Friday, April 30, 2010

SEC Found No Sign 9/11 Conspirators Traded on Plot

Nobody at as of me posting this is impressed, however, on March 7th of this year I stated that I thought this issue had been effectively debunked.

[UPDATE October 2014:

Economics Professor Paul Zarembka, has written in the past that the work of Mike Williams at the debunking site had caused him "to reconsider [his] prior conclusion of high probability of insider trading in put options" for American and United airlines stocks. I have previously stated that I believe the insider trading issue had been effectively debunked.

In this recent interview Zarembka cites new evidence that brings him and myself back to his original conclusion.]

SEC Found No Sign 9/11 Conspirators Traded on Plot

Joseph Schuman

(April 30) -- Nearly nine years, two recessions and thousands of conspiracy theories later, the U.S. government has made it official: Initial speculation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that plotters made financial bets against airlines or other companies hurt by the events was unfounded.

The Securities and Exchange Commission began its inquiry into the matter on Sept. 12, 2001, and went on to examine trading in the U.S. and foreign securities markets that took place between Aug. 20 of that year and Sept. 11. While the agency wrapped up its investigation in May 2002, and there were references to the SEC's conclusions in the report by the federal 9/11 Commission, the findings were kept secret.

But the privately operated, nonpartisan National Security Archives fought for six years to make the SEC report public, an effort aided by the Obama administration's push to declassify documents across the spectrum of government affairs. And today, most of the SEC's "Pre-September 11, 2001 Trading Review" was made public.

"We have not developed any evidence that suggests that those who had advance knowledge of the attacks traded on the basis of that information," the SEC said. "In every instance where we noticed unusual trading before the attack, we were able to determine, either through speaking directly with those responsible for the trading, or by reviewing trading records, that the trading was consistent with a legitimate trading strategy."

The SEC said it looked at 9.5 million securities transactions involving 103 companies in six industry groups and trading in seven financial markets.

The inquiry's early focus was on the shares of UAL Corp. and AMR Corp., parent companies of United Airlines and American Airlines, whose planes were guided by terrorists into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, as well as one brought down in a Pennsylvania field after passengers attacked the hijackers aboard.

But the probe quickly widened to financial firms with significant operations in the World Trade Center and insurance companies that faced billions of dollars in losses following the attacks. Securities tied to defense and aerospace companies, security firms and travel and leisure services were examined as well.
Shares in AMR and UAL dropped 40 percent or more after financial markets reopened on Sept. 17, 2001. And the commission's investigators found that short selling -- a means of betting against the companies -- substantially increased for UAL on Sept. 6 and for AMR on Sept. 10 of that year.

Yet interviews with the financial advisers and traders who initiated those transactions found they based their decisions on several bearish factors already affecting the airline industry, including widely distributed recommendations for short selling from a California newsletter called Options Hotline.


911blogger user "simuvac" states, "It should be noted that finance professor Allen Poteshman already published a peer-reviewed academic study that concluded there was insider knowledge of the attacks involved in pre-9/11 put option trading. The final version of that paper appears in the Journal of Business in 2006.

Again, I am of the opinion that the debunkers have made some very valid points regarding this paper. Soon after its release, James B. of the Screw Loose Change blog made a preemptive strike, stating:
It would be inaccurate to term Professor Poteshman a conspiracy theorist though, and it is doubtful that his findings will be used to support conspiracy theories, except in their usual quote mining manner, since the entire foundation of his paper is based off the presumption that the attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda or some similar terrorist group, and the paper does not make the normal broad characterizations typical of conspiracy theorists. In fact in many cases it points out arguments contrary to the main thesis, such as the fact that many of the put options were not the short term high payoff options that you would expect in such a conspiracy.
P.P.S. May 01, 2010

James B. informed his readers that, "Nothing ever gets debunked permanently with these people. Put options and 'eight of the hijackers are still alive' will be prominently featured in David Ray Griffin's 2015 lectures."

The fact that I agreed with him in this post debunks him. :) I also concur that none of the hijackers are alive.

James also states, "There is a conspiracy theory industry. Alex Jones, Grifter and Box Boy Gage are the current beneficiaries, but inevitably somebody else will come along to make a buck off the rubes."

Sorry James, that is debunked myth #26 on conspiracy theories:
Myth #26: Conspiracy theory is an "industry"

Even though a conspiracy theory might eventually become widespread, it is difficult for individual authors to gain recognition or wealth from their books or films because they are ignored by the mainstream publications and are on shoestring budgets. In fact, few rich authors have made their fortunes from conspiracy theories, except for a few writers and directors whose challenges to the establishment are limited and general, or disguised as fiction.

While the leading conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, Dylan Avery and David Icke sell many DVDs, their profits are small and mostly spent on producing their material and to sustain themselves and their employees, often at their personal financial loss. Also, more often than not, the distribution of their material on the internet at no charge far outweighs their sales as a means to make their ideas gain acceptance.

It is also important to point out that this claim neither proves nor disproves any proposed theories.