Tag: 9/11 conspiracy theories

Believing in Miracles

By Daniel Margrain

Bob Dylan once said “every pleasure’s got an edge of pain, pay your ticket and don’t complain.” Following my previous article about WTC building 7 [1], I promised to myself I wouldn’t write another word about the subject, but the temptation turned out to be too much – not that I’m complaining. Like a gambling addict, I can’t resist the temptation to feed the slot machine one more coin in my attempt to persuade others to see reason, particularly as the debate about what happened that fateful day on September 11, 2001, has once again surfaced in light of its recent anniversary.

Official narrative

The gist of the broad official narrative is that on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men, mostly from Saudi Arabia – under the direction of Osama bin Laden – hijacked four planes out of Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC, and without giving away their intentions redirected the planes on kamikaze missions towards four American landmarks on the east coast — the Twin Towers of the WTC in New York, the Pentagon, and an unknown fourth location theorized by some to have been the White House or the Capitol building (the last plane was brought down through passenger interference, in an open field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania).

The attacks resulted in the complete collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City (now known as Ground Zero), heavy damage to one side of the Pentagon and the deaths of just under 3000 people, some 400 of whom were police and firefighters [2].

This narrative seems highly plausible. Indeed, all alternative versions have been comprehensively debunked and rebutted [3], [4], [5], [6][7]  Commenting on the notion 9/11 was an ‘inside job’, Noam Chomsky said:

“The Bush administration would have had to have been insane to plan anything like that. If it had, it is almost certain it would have leaked…It’s a very porous system. Secrets are very hard to keep. You couldn’t control an event like that. It’s very unpredictable.”

Chomsky continued:

“There are plenty of coincidences and unexplained phenomena. But if you look at controlled scientific experiments, the same is true….If you want to get a sense of it, take a look at the letters columns in the technical scientific journals. They are commonly about unexplained properties of reports of technical experiments carried out under controlled conditions which are going to leave a lot of things unexplained – it’s the way the world is. When you take a natural event – something that isn’t controlled – most of it will be unexplained….The belief it [9/11] could of been planned has such a low level of credibility, I don’t think it’s serious. It’s diverting people from serious issues” [8].

Conjecture-based assertions presented as facts

Unexplained phenomena and coincidences of the kind alluded to by Chomsky, have been seized upon by the 9/11 truth movement who have filled in the gaps of uncertainty with unsubstantiated and conjecture-based assertions. They then present these assertions as evidence based facts.

Accounts from the 9/11 truth movement are remarkably similar to the accounts of many of those who experienced the sinking of the Titanic. As the vessel was sinking into the ocean, passengers heard explosions in the ship. In this case, the ‘official story’ would be wrong, according to the truth movement. To this day, no one really knows what exactly caused the sound, only that it sounded like an explosion. Some say it was the steel snapping as the ship broke in two. Others say it was the hot steam engines hitting the cold water which exploded. Using truth movement logic, it was blown up because some witnesses characterized the sound as an ‘explosion’.

The point is, appearances can often be deceiving. Indeed, if essence and appearance coincided, there would be no need for science, as our observations of earth as a static entity viewed from the perspective of our planet, attest.

When the truth movement view videos of the twin towers collapsing in what they claim is free fall speed, what they actually see are versions of the collapse at angles that reinforce their own prejudices. This is commonly referred to as confirmation bias. The claims made on the basis of what is contained in these videos have no basis in factual scientific-based evidence.

Of course, it’s the controlled demolition explosion theory that the truth movement cling to in order to explain the collapse of WTC 7 (and depending on which particular conspiracy theory one believes, the other two towers). For the sake of brevity, it’s the questioning of the theory in relation to the former, I want to return to here.

In terms of the WTC collapse, George Galloway was among the first to popularize the notion that “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the chances are it’s a duck” thesis. Unconvinced that the twin towers were brought down by controlled explosives, it’s the likes of Galloway and Chomsky and others on the progressive left that those who dismiss the official narrative, should be listening to.

Elephant in the room

The blank spot among those who propose the controlled demolition thesis is their inability to acknowledge the ‘elephant in the room’, namely, cause and affect. It is incomprehensible to realists how otherwise rational people refuse to accept the most probable explanation that two planes travelling at high velocity laden with jet fuel smashing in to the WTC, was the most likely catalyst for WTC 7s collapse.

