My Weekly Standard article on the broadcast of the 9/11 conspiracy "documentary" Zero, and the studio discussion that followed, is now up. It expands on my earlier blogpost on the topic, and is based on a viewing of the entire program rather than the last 20 minutes. The first half of the discussion was a little less skewed, but the result was still appalling. The article also includes an interesting quote from an interview (not mine) with the host of the program, Alexander Gordon, when he was asked whether its airing was connected to the deterioration in relations with the U.S.
Last night, after receiving a few emailed from truthers urging me to open my mind, I watched the BBC documentary "Conspiracy Files: The Third Tower." What never ceases to amaze me (apart from the belief that any group of people in the U.S. government would have the competence, coordination, and diabolical smarts to pull off this kind of vast conspiracy) is the sheer idiocy of truther arguments about the motives for various aspects of this conspiracy. The truthers argue that Tower 7 (which collapsed despite not being hit by a plane) was brought down by controlled demolition, with explosives planted inside. But why? Apparently because that's where the local office of the CIA was, and was that office that served as the secret control room for the 9/11 plot, and the evidence had to be destroyed. Really? Those plotters were so dumb that they had their super-secret control room in a CIA office right next to the WTC? And couldn't think of a better way to dispose of the evidence than creating a mystery explosion? If they were that dumb, how could they have possibly successfully carried history's biggest cover-up?
In my WS article, I refer to "the fairly credible allegations that the FSB, the KGB's post-Soviet heir, was involved in the 1999 apartment-building bombings in Russia that took nearly 300 lives and were blamed on Chechen terrorists, helping generate public support for the war in Chechnya." Why do I think these allegations, unlike the ones about 9/11, are fairly credible? Because I'm willing to believe that kind of thing about "them," but not about "us"? Well, no. As much as I loathe Russia's ruling clique, I'd rather not believe that they engineered terrorist acts against their own people. Because, if those are the kind of people who rule Russia, we are all less safe.
I think those allegations are vastly more credible than those of the 9/11 "truth" movement because of vast differences between the two situations.
One, the alleged FSB plot is fairly straightforward: explosives planted in apartment buildings. There are no bizarre claims of faked hijackings, nonexistent planes, passengers being taken to secret locations and murdered to supply the bodies, etc. etc.
Two, there was never an independent investigation of the bombings in Russia, only an FSB one; the State Duma voted against an investigation and ordered all documents pertaining to the case to be sealed for 75 years, and several MPs who tried to conduct an investigation of their own had an unfortunate tendency to get assassinated or meet with fatal accidents.
Three, no Chechen separatists ever claimed responsibility for the bombings. Four, at least one officer of the Russian secret services admitted to FSB involvement, though he made this statement in Chechen captivity and later claimed it was extracted under torture.
Five, and most damning, FSB agents were caught red-handed planting explosives with a timer in the basement of an apartment building in Ryazan. FSB director Niklai Patrushev claimed it was an "emergency readiness training exercise." After that, by the way, the bombings stopped.
Read the full story here.