wheel and axle?

          • Depends on the ball bearing; depends on the “simple” wheel and axle.

          • Without being an expert on ball berings, I imagine it takes a lot of precision to make it perfect. The steel involved is another challenge.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

            Most of these hierarchies are designed to cause a series of disruptions in order exploit the ensuing chaos. Its been going on like that for thousands of years. Its what they do. Its the fucking War machine!

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

            This is true. Also in relation to information security, which needs continuity, the ‘disruptions’ are fail-safes. If multiple parties are given limited quantities of true information mixed with individualized false information, not only do you know where a leak occurs but can have prepared scenarios for utilizing the mixed information leak at advantage.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

            yeah, that was Bucky Fuller’s idea of what Universities were designed to be.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm |

            There are entire graduate degree programs that are classified (engineering/mathematics)….every textbook top secret.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm |

            I don’t doubt it. I had a friend that was like this upwardly mobile businessman type dude. I told him about some stuff, related to the CFR or something. He was from the DC area, went to Brown, his Dad was engineer worked for some type of Military contractor, anyway, it was like he didn’t really give a shit.

            This was back in the 1990’s. It was kind of like the type of thing that I thought was this big conspiracy was kind of like something that went without saying to him. This was before 9/11 so when 9/11 happened its didn’t seem all that odd to me, from conversations with people like my friend. Engineers, Lawyers, high level corporate executives, etc.

            I have talked to a few other people with similar backgrounds, they don’t think these conspiracy theories are all bullshit. They are actually often interested in them, but they don’t go around talking to people about them like its some kind of crusade, because basically its just kind of how life is.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

            This might sound snobby, but certain social sets are kind of like an open thermodynamic system. Its also kind of tribal. If you don’t measure up you get pushed off to the side. It has a veneer of sociability but its rather cold, really. But anyway, a lot of well educated kind of bookish liberal people, like to think of wealthy families as being a bunch of corrupt idiots, but really a lot of well to do families that have been prominent for generations, are made up of some formidable people. Often they are intelligent, worldly, in shape and good looking, not always though. Sometimes they are rather boring and phony, but generally, it doesn’t strike me as odd that they run things.

            A lot of them are tall and blonde. A lot of officers are from these sets. A lot of them look like Eagles, literally. They stand very upright and look commanding. They get just the right amount of grey, and stay fit and trim.

            Those of us who are broke, and well read, idealistic, kind of nerdy, anti-establishment, would like to picture elites all as stupid dolts, but really its generally not true. They know certain things about the way the world works, and work together in certain ways for a common interest.

            Some weird anomalous thing like 9/11 actually shows more strain than a lot of similar things that happen all time.

            But anyway people like Prescott Bush is of a type that exists. There really are aristocrats in the US, and his son and grandson were in turn each slightly less impressive than the Patriarch of the family. Politicians really aren’t the heavy hitters of these types of families. I think the Aristocracy is in decline and that is why people are talking about 9/11 so much. In times past these types of operations were much smoother. I think 9/11 was more of a neocon thing, but the old money types keep quiet about it out of self interest.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:13 am |

            Sorry, but I worked for a long time among that set. Only green interns fresh off the farm are impressed with these people.

            If you work with them long enough you quickly see how mundane and thick they are. At least as thick as the ordinary povo, maybe more so, because the prestige of their upbringing them has shielded them from any real scrutiny.

            The prediliction you see for ‘Super Conspiracy’ among them is nothing more than a fantasy reaction to their own relization of just how ordinary they are.

            Yes, the do form conspiracies, but they’ve got a pretty dicey record of success. They may have some success at small coups–the kind that can be conducted in the confines of private spaces.

            But trust me, anything more than 3 people requires a level of coordination of which they are not capable.

            The idea that they can bring down two of the world’s largest buildings in broaddaylight using thousands of government operatives and billions of tax dollars without anyone defecting is pure jerk off fodder.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:54 am |

            Ok dude, you are the expert. Nobody can do anything except Arabs with three hours of flight training and a death wish. Smart well funded spooks aren’t able to accomplish squat, because….basically you say so, because you don’t like the Idea of the American Empire so you fantasize that its not real. Whatever dude.

          • WTF are you talking about. Classified graduate degree programs in engineering and mathematics? No there aren’t. God, if there’s any institution that’s pathologically unable to keep a secret, it’s a university.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

            you are unaware that there are various universities within the DOD? or that their are extension programs within public institutions. The amount of classified research in certain university systems is immense.

          • American foreign policy didn’t provoke the 9/11 attack. The greed and imperial ambitions of the Project for a New American Century neo cons did, since they were the perpetrators, not 19 guys with box-cutters. The “terrorists” were insiders in the shadow government who committed the crime, not the patsies who got blamed.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

            ‘Cunning’ v. ‘(Greater) Wisdom’
            a fruitful field of inquiry.
            wisdom of serpent song are they not?

