Conspiracy Stories

A 911 Truth video recently popped up on Facebook (as these things are wont to do):

We live in strange times.  "Conspiracy Theories" abound.  Some turn out to be true (I'm looking at you NSA).

I'm fascinated by the 911 "Truther" stories.  The story told at a site like is far more interesting than the official story.  It's also sickening to think our government would have blown up the twin towers so most people will never even look at it.

I like to refer to Conspiracy Theories as Conspiracy Hypotheses.  A hypothesis is the beginning of a theory; a hypothesis becomes theory with proof.

Personally I don't think our government blew up the twin towers.  What would be the purpose?  To get us to attack Iraq?  The government doesn't need excuses like that; it invades for perfectly ordinary trumped-up reasons.

One of the ideas I find most fascinating about the hypothesis of a controlled demolition of the twin towers is that a new kind of nano-tech thermite was used.  Some have speculated it was painted on the interior walls during regular maintenance and then somehow triggered wirelessly.

I love the boldness of that idea.  Since I wrote a novel about nano-tech I keep an eye out for nano-tech stories and the idea of nano-thermite is very compelling from a storytelling point of view.

If I were to write a sequel to Nano-Plasm it would focus on how this amazing nano-thermite could be used and, of course, as a techno-thriller, on how it could be abused.

This has trigged all kinds of imaginative flights for me.  One idea I would tie in is that maybe there is a paint that is non-volatile until it comes into contact with alumninum - the outer skin of airplanes.  Maybe flight 93 spontaneously combusted and that's why there isn't much wreckage.  Likewise for the flight that crashed into the Pentagon.  Poof!  No evidence.  How about taking out huge numbers of electrical substations simply by painting this evil, remotely controllable, explodable paint on them.  How about painting nuclear power plant containment domes with it.  It's pretty easy to imagine lots of ways this evil paint could be used.

My story, which would be the main thread for a Nano-Thermite book, goes beyond what 911 truthers propose.  In my story a foreign government would have brought down the twin towers with a controlled implosion and that is what our government is covering up (you know, because we can't appear weak).

In my story, which has several layers, the airplanes would have been a cover for the controlled implosion.  The foreign government planned the plane attack so ordinary Americans would think the towers collapsed from the planes.

Secretly, this foreign power told our leaders what they had done, and empahsized they could bring down any building at any time, particularly our seats of power and of course football stadiums.  This message would have been communicated just after both towers fell (or maybe between towers 1 and 2).  And the icing on the cake of the threat would have been the collapse of WTC 7.  "See?", the foreign power would have said, "just in case you silly people believe the airplanes caused the collapse, we will tell you in advance that we are going to drop WTC 7," and then they went and did it.

Originally, when I was thinking up my story premise, I figured the reason to bring down WTC 7 would be if the twin towers operation had been run from the emergency center housed in WTC 7 (yes, there really was one).  Then it would make sense to implode WTC 7 to cover up the evidence.  That wasn't compelling enough to me.  It didn't really make sense to me that something as clever as imploding the twin towers would need a command center that was a whole floor in WTC 7.

Aside:  We had basically already won the war with Japan when we dropped nukes on two of their cities.  One hypothesis is that we did it to impress Russia with our power.  Now imagine a foreign power doing the same thing:  telling us they can drop any building at any time and then proving it on TV.  ("And if you don't believe us,", they would say, "check out the video of WTC 7.")

My story is quite a bit scarier than "our government is the enemy".  Because even in that scenario we imagine we might someday find the rotten tomatoes and throw them out.  The idea that we were attacked by a foreign power and instantly brought to our knees is much scarier.

Which foreign power?  In my story I would make Putin the bad guy.  He's got the resources, the craziness, a country full of smart people who could invent this nano-paint, and he hasn't hesitated to poison his enemies (with plutonium, no less).  I'd wind in some kind of genesis of the whole thing going back to the cold war.

I'm not a crazy person - I can tell imagination from reality.  But this happened:

Back in the day I was playing the beta of Neil Young's (the game guy, not the singer) Majestic, which was an augmented reality game (ARG) that intermixed story with the real world via web sites and even phone calls to you, the player.  The story was about an evil corporation making micro-electro-mechanical-systems (mems).  The morning of 9/11 I received an email alert from the New York Times that one of the World Trade Center towers had collapsed.  And I assumed this email was from Neil's game.  It was only when the second email alert arrived that I looked more closely and saw it really was from the New York Times and that's when I finally turned on the TV and was shocked by what I saw.  So it was hard to tell story from fact that morning.

When it comes to compelling narratives about what happened on 9/11/2001 I can't really tell which, if any, story is correct.  I don't believe any of them.  I'll give the 911 Truth people props for more compelling storytelling; and if you like science fiction at all, I recommend you visit and explore it.  Think of it as an ARG.  And if you come away after that with lots of doubts, well, that's probably a good thing too.

For me, though, all of the 9/11 stories, including the official one, are still in the hypothesis stage.  I don't expect us to get beyond that for another 50 years (or unless a Snowden comes along with Power Point slides [written in Russian!]).  To be clear, I think our government is full of misguided nincompoops, but I don't really think any of them are evil enough to pull off the twin tower implosion - if that's what happened.

[Update 2017-06-03:  I visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York.  There's information there that the conspiracy people ignore.  First, the south tower was damaged second but at a lower level and off center. When it fell, the upper floors went sideways and destroyed the Marriott Hotel because the first tower at least, did not drop uniformly downward.  As you can see in the photo the hotel was cleaved in half.  And the north tower, which was hit first, fell later, because there were fewer floors above the crash site.  It all makes perfect sense.  The center supports held 50% of the weight, and the outer steel held the other 50%; the inner supports were destroyed by the planes, leaving all of the weight on the outer supports.  And when physical things fail catastrophically, due to the chaotic nature of the damage, a tipping point is hit, and then it all breaks apart. In this case, it was as if the upper floors had been dropped onto the building.

I like this analysis:  Why the World Trade Center Buildings Collapsed: A Fire Chief ’s Assessment

Not sure what happened with WTC 7.  

Also, if I were to write the story now, I would skip over the nano-thermite, cool as it seems to be. Instead, I would hypothesize a shaped nuclear charge blasted up the core of the building.]

My imagination continues to run wild.