The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

9/11 Was it a conspiracy?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2012 Category: News
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,002 times Debate No: 27791
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I realise that this is a very controversial and touchy subject but I would like to start a debate about who was behind it and how they did it, a lot of different opinions out there and is one of the biggest catastrophes ever in recent times.


I'll use this first round primarily as an acceptance round, as my opponent apparently did.

First off, thanks to my opponent for creating this debate, as it should be good to hear discourse over this issue, and hopefully put it to rest for some viewers of this debate.

I do, however, wish to make some definitions. Although these should mostly be obvious, I just want to clarify some important words in the resolution, and keep all of my arguments on-topic.

The Legal Free Dictionary defines a "conspiracy" as "An agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawful or criminal act, or an act that is innocent in itself but becomes unlawful when done by the combination of actors," but that would provide a debate that is impossible to argue against. Both Pro and Con would, in the context of what I believe my opponent means, be arguing that the events on 11 September 2001 WERE conspiracies.

Thus, I must propose a "working" addendum to the definition for this debate, or request that my opponent change the wording of the resolution to "a conspiracy on behalf of the United States' Government."

The "working" definition I would propose is exactly what I would propose my opponent change the resolution to: "a conspiracy on behalf of the United States' Government." This observation is important, as it prevents this resolution from being biased towards Pro.

I'd also like to define "9/11" as "the events presumed to be terrorist activity that occurred on 11 September 2001." Basically, I want to narrow this down and exclude any and all mundane things. N.B.: This includes "Flight 93" and all other activities presumed to be the results of terror that were directly related to the well-known attacks on the World Trade Center.

If any of the audience or my opponent has any concern with these observations, please say so and I shall be happy to reach a consensus.

Finally, I'd like to reiterate my thanks to Pro for starting this debate, and wish Pro good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Ok I agree that "a conspiracy on behalf of the United States' Government." is adequate as I do believe they had involvement.

I want to point out that yes its possible the CIA trained the Taliban for whatever reason and that this can indicate indirect involvement.

I would firstly like to start by stating that, why would a militant group such as Al Qaeda or the Taliban would want to start a war with the United States? (One of the Superpower nations on earth) If there was no immediate reason for an attack then why would they? I've considered a preemptive strikes preparing for war but why not Europe, Russia or China? And why the World Trade Centers?

I realise I'm asking questions and not actually backing my argument, so according to the official reports there were 4 passenger planes, two struck the first two world trade centers, one in the pentagon, and the fourth crashing in Pennsylvania, now my first point would be that if there were only 4 crashes, 3 into buildings, then why did a 4th fall (WTC 7) if you look on a map WTC 7 is quite a distance from Towers 1 & 2.

My next point would be that when the twin towers fell, they fell in a very "demolished" fashion stacked up and crashing down and watching footage it falls straight down in a matter of seconds. If a building or solid object was hit say midway or 2/3s up, lets say that is the natural way for a building to fall, once it hit the point below the crash site which was completely unscathed, why did this not hinder and delay the complete collapse of the tower? Also "many architects and scientists even maintain that a planes fuel cannot produce enough heat to melt the steel frame of the two buildings that collapsed."

Relating to the Pentagon in photos and camera footage there are no signs of aircraft crashing, ok this isn't a great point BUT remember this is the Pentagon the most secure military base in the world and an undeclared passenger craft made it past all ground to air missiles? Even before that, the towers were struck, now merely minutes after this in this day and age the airforce would have been informed and launched a counter attack if not some form of prevention to track down other hostiles nearby and this was delayed. There is also recorded calls from the planes in question of a hijack resulting in a pilots throat being cut and a steward being stabbed this should have set off alarm all over nearby states.

Another point I have seen is that people above the points of impact had survived the attack and safely made it out of the building before its collapse.


Before I address my opponent's arguments in-depth, I'd like to make a quick observation:

All of my opponent's arguments apparently use data from official reports, however there is an alarming lack of credible evidence in my opponent's arguments. In fact, the only source that he did cite, "The 11 Most Compelling 9/11 Conspiracy Theories," itself doesn't cite any reputable documents. It uses qualifiers like "many" and "some" when referring to various unnamed experts, seriously damaging its credibility. Thus, my opponent's arguments don't necessarily factually hold up, and may need to be discarded.