        • astrofrog | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:54 am |

          Sure. So, as to the ability to carry of a black op on the scale of 9/11, which is relevant? Intelligence? Or wisdom? Your move.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |


            Anyone with at least the minimum amount of wisdom knows that the success of coverups are inversely proportional to the number of participants. It’s about context.

            You could torture your brain into all sorts of knots that make sense only in context of the elaborate dream of your own devising, if you wanted to. In other words, you could come up with an “intelligent” explanation involving a US government conspiracy.

            But it’d be totally at odds with the everday experience that it’s easier for 3 people to keep a secret than 10’s of 1,000s.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

            I think you may be underestimating the capability of classified hierarchies to keep secrets, especially when information is parceled out in functional quanta that are wrapped in individual layers of disinformation, cover, dual-use, plausible deniability & embedded information authentication protocols.
            The seriousness with which persons who have lifetime commitments to security clearances take this role should also not be disregarded.
            Historians are still parsing through declassified records of WWI and finding previously unknown secrets. There have been numerous examples of operations from WWII that were not revealed until recently and many of other records are still sealed.
            I’ve met engineers in classified industries who thought they had designed components for one type of application based on the specifications they had been given, but in reality they were working on elements of very different projects.

          • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

            my grin cannot be big enough

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

            Yes, but I think these cases are clearly distinguishable on context.

            Events involving handfuls of isolated individuals on an established but chaotic battlefield are indeed subject to the “fog of war” cover.

            But the incongruity of two of the world’s largest buildings going down in peacetime New York some of the sunniest, most pleasant weather of the year, in the midst of literally millions of witnesses calls for a bit more coverup than it is reasonable to believe.

            Human beings are simply not capable of that level of discipline.

            Besides which, 9/11 itself is almost meaningless compared to the political decisions that followed it. Why go to all that fuss and trouble when the real battle is political?

            We could have equally concluded from 9/11 that our Middle East policy was untenable and in drastic need of revision. But we didn’t–because government didn’t waste its energy on theatrical special effects but effective rhetorical perversions.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

            Related to the policies that followed. It is harrowing (and not unexpected) that they had essentially been written & put in place over several previous decades.
            Some of the operations I referred to involved far more than a handful of individuals. It’s not that people were unaware. They were unaware of what they were aware of. That is what the kind of system I am referencing is designed to do.
            -Fog of war: they have little machines for that now. and some personnel, no matter what the weather, are always at war.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

            really what I think its is Liam, is that you just haven’t met the types of people capable of doing something like 9/11. I feel like you have a certain theory of mind based on what you are like. You are very idealistic. Not everyone is. A lot of people are realists, that believe life is a war, basically and they want to win. They don’t think ideals will carry them through.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

            If you mean I’ve never met a person who has a Godlike discipline and never makes an error, then yes, I have never met such a person.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

            What type of people do you imagine conducting military intelligence? You think they are all complete fuck ups? You don’t think there are intelligent people in the world that have jobs like being a Corporate Lawyer or Software engineer that do stints in military intelligence? You think people with successful start ups that make hundreds of millions of dollars are all fucking idiot frat boys?

            When you picture a DARPA scientist from say an ivy league school and from a well connected family, what type of person do you picture?

            There are some smart people in the world, they aren’t god-like but they can do some pretty complex things very well.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:24 am |

            You have a totally unrealistic evaluation of human nature.

            Success stories are 90% rationalization of ‘happy accident’ and 5% actualization. The other 5% are the incredible f*ck ups that are conveniently left out of the narrative.

            I worked for a long time with these elites and I noticed something: the only people impressed with them are interns and people who have never met them.

            The fact that some people are, relative to others, *more* capable of performing to plan totally ignores the incredibly more vast swathes of deviation and error of which people commit every day.

            You have this bizarre idea that deviation is some how rarer than precision. That is an attitude that cannot have been born from contact with reality.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 21, 2013 at 10:01 am |

            You worked with what people? So 9/11 is impossible because all Americans, especially, the more intelligent and wealthy ones behind the military Industrial Complex are all complete fuck ups. OK. Interesting theory. Empires happen by accident. OK.

          • Ted Heistman | Nov 21, 2013 at 10:20 am |

            I am not into the corporate set, OK? When I am around rich people, sure I am going to belittle them in my head, but I really don’t think I have as unrealistic a view of them as you do. I think these negative sentiments come partly from envy. But also, you know, a lot of them do seem kind of soulless. There is often kind of a creepy vibe. But I think what it is, is that on a certain level, there is an open conspiracy among the super rich they they are exploiting the lower classes. So they keep quite out of self interest.

            A lot of people get top security clearances from being from the right family.

            Anyway, as far as bankers/Corporate exec/Military Intelligence being able to coordinate together, a lot of them were in rowing crew, they work together great. They really are efficient and machine like.

          • gustave courbet | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

            Hi Liam, without getting into the complex maze of contradictory and incomplete info on 9/11 I would suggest that human beings are indeed capable of the discipline required to maintain secrecy on a large scale. I would recommend you check out several of the available interviews with L. Fletcher Prouty who was Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under JFK, particularly his discussions about his book “The Secret Team,” in which he discusses intelligence methods of infiltration and compartmentalization..

