9/11 Truth and the Paranoid Style

Guestblogger Arthur Goldwag is the author of "Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, The Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Black Helicopters, The New World Order, and many, many more" and other books.

(CC-licensed photo on Flickr by 911conspiracy)

Forty-five years ago, Harpers magazine published Richard Hofstadter's essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." The occasion for the piece was the revenant conservatism that had driven Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign (the magazine hit the newsstands the month of the Johnson/Goldwater election), but it remains astonishingly apt. I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who wants to understand the mentalités of fringe political movements in the United States--from the Anti-Masons and Know Nothings in the first half of the 1800s, to McCarthyism, the Nation of Islam, and the Weathermen in the last century, to the Birthers and Truthers today.

I hesitate to bring up 9/11 Truth again after the firestorm of commentary I unleashed last week, but read Hofstadter on the pedantry of paranoid literature and tell me that he doesn't nail some of the most contentious of the posters (most of whom were probably not even born when the piece was written) with a psychoanalyst's precision and a novelist's sympathy:

One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed.....Respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates "evidence." The difference between this "evidence" and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it....
One of last week's more strident posters shared his frustration with members of his on-line forum (yes, I Googled myself, and of course I read all the nasty things they said about me), listing the seminal books I hadn't referenced ("Nafeez Ahmed's "War on Truth," Peter Dale Scott's "Road to 9/11," Michael Ruppert's "Crossing the Rubicon," Michel Chossudovsky's "War on Terrorism"), pointing out The Complete 9/11 Timeline at historycommons.org that I ignored, and exposing my transparently propagandistic mendacity in allowing one perfervid e-mailer to stand "as an avatar for the supposed pathologies of the 9/11 Truth movement."

Of course he's furious! He's educated, articulate, and politically committed. He's not some disreputable, anti-social obsessive--he's a veritable exegete of 9/11 anomalies, as fluent in the jargon of physics as he is in political dialectics. It's bad enough that he has to endure the studied neutrality or outright hostility of the really big guns of the left--Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein--but then an arrant nobody like me comes along with, as one of his fellow posters put it, "a metric tonne of standard issue boilerplate" and presumes that he can conjure away the whole edifice of 9/11 Truth with a couple of wisecracks. Not only am I smug and ignorant and intellectually dishonest --- it's as if I don't even care about the subtle distinctions between one brand of Truthery and another, as if I can't be bothered to acknowledge the museum's-worth of evidence that he and his colleagues have so assiduously curated.

Imagine that you were a Maria Callas fan. You own every recording she ever made -- 78s, LPs, remastered CDs, even reel-to-reel tapes recorded off of radio broadcasts. You've not only read every book and magazine article about her that was ever committed to print, you've written a few yourself. And then some fly-by-night music journalist casually dismisses her in the pages of a mass circulation magazine as a cracked-voiced diva whose sole claim to fame was that she and Jackie O were rivals for Aristotle Onassis's affections.

Reading through all that commentary, I thought of how misguided missionaries sometimes try to evangelize Jews by calling their attention to passages from the New Testament--a scripture that by definition carries no weight with Jews at all. From my outsider's perspective, most of the Truther's exhibits (the iron spherules, the 2.5 seconds of video-taped free fall, the anecdotes about the dancing Israelis, the housing official trapped in the stairwell of WTC7) aren't evidence at all but rather artifacts of confirmation bias--factoids (many of dubious provenance, some long past their sell-by date) that are plucked out of context and marshaled not to build or close a positive case for one thesis or another, but only to cast doubt on the default position. I can't engage the 9/11 issue on the same terms that a Truther does, because I'd have to be a Truther myself.

Religious fanatics, political radicals, obsessive fans -- the worlds they live in are closed systems, governed by dogmas and articles of faith. Discipline is strictly enforced; members are punished or purged for their lapses in ideological or doctrinal purity. Outsiders are regarded with suspicion and hostility -- milquetoast accommodationists who are presumptuous enough to suppose they can make common cause on one issue or another even more so than overt enemies. It's a pressure cooker -- turn up the temperature and you get sectarianism and schisms, higher still and you get witch hunts, show trials, Cultural Revolutions, and Nuremberg laws.

With its congeries of black sheep constituencies (Alex Jones Libertarian populists, movement leftists, anarchists, white supremacists, New World Order reactionaries, Protocols of the Elders of Zion anti-Semites, crusading architects and theologians) and its lack of a dominant leader or organization, the 9/11 Movement will likely never become unified enough to tear itself apart. But it has not been altogether innocuous either. "One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement," Noam Chomsky said, "Has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state...crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work."

Just as the missionary can't understand how the Jew can contemplate the prospect of his eternal damnation with such unnatural equanimity, the Truther can't fathom why the rest of us would rather look at the forest than the trees. There's a certain poignancy in their predicament. As Hofstadter wrote, "We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well."


  1. Great piece, one of the best, most lucid handlings of the Truther craziness.

    Doesn’t paranoia sometimes work, though? Like, I could either believe that the joke of a health-reform bill that cleared the House is 1) the best the Democrats can do, or 2) a kowtow to monied interests whom I’ll never be able to really define or “call out” fully. Or consider Timothy Geithner: 1) the best man for the job, or 2) a puppet of the Wall Street cabals? Since he’s obviously not #1 and since I can’t fully prove #2, don’t I need some whiff of paranoid logic to make a narrative at all? Isn’t paranoia (somewhat) necessary (on a limited, self-aware) basis when the full narrative eludes our grasp? Is a paranoia that’s aware of itself as paranoia really paranoia, or more like critical thinking? Anyway, thanks for the post.

  2. I think the Callas comparison is actually very interesting, a brings up a much broader point than Hofstadter’s commentary. But right now I think I’ll make some popcorn and watch you poke the wasps’ nest with a stick some more.

  3. damn, that was great.

    The one piece of ‘evidence’ that I never read about is the ability of the 757/767 (since it was first produced, when my father flew it professionally, and when my teenage brain compelled me to read some of the 1st generation manuals, which I still have) to be remotely controlled in case of a terrorist attack or cabin depressurization.

    But still, I ask, even if 9/11 WAS an inside job. So What?

    1. so what ??!! are you serious?? well it is a controlled demolition inside job, and so, it is the biggest event of our times. Biggest crime on US soil lately. Murder of 3000 Americans.

      A pretext for wars, for occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. They would be without 9/11 attacks pretext. http://costofwar.com

      There would be no government bureaucracies of Dept of Homeland Security, Patriot Act, Transportation Security Agency ….

      We need a new independent investigation.

  4. Interestingly, most of the tract-distributing evangelist types nowadays mostly ignore the New Testament, preferring the more ancient fire-and-brimstone God to the one who loved you so much he sent his only Son to save your miserable undeserving soul.

  5. Paranoia, aka baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others, is at the extreme end of the spectrum that’s centred by skepticism. If suspicions become beliefs without being able to source to any real evidence, you’re just being irrational.

  6. Thanks for posting that link, Mojave.

    It was a real eye-opener.

    I never really understood until now why 9/11 conspiracy theorists put so much emphasis on the dancing mover guys.

    Now I see it’s simple antisemitism. How very disappointing.

    1. Now I see it’s simple antisemitism.

      And posted by a white supremacist group, which is why I’ve redacted it.

  7. The part I love best about this article is:”I can’t engage the 9/11 issue on the same terms that a Truther does, because I’d have to be a Truther myself. ”

    Yes. Why bother to argue with them? I can take evidence out of context from now til the next century to prove my fundamental hypothesis of doubt and paranoia (no such thing, by the way, see Brainspore’s comment), and you and your so-called ‘scientific method’ and ‘preponderance of evidence’ can do nothing about it.
    I mean, who has time to go through 6000+ ‘pieces of evidence’ and refute the inherent interpretative bias? These have data that are juxtaposed to mimic information to support my theory, with a little bit of helpful interpretation that also supports my theory.

  8. I remember watching the tube shortly after the attacks on New York. The Bush administration announced that there would be NO formal public investigation of the attacks or the events leading up to them. I bellowed at my television set (a common occurence in my household) “You idiots! You’re turning this tragedy into the domain of conspiracy theorists!!”

    Now I wonder how often “Truthers” consider that they may have been dreamt into existence with deliberation on the part of the White House. What other possible outcome could that initial announcement have led to? The 9/11 conspiracy theories are now self-discrediting by dint of their existence. Sort of like how when the homeless person on the streetcorner rants about the CIA, they seem hopelessly mad. They seem crazy in exactly the way a victim of an MK Ultra experiment would seem crazy.

  9. diamondbach, I think if you start calling them “9/11 Deniers” – you might make more headway. I find that if the parties arguing affix negative labels to the other side seems to be the only way to “win” an argument on the internet these days.

    Keith, with this you’ve just summed up the current state of debate in the world with this statement:

    The problem, as Arthur and Hofstadter both point out, is that this line of attack creates a recursive loop in argumentation, a double bind where nothing is verifiable because we’ve decided to question the validity of verification. There’s no winning or loosing an argument when we’ve erased all boundaries. It’s become an exercise in creative embellishment, like a surrealist after dinner game.

    This approach seems to be applied everything from Health Care reform, to H1N1 Vaccines, and Global Warming.

    1. RedMonkey: you may call me a “denier” if you wish but please come up with a more accurate phrase than “9/11 Denier.” Nobody is denying that there were a series of horrific attacks on September 11, 2001. The disagreement is over who perpetrated them, and how. “9/11 Denier,” like “Holocaust Denier,” implies that the subject doesn’t think the event occurred at all.

      If you want to call me a “9/11 Truth Denier” that’s OK, since most people know that the phrase “9/11 Truth” is code for “people who have convinced themselves the WTC and Pentagon were destroyed by something other than some hijacked airliners.”

  10. The forest for the trees?

    I feel as though George Trow’s famous essay should be required reading for anyone who considers him/herself a culture critic. “To a person growing up in the power of demography, it was clear that history had to do not with the powerful actions of certain men but with the processes of choice and preference.” To those obsessed with aesthetics, to those trapped Within the Context of No Context, the suggestion that they’re not hip to a particular outlook or viewpoint (let’s call it the Deep State, because the Turks have called it that for many years, and they dont have many bloggers denying the existence of Ergenekon or the Grey Wolves) can only be met with an aesthetic or psycho-analytic rebuttal. Which is why your choice of quote is so amusing. Yes, tell me more about what you think of the ‘paranoid STYLE’. How do they dress? What kind of toothpaste do they like? What do the establishment, brand-name left-liberals think of them?

    Perhaps you don’t understand my point. Perhaps you never will. As a person caught in the throes of choice and preference, with the strongly-held belief that you can see through the neuroses and psychoses of such an admittedly wide array of people, you might do well to re-examine that Chomsky quote one more time: So, even if they did blow-up the towers and kill 3,000 people and lie about it and use the terror to ram in freedom-destroying legislation, engage in two wars (one of which has killed 1,300,000 Iraqis and tens of thousands of Americans), turn this country into a Police State and feed the Military-Industrial Corporate Machine (Halliburton, Blackwater, et al) there are still far worse crimes that all this misdirected energy is obscuring? JESUS CHRIST!!! WHAT ARE THESE CRIMES? Sounds like a truly horrifying conspiracy theory to me.

    But you know what, I’m wasting my time. They always say, don’t feed the trolls.

  11. The most important element, imho, is how the Truther movement undermines the legitimate discussion about the failures & inconsistencies of the US Gov wrt 911. Any suggestion about incompetence or collusion can be swept aside as “conspiracy theory”. In this regard, Truthers are an all-too-convenient foil.

    1. AKA a “turd in the punchbowl.” A favorite tactic of Karl Rove, by the way.

      I don’t believe the Truthers. I do believe the Bushistas knew an attack was imminent and did nothing to stop it, either out of incompetence (quite likely where the Bushistas are concerned) or because they wanted an excuse to start a war (which is where I have to shake myself and wonder if I’m getting a little paranoid myself).

      Also, is it paranoid to think Rove may have deliberately seeded the conspiracy theories to discredit anyone who wanted to make a real inquiry?

      1. “Also, is it paranoid to think Rove may have deliberately seeded the conspiracy theories to discredit anyone who wanted to make a real inquiry?”

        At times I’ve wondered the same thing (not about Rove personally but nebulous forces within the Bush-Cheney axis).

        Following Robert Anton Wilson’s dictum always to look for the conspiracy within the conspiracy can lead to some interesting places.

        The trick is hanging onto your own rational faculties while you’re being paranoid about the paranoiacs.

  12. PS – I don’t know what “Exquisite corpse” is and refuse
    to take time to even Google it. It sounds scary.

    It’s ok. Don’t be scared. I’ll help you.

    Look it up on Wikipedia. It’s an art form where one artist picks up where the previous left off, often without seeing the bulk of what went before. It often takes the form of very long murals. See also the zoomquilt that was posted to BoingBoing the other day.

  13. Forget 9/11, I just wish people would know the simple difference between “losing” – sustaining a loss – and “loosing” – setting free. After that I will believe in anything…

  14. Good read.

    As an aside, it’s hilarious (and disturbing) to me that when I saw ‘McCarthyism’ listed among fringe political movements, I thought ‘Jenny’ before ‘Joseph.’

  15. Back in the days immediately following 9/11, scarcely an hour would pass since someone described it as “the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor”.

    The parallels run deep when you look at how those two attacks have been “analysed” by amateur and professional historians.

    The right-wing accusations about Pearl Harbor – that FDR deliberately provoked the Japanese, or at best knew the attack was coming but let it happen because he could never get a declaration of war any other way – began in 1943 and continued for decades.