Now, I'd like to refute my opponent's arguments in greater depth.

"CIA trained the Taliban. . .indirect involvement"
With this statement, my opponent is insinuating that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded and/or trained the mujahideen during their guerilla war against Soviet occupation. My opponent extends this argument to imply that the CIA "created" or in some way enabled the formation of the Taliban, who attacked the US on 9/11. This argument is factually incorrect in two areas:
  • The CIA had no involvement in "train[ing]" the Taliban--they only provided funding to Afghans [1]
  • The Taliban was not the organization behind the attacks on 9/11--al Qaeda was [1].
This alarming pattern of incongruity exists in the majority of my opponent's arguments.

"Why would a militant. . .United States"
With this, my opponent essentially answers his own question--al Qaeda is a militant group. That means that they exist in order to attain some purpose through waging war.

"4th building fell"
I'd like my opponent to cite a source for this.

"'Demolished' fashion of falling. . .(etc.)"
First of all, I would challenge my opponent to provide reasoned, reputable evidence for this and each of his other contentions. In the absence of that, his claims are just that--claims. They lack any basis on truth whatsoever, and until my opponent can prove that his view is the correct one, we must rely on the most reputable source possible--the government.

The official depositions by the US government concerning the attacks on 9/11 explicitly state that al Qaeda was the intiator of the attacks [2]. Until my opponent is able to prove otherwise, his arguments are mere speculation.

Furthermore, the supposed mastermind of the attack, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, has confessed in public about his involvement--not the government's--in the 9/11 attacks [3].

Finally, I would ask my opponent to review his evidence (if he has any) in detail, and question whether or not he is interpreting the facts correctly. I'd also like to see these "official reports" and "points" that he's talking about, before I waste any time responding to strawmanning and speculation.




Debate Round No. 2


You state that the CIA (And the United States Government) funded the Taliban, that provides training, weapons and also recruits. They funded this as part of their Proxy war against the Soviet Union, now I cannot prove, nor can you disprove that American Military was involved in direct training of militia during this period of time.

Another point is that members of the Taliban could have carried out these atrocities and was dropped from Government to Insurgency in 2001, also war was declared on them in Afghanistan by both UK and USA. Throughout this whole war News and Media have reported Taliban/Insurgents to have connections with Al Qaeda.

This statement of why would a militant group attack the United States, using the term group means that it is relatively small, not a nation, not a government body, or even a monarch, therefore it would be completely insane to launch an attack on such a nation without political backing or reasoning. Also as they are "terrorists" meaning that they use terror for demands, no demands were ever requested. In actual fact this attack was rather out of the blue with no indication or explanation as to why this would happen.

The fourth building, World Trade Center 7 had fallen, "The original structure was completed in 1987 and fell after the Twin Towers collapsed in the September 11 attacks" Source:
Also "Unlike other buildings in the new WTC complex that had to go through a several year long process of quarrels and lawsuits, this building was approved without extra hassle within a few months of September 11, 2001." . Although this may seem irrelevant it is suspicious even more so that the building was in fact completely empty and reported to have fallen in the same fashion also see . This video does report there were a few people in the building but no casualties.

For the evidence of a building being demolished by explosives see, the way the buildings fall are very similar to the video footage of the trade centre also see , compared to the world trade centers, The Windsor Building - Also in February 2005 the 32-story Windsor Building in Madrid, Spain, caught fire and burned for two days. The building was completely engulfed in flames at one point. Several top floors collapsed onto lower ones, yet the building remained standing. Source
The WTC were on fire for merely an hour before collapsing.

The US Government did come out an blame Al Qaeda but also (as you said about my argument) had no proof of this,
but here is mine, "Shortly after the attacks and before the FBI had released the pictures of all the hijackers, several reports appeared claiming that some of the men named as hijackers on 9/11 were alive.,[33][34] and were feared to have been victims of identity theft." Yet they had video evidence of these people boarding the plane, clearly someone is lying and I tend to believe the guy that's living and can still tell the story of how he apparently flew into a building. Stating that I base my whole argument on Speculation is wrong, I have looked at facts and stories on both sides and logically it favours that someone else was involved and not Al Qaeda and that the US gain more benefit and control over this war e.g. after Pearl Harbour over 1 million men signed up to the US Army to fight the Japanese, this rallies up morale and troops for war which has exactly happened in Afghanistan.

