Saturday, October 21, 2006

Loose Change/Upper East Side: Part VI - Names, Names, & More Names

(Note: This is the sixth in a series of posts about 9/11 conspiracy theorists and their reaction to the Cory Lidle tragedy last week. Earlier parts: I, II, III, IV and V.)

So let’s play along for a bit. Let’s say that the Cory Lidle crash was, in fact, some type of conspiracy. What would the purpose of it be? We’ve talked already about a couple of general possibilities, but I find them rather unsatisfying. No, there must be some goal behind this that is a bit more concrete. But what? Luckily, the posters at the Loose Change message board stepped into this vacuum. They were quick to start thinking through the key issue: who or what was the real target? Someone in the plane? The building itself? Maybe even someone inside the building?

You would think that we should be thankful, in a morbid way, that it was an athlete in the plane. Imagine, for example, if the person in the plane had been some government worker, etc. Then the story in conspiracy land would have been all about how a key figure in the 9/11 cover up was being silenced. Surely there’s no way that someone would think that Cory Lidle was specifically targeted in some devious plot.

Oh, guess again, my friends. Guess again. From the message board:
"or maybe cuz the mob lost a lotta money on the yanks in the playoffs. but yea .. i dunno ... kinda far fetched .. but i would be open to the idea with a lil evidence"
Not to be too blunt, but as a Yankees fan I can assure you that, if there were to be retribution for their disappointing performance this postseason, Mr. Lidle would not be on the top of anyone’s list.

Another poster also thought that Lidle was the target, but for a reason much more related to 9/11:
"what if today's event was an old mafia tactic. the victim being a this case the new york yankees' own cory lidle, someone who is dear to the city. what if this is the elite's way of saying to the NYPD, 9/11 rescue workers, new york in general...anyone thinking about going public: 'SHUT UP. WE CAN REMOTELY GUIDE PLANES INTO BUILDINGS ANYTIME. WE CAN KILL YOUR HEROS AND WORSE. SHUT UP.'"
This is one of my favorite quotes from the message board, because it is a beautiful twofer. On the one hand, it supports the idea of the original conspiracy (with the added passive reference to guided planes). On the other hand, it helps explain why there isn’t more evidence of the conspiracy, since everyone who knows is under this ongoing death threat. Brilliant. Here’s the thing, though: how are all the cops, rescue workers, etc. – tens of thousands of people – supposed to know that this was a message to them? Presumably most people (unlike the enlightened conspiracy theorists) think that the crash was an accident. If that is the case, how are they dissuaded from coming forward? Did they send out a memo or something? If any NYPD officers are reading this, did you get the memo? Could I see it?

No, I’m sorry, it seems rather unlikely that Lidle was the target himself. But what about the real estate? In this space-constrained, real estate-obsessed town, maybe the real victim was the building itself? Truthers certainly were concerned, and sprang into action:
"someone find out who owns this building
i'm looking into who was housed there."
As they furiously clicked away on the internet, they tried to coordinate real time research with each other:
"someone look into jack resnick and sons, 110 east 59th street.
i can't research 3 things at once "
Right away, though, they knew the real name they were looking for:
"Anybody have the exact address for this building? I've heard East 70th and York street, NYC but I'd like to check address with ownership, if possible. Larry Silverstein for example owns more property in NYC than just the WTC site. Don't know if I'd be able to find ownership but I'd like to try."
This quote came early on, obviously; it didn’t take long for the exact address of the building to come out. But the fact that it came so quickly illustrates an important point: the conspiracy theorists don’t observe events, eventually find something lacking in their logic or presentation, and then look for alternate explanations. They start, from the very first moment, looking for angles. They don’t adjust their theory to fit the world; they adjust the world to fit their theory.

It is sort of like you handing me a watch (without a second hand), and me immediately saying, "This watch is stopped! This watch is stopped!" Then, a few seconds later the minute hand moves, and I simply ask for another watch. At which point I scream again. Every so often, it might turn out that you actually hand me a watch that has stopped. That has nothing to do, however, with my obvious inability to diagnosis problems with timepieces.

The Silverstein angle didn’t pan out, but the conspiracy theorists finally found something else they liked:
"another point to note is that the part owners of the belaire is none other than the cantor group. yes, the same cantor group that's building the new freedom tower."
By all means, go to the website the poster provided. Go to the bottom of the page, and see the link for the Cantor Seinuk Group under "Companies involved in this Building." Click on the link. You’ll see that they are involved in the Freedom Tower (gasp!). You’ll also see, however: 1) they are a structural engineering firm, not an "owner;" 2) they have "worked on more that 60% of the major NYC buildings in the last decade;" and 3) there is an enormous list of buildings right there that they have been involved with (and the vast majority of them appear to be in New York City).