    They are almost pitch-perfect fits to the left-wing accusations that Bush and PNAC scripted or permitted 9/11, in order to engage us in a wider war in the Mideast.

    And in both cases, I believe the root causes were not conspiracy but simple bureaucratic inertia, inter-agency protectiveness of “our” information and sources, and the inability to pick out the one bit of information correctly pointing to an attack from the ten million bits of meaningless chaff.

    1. the left-wing accusations that Bush and PNAC scripted or permitted 9/11

      I’m having a hard time understanding how a group that is largely anti-Semitic and feels that the first African-American president is the Hitlerian head of the New World Order can be described as left-wing. They sound like bog-standard, racist right-wingers to me.

      1. Obama is equally white. He’s the 44th honky cracker president in a row. He even plays golf! While he may not be the Aryan Ãœbermensch because of his ears, but he’s clearly Trotsky’s New Soviet Man.

      2. I see numerous mentions here of “cherry-picking evidence”. But there’s a reason for that: there is a fair amount of evidence out there that either doesn’t square with or is not included in the official story.

        If I was an investigator, and we thought we had found our man, but then found a number of bloody fingerprints that didn’t fit either the supposed culprit of the victim, you better believe I would “cherry-pick” that evidence and focus on it.

        For instance, what do you make of the story of one Mike Pecoraro, a WTC building engineer. Before the building fell, he was running around in the basement. he found massive damage – a parking lot destroyed beyond recognition, a 50 ton hydraulic press gone, a 300 pound steel and concrete fire door “wrinkled up like aluminum foil.”

        You can find his story by googling his name, clicking the third link, and page searching “rubble”. It’s not at any sort of “9/11 truth” site at all.

        Of course, this doesn’t fit in well with the “9/11 truth” stories either. But it sure as hell doesn’t fit in with the official story. Other than believing that enough unburned fuel could pour down the elevator shaft and explode with that much force, there is simply no explanation for it.

        Or, the fact that 118 of 503 firefighters reported, when the building fell, what they thought were explosions, “secondary devices,” etc.

        I talked about both in item 181 of the last 9/11 post.

        Someone asked on the last post “if there was any amount of evidence that would make you believe in the official story.” And the answer is no, not really; because no amount of positive evidence can discount the value or relevance of contrary evidence. A video pre-confession from every bomber could still not explain why the subbasement was blown up…

        1. JackO, your self-confidence astounds me. Your syntax confounds me. Your arguments illustrate a complete lack of understanding. Judgement of a race is racism. Whether or not you consciously allow your personal judgements to affect your behaviour towards a person or not is irrelevant. A judgement is bound to result in differing behaviour to some extent. Bigot is most def apropriate in your case.

          Or, the fact that 118 of 503 firefighters reported, when the building fell, what they thought were explosions, “secondary devices,” etc.

          I talked about both in item 181 of the last 9/11 post.

          And I countered in the same discussion with this reply:

          This is a fair point, but as has already been mentioned earlier in this FFA – testimony of witnesses is often innacurate. Furthermore should we simply discount that 385 fire fighters didn’t mention an explosion sound? Seems like a leap of faith.

          I would also like to find out how many of the 118 who reported the ‘explosion’ sound had, previous to 9/11, been in the proximity of two 110 storey buildings collapsing due to structural failire. Clearly none – hence how would they know what it ‘normally’ sounds like? With no point of reference, how can they definitively say it was an explosion? They can’t.

          So… what about those 365 eh?

          1. I agree that the frame of reference is missing from many of these “skeptic” (is that more PC than Truther? it seems like a bit of a misnomer) anecdotes. Witnesses report odd sounds and see anomalous things–but the city was filled with unprecedented sounds and unthinkable sights that morning: crashing jets, fireballs, falling bodies, collapsing buildings. It felt like the end of the world. The media reported all kinds of things that morning that turned out not to be true: a story that a bomb had gone off at the state department made the rounds for a while; I heard somewhere that planes “were dropping out of the sky” all over the country. It’s called the fog of war.

            I watched the jet fly into the north tower, I saw how big it was, but when I heard on the radio that it was a passenger jet, I was flabbergasted that there were people on board. It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be.

            So many Skeptics report how they watched videos of the falling buildings and immediately recognized how “wrong” they looked. Based on what? How many falling buildings had they seen and heard? I’ve watched mini-documentaries that juxtapose clips of controlled demolitions with edited clips of WTC7 falling–but 1) They are different buildings, falling under different circumstances, and 2) The narration is written and the images are selected and cut to make a point.

            I watched the interviews with the housing official who was trapped in the stairway. In the first one, the reporter seems to think he’d been in one of the twin towers–not WTC7. In a later interview, he mentioned looking out and seeing that one of the twin towers had disappeared. But the story was supposed to be that he was trapped BEFORE the collapse–that a bomb planted in a stairwell of WTC7 had exploded prematurely (some seven hours before the building actually fell). What I took away was that the man was overwrought and the reporter wasn’t doing anything to clarify the situation. And then there was all this innuendo that his death a few years later was suspicious; that he had been silenced. Why silence him but leave the people who post his stories on websites unharmed?

            Or, leaving aside for a moment the fact that it’s been promoted most vigorously on white supremacist and anti-Semitic websites, let’s go back to the Sivan Kurzberg story. A woman reports seeing a group of men clowning and taking pictures of the burning WTC; hours later they are arrested in East Rutherford. They turn out to be Israeli movers (plenty of those in NYC) with lapsed student visas. A photo of one of them, Kurzberg, is seized in which he’s holding up a burning cigarette lighter while the towers burn in the background; it’s asserted that the FBI determined that he was a Mossad operative (but an FBI spokesman was not quoted). Big name Jewish lawyers intervene, and a couple of months later they are deported. I can remember hearing about the arrest on the news that night–at first the story was that they were Arabs, that they were intercepted on the Washington Bridge, and that the van was filled with explosives. More fog of war.The conclusion that we’re supposed to draw eight years later? That the Israelis had sent a team to photograph the destruction so they could use it to manipulate American foreign policy in their favor. Maybe they knew about the attack in advance; maybe they’d even planned it. Except in that case, why would they have taken pictures of themselves clowning around? How does their acting like jerks in any way help the Israeli cause? Why would they need to take pictures of it anyway–wasn’t it a highly photographed event?

            OK, forget about all that. The purpose that it REALLY serves is to make as much hay out of the image of an Israeli, a Jew, cheering on the destruction of American property and lives. Which is just one of the myriads of ways that the conspiracy stories distract and divert energies that could be used more productively. Real life Israeli elected officials–not some schmucky mover with a lapsed Visa and a sick sense of humor–did do their damnedest to take political and diplomatic advantage of the situation after 9/11. And all these transparently anti-Semitic stories give them cover, they inoculate them from legitimate criticism.

        2. I read the interview, both on the site you suggested and in a few other places. There are subtle differences from version to version. In one of them, he says (or maybe it’s the third person omniscient narrator) that at first he thought there was a bomb, but then he heard about the burning jet fuel exploding out of the elevators and devastating the lobby. Is it possible that the damage in the sub basement had the same cause? I don’t know. Is it possible that he is misremembering some things–maybe even confabulating memories of the 1993 bombing with the 2001 disaster? I don’t know–the interview isn’t raw. Maybe something got added or deleted or distorted in transmission. Let’s say there WAS a bomb in the subbasement. How would that advance the controlled demolition scenario? It sounds like it didn’t do any structural damage. And the building came down from the top, didn’t it?

          I can’t explain this away, but it doesn’t devastate the NIST version of events either.

          1. Arthur,

            In many ways, the work you are doing does a valuable service to critique some of the excesses of the 9/11 truth movement, and I thank you for it.

            I’m glad you have at least read the Mike Pecararo interview.

            I can assure you that it was not some dazed flashback or cobbled together testimony; because it is corroborated by a number of other sources, some of whom I named in #69 above. Here is a raw interview with a veteran fire fighter John Schroder that corroborates at least the unexplained destruction of the lobby:

            So, the question is, why was the lobby and basement badly damaged? There are two possible answers: 1) Jet fuel pouring down the elevator shaft 2) Some sort of explosive that went off, perhaps unintentionally and early.

            To me, 1) begs incredulity. I mean, a jet carries a lot of fuel, bug how much, exactly? We already have a lot of fuel consumed in a huge fireball, enough fuel to weaken the structure of the trusses and create the pancaking, and now we also have a quantity of fuel sufficient to fall down 1000 feet and utterly destroy parking garages, disappear 50 ton machinery, turn fire doors into aluminun foil and completely destroy the lobby, knocking marble off the walls? Really?

            Where I differ from you is my assessment if 2) is indeed true. Yes, it absolutely devastates the official line. It blows a cannon hole in the side of it. If we have been “investigating” it for eight years and haven’t figured out there was a huge bomb that went off in the basement, well, remind me not to hire these same guys to do a house inspection.

            If an undiscovered bomb in the basement doesn’t utterly shatter your faith in the official “investigation”, then nothing possibly could.

          2. Good point there, having the discussion raised in a forum that’s this well-known does keep the momentum going, if nothing else. Lots of amusing attempts to side-track things being demonstrated, even. For example, someone insisting that philosophical debate rules of courtesy should be applied to statements on forensic evidence.

            And, maybe the tone and premise being presented by the initial articles here are even helpful, in terms of casting reasonable doubts on one position or another.

        3. “a 50 ton hydraulic press gone”

          I don’t know if this was clear, but it should be noted that the 50 tons identified here would refer to the capacity, not the mass, of the hydraulic press in question. Like the way that in this listing of a hydraulic press product


          it is described as “50-Ton” with “Ship Weight: 525.0 lbs.” That means that the hydraulic press itself does not weigh 50 tons but is able to exert a pressure equivalent to 50 tons, while itself weighing 525 pounds. Just judging from the size of the object shown in the picture there, something like this could easily be buried in debris and appear to be “gone” without necessarily having been vaporized in any sense. The statement from Mike Pecoraro


          “There was nothing there but rubble,” Mike said. “We’re talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press? gone!” The two began yelling for their co-workers, but there was no answer. They saw a perfect line of smoke streaming through the air. “You could stand here,” he said, “and two inches over you couldn’t breathe. We couldn’t see through the smoke so we started screaming.” But there was still no answer.

          is very imprecise. He gives an impressionistic sense that he couldn’t any longer see the things which he normally saw, but it’s not really clear that the hydraulic press was not simply obscured by smoke and rubble.

      3. What “group” is it you’re referring to?

        That seems like a pretty broad assertation: “doesn’t believe in the government explanation for 9/11” = “anti-semite”.

        If the conspiracy theories about 9/11 are right, it wasn’t done by either Jews or blacks; it was principally orchestrated by White Anglo Saxon Protestants of European extraction.

        And Obama might be a lousy president, but so was Bush; Obama’s principal failing is in not reversing the worst crimes of the Bush years. Many people called, on both the left and civil liberties right, called Bush a Hitlerian figure, does that mean they hate white people?

        1. That seems like a pretty broad assertation: “doesn’t believe in the government explanation for 9/11” = “anti-semite”.

          That’s because you don’t see all the moistly glistening comments and links that I have in my refuse bin. I assure you that they are studded with feculent tidbits of loathsome vileness, mostly in the form of links to websites explaining how Obama is exactly the same as Hitler and why it’s important to defend white culture.

      4. “They sound like bog-standard, racist right-wingers to me.”

        Most of the “truthers” I have heard wouldn’t dream of accusing Obama of being a Hitler. They are far more likely to crank up a Two Minutes Hate directed at Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld, when not explaining why burning jet fuel can’t damage steel girders.

        Suggest you check the original petition found at 911truth.org (this is the petition which Van Jones decided didn’t reflect his views any more). I find at least 25 signers who I know by name or their self-described affiliations to be dyed in the wool leftists. There are a couple of libertarians and a couple of former bureaucrats in Republican administrations, but no one I can see who is clearly identified with a extreme right wing cause.

  16. Anyone who uses the word “truther” is saying much more about himself than those who disagree with all or part of the official 9/11 story. It is an unfair generalization and a put-down not worthy of Boing Boing.

  17. “lie about it and use the terror to ram in freedom-destroying legislation, engage in two wars (one of which has killed 1,300,000 Iraqis and tens of thousands of Americans), turn this country into a Police State and feed the Military-Industrial Corporate Machine (Halliburton, Blackwater, et al) there are still far worse crimes that all this misdirected energy is obscuring?”

    I think those ARE the worse crimes he is referring to. I don’t like to dispute death counts, but “tens of thousands of Americans?” Where does that number come from?

  18. That Chomsky quote is dead-on. It’s so much easier to live in some sort of self-serving fantasy that these conspiracies provide rather than looking at the real, obvious truths behind some of the real problems in our society. It’s easier to get caught up in this endless feedback loop of uncertainty than to deal with reality head-on.

    What I just described in the last sentence is almost an exact description of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which I struggled with for a good three years. I think I’ve always had an OCD-type personality (I remember obsessing about the end of the world in the fourth grade), but never dealt with it in the context that I did during those three years. As hard as it might be to imagine, I’m not exaggerating when I say that not a minute passed in the day where I didn’t think about my particular obsession. Looking back at it, I often wonder if OCD didn’t manifest itself as sort of a subconscious way to avoid the real problems in my life. I became trapped in this world where this problem was presented to me, and if only I could figure it out and solve it, everything would be better. But what if this, what if that, what does this mean, why did I do that? Etc. etc. You begin piecing together all these bits of evidence that support this particular fear or obsession, and if you write all of those, and only all of those down on a piece of paper, sure, they might point to something. But in the real world, in the bigger picture, in the context of my whole life, it didn’t make sense, and that’s why I could never solve the problem. Not to mention that nothing ever satisfies the doubt that OCD brings.