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:17 am |

            It’s interesting that in evidence of this you offer other conspiracy theories–instead of a narrative of personal first hand experience.

            I think this excessive belief in the godlike powers is self defeating because it distracts people from taking action to improve the things they actually can–like forcing a frank open discussion of the US policy failures that provoked these attacks.

          • gustave courbet | Nov 24, 2013 at 4:18 am |

            I think you misunderstand. I agree with you that people who propound ‘conspiracy theories’ often get bogged down in the minutia of incomplete, incorrect or out-of-context information, and fail to look at solutions. I am familiar with the reality of ‘blow back’ from covert operations. I would add though, that there is plenty of historical evidence of conspiracies. It is simply more obscure. Another recommendation, A BBC Doc on Operation Gladio, which outlines NATO involvement with state sponsored terrorism in western Europe. It has numerous primary source interviews and gives a glimpse into the unlikely and unsavory world of state-sponsered false flag terror.


          • NathanSpeller | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm |

            They haven’t kept the secret…in case you didn’t notice…

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

            You mean the secret that America’s foreign policy encourages non-state actors to commit terrorism? And that it is impossible for any government to completely prevent one?

            Or the idea that 10s of 1,000s of US government employees spent billions of $$$ in an impossibly complicated plot that didn’t leave behind so much as one emotionally troubled whistleblower or receipt?

            Hanlon’s razor. Reality is a lot less impressive than some people’s imaginations, but also a lot more depressing.

          • moremisinformation | Nov 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm |

            I’m still curious about the 10s of thousands…

            See my initial response/question above. Or don’t.

          • NathanSpeller | Jan 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm |

            You’re assuming it would take tens of thousands to make that operation happen? Are you familiar with compartmentalization? There would only need to be a few people that knew the entire plot. Others would have suspicions but they would be given an appropriate cover story by their superiors.

            For example, even the hypothetical ops team planting bombs would be told, “don’t worry, we are going to clear the building before we detonate the charges…here’s your 2 million dollars.” That’s assuming such a team would care about the potential loss of human life.

            I would say don’t underestimate the ability for people to lie to themselves to justify their actions.

            The motive is there, there’s plenty of evidence, controversial as it may seem. The only thing really holding people back from questioning the official story it seems is an unwillingness to question the good will of the gov’t and mili/corp complex.

            Receipts, if there were any were in building 7.

            Terrorists may well have been involved. But they wouldn’t have necessarily known who they were working for. Intel Recruiters setting up a network don’t walk in and say “I’m from the CIA (or whatever), will you go blow up this building for me?”

            If the operatives were “assets” in the intelligence sense they would be happy with the results, in any case a terrorist whistle blower has no credibility anyway. Not only that he can be easily rounded up after the fact and disappeared or sent to gitmo with a certain amount of legitimacy.

          • Orr’s law?

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:28 am |

            Maybe. I’m not sure I’m following well enough, though.

            I meant Hanlon’s Razor to emphasize the role of chance, deviation and error is far more decisive than people normally give credit for.

          • A person could prove to themselves whatever, through the aftermath of deviation and error. Think their way through connecting the dots.

          • moremisinformation | Nov 21, 2013 at 3:39 am |

            Where do you come up with the need for “10’s of 1,000s”? How do you arrive at those figures?

            I’m reminded that the Manhattan Project employed about 125,000 people at different stages, over the course of six years. Almost none of them probably even knew the overall scope of what they were working on. I’m going to assume that it would take far less people to “pull off” 9/11.

            When one looks at who reaped the profits in the wake of the event, denying the probability of foreknowledge (imo, a much more realistic probability than “the government did it”, red herring) becomes an exercise in cognitive dissonance.

            This is truly the part that only a relatively few people have continued to follow over the last 12 years. Mark Gaffney’s book (or various interviews), Black 9/11 does a solid job of following the money trail. Of course, if one just listened to the Kean Commission, one wouldn’t have to worry about money because the funding of the attack was, “of no significant consequence” (that’s probably paraphrased).

            That said, wiith regard to the, “government as too inept to pull it off” idea. I’d point to the government funded school system. When one looks at the outcome, it has to be considered a wildly successful program, employing staggering numbers of people. The government is quite capable of success, if one only adjusts their perceptions.

            Here’s the craziest conspiracy theory of them all though:


        • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

          Is this your own definition of intelligence/wisdom or are you sourcing?
          I like it.

          • I’ve actually heard very similar definitions for knowledge/wisdom from spiritual folks.
            knowledge is the sum of information acquired
            wisdom is the discernment of what to do w/ the knowledge.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

            Sure, i think that view has been around for a long time. In particular I rather enjoyed the Liam’s wording. It dovetails w/ some of my own recent thoughts.

          • I agree. that was quite a definition. I admire the fact he was able to use his own words to create it, unlike many parrots nowadays. I guess that’s a good example of wisdom

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

            Thanks. My own, but it seemed to intuit so strongly that there seemed little reason not to go with it.