The claim that the building was brought down as a result of a controlled demolition, given the circumstances that preceded it, is about as extraordinary a proposition as it’s possible to get. It’s not necessary to be an expert to arrive at such a conclusion. Given the available evidence, on the balance of probability alone, the notion that it was a controlled demolition that brought the building down, does not stack up by any logical measure. Those honest enough to look at the claims and counter claims in an objective and rational manner, could not arrive at any other conclusion.

Controlled demolition?

To believe, for example, that a controlled demolition took place one would have to ignore the testimony of FDNY chief, Daniel Nigo [9], 16,000 uniformed and civilian members of the FDNY [10], or anyone else who was involved in this apparent huge conspiracy, at least one of whom after 16 years – as post-doctoral researcher, David Grimes, implies [11], would have, by now, come forward.

You would have to believe that WTC 7 was wired for explosives, either when the building was erected (which would require the longest conspiracy planning in history), or that they were planted later. If the latter scenario is to be believed, how could it be possible to wire a high rise building occupied by 50,000 people on a daily basis?

You would have to believe 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. You would have to believe in an incredible motive such as the Larry Silverstein insurance scam theory, which has been comprehensively debunked [12].

You would have to believe the building fell at free fall speed into its own footprint, and discredit the notion the damage to WTC 7 was actually caused by debris from WTC 1, 400 feet away [13]. A controlled demolition would obviously 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.

You would have to ignore the notion that the explosive demolition would not be very controlled, or likely to work at all, if it involved slamming tons of skyscraper debris through a building and then setting it on fire for seven hours. You would also have to ignore the experts in the field who insisted that precision explosives, timers, and wiring don’t like that sort of treatment [14].

Witness testimonies & unreliable experts

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 [15]. You would have to ignore the notion that nothing can be seen or heard in videos that resembles explosive charges going off before the collapse or that seismic data from multiple sources indicates that the collapse of WTC 7 began slowly, completely unlike an explosive demolition but consistent with internal failures leading to global collapse [16].

You would have to believe the citations of experts in disciplines only superficially connected to structural engineering, ballistics, nano-thermite and other specialist fields, like David Ray Griffin and Lynn Margolis who the truth movement regularly cite. Griffin is professor of philosophy of religion and theology [17], and Margolis specializes in evolutionary theory and biology [18].

Some epistemological aspects of 9/11 conspiracy theories include evidential cherry-picking and egregious ‘quote mining’, disproportionate emphasis on anomaly and attention to these kinds of maverick voices [19]. The truth movement consistently cite experts in irrelevant disciplines. Loose Change is full of this, for example [20].

Like Holocaust deniers and climate change deniers, internet ‘experts’ not only cite loosely connected academics, but also cite discredited academics like Steven E  Jones [21] to support their theories. They pontificate on highly complex matters like engineering and munitions with apparent absolute certainty, and have a habit of cross referencing one another in a cosy little circle. They frequently use faulty logic, like presenting inductive possibility (inference) as deductive fact [22].

Alexander Cockburn accurately described 9/11 truthers as amateur detectives:

“[They] proffer what they demurely call “disturbing questions”, though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data ­- as the old joke goes about economists — till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories–like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon — is contemptuously brushed aside” [23].

Religious cult that denies agency

The notion that WTC 7 free fell for 2.25 seconds is not controversial. But the truth movement extrapolate from that as evidence the building was brought down by controlled explosives, on the basis that a professor of religion and theology believes it to be the case. Experts in theology also believe that scripture in the Old Testament is evidence of the existence of Jesus. But the existence of Jesus is, in fact, highly contested.

As Chomsky inferred, people believe these false arguments because it proposes a closed world that’s comprehensible and controllable, as opposed to one that’s chaotic without destination or purpose. The cold, hard truth, that no paper to date has passed the peer review process proving the controlled demolition thesis, is quietly overlooked.

But perhaps the biggest argument of all against the notion of conspiracy is that it denies agency. By claiming WTC 7 was brought down by explosives, and by extension the broader belief 9/11 was an ‘inside job’, the truth movement deny that those who suffer at the hands of US imperialism have a legitimate grievance against decades of US military aggression sufficient enough to warrant a terrorist attack on the US.

Until the 9/11 truth movement get around to actually testing their controlled demolition hypothesis and publishing the data from such a test in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal, their claims are worthless. Until now, they have not got beyond the stage in which they have made the leap from assertion and conjecture to testable hypothesis and plausible theory.

