All entries for Friday 28 September 2007
September 28, 2007
As the overwhelming majority of experts, from the American Society of Civil Engineers to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have painstakingly documented, the collapse was both explainable and predictable. By first rupturing the support columns, the planes created unstoppable pressure from the top of a kind no building can resist. Quite rightly, Morgan gives no ulterior motive for so many reputable experts to abandon the scientific method; he can’t because there wasn’t one.
Understandably, Eaton’s explanation for the total collapse of both twin towers is vague. He asserts that is was “explainable”, even though the official reports don’t explain it, and “predictable”, even though no high-rise building had ever completely collapsed before 9/11, unless professionally demolished. The Twin Towers were designed specifically to withstand the impacts of jetliners. Eaton also necessarily avoids the implosion of Building 7, which was not hit by a plane.
The confidence with which Eaton describes the “unstoppable pressure…of a kind no building can resist” is unjustified. It contradicts the laws of physics that a bulk of material would accelerate into the path of most resistance at close to the speed of gravity, and not topple or grind to a halt. What Eaton may not have known, as he wrote this, is that the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s report on the collapses of WTC1 and WTC2 does not even purport to explain the totality of the collapses. It only attempts to make a case for “collapse initiation”, with the assumption that “global collapse” followed. Nobody is debating the plausibility of “collapse initiation”.
To NIST’s credit, they shifted away from the disproved knee-jerk junk science (albeit widely accepted at the time) of PBS Nova’s 2002 documentary “How the Towers Fell” which popularised the “pancake theory”, and reports such as this from the BBC just two days after the attacks, in which the chosen experts claim “[t]he columns would have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they would have collapsed one on top of each other” (steel begins to melt at 2750°F, while jet fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F) and that “[n]othing is designed or will be designed to withstand that fire” (steel-framed buildings have always withstood fires that were much worse than those suffered by the Twin Towers).
If these endorsed experts abandoned the scientific method, it should be no surprise that government-commissioned studies continue to stand rigidly behind just one hypothesis. As those who have been converted by more thorough analyses have said, it is easy in the circumstances to take the official line for granted:
“The frequently repeated TV images of the aircraft slamming into the World Trade Centre overwhelmed any thoughtful response. Naturally, the collapse of the buildings was attributable to this traumatic event” – David Leifer, BSc, B.Arch, M.Ed, PhD, IEng, ACIBSE, Registered Architect, Incorporated Engineer.
The appeal of the official hypothesis is the perceived logic of the official story’s narrative sequence: “Two planes slam into WTC1 and WTC2, and after 56 and 102 minutes the buildings completely collapse. The implosion of WTC7 at 5.20pm certainly appears anomalous but, considering the context of the morning’s events, it follows that this building should also freefall into its basement due to fires and external damage from debris (that’s if the person has even heard of WTC7)”. The rest of the official analysis is elaboration on this single hypothesis. No matter how many times the official reports admit the failure of this hypothesis to pass the test of repeatability, it has become a sort of religion, fortified by reverse logic. A report on the collapse of WTC7 is still in the works, all provisional explanations having been extremely unconvincing.
Eaton would have done well to read my letter to the Physics and Engineering departments at Warwick University, which I mentioned in my article. This included the story of Kevin Ryan, who worked at Underwriter Laboratories, the company that certified the WTC steel before its construction. Ryan was fired in 2004 for emailing the deputy chief of NIST’s metallurgy division, telling him that the tests UL was commissioned to carry out indicated that “the buildings should have easily withstood the thermal stress caused by pools of burning jet fuel.” NIST’s metallurgical tests at that time suggested that the steel was probably exposed to temperatures of about 250°C. Ryan was dispensed with for pointing out that the new NIST report seemed to ignore these findings, as it asserted that temperatures caused the steel to “soften and buckle”.
In this presentation Ryan dissects the NIST report.
Such critics of the NIST report are eager to have their analyses come under public scrutiny and broader scientific peer review. Meanwhile, supporters of the government’s official 9/11 conspiracy theory are unwilling to take up offers of public debates which would include experts in the appropriate fields. Even on their own, they remain unconvincing. For example, NIST representative, John Gross in this clip denies knowledge of any reports of molten metal under the rubble at Ground Zero (smoking gun evidence of a demolition). He also admits that NIST only explained how the collapse could initiate, saying that because the buildings indeed totally collapsed, the normality of this was assumed. His failure to recognise the blatant abandonment of the scientific method here is surprising, but there it is.
Prominent neoconservatives and Republicans have consistently shown themselves incapable of proceeding even with low-level, personal schemes. From the perjury of Scooter Libby to the disgraced lobbying of Jack Abramoff and the nepotism of Paul Wolfowitz, the banal incompetence of these individuals has been exposed for all to see. A competent administration skilled in such plots would never have allowed itself to be so mercilessly exposed on WMD. Burying weapons in the sands of Baghdad would have been far easier to accomplish than a 9/11 in-job.