    • right on. if the bozos of empire were that smart and well organized, they wouldn’t be leaving the trail of fuck-ups and disasters behind them that we see every day.

      • drlechter | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:13 am |

        if the fuck-ups are consistent, as chomsky points out, they probably reflect a covert policy

        • sounds true enough… although different than being smart , and as a “policy” it is about equal to banging your head against a wall. If world domination is their goal, and world destruction is their method, it seems like it ought to be called madness instead of policy.

    • Mr Willow | Nov 21, 2013 at 1:06 am |

      For Chr*st’s sake, this lot can’t even get a g*d-d*mned web site up and running, and you want me to believe they successfully engineered a massive, multi-billion dollar cover-up involving tens of thousands of participants? Yeah, right!

      I’ll preface this with saying I’ve read through your conversation with Ted and Calypso, and I completely agree with your points concerning the massive faults of our foreign policy and its role in 9/11.

      But the conspiracy theorist in my head can’t help entertaining the idea that a majority of the things the government botches are botched intentionally to skew public perception.

      If the public is predisposed to think they’re too incompetent to do something fairly simple (like manage to operate a website), then when they’re accused of doing something rather complicated (like executing something on the scale of 9/11), they can claim themselves to be too stupid or disorganised to have possibly succeeded in any sort of plot, and most will believe that excuse because they’ve not been successful in various other endeavours.

      If, however, they were aware that you seeing them fail at those various endeavours would make it easier to believably disavow any involvement (or knowledge) under the cloak of incompetence, then who’s to say they don’t fail on purpose, and only succeed when it suits them?

      It also applies to the constant “regulation is crushing business” line that’s pushed by elected officials who are paid by private enterprises that want fewer regulations, which are then allowed, by the people they paid, to write legislation lowering regulation. And those officials they paid are subsequently offered jobs within a newly deregulated private sector when they decide they’ve spent enough time deregulating (or at least adequately appeasing) whatever market they’re going into, and then when something goes horribly wrong in the newly deregulated market, it’s blamed on the regulations that still exist, rather than the removal of those that are removed (Glass-Steagall) or the regulations that exist are blamed, even if they weren’t followed (Massey mine explosion a few years ago or Deepwater Horizon)–or otherwise, legislation is written to either be purposefully faulty, confusing, or beneficial to industry (rather than the protection of its customers and employees), and when something goes wrong, the new regulation is validly blamed for the fault, but it was designed to fail, so it’s actually a success (like the new healthcare law)–so, in the end, when the failures mount, they can reasonably say that all regulations should be thrown out, rather than propose new ones. This game has been going on for decades.

      But beside that (and since I’m rambling already) consider that it wasn’t the government itself that carried it out, but rather a handful of people (say, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a few others) within the government contracted private industry that profits off war (Haliburton or Blackwater) to carry it out, since such an event would subsequently make them oodles of cash.

      Regardless, the government certainly isn’t going to admit it, and until there’s an actual trial (which has half a snowball’s chance in Hell of happening), there isn’t all that much anyone can do except engage in debates such as this.

      • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 21, 2013 at 9:37 am |

        I really doubt Cheney and Rusmsfeld went in person to WTC and set the explosive charges themselves. First of all, a lot of the equipment would probably have set off Cheney’s pacemaker.

        In any hypothetical 9/11 conspiracy in which they were instrumental they would have had to rely upon the machinery of government to get drones out there to perform that work for them–meaning that,yes, there would indeed be a paper trail and thousands of people ‘in network’.

        You know, like the actual paper trail of internal memos that actually was discovered about the administration’s tarting up of pre-War “intelligence” about WMD in Iraq.

        Agree about the trial, though. That will never happen, and that is why America is doomed. Those *ssholes may be dead and gone before the worst of the blowback catches up with the US, but it will one day, as inevitable as any law of physics.

    • Donkey_Coyote | Nov 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

      If you truly believe that a few Saudis brought down the Trade Center, then why would it take 1000’s of Americans to pull of the same operation and keep it secret. It would take many man hours to bring down a building at free fall speed using the techniques that we are all familiar with, but if they used a building disintegration beam, all that is required is someone to aim and push a button. They would have more confidence that they would be able to get away with it because no one could call them out for using a device that is not known to exist. Most of the people working on such a device would be working on one function of one circuit and would not be given access to the full picture. Our Government has secrets and technological advancements that they don’t want us to know about, and they do things that most Americans would not agree with.That is why people believe in conspiracy theories.

    • It only takes a dozen people in the right positions to pull off an inside job. How do you think the government pulled off the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Waco massacre? With a compliant and gullible corporate media, any hoax can be pulled off, even the assassination of Bin Laden. Two stolen presidential elections that gave us the unpopular idiot Bush were carried out successfully in full view of millions. Once a coverup is engineered, eyewitnesses and photographic evidence can be dismissed or buried once the official narrative is established. Official commissions can be set up, composed of insiders with predetermined agendas, in order to “investigate” and manufacture desired conclusions from a general public too lazy to investigate themselves. It’s the science of mind control. It works even better when people believe the government is too incompetent to pull it off.

