"Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity." — Marshall McLuhan


The Shapes Fit

Our understanding of current events often rests on a variety of unexamined assumptions. This article offers an analogy from the history of science to examine how accepting or rejecting the “official story” of current events is not simply a matter of accepting or rejecting particular pieces of physical evidence. The events of September 11th 2001 are mentioned, but this is not an article about 9/11. Nor is it an article that aims to put forward evidence for a particular view except in the form of examples. The aim is more general. The mismatch between assumptions about the world and what is actually happening goes deeper and is based on the difficulty that people have in believing that their rulers are actually malevolent. This failure of understanding is odd: people are somehow capable of believing each single unpalatable fact that is presented to them, but at the same time manage to maintain the belief that the system as a whole is benign.

The theory of continental drift was proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. (In fact it had been suggested much earlier, by Francis Bacon, among others.)

According to the theory of continental drift, continents which are now separated by thousands of miles were once attached to each other. In particular, Wegener had noticed (as does anyone who looks at a world map) the way in which the coastline of the north-eastern part of South America and that of West Africa fit together in shape. The fit is not just one of shape: a study of the types of rocks and fossils in those rocks found on each side show a close correspondence.

The story of continental drift (or plate tectonics as it is known, now that it is a respectable part of science) is often given as an example of how an idea which in a sense is “obviously true” can be resisted for a very long time because an explanatory framework for it is lacking. Thomas Kuhn's book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” describes major changes in science as jumps in which one particular “paradigm” is succeeded by another: the example of continental drift is regularly offered as a fairly spectacular example of this process.

It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that plate tectonics became a generally accepted part of geology. The reason for the delay was that although the evidence for the theory (the facts about the shapes of the coastlines and the geology on the two sides of the Atlantic) was clear and unassailable, there was not an understood or generally agreed mechanism for something as extraordinary as continents sliding about the surface of the earth (even at speeds measured in millimetres per year).

Once a mechanism was proposed (and evidence for the existence of that mechanism was put forward) the situation changed, and plate tectonics became geological orthodoxy. The mechanism which was discovered was the fact that convection currents of the material just below the surface of the earth (on which the continents float) were responsible for the movement over millions of years.

Trying to understand and interpret the current world situation, we see a rather similar position to the geologists in the first half of the last century.

There are countless web sites out there discussing and bringing forward forensic, documentary and physical facts about the details of some of the most important events of the last few years (including, but not limited to the events of September 11th 2001). Much of the fine detail of these events is hotly disputed among researchers (just as no doubt people argued passionately about whether a particular stratum in Brazil really corresponded to a particular feature in Nigeria). There are also plenty of people deliberately trying to muddy the waters of discussion by introducing dubious information or absurd explanations for known facts. Interestingly, this is equally so in the case of today's geology: there are those people known as “young-earth” theorists who, in the interests of an entirely non-scientific agenda attempt to interpret details in the geological record in ad-hoc ways.

Clearly there is a need for continual discussion and documentation of the forensic and physical details of the most important events relating to the nightmare that the world is currently living through, and projects like Cooperative Research are essential in this respect. Had no knowledge been available of the correspondence between the geological strata on the two sides of the Atlantic, no one would have been convinced of the theory of continental drift. Reliable and well-sourced detailed information about the these events is absolutely essential. At the same time, a wider perspective can fade into the background. In the case of 9/11, a great deal of discussion of minute detail goes on: in many cases that detail is disputed between people who are (or should be) on the same side of the argument, and the big picture is lost.

The Big Picture

Both in our geological analogy, and in the case of current events, there is a big picture to look at.

In our geological analogy, that big picture is the combination of two things: the shapes fit, and there is a known mechanism: convection under the earth's surface. For the geological layman wanting to understand plate tectonics, these are the things to keep in mind, not the fine details of what fossils are to be found in Brazil and Cameroon. The continents did split apart and drift apart: I can have a perfectly valid and well-founded belief that this is the case despite the fact that I don't know anything about the details of the order of the strata along the Brazilian coast.

In the case of current events, the shapes fit too. What do I mean by that?

