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Giving conspiracy theories a bad name

With the possible exception of the Kennedy assassination, a lot of sensible people give no credence to conspiracy theories. Once you go down that road, you start to mix with anarchists, holocaust deniers, UFOlogists and all sorts of undesirable types.

For an exercise I once investigated the moon landings conspiracy in some depth. After digesting arguments to the nth degree on radiation, lighting, a downed satellite and much more, my conclusion was this. The pressures to succeed were enormous and the deadlines challenging. NASA clearly had the motives and the probably the means to fake it, perhaps there was even a contingency plan involving a fake.

With JFK there are too many unanswered questions in the official version of events, and likewise, it seems, for 9/11. We may not learn the answers in our lifetimes, but the questions are instructive.

Firstly, you have to weed out the wild theories. Attempting to factor in how little we know about how things actually work, human credulity, one's personal inclination to believe or not believe, how possible does it seem that a given conspiracy theory could technically have been executed?

Then, if a conspiracy is plausible, what factors would prevent or encourage the key people from deploying it. Or - do you think the key people are evil enough?

To many Americans, the idea that the 9/11 attack came from home turf is unthinkable. Yet using friendly fire to motivate the home population is a standard part of a war propagandists armoury.

While I find some 9/11 conspiracies more far fetched than others, what I understand from the popular media about those neoconservatives leaves me in no doubt that they are capable of flaunting laws and international ideals, mass murder, self enrichment, serving big business, undermining democracy, and putting ideology before reality. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are only attempts to elaborate on this fundamental mistrust of US leadership.

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