    • Similar activities were proposed back in the 50’s and had the support of some of the highest levels of government. The accompanying collateral damage was just part of the deal. Nothing ever changes.

    • Gordon Klock | Dec 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm |

      If they were really so successful, why is the truther movement still around?
      surely such ‘nonsense’ would have petered out years ago…
      In fact,why has the government largely behaved as though it ‘had something to hide’ ever since?

  8. Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:30 am |

    Society has several popular misconceptions at its very foundation. “Society” is rather nebulous, however, so let’s just say “Nation State” Which in America means , Mom, apple pie, the flag, the constitution.

    A nation State is a concept, an idea. Maybe more like a container of ideas. Anyway, its not really real. The big players operate outside this container, so to them its more or less meaningless, they aren’t captive to it. For most people Mom and Apple pie is a real thing,
    Outside of the Cradle of this little nest of ideas, its just a bunch of Criminal gangs. That is the reality that people who operate outside the law know.

    Its not even so much that people who operate outside the law are bad people, its that once you cross the imaginary line outside the US border, The law no longer exists, there are different laws, this brings to realization the relative arbitrariness of these laws. This is the kind of thing People operating internationally know and have always known. So Yeah, Bush could kill 3,000 people, if his people thought that’s what it would take. People die all the time.

    • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:29 am |

      Soviet Doll-in-a-Box

      “Which harmonic string do you focus on, comrade?”

  9. Jason Limbert | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:33 am |

    The article does not say that conspiracies do not happen, and that anyone who thinks so is crazy. It referres to a set of people who are predisposed to always presume such. Much like some people presume a supernatural event is always behind natural events, they presume a motive or “conspiracy” ALWAYS, behind everything that goes on. Thats what devides sensible skeptics conspiracy nuts.

  10. Jason Limbert | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:47 am |

    People are missing a main point in the article. It does not state that conspiracies do not happen. Nor does it state that to believe in one is crazy. It singles out a group among them who automatically presume everything is a conspiracy. These people exist, regardless of what may have happened at 911. Many tests have been developed to single these people out. With astonishing accuracy. People who feel disenfranchised, singled out, marginalized, powerless, un heard, not worthy, distrustful, and various other maladies make them likely candidates for believing a conspiracy is around every corner, whether there is one or not.

  11. Joe Boyer | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:48 am |

    The Disinformation company is living up to its name more and more these days.

    Also, no, it wasn’t Bush. There are much more powerful forces behind the president.

    • NathanSpeller | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm |

      Disinfo isn’t doing anything except continuing the discussion about conspiracies. By posting the article from Slate it’s bringing a view to the table, it’s important to self-check by looking at such ideas from all sides.

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

      Your original viewpoint is exceedingly compelling.

  12. Xenkenito Smittian | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:49 am |

    So, in order to believe that this article has any grip on reality at all, you would have to believe that:
    1. Extreme Wealth Does NOT exist! (FALSE)
    2. The Wealthy Love you and they Love those that died in 9/11. (FALSE)
    3. Most extremely wealthy people are not Jewish. (FALSE) Because Evelyn Robert de Rothschild has more wealth than Forbes top 20 richest people combined.
    4. Larry Silvertein is not Jewish and did not say “Pull it!”, Regarding the controlled demolition of WT7. (FALSE) He is and he did.
    5. Historically buildings crumble when they catch fire. (FALSE) Some buildings have burned for many days and the steel frame was still totally intact.
    6. The CIA, DEA, NSA, DHS, SS, FBI…etc…all these agencies are totally incompetent and could never have imagined a plane going into a building much less prevented it. (FALSE) LMFAO.

    I could continue this list til its gets past 100 falsehoods that a person would have to believe in order to believe that 9/11 was not a false flag operation.

    • #3 is a true statement. That one Jew has more money then the next 19 rich people does not make the majority of them Jews.

  13. Ted Heistman | Nov 20, 2013 at 10:14 am |

    What the profile of a 9/11 activist is IMO, is somebody with a combination of intelligence, anti-establishment sentiment and idealism. Plenty of people are intelligent enough to see it, I would say most intelligent, street smart people are aware of the reality, bit not everyone is an idealist. There is no pay off to constantly crowing about 9/11 if you aren’t an idealist.

  14. Holy fuck, another piece in which the focus is placed on the poor deluded idjits that suffer from “conspiratorial ideation.” Neve mind that there are actual conspiracies going on all the fucking time. It seems these various mainstream tools will do whatever they can to keep as many people as they can from seeing the obvious. Which is, that there are a shitload of conspiracies happening that need to be brought to the public’s attention. What we do not need is more bullshit pseudo-psychoanalysis of people who refuse to believe anything, much less obvious corporate-state propaganda.
    I do not understand what is so difficult about the fact that people stop believing shit when they’ve been lied to repeatedly.

    • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:11 am |

      “greed due to eco-social structure” i think is one of the generalizations of commonplace conspiracy. collusion? yeah.

      like Liam said about intelligence, paraphrased and translated to the way i speak: “it’s all just an algorithm. intelligence is all in the algorithm.”

      greedy algorithms ‘get the job done’, sure; and they get it done wrong.

  15. Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Nov 20, 2013 at 11:13 am |

    There was a time when people who questioned the official story were burned at the stake. A simpler time; in some people’s eyes; a better time.

  16. this article didnt help anything

  17. trompe l'oiel | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

    in an attempt to sound… reasonable, how are people who question an institutional body (government) that has compulsively lied for a century or more unjustly ‘paranoid’?

    Governments have been fabricating events and circumstances throughout history, it’s not the exception, it’s the rule.

    So, if anything, people unwilling to admit this, are suffering from blatant cognitive dissonance.

    • Simon Valentine | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

      “Where is King Saul” syndrome? do they have Goliaths?!?

    • tibby trillz | Nov 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm |

      you would be a “selective doubter” to deny those things. you would also have to be a selective doubter to accept that tower 7 fell in a style consistent with controlled demolition just from planes hitting buildings that were close to it.

      • trompe l'oiel | Nov 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm |

        I’m confused about your conclusion. Not that I’m offended, just confused. I’m not selectively doubting, I’m simply making the obvious correlation between ruling bodies and the art of deception that permeates both surface and occluded history.

        Are you trying to emulate labeling me the way that most ‘conventional’ models of psychology and sociology see these types of attitudes? If that’s the case, I totally see where you are going with this.

        It’s not paranoia when it’s the truth. I was telling people in my immediate surroundings and on the web that all our personal information was being archived and our privacy was threatened in 09′ when I graduated high school. Obviously people just thought I was being paranoid, unfounded and ridiculous, and now……

        I still somehow seem that way to people even though I was just being honest. hahaha what a society, people try to escape the truth, because it’s a painful one, people feel vulnerable when they lack the illusion of control, and if that illusion disappears, they just dismiss the reality in apathy to comfort themselves in willful ignorance and servitude to a top down cascade of deception.

        selective doubter rant: over.

        • tibby trillz | Nov 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

          i was agreeing with you and using the language of theauthor of the article to say that for the same reasons he would label people “selective doubters”, so too are the people who deny the conspiracies surrounding the world trade center. especially in regards to the collapse of tower 7.

          • Please explain the purpose of the deliberate collapse of tower 7 by the government. How was the terrorism made more terrifying?

          • tibby trillz | Nov 27, 2013 at 1:25 am |

            if i saw a man shot in the street, and he died from the gunshot, and then the next day the autopsy stated that he died from a heart attack, im not really thinking about the motive of the killer anymore. i dont know why it was deliberately destroyed (or if it was). my gut instinct is that a steel building doesnt fall in a style consistent with controlled demolition because of a few office fires. i get where you are coming from, and i really hope this doesnt turn into some hate flinging argument, but i do not accept the official explanations i have read so far. but heres an explanation, its 100 percent conjecture because i really dont have time to write a book about this and truly examine what happenned in depth, but here goes: something was contained within this tower that needed to be destroyed for one reason or another, thebuilding was rigged for demolition, the plane that crashed in pennsylvania was originally destined for this tower but passengers resisted the takeover (or some other thing went wrong) and the plane went off course and was later shot down or crashed. knowing that things went terribly awry, the building was demolished. thats the best i can do with a very limited amount of time to fully research this. im sure someone can come up with a better explanation than that but that is all ive got right now.

  18. Pete Wagner | Nov 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

    Disinfo is when you avoid discussing jews.

    • Are you alluding towards The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? If so, it would seem someone just went boom-boom in the middle of the floor and it’s not me.

      • Pete Wagner | Nov 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

        Interesting reference. Found it here:

        But I don’t know how true it is. Who does?

        • I am 95% certain that it is anti semite propaganda. Jones is all over it, same with Icke.

          • astrofrog | Nov 21, 2013 at 12:49 am |

            What if they are, and it’s still true? Not like, “it’s the Jewwwwws!” but like, another group describing their methods and aims and as part of the misdirection, attributing it to the Jews.

            Because if you actually ready them, they’re terrifyingly prescient.

          • I am 95% certain that the protocols are bullshit. Even wikipedia ( I know it’s not the ultimate source) says on the first line that it’s a hoax. Henry Ford, Hitler, and the Nazis helped disseminate it. Honestly, I feel it’s not worth taking seriously. Hence my first reply to Pete Wagner.

          • Pete Wagner | Nov 21, 2013 at 8:49 am |

            These days, I guess it’s best to consider everything propaganda until you really look into it.

          • Agreed.

  19. I feel that all/some of this internal/external squabbling over what is and/or is not, may likely distract from discovery through all/some avenues of probabilities.

    If an ample milk filled breast adorned with a nipple is dropped on a topic, will the lips smack in seeking comfort/survival?