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Arabic: خالد شيخ محمد‎; also transliterated as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and additionally known by at least fifty aliases)[10][11] is a Kuwait-born militant currently in U.S. custody in Guant"namo Bay for alleged acts of terrorism" Notice that it states alleged and all the way through states alleged Source- Yet you state that I use "qualifiers like "many" and "some" etc. Is one not innocent until proven guilty?

You also failed to address my point about the Pentagon? This, for me is the most confusing part as nothing to prevent this attack was carried out and no physical evidence of any aircraft crash.


First of all, I'd like my opponent to read the evidence I'm providing him before making any speculative contentions. Appended to my last post was a disposition from the US government about the events on 9/11. My opponent also questions my use of the US government. However, I'd like to use the same adage my opponent attributes to Khalid Sheik Mohammed--innocent until proven guilty. Until my opponent can prove that the US government willfully conspired to deceive the American people, we must accept its word as reputable--a perfect inductive proof for this lies in the fact that all government information must pass stringent quality-control procedures to warrant publication. Does my opponent mean to suggest that the entire government is "in" on this? That, to me, is beyond the realm of plausibility barring cohesive proof. I have challenged my opponent to provide this, from a similarly reputable source, no less, and my opponent has not done so.

Let me state the sources my opponent has cited:
-A list of conspiracy theories
-YouTube videos
-An admittedly unbiased building-information site
-A conspiracist's blog

Furthermore, my opponent misquoted that conspiracist's blog.

Now, let's assume that my opponent's points are, in fact, valid. The US government would then have to be behind what might be the largest possible cover-up to date--and one that has been debunked as not being a cover-up by sites like Popular Mechanics, according to my opponent's own citation. This, to me, smacks of impossibliity. How would my opponent propose this occur? Why hasn't anyone found conclusive evidence yet?

In the absence of this proof, there is no possible way the resolution can bde negated. Let me draw parallels to the recent attacks on Susan Rice over the Benghazi Embassy incidents. In the absence of proof to the affirmative, all my opponent's points do is sow doubt. Let me reiterate: there is no proof.

Hence, "speculation.

And speculation, last time I checked, isn't solid argumentation.

Thus, none of my opponent's points are even WARRANTED of refutation until my opponent can LINK them to a purported governmental "conspiracy."

If we look at the resolution: "9/11 Was it a conspiracy?" and the contextual definition of conspiracy, we see that my opponent, having assigned himself the BoP by phrasing the resolution in an interrogative way, must prove that the US government willfully concealed the "truth"--whatever that is.

But for the sake of not just writing my opponent's points off entirely, I will deign to provide but one of many debunking studies: A study proving that buildings CAN fall because of structural fires [1]. Thus, my opponent's entire argument is rendered invalid until he can provide proof to the contrary. Just because historical precedent exists otherwise doesn't mean that it isn't scientifically POSSIBLE.

Let me make an aside: My opponent may deign to argue that, because it's POSSIBLE that the government conspired to conceal information, he should win, but that is irrelevant because this question was phrased in such a way that the Proposition, arguing that 9/11 was a conspiracy, must provide the BoP.

Finally, to address the points about the Pentagon and Khalid Sheik Mohammed:

1) KSM is currently under trial. But he HAS confessed, as I have proven. So, unless you wish to write off his confession, his confession stands

2) The sources I provided clearly stated that attacks pretty much--as my opponent has conceded--came "out of the blue." My opponent thus negates his "Pentagon" point--if they really came "out of the blue", then there would be no way to respond in time. If my opponent wishes to rescind his previous statement, he concedes that point--and must prove that the government had willful knowledge of the incident in advance.

I sincerely hope the audience realizes that in this debate, my opponent is only providing strawmen. His arguments do not--let me repeat, DO NOT--address the resolution by "proving" that 9/11 was a conspiracy.

