World Trade Center Building 7 and Conspiracy Theories

Recently by Gary North: Pencils and Liberty


This was posted on August 30 on one of my site’s forums regarding the pancake-like collapse of all three World Trade Center buildings on 9-11:

“All three are clearly controlled demos. Everyone that views it knows it.”

I cannot imagine a more inaccurate statement. Hardly anyone who views them knows “it.” Almost every adult American has seen the videos of the collapse of the North & South towers. On September 11, 2001, the videos were shown over and over on the networks, all day long.

Only a handful of experts have ever publicly argued that the cause of the bildings’ collapse was a system of controlled demolition. Anyone who dares to mention the pancake collapse of the third tower is rejected derisively as a conspiracy theorist.

If the critic then goes on to point out that there were no plane debris at the alleged crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvaniathe parts were scattered for miles, indicating that the plane exploded in mid-air – he is dismissed as a nut case. Why? Because such a scenario raises an obvious question: Did the military shoot it down? This in turn questions the “Let’s roll” scenario of heroes on board Flight 93 who stormed the cabin.

Millions of believers in the government’s “Let’s roll” version of the crash look at the small empty hole and do not see what is missing: debris. They see an empty hole and conclude that a plane crashed there. In their case, not seeing is believing.

This leads me to a conclusion: Seeing is not always believing. Not seeing is very often believing.

This is why conspiracies have gotten away with a great deal in history.

I have faced this all of my adult life. I started out in 1958 with a high school term paper on whether Roosevelt knew an attack on Pearl Harbor was coming. I concluded that he knew an attack somewhere in the Pacific was coming. I have not changed my mind. In 1972, when I was awarded my Ph.D. in American history, as far as I knew, I was the only historian age 30 or younger with a Ph.D. in history who believed this. Even today, I am one of maybe a dozen men with a Ph.D in American history who believe this and say so in public. I am guessing about the number. The ones I can name – fewer than half a dozen – are so old as to be retirement age. No one without tenure would dare to teach Pearl Harbor revisionism as factually accurate in a college classroom. He would not have his contract renewed. The account has never gotten into a textbook. Yet as early as 1947, George Morgenstern’s book, Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War, revealed a great deal of the truth. It was published by an obscure right-wing publishing house, Devin-Adair. He wrote it first as a series of articles in 1946 because he was employed by the Chicago Tribune, owned by Col. McCormick, who hated Roosevelt. The book is still unknown.

The most widely known books on Pearl Harbor that forcefully argue the case for FDR’s prior knowledge of the attack are John Toland’s Infamy, which is 25 years old, and Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit, which is over a decade old. Neither of the authors was a Ph.D.-holding scholar.


The phrase, “conspiracy theorist,” is literally a career-killer in academia.

Murray Rothbard identified the issue of conspiracy theories in 1977.

Anytime that a hard-nosed analysis is put forth of who our rulers are, of how their political and economic interests interlock, it is invariably denounced by Establishment liberals and conservatives (and even by many libertarians) as a “conspiracy theory of history,” “paranoid,” “economic determinist,” and even “Marxist.” These smear labels are applied across the board, even though such realistic analyses can be, and have been, made from any and all parts of the economic spectrum, from the John Birch Society to the Communist Party. The most common label is “conspiracy theorist,” almost always leveled as a hostile epithet rather than adopted by the “conspiracy theorist” himself.

It is no wonder that usually these realistic analyses are spelled out by various “extremists” who are outside the Establishment consensus. For it is vital to the continued rule of the State apparatus that it have legitimacy and even sanctity in the eyes of the public, and it is vital to that sanctity that our politicians and bureaucrats be deemed to be disembodied spirits solely devoted to the “public good.” Once let the cat out of the bag that these spirits are all too often grounded in the solid earth of advancing a set of economic interests through use of the State, and the basic mystique of government begins to collapse.

In a recent interview on the offbeat RT channel, a reporter questions the theories of a man who thinks the #1 of motive for NATO’s toppling of Qadaffi was Qadaffi’s policy of not borrowing from Western banks or the IMF. She pressures him: “Are you a conspiracy theorist?” He denies it, calling himself a “deep geopolitics” thinker. Nice try; no cigar. He is a conspiracy theorist.

Alex Jones was one of the first to broadcast videos with comments on the collapsing Building 7. He is openly a conspiracy theorist. The fact that he promoted the event as a conspiracy pretty well dooms others who also promote the official account’s implausibility. This is why the producer of the forthcoming DVD on the controlled implosions hastened to assure viewers that he is not interested in conspiracy theories.

Yet he is inescapably a conspiracy theorist. When your video presents experts who argue that the buildings were blown up from inside by means of explosives planted weeks or months before, rather than caused by fires started by the planes, your explanation inherently must rely on the existence of a conspiracy and a subsequent government cover-up. The elephant in his living room is his denial of offering a conspiracy theory.


My point is simple: every Establishment rules in terms of lies, spin, and cover-ups. Most of the citizenry is vaguely aware of the lies and the spin on this or that minor matter, but voters side with the regime on the big lies. To do otherwise is to call into question their own wisdom. It is to admit that you were successfully taken in on some major matter – you and millions of others. This undermines the religion of democracy. It means that republican patriotism is based on widespread gullibility. “Fool me once, shame on the government. Fool me 20 times, shame on me.” So, once the masses have adopted the Official Party Line, to abandon it means abandoning your old self and your old world of political legitimacy. It means that you are now on your own – an outlaw, a pariah.

The defectors from Communism who went into print about their defections all described this gut-wrenching, soul-searching loss of faith in Stalin’s Party Line. The most famous account was (and remains) Whittaker Chambers’ book, Witness (1952). Different events triggered these defections: the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939, Khrushchev’s 1956 “secret” speech on Stalin, or the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

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September 1, 2011

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2011 Gary North