Conspiracy Theory #3

OK, everybody else has floated their crazy 9/11 conspiracy theories, including alleged US President Bush, so here’s mine. This is #3 because the first thing I thought when I heard planes had crashed into the World Trade Center was that the planes must have been running Windows, giving new meaning to “Blue Screen of Death.” My second thought I may go into later, but it involved Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune,” the movie “Three Days of the Condor,” and the CIA funding of Osama bin Laden. But that wasn’t crazy enough, so I kept thinking, and this is what I came up with.

Cat Stevens (aka Yusef Islam) did it. Think about it, he’s got money, connections, he converted to Islam (no harm in that, but he also endorsed the death sentence of Salman Rushdie). But wait, there’s more. The whole episode was based on his songs, especially the album “Catch Bull at Four.”

How’s that for a crazy theory? But unlike some soapbox pundits, I can back up my lunacy.

The album Catch Bull at Four opens with the song, The Boy With the Moon and Star on His Head, about a boy who grows up to be a teacher or prophet. Of course the moon and star are symbols of Islam. Again, no harm there, but we’re only warming up.

Actually, that’s not the first song, it’s the second. The first song, Sitting is about following a dream to the bitter end. I don’t know about you, but this reads to me like the words of a suicide bomber:

Oh I’m on my way, I know I am, somewhere not so far from here
All I know is all I feel right now, I feel the power growing in my hair

Bleeding half my soul in bad company, I thank the moon I had the strength to stop

‘Cause when I’m dead and lowered low in my grave, that’s gonna
be the only thing that’s left of me

I’ll skip the next couple of songs because they don’t really fit in with my theory. This is a common strategy with conspiracy theories, but most people aren’t honest enough to tell you what they’re leaving out. Try asking Colin Powell what he’s leaving out sometime. I bet he won’t tell you.

But now we’re getting to the good stuff. The song, 18th Avenue starts to outline the plan. For one thing, there’s an 18th Avenue in New York City–the fact that the song is subtitled “Kansas City Nightmare” is obviously a subterfuge to throw us off the trail:

Oh the path was dark and borderless
Down the road to the eighteenth avenue
And it stung my tongue to repeat the words
That I used to use only yesterday

Oh my hands were tied as I struggled inside
The empty waste of another day

But my head felt better as I turned the car
And the airport slowly came to view

Now the terrorists have reached the airport and are on the plane. The next song Freezing Steel continues the scenario on the plane:

I’ve flown the house of freezing, the house of freezing steel
And though my body’s back I know it can’t be real
‘Cause I’ve been on that house without a guiding wheel

This madness is fine, yes if you’re mad at the time

Oh Lord above, brother won’t you tell me
Is this a eucharistic dove
‘Cause I’ve been waiting for the right one to appear

I made my mind up then to get me to the wheel
I made the cabin door, the pilot turned around

I must have looked pitiful to this freak without a face

I was going to skip the next song, O Caritas because it is in Latin and I’ve never known what it says. However, while researching this article, I found this translation on Cat Steven’s helpful site:

I don’t want to lose the harmony of the universe
I see all things… burning, I hear men… shouting.
Now is the light of the world and the stars going out
Now does the blame for the disaster fall upon men.
Grief is heavy with sadness and tears
Great is the noise from the earth and the seas
O love, O love be with us always.
We who will perish salute death. Life alone goes on.

Yikes! I’m scaring myself. This is supposed to be a humorous look at how anything can be taken out of context, because so very much is being taken out of context right now. As evidence that a convincing argument can be made for just about anything, I’m finding it hard not to be convinced by my own reasoning here, and I know I’m making it up.

OK, back to the conspiracy theory du jour™. The next song, Sweet Scarlet has obvious connotations of blood (scarlet) and perhaps the promised virgins, but otherwise doesn’t really support my theory, so I’m skipping it.

But now we get to the culmination. We’ve seen the scenario unfold. The suicide plan in “Sitting,” the trip to the airport in “18th Avenue,” the assault on the cockpit in “Freezing Steel.” Now the planes have crashed and the towers have fallen into Ruins:

It’s so quiet in the ruins walking though the old town
Stones crumbling under my feet I see smoke for miles around
Oh it’s enough to make you weep, all that remains of the main street

Came down one day when no-one was looking and it
Stole away the land, people running scared, losing hands
Dodging shadows of falling sand, buildings standing like empty shells

You came back here to find your home is a black horizon
That you don’t recognize, evil destruction has taken everything

Oh Lord and you’d better watch your eyes
‘Cause if smoke gets in them, baby you won’t rise again.

That sums up the main album, but you can find more evidence if you look, for instance on the album “Teaser and the Firecat there’s a song called Tuesday’s Dead, and on “Tea for the Tillerman” is the song, Where do the Children Play?, which ties jumbo jets with skyscrapers back in 1970:

Well I think it’s fine, building jumbo planes.

When you crack the sky, scrapers fill the air.
Will you keep on building higher
’til there’s no more room up there?

Obviously Cat Stevens planned and financed the WTC and Pentagon attacks, just like the Beatles instructed Charles Manson to murder with the song “Helter Skelter.” I’m also gathering evidence that The Who were behind the Sarin Gas attack in the Japanese subway…

I’m not trying to belittle the pain and suffering of the people who were affected by the September 11th attack. But I am very critical of the thinking that’s gone on since then. A lot of people are using this event to further their own agendas. Please, for the sake of freedom, of peace, and of the future, read everything with a critical eye. Much of what passes for news these days is every bit as flawed in its thinking as the above screed, especially the “links” to Islam, which attempt to play on American naiveté and racism.

I’m also not offering any solutions here (obviously). If you want a more reasoned and serious look, check out George Lakoff’s article, Metaphors of Terror: The Power of Images (thanks to “Doc Searls” for the link):

Eliminate the conditions of despair and you eliminate much of the breeding ground for terrorists.

Alternatively, if you want more of this, you can turn to The World Will End Tomorrow at The Register (courtesy of “Dave Winer”), or the recent issue of The Onion.

Note for the humor impaired and Cat lovers: This is a parody. I am not really saying Cat Stevens planned the attack on September 11th. I’m a big fan of his songs, although disappointed by his feelings on the Rushdie matter.

[Originally posted on October 13, 2001 on my long-defunct Manilasites blog, long before Cat Stevens was actually arrested. I felt kind of bad about that, when it happened. How was I to know Homeland Security read my blog?]