By Daniel Margrain
The intention of successive US governments since the mid-1990s has been to shape the world for the next hundred years according to the interests and values of American free-market capitalism. This agenda was codified in the Project for the New American Century many years before obscurantist Islamist terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers in New York – an event that many conspiracy theorists claim was an ‘inside job’.
The contention the American’s did not plan and execute 9/11 is of course different to suggesting that they didn’t exploit the event, politically, for their own nefarious ends. The tendency among the truth movement is to seize upon, and brandish, anomalies and coincidences as if they were facts and then present them as being indicative of the majority of expert opinion.
The notion that a huge volume of evidence trump relatively small anomalous evidenced-based details, and that planes laden with jet fuel smashing into the World Trade Center in New York is the most probable explanation for the buildings subsequent collapse, are scornfully dismissed.
The Bush government’s secrecy, belligerence and dishonesty, in addition to the numerous proven conspiracies from previous historical events are also invoked as evidence of the veracity that one of the most inept governments in US history who were incapable of faking WMD, masterminded the attack while wiring every floor of the Twin Towers so that they would detonate in a perfectly timed sequence. If you reject one particular theory, there are plenty of others, many of which emanate from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth – the bible for the truth movement.
According to The United States Census Bureau there are 233,000 architects and 2,495,000 engineers in the United States. Only 1,761 out of 2,728,000 joined Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth. That’s 0.065 per cent of the total. And I haven’t even looked at whether the architects and engineers listed were in fields in any way relevant to the Twin Towers.
Although the tiny minority of ‘experts’ and others who support the perspective of the truth movement might know nothing about physics, structural engineering, ballistics or explosives, they still feel able to assert that the vast majority of experts in these fields are wrong and that they are the only ones qualified to assess probability, with the elevation of remote possibility to cast iron certainty. Taking into consideration the balance of probability, the notion that the neocons planned and executed 9/11 is remote.
Given that over 99 per cent of the experts in the field have not endorsed the position of 9-11 truth, its reasonable to assume that the former, with justification, do not want to be seen as endorsing the latter for fear of undermining their own credibility.
In 2006, Noam Chomsky gave some helpful advice to people who believe they have physical evidence refuting the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in this particular field of study (ie scientific consensus):
“There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists . . . who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis. . . . Or, . . . submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single submission.”
Philip Roddis points to some of the epistemological aspects of 9-11 conspiracy theories:
- Evidential cherry-picking and egregious ‘quote mining’, hallmarks of evidence seized on or rejected according to how well it supports a priori conclusions.
- Disproportionate emphasis on anomaly. One left critic… of 9/11 Truthism likens this to a death penalty defence team seizing on the anomolies even the best prepared and damning of prosecution cases must – such is life – contain, in order to sow the all important ‘reasonable doubt’. Such narrow tactics can backfire though, blinding the team to the overall strength of the case against its imperilled client.
- Disproportionate attention to maverick voices and ‘outlier’ findings. This minds me of the way books for the lucrative miracle cure market emblazon their covers with references to The Study THEY Don’t Want YOU to Know About! while staying silent – ignorance or mendacity; it’s all the same to me – on the fact their killer study is at odds with every other finding in the field, and lacks peer review status.
- Citing experts in disciplines only superficially connected. Loose Change is full of this: ‘mining experts’ – disquietingly affiliated to far right holocaust deniers – who not only pronounce on matters, like engineering and munitions, outside their fields but have a nasty habit of cross referencing one another in a cosy little circle.
- Faulty logic, like presenting inductive possibility (inference) as deductive fact.
- Failures re Occam’s Razor and the parsimony principle. One consequence of theory-expansion of the kind that draws Dylan Avery into the 9/11 conspiracy is a burgeoning complexity, jerry-built and inelegant, in explanatory power.
The above represents the important ‘elephant in the room’ context frequently overlooked by the 9/11 truth movement. All of the theories have been roundly debunked here but I have been tasked with focusing on building 7 (WTC 7).
In his documentary film, Incontrovertible, Tony Rooke argues that the notion WTC 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition on September 11, 2001 is “incontrovertible”. Extraordinary claims like this demand extraordinary evidence. Rooke doesn’t present any.
The veracity of the claims made are in doubt from the opening few seconds after Rooke presents a caption that proclaims: “the views and conclusions in this film are those of your own colleagues (ie police, fire fighters and armed forces) all of whom have seen information and hard evidence that has been deliberately withheld from you by a so-called free press.”
Rooke does not explain that many of these workers are not qualified to be able to evaluate mountains of complex data, are not structural engineers or architects, have not written a peer-reviewed paper between them, that their views represent a small minority of opinion and have, in many instances, been cherry picked and edited.
The narrator, veteran British actor Michael Culver, who intones an air of a combination of gravitas, menace and emotion, imbues the announcement in the media of the collapse of WTC 7 before it happened as a “miracle”, when in truth it is nothing of the sort.
