The Blame Game

Standard conspiratorial practice for any event where responsibility is uncertain, is to ask, “who benefits?”, because people are likely to action that helps them in some way or another. In this light, examination of the destruction of the World Trade Towers throws some surprising characters into the forefront of any investigation:

  • The owners of the Empire State Building. When built, it was the tallest building in the world. Last month, it was no longer even the tallest building in Manhattan. Somehow, outfitting the building in a giant clown’s hat to reclaim the title seemed like cheating… And now, it’s back to dominating the New York skyline. Coincidence?
  • Todd McFarlane. In 1998, Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs, shattering the 37-year old record for such things. The creator of Spawn paid $3 million for the ball which was hit for the 70th home run. But just three years later, Barry Bonds is making a serious run at the title. What better way to defend your investment than plough aircraft into buildings, and get all baseball cancelled for a week?
  • Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William J. Broad. These three New York Times journalists had a new book to plug – Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War – but the first printing was only 15,000. The date of its initial publication: September 11th. The second printing will be 100,000 copies and it’s currently the #3 best-seller at Amazon.

Okay, these suggestions are clearly not serious, but there is a serious point in there, namely that there is no more actual evidence for these suspects than there is for Osama Bin-Laden. The American government say he is responsible, but they have been curiously reticent at telling anyone – even their NATO allies – what proof they have that this is so. They cite fears about the security of their intelligence sources, but still demand that everyone joins in their war on terrorism. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” said Bush. I guess asking to see any actual evidence puts me with the terrorists then.

There is, mercifully, a growing resistance to a world view that sees the bad guys wearing black hats. Even people who last week were demanding that fire and brimstone be rained down on the heads of everyone, are now saying that we should go after the actual perpetrators. This is certainly a more sensible approach, and will probably more successful too. However, there is still a huge potential downside: in both America and Britain there is wide public support (85% of Britons, in one poll) for compulsory identity cards – and I remain entirely unconvinced that such cards would make the slightest difference. Anecdotal evidence of how useless they are, comes from the July escape of a convict from jail in LA, using an id card with a picture of Eddie Murphy on it…

And who knows what other measures will be introduced? A USA Today survey showed almost half wanted special IDs for Arabs in this country, including Americans of Arab descent – perhaps we should simply make them wear yellow stars… And extending this metaphor a little further, there are uncomfortable similarities between the events of 9/11, and the burning of the Reichstag in 1933. The day after the event – without bothering to wait for evidence – a decree was signed which allowed the Nazis to outlaw virtually all opposition. It’s perhaps TOO uncomfortable to follow that road.

But if you want an interesting slant on “who benefits”, take a look at The Konformist and their answer…