  20. I don’t know, and I accept this.

  21. gustave courbet | Nov 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

    God damnit Matt, fine, I’ll bite: There are so many ways to dismember this article, that it is hard to pick one. A quote from the above reads:
    “The strongest predictor of general belief in conspiracies, the authors found, was “lack of trust.”’
    Anyone inclined to look at history, more specifically post WWII history, will find innumerable examples of conspiracies, wide-spread corruption, and mendacity on the part of powerful organizations. One might attribute the presumptions embedded in these studies to the extreme level of specialization in academia. The psychologists who design these studies don’t have the knowledge-base or perhaps the inclination to parse the arguments made by so called “conspiracy nuts.” Trust is not a rational response to pronouncements made by these same power structures with their appalling records on truthfulness. Furthermore, cynicism as described in the article as associated with belief in conspiracy, properly viewed in the context of history, is a rational response to the gap between what politicians and white-washed histories describe and factual evidence.

  22. Who in their right mind believes that the elites are omnipotent? Just because they control the media, global banking, military, government, on and on….. What a bunch of paranoid schizos.

    • astrofrog | Nov 21, 2013 at 12:52 am |

      I believe they control all those things. I believe they are not omnipotent (or omniscient or omni-anything). I believe they want to be. I believe they want us to think they are. Wait … where do I fit in, in the mainstream conspiracy narrative?

      Oh right. The ignored part that forms the majority of ‘conspiracy buffs’.

  23. No one in the US government conspires. Yeah sure.

    The government to this day protects the Saudis, whose paid agent Omar Al Bayoumi provided direct financial assistance to two of the alleged hijackers, while they lived in San Diego Ca.

    Here is his FBI file:

    2001-10-03: FBI Communication, PENTBOMB, Omar Al Bayoumi

    Now, if the moron at Slate had one thousandth of a modicum of integrity he would check out what numerous 9/11 whistleblowers have revealed this past 12 years. But he does not. He deliberately avoids actual evidence in favor of hyperbole and ad hominem attacks, as is the standard operating procedure with spineless douchebags like himself, seen across the presstitute media.

    Senator Bob Graham:
    Re-Open the 9/11 Investigation Now

    So who’s the skeptic? The lapdog, paid asshole who writes what his corporate masters will permit? Or people who have seen it from the inside and risk their careers or worse to tell uncomfortable truths?

    Senator Graham wrote the first investigation of 9/11, an investigation that has been censored from its inception by the Bush white house, and it continues to be censored by the Obama white house. Slate’s keyboard monkey has no standing whatsoever on the issue.

  24. its actually pretty obvious that whoever wrote this article is an uneducated misinformed idiot….lol….evidence….so much evidence to support everything that this person is claiming is untrue….haha where is the evidence that proves your iraqi terrorist friends al qaeda carried out the attack? find one fucking shred of real evidence.

  25. The people who ‘believe’ in conspiracies or alternative narratives in the JFK assassination and 9/11 are just seeing reality, and believers in the official story are just clueless and unwilling to accept facts. With regards to those two events it’s just a matter of looking at the evidence and coming to an obvious conclusion.

    The psychological problems and syndromes lie with those who ignore evidence, explain away thousands of anomalies as coincidences, and bury their heads in the sand for their entire lives in order to preserve an incorrect worldview.

    • im sure jews in 1930s germany were called conspiracy theorists or conspiracy nuts too when they claimed their government was turning into a facist dictatorship… least until they were murdered

  26. useless eater | Nov 22, 2013 at 2:46 am |

    So i guess WE’RE just a bunch of loony tunes for believing in massive conspiracies and coverups?

    “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
    ~Theodore Roosevelt

    “For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

    Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”
    ~John F. Kennedy

  27. Putting men on the moon was more complex than engineering or enabling 9/11.

    This piece would have been a stronger argument in 1999, when I realized that the NYT had published everything but the date of the planned attacks. It would still be wrong.

    It was 1980 when a friend explained to me that if Reagan won, Bush would use his connections to become President. “And that’s the beauty of this plan,” she said, “because when he does, three Supreme Court justices will be too old, and they’ll either retire or die on the job. When he appoints replacements, those appointments are for life, and that lets him leave his mark for the next generation, when one of his sons might be eligible.” “Let’s face it,” she said, “if I were starving and Lenin promised me food, I’d fight for him too.”

    She felt this would be a good thing because Congress couldn’t be relied on to do “the unpopular things” necessary for global conquest. They would waste the President’s time debating the merits of a war of choice, but a CIA family in office could get the party started quickly and hand Congress the bill. That way Congress would not debate the commission of the supreme crime, a war of aggression.

    In her view, we needed leaders who would do what almost none of us would tolerate if we knew about it.

    After watching the Democrats stop the Iran-Contra investigation at the White House door, to avoid “another scandal on the level of Watergate,” I realized there was no equal and opposing force to stop the longer plan.

    In 1998 I read the targets and method of the 9/11 attacks in the New York Times. Some things never leave you. If my friend had been correct about the intentions of those who wanted a Bush dynasty, we’d need a surveillance state to monitor dissent and deter its effective forms. We’d need to be at war before we learned who won the popular vote.