The BBC and others were monitoring the news from different outlets and that’s where they learned of WTC 7. According to the fire department, by 2 p.m there was a strong possibility the building would soon collapse, so its imminent demise was picked up by reporters. The fire department relayed information to reporters that the building was going to collapse. By the time it reached the BBC and CNN it may have simply been mis-communicated from “about to collapse” to “has collapsed”. The female BBC reporter even starts out by saying “details are very, very sketchy.” This is a clear case of journalistic incompetence which wouldn’t be the first time.
Culver then says WTC 7 “hit the ground within seven seconds.” This is factually incorrect. The evidence supports the NIST contention that the building collapse progressed from the penthouse out as columns were weakened by the fires. The slow sinking of the penthouses, indicating the internal collapse of the building behind the visible north wall, took 8.2 seconds according to a NIST preliminary report. Seismograph trace of the collapse of WTC 7 indicates that parts of the building were hitting the ground for 18 seconds. This means the collapse took at least 18 seconds, of which only the last approximately 15 seconds are visible in videos: 8 seconds for the penthouses and 7 seconds for the north wall to come down.
It was Galileo who dropped two cannon balls of different mass off the tower of Pisa and found that they both arrived on the ground at the same time. Therefore WTC 7 did not free fall because debris which was in free fall arrived on the ground first. This is basic physics which truther websites do not explain. NIST surmised that far from being impossible, the collapse turns out to have been inevitable. This was confirmed as a result of the findings of a peer-reviewed paper – the only paper which passed the scrutiny of peer review process regarding the WTC tragedy.
Explosions & controlled demolition
Claims of explosions are pure supposition. As very few people have experienced the sound of real-life explosions, how is it possible for the untrained ear to determine definitively that what was heard on 9/11 were the sound of explosions? Could transformers or other electrical equipment explain some of what the firemen saw and heard? What about an acre of concrete floor slamming into another? Would steel bolts snapping under tremendous tension make a pop or explosive sound? Assuming the towers weren’t in the vacuum of space, we can be fairly safe to say the things I mentioned are good candidates to explain what the firemen heard. I’ve viewed other clips where this is what some fireman have concluded as what they heard. This is a simple case of selective editing which is a common trick.
Testimonies from firefighters inside and outside of the building in relation to the damage caused are consistent, and demolitions experts who saw WTC 7 collapse neither saw nor heard anything indicating an explosive demolition. Nothing can be seen or heard in videos that resembles explosive charges going off before the collapse. Seismic data from multiple sources indicates that, as with the Twin Towers, the collapse of WTC 7 began slowly, completely unlike an explosive demolition but consistent with internal failures leading to global collapse (Source: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory).
Any detonation of explosives within WTC 7 would have been detected by multiple seismographs monitoring ground vibration in the general area. No such telltale “spike” or vibratory anomaly was recorded by any monitoring instrument. Explosive demolitions would not be very controlled, or likely to work at all, if they involved slamming tons of skyscraper debris through a building and then setting it on fire for seven hours. Precision explosives, timers, and wiring don’t like that sort of treatment (Source: Brent Blanchard of Protec http://tinyurl.com/z6zyc).
Controlled demolition expert, Danny Jowenko, who is quoted at 09.55, claiming definitively that what he saw, at that moment for the first time, was a controlled demolition is the view of one man who was asked to comment in an instance. The final NIST report in November 2008 into the collapse of WTC 7 proffers a more realistic explanation, namely, that fire was the main reason for the collapse, along with lack of water to fight the fire and falling debris which ruptured the oil pipes feeding its emergency generators.
The reduction in pressure triggered the automatic pumping system, which poured thousands of gallons of diesel onto fires which continued to burn throughout the afternoon on the lower floors. At 5.20 p.m. a critical column buckled, leading to the collapse of floor 13, which triggered a cascade of floor failures within the building, eventually leading to global collapse. The lack of water to fight the fire was an important factor. The fires, which were fueled by office contents and burned for seven hours, along with the lack of water were the key reasons for the collapse. Popular Mechanics magazine polled 300 experts who came to the same conclusions.
Although it wasn’t completely obvious to the untrained eye at the time, WTC 7 had been seriously compromised by a 20-story gash in one corner facing Ground Zero, and by the time the evacuation order of the building was given it was visibly sagging. Another claim by the truthers in the film is that “pull” is standard jargon within the demolition industry to fire off demolition charges within the building. Demolition experts have denied this; the usual term would be “shoot it” or “blow it.” “Pulling” refers to a procedure of attaching hauser cables to a building and using heavy vehicles to pull it over, something that would have been fairly easy for observers to detect.
Truthers also make false assertions in terms of the pancake theory which they claim has been debunked. But it is has only been “debunked” by the conspiracy believers. Actually, it is not a “theory” at all. It’s the most rational explanation and has been documented in a number of other high rise buildings around the world. Despite all this, realists are somehow expected to believe that either:
a) “Explosives” were planted when the buildings were erected. That would require the longest conspiracy planning in history.
b) They were planted later. In which case, who planted them? How did they do that in a building occupied by 50,000 people on a daily basis? Perhaps they did it on weekends when the building only had about 5,000 visitors /day?