    So now I look at this, and I look at these conspiracy cults, and I really wonder…how was my experience with OCD any different from their conspiracy theorizing?

  19. I think that it was simply a screw-up. Sometimes the simplest explanation really is the correct one.

  20. The OP was a great read. It’s wonderful when someone articulates for me the thoughts that I’m almost, but not quite, smart enough to have.

    I vote for Arthur as another guest-blogger-to-permanent-editor candidate. Although I suppose there’s got to be a limit to the number of lawn chairs in the Boing-Cave.

  21. Racism is, believe it or not, humanism! You are genetically programmed to select on basis of human types1

    It is only evil when you refuse to believe that the other human types are human!

    Of course you are racist! When you selected your spouse you made a selection based upon your base desires!
    So if you selected a person of the same race you made a racial decision, if you selected a person of the different race, you made a racist decision!

    Get over it!


    1. JackO: your logic confounds me. So if I campaign against a politician based soley on a gut-level distrust of his or her race, that’s OK as long as I acknowledge that they are technically still a member of my species?

      You, sir, are a bigot.

    2. Not exactly, JackO.

      Appiah gives I think the best analysis of race-based thinking when he distinguishes between racialism, intrinsic racism, and extrinsic racism. Racialism is the belief that folks can inherit unique traits and tendencies that go beyond morphology/phenotype which allows us to divide our species into races. Extrinsic racism refers to the act of making a moral distinction between members of different races because they inherit moral or immoral qualities that warrant differential treatment: e.g. that Jews are just naturally avaricious, blacks are lascivious, or whites are innovative. The positivity or negativity of these qualities (e.g. that avaricious = bad) is generally not contested by contemporary cultures. Intrinsic racism is the belief that each race has a different moral status quite apart from their unique characteristics (in the Caribbean this was often defined as: white > mulatto > black) and that we should discriminate as such.

      If you want to read a more interesting and contextualized rebuttal of your ‘common sense’ view of race relations, see: Lawrence, Errol. “Just Plain Common Sense: The ‘Roots’ of Racism.” The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in in 70s Britain. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, London: Hutchinson, 1982. pp. 47-94.


  22. brainspore, convicted by your own words! LOL
    “So if I campaign against a politician based soley on a gut-level distrust of his or her race, ” that would indicate you are a racist, however, when you proceeded to “as long as I acknowledge that they are technically still a member of my species?” it indicates you are not discriminating against the individual himself.

    Yes, it is OK to be racist in that case, as you are not discriminating against the candidate because of “his/her” race, but because you have a belief in the inferiorisness of that race, what so ever it should be!

    In my opinion, and it is never wrong, you can take any action you wish for, or against, a person for racist reasons as long as you do not harm the individual.

    However, you may have a different valuable, to you, opinion!

    But, I am not a BIGOT, as bigots do not consider whether or not the other partys position is correct, I will agree that what-so-ever you believe may , indeed, be an accurate position to take!

    1. I’ll have to go with brainspore on this one, you certainly give every appearance of being a bigot.

    2. JackO: Don’t be so modest, I don’t throw words like “bigot” around freely. You’ve earned it! Take your bow and sit down.

  23. For some reason, the second and third paragraphs of my last comment (#38) didn’t get italicized. Those were part of the quote from diamondbach.

  24. I’d like to highlight Zyodei’s post (#44), in which he cites a web posting by a man named Mike Pecoraro who claims to have witnessed damage in the basement of one of the WTC buildings before it collapsed. Zyodei says this is the sort of evidence that will always cause him to reject the “official” story.

    Zyodei’s post is interesting because it is a perfect example of the type of mistake I believe many conspiracy theorists make: discounting a mountain of evidence and expert testimony because of one small scrap of seemingly contradictory evidence.

    First, Pecoraro’s testimony appears on an obscure website (apparently a “truther” site, and he appears on others). He could be legit, or he could be a total fake. There is no way to verify who this man is or what his credentials are. For those of us on the outside of the 9/11 Truth movement, it is impossible to take this sort of thing seriously.

    Second, his testimony of damage in the basement may sound suspicious, but it does not confirm or deny anything. Even if it is true, it is one scrap of information that may or may not conflict with the accounts of the many structural engineers who have studied the case. In order to find out, you would have to consult a structural engineer, if you could find one that was willing to seriously consider the unconfirmed report of one unconfirmed witness.

    But for Zyodei, this one unconfirmed account is enough to dismiss *all* the studies by dozens of well-respected structural engineers that have looked into this. That must surely be a lapse of logic. But you see this type of thing over and over again on the “pro-conspiracy” side of the argument — obscure details are given enormous weight while the serious opinions of experts and scientists are dismissed out of hand.

    Thanks, BoingBoing, for hosting (and moderating) a fantastic conversation.

    1. Well, thank you for taking the time to respond.

      I would argue, conversly, that you make 2 of the mistakes that “anti-911-truthers” make.

      1) Dismissing any evidence presented as being isolated and biased, without looking into it further.

      I am not sure if you read the link I suggested. The third link on google for “mike pecoraro” links to “chiefengineer.org”. It is a page for the professional association of building engineers. Hardly a site with an agenda. Did you actually read the story on it?

      And neither is it an isolated fragment of evidence. There were a number of people who were there in the basements at the time who reported a massive, unexplained basement explosion about the same time the plane hit.

      Civilian workers William Rodriguez, Anthony Saltalamacchia, Felipe David, Hursley Lever, Jose Sanchez, and Michelle Scott; along with FDNY Chief Albert Turi, Jr. Lou Cacchioli, Lt. William Walsh are some names of people who gave eyewitness accounts of evidence of some sort of large explosion in the basements or ground floor.

      With one or two exceptions, none of them testified to the 9/11 commission.

      2) Relying on the experts, without citing exactly who they are or what they say.

      I mean really, what could a structural engineer even have to say about why an explosion 1000 feet up would blow up a sub-basement?

      Because their computer models didn’t indicate an explosion in the basement, it must not have happened?

      Also, could you please cite what you mean by “*ALL* of the studies by dozens of structural engineers”? I can think of the NIST, FEMA, and Purdue studies. But only one one of these could be called independent. I believe it’s possible that it could have been destroyed by fire alone, sure…but was it?

      1. Have you ever heard of a fuel-air bomb? Imagine a long tube, made of very solid concrete and over 1,400 feet long, full of air. That’s your elevator shaft. Now add jet fuel (basically kerosene) into it, turned into an aerosol from a catastrophic impact. Then light a match at the top of the tube. What’s going to happen?

        I’m guessing a destroyed machine shop and a crumpled fire door.

        I see absolutely nothing inconsistent about that. Unless you can specifically point out why that wouldn’t be possible, I think you should think about accepting that as possible under the “official story.”

    2. I’d like to reply one more time to Hughelectronic.

      “But for Zyodei, this one unconfirmed account is enough to dismiss *all* the studies by dozens of well-respected structural engineers that have looked into this.”

      As I have highlighted, when he says “*all*” he is essentially referring to ONE. One in depth structural study, that’s all that exists. A black box computer simulation, with questionable variables, that only takes the building to the point where it is “poised” to collapse. Coming from the Bush administration, infamous for stacking scientific panels with favorable scientists.

      Now, it might be true that the engineering community has not come out, as a whole, and challenged this conclusion. But the NIST’s conclusion is not so much outright wrong, as fudged and incomplete. It focuses mainly on making very sound structural and fireproofing recommendations which no engineer would dispute.

      And if engineers don’t have access to the computer model it is based on, how can they refute it?

      I’ve listened to a couple interviews with Dr. Shyam Sunder, the head of the NIST study, and in none of them does he even try to describe how the fully intact structure of the bottom 78 floors, undamaged by either plane or fire, experienced total, instantaneous, symmetrical collapse. He basically says, “the top floors were heavy, and they fell, so it broke the building.”

      In fact, here’s a letter from a manager at NIST. It states two things we might not know about this “comprehensive, conclusive” report.

      1. “With regard to the first request, NIST has stated that it did not analyze the collapse of the towers. NIST’s analysis was carried to the point of collapse initiation. Once the collapse initiated, it is clear from available evidence that that the building was unable to resist the falling mass.” [in response to a question whether they studied whether the absorptive capacity of the remaining structure was enough to withstand the energy of the falling upper stories] (page 4, bottom)

      2. NIST did not find evidence that any of the recovered core columns experienced temperatures above 250 C [due to small sample size]” (page 3, middle)


      And this is the comprehensive report that is supposed to settle all debate about the matter.

      All of that is just an introduction to producing a petition from 28 licensed civil or structural engineers who dispute the official story.


  25. It makes me laugh when people try to equate paranoia with crazyiness. That analysis is totally and utterly flawed.

    “Only the paranoid survive” – Jack Welch

  26. It’s an old joke, but it fits: What’s the best evidence that the WTC attack wasn’t Bush’s doing?

    It worked.

  27. thank you for this article. it elucidates a lot of sentiments i have toward truthers. they might as well be fuckin priests.

    one gripe though: “With its congeries of black sheep constituencies (Alex Jones Libertarian populists, movement leftists, anarchists . . .”

    i don’t know any anarchists who want anything to do with the truthers. in fact, several anarchist infoshops have banned them, as they’re a huge drain on resources and they never shut the fuck up. wanted to clear that up.

  28. remember kids:

    certainty and credulity are inversely related. both sides.

    and watch out for poisoning the well. true believers on either side are fools.

    1. yeah, and it’s not as simple as being “two sided” either, of course. i still have questions, but am not a true believer.

      it is possible that the weight of the taboo leveraged against questioning the official story is what creates the fanatics in the outsider camp. one has to fight to think a forbidden thought, and once that fight is won, one might defend the new territory.

      science serves us well.

      1. Querent: “9/11 was an inside job” isn’t a forbidden thought any more than “babies come from the stork” is.

        “Forbidden thoughts” don’t get made into bumper stickers, and if they did their owners would be pulled over and incarcerated. The U.S.A. has a lot of problems but thought police aren’t high on the list.

  29. I think it would be helpful for Goldwag to write a column expounding on legitimate avenues of 9/11 skepticism. What specific questions have not been answered satisfactorily?

  30. The matter of a large explosion occuring in the WTC (1)? sub-basement at about the time of impact from the plane …why this seems so puzzling puzzles me…whatever forces engineered the attack might have readily ALSO managed to plant explosives in the sub basement – mightn’t they ? Who gets mystified by an illusionist pulling a rabbit out of a hat when they’ve already seen him saw a woman in half ?

  31. Why exactly does the Weather Underground Organization get lumped in with the “Truthers” and “Birthers”? Or the Nation of Islam for that matter?

    Can the author clarify how they share the “paranoid style” of these contemporary groups?

    By adding those two, it seems that the author is dismissing other groups that felt they were responding to objective conditions. Should the Black Panthers be added to the list? Or the civil rights movements that followed Martin Luther King Jr?

    Mostly I would just like some clarification. I don’ think I am exaggerating the author’s logic unfairly, because I do want to find the boundaries of what is a “reasonable” basis from which groups can act. Where paranoid begins exactly (I think I would agree with him on that boundary).

    I also think the historical existence of COINTELPRO, Project Gladio, and other covert and misinformation programs sponsored by our government, makes some feeling of distrust a very rational response.

    How is one to find appropriate boundaries for that feeling if, as the author seems to propose, all channels for response are simply “paranoid”?

    1. One of the Nation of Islam’s foundational documents, OUR SAVIOR HAS ARRIVED by Elijah Muhammad, teaches that “The white race is not equal with darker people because the white race was not created by the God of Righteousness. . . . They were made by Yakub, an original Black Man—who is from the Creator. Yakub, the father of the devil, made the white race, a race of devils—enemies of the darker people of the earth. The white race is not made by nature to accept righteousness.” This suggests that the organization is at least racially exclusive.

      The Weather Manifesto 1, issued after the Greenwich Village explosion, declared “Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don’t do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way.” The Weather Manifesto 2: “Every time the pigs think they’ve stopped us, we come back a little
      stronger and a lot smarter. They guard their buildings and we walk right
      past their guards. They look for us—we get to them first.

      They build the Bank of America, kids burn it down. They outlaw grass, we
      build a culture of life and music.

      The time is now. Political power grows out of a gun, a Molotov, a riot,
      a commune … and from the soul of the people.”

      Disregarding the particulars of their cause, the tone at least suggests a certain separation from society’s mainstream.

      I don’t argue that The Nation of Islam and the Weathermen had a lot of objective things to be angry about; I used them as examples of “closed” systems.

    2. Did I say “all channels for response” are paranoid? I don’t think so… The concern is that the conspiracy theories actually divert energy and resources away from a range of possible political responses.

  32. hi, i’m tom from berlin.
    i’ve read BB for over 9 years now, starting 2000 exactly and i’ve enjoyed it on a daily basis.

    especially the premise of the website, that its a “directory of wonderful things”, with links to interesting pages, trivia, strange/beautiful/interesting stuff, about how to hack this and that and about how important it is to get to the truth, look behind the scene, question authority etc. etc.

    i hope u get my point.

    so here is mr. goldwag writing for BoingBoing.