UNTIL my opponent can PROVE their relevance, these points CANNOT and should not be taken into consideration, and my rebuttals go above-and-beyond the requirements. Now, this doesn't mean that I am trying to strawman my opponent myself by arguing his points--if he drops them, his concession, if not, his ignoratio elenchi, but I am merely attempting to note that my opponent is doing nothing but injecting doubt into the audience--a "smoke-and-mirror" tactic, if you will.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3


Arguing that my statements are mere gossip and speculation is very contradicting, the fact that you relying on purely government statements makes me ask my audience, "Do you believe everything you read?" Also every point you have stated merely says that I am wrong with no actual evidence your arguments are unreliable also completely against your point it states that the CIA did have involvement whether it was indirect or not - The United States wanted to be able to deny that the CIA was funding the Afghan war, so its support was funneled through Pakistan"s Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI)

Read more:

Also your other "sources" are 404'd or part of the news, as you put it mere speculation. Please provide some actual proof as so far all you have done is undermine my arguments with no actual proof other than the US Government says so argument, you've not actually provide some rockj solid evidence


As this is my last round, I will endeavour to show--objectively--the points of clash in this debate, and prove why my opponent, in the end, failed to uphold his burden of proof.

1st point of clash: The events on 9/11 itself--whether or not official facts may have been true.

Now, let me show exactly what my opponent's argument was. My opponent stated throughout the round that certain factors may or may not have been 100% accurate; that the US government in some way misrepresented data. In final response to this, I implore the audience to look at the definition of "conspiracy." It states, quite explicitly, that a conspiracy is "an agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawful or criminal act. . ."

Now, I'm quite sure that a cohesive, persuasive case could be made that this misrepresentation didn't occur, but I deigned not to do so. Instead, my point was that the entire argument was essentially irrelevant. Let me further clarify: In my previous round, this is exactly what I stated-

"Thus, none of my opponent's points are even WARRANTED of refutation until my opponent can LINK them to a purported governmental 'conspiracy.'"

My opponent has not responded to this. And this negates his entire case. In the absence of a coherent, evidenced response that is not making a new point (as that would be abusive), there is no way that my opponent has fulfilled the burden of proof--and thus cannot win. I ask the audience to take note of this.

"If we look at the resolution: "9/11 Was it a conspiracy?" and the contextual definition of conspiracy, we see that my opponent, having assigned himself the BoP by phrasing the resolution in an interrogative way, must prove that the US government willfully concealed the 'truth'--whatever that is."

". . .this question was phrased in such a way that the Proposition, arguing that 9/11 was a conspiracy, must provide the BoP."

Again, my opponent assigned himself the burden of proof. Until my opponent proves this resolution to be true, he loses.

Why did my opponent assign himself the BoP? I have no idea. But still, I made this point in several rounds, and my opponent did not contend this, in effect accepting the burden upon himself.

In the interest of fairness, however, let's take a further look at clash point #1.

My opponent, in his R4 statement, asked the rhetorical question "do you believe everything you read?" Of course not. But I haven't found a compelling reason to distrust the US present in my opponent's arguments. Furthermore, all government resources must go through extensive quality control, meaning that they are, in fact, more trustworthy than my opponent's citations.

Moreover, I entreat the audience to notice the irony present in my opponent's R4 opening paragraph--he's stating that I am "contradicting" and that I have "no actual evidence" (which I'll also address further later), while at the same time not including evidence to back up his assertion that, and I quote,

"The United States wanted to be able to deny that the CIA was funding the Afghan war. . ."

Excuse me, but to call me out on 'lack of evidence' while providing none yourself is very suspicious. I already acknowledged that I made an error in my citations (hence their appending below, at [1]).

My opponent also attacks the credibility of news sources. I must ask, doesn't that invalidate his "" citation? Furthermore, the New York Times, one of the United States' most venerable and long-lived newspapers, is far more credible than my opponent would suggest. This shouldn't even need proof--it's blatantly obvious. Anyone who would suggest otherwise needs to clearly examine their own sourcing (hint hint) and decide whether or not they want to challenge relative credibility. I also would ask the audience to check our sourcing, and decide for themselves--which of us has provided more "rock solid" evidence, as my opponent so kindly put it.

My opponent also seems to have the idea that al Qaeda and the Taliban are one-and-the-same, yet he never stated any evidence to prove this. Very well, I'll disprove it. Al Qaeda is a far more specialized organization that carried out the September 11th attacks [2]. This is, as my opponent can clearly see, from an unbiased, nonpartisan, EUROPEAN radio organization--not "speculation"--sourcing their information from military experts.