Sources:

Noam Chomsky Debunks 9/11 and JFK Murder @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7SPm-HFYLo

Noam Chomsky Has No Opinion on Building 7 @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i9ra-i6Knc

http://debunking911.com/

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/9-11

http://www.911myths.com

http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com

http://www.jod911.debunking911.com

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Brent Blanchard of Protec: http://tinyurl.com/z6zyc

Incontrovertible – the ‘truth’ about 9/11 by Philip Roddis @ https://off-guardian.org/2016/09/05/incontrovertible-the-truth-about-911/

NIST WTC Disaster Study: https://www.nist.gov/topics/disaster-failure-studies/world-trade-center-disaster-study

Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis By Zdenˇek P. Baˇzant1: http://www-math.mit.edu/~bazant/WTC/WTC-asce.pdf

Testimonies: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061221064623AA01qch&page=2

Collapse Symmetry: http://ae911truth.info/wordpress/ae911truths-case/collapse/collapse-symmetry/

The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts by Alexander Cockburn: https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/09/09/the-9-11-conspiracy-nuts/

How To Tell If Conspiracy Theories Are Real – Here’s The Math by Taylor Kubota: https://www.livescience.com/53494-how-to-tell-if-conspiracy-theories-are-real.html

Bayoneting A Scarecrow by George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/2007/02/20/bayoneting-a-scarecrow/

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Incontroverti-Bull

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.

Experts

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.

Building 7

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.

Or:

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.

Larry Silverstein

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.

Conclusion

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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9/11

By Daniel Margrain

It’s been almost 15 years since the tragic events in New York but the theories which deny the reality of that day keep coming. One of the latest in a long line of articles which attempt to undermine what billions of people saw with their own eyes is by author Frances Shure who asserts that people who critically dismiss the arguments of the 9/11 Truth Movement are unable to engage with reality. Thus the inference is that millions of critics of the denier narrative, including the thousands of witnesses and families who lost loved ones on that day, are mentally ill. But since Shure neither saw anyone, had a protocol for interviews, or engaged in research would suggest that no clinical observations were possible and thus she would of been unable to compare any subject’s mental states to either 9-11 conspiracy theorists nor to a control group.

The introduction to her papers says that they are a “synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations.” However, her “synthesis of reports on academic research” was not a meta-analysis, did not include even one proper research paper or authors that contradicted her and was sloppily referenced and dated. Shure does not once ask the question, why do people refuse to acknowledge that many people in the world quite justifiably – after years of horrendous war crimes against them – have very valid reasons for attacking the United States? With her blinding ignorance of what evidence and research are, she claims “the 9/11 Truth Movement has been stunningly successful in documenting mountains of evidence.” 

The reality is there has not been a single piece of “evidence” that has not been thoroughly debunked. In 2006, Noam Chomsky gave some helpful advice to people who believe they have physical evidence refuting the official account:

“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”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who have exhaustively documented the failure of the Twin Towers surmised that far from being impossible, the collapse turns out to have been inevitable. The planes cut some of the support columns and ignited fires sufficient to weaken (but not melt) the remaining steel structures. As the perimeter columns buckled, the weight of the collapsing top stories generated a momentum the rest of the building could not arrest. Puffs of smoke were blown out of the structure by compression as the building fell. In other words, contrary to many of the claims of the conspiracy theorists, melting steel was not required to bring about the collapse. All that was needed were temperatures high enough to heat the steel beyond their tolerance levels.

This thesis was also acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers by numerous structural engineers and experts. Hassan Astaneh, a structural engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley, for example, explained that the high temperatures in the fires weakened the steel beams and columns, causing them to become “soft and mushy”, and eventually they were unable to support the structure above. Astaneh also suggested that the fireproofing became dislodged during the initial aircraft impacts. Reiterating the subsequent conclusions of NIST, he explained that once the initial structural failure occurred, progressive collapse of the entire structure was inevitable.

The magazine, Counterpunch, commissioned its own expert, an aerospace and mechanical engineer, Manuel Garcia, whose conclusions into the official findings also tallied with NIST. Garcia demonstrated how Building 7 collapsed. Shure takes it as a given that Building 7 collapsed into its own footprint and implies that what everybody saw was a building in free fall indicative of a controlled demolition. But as Garcia shows, Building 7 fell slowly and gradually. This interesting set of videos, which are shot at different angles, clearly show Building 7 does not fall straight down and that Building 1 falls from the top first. 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 the Towers did not free fall because debris which was in free fall arrived on the ground first. This is basic physics which denialist websites do not explain.

