Monday, May 23, 2011

AE911T Tries To Debunk Judy Woods

If anyone wants insight into cognitive dissonance, you're in for a treat. AE911 has tried to debunk Judy Woods' energy weapons conspiracy theory.
They have precisely one basis of criticism and that is that their insane conspiracy theory generates marginally fewer decibels of laughter from the rest of us than Woods.' Their version - where a fictional, Roland Emmerich movie-version of the low-explosive material thermite was invisibly installed on what would've had to be thousands of building columns by the metric ton, and then ignited out of order by nonexistent people, oh and also the whole "radical Islamist" thing is a hologram - apparently pales in comparison to Judy Woods' theory that lasers from space destroyed the World Trade Center. You know, one's crazy. The other. Um.

Check out how close AE911 gets to admitting that its own theory is utter absurdity. When comparing the ability of Judy Woods' theory and their own to explaining the "collapse profile" of the Towers, this nugget drops:

In order for the core column breaks to be so straight and horizontal, DEW technology would have to have the following features:

• Be capable of a sufficiently sharp focus for it to attack all or most of the columns at a given level at the same time, but only the ends of those columns;

• Be capable of having its target level move down the building without changing the angle at which it cuts the columns;

• Be capable of having its target level move down at two-thirds of freefall acceleration (as measured by David Chandler), and perhaps other acceleration rates;

• Be capable of having multiple target levels, so that it could destroy the falling upper section of each tower while also destroying the lower section, to create the illusion that the upper section is crushing the lower section, even though that upper section is in itself being destroyed; and

• Be capable of destroying only those connections between steel columns that still form part of the buildings’ structures, leaving untouched the hundreds or thousands of steel assemblies and steel pieces that can be seen flying out of each tower in huge clouds.

In addition to all these features, Wood's alleged secret DEW technology would have to be able to pulverize most of the concrete in both Towers and Building 7, and in the case of the Twin Towers, fling 90% of the buildings' mass outside their footprints. such technology would also have to be able to account for the evidence relating to molten iron, nano-engineered energetic material, and the sights and sounds of explosions described below. Why posit sophisticated secret technology to explain these observations, when some combination of thermitic incendiaries and explosives placed throughout the buildings can explain them much more simply, without making wild assumptions?

I couldn't not laugh at that last sentence. Yes, wild assumptions. Which procurement officer was in charge of shipping in that thermite for Bush, by the way?

This is insanity at its finest. It is either deeply cynical condescension to AE911's reader(s), or mere stupidity. I can't tell. I just can't tell.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Natural News and Infowars' Hilariously Bad Fearmongering

We all know the running joke of 9/11 deniers decrying the “doublespeak” and fear-mongering they see in “the media” and coming from “the government” (whoever they are). 9/11 deniers are extremely intolerant of dissenting views and contrary evidence; they stifle criticism, attack their critics personally rather than intellectually and, of course, thrive on bogus scare tactics and dishonest use of fear.

Consider by way of example a post on Infowars that insinuates Bill Gates want to kill a billion people:

…Gates has given conflicting information concerning the agenda behind his vaccination push. In his most recent speech, he claims vaccines will save lives. But in a speech he gave at a TED conference last year, Gates clearly stated that vaccines and health care were part of an equation to reduce the world’s population by 15 percent (…).
“The world today has 6.8 billion people … that’s headed up to about nine billion,” he said to his audience. “Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps ten or 15 percent.”
You can watch the actual clip of Gates saying this at the following link:…

I decided to keep their horrible internal citation formatting (does no one over at Infowars know how to use href?) to demonstrate the point. They talk about Bill Gates. They talk about a TED talk. They cite an equally bad piece on the website of serial bullshit peddler Mike Adams, instead, one with the headline, “Bill Gates says vaccines can help reduce world population.” Is that true? Of course not. You can watch the video here. Gates was presenting an equation for global CO2 output where, basically, the equation could theoretically be balanced by a lower human population. Nothing was said about vaccine’s role in that uninteresting theoretical aside. Basically, Bill Gates was saying that CO2 output is a problem, and that new energy technology needs to be developed to face that problem – from there, 9/11 deniers decided he actually said, “let’s use medicine to kill a billion people.”

