The BBC has recently become the focus of conspiracy theorists with their show Conspiracy Files digging into the alternative theories of what transpired on 9/11 and 7/7 (the train-bombings of London). Mike Rudin, the producer of the series, posted three separate blog entries during June which addressed and debated a number of the topics involved.
"Controversy and Conspiracies", Part One, discussed whether conspiracy theories should even be given airtime, in response to recent criticisms that the BBC was paying a conspiracy theorist to participate in the feature on 7/7:
The stakes are high because conspiracy theories are spreading suspicion about the official account of what happened, ultimately questioning whether the authorities can be trusted. Establishing whether what is argued is true or false, and scrutinising the way proponents conduct themselves, is clearly in the public interest and is a serious and legitimate task for the BBC.
Parts Two and Three concentrated on the enigmatic collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11 - which will feature in Conspiracy Files on BBC Two tonight. A news story by Rudin, posted on the BBC News website on Friday, features a trailer for this weekend's feature, and suggests that a long-awaited report will put the collapse down to fire:
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, based near Washington DC, is expected to conclude in its long-awaited report this month that ordinary fires caused the building to collapse. That would make it the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's lead investigator, Dr Shyam Sunder, spoke to BBC Two's 'The Conspiracy Files': "Our working hypothesis now actually suggests that it was normal building fires that were growing and spreading throughout the multiple floors that may have caused the ultimate collapse of the buildings."
However, a group of architects, engineers and scientists say the official explanation that fires caused the collapse is impossible. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth argue there must have been a controlled demolition.
These new blogs and documentary features on the BBC have riled many of those involved in promoting or researching the conspiracy angle, with plenty of commentary at Alex Jones' Prison Planet and 911Blogger.com.
Personally, I think a lot of the 9/11 conspiracy movement has become a belief system of its own, with a bunch of self-promoters profiting off it to the detriment of those who have something worthwhile to say. Having said that however, I equally dislike the faulty attribution of 'conspiracy theorist = crazy person'. There are very good historical reasons to not trust authority blindly (see Operation Northwoods for just one pertinent example), and I'm actually quite comforted to know that there are people out there who look closely at all the details of these type of events.
And when it comes to the details surroudning WTC7, even if the truth is that it was just fires (after all, it did burn all day, and many people reported hearing creaking and groaning noises coming from it, suggesting an impending collapse), you have to admit that you can't blame suspicious people for seeing conspiracy: The collapse would make it "the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire". Rather than being investigated, the steel girders were removed from the site and melted down. The owner of the building mentioned on video that he told authorities to "pull it" (apparently referring to fire crews inside the building). News media including the BBC reported the collapse while the building was still standing. The BBC's satellite then went dead at that moment. Then the BBC claimed to have lost the tape of the report. The official report is only now about to be released, more than 7 years on.
If there are no elements of conspiracy behind these events, then it would make a wonderful case study in how a sequence of unrelated events can easily lead people to a certain, incorrect, belief. I've created a nice new controversial poll here on TDG, asking for all your thoughts - was there a conspiracy involved in the collapse of WTC7? Readers in the UK will probably want to check out the documentary tonight for a good overview. You can vote anytime on the poll, or check the results, via the block on the right-hand side of the page.