The final NIST report in November 2008 into the collapse of building 7 explains 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. Popular Mechanics magazine polled 300 experts who came to the same conclusions.

The denialists 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 common sense 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.

Or:

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?

As Craig Murray argues, “The notion that a small team at night could plant sufficient explosives embedded at key points, is laughable.”

After reading the various theories of architects and engineers and other “experts” who support the claims of the 9-11 truth movement, one might be left with the impression that their views represent the majority. However, here’s a sober reminder of the context of such “support”.

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% 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 WTC. Although the tiny minority of “experts” and others who support the perspective of the denialists might know nothing about physics, structural engineering, ballistics or explosives, they still feel qualified to assert that the vast majority of experts in these fields are wrong.

Alexander Cockburn described these kinds of amateur detectives in the following way:

“[They] proffer what they demurely call “disturbing questions”, though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data ­- as the old joke goes about economists — till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories–like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon — is contemptuously brushed aside.”

Some might argue that there is a potential conflict of interest issue with respect to the US government and NIST funding. But this presupposes that if NIST conclusions of their findings were based upon falsehoods and lies, then the alleged cover up would extend to a further 200 technical experts and 125 leading experts from the private sector and academia— many of whom worked independently of NIST and whose work involved:

– Reviewing tens of thousands of documents.

– Interviewing more than 1,000 people.

– Reviewing 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs.

–  Analysing 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage.

– Performing laboratory tests and sophisticated computer simulations of the sequence of events that occurred from the moment the aircraft struck the towers until they began to collapse, and so on and so forth.

Is the general public seriously expected to believe that if the NIST conclusions were based on falsifications, not one individual among the literally thousands of people who were involved in the NIST project, would not by now have come forward to publicly question any wrongful and misleading interpretation of events attributed to them by NIST? The reality is that too many people would of had to of been involved in any cover up. Moreover, it’s inconceivable that over the course of almost 15 years nobody has objected or come forward to the media.

But even if one thinks that organisations’ or individuals have colluded for reasons of political expediency, how does one explain findings from other investigations that fires alone (without any damage from the planes) were enough to bring down the WTC buildings?

Take a study undertaken by the University of Edinburgh as an example. Edinburgh published a paper in which they concluded that the towers were uniquely vulnerable to the effects of large fires on several floors at the same time. When the NIST report was published, Barbara Lane from the UK engineering firm Arup, criticized its conclusion that the structural damage resulting from the airplane impacts was a necessary factor in causing the collapses.

Cesar Pelli, who designed the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the World Financial Centre in New York, remarked, “no building is prepared for this kind of stress.” On September 13, 2001, Zdeněk Bažant, professor of civil engineering and materials science at Northwestern University, circulated a draft paper (subsequently expanding the analysis) of the World Trade Centre collapse. Bažant suggested that heat from the fires was a key factor, causing steel columns in both the core and the perimeter to weaken and experience deformation before losing their carrying capacity and buckling. Once more than half of the columns on a particular floor buckled, the overhead structure could no longer be supported and complete collapse of the structures occurred.

Other analyses were conducted by MIT civil engineers Oral Buyukozturk and Franz-Josef Ulm, who also described a collapse mechanism on September 21, 2001. Many who have questioned the official version of events argue that the truth can be found by visiting websites like http://www.911truth.org, http://www.physics911.net and http://www.911scholars.org or by reading articles by the theology professor David Ray Griffin, the physicist Steven E. Jones and others. But in all these cases you will find wild supposition raised to the status of incontrovertible fact; rumour and confusion transformed into evidence; selective editing; the citation of fake experts and the dismissal of real ones.

Rather like climate change deniers, 9/11 “truther’s” cherry-pick their evidence and seize any excuse for ignoring the arguments of the vast majority of the relevant experts in the field.  Naturally, those in positions of power or influence who challenge conspiracy theories are invariably deemed to be part of the conspiracy. As David Robert Grimes, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford, who has used maths to examine conspiracy theories, argues “..those making these charges will descend into accusing one of shilling or being an agent of some malignant entity.” Grimes calculates the greater number of people that are involved in a conspiracy means the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. In response to his work, conspiracy theorists have threatened him and tried to get him removed from his academic position.

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.

In other words, one must believe that an incompetent set of 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.