    “Religious fanatics, political radicals, obsessive fans — the worlds they live in are closed systems, governed by dogmas and articles of faith. Discipline is strictly enforced; members are punished or purged for their lapses in ideological or doctrinal purity. Outsiders are regarded with suspicion and hostility — milquetoast accommodationists who are presumptuous enough to suppose they can make common cause on one issue or another even more so than overt enemies. It’s a pressure cooker — turn up the temperature and you get sectarianism and schisms, higher still and you get witch hunts, show trials, Cultural Revolutions, and Nuremberg laws.”

    so, he writes, that everybody, who is sceptical about
    “the official 9/11 truth” is either:

    1. a truther <--- which reminded me a little bit of the witch-hunt lingo 2. a "Religious fanatic, political radical, obsessive fan" BoingBoing, you can't be serious about this guy. Since when is it, ok for BB writers to offend so many people, including me?

    1. I thought that the main point was that the fanatics stifle and obfuscate serious inquiry into the matter.

      All the energy spent in searching for evidence of thermite in the foundations distracts from looking into the facts that most people can agree on. For example that two huge planes crashed into the buildings without being intercepted for over an hour, or the convenient phone conversations from the planes that were technically improbable to say the least.

  33. One thing that just never passed the smell test for me was this:

    When the planes hit the building, didn’t it make a huge fireball? What percentage of the fuel burned pretty much instantaneously, vaporized in the explosion? How much fuel was left to burn more slowly? And how long would it take? Could it really still be burning after an hour? If it had all burned up, then wouldn’t we be dealing with a more standard carpeting and furniture fire, albeit a widespread one?

    It doesn’t seem like burning a bunch (even 10000 gallons) of jet fuel around a steel frame is a very efficient way to heat it up.

    A couple anomalies here:

    1) That picture of the woman standing in the hole. How could the fire be hot enough to weaken the frame, but not hot enough that a lady could survive nearby?


    2) One fire captain Palmer goes up to the 78th floor, where the plane hit. Does he see a raging inferno, melting the frame? No, he sees numerous civilians alive, is quite calm and collected, and requests TWO firefighters to take care of a couple of isolated blazes. Then the whole place collapses around him. Huh.


    1. See, that’s the thing: you’re going by “smell tests” and gut feelings. Here’s some advice. That doesn’t work. Science works. Folk wisdom and this-just-feels-right are crap, especially when dealing with something of this magnitude.

      I could trot out all sorts of figures and do some back of the envelope calculations, and probably will. But really what matters is that you shouldn’t be basing your opinion of matters of this magnitude upon instincts or feelings. You should be basing it upon measurable data and research.

      In answer to your “how much jet fuel” and “wasn’t it all burned up?” You could have an answer in just a short bit of research. The plane that his the south tower was a 767/222ER, which has a capacity of a little under 25,000 gallons of jet fuel. It doesn’t take much to make an impressive fireball, and if you look at Youtube videos of such you would see that’s the case. A few hundred gallons would make a fireball so huge you wouldn’t believe it. How much would it take to turn an elevator shaft into a fuel-air bomb? Not a lot, honestly. A thermobaric weapon needs a certain range of vapor to air for an ideal explosion. Something around stoichiometric ratio of 14.7:1, or 6.8%, is about right. Probably a little leaner (more air, less fuel) since we’re looking at high heat. Rough guess at air volume in the elevator shaft – 1,400 feet long, 10′ x 10′, would be 140,000 cubic feet, or just over a million gallons of air. To reach a 5% concentration of jet fuel vapor (very important point) would mean about 50,000 gallons of vapor. To convert liquid kerosene to a vapor represents about a 311-times expansion. So how much liquid jet fuel would be required to turn that huge elevator shaft into a devastatingly effective fuel-air bomb?

      161 gallons. Yep, that’s right, 161 gallons aerosolized into that elevator shaft and you have an explosive that would probably level a square block or more of regular houses.

      Are you really doubtful that 161 gallons out of 25,000 would have been able to escape into the elevator shaft? I think it seems really plausible. Likely, in fact.

      And yes, it would have no problem whatsoever destroying a fire door once it ignites. Or leveling a machine shop. The “dissapearing” of a 50-ton press is a red herring – knock it over and cover it with debris and you’ve “disappeared” it.

      1. *Slow-clap*

        Thankyou… seriously thank you dculberson for saying exactly what I thought. You put it better than I could have and you even did the calculations.

        I bestow upon you mad respect.

        Thankyou again.

        Also live52 – I find it amusing whom you consider to be a credible source. A bunch of random people giving their two cents is not research – even if you have thousands of people giving their input.

        Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski, PhD – is clearly not a structural engineer. I would like to know what his PhD is in…. probably something irrelevant. Does this clown known the history of the pentagon? DO YOU!?

        The pentagon was built as a HQ to house WWII intelligence and planning. When it was built, it was assumed that such a huge space would never be required for intelligence during peace-time, so the designs were drawn up to include much much thicker concrete and structural support than required for a standard office-style building. The reason was that the building’s intended post-war use was as a storage facility/warehouse.

        Obviously as WWII drew to a close and the US govt started proverbially shitting their pants at the scary rise of the USSR, the pentagon continued to be used as a building for the intelligence agencies.

        The increased strength purpose-designed into the pentagon is what made the crash appear so different. I refer people who still want to spread misinformation like live52 to the comments of happy mutant “Honour” (#108) in Mr. Goldwag’s last post:

        My brother is a volunteer fireman.
        He was on the roof of the Pentagon on 9/11.
        He says there was a crashed plane.
        _His boot soles melted and stuck to pieces of a crashed plane._
        …In case you think he could somehow have been too pig-ignorant to know the difference between a plane and a missile:
        1: He was a Smokejumper.
        2: Before that, he was in the US Air Force in Vietnam.
        He’s seen hundreds of different planes, and dozens of different missiles. He knows which is which.
        — and he and I _both_ are Conscientious Objectors with no love for Gov’t shenanigans by any or all parties, so don’t bother claiming we’re part of the cover-up.

        As I mentioned in my comments there, it is so funny that tales like these are completely ignored by followers of the truth movement.

        If your rebuttal is about why you have no reason to believe the words of user “Honour” then perhaps you can use this same logic to see why people who tend towards the official story of what went down on 9/11 take the evidence of your ‘experts’ at a grain of salt. Opinion is merely opinion.

        The fact that Capt. Russ Wittenberg admitted he wouldn’t have had the skill to fly a plane into WTC suggests he is just a bad pilot. The original approach for landing that used to be used when flying into Hong Kong was such that the pilot used to have to fly directly towards a mountain and only hook off at the end, in order to properly line up with the runway. On that approach the plane banks *easily* as much as the planes that hit the WTC, so this ‘professional’ pilot’s opinion seems like a bit of creative writing to me.

        1. The captain did NOT say he couldn’t hit the WTC. He was referring to Flight 77, which according to the official story descended 7000 feet in a tight spiral within two minutes and hit the first floor of the Pentagon. He and many other pilots experienced with that aircraft insist that it is quite simply impossible.

          1. When you post in the thread after announcing that you’re not going to post in the thread again, it makes you look pouty.

          2. So true, anti.

            And what does the “truth movement” want? An independent investigation! Is that an unreasonable request?

            No… but the ‘movement’ are hardly going about it in a whole-
            hearted, serious way. This lack of unified desire is what sidelines the truth movement. Writing crap on the internet is not a good way to go about getting another investigation. You have to be somewhere the people and the politicians can’t ignore… the internet basically trains people to ignore stuff (pop-up ads, anyone?).

            I for one have had enough of this discussion. All the lounge room scientists are merely hurting the truth movement’s cause.

            I fully support an independant investigation in 9/11 – merely to put this mess to rest. I’m sure most of the families of those who died as a result of 9/11 would rather the truth movement just STFU as well.

            Unfortunately, I feel that no matter what investigation is undertaken – there is still going to be a group who claims there is a cover-up. Some people have been calling BS on the moon landing since it happened. Some people of the truth movement will likewise never shut up.

            Zyodei posted this link – http://tr.im/EIUy – an article claiming that dust collected from the WTC collapse contained “Thermitic material”. This is perhaps some of the more carfully constructed scientific research of this subject and I am quite impressed, but there are some glaring holes in their scientific process which leads me to distrust the article:

            The destruction of three skyscrapers (WTC 1, 2 and 7) on
            September 11, 2001 was an immensely tragic catastrophe
            that not only impacted thousands of people and families directly, due to injury and loss of life, but also provided the
            motivation for numerous expensive and radical changes in
            domestic and foreign policy. For these and other reasons,
            knowing what really happened that fateful day is of grave

            The language used here and in the rest of the introduction clearly shows that their opinion is biassd before even getting to the science. Ever notice how ‘research’ funded by vested interest usually comes up with the result those vested interests desire?

            It was learned that a number of people had saved samples
            of the copious, dense dust, which spread and settled across
            Manhattan. Several of these people sent portions of their
            samples to members of this research group. This paper discusses
            four separate dust samples collected on or shortly
            after 9/11/2001. Each sample was found to contain red/gray

            Surely scientific process suggests you should test *all* samples – not only those which contain what you are looking for. It’s like trying to prove that everyone is albino by purposefully Seeking out 4 albinos and drawing your conclusion from there. Not good science.

          3. “Ever notice how ‘research’ funded by vested interest usually comes up with the result those vested interests desire?”

            Yes, you certainly make a good point..the exact point I have been trying to make about the NIST study!

            “Surely scientific process suggests you should test *all* samples – not only those which contain what you are looking for.”

            Test all samples? What are you talking about? That’s why they’re called “samples”..you’re saying they should analyze all 10,000 tons of dust? Well, you first ;)

            “It’s like trying to prove that everyone is albino by purposefully Seeking out 4 albinos”

            No, we’re not trying to prove that everyone is albine. We’re trying to prove that albinos EXIST. If you find even ONE albino, then you know that they exist.

            I can’t judge the value of the chemistry in this article. But if it does show there was ANY thermite in the building rubble, it’s damning.

          4. Apparently someone didn’t want a lot of testing done to the buildings’ wreckage and that’s why they took all the debris away as soon as possible but where is it.

            When an airliner crashes they search for every piece that can be found, then reconstruct the aircraft to see what happened, even if it takes years. I’m not saying the towers should be reconstructed but why was there no investigation of the material? Was there something someone didn’t want the public to know about? Sure seems like it.

            Bush opposed an official investigation for over a year.

          5. “that’s why they took all the debris away as soon as possible”

            That’s making quite a leap of assumptions. When a crime-scene is restricted to a single apartment or house it may be possible for the police to claim priority over the spot and preserve the form for some time while investigations continue. With a mess created in the heart of New York like occurred on 911, there is a prompt necessity to get things cleaned up as swiftly as possible so that one of the major financial capitals in the world can start functioning again. It took until May 2002 to remove all of the steel and the steel was examined in the process. But there was a real pressure to clean things up.

          6. Yes, you certainly make a good point..the exact point I have been trying to make about the NIST study!

            I’m sorry but I can confidently say that the scope of the NIST study (whilst perhaps not optimal) is far greater than the one which studied 4 samples of dust.

            Test all samples? What are you talking about? That’s why they’re called “samples”..you’re saying they should analyze all 10,000 tons of dust? Well, you first ;)

            Good scientific process suggests that “samples” should be chosen randomly, or at least evenly spread across a range. Not specifically chosen because of their contents.

            No, we’re not trying to prove that everyone is albine. We’re trying to prove that albinos EXIST. If you find even ONE albino, then you know that they exist.
            OK good… I could have told you thermite existed before 9/11… whats your point?

            I can’t judge the value of the chemistry in this article. But if it does show there was ANY thermite in the building rubble, it’s damning.
            Nor can I judge the chemistry, because I certainly didnt study it in university. What I can say, however, is that iron oxide (rust) and aluminium – the most simple constituents of thermite are commonly found throughout any city. What if this evidence merely suggests there was iron oxide and aluminium present?

            As I said – I am not going to make a judgement call on the chemistry… but the introduction shows a clear bias which immediately leads the reader to discredit anything following. Science is suppoed to be objective.

          7. I don’t know what the scope of the relative studies has to do with anything…but I can say with 100% certainty that NIST did not spend ANY time, not one minute, analyzing the debris for explosive residue. It says so right on the NIST web site.

            To the first point, if I am looking for the presence of albinos in, say, Alaska – yes, I will specifically search out those Alaskan populations that have albinos. We’re not trying to determine the proportion of albinos, but rather the existence of them. If thermite did indeed exist in the debris from the building, it had no good reason to be there. Thermite is not a common household substance, it wouldn’t just randomly show up in the debris from the WTC, or on the streets around the city. It’s a bit of a cop out to cite the presenter’s bias without considering the evidence he presents.

            As to your second point, whether what it found was really conclusive proof of thermite – well, I really can’t judge that, and you may be right that what they found could be explained by other factors in an urban environment. I would appreciate any readers who do have a chemistry background to go look at #108 above and tell me what you think.

          8. “Thermite is not a common household substance”

            Aluminum and iron rust were common substances in the WTC, and they do have the capacity to form thermite in the aftermath of something like a building collapse which compresses materials together with enormous force and density. Whether or not that accounts for the specific samples claimed by Jones et al, … well one argument made in support of the paint-explanation is that some of the variations in the samples look a bit like what you might expect if a paint was not very well stirred and certain elements had settled to the bottom of a paint can. That would tend to create some variations that could mirror variations in the reported samples. Alternatively, it might be that each of these samples was simply formed separately through different processes. At this point it’s a highly specialized question which I’m not qualified to advance with. But be wary of discounting the variations among the samples, as too many truthers too easily do. The general presence of some thermite in the ruins can easily be accounted for as a consequence of the collapses and the composition materials involved. Determining the source of these specific samples claimed is a more detailed problem.