You might’ve had to reread that sentence a couple of times. Let me clarify: Infowars has lied to you.

You know right away that something’s up when you go to watch the clip and see that the supposed quote ("The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent!" – which no one ever says at any point in this video) arises in a three-minute long video. Usually when Infowars needs to make a point, it shaves things down to the second. No, Infowars wants you to watch. It doesn’t doctor or graft text over the video in any way. It simply rolls a three-minute clip of a thirty-minute talk, without commentary. In fact, there is no story attached to the video clip to begin with. There is simply no story.

A fictive quote has been grafted onto a truncated video unrelated to the claim the author wants to make so that his own worldview can profit. This is the definition of being a “shill.” An absurd claim about a vaccine proponent – not about vaccines themselves, science, medicine, or facts of any kind – is being grafted onto an unrelated speech in a laughably dishonest fashion. Meet Infowars and Natural News – liars for profit who want you to be afraid. Funny, that’s exactly how they describe their skeptical detractors.

Idiots like Mike Adams and the author of the Infowars piece Jon Benson (who officially works for Adams, of course) want you to be afraid because they have an agenda to push. That much is mundane. What’s particularly troublesome about this piece is that it proves Adams and Benson want you to be as stupid as they are, too. They want you to click through the echo chamber of Infowars and NaturalNews rather than actually get the quote, the context and the truth. They want you to read and live in a tiny bubble where bad ideas and absurd lies get shouted at each other without a moment to stop and think or seek confirming evidence for those beliefs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wow, they're really going for it

Skeptics shouldn’t ruin the fun when it comes to bin Laden’s “Deathers”

Prisonplanet returned to the 9/11 denial world today after a protracted silence on the issue, posting a couple of clips of people claiming the American raid on Abottabad was ‘botched.’ Of course those claims are contradictory, nonsensical and so far appear to be essentially baseless, which makes them right at home on PP.

According to a close neighbor who watched the alleged US raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound from his rooftop, the operation was almost immediately aborted because of a helicopter crash that killed several people, eyewitness testimony that completely contradicts the official narrative put out by the White House.

Mohammad Bashir lives a stone’s throw away from the purported Bin Laden compound that was raided on May 1. In an astounding interview with Pakistani news channel Samaa TV, Bashir describes how he watched men land in the helicopter and enter the compound. However, in contrast to the official story, Bashir then claims the helicopter exploded and killed the men as they were re-entering the chopper to leave.

The fraud is obvious – was the raid “immediately aborted,” or did the helicopter explode “as they were preparing… to leave?” – and of course editorial content to this effect is entirely absent in the post itself. A couple of the commenters seem suspicious, but the hivemind shouts them down, as always. The author of that post gets extra props for adding in a fourteen minute clip of a news report with no translation and no context whatsoever. From the first clip, the author blindly parrots its narrator: “now if Osama was in that helicopter he must have died and got burnt in that helicopter too, then how they took him?”

So far we’ve gotten a few e-mails asking why we haven’t “bothered” with The Next Big Thing in 9/11 denial: bin Laden death denial (Deatherism?). We’re not getting into it for the same reasons we didn’t get involved in the Judy Wood nonsense about laser beams from space blowing up the World Trade Center. If merely writing out your belief induces a giggle, you’re probably not doing the conspiracy movement with which you’re associated any good.

“Osama bin Laden is alive and well… he’s just not interested in showing it.” “He was killed years ago, Obama was just waiting for a completely random time way too far before his election and way too far after the disastrous midterms to show it.” “He’s a fiction of the New World Order. You can tell because his death so far seems to be presaging the expulsion of American forces from Pakistan.”

Unfortunately for deniers they’re apparently stuck with Deatherism. It is the only way out of the logical trap bin Laden’s death imposes on them. His death was clearly not politically timed. It is not being used to advance American interests – indeed, it is fueling claims that it’s time to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan. It proves that America is interested in hunting and killing terrorists. It demonstrates that there is a genuine war on terrorists, with concrete and achievable objectives. It’s not going perfectly, but it is going.

