Point–by–point response to George Eaton's criticisms of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Part 3
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.