          9. Thank you for your well reasoned reply, 154.

            Yes, it’s absolutely true that the “9/11 reinvestigation movement” needs to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of the arguments it brings up as relevant. And yes, whether their overall theory is true or not, there are many either false or unconvincing arguments that some truthers refuse to admit they were wrong in supporting and let die.

          10. “Aluminum and iron rust were common substances in the WTC”

            While this is true to some extent, little chips with alternating microscopic layers of iron oxide and aluminium (i.e. some kind of nano thermite) is not something you have in a building. I find it hard to believe that they would somehow be created during a building collapse. And there’s supposed to be microscopic iron spheres in the dust, something you get when burning thermite.

            The analysed dust where indeed from a limited set of samples. You could suspect someone planted thermite in them before sending them to the lab? But the logical thing to do would be to analyse more samples, not ignore it.

            I’m not entirely convinced about the bomb theory, but I think there is enough to do further investigations.

            And again, what we should be asking ourselves isn’t whether the conspiracy theories are true or not (obviously some of them are far out), but whether there is something wrong with the official story (I think there is enough indication of that).

          11. Posters in this discussion are defining “truther” as someone who disagrees with all or part of the official 9/11 story. That is a fundamental logical fallacy. The people on the page I linked to are NOT offering any overall theories. They explain which part(s) of the official story they disagree with, or what they witnessed, give their credentials and they all call for a new and independent investigation of 9/11. They offer NO theories.

            Teapot refers to them as a “random” group of people. The group includes two generals (one four-star and one three-star), the Director of the FBI from ’93 to 2000, several congressmen and senators, career CIA officers, former cabinet members, the advisor on terrorism for Carter, Reagan and GHW Bush, structural engineers, architects, scientists.

            You dare to label these people as truthers and mock them? Most have devoted their careers, their lives to public service.

            To be sure they knew that many, like some of you, would laugh at them, but something drove them to publicly call for a new and independent investigation. I believe most spoke out because they felt it was their duty as citizens.

            Why are most of those people retired? Because if you are in mid-career you do not want to be labelled as kooks, fired and mocked by the likes of you.

            Those people aren’t “truthers,” they are your fellow citizens who felt it was their duty to speak out.

            How dare you mock them?

      2. This will probably be jumped on by both sides and in between-ers but this book which I happened to only read the first few pages of the other day seemed appropriate to mention…. right, wrong or whatever.

        Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

      3. Well, you may be right. It may be possible that the elevator shaft acted as an air-fuel bomb.

        However, the damage doesn’t seem consistent with this: you would expect there to be significant fire damage if that were the case. Video of the lobby before the collapse showed all the windows out, dislodged marble, but no fire damage whatsoever.

        However, it is certainly possible that the “basement explosions” is a red herring. The question remains, of course, why this was never investigated – none of the official accounts even acknowledge the basement/lobby damage, to the best of my knowledge.

        The real meat of my comment there was, where did the heat to weaken the structure come from? It seems it could not have come from the fuel alone; then was there enough fuel in the building itself to collapse the structure?

        “The time to consume the jet fuel can be reasonably computed. At the upper bound, if one assumes that all 10,000 gallons of fuel were evenly spread across a single building floor, it would form a pool that would be consumed by fire in less than 5 minutes” – FEMA report.

        So, the fuel burns up in a few minutes. It heats everything up dramatically. It sets everything on fire. But then, there is an hour for the excess heat from the fuel to dissipate, and for the temperature to reduce to the level of the office and structure fire. In the core, there is very little material to burn – elevator shafts and concrete fire escapes. Did this cause enough heat to collapse the building?

        Feel free to take a look at and refute this back of the napkin math. Note that the range of the 767-200ER in question was almost 9000 miles (from wikipedia), so it would only be carrying maybe 10,000 gallons of its 25,000 gallon capacity for a 3,000 miles trip. FEMA estimated there were 3,500 gallons of non-aerosolized fuel left to burn, and that is what this estimate is based on.


        Now, you might simply say to consult the NIST report, the most comprehensive report on the subject. But the problem is, the NIST report was basically an exercise in fitting a computer model to a provided hypothesis.

        “The Investigation Team then defined three cases for each building by combining the middle, less severe, and more severe values of the influential variables. Upon a preliminary examination of the middle cases, it became clear that the towers would likely remain standing. The less
        severe cases were discarded after the aircraft impact results were compared to observed events.
        The middle cases .. were discarded afterthe structural response analysis of major subsystems were compared to observed events… To the extent that the simulations deviated from the photographic evidence or eyewitness reports [e.g., complete collapse occurred], the investigators adjusted the input, but only within the range of physical reality. Thus, for instance,…the pulling forces on the perimeter columns by the sagging floors were adjusted…” (NIST, 2005, p. 142; emphasis added.)

        So, when people say to refer to the “conclusive NIST report”, they are referring to a black box computer model that was designed to show the viability of a given hypothesis.

        Stumbled upon this video. It makes interesting viewing. Various first hand accounts of explosions on the day:

        1. > Well, you may be right. It may be possible that the elevator shaft acted as an air-fuel bomb.

          I am not sure that makes sense though. FAE calculations, ok, but I think those assume “aerosolized” i.e. carburettor type mixing, through the whole volume? What’s the mechanism for that, and wouldn’t the elevator car block the shaft somewhere?

          Also, there are two sets of impact times, one based on seismic data, the other on FAA records. The page here has info on that, with some from Rodriguez:

          “Just seconds later there was another explosion way above which made the building oscillate momentarily.”

    2. “If it had all burned up, then wouldn’t we be dealing with a more standard carpeting and furniture fire, albeit a widespread one?”

      Not quite. Another important distinction would have been that the sprinkler system in the buildings would have been crippled by the attack. In a standard office fire one usually assumes that the fire safety system is in operation. The fire is then easier to tame.

  34. Cocktail Recipe for Gasbaggery.

    Start with a heaping tablespoon of forced gravitas via a sweeping Hofstadter quote (which, like a horoscope reading, can apply to almost anyone it’s aimed at. EFF? Check. Eisenhower during his MIC speech? Check. JFK? Check. People who suspected there were no WMDs in Iraq? Check. Al Gore? Check. Amnesty? Check.).

    Add 2 cups of awkward condescension (awkward because there’s no “there there” in this article, no actual platform from which to look down on the subjects being analyzed. Author seems like a peer of those he is mocking, inflating his own position via hamhanded association with Hofstadter and Chomsky rather than through an original idea or perspective).

    Top up with random analogies (Maria Callas?)

    Add a dash of false guilt by association (not everyone who challenges the official version listens to Alex Jones, and most of the comparisons are either ridiculous or offensive or both.)

    Strain of ingredients which might change the desired flavor, such as the opinions of insiders and experts which don’t toe the line with the official narrative.

    Conclude, blithely confident that something profound has been stated.

    Name of cocktail: the Ad Hominem

    1. > gravitas, condescension

      Antinous, I am going to apologize for only posting “rotflol, agree agree” in reply to this one earlier. Let me try and explain a bit there.

      Have been reading boing boing for a while now, I thought ‘Little Brother’ was great, a huge statement. So when I saw the 911 thing here I was kinda thinking, ok, some sort of seashell plus motor plus pringles can hack has uncovered new evidence and it’ll be really interesting.

      But, as I said, I am agreeing with chandler here. Trying to figure out which trolls not to feed, sort of thing.

  35. If there was in fact a massive conspiracy, how did the perpetrators manage to keep everyone who had a role in the conspiracy, of which there would have been many thousands, quiet? Surely by now at least one person would have had a pang of conscience about murdering several thousand people. Yet to my knowledge not one person has come forward to acknowledge any role in this, even with peripheral involvement. No deathbed confessions, no anonymous letters to the press or 9/11 truthers. No one saying that they saw crews of workmen cutting into the walls of the buildings on every floor to gain access to the building structure, no airline agent questioning that the flights ID’d as being involved were not real flights, no engineer who had ever been consulted about how to demolish the buildings, no statement from anyone about a missing cruise missile, no one among the thousands of people related to those who died on the planes ever coming forward and saying that no, their relative was not actually killed in a plane crash that day.

    Not one.

    1. > how did the perpetrators manage to keep everyone who had a role in the conspiracy, of which there would have been many thousands, quiet?

      It’s probably hundreds, not thousands? And, try doing a search on “patriot act”, or “gag order”, ? Didn’t the patriot act include a clause about not even being able to state that you had received notice?

      And that’s just considering the people who weren’t directly involved, who didn’t have security clearance or sworn oaths or whatever.

      Compartmentalization of information procedures are something else to think about there, right?

      1. Didn’t the patriot act include a clause about not even being able to state that you had received notice?

        Then find the clause and quote it. Otherwise, you’re just blithering.

        1. Ok, not a problem, I thought this would be common knowledge.


          Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the FBI can seek an order requiring the production of “any tangible thing” — which the law says includes books, records, papers, documents and other items — from anyone for investigations involving foreign intelligence or international terrorism. The person or business receiving the order cannot tell anyone that the FBI sought or obtained the “tangible things.”

    2. One of the negative effects of many of the more outlandish conspiracy theories is that they increase the necessary number of participants.

      Taking an Occam’s Razor approach – supposing, for instance, remote control (or computer control) devices installed in the planes, I don’t think there need be more than 100 active conspirators, and maybe a lot less.

      Most of the rest would be controlled with selective information, they would think they are doing right.

      But why would any of the conspirators come forward, anyway?

      Knowing they would be financially ruined and imperil their families, and probably ignore by the media as wackos, what would they have to gain?

      I mean, the CIA has been pulling all kinds of shit for 50 years, killing all kinds of people. If you read what they did in, say, Guatemala or Indonesia, it was some really cruel and heartless stuff. Much greater loss of life than 9/11.

      But how many CIA agents have come forward to confess to playing a part in it?

      1. so….are you now arguing that there were not explosives in the buildings, just remotely controlled airliners? Just a hundred people? Do you think there were people on the planes, or is all that family grief mocked up as well?

        I would point out to you that almost all of the acts carried out by the CIA that you mention were largely common knowledge shortly after they occurred, even if official recognition took much longer, and none of them involved the mass murder of American Citizens. It may surprise you that many, if not most, of the people at the CIA are not sociopaths, do what they do because they are patriots after their own fashion, are not political creatures of any stripe, and have no direct ties to any administration.

        You would have me believe that this still secret plan was hatched by the administration and transmitted to the vilest, most amoral people in the CIA without raising the suspicions of anyone in the CIA who might object to the mass murder of Americans for some twisted brand of neo-con ideology, who then managed to conduct an operation far more technically challenging than simply flying an airplane into a building, all without raising the suspicions of any of the non-murderously psychopathic members of the wider intelligence community?

        Your suggestions still exceed the bounds of credulity.

        1. No zyodei is saying that the official story is hard to believe. Something I agree with. The current debates focus is on anti-semitic nutjobs who claim everything is a jewish conspiracy when, the real focus should be on finding out what is wrong with the official story. What’s happening right now is that anyone questioning the official story is being labelled a nutjob. This is the real danger.

          (And your comment about CIA makes it sound as if mass murder of innocent non-americans somehow does not make you a sociopath?! Im sure Hitler thought he was being a patriot as well. If you can murder non-americans for your twisted sense of patriotism, you can murder americans as well, because human life has no value to you.)

          As zyodei said: “The range of debate on 9/11 ought to be from ‘Is the administration covering up it’s gross incompetence’ to ‘did the government do it?'”.

          1. The current debates focus is on anti-semitic nutjobs who claim everything is a jewish conspiracy when, the real focus should be on finding out what is wrong with the official story.

            A quick perusal of the last century suggests to me that “anti-semitic nutjobs who claim everything is a jewish conspiracy” are a bigger danger than government conspiracies. At least until they take over the government because you discounted their influence. At that point, they become indistinguishable, and you’ve achieved your mission.

          2. I completely agree with you that antisemitic nutjobs are a real danger, but in this particular case I don’t think there is any conceivable danger of them taking “over the government”. And blindly believing what authority tells you is part of how they got into power the last time, that is why it’s so important to be sceptical and keep an open mind.

          3. I am not trying to justify the past actions of the CIA, but none of the acts mentioned were about committing the mass murders of anyone, but were about putting in or propping up anti-communist governments (read right wing dictatorships) in the countries mentioned within the context of the cold war. If you will recall, the CIA was also gutted and effectively neutered in the 70’s as a result of those acts…and rightly so. The simplistic CIA=evil formula is a flawed reductio ad absurdum argument of the far more complex reality that exists to create a cartoon boogeyman capable of any act, and that is simply not true.

            nice godwin, btw

          4. Alright, but the ‘CIA does not equal evil’ argument is a straw man, since no one has been making that argument. Sorry ’bout the godwin but thinking of patriotic warmongering mass murderers brought hitler to mind.

  36. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    If wacky conspiracy theories distract the public from legitimate debate, would it be gauche of me to suggest that wacky conspiracy theories are, themselves, part of a government conspiracy to distract us from the real issues? Perhaps the Birthers are a conspiracy propagated by the White House in order to distract us from the horrible Truth: the fact that Obama is actually the bi-racial child of immigrants. We don’t want people talking about race and immigration, here. That could get too close to reality. Much better for them to talk about birth certificates and social security numbers. Truthers are goaded by government agents so that we are more concerned with architecture than with American foreign policy! They’re trying to keep us silent by distracting us with shiny things! You’re playing right into their hands!