This interesting set of videos, which are shot at different angles, clearly show Building 7 does not fall straight down. Culver announces that for 2.5 seconds, the WTC7 collapse was in free fall as if this was significant. This is another inaccurate statement – it was actually 2.25 seconds. Semantics aside, it isn’t significant and was even conceded by the official 2008 inquiry.
WTC 7 was not the first ever steel frame structure to collapse from fire, as many truthers claim. In addition, the building did not fall into its own footprint but left substantial debris scattered across the entire WTC complex site. The damage to WTC 7 was actually caused by debris from WTC 1, 370 feet away. A controlled demolition would presumably try to avoid such behaviour. If one accepts that WTC 7 was burning for many hours, it’s illogical to also propose the controlled demolition thesis because the one precludes the other.
The man at 11:10 who said he saw a “flash” inferring that it was indicative of an explosion, is mistaken. This is the flash in slow motion. It isn’t an explosion. What you see is window glass popping out as the floors collapse and compress the air inside. The sun is momentarily reflected in each pane of glass as it falls.
Also featured in the film is the Larry Silverstein conspiracy theory which is roundly debunked here. To clarify the main points: Silverstein (the new leaseholder for the WTC) had been going to the Twin Towers “Windows on the World” restaurant (there were no survivors on this level) to dine and meet with his new tenants; he had been doing this straight since July 26, 2001. But on 9/11 he didn’t go because he claimed his wife made a dermatologist appointment for him. Many truthers also point out that in the interview which he is asked where he was on 9/11 he appears to be showing signs of lying.
It is very likely he was indeed simply going to a dermatologist appointment. Out of the thousands of people who worked at the site during the day, many dozens at any one time would have been on holiday, off sick or simply slacking on September 11th (a good half dozen well-known celebrities were involved in and avoided a potential end in the attacks). That one of these happened to be the owner isn’t remarkable. There are plenty of important traders who did die in the attack — by the logic that one escaped suggests a conspiracy, the fact that many died should discredit it, right?
Also going against the idea of advanced-knowledge is that Neil D. Levin, the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which presumably would be “in” on any conspiracy), was killed on 9/11- while dining in the Widows of the World, no less. If there was advance knowledge, why was Silverstein informed while Levin wasn’t?
It has been repeatedly reported that Silverstein had insured the Twin Towers a year earlier, and it is more than “coincidental” that this insurance covered terrorist attacks. Further, Silverstein had numerous legal disputes that aimed to increase the payout by arguing that there were two separate attacks. To a first approximation, this was successful and Silverstein managed to claim approximately $4.6 billion.
But what conspiracy theorists don’t mention about this is that the total cost of the towers was significantly in excess of this — the insurance value was way below what it should have been. Most of the legal wrangling after the fact was also due to the insurance contracts being incomplete. The total cost of the attack would be in the region of $7 billion or more, leaving a considerable loss once the relatively measly insurance payout was claimed. With too low an insurance value and less-than-solid contracts, literally none of the insurance-based activities seem to point to the actions of people who knew exactly what was going to happen in advance. If it was an insurance scam, it was the worst ever.
The World Trade Center had already been bombed once before in 1993, and that several major terror plots against U.S. landmarks had been uncovered since then. In light of this, an anti-terrorism insurance policy would appear to be an entirely logical purchase.
All of the arguments and counter arguments presented in the documentary are well known. I could go on and demolish (excuse the pun) the remainder but I didn’t plan to write a book and the subject bores the pants off me. What I have presented in this article are the key points arguing against the notion that the destruction of WTC 7 was a planned controlled demolition. The film includes several well and lesser known clips of figures including John Kerry, members of the fire service on the day and much else all of which have rational explanations.
Rather like climate change deniers, 9/11 truthers cherry-pick their evidence and seize any excuse for ignoring the arguments of the vast majority of the relevant experts in the field including the only peer reviewed scientific paper that passed the peer review process. The evidence that planes smashed into the twin towers which triggered a set of events that resulted in their collapse, is overwhelming. But all this overwhelming evidence is not enough. Apparently, to qualify as an opponent of the neocons, it’s not sufficient to acknowledge that the Bush administration exploited the attacks on the WTC for their own political ends, but rather, one must also believe that it could blast the Pentagon with a cruise missile while persuading over a hundred witnesses that they saw a plane, wire every floor of the Twin Towers, detonate them in a perfectly timed sequence and make Flight 93 disappear into thin air while ensuring that the relatives of the passengers collaborated with the deception.
Further, one must also believe that it’s reasonable that none of the 16,000 uniformed or civilian members of the FDNY, or anyone else who was involved in this huge conspiracy, would, after 16 years, have come forward about these issues, or that a set of incompetent governments who failed to pull off Watergate and who were incapable of faking weapons of mass destruction, are all-seeing and all-powerful. People believe the false arguments of the 9/11 truth movement because it proposes a closed world that’s comprehensible and controllable, as opposed to one that’s chaotic without destination or purpose. That is my last word on this subject.
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