This line of argument is hopelessly driven by a priori assumptions. Eaton assumes that the discovery of “low-level, personal schemes” indicates the implausibility of convoluted, compartmentalised, interpersonal schemes. He assumes that “[p]rominent neoconservatives and Republicans” represent the only alternative suspects for involvement in the facilitation or cover-up of the 9/11 atrocities, when a Republican had only won the White House in 2000. He assumes that the familiar US administration can be taken essentially at face value, that there is no room for the role of a shadow government or an interdependent military-industrial complex. He assumes that the discovery of WMD in Iraq was necessary for the beneficiaries of 9/11, that the unpopularity of the Bush administration in the US and the unpopularity of the US in the wider world represents a problem for them.
A true criminal investigation of 9/11 would help elucidate or demolish theories about geopolitical power structures.
Unlike Morgan, I won’t refer to my opponents as arrogant. The arrogant would find far worthier causes with which to ingratiate themselves.
I didn’t refer to my “opponents” as arrogant. I was commenting specifically on the arrogance of journalists who infer that 9/11 victims’ families and survivors are delusional, while they refuse to do any research. Of course I don’t think people who trust the official account of 9/11 are “arrogant”. Eaton seems to be trying to assert a moral high-ground based on this false interpretation, and yet he soon calls proponents of 9/11 Truth “useful idiots”.
As it stands, Morgan and his kind twin an intense solipsism with a pernicious populism.
Given the necessity of a priori assumptions and paradigmatic thinking to active defences of the official 9/11 conspiracy theory, and given the effects of that theory’s popularity, I would stress the irony of this attack on my “kind”. Eaton’s entire response to my article is solipsistic, as it relies on an indulgence in his own estimation of what is possible. It is populist as it exploits the generalisation of a conspiracist “ilk”, and relies on straw-man arguments to bolster people’s distrust of that “ilk”.
Eaton’s use of the word “pernicious” smacks of George Bush’s address to the United Nations in which he stated “let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories about the attacks of September 11th, malicious lies which attempt to shift blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty”. There is nothing pernicious, outrageous or malicious about the 9/11 Truth Movement’s stubborn use of free speech. It would be truly perilous to maintain the official myth that 9/11 was an unexpected, autonomously organised attack. This would permit potential suspects to continue to operate in positions of power.
They distract attention away from real abuses such as corporate greed, climate change apathy and nuclear proliferation.
How is the pursuit of the reality behind 9/11 a distraction from these issues? The cause is totally concerned with corporate greed and the nuclear proliferation problem. I also think the current mobilisation of the climate change issue makes it all the more vital to expose the way terrorism is being used to soften populations to incremental totalitarianism and the strong possibility that this is coming from the top echelons of corporate-political power. With figures like George Monbiot suggesting the onset of war-time government control to offset carbon emissions, we need to be careful not to relinquish individual freedoms such as that of mobility and privacy to a political elite that is not altruistic, but entirely selfish.
The figures of the “Truth Movement” aren’t valiant seekers of justice; they’re the useful idiots of the Bush administration.
The 9/11 Truth Movement is a movement for truth, not of truth. We have many questions, we have many suspicions. We have theories and observations, we also have many facts. We don’t have the truth. Just as with other political movements, some participants are fools, attention seekers, and charlatans. Most others, however, do genuinely seek justice. It’s hard to see how seasoned political figures such as Paul Craig Roberts of the Reagan administration’s Treasury or former CIA analysts like Ray McGovern can be categorised as “useful idiots” of the Bush administration. I think it is more likely that Bush is the most useful idiot in the entire political world order.
As George Monbiot put it, “if there is one universal American characteristic, it is a confessional culture that permits no one with a good story to keep his mouth shut”. It is far more likely that there was no grand plot to tell than it is that this convention was broken.
Monbiot’s observation of a “confessional culture” is true to life precisely because it taps into the nature of familiar public culture, not corporate culture, government culture or criminal culture. If the “convention” of confession is so universal and inexorable, what explains the ability of those 130,000+ people involved in the Manhattan Project (research and development of the atomic bomb) to keep mum for five years? What explains the USA’s participation in both sides of an Indonesian civil war in 1957, which resulted in over 40,000 deaths, being kept secret until a book emerged in 1995? What explains the 30 years it took for news to leak of the U.S. Public Health Service’s denial of treatment to 400 black men with syphilis from 1947-1972, in the name of an experiment, without their informed consent or knowledge of their diagnosis? What explains E. Howard Hunt’s silence for 43 years and others’ continued silence over the John Kennedy assassination plot? There are many more examples of high-level secrets being kept for extended periods of time. If further secrets have been kept, it is by definition that we have not heard of them.
I think Eaton is particularly confused if he thinks that direct participation in high crime, let alone mass murder, falls into the category of a “good story” that could be publicised for profit. Those directly complicit in the crimes of 9/11 would be highly motivated to avoid public disgrace, imprisonment or even the death penalty, as well as motivated by their vested interest in the attacks.
That aside, the very idea of the mainstream media being an impartial arbiter of “good stories”, even if these severely contradict the official conspiracy theory about 9/11, does not reflect reality. It is even undermined by the context of my article. William Rodriguez’s refusal to “keep his mouth shut” certainly follows the “convention” that Monbiot describes, but the incredible lack of mainstream interest in his story indicates that the corporate media follow other conventions. Why is it that their initial interest in Rodriguez when he was being lauded as a national hero melted away as soon as he started campaigning for an investigation of 9/11 and delivering testimony which jarred with the official theory?
Another completely neglected “good story” about 9/11 came out earlier this year. Archive footage found on the Internet shows BBC World announcing that WTC Building 7 had collapsed over twenty minutes before it did. Correspondent, Jane Standley is filmed in front of the New York skyline with Building 7 clearly visible behind her, as she reports it has collapsed. Confronted by a storm of controversy on the web, the head of news at BBC World responded with this flippant dismissal of “conspiracy theories”, without expressing any interest or commitment to root out the source or press release that reported Building 7 had collapsed “because it had been weakened” half an hour before it did. If no major media picked up on this remarkable story, what guarantee does that give potential whistleblowers and witnesses that they will be protected by full media exposure?
Yet witnesses to signs of government facilitation or criminal negligence of the 9/11 plot do exist, and their information is in the public domain (though not in the mainstream public consciousness), thanks to the alternative media, which in tandem with the Internet has grown exponentially this century.
Sibel Edmonds was employed as a translator for the FBI’s Washington field office in late September 2001 and fired in March 2002 after alleging serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, intentional blocking of intelligence, and the bribery of U.S. individuals including high-ranking officials. The State Secret Privilege has been invoked to block court proceedings on her case, and the U.S. Congress has even been gagged to prevent further discussion. Edmonds is the most gagged person in US history.
Edmonds testified to the 9/11 Commission, strictly behind closed doors. She was mentioned once in the report, footnote 25, page 490, in the course of a vague discussion about the importance of having good translators. Immediately after the release of the report in 2004, Edmonds wrote an open letter to the Commission’s chairman, Thomas Kean, chiding the panel for ignoring important issues related to the attacks. In the letter (worth a full read ), she asserted that the FBI had received specific information that
“1) Osama bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four or five major cities; 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes; 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States; 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing 302 forms, and the translator translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the special agent in charge, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to “keep quiet” regarding this issue.”
Another key passage in the letter:
“The public has not been told that certain information, despite its relevance to terrorist activities, is not shared with counterterrorism units. This was true prior to 9/11, and it remains true today. If counterintelligence receives information about terrorism that implicates certain nations, semi-legit organizations or the politically powerful in this country, then that information is not shared with counterterrorism, regardless of the consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents have cited “direct pressure by the State Department.” The Department of Justice Inspector General received detailed evidence regarding this issue. I provided your investigators with an account of this issue, the names of other witnesses willing to corroborate this, and the names of U.S. officials involved in these transactions and activities.”
Of course, no reply was given.
For a wider understanding of Edmonds’ important case, go here.
Other FBI employees have also attempted to blow the whistle on intelligence blockages. Coleen Rowley detailed how, prior to 9/11, bureau higher-ups thwarted attempts to investigate terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, the mental case accused of being the “20th hijacker”, whose trial later provided good publicity for the official story. Special agent, Robert Wright, wrote a 500 page manuscript, “Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission”, in which he detailed how FBI bureaucrats “intentionally and repeatedly thwarted his attempts to launch a more comprehensive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists.” The FBI has illegally refused to release the manuscript.
BBC investigative journalist, Greg Palast, discovered that
“government chiefs stopped key investigations into allegations of the funding of Al Quaida and other terrorist organizations by top Saudi royals and some members of the Bin Laden family, not just Osama. Crucially, one top placed operative told [him] that, even under Bill Clinton, investigations that implicated Saudis were subject to “constraints”. But after the elections, under Bush’s control, the agencies were ordered to “back off” from any inquiries into the Saudi royals of the Bin Laden family, except for the supposed lone black sheep, Osama.”
- The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast, Pluto Press, London, pp.144.
The key secret document uncovered by the BBC was called w199i
One Shreveport dentist, Dr. David Graham, did not manage to get his information into the public domain. Graham’s family say he was poisoned in 2004, forcing him into physical rehab and later leading to his death. According to this local TV news report Graham claimed he met three of the alleged hijackers in Shreveport a year before 9/11, men he feared were plotting to bomb Barksdale Air Force Base. He warned the FBI, but after 9/11 he saw their pictures among the 19 alleged hijackers. In addition to writing a manuscript about this, Graham was supposed to testify at a deportation hearing against a Pakistani man, Jamal Khan, who hosted the men he believed to be the hijackers.
It is interesting that Eaton should invoke the commentary of George Monbiot, a journalist who on September 25th 2001 wrote an article questioning the authenticity of the official reports coming out at that time:
“Like almost everyone on earth, I want to believe that the attack on New York was the work of a single despot and his obedient commando. But the more evidence US intelligence presents to this effect, the less credible the story becomes.”
Monbiot asked how it could be feasible that the passport of an alleged hijacker, Satam Al Suqami, was found, unscathed, a few blocks from the World Trade Center.
“I can’t help suspecting that intelligence agents have assembled the theory first, then sought the facts required to fit it.” This was before reports emerged that several of the alleged hijackers were alive and well and complaining about being on the FBI’s list.
Tellingly, the article only re-emerged on Monbiot’s archives in March 2007, following articles like this which noted its absence after he denounced the 9/11 Truth Movement in The Guardian. Though I sympathise with Monbiot’s critique of the film, “Loose Change”, which I agree is inadequate and inaccurate, I think that his attitude towards “conspiracists” is indefensibly unsophisticated, to the extent that it damages his journalistic integrity.
This is a good case study to consider when questioning how it can be possible that mainstream journalists aren’t going crazy about the fraud of the official 9/11 conspiracy theory. Even former sceptics have found it easier to build and maintain their political ideologies in a world where the official account of 9/11 is broadly accurate. As more time passes, the more difficult it becomes to backtrack. But with any luck, more mainstream journalists will follow the lead of Robert Fisk, who wrote an article in the Independent called “Even I question the “truth” about 9/11”, in which he highlights the troubling nature of many questions that people raise about September 11th, even if some of those people are obnoxious in their approach.
The second difficulty is the lack of academic opinion and evidence in favour of Rodriguez’s hypothesis.
Again, Rodriguez does not present a hypothesis, he presents his eye-witness testimony. It is sloppy to attribute the controlled demolition hypothesis to a caretaker, who has no illusions about his unqualified role, when there is, in fact, an exponential surge of academic opinion supporting and substantiating it. If Eaton had watched a recording of one of William’s Rodriguez’s talks he would have known that he never trumpets the controlled demolition hypothesis. His role is to present his personal experience to the court of public opinion and to question why its anomalism to the official theory hasn’t been looked into.
Morgan claims that the account is supported by hundreds of structural engineers, architects and physicists”, although he provides no names or groups. He only cites the thoroughly discredited Journal of 9/11 Studies, the co-editor of which, Steven Jones, was ostracised by his university for scientific disregard.
Being generous, this is Eaton’s second massive misrepresentation of my article. I cited Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth in my article as well as the Journal of 9/11 Studies. Now, I won’t make Eaton’s mistake and confuse a narrowly focussed article with a thorough essay and complain that he does not elaborate on why or how Jones’ and his peers’ studies have been “thoroughly discredited”, but I will assert that this claim will be difficult for Eaton to flesh out, even if given the time and space. Duly challenged myself, I will provide some names of structural engineers, architects and physicists who denounce the official theory of why WTC 1, 2 and 7 completely collapsed:
182 professional members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth – a steadily growing number since the group was set up earlier this year. The founding groups’ presentations to architecture and engineering firms in the US allegedly convert 90% of audiences to the view that the Twin Towers and World Trade Center Building 7 were brought down by controlled demolition.
Watch a presentation by the organisation’s founder, Richard Gage (also member of the American Institute of Architects) here
A recent, notable addition to this group’s list is Joel S. Hirschhorn, BS Metallurgical Engineering, MS Metallurgical Engineering, PhD Materials Engineering, former Senior Staff Member of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), a nationally recognized engineer who has testified before Congress more than 50 times on technology, science, and environmental issues. He also served as Director of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources for the National Governors Association.
Another is J. Marx Ayres, former member of the California Seismic Safety Commission and former member of the National Institute of Sciences Building Safety Council. Nationally recognized expert in building air conditioning design and analysis, energy conservation, thermal energy storage, commissioning of HVAC systems, and earthquake damage to building mechanical systems, with over 55 years of experience. Co-founder of one of the largest building engineering firms in Los Angeles, in responsible charge of the design of hundreds of major building projects. Served as a member of the Building Code Advisory committees for the City of Los Angeles, the California Building Standards Committee, and the International Conference of Building Officials.
Engineers not included on ae911truth.org’s list:
Gordon Ross, M.E., mechanical engineer and manufacturing engineer. Watch a short presentation here.
William Rice, P.E., civil engineer and professor at Vermont Technical College, who worked on structural steel (and concrete) buildings in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Read his article printed in the Vermont Guardian here.
Tony Szamboti, M.E., mechanical engineer. Read his paper here.
Jack Keller, PhD, PE, Professor Emeritus, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University. Member of the National Academy of Engineering. Awarded State of Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology (1988). Selected by Scientific American magazine as one of the world’s 50 leading contributors to science and technology benefiting society (2004).
Joseph M. Phelps, MS CE, PE (ret) – Structural Dynamicist, Charter Member, Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Life member of the ASCE. Former member of the Marine Technology Society, the American Society for Oceanography, and the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers. Founder of Phelps/ABC, an engineering and industrial marketing firm. Former Commissioner of the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
This “Tages Anzeiger” article (English translation) notes the opinion of these three Swiss experts that WTC Building 7 was most likely professionally demolished:
1. Hugo Bachmann, PhD, Professor Emeritus and former Chairman of the Department of Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
2. Jörg Schneider, Dr hc, Professor Emeritus, Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Former President, Joint Committee on Structural Safety, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Elected member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences. Former Vice President and honorary lifetime member of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.
3. Mario Fontana, Dr Sc CE – Professor of Structural Analysis and Construction, Institute of Structural Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Former Director of the Steel Construction Division, Geilinger AG. Author of more than 40 papers on structural engineering.
With similar focus on Building 7, we have Danny Jowenko, proprietor of “Jowenko Explosieve Demolitie”, a European demolition and construction company founded in 1980, with offices in the Netherlands. Mr. Jowenko was presented with footage of WTC7’s collapse and the blueprints of its construction by makers of a Dutch television program analyzing 9/11 “conspiracy theories”. He assured them that it was professionally demolished: “a team of experts did this”.
Among the physicists who reject the official account of why WTC1, 2 and 7 collapsed are:
Terry Morrone, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Adelphi University. Read his paper here.
David L. Griscom, PhD, research physicist. 33 years at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. Fellow of the American Physical Society. Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona (2004 – 2005). Winner of the 1993 N.F. Mott Award, the 1995 Otto Schott Award, a 1996 Outstanding Graduate School Alumnus Award at Brown University, and the 1997 Sigma Xi Pure Science Award at NRL. 185 published works, highly cited by his peers. Full bio
Member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice
Mike Hawryluk, BA, MAT, Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Division Chairman, Suffolk County Community College, NY.
Member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice
Joanna Rankin, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Vermont. Member of Vermonters for a Real 9/11 Investigation.
Steven Jones, PhD, Former Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University. Principal Investigator for experimental Muon-catalyzed fusion from 1982 to 1991 for the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Advanced Energy Projects. From 1990 to 1993, Jones researched fusion in condensed matter physics and deuterium, for the U.S. Research conducted at major laboratories in USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Japan. Chairperson of several international physics conferences. Author of over 40 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Eaton writes commandingly that Stephen Jones “was ostracised by his university for scientific disregard”. It is true that Brigham Young University put Jones on paid leave, as a reaction to his controversial research, forcing Jones to retire so he could pursue this field of study. However, the move was not accompanied by any formal debunking or scientific critique of Jones’ paper and lectures. Jones had both critics and supporters at the university. Three BYU employees even joined Jones’ Scholars for 9/11 Truth group (now Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice). It is interesting to note that the American Association of University Professors placed BYU on its list of censured schools in 1998, saying that infringements on academic freedom were “distressingly common” and that the climate for academic freedom was “distressingly poor”. The general secretary of the AAUP, Roger Bowen, again used the word “distressing” to describe university’s treatment of Steven Jones.
The aforementioned J. Marx Ayres, like many other experts, has done a U-turn after fully examining Steven Jones’ work on the WTC collapses: “I read the FEMA September, 2002 report, prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and initially accepted their theory of the collapse of WTC 1 and 2. As more information became available on the web, I was motivated to research the subject in a more rigorous manner. I have carefully studied the Jones 2006 paper, “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?” and concluded that it is a rational step-by-step study that meets the accepted standards for scientific building research. His critical reviews of the FEMA, NIST, and 9/11 Commission reports are correct.”
One building collapse expert much closer to the events of 9/11 immediately intuited that explosives were responsible. It recently emerged that, immediately after WTC1 collapsed at 9.59.a.m., Ray Downey, the head of the New York Fire Department’s Special Operations Command, was asked by one of the department’s chaplains, John Delendick, whether the jet fuel from the plane had caused the collapse. “[A]t that point he thought there were bombs up there because it was too even.” 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer referred to Downey as a “very, very respected expert on building collapse.” Robert Ingram, a battalion chief in the New York Fire Department, has called him “the premiere collapse expert in the country.”
On the 20th June this year, I organised the visit of William Rodriguez, a World Trade Center survivor and decorated hero of 9/11, to Warwick University. I wrote this article for the 26th June edition of the Warwick Boar, outlining the content of Rodriguez’s talk and covering the subject of the wider “9/11 Truth Movement”. The Boar’s Opinion editor, George Eaton, wrote a same-page riposte to my article. This provided a completely negative assessment of the 9/11 Truth Movement. I’m not sure how common it is for features in the Warwick Boar to include such editorial disclaimers, but I was happy about the proposal of a counter-argument being printed alongside.
The main reason I originally became involved in the 9/11 Truth Movement is not because I was confident in a single, detailed conspiracy theory. It is because I was surprised at the incapability of the official conspiracy theory (yes, it is a conspiracy theory – 19 men conspired to hijack planes under the sole command of Osama bin Laden) to defend itself. Attempts to discredit the case for opening a new criminal investigation of 9/11 have been incredibly weak. Eaton’s attempt is one of the worst I have encountered but, to be fair, it borrows heavily and uncritically from existing attempts.
This is a shame. George Eaton writes skillfully and often convincingly on many topics. I often read his blog. We share a belief in republicanism, among other things. I now invite him to read my response to his points and reconsider his position that 9/11 does not deserve a new criminal investigation.
The following is a point by point dissection of Eaton’s claims and is, perhaps, overly long, but I think clarity demands thoroughness in this case. Eaton’s words are in bold font, mine are regular.
To give the “9/11 Truth Movement” its due, they have succeeded in cultivating a large support base. 36 percent of American citizens now believe that it is “likely” or “very likely” that the US government staged the attack themselves. Jack Morgan puts his case rather more modestly, citing only polls of that notoriously reliable source – the bereaved. We cannot ignore, he writes, “over half of victims’ families”, who share this conviction.
Eaton scorns my recognition of victims’ families who find it likely that “the US government staged the attack” (I actually specified “elements” of governments and intelligence agencies, a broad-spectrum “inside job”, but I recognise Eaton is referring to the wording of a particular poll). He thinks I am using the victims’ families as a “source” of information to promote a single theory, while I am actually illustrating the need for a new, broad criminal investigation. The families’ overwhelming dissatisfaction with the 9/11 Commission is justified, their suspicions are the result of a very real betrayal. The most pertinent of their questions were ignored and their wishes with regard to the Commission’s membership and conduct were undermined again and again.
Though of course I understand the difference between a “reliable source” and the opinions of betrayed families, I should point out a crossover. I commend to Eaton’s attention the rational inquisitiveness of the “Jersey Girls”, four New Yorkers widowed by the 9/11 attacks. The film, “Press for Truth” features the Jersey Girls as well as Paul Thompson, who compiled the “Complete 9/11 Timeline”, an extensive news-media anthology that chronicles many of the official story’s inconsistencies and falsifications.
Morgan and his ilk normally mock the US population for their credulity, but in this case they apparently see it as standing in their favour.
Since I did not “mock the US population” in my article, it is unfair of Eaton to make me guilty by association with an “ilk” (he assumes that a loosely associated body of people campaigning for an investigation of 9/11 represents a single consciousness). I certainly do not “mock the US population for their credulity”. I did not question the official narrative of 9/11 for about 5 years, whereas a significant number of Americans began the 9/11 Truth Movement. In any case, those who accept the official narrative are not gullible and not to be mocked. Many have not seen any conflicting evidence, primarily due to an oligopolised mainstream media, the most prominent branches of which propel a feeling of political incorrectness in questioning the original account of such a diabolical tragedy.
If you’ll pardon the expression, Morgan seems to stand on the more moderate wing of the movement. He does not apparently support David Shayler’s assertion that the planes of 9/11 were actually missiles camouflaged by holograms, although this claim was favourably received in the documentary Terrorstorm, which Morgan describes as a “competent historical overview of government-sponsored terrorism”.
This is a terrible factual error. Either Eaton hasn’t watched Terrorstorm or he is deliberately lying in order to score easy points off me. Though I think the latter is unlikely, the former is also dishonest and idle. The “no planes” idea (which seems to spring largely from an amateurish obsession over highly compressed video footage of the south tower impact) is not even mentioned in the film, let alone “favourably received”. The creator of Terrorstorm, Alex Jones, vocally rejects and condemns the “no planes” idea. His interview with Shayler, which touches on the failed MI6 plot to murder Colonel Gadaffi using Islamic extremist groups now widely known as “Al Qaeda”, preceded the outlandish “hologram” comments that Shayler made to the New Statesman in late 2006. It might be instructive to note the context of Shayler’s increasingly corroded mental state – the bizarre “hologram” statement has since been superseded by claims of being a “Messiah”
The contention that no planes hit the World Trade Center is, of course, a universally, overwhelmingly fringe position and it is a strawman often used by defenders of the government’s official conspiracy theory. I can’t blame Eaton for picking up on it, as it is indeed an embarrassing association for official-story-skeptics to bear, but he should be far more embarrassed that he has used a false claim to pin this strawman to my article. I cannot guarantee the acumen of every single person involved in the 9/11 Truth Movement’s unmartialled throng any more than Eaton can guarantee the same of all those who accept the status quo.
Instead, he favours the “controlled demolition hypothesis”, as elaborated by Mr. Rodriguez.
William Rodriguez does not “elaborate” a hypothesis, he provides testimony to be considered in a new criminal investigation, which would indeed fairly test the controlled demolition hypothesis. His experience of an explosion coming from the sub-basement levels of the North Tower, seconds before the first plane hit, is corroborated not only by over 30 other eyewitnesses but also by seismic data and a tape recording of a meeting at 1 Liberty Plaza. In my article I mentioned Gordon Ross and Craig Furlong’s paper concerning this.
Furthermore, Mr. Rodriguez’s experience of explosions before, on the onset of and during the collapses is corroborated by scores of other witnesses. Here is a ten minute montage of news footage demonstrating this.
Similar experiences have also been documented in print, especially thoroughly when, in August of 2005, the New York Times published the single largest and most authoritative body of eyewitness evidence yet assembled, after winning a FOIA lawsuit filed by the newspaper and several families of 9/11 victims against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, who refused in 2002 to release the records. These included oral histories, in interview form, provided by 503 firefighters and medical workers. Here are dozens of relevant eyewitness accounts from that body of documentation:
Here is a sample of accounts from other publications:
And some others:
Firefighter Louie Cacchioli, after entering the north tower lobby and seeing elevator doors completely blown out and people being hit with debris, asked himself, “how could this be happening so quickly if a plane hit way above?” After he reached the 24th floor, he and another fireman “heard this huge explosion that sounded like a bomb [and] knocked off the lights and stalled the elevator.” After they pried themselves out of the elevator, “another huge explosion like the first one hits. This one hits about two minutes later . . . [and] I’m thinking, ‘Oh. My God, these bastards put bombs in here like they did in 1993!’”
- Dean E. Murphy, September 11: An Oral History (New York: Doubleday, 2002), 9-15.
Wall Street Journal reporter John Bussey, describing his observation of the collapse of the south tower from the ninth floor of the WSJ office building, said: “I . . . looked up out of the office window to see what seemed like perfectly synchronized explosions coming from each floor. . . . One after the other, from top to bottom, with a fraction of a second between, the floors blew to pieces.”
- John Bussey, “Eye of the Storm: One Journey Through Desperation and Chaos,” Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2001
Beth Fertig of WNYC Radio said: “It just descended like a timed explosion—like when they are deliberately bringing a building down. . . . It was coming down so perfectly that in one part of my brain I was thinking, ‘They got everyone out, and they’re bringing the building down because they have to.’”
_For the video of this conversation, see “Evidence of Demolition Charges in WTC 2”
North Tower employee Teresa Veliz said that, while she was making her way downstairs,
“[t]here were explosions going off everywhere. I was convinced that there were bombs planted all over the place and someone was sitting at a control panel pushing detonator buttons…There was another explosion. And another. I didn’t know where to run.”
- BBC, Sept. 11, 2001.-
Sue Keane, a police officer who was in the North Tower, said that an explosion “sent me and…two firefighters down the stairs…I can’t tell you how many times I got banged around. Each one of those explosions picked me up and threw me…There was another explosion, and I got thrown with two firefighters out onto the street.”
-_ Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion (Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002), 65-66, 68._
Sal D’Agostino and Bill Butler, two fighters who were on the tenth floor said that “there were these huge explosions – I mean huge, gigantic explosions” (D’Agostino) and that “It was like a train going two inches away from your head: bang-bang, bang-bang, bang-bang” (Butler)
- Gerald M. Carbone, “The Miracle of Ladder 6 and Josephine,” Providence Journal, Sept. 11 2002
This is not elaboration on a hypothesis; this is the stuff that comes before hypotheses – data, in this case testimonial. That concept itself proved to be foreign to FEMA and NIST, whose reports elaborate on the obvious hypothesis dictated by the official story: external damage and fires caused “global collapse”. I will deal with these official reports later, in response to Eaton’s invocation of their “painstaking” research.
The first fallacy of this argument is the extent to which it relies on the US government co-opting thousands of individuals, from demolition experts to the US aviation authorities and the World Trade Centre security firms, into a plot in which they would have no direct interest. If Morgan had ventured to take on this point, no doubt he would have argued that they were paid-off by the stinking-rich “corporatist criminal networks” he speaks of. Although if profit were the motive, one imagines that at least one individual would have blabbed to the omnipresent US media before the explosion.
“If Morgan had”… “no doubt he would have argued”. What stimulates Eaton’s assumptions over my wider concerns is his first assumption that an inside job would be reliant on the conscious involvement of “thousands”. This is based on a simplistic concept of conspiracy. The idea that entire memberships of aviation authorities and WTC security firms were aware of, let alone involved in a plot is indeed ludicrous. That is like a bank robbery, coordinated by a group of insiders, being overseen by the entire institution.
The reality of compartmentalisation in government, industry and intelligence may have permitted, as it has in the past, the facilitation of a covert operation. President Eisenhower’s warning in 1961 that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” and that “[t]he potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist” continues to be prescient, following the case study of that decade alone – the Operation Northwoods false-flag terror proposal (declassified in 2000 – worth a full read) was offered by the Pentagon to President John Kennedy in 1962 (and rejected), Kennedy himself was assassinated in a clandestine coup in 1963 (E. Howard Hunt just last year admitted on his deathbed that he had a role in this – so much for the “omnipresent US media” going crazy about that story…), the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which provoked air strikes on Vietnam in 1964, was fabricated under Lyndon Johnson’s administration, and the USS Liberty false-flag operation, which provided the original pretext for major US interference in the Middle East, was executed in 1967 by Israel in tandem with the Johnson administration in order to speciously incriminate Egypt during the Six Day War.
Granted, Eaton’s riposte must have been written in a hurry since there was little time between The Boar receiving my article and publishing it, but some research might have revealed the following information, which I’ve split into two categories, the first dealing with the USA’s air defence apparatus, the second with WTC security.
1. There were at least six military exercises known to have been conducted on 9/11 , four of them specifically occupying the attention of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD): “Vigilant Guardian”, “Vigilant Warrior”, “Northern Vigilance” and “Northern Guardian”. These included fake radar blips, military aircrafts pretending to be hijacked, and the transfer of many NORAD fighters to northern Canada and Alaska. The other two known exercises were a National Reconnaissance Office Drill, which simulated an airplane crashing into the office’s headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, near Dulles Airport, and “Tripod II”, a biowarfare exercise. Very little information about these war-games is publicly available. The list is simply compiled from various one-off news reports. Indeed there may well have been a greater number of drills than those mentioned. A new investigation would help to determine exactly what the war-games entailed, who prepared them, and what impact they had on the military response to the 9/11 attacks.