  37. And that’s just considering the people who weren’t directly involved, who didn’t have security clearance or sworn oaths or whatever.

    Compartmentalization of information procedures are something else to think about there, right?

    The oath taken by members of the military include the phrase “defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. No person capable of thought would consider this act as anything other than an attack by an enemy, foreign or domestic. Security clearances do not abrogate the humanity of the person holding them.

    Your point about compartmentalization of information is absurd. If you, someone who is not involved in the act, can figure out that what they did was part of a government conspiracy to commit the greatest crime ever committed, do you really believe that those involved are too stupid to figure it out also?

    Mr Goldwags point about not being able to see the forest for the trees is particularly apt.

    Chandler, an ad hominem attack would have the structure:

    You make a claim for a conspiracy. You are nuts. Therefore your claim of conspiracy is invalid.

    The structure of the argument made is this:

    You make a claim for a conspiracy. Mountains of evidence contradict your claim. Therefore your claim of conspiracy is invalid. Additionally, your dogged adherence to a claim that has been soundly discredited points to some personal issue on your part.

    See the difference?

  38. > someone who is not involved in the act, can figure out that what they did

    No, I think your original point was, how is it possible that everyone involved is keeping quiet.

    >> how did the perpetrators manage to keep everyone who had a role in the conspiracy, of which there would have been many thousands, quiet?

    So if person A does not tell person B something, then it’s irrelevant what person C might figure out.

    >> not one person has come forward to acknowledge any role

    > someone who is not involved in the act, can figure out that what they did

    Those are two different things, I think?

    1. I’ll see your compartmentalization and raise you some wagging tongues, gossip, leaks, whatever. People talk: it’s simple.

      Think of it this way: if the crazy conspiracy theories put forth by Truthers are so damn fascinating to so many, than how could they be suppressed if true? This in a world where any tiny bit of information, sex or money gossip, tidbits about our friends, etc., gets disseminated faster than the speed of light. Oh, and in the age of the Internet. I mean, really.

      1. Agreed.

        A decade ago, the president got blown by an intern inside the oval office with no witnesses and yet *still* the word got out.

        A few years later, hundreds (or thousands) of civilian and military people representing a massive cross-section of American society are all capable of keeping mum on the subject of a series of massive controlled demolitions that would affect their loved ones, friends and communities?

        Check. Wow — people can accomplish a let when they put their minds to it.

        Arthur, I’ll be sad to see you go — I wish you were on boingboing’s permanent staff.

    2. Sigh. I really should know better than to respond as it appears you are being deliberately obtuse, but I’ll take you by the hand and walk you through this one more time.

      Truthers believe there is a massive conspiracy. It seems unreasonable that not one of the thousands purportedly involved has made so much as a peep about their involvement, even anonymously. You assert that this is because they have either “taken an oath” or because there was compartmentalization within the conspiracy that would prevent those involved from being aware they were involved. My response is that 1) the oaths taken by the military would tend to drive someone to blow the whistle, not perpetuate the conspiracy, and that 2) even if there was compartmentalization someone secretly tasked with one of the myriad activities required to pull off this very complicated deception is unlikely to be so stupid as to not connect the dots and realize they were a part of this crime, and these people would be even more likely to say something about what they had been asked to do since they were not privy to the whole conspiracy in the first place.

  39. It’s probably hundreds, not thousands? And, try doing a search on “patriot act”, or “gag order”, ? Didn’t the patriot act include a clause about not even being able to state that you had received notice?

    Any conspiracy involving thousands (or even just hundreds) of people has only two possibilities:

    1) The vast number of people involved had no idea they were part of a plot to murder thousands of their fellow countrymen.

    The problem here is that even if it was possible to keep the overall plan secret during the setup, it would be impossible to keep people from figuring out what had happened after the plan had been carried out. Don’t you think that the demolitions experts who set the explosives in the WTC would put two and two together after the towers fell?

    2) Thousands (or at least hundreds) of people knowingly took part in the murder of thousands of their countrymen.

    Think about how difficult it would be to find one person willing to murder thousands of civilians. Now multiply that difficulty by several orders of magnitude. Keep in mind that there’s a good chance that any one conspirator could turn your offer down- or take the offer and blab anyway. You’d need an army of ultra-loyal sociopaths with zero margin for error.

    Oh, but you say- trained military professionals would do it and keep the secret forever out of blind loyalty to their superiors. Bullshit. When G.W. Bush assembled his cabinet his main criteria was loyalty, and most of his former confidants have now written tell-all books explaining what a shitty President he was to the 1% of Americans who didn’t already know.

    It’s true that the “Patriot Act” has some power to suppress speech, but that doesn’t mean it could keep something of this magnitude secret. For one thing it didn’t become law until AFTER 9/11. For another, it may surprise you that people tend to violate laws they find unjust. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act out of principle, don’t you think someone who swore an oath to defend the Constitution might be persuaded to speak out against a mass murder perpetrated against his peers?

  40. It’s firewalled to non-subscribers, but I just stumbled on a piece that I’d forgotten about that Nicolas Lemann published in The New Yorker in October, 2006. It’s called “The Paranoid Style,” and it covers a wide range of 9/11/Iraq war books and documentaries, including Loose Change, Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse, and Robert Greenwald’s Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War.

    He’s respectful to some of the material (not Loose Change), but he notes that some of it “treats correlation as causation.” Tragedy, he concludes, is “more profound if it is permitted to entail not just malignancy but also people screwing up.”

  41. “There was a dearth of visible debris on the relatively unmarked [Pentagon] lawn, where I stood only minutes after the impact. Beyond this strange absence of airliner debris, there was no sign of the kind of damage to the Pentagon structure one would expect from the impact of a large airliner. This visible evidence or lack thereof may also have been apparent to the secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld], who in an unfortunate slip of the tongue referred to the aircraft that slammed into the Pentagon as a “missile”.

    I saw nothing of significance at the point of impact – no airplane metal or cargo debris was blowing on the lawn in front of the damaged building as smoke billowed from within the Pentagon. … all of us staring at the Pentagon that morning were indeed looking for such debris, but what we expected to see was not evident.

    The same is true with regard to the kind of damage we expected. … But I did not see this kind of damage. Rather, the facade had a rather small hole, no larger than 20 feet in diameter. Although this facade later collapsed, it remained standing for 30 or 40 minutes, with the roof line remaining relatively straight.

    The scene, in short, was not what I would have expected from a strike by a large jetliner. It was, however, exactly what one would expect if a missile had struck the Pentagon. … ”

    Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret) – Former Political-Military Affairs Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Also served on the staff of the Director of the National Security Agency. 20-year Air Force career. Member adjunct faculty, Political Science Department, James Madison University. Instructor, University of Maryland University College and American Public University System. Author of African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future (2000) and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions (2001).

    This statement and hundreds of others by US military, intelligence, law enforcement, engineers, etc. can be seen at:


  42. “I flew the two actual aircraft which were involved in 9/11; the Fight number 175 and Flight 93, the 757 that allegedly went down in Shanksville and Flight 175 is the aircraft that’s alleged to have hit the South Tower. I don’t believe it’s possible for, like I said, for a terrorist, a so-called terrorist to train on a [Cessna] 172, then jump in a cockpit of a 757-767 class cockpit, and vertical navigate the aircraft, lateral navigate the aircraft, and fly the airplane at speeds exceeding it’s design limit speed by well over 100 knots, make high-speed high-banked turns, exceeding — pulling probably 5, 6, 7 G’s. And the aircraft would literally fall out of the sky. I couldn’t do it and I’m absolutely positive they couldn’t do it.”

    Statement by:

    Capt. Russ Wittenberg, U.S. Air Force – Former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot with over 100 combat missions. Retired commercial pilot. Flew for Pan Am and United Airlines for 35 years. Aircraft flown: Boeing 707, 720, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777. 30,000+ total hours flown. Had previously flown the actual two United Airlines aircraft that were hijacked on 9/11 (Flight 93, which impacted in Pennsylvania, and Flight 175, the second plane to hit the WTC).

    1. live52,

      Please don’t link to the same website twice in one thread. And your other link was unrelated to the subject.

  43. The subject seems to be how “truthers” are paranoid and delusional. I quoted statements made by people who, according to many participants in this discussion, fit that description precisely.

    Rest assured, I will not post in the thread again.

  44. It;s fairly simple. You can’t falsify a truther’s beliefs. No matter what they either find a way to rationalize evidence against them or dismiss it out of hand. That really tells you something about their rationality.

  45. If there was a conspiracy to perpetrate a false flag attack resembling the events on September 11, 2001, and it took less than 100 person’s DIRECT involvement to carry it out, would that really matter?

    And why an attack like this?

    Perhaps to invite the largest and most powerful military history has ever known to invade and initiate some type of epic holy war? Or provide proper motivation and direction for a large mass of people to serve the most powerful in aims contrary to their own best interests.

    “History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes.”

  46. Anyone who thinks that it took a government conspiracy involving the murder of thousands of people (and a cover-up involving thousands more) to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq…doesn’t realize that the American people have never been especially skeptical when our government tells us it’s time to go to war.

  47. “We to this day don’t know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us,” said Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor who led the commission. “It was just so far from the truth. . . . It’s one of those loose ends that never got tied.”

    “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described,” John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general who led the staff inquiry into events on Sept. 11, said in a recent interview. “The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years. . . . This is not spin. This is not true.”

    -Washington Post, August 2nd, 2006

  48. Oh, one more link. From a peer reviewed Journal (albeit a relatively new and obscure one)

    It claims to have found unexploded nano-thermite examining debris from 9/11.

    Anyone with the physics or chemistry background to confirm or refute this?

    “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe” – The Open Chemical Physics Journal


  49. To go along with the last link, here is an Appendix of the FEMA report showing unexplained, aberrant molecular changes in the steel, that weakened them dramatically. A “liquid eutectic mixture” is found that is high in iron, oxygen, and sulfur.

    This molecular change is consistent with the thermite/covert demolition hypothesis. It is unexplained and ignored in the NIST report. After it was published, it was, to the best of my knowledge, forgotten about.


  50. I only have 2 very short clips for you

    Larry Silverstein says he made the choice to “PULL” WTC7
    When Mr. Silverstein was recounting these events for a television documentary he stated, “I said, you know, we’ve had such terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it.”


    Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 commission.

    Mineta: “During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President…the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!??”

    What more evidence do you need to prove that people have lied?… and those lies cost the lives of more than 1000 people.

    1. > When Mr. Silverstein was recounting these events for a television documentary he stated, “I said, you know, we’ve had such terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it.”

      Hopefully you’ve realized by now that the only plausible meaning to such a sentence would have been to withdraw the firefighters. The phrase “pull it” can sometimes come up in the context of building demolitions where the method used is to attach cables to the structure and then pull it down:


      That obviously wasn’t done with WTC 7, so Silverstein wouldn’t be describing anything having to do with demolition here. If this conversation really took place, then Silverstein must have been suggesting that firefighters withdraw from trying to contain the fire. But Silverstein may have just made this to exaggerate his own importance. It’s actually doubtful that a professional firechief assigned the job of dealing with major fires would really consult a non-professional like Silverstein about any major decisions. More plausible is that Silverstein made up a story to suggest that he played a role in the decision-making process to withdraw the firefighters and give up on the fire, and in the process of making such a story up Silverstein put his foot in his mouth in a way which truthers will make sure he regrets for the rest of his life.

  51. Problem for fundamentalists on both “sides” is that they are biased one way or another. You always have to keep an open mind, and try to think for yourself.

    I agree that many of the “truth movements” facts are far out, but you would have to be equally big a fool not to see that 9/11 is strange for many different reasons.

    Some of the conspiracy theorists proofs feels like smoke screens though. It wouldn’t take a bomb to make this a red flag operation. All one would have to do is look the other way when your pet terrorists are heading to the airport. Maybe you funded and gave them the plan yourself; or you just picked a suitable group and helped them on the way and made sure they didn’t get caught.

    If you were really clever (or lucky?) you would have a group of people spread false facts afterwards. Things to keep the attention away from the real evidence.

    It doesn’t help that the whole thing was so convenient for the administration. The fact that they have been outright lying about so many other things doesn’t make it better. (e.g. claiming there was proof of Saddam having WMDs)

    What was the point in starting a war against Afghanistan? To find one guy in the mountains that might have had something to do with the attack?! That would be insanely stupid. Not to mention the war against Iraq. From a strategic perspective (economic and geopolitical) it makes perfect sense though.

    That doesn’t prove it’s a conspiracy of course, but the point is, some of it could be true, or something else might have been going on that we can’t even think of.

    And what does the “truth movement” want? An independent investigation! Is that an unreasonable request?

  52. The lynchpin in a stunt as dramatic as this (if, indeed, some variety of the “inside job” hypothesis is correct) is that it is so audacious, that it is simply unbelievable. The average person could simply not believe it could be possible, no matter what evidence is presented. People don’t like admitting they were wrong, or that they accepted a lie they were told; and so the first story that is installed in the mass consciousness is very difficult to dislodge.

    Look, for instance, at all the neocons who still claim that Iraq definitely had WMDs, all stashed off in Syria somewhere. No amount of evidence could supplant that.

    This article highlights why the ruse would be so successful with intelligent, educated people. Three things can be said about the 9/11 truth movement:

    1) It has been represented, at least to some degree, by people with wild theories about how the world works, that are completely contrary to what is popularly understood (for instance, the banking families orchestrated all wars of the 20th century and funded all sides, etc.)