    Dragging this country into a war has never been difficult, but the surveillance state would never have been acceptable without 9/11. Since it predated the attacks, it would have to be seen to fail spectacularly. This would explain why NSA refused to share intelligence on the plot with FBI, CIA, DIA, and other agencies from 1995 until the event. By asserting that we are at war against terrorism, Reagan and Clinton each made intelligence about terror plots military secrets, and this justified what has been misrepresented as a “turf war.”

    This piece’s argument would be a decent rebuttal to Snowden’s revelations. For his claims to be true, there would have to be thousands of people conspiring to violate the Fourth Amendment, and they would all have to conceal their crimes.

    Like Snowden, the prosecution team who convicted Ramzi Yousef could not tolerate what they saw developing. It is true that a conspiracy too large will eventually be revealed, but unlike the case of Snowden’s revelations, few people listened when they warned us that our military were training pilots who intended to fly hijacked airliners into the WTC and Pentagon.

    It is true that we eventually learned that our government injected people with plutonium, fed strontium to retarded kids, let people die of syphilis at Tuskegee, and condemned 50,000 soldiers to die for a hoax about what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. It is also true that these evil deeds were concealed for decades.

    This is the culture that brought the world the KKK and the Mafia. What civilians can do, governments can do too.

  28. A sceptic employs critical thinking to examine and dissect an assertion, whether it is backed up by official spokespersons and a network of corporate communications or not. You don’t have to “imagine” anything to know that 9/11 was an inside job. You have to invest the time to look at the evidence in films, videos and books to arrive at a reasonably informed conclusion that a well planned conspiracy took place in which the twin towers and building 7 were taken down by controlled demolition, jump-starting a war of aggression in the Middle East. It is disingenuous to assert that those who have arrived at this conclusion believe that “Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans. ” Bush was the useful pawn/idiot enlisted as a puppet and cheerleader for the shadow government that perpetrated the crime. Thanks to his cowardice and narcissism, Bush capitulated to the coup d’tat and “led” the crusade against “terror” for the puppet masters who controlled him. It is far more absurd to believe the official story that 19 guys with box cutters led by a dude in a cave with a dialysis machine circumvented the most secure airspace on earth in the most powerful military empire in history. Only a true believer or an idiot would swallow the governments conspiracy theory. That is favoring a worldview of omnipotent terrorists; a view that is uncritically defended by gullible dupes or uninformed nitwits. Distrust cultivates critical thinking, contrary to the status quo advocate who wrote this nonsensical article attacking independent critics and sceptics whose conclusions have largely been proven correct once the propaganda that conditions millions is taken apart.

  29. dannicodemo | Dec 3, 2013 at 9:23 am |

    The problem with this summation is it pre-supposes that thousands of people have to be involved in the coverup, and leaves out how easily humans are deceived. We’ve been programmed by mother culture to right off anything that is even remotely close to the plot of a hollywood movie, despite the fact that pop-authors such as Tom Clancy have repeatedly warned us how much closer to reality our fiction really is.

    What’s even crazier are the people who think that a group of known terrorists who were being watched by 3 of the most skilled Intelligence agencies in the world for months leading up to the attack could just magically dissappear and then reappear the day of the attacks having infiltrated some of the most secure areas allowable to the public…you have to be some kind of ignorant to fall for that crap. It’s much more likely to believe compartmentalization (which works, as the Army will tell you) and high-level deception involving no more than 50 people led to a false-flag to usher in the age of Fascism we are currently living in.

    Besides, only complete idiots think those towers fell from a kerosene fire lololol

  30. Taan Maat | Dec 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

    Hahaha it’s hilarious when feeble-minded unthinking drones say “The government isn’t capable of such an immense operation, they’re too inept… people would find out, people would leak the truth!”
    Please if you subscribe to that belief, just kill yourself, and your children if you’ve spawned any, please. Thank you. Have a nice evening

  31. Taan Maat | Dec 4, 2013 at 1:27 am |

    I don’t automatically believe conspiracy, I simply follow the presented media and purported evidence, if it fits, it fits, if it doesn’t then it warrants deeper consideration.
    I can’t speak on the moon landing, there are issues with the media that was filmed and photographed though, that’s common knowledge. Mars rover, yes they were there. Of course we have a round earth, the official story was that it was flat, just like the official story was the sun revolved around the earth, they killed people for saying otherwise, until enough people realized it simply wasn’t true. If only we could do the same today.
    I don’t believe anything until I do.

  32. Gordon Klock | Dec 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

    Entire Government departments,en masse,being complicit in a conspiracy against the citizenry is not that big of a jump in logic,especially when one considers that only the top personnel need even be aware what is really going on, most underlings never question such things,& those that do, lose their jobs immediately, as a result.

  33. FreakyFranks | Dec 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

    This is a horrible article. Misinfo on Disinfo.

  34. Conspiracy theorists are not skeptics they are the ones who believe the conspiracy the ones who believe the “official” explanation are the skeptics.So what is the point of Saletan attacking them?He needs to do his homework, who knows he might learn something.

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