I’m not interested in refuting the obvious lunacy that Deathers are spewing. Heck, I want them to shout it from the rooftops – and I want skeptics to point out that all 9/11 deniers are logically obligated to agree with them! At this point, few things could help kill the movement faster.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alex Jones’ hysterical lunacy

Forget world-class liar. Alex Jones is just an idiot

I started watching a tragicomically predictable new Alex Jones video heralding bin Laden’s death as “Another Gov’t Lie” expecting some good meat for a post. Turns out I didn’t even make it that far. The video begins with what skeptics call a “Gish Gallop:” a debate tactic that involves making a series of statements so inane and obviously false that your opponent simply saps his/her allotted time in refuting them. I’m not accusing Jones of that level of cleverness; rather, I think he is both so stupid and so visibly intoxicated on the Kool-Aid that he just can’t help himself. As always Jones would rather float stupid statements rather than make evidence-based claims, and here they come:

-Initial media reports about Jessica were the doing of “the government.”

Except that it was The Pentagon that first spoke out against the initial, farcical Washington Post story that began the firestorm. And whose investigation was finally reported by WaPo in their self-praise-showered retraction. So this is just Jones being stupid about the who’s who: he’s confused “the government” with “the media,” one journalist from some sort of black ops media whiteout operation, and one shitty newspaper with a fictional government fraud campaign.

-…And those reports were scripted by Jerry Bruckheimer.

Okay, this one is clearly a lie on Jones’ part, so I guess there’s room for that, too. He outright says that Bruckheimer was “called in to script the story” about Lynch’s rescue. The admittedly hype-happy Guardian clarifies:

Back in 2001, the man behind Black Hawk Down, Jerry Bruckheimer, had visited the Pentagon to pitch an idea. Bruckheimer and fellow producer Bertram van Munster, who masterminded the reality show Cops, suggested Profiles from the Front Line, a primetime television series following US forces in Afghanistan. They were after human stories told through the eyes of the soldiers. Van Munster's aim was to get close and personal. He said: "You can only get accepted by these people through chemistry. You have to have a bond with somebody. Only then will they let you in. What these guys are doing out there, these men and women, is just extraordinary. If you're a cheerleader of our point of view - that we deserve peace and that we deal with human dignity - then these guys are really going out on a limb and risking their own lives."

It was perfect reality TV, made with the active cooperation of Donald Rumsfeld and aired just before the Iraqi war. The Pentagon liked what it saw. "What Profiles does is given another in depth look at what forces are doing from the ground," says Whitman. "It provides a very human look at challenges that are presented when you are dealing in these very difficult situations." That approached was taken on and developed on the field of battle in Iraq.

The Pentagon has none of the British misgivings about its media operation. It is convinced that what worked with Jessica Lynch and with other episodes of this war will work even better in the future.

So Jones’ timeline is backwards, his claim seems to be lifted from a metaphor being made in a Guardian piece and – oh, forget it. He wasn’t stupid here; he was dishonest.

-…And members of her unit who “blabbed” were killed by the government

Oh, did I mention that it was an active-duty deputy commander at CentCom who first called out the media on their story? Jones seems to be basing this point on the notion that members of Lynch’s unit began “dying in car crashes” and “getting shot in the head.” You know, classic government black ops. This seems to be Jones simply being stupid about statistics, as he fails to realize that returning veterans tend to have a higher young-life death rate than the general population. It may also be him being stupid about history, as many of those “outspoken” members of her unit were showered in awards and accolades by the military, even as they were speaking out about the media treatment of Lynch. This could also involve Jones being stupid about simple logic: Not only did members of her unit seem to pass away with no correlation to their speaking to the media, but they seemed to do so well after “the damage” was already done (again, “damage” direct at the media, not the military).

-…And “the government” told Lynch to lie about her story.

And it obviously didn’t work, due to, you know, that time she called out both the media for their horrific reporting and the military for later promoting the rescue operation, not the reports about Lynch herself. Oh, also that memoir she wrote.

-…Just like Pat Tillman, who “they” killed because he “was about to go home and speak out against the war.”