    2) It has been used by some (a small minority) with virulently anti-semetic leanings to support their case.

    3) Many (at lesat 80%) of the theories presented were outrageous and preposterous (for instance, the “no planes” theory expressed by one of the few 9/11 truthers allowed to go on nationwide television, Morgan Reynolds), or simply wrong and factually disprovable.

    As a result repeated exposure to these three factors, many rational intelligent come to emotionally associate any sort of “9/11 truther” as a dangerous nutjob, who thinks the world is controlled by either Jews or reptiles.

    To even consider the ideas is to duck to the same level as people we find anathema. It becomes impossible. We shun those otherwise respectable people who have ducked to the level of these paranoid folks and actually believe this nonsense, who reject the scientific consensus.

    And yet, what is the scientific consensus? What is the evidence we base our certainty on? In terms of the collapse of the WTC, it seems to be based on ONE single government study, that didn’t examine the debris at all, relying instead on a single computer model demonstrating, after fiddling with the variables, that a collapse was conveivably possible.

    Thus, articles like this: That seek to debunk “9/11” not by addressing any of the arguments made (although Arthur did a couple times in the comments), but rather by making broad characterizations and associations about those who give credence to these theories.

    The range of debate on 9/11 ought to be from “Is the administration covering up it’s gross incompetence” to “did the government do it?”

    It’s interesting to note, that on this site, which probably draws an above average intelligence readership, there are very few actual “theories” about what happened or who did it. There are a lot of questions and presentations of evidence that doesn’t seem to sync with the official story, and earnest refutations of those bits of evidence. This is generally what a debate like this ought to look like.

    For me, the official 9/11 story is possible. But it’s just hugely unlikely. Million to one odds unlikely. There are just too many long, long shots and first hand accounts that just don’t square with the official story-Barry Jennings is another compelling one of these. There simply must be a more plausible explanation than what we are asked to believe.

    1. “People don’t like admitting they were wrong, or that they accepted a lie they were told; and so the first story that is installed in the mass consciousness is very difficult to dislodge.”

      Good point. Here’s what Carl Sagan had to say on the subject:

      One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. -Carl Sagan

    2. “People don’t like admitting they were wrong”

      While that’s true, it slices in all directions. It’s amazing the number of truthers who still insist that Silverstein was admitting by a slip of the tongue to blowing up WTC 7 when he asserted that he had said something like “pull it.” Too many truthers tend to throw out statements like the above as if it self-evidently could only be true of those who reject whatever their own personal favorite theory of the moment may be.

  53. No, again, it wouldn’t take many people to put explosives in the building – particularly given enough time, and/or assuming they used some sort of exotic demolition techniques that were wireless or used some type of military technology. It’s conceivable, for instance, to disguise explosive devices as some innocuous office building adornment. Like a fire extinguisher, or some random locked box on the wall. There were 24 vacant floors, and many vacant offices, at the time of the collapse, and the security company in charge of the WTC had supposedly been chaired for several years by Marvin Bush.

    Seriously, in terms of operations, I don’t think it would have taken more than ten guys.

    You don’t it’s possible to find 10 Americans willing to kill scores of people and keep quiet about it for some massive payout?

    We’ve had public questioning of 9/11 basically since the day it happened. But, it is much easier to believe that these sort of folks might kill a bunch of Guatemalan peasants, or a bunch of Iraqis for that matter, than a bunch of Americans.

    Another possibility is that it was carried out operationally by Mossad agents, who believed that they were acting to protect the very existence of their homeland in doing so.

    I think one factor in any level headed “911 truth” theory is that we simply don’t know WHO the hell did it.

    1. You don’t it’s possible to find 10 Americans willing to kill scores of people and keep quiet about it for some massive payout?

      No, I think you probably could find 10 people willing to commit mass murder for money, but I think it far less likely that those people would have the demolition skills necessary to to secretly wire an occupied building for implosion demolition when the actual people who do such demolitions professionally need to put the explosives directly on the steel structure of the building, remove as much of the building structure as possible prior to the demolition, and have never deliberately collapsed a structure from the top down. And those demolitions fail at a significant rate even with unfettered access to the structure. Evil supermen with mad, unprecedented demolition skills are also a bit hard to swallow.

      It seems far more plausible to me that the events occurred largely as the standard explanation would have them, and that this wildly chaotic situation produced a number of strange events that will forever remain unexplained because we do not have a complete picture of all of the details of the tragedy, and never will.

      And if we do indeed live in the twilight zone and there is a conspiracy capable of secretly pulling this off, is it reasonable that any amount of investigation will uncover it, barring some member of the conspiracy coming forward?

  54. OK, so we would have been dealing with a more severe carpeting and furniture fire.

    Still, how would it have been able to bring the buildings down in less than an hour? It takes both time and heat to weaken steel.

    For instance, there was a steel skyscraper in Madrid that collapsed due to fire. But the fire burned for several hours, and it was truly a raging, terrifying inferno. The flames touched the sky. Even then, it failed sequentially, piece by piece.

    In contrast, particularly the WTC2 fire seemed well under control. At the time it collapsed, there weren’t even ANY visible flames. Just black, suffocated smoke. It wasn’t a raging inferno, it was smoldering.

    Of course, you might say that the Madrid building wasn’t hit by a plane. But the WTC was specifically designed to be hit with a fully fueled jet roughly the size of the one that did hit it.

    If it collapsed in a pancake style, how did the pancaking take down the interior columns as well? Why did it fall all three buildings fall in a symmetrical manner after being damaged assymetrically?

    1. “Of course, you might say that the Madrid building wasn’t hit by a plane.”

      Not merely that. The Madrid building did in fact have a concrete core.


      It was not a purely steel-framed building, as the WTC buildings were. So we have a steel-framed structure that is damaged significantly by plane-crashes in 2 out of the 3 cases, with some flying debris from the first 2 collapses clearly having some impact on the 3rd structure which collapses much later anyway. We have fires which then burn off of the office contents apart from any jet-fuel, while the sprinkler systems fail to function as they would normally. The buildings that were hit by the planes directly collapse in the early part of the day while the last one collapses after fires have been raging for the whole day. Not as odd as it might seem at first.

    2. “But the WTC was specifically designed to be hit with a fully fueled jet roughly the size of the one that did hit it.”

      To the extent that there is some truth in that, you need to realize that the assumption in the design model was for a stray plane lost in fog to accidentally hit the towers. That is very different from a deliberate head-on ramming carried out with the intent of inflicting maximum damage. Moreover, the modeling tools such as existed at that time were primitive by our standards today. Today they can draw up a range of computer models which are designed for different scenarios starting from a lost glider plane that mistakenly hits the building all the way up to jumbo-jets rammed at high speed. It wasn’t the same back then, and that’s why you’d need much more detail about the real design of the buildings to make this stick, if it ever can.

  55. Lets say the buildings actually did collapse “naturally”, although they where built to withstand an airplane impact. What if the collapse wasn’t part of the plan? What if all that was supposed to happen was a couple of empty sections of the WTC be demolished in a spectacular way with minimal collateral damage? The actual collapse was just bad luck. I think the “bomb or no bomb” discussion is a red herring. A bomb would prove the conspiracy theories of course, but the absence of a bomb wouldn’t really prove (or disprove) anything. :(

  56. Teapot refers to them as a “random” group of people. The group includes two generals (one four-star and one three-star)
    I don’t care how many stars are pinned on their shoulders. The military is not known as a brains trust. I certainly don’t respect them, or their opinions.

    structural engineers, architects, scientists.
    Very specific… thanks for dispelling my fear that it is just a bunch of random people.

    There is just as many “professional opinions” on the side of the official story. Have they all been paid off, too?

    You dare to label these people as truthers and mock them? Most have devoted their careers, their lives to public service.
    So? They got paid for their work by the taxpayer. Public service is not automatic means for respect.

    Why are most of those people retired? Because if you are in mid-career you do not want to be labelled as kooks, fired and mocked by the likes of you.
    Or maybe they seek the quasi-fame they once held as public figures? Maybe, in their old age, their minds are not what they once were. It rare and against the law to get fired for your particular beliefs on a subject, as long as that subject is not illegal – so this argument is preposterous.

    Those people aren’t “truthers,” they are your fellow citizens who felt it was their duty to speak out.
    They are not my fellow citizens, thankyou very much. Also they chose a stupid topic to waste their time on.

    How dare you mock them?
    um… free speech ring a bell?

    1. You accused me of spreading false information. Would you care to back that accusation up with one or two facts?

      1. that’s why they took all the debris away as soon as possible
        #145 already sufficiently explained this for you, but if you are still so persistant, why not test all the vehicles and debris they have at a hangar in JFK airport. They were as close as possible to the disaster and hence should show the most evidence of what you claim.

        Also I think it’s time to check your dictionary bro… misionformation can mean “false information”, but I used it for its other meaning – “misleading information”. If I was going to accuse you of lying I just would have said so.

        I believe the comment I quoted before calling out your misinformation clearly refutes what you claim. An ex-serviceman on the roof of the pentagon is better than some clown of a retired pilot who wasnt even there.

        The is countless evidence and thousands of eye-witness reports claiming it was a plane that crashed into the pentagon, not a missile. I re-ask the question which begs to be answered by people like you: If it was an inside job, why couldnt they find a spare plane to crash into the pentagon? Hell… if I am to believe what you believe it’s amazing they found one to crash into a field.

        You have still yet to refute that if the US released good-quality footage of the pentagon crash, it would immediately become adopted and reused and anti-US propaganda. This alone is enough reason to keep it private.

        You are spreading misinformation and flailing from argument to argument. It makes you come across weak.


    If the Bush administration would go so far as to orchestrate 9/11 in order to justify invading Iraq, why wouldn’t they take the relatively small step of planting fake WMDs once they got there?

    1. I’m no truther but: It would be a much larger and more difficult operation. How would someone get hold of WMDs without anyone noticing and ship them off to IRAQ? They would also have to plant an entire fake WMD production facility to make it seem plausible. That’s not easy, which is why Saddam didn’t have any in the first place. Simply planting a US a-bomb wouldn’t do it. Imaginge the questions that would raise (i.e. Saddam has US WMDs?!).

      1. Apis, I have to disagree. Filling 20 unmarked containers with nerve gas and planting them in some random Iraqi bunker is a vastly simpler task than planning a conspiracy in which 3 passenger jets are used as weapons to level national landmarks in NY and DC and murder 3000 americans.

        I ask again, if the administration was devious enough to plan (or even allow) 9/11 in order to justify getting into Iraq, why wouldn’t they have gone the next step and planted WMDs to save face? It makes no sense.

        At the end of the day, the reality of 9/11 is 100 times more frightening than any conspiracy theory. A small group of determined men turned our world upside down with a few hundred thousand dollars and some box cutters.

        Sure, when 9/11 happened it seemed to come out of nowhere, but 8 years later we know better. The history of Al Qaeda, the fundamentalist movement and of US involvement in Afghanistan and the middle east is much, much clearer, and when viewed in that context, 9/11 was a long time coming.

        Truthers: stop worrying about the density of steel girders and read a history book about the real reasons those building fell. I recommend ‘Ghost Wars’ by Steve Coll–it won a pulitzer. It’s “The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001” http://bit.ly/3XvQBG

        1. “if the administration was devious enough to plan (or even allow) 9/11 in order to justify getting into Iraq, why wouldn’t they have gone the next step”

          Although I’ve gradually gone past the point of finding the main truther arguments to be all that compelling, this at least does admit a rational answer. You’ll notice that the Obama administration has not withdrawn from Iraq, despite the fact that the WMD story was left lying behind in the dust a long time ago. Most IHOP-scenarios would allow that Bush himself was more likely a dumbified patsy used by some shadowy group in the background. In fact, there’s a good bit of truth to that regardless of what the real story of 911 may or may not be. So let’s allow that our shadowy conspirators know that once they get the country lodged in a war with Iraq, the whole WMD story will become superfluous. If a President who they lodged in office by stuffing votes in Florida is subsequently made to look like a lying duchebag because of the WMD story collapsing, who really cares? They’ll have gotten what they wanted anyway. Now that doesn’t really mean that 911 was an inside-job as is claimed by truthers. It just means that the failure to plant WMDs in Iraq would not have been a prime concern of such a hypothetical group of conspirators.

        2. “Filling 20 unmarked containers with nerve gas and planting them in some random Iraqi bunker”

          The Iraq-war is an international operation, a lot of different countries intelligence agencies would want to know where Saddam got any WMDs.

          I suspect it’s quite possible to trace even nerve gas (based on isotope composition for example) to any known production facility. Besides, nerve gas is forbidden (if I remember correctly), so no one is even supposed to have such a facility in the first place.

          And they would have to get it into an iraqi bunker in the middle of a war!

          But what the administration was talking about wasn’t nerve gas but nuclear weapons, so a score of nerve gas containers wouldn’t have made anyone happy.

          And what anonymous #147 said makes sense too. They achieved their objective. Today everyone seems to have forgotten about this.

          Anyway, getting a guy to fly (or remote control) a plane into a building in your own backyard would be a whole lot easier.

  58. All of that is just an introduction to producing a petition from 28 licensed civil or structural engineers who dispute the official story.

    There are about 250,000 civil engineers in the country, which means that about 0.0001 percent of them have signed that petition. I’m underwhelmed.

    1. Sorry, it’s not a petition more like a position paper. 29 engineers who have experience working in structural steel is not a small enough number that it can just be dismissed out of hand, without considering it’s content.

      I wonder, did you read it?