Unless my opponent plans to prove, somehow, that al Qaeda was "funded by the CIA"--which it wasn't, according to [2]--then one of my opponent's pivotal arguments is irrelevant on yet another front.

Careful readers would note that that I have disproved the relevancy of my opponent's argument on two fronts--more than enough to guarantee a win on that point.

I'm running a little low on characters, seeing as my opponent's irrelevant points--I could call them "strawmen" or "red herrings" or "smoke & mirrors," but I believe they weren't of malicious intent--have eaten away so much of my room, and I don't feel the need to exploit the character glitch to such a one-sided debate round, so I'll keep all the rest of my responses brief and to-the-point.

In response to all of my opponent's "incongruities" arguments--when he talks about how "something doesn't add up:"
  • My opponent never proved that this actually means the US government was intentionally manipulating the data/reports.
  • The definition of conspiracy that my opponent agreed to, let me remind EVERYONE, is up in my R1 post. PLEASE take a look at it.
  • All of these arguments don't necessarily mean the US government had "a conspiracy."

What would be its motive? My opponent failed to address the resolution's most important point--whether or not 9/11 was "a conspiracy on behalf of the US government." For this reason, if no other, my opponent has utterly FAILED to provide sufficient proof of the resolution, and thus must LOSE.

Now, all of this says why my opponent hasn't fulfilled the bounds set out in our initial statements, so he must lose, but it never said why I win. Well, here goes:

Conduct: My opponent has made several irrelevant points, and while I'm not trying to suggest that they were deliberately fallacies of relevance (ignoratio elenchi), it is important to blatantly call him out on it, lest less-attentive readers be "blinded by the smoke and mirrors" as it were.

S&G: I have made perhaps one spelling/grammar error throughout the entire round (or less, but I'm just being safe) while my opponent's case suffers from incoherence at some points due to his misspellings and poor structure.

Convincing arguments: This point should be obvious. My opponent failed to provide BoP, and thus must lose.\

Sources: I ask all readers to look at my third-round comment about his sourcing. It pretty much sums everything up. My opponent cited Wikipedia, YouTube, conspiracy theories (*theories*), and a conspiracist's blog. I, on the other hand, cited the NYT, the US government (which my opponent has not proved to be untrustworthy), and several other organizations.

In summation: There is really no way that any member of the audience could vote Pro--unless my opponent somehow brings in a master stroke (or new arguments) in R5. I just realized there was another round. (insert "lol" emoticon) Ah well, this should clear up any doubts, and I can just cite this later. My opponent failed to prove the burden of proof. And, seeing as he accepted it, means he loses.

[1]: (404'd because FEMA obviously thought that issue didn't need any further debunking.)

I thank the audience for sticking with us throughout, and I'll expand on this if necessary in my closing statement. But really it should be clear now who won.

Again, thanks to all!
Debate Round No. 4


Smidday forfeited this round.


FF. Should be pretty obvious that I won, then.

Extend arguments, and thanks to my opponent!

And especially you, dear audience!
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by IX 3 years ago
Lol. One of my more hilarious debates.
Posted by IX 3 years ago
I apologize for incorrectly citing my sources. I will do so in the next round, or right here:
(That was [1] of my third round).

Feel free to take this into consid.
Posted by IX 3 years ago
Yes, as it clearly had no bearing in the arguments presented.
Posted by r0bert 3 years ago
Is this inter-debater commentary and sharing of information legal for the purposes of this debate? (That was actually more of a joke, as I have to assume that both debaters are agreed upon in sharing this information. Haha)
Posted by IX 3 years ago
No, I'm new as well... This'll be a first for both of us, it seems!

Yeah, I figured that you could state that a third-party organization did this on behalf of the US Government, and it would be abusive to define it in such a way that would restrict a valid argument.
And no, you got all the rules down pat. Just make sure to say whether a round is "acceptance only" or actually meant for arguments, or an opponent could get a leg up on you by accident.
Posted by Smidday 3 years ago
Ok Agreed and by working addendum would declaring that I'm not stating that it was the United States Government but not excluding but could have been a third party with heavy influence over the Government? I'm pretty new to this site so apologies for missing out or not correctly stating the rules
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited.