Point–by–point response to George Eaton's criticisms of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Part 1
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.