Sunday, April 22, 2007

Occam's Razor and the Remote Control, No Hijackers Theory

Not all 9-11 conspiracy theorists believe so far-fetched an account as the one in Loose Change. Many accept that the first three planes did, in fact, hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and that Flight 93 crashed. They also generally accept the phone calls from the planes as genuine. But, they say, the three planes were flown by remote control and not by hijackers, and Flight 93 was shot down.

This view is not as obvious a violation of Occam's Razor as the no planes theory, but it raises problems nonetheless. The main argument offered against a hijacking is the lack of resistence, or even distress calls, by the pilots. By looping and rolling the plane, it is argued, a pilot can thwart any hijacking. Of course, if one takes that argument to its logical conclusion, then no hijacking should ever take place. Since hijackings have, in fact, taken place, it seems reasonable to assume that pilots do not normally use this technique. Before 9/11, it was generally assumed that hijackers were not suicidal, but merely wanted to divert the plane and take hostages. Pilots were therefore not inclined to use drastic and possibly dangerous flying techniques to thwart them, and passengers usually submitted to what they assumed was survivable. Conspiracy theorists are expecting pre-9/11 pilots to think in post-9/11 terms. As for distress calls, if the pilots were taken by surprise and killed, they could hardly make them.

Besides, if the flights were being flown by remote, the lack of pilot resistence is even more problematic. Why didn't the pilots attempt to override the remote, or at least inform the ground that they had suddenly lost control of their own planes? A proposed answer is that the plane was depressurized or filled with "potent gas" to kill or incapacitate the people on board. But that leaves the problem of the phone calls, which subscribers to this theory generally accept as genuine. There were calls from all four planes, describing hijackings in all four cases. The passengers could hardly have made those calls if they had been killed or incapacitated. If the phone calls were genuine and true, they refute the remote control theory. If the phone calls were genuine, but coerced or reporting staged events, then there would have to be suicidal conspirators on board the planes to coerce the passengers or fake the hijackings. As for the possibility of the calls being faked, I have discussed that at length already. The site linked here makes no attempt to reconcile its remote control theory with the phone calls reporting a hijacking. And it is hard to imagine any explanation that Occam would accept.

Furthermore, the remote control scenario apparently accepts the overwhelming evidence that there were hijackers on Flight 93 and a geuine passenger revolt against the hijackers, but the flight was shot down as the revolt was on the verge of success. This raises all sorts of obvious questions. If the other three flights could be flown by remote, why not Flight 93? Why bother with hijackers if they were not necessary? Who were the hijackers, anyway? Were they part of the conspiracy? Or was there, by a remarkable coincidence, a real hijacking by real Arab terrorists immediately after three fake hijackings by fake Arab terrorists?* Conspiracy theorists do not even ask, let alone answer, these questions.

Conspiracy theorists further deny that the purported hijackers were on the planes at all and claim that some or many of them are still alive. In fact, this appears to be a case of different people with the same names the hijackers. (Given the notorious mixups that have occurred on everything from no-fly lists to "extraordinary renditions," is it any wonder that there has also been confusion over the identities of the hijackers?)

But if the identities of the hijackers were faked, and if they were never on the planes at all, that raises another obvious question. Surely if there is one thing all of us can agree on, it is that the Bush Administration was determined to start a war with Iraq. So when it staged this elaborate hoax, including the falsified hijackers, why did it falsify 15 Saudis and not one single Iraqi? Are we seriously to believe that an Administration capable of pulling off so complex a scheme as 9/11 couldn't fake Saddam Hussein's participation while it was at it? Keep in mind that the Administration, particularly Dick Cheney, has been trying to falsify Saddam's participation in the attacks for a long time. But the attempt to claim a meeting between hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence has been thoroughly discredited, and all attempts at proving a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda have been duds. Even George Bush has given up trying to prove that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and settles for hinting at it by continually mentioning Iraq, terrorism and "taking the fight to the enemy" in the same sentence. How can a conspiracy capable of staging such an elaborate and successful ruse be so utterly inept at tying in their primary target?

*The takeover of Flight 93 at 9:28 occurred about 3/4 an hour after the first flight hit the North Tower, 25 minutes after the second plane hit the South Tower and nine minutes before the third plane hit the Pentagon. The takeover also happened after there had been calls from all three other flights reporting hijackings by Arab terrorists.

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