  59. I found these two links fascinating. They both help bolster the case of the “government did it” crowd, AND the case of the “truthers are nutters” crowd. They should make everyone happy :)

    TV in the six months before 9/11:

    Alex Jones predicting 9/11:

  60. Surely Silverstein would have said “Pull them” if he meant removing firefighters from the building, “pull it” is definitely a demolition term.

    1. Surely Silverstein would have said “Pull them” if he meant removing firefighters from the building, “pull it” is definitely a demolition term.

      “It” could just as easily mean “the operation to put out the fires”. Your presumption shows you have already made up your mind.

      I am no expert, and I didnt check it out myself, but another commenter has already suggested that the term “pull it”, whilst used in the demolition industry, actually refers the attaching cables to the top of something to literally pull it down.


      1. never mind “NEXT” …..who the F are you?
        See you also failed to dismiss the comment about Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 commission.

        1. I want to discuss the Mineta testimon, because I think it is a good example of where the 9/11 truth community has been barking up the wrong tree.

          If you listen to the full exchange, he was specifically asked about an order to shoot down the plane. Now, he does specify in the testimony that did not hear what order exactly Cheney is talking about, and it is possible that the order in question was some sort of stand down order. But the context of the testimony suggests the opposite, that it was an order to shoot down the plane over an urbanized area, and it is irresponsible and misinformed to cite it as a smoking gun of government involvement in the attack.

  61. An impressive detailed look by an Italian blogger at the “Peer Reviewed” paper presented by Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan, Danish chemistry professor Niels Harrit that claims to show “active thermitic material” at the site of the World Trade Center.

    “Active Thermitic Material” Claimed in Ground Zero Dust May Not Be Thermitic At All

    In short Undicisettembre found this supposed super spray on thermite has all the same chemical properties of primers and rust proofing paints used to protect the steel used at the WTC.

    It becomes a matter of logic, if you believe people like Jones, Ryan and Harrit you would have to believe massive steel beams were destroyed by a Magic “paint-on” thermite coating only millimeters thick! and that somehow someone was able to gain access to the beams and columns without notice. And that no one before or since has demonstrated the viability of this theory even on a small scale.


    Three guys who are known for their conspiracy theorist views on 9/11, who sell books and who are paid to give talks promoting the conspiracy ideas have created a scientific sounding paper, had it published by a Pay to Publish journal, because no legitimate science journal would touch it, that PAINTS common primer coatings and rust proofing paint as super duper beam melting weapon?

  62. Lets face it, truthers are some of the most scientific illiterate people on the planet, which seems to be a hallmark of the conspiracy theorist mind. Best to not know too much of this stuff or it will spoil a perfectly good delusion.

    Rather than propose the real tried and true method of controlled demolitions using shaped cutting charges, a technic used in thousands of building implosions, these people got suckered into the thermite thing, an incendiary that has NEVER been use for controlled demolitions. Hell these guys couldn’t even cut a small piece of steel beam with 70lbs of thermite at Burning Man, let alone show how massive WTC steel could be cut without truck loads of the stuff being used on each floor! They can even explain how one would ignite all this thermite in a controlled fashion. If they were intellectually curious they would learn what thermite is and what it can and can’t do, but that would require too much reading of technical stuff, conspiracy theorist rhetoric is far more fun, And YouTube videos even easier to digest for the simple of mind.

    AND! Now it this magical Nano Thermite, something no one let alone truthers have shown to exist outside the hypothetical. All because the same guy who sold them the thermite thing says so, and paid a company to have his paper “Peer Reviewed” Mind you it was not peer reviewed in a real respected scientific journal, NO Jones had to pay $800 to have it published.

    And the suckers bought it.

  63. “And they would have to get it into an iraqi bunker in the middle of a war!”

    I don’t know if you were aware, we owned the skies over Iraq even before the second war. And it would be a simple task for us to create our own fake weapons stash shortly after crushing the Iraq army.

  64. Thuthers like to be selective in the witnesses the quote. Firemen saying they heard explosions, The pitiful few who say the Pentagon jet was anything but a huge passenger jet.

    But they refuse to hear the reports of the same FDNY crews who directly saw the massive damage to WTC7. Who saw and measured the leaning and bulging of the building using surveying equipment. The hundreds do people who looked up and saw a large passenger jet fly full speed into the pentagon.

    FYI. Explosions are common in large building fires, Back drafts or smoke explosions can happen and firemen know this, so when the say they hear explosions it may not mean they think they are from explosives.

  65. “And there’s supposed to be microscopic iron spheres in the dust, something you get when burning thermite.”

    Did you know….. Those exact same microscopic iron spheres can be created by the use of powered cutting wheels? You know the kind used by rescue workers to cut steel to gain access to covered spaces in the rubble?

    Did you know….. Iron workers also used things called a “Thermal Lance” to cut large beams down to size. These worker beams show a angled cut and slag truthers try and palm off as cut with thermite?

    All these question can be answered IF you want the answers. Just because a certain anomaly is a mystery to you, does not mean it’s a mystery to everyone and that it requires more public money to dumb the answers down to truther level.

    1. Well, as one might be able to tell, I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few days examining the 9/11 issue.

      My goal was to find simple, irrefutable evidence that it was in some way an inside job.

      I have certainly found a number of things that were fishy and/or mysterious, that made me doubt the official story.

      The testimony of Barry Jennings, for instance, is crazy – a top NYC housing official who claims he experienced a large explosion in WTC7 before WTC1 and 2 collapsed.

      But I have yet to find that undeniable smoking gun, that could be shown to a layperson and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the official story is false. That is the standard of evidence that the 9/11 truthers need to meet to get anywhere. Even if they are correct, if they can’t put this together in a single page you could show to joe on the street and spin his head around, it won’t matter.

      I also have found that quite a lot of the evidence cited by the 9/11 Truth movement doesn’t hold up to close examination. Several of the “smoking guns” held up by the inside job voices turn out to be less than that – either taken out of context or explainable by other factors.

      The testimony of Barry Jennings might come closest to providing this smoking gun.

      I’m disappointed by the seemingly unwillingness of many in the 9/11 Truth camp to question some of their basic arguments and assumptions.

      Frankly, I do feel that it is a very real possibility that it was in some way an inside job. There are quite a lot of contradictions and mistruths in the government account, that in a criminal investigation would bring suspicion on the party that made them. There is curtailing access to evidence and only allowing a limited investigation. There is also the motive, the means, and, I feel, the past history. And the collapse of the WTC does seem strange – the fires don’t seem strong or hot enough to support the Bazant hypothesis of collapse, there are eyewitness accounts of explosions not explained by any official account, and the falls were both symmetrical and with a faster, more consistent velocity than occur in similar verinage style demolishens.

      But I’m not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

      I do feel that it is also a real possibility that it was done by 19 Islamic radicals with box cutters.

      But one thing I have seen, without any question: time I have spent investigating 9/11 is time I have spent staying up too late slouched over the computer, not creating anything, not moving, not having fun or adventuring or exploring, not loving my wife or breathing deeply of the sweet moist sea air.

      There’s nothing to be gained from sitting around fretting about it, other than a diminishment of the life energy which is our most precious resource.

      Certainly, I would love for someone to put together a irrefutable, simple to understand, well evidenced case that 9/11 was an inside job; because I feel like it would drive a stake through the heart of the military/intelligence industrial complex that has caused such trouble over the last fifty years or more.

      I do think that people should be discussing the whole thing more, because there is clear evidence of deception on several levels.

      But in the meantime, I’m going to go get my hands dirty in the soil, swim in the ocean, paint a canvas, and make love.

  66. 1. An inside job to setup and produce a controlled demolition of the WTC would require hundreds of participants. It would have required months to rig all of the explosives in the towers and would have been the by far the largest covert operation ever pulled off. All of it done flawlessly.

    2. Sending hijacked planes into the towers which would then cause enough damage to eventually make them collapse would have been the most convoluted way of achieving the goal.

    Suppose the one of the planes was delayed and then grounded once the other attacks started?

    Supposed the pilot hijackers didn’t make it through security?

    Suppose the hijack wasn’t successful?

    Suppose the hijackers missed or only skimmed the towers? Now you have a tower full of explosives which you can’t detonate or it’ll be obvious it was a set-up. Do you then send in the same team to remove all the explosives?

    3. How come both towers started collapsing EXACTLY where the planes struck?

    4. How come there are phone calls from people inside the towers describing how the structure of the building was deteriorating?

    5. If the insiders were so easily able to get 2 planes to crash into the WTC, why didn’t they just do the same at the Pentagon, instead of firing a “missle”?

    6. You realize that if there wasn’t a video of the planes crashing into the WTC, the Truthers would be arguing that missles hit them too.

    I could go on for a long time…

    1. @165: Yes, you have done an admirable job of tearing down the specific theory that you have yourself created.

      To their great shame, even though there are videos of jets hitting the twin towers, some people have claimed there were no jets involved at all. They can safely be ignored, and shouldn’t affect the debate one way or the other.

      I agree with you on several points: there is no compelling reason not to crash a jet into the pentagon, it is not a feasible theory that there were hundreds of people wiring the WTC for demolition,

      While I feel it is not wise to spent much time speculating what actually happened, a few possible means make reduce the improbability of your scenario significantly. For instance, computerized remote control devices on the planes. That basically reduces to zero the chance of a false hit, and allows precision as to what floor is impacted. Or the demolitions being set by as few as a single individual, using non-conventional/military demolition technology (ie, wireless), given years to complete the task.

      But the point you’re missing here is this:

      The story we’re supposed to believe is at least as tremendously unlikely as the one you propose.

      The hijackings have a 75% success rate.

      The multi trillion dollar air defense can’t get it’s shit together to intercept a single plane, and soon promotes several key officers in charge that day.

      The Pentagon is hit at the one area that is under construction and empty.

      Satam al-suqami’s passport survives the burning wreckage without a singe.

      PNAC had predicted such an event about a year before, and already had their reaction plans in place.

      The WTC towers, specifically designed to survive impact by a fully fueled large jet, collapse within an hour – symmetrically, without any of the deceleration seen in a similar verinage demolition.

      I could go on too.

      Combine this with the many documented lies told by the various government agencies to the 9/11 commission, the incompleteness and inconsistencies of both the 9/11 commission report and the official NIST explanation, and the question arises:

      Which scenario seems more improbable?

      1. “The WTC towers, specifically designed to survive impact by a fully fueled large jet”

        That’s not really the impression one gets from the New York Times of September 8, 2002:

        Robertson took the time to calculate how well his towers would handle the impact from a Boeing 707, the largest jetliner in service at the time. He says that his calculations assumed a plane lost in a fog while searching for an airport at relatively low speed, like the B-25 bomber… Exactly how Robertson performed these calculations is apparently lost — he says he cannot find a copy of the report. Several engineers who worked with him at the time, including the director of his computer department, say they have no recollection of ever seeing the study.

        Even assuming that some calculations were made, the state of the arts back then for modeling the effects of a fire was too primitive to be of much use in retrospect.

      2. “PNAC had predicted such an event about a year before”

        That sounds like a tacit reference to the paper REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES. Unfortunately, this paper does not really carry any such prediction of 911. One can see that Chapter V, entitled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force,” starts off with:

        “To preserve American military preeminence in the coming decades, the Department of Defense must move more aggressively to experiment with new technologies…”

        They’re not speaking of terrorists acting with simple methods here such as the orthodox history of 911 asserts, but of a high-tech arms race. The speak of a “transformation” which the Pentagon is to seek to achieve through the development of modern technology, and then comes that famous phrase:

        “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

        But they’re not talking about going after terrorists or anything related to 911. They don’t even talk about much Iraq in this paper. That is, the paper does not make any advocacy of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They talk about developing missile-shields similar to Reagan’s old Star Wars projects, but nothing that bears much relation to the campaigns in Afghanistan or Iraq appears in this paper. How does this qualify as predicting 911 a year before?

  67. Ok, time to educate you all:

    Verinage demolition is non-analagous to 911 for the following reasons:

    The building materials were very flimsy and not reinforced anywhere near to the degree the towers were.

    The whole Verinage buildings represent a small upper segment of the towers proportion-wise so there is no time for the net upward force to reduce the acceleration and absorb the momentum before it hits the ground, whereas in the towers you would see the (proportionately much less) momentum be absorbed rapidly. Also you DO see a slow down in the Verinage collapses unlike 911 where there is constant acceleration.

    Also the twin towers suffered asymmetric damage making a symmetric collapse impossible, the verinage buildings were arranged to have the top block fall symmetrically.

    Lastly, there is the possibility due to the nature of the Verinage collapses that demolitions or structural pre-weakening was used and it was part of a plan to support the official story. This however is speculation, the above physical evidence however is irrefutable proof of the fallacy in using Verinage to explain 911.

    Not to mention the freefall of WTC7 that proves demolition anyway :)

  68. > Verinage demolition is non-analagous to 911

    Could you please indicate which post above, if any, said anything about Verinage?

    > Not to mention the freefall of WTC7

    No, that’s wrong. The collapse-time of WTC 7 was 18 seconds accourding to seismic readings:


    About 16 seconds of this is visible on film:

    The famed “2.25 seconds of free fall collapse” which David Chandler has widely promoted can be seen to have begun about 10 seconds of the way into the total collapse-time. Consequently we’re not talking about 2.25 seconds of apparent free fall at the onset of the collapse. We’re only saying that about halfway through the overall collapse time there is a point where scenes filmed from the northwest side appear to show the building going down at near to free fall. But that’s too chaotic to allow us to conclude anything.

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