The simultaneous occurrence of a military role-play and a real-life scenario would be a classic example of a branch of government being deliberately misled into failing to act, through a compartmentalised “need to know” set-up. The hesitance and confusion of the air-defence apparatus is captured in this recording of a flight controller responding to news of a hijacked plane heading towards New York, “is this real world or exercise?”, as well as a few documented comments from other involved parties.
The only politician to have formally addressed the troubling issue of simultaneous war-games on 9/11 is former Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney. In the following video she confronts Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers at a House Hearing on March 11th, 2005. McKinney’s question about NORAD war-games follows two other questions – the first concerns the US government giving contracts to corporations that run child-kidnapping rings, the second concerns the disappearance of $2.3 TRILLION from the Pentagon, the news of which was buried after Donald Rumsfeld announced it on September 10th 2001.
Watch Myers insist that the exercises “enhanced” NORAD’s response, while supplying no details (and later failing to submit a written response). Andrews Air Force Base is eleven miles from the Pentagon.
The mere fact that the NORAD drills simulated hijacked planes crashing into buildings, warrants serious interrogation of Whitehouse officials. George Bush and Condoleeza Rice, among others, have plainly stated that nobody in their government or any prior government “could envision” the use of planes as missiles. Common sense should immediately flag up such statements as unequivocal lies, but studying the basic evidence makes them even more outrageous. Drills “eerily like Sept. 11” were conducted in the two years before 9/11, according to USA Today.
“One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets performed a mock shootdown over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon—but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic, NORAD and Defense officials say.”
2. Regarding the co-opting of WTC security firms and demolition experts, it indeed initially seems inconceivable that a team of people were willing and able to rig the towers for demolition. But again, a compartmentalised security structure corrupted at the top levels may have allowed a faction of financially/ideologically persuaded psychopaths to do so.
In a criminal investigation dovetailing a fully scientific investigation of the WTC1, 2 and 7 collapses, it would be advisable to probe the New York Port Authority as well as Stratesec, a company headed by Wirt D. Walker III (a cousin of the President) which provided security services to the World Trade Center (as well as United Airlines and Washington Dulles Airport). From 1996 to 2000, Stratesec installed a new security system, during which time Marvin Bush, the President’s brother, was one of the company’s directors.
It would also be necessary to probe Larry Silverstein and his Silverstein Properties real estate organisation, which, in partnership with Westfield America, acquired a 99 year lease for WTC One, Two, Four and Five World Trade Center, and about 425,000 square feet of retail space, seven weeks before 9/11. The price was $3.2 billion. Silverstein, who had already leased and developed WTC Building 7 in 1980, put up $14 million of his own money for the lease.
Silverstein was awarded nearly $5 billion in insurance payouts for the destruction of the World Trade Center, having fallen short of acquiring the $7.2 billion he was pursuing. He had insisted that the two plane crashes represented two separate “occurrences”, as worded in the insurance plan, and therefore constituted grounds for claiming double the insurance payouts already offered. He now has the legal right to oversee the urban renewal now taking place with the rebuilding of the complex, including the “Freedom Tower”.
Silverstein’s leasing of the World Trade Center complex was the first time in its 31 year history that it had changed management. He escaped death on September 11th 2001 because he had a doctor’s appointment
Scott Forbes, who worked as an IT specialist for the Fiduciary Trust in the South Tower, has described a power-down in the South Tower from floor 50 upwards between the 8th and the 9th September 2001, during which all surveillance cameras were disabled, there were no locks on the doors, and “re-cabling” took place. He tried contacting the 9/11 Commission to supply information about this but they were not interested. The Port Authority, who notified businesses and tenants that this unprecedented power-down would take place, have failed to respond to Mr. Forbes’ requests for information regarding the unspecified “re-cabling” operations, for example who the contractors were. Listen to a recent interview here
Ben Fountain, who worked as a financial analyst with Fireman’s Fund in the South Tower, was quoted in People Magazine as saying that during the weeks before 9/11, the towers were “evacuated a number of times, which is unusual. I think they had an inkling something was going on.” In addition, Daria Coard, a guard at the North Tower, told Newsday that on September 6th, an ongoing “heightened security alert… because of numerous phone threats” was lifted and “bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed”. More details on this security alert and whether it was linked to the evacuations described by Mr. Fountain should be brought to light.
I mention these few occurrences simply to demonstrate the existence of testimony which highlights potential holes in security, even before a formal investigation has set out to find such holes. Though, of course, thousands of WTC tenants and workers died on September 11th, an investigatory campaign should be introduced to encourage others to corroborate, expand on or contradict existing testimony which potentially elucidates the method through which explosives were installed in the Twin Towers. This would add heat to the investigation of relevant institutions like the Port Authority, Stratesec, and Silverstein Properties)
Of course, speculation at this stage in the unfortunately informal public discourse should be secondary to testing the fire + damage theory and studying the physical evidence of controlled demolition. The adverse reality is that the idea of such horribly proficient, technical criminality is so alien to so many people (including myself) that any discussion of physical evidence is impatiently substituted for speculation over the impossibility of a demolition scenario. This is paradigmatic rather than scientific thinking, but such is its influence that it has tended to dominate the arguments of official conspiracy theorists, even those of scientists.