And without even giving Jones time to further raise my blood pressure on this one, let’s just make sure to point out that Tillman was an active and vocal critic of Iraq before he died. Hell, Jones had to have known that one – he had to lift Tillman’s own anti-Iraq invasion quotes from somewhere. And hell, afterwards, “the government” was pretty terrible at taking out the members of Tillman’s unit, the friends of Tillman, and Tillman’s family members who actively spoke out about what really happened to him. To say nothing about how bad “the government” is at covering up cases for which it dutifully hands out self-damning evidence. Okay, there’s little room for Jones’s defense there. I guess he’s a liar, too.

Jones is not known for subtlety; neither are his fellow stupid people. I think if he were pressed to discuss the obvious fraud he spews on a daily basis he would admit that he has no interest in reality, for he has already spun his own. It is one in which everyone who doesn't follow him religiously is his enemy, everyone who disagrees with his politics is a Satanic monster and there is no room for facts in a war of volume. This is a small blog representing a small community of dedicated skeptics; Alex Jones is a loud, aggressive blowhard with a horde of gullible followers at his back. It's time to stop pretending that all nonsense is equally worth serious inquiry. Jones's viewers are stupid enough to believe him, and that's their own fault. Until they start making an actual case that goes somewhere, they have given the rest of us nothing to address.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001"

For what may be the third or fourth consecutive year the denier movement won’t be able to get enough attention in America to host a full-scale event and so is hosting its big conference in Toronto. I cut my teeth in Toronto at a CFI event debating AE911truther Doug Plumb. Toronto is the hub of 9/11 denial, and it makes sense in a lot of ways. The movement is driven by a handful of obscure postmodern academics – the staple of Canadian academia’s history departments.

This one looks to be pretty dull. The usual round of faces will headline the event – David Chandler, Richard Gage, Steven Jones… No new “whistleblowers” or fresh faces, unless you count the shockingly lame 9/11 newcomer du jour Niels Harrit.

In case you couldn't tell, this event won't actually include "hearings," in the technical sense of the word (though technical accuracy was never the movement's strong suit). Judging by the lineup its going to be yet another PowerPoint parade that takes itself far too seriously and accomplishes far too little except in terms of repeating the same hashed-out arguments about shoddy thermite research and since-refuted attacks on NIST and "the American government" (whoever that is) in general.

I base my cynicism purely on the event’s thus-far announced objectives, which read like a how-to guide for creating an echo chamber:

(1) To present evidence that the U.S. government’s official investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, as pursued by various government and government-appointed agencies, is seriously flawed and has failed to describe and account for the 9/11 events.
(2) To single out the most weighty evidence of the inadequacy of the U.S. government’s investigation; to organize and classify that evidence; to preserve that evidence; to make that evidence widely known to the public and to governmental, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations.
(3) To submit a record and a summary of the Hearings, together with signed Statutory Declarations by witnesses, to relevant governments, groups and international agencies with the request that a full and impartial investigation be launched into the events of September 11, 2001, which have been used to initiate military invasions and to restrict the rights of citizens.
(4) To engage the attention of the public and media through witness testimony as well as through public talks and media events during the four day event.

Guesses: The event is going to be well-attended but not sold out. We will hear at least one presentation about “molten steel.” The movement will continue not to recognize its complete failure to gain a foothold in the mainstream. No one will present a case for bin Laden’s innocence. It will go largely unnoticed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


One: We're not going to say anything about the death of bin Laden. You have news sources that say much more than we could. You can already draw the necessary inferences about how the mere circumstances of the chase for bin Laden itself prove his role in global terrorism. To go on about bin Laden's death would be to reach for the low-hanging fruit of skeptical inquiry.

Two: Speaking of low-hanging fruit...

The author of the blog Killtown has announced "a challenge" to concerning some of his claims about Shanksville. He doesn't specify which - his link to his "challenge" is simply a link to his "Shanksville"-tagged posts - and says he'll settle for "anyone" addressing "any" of this claims.

This is odd, because we not only demonstrated the fallacious thinking in the very first post that comes up in his "Shanksville" list, but we commented to that effect on the post itself - it has since been deleted.

Killtown, that challenge was accepted weeks ago. Why are you destroying the evidence?