Well, (and this is just as an example), the shape of the notorious PNAC document (“Rebuilding America's Defenses”) exactly fits the shape of events from 9/11 to the present just like the coastline of South America fits the coastline of Africa. That document recommended and predicted fairly accurately the events we are now seeing unfold. It also included the words:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor.

The problem for many people is that although they can see that the shapes fit, they can't take the further step to an understanding of the nightmare that we are in.

For example, the US Administration gained by 9/11, hoped for such an event (as evidenced by the quote from the PNAC document above) and had plans for the world (summarised in that document) which are now being carried out having been greatly facilitated by the fact of 9/11. The shapes fit.

For example, the US created the group now known as Al Qaeda, and used it for its own purposes in Afghanistan and in Europe. The shapes fit.

For example, the US supported the Taliban regime which came to power in Afghanistan in 1996, and which suffered the first attacks after the events of 9/11. In the summer of 2001, before the attacks on New York and Washington, in negotiations over a trans-Afghan oil pipeline, US officials threatened the Afghan delegation in the now notorious words: “either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs”. The shapes fit.

For example, the anthrax which was sent through the post in September 2001 came from a domestic military source and was sent (among others) to individuals who were inclined to oppose the Patriot Act. The shapes fit.

We could go on: stratum by stratum, showing the correspondences of the rocks on each side of the ocean. And these are very general points: so far we have not even touched the huge mass of detailed forensic information.

But although the shapes so obviously fit and the details correspond, the difficulty is with what, in our geological analogy we called the mechanism.

The difficulty with the mechanism is partly related to a failure to grasp two important facts.

  1. The rulers of the world who sit in Washington have a vested interest in war, weapons and the destruction of the world's resources. They are ruthless in the pursuit of their ends.
  2. The economic system of the world depends almost entirely on the accelerated use of a resource which is about to start becoming scarcer.

Once you understand those two truths, not only do the shapes fit, but the bigger picture begins to make sense.

A very common response to any discussion of these matters is to accept all the individual pieces of factual evidence but to say: “but they wouldn't do that...” (for example: they wouldn't be complicit in the bombing of their own citizens). That's a failure to understand the first fact. So is “but the Government really thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction”.

Another type of response is: “But why on earth do you think the US Government would even want to promote false-flag terrorism and start wars in the Middle East?” That's a failure to understand the second fact.

The psychological resistance to a full acceptance of the malevolence of the rulers of the world is a very strong one. People manage to live with a cognitive dissonance in which all the facts that they know that indicate to the contrary somehow co-exist with a belief that the rulers of the world are somehow essentially well-intentioned. This is not unlike refusing to believe that the world is round, or that the continents could move.


A likely objection at this point is “all you're saying is that we should adopt a `conspiracist' worldview”.

That objection would have force if this were simply a suggestion that we should look at a certain set of facts in a different way. What is being suggested here is not that we should be looking at the same facts through `conspiracist' spectacles. Rather: the facts that we see don't really make sense when seen in the light of the prevailing explanations: only if you adopt a different explanatory framework do the facts that we see make any sense at all. In other words a new theory is needed to explain the known facts.

Of course the word “conspiracy” is a loaded term: the words “conspiracy theory” are often used as a derogatory term, attempting to end an argument without discussion.

But in fact of course, as has often been pointed out, almost any explanation of complex events (for instance of 9/11) is almost by definition a conspiracy theory: it's usually just a question of which conspiracy you prefer.


We are living through a nightmare. Facing the truth and understanding that nightmare is essential. Unfortunately I find it hard to be optimistic enough to go on to say that this understanding can help in any sense to stop the war against humanity that is being waged by the rulers of the world in Washington and their allies. But I will try to hope.

We are living through a nightmare.


Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (first published 1962)
University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0-226-45808-3

Amazon link

Wikipedia: Thomas Kuhn

Further, the process of transformation, even if it bring s revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor.

Rebuilding America's Defenses, PNAC, September 2000, page 51

either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs

Quoted in Michael Meacher's article "This War on Terrorism is Bogus"

Cooperative Research

For example, the anthrax which was sent through the post in September 2001 came from a domestic military source and was sent (among others) to individuals who were inclined to oppose the Patriot Act

Cooperative Research

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Roger Whittaker