So, what is this observation supposed to mean then? I mean, really, on this one I’m having trouble even figuring out what the conspiracy angle is. That since they helped build this building back in 1988, they will know how to bring it down with a small plane? That somehow they are testing something to put to work on the Freedom Tower? Really, I am at a loss.

On the other hand, look at that list of buildings again – there are a lot of them. What are the chances that a random tall building in New York has involved this firm in some way? Not that high, but not trivial. Remember, though, what we said in Part V about statistics and probability. Think about all the different firms that are involved in the World Trade Center or the site’s reconstruction – owners, architects, engineering firms, construction firms, etc. Think about all the different buildings across the city that each of these firms has been involved in. What are the chances that a randomly selected tall building in New York has some connection to one of those World Trade Center players? Virtually a lock, which means it proves nothing.

Let me make two other observations about the idea that the building itself was a target. First, some posters were very interested in who had the insurance policies on the building. Um, sorry to break this to you guys, but the cost of real estate in New York is already through the roof. You don’t need to torch a modern high rise on the Upper East Side in order to make money; you just have to open the front door. This isn’t some abandoned warehouse district in a shady part of town. Second, if you were going to crash a plane on NY’s east side in order to steal the election/increase terrorism worries/rally people around the flag, etc., you have a much better target. All the plane would have to do would be to head another 30 blocks south, and it could have plowed into the headquarters of the United Nations, right along the water. In fact, the plane passed the building as it was originally heading up the river. Now there would be a target with some pizzazz, if that is what a conspirator was looking for.

So, it seems that the building itself wasn’t the target. There is, however, one aspect we haven’t looked at yet. What about someone in the building? Before I turn to the message board, let’s just acknowledge how stupid it would be to try to kill someone this way. You’re going well over 100 miles per hour, yet supposedly you are counting floors, etc. to try to aim for a specific apartment. There have got to be easier ways to get to someone. But I digress.

The posters weren’t as dismissive as I am, however. One thought that it could have been a kindred spirit:
"what would be if there was an 'important' person inside the building? Maybe a truther? Who's the owner of that apartment?"
Let me blunt. If the government was really in the midst of a great conspiracy, and thought that some of those truthers were getting a little too close, don’t you think they might find a little less conspicuous (and more effective) way to take them out? Remember, these are the guys responsible for the greatest conspiracy in the history of the world. Regardless, I think I smell delusions of grandeur among the conspiracy movement.

Someone else is getting ready for the new James Bond movie that is coming out next month:
"follow the links, and you'll find that indeed this was probably a mi6/cia safehouse of some sort.
apartments 46d/e are held in trust by the u.s. state department, and the plane hit the 40th floor.
the state department routinely holds in trust apartments for "friendly" agents.
did they miss their intended target?
was it just an "accident", that they happened to fly into the building across the street from where the u.n. envoy from north korea lives?
was he the intended target?
who was at the controls of the plane?
was it lidle or was it the 'flight instructor'?"
First off, which is it: targeting a safe house, or the North Korean ambassador? Oh, it doesn’t matter – just keep throwing everything you can come up with at the wall until something sticks. By the way, for people who are unfamiliar with New York, that area of the city is absolutely filled with diplomats, UN workers, etc. The UN is only 1.5 miles away. Once again, think about what I said regarding probability theory - probably every block has someone of signficance on it.

One more poster, if any of you are still with me:
"so what we have at this moment is something that needs to be delved into further.
accident? maybe.
attempt to get rid of an agent that had outlived his usefulness? possibly.
suicide by lidle? doubtful
was the doctor who lived in the apartment the intended target? good question.
there's a game afoot here, but i can't yet point my finger directly on it. i'm dancing all around it, with a lot of you sending me tantalizing bits here and there, that add a piece to the puzzle.
i won't say any more on this subject until we can piece the puzzle completely together......................................"
There is a great choice of words in the midst of that mind-blowing quote: "piece the puzzle." See, to many of these guys that’s what the world is, a giant game. They are like kids playing dress up and concocting a fantasy world of the imagination. The problem is, too many of the adults among us are taking them way too seriously. So in that vein, let me answer one thing this poster raised: was it a "good question" to ask if some poor doctor in that apartment was targeted? No, it was an asinine question. Your teachers lied to you. There are such things as "stupid" questions. You’ve just asked one. Please stop.

I find sifting through conspiracy theorists’ websites disheartening, alarming, depressing, and infuriating. I feel dirty afterwards. I am not a masochist. Why then, you may ask, have I been spending this time over the past week bringing you highlights of their reaction to the Lidle crash. For that answer, you’ll have to read the final part of this series, on why all of this matters, coming on Monday.

Note: I’ve left quotes from the message board as they appeared, and haven’t corrected spelling, etc. Also, Loose Change has upgraded their site over the past few days, and the old message boards no longer appear available. I've left the link to the old message board up, although it isn't working now. If I find a new link to the old threads, I will post it.

No comments: