Friday, June 30, 2006

LA Story

Here's a post from a Truther that goes through the entire LA confab organized by Alex Jones last weekend. First, get the diligence:

The conference was 12 hours each day, Saturday and Sunday. There was only time for one 15 minute break each day because the amount of information was so vast.


Vast? Or half-vast:

WTC Building 7:

1. Why did Building 7 go down completely on top of itself?
2. Why did it fall so fast?
3. Why was there a call to research only the 8-46 floors? Why aren't they researching all the floors?
4. Why did the owner of Building 7 call for it to be taken down at all? A plane never hit it.


Good summary of the conference from the Truther standpoint. I had to smile at this closing comment, though:

3. I felt completely normal. I was around people who think the same way that I think. It felt so nice.

29 Comments:

At 30 June, 2006 08:21, Blogger BG said...

Pat,

I respect that you think "truthers" are looney.

I respect that if you aren't allowed to make fun of people on your own blog, then where can you?

I have to ask you (since you don't seem to have a whit of doubt about the official story):

When conceivable reason would the govt. have for not releasing video at the Pentagon?

 
At 30 June, 2006 08:32, Blogger Jujigatami said...

The truthers are simply making up their theories in order to compensate for their own intellectual inadequacies. It's an ellabprate attempt for social and intellectual misfits to fit in to a like minded group and to finally (for once in their lives) feel smart, confident, accepted, and superior.

Either that, or they're just Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

 
At 30 June, 2006 09:11, Blogger BG said...

Behold:

The wisdom of jujigatami!

 
At 30 June, 2006 09:15, Blogger BG said...

Guide to July Events for "social and intellectual misfits":

6-9 July 2006
"9/11: What happened and why and what can be done about it?"
Jim Fetzer and Kevin Barrett
The Midwest Social Forum 2006
Milwaukee, WI
608.262.1420
For more information, link
22 July 2006
Films and Lecture: Loose Change, 2nd Edition, and
September 11 Revisited; lecture by Morgan Reynolds
7:30 PM/CT, Lakewood Theatre, Dallas, TX
For more information, link

 
At 30 June, 2006 09:19, Blogger James B. said...

Oh, now you are all of a sudden going to start defending the sanity of Jim Fetzer?

 
At 30 June, 2006 09:38, Blogger CHF said...

Isn't Morgan Reynolds a "no-planes" scholar?

I'd purge that fella if I were you.

 
At 30 June, 2006 09:59, Blogger apathoid said...

When conceivable reason would the govt. have for not releasing video at the Pentagon?

I dont think that the government is under any obligation to show you 75 different angles of the Pentagon attack. These purported videos probably dont show much anyway since they are likely 1 fps cameras just like at the Pentagon.

The Pentagon released the checkpoint footage because they were told to by Judicial Watch. If you want all this hotel and gas station footage released, take it up with the owners the cameras and Judicial Watch..

 
At 30 June, 2006 10:05, Blogger Abby Scott said...

When conceivable reason would the govt. have for not releasing video at the Pentagon?

Well, one was released, but no one liked that one. Ironically released thanks to the FOIA request made by a right wing group. Truthers seem to spend more time on message boards and blogs then actually seeking out evidence.

The reason they didn't release it earlier was because it was evidence in a trial.

Now, with regards to other footage, which footage are we talking about here? The security camera from the gas station? If the government does have the right to release it (do they?), why don't you fill out a FOIA form and request it?

What other video exists? I'm just curious about what other video exists that isn't along the lines of the earlier one released. As in, is not only a couple of frames per whatever, but is continuous.

 
At 30 June, 2006 10:09, Blogger Abby Scott said...

Guide to July Events for "social and intellectual misfits":

And if I were in the truth movement, I would be raging against this. These are the people that are being held up as "experts" on your side. And they are clearly off their rocker.

Even if you don't believe so, you can see how anyone else could.

Problem is, I guess, that you don't have much else for "experts" to replace them with.

 
At 30 June, 2006 10:24, Blogger Chad said...

Abby, the latest tally of "videos that show the Pentagon strike" is up to around 80 I believe.

The hotel, gas station, highway cam.... Many many other.

And I'm sure the nutters are at least in the ballpark regarding the number of cameras in the area. However, why ANY of them (besides the one that was actually AT the Pentagon) would be focused ON the Pentagon is beyond me.

What hotel security camera is doing its job if it's trained on another building a mile or so away?

 
At 30 June, 2006 10:56, Blogger Manny said...

"Abby, the latest tally of "videos that show the Pentagon strike" is up to around 80 I believe.
(snip)
However, why ANY of them (besides the one that was actually AT the Pentagon) would be focused ON the Pentagon is beyond me."

Heh. Here's something of an irony. If the government were anywhere near as evil as the CTers posit, the head CTers would have firsthand knowledge of just how overbroad an FBI evidence search can be, and would therefore understand that only a tiny portion of any videos siezed would turn out to be relevant.

 
At 30 June, 2006 11:07, Blogger telescopemerc said...

The security camera from the gas station? If the government does have the right to release it (do they?)

While IANAL, the answer to that question is 'no'. Property can be seized as evidence, and held from its owner as long as no court orders them to return it. But the goverment cannot just arbitrarily release something that is someone elses property.

Sometimes snippets can be released with the agreement of the owners, this is usually done for public release to help in catching a criminal on the loose.

Its the same with many other things as well: Black boxes are the property of the airliners. They can be seized for federal crash investigations, but they belong to the airliners.

 
At 30 June, 2006 11:07, Blogger Abby Scott said...

That's what I thought.

Well, there's your answer bg.

 
At 30 June, 2006 11:23, Blogger Jujigatami said...

Guide to July Events for "social and intellectual misfits":

Thats good BG, they say acceptance is the first step along the road to recovery.

Good luck in your journey to sanity!

 
At 30 June, 2006 11:33, Blogger Jujigatami said...

Oh, now you are all of a sudden going to start defending the sanity of Jim Fetzer?

James,

BG doesn't have any problem with Fetzers sanity or his assertions.

He has a problem with his tone.

Like I said before... Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

 
At 30 June, 2006 11:44, Blogger undense said...

Heh. Here's something of an irony. If the government were anywhere near as evil as the CTers posit, the head CTers would have firsthand knowledge of just how overbroad an FBI evidence search can be, and would therefore understand that only a tiny portion of any videos siezed would turn out to be relevant.

Even more irony - If the government was half as bad and as crass as the CTS claimed we wouldn't be hearing from the CTs at all. The government would have hunted them all down and silenced them long ago.

According to the CTs the government has killed thousands already in order to pursue their greedy agenda, so what does a few more basement dwellers matter? Their parents probably wouldn't even know they were missing until they saw the precipitous drop in the monthly broadband bill and noticed there weren't any more crushed cans of Mt. Dew and empty bags of Doritos laying around.

 
At 30 June, 2006 13:49, Blogger BG said...

Abby Scott,

with respect to the Pentagon, and your comments, I appreciate your civil tone.

As you might imagine, we are still miles apart on what's reasonable about the official data about the Pentagon "crash" and why some of it was not released,etc. However, perhaps my remarks of distrust and disinterest in having you engaged in this discussion were unwarranted.

Let me ask: is there anything about the reported / documented evidence of the events of 9/11 that you think should receive more attention. I'm not a Dem. supporter, so bash Bill Clinton, anybody that you think may have been part of allowing this is happen, even if you agree with the 9/11 Commission who said something like: "it was a failure of imagination".

 
At 30 June, 2006 13:55, Blogger CHF said...

Chad,

"What hotel security camera is doing its job if it's trained on another building a mile or so away?"

The hotels, office buildings and gas stations were all in on the plot.

So they taped it. For some reason...

 
At 30 June, 2006 14:11, Blogger BG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 30 June, 2006 14:27, Blogger BG said...

"Jujigatami said...

Oh, now you are all of a sudden going to start defending the sanity of Jim Fetzer?

James,

BG doesn't have any problem with Fetzers sanity or his assertions.

He has a problem with his tone.

Like I said before... Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! "

Jujigatami,

In general, what you just said of me is accurate (of course I disagree with the Cocoa Puffs remark).

Fetzer presents a major problem, however. If I had the organization and the smarts, and the time to try to make the 9/11 movement successful, Fetzer would have to be marginalized, because his public face and leadership seems to me to be inconsistent with the movement gaining respect.

I have zero experience in any of this (launching / managing PR efforts, etc.). I don't think I'd have the stomach for the ugliness that almost would certainly be part of reforming an organization consistence with making the case honestly and persuasively.

It's kind of ironic that those who have the skills to do what is needed to be done are much more likely to earn big bucks practicing their skills for causes that can result in benfits for big moneied interests.

I don't want to drone on here, but let me say:

If, when I was on Fetzer's radio show, I had said what I think, I would have said:

Listen, you fu** up, you are either a fool or a plant. I don't care which. Your sloppiness, and your misplaced bravado are a disgrace. You don't have the right speak for anyone except yourself. It likely that regardless of how hard any of us tries to expose the truth, we'll get nowhere. However, your leadersip seems to guarantee failure.

 
At 30 June, 2006 15:25, Blogger ScottSl said...

Wow bg, way to stick to Fetzer, good job!

 
At 30 June, 2006 16:53, Blogger Abby Scott said...

BG, here are my thoughts with regards to 9/11 fuck ups:

We know that there existed warnings that were unheeded. Now the question is: How many warnings did the FBI/CIA get a day? One? 10? 500? If the number is large, is it worth the manpower to investigate each one fully?

And we also know that the warnings were pretty general, e.g. "Al Qaeda is planning something that may have to do with planes."

And we know, through the 9/11 investigation that there were serious miscommunications between the agencies. And the department of Homeland Security, (Patriot Act crap aside) was built to solve that problem.

Now what I don't understand, if you believe that the government has the ability to release these other videos, is why you haven't filed an FOIA request to get them?

 
At 30 June, 2006 16:55, Blogger Abby Scott said...

Just to clarify: I mean 500 warnings that weren't necessarily related to 9/11.

 
At 30 June, 2006 16:57, Blogger shawn said...

My question is: why do we need the video released? We have enough evidence as is that there's zero question the flight crashed into the Pentagon.

 
At 30 June, 2006 18:41, Blogger Pat said...

BG, I don't know how you stop Fetzer now he has a head of steam up. And remember, he has his own motivations here; selling books and DVDs. Any notion that he's going to voluntarily pull back for the good of the "Movement" is bound to be disappointed.

As for the Pentagon video from the other locations, I'd love to see it released at some point, although I am sure there are legal issues to be resolved as to ownership. But let's say that the video does eventually come out and it clearly shows an AA airliner crashing into the Pentagon. What is your theory at that point? Fake video? If you accept it was a passenger plane then you're going to almost have to accept AA 11 and UA 175 into the towers. Do you drop back to hijackers and LIHOP with CD?

 
At 01 July, 2006 09:25, Blogger JPSlovjanski said...

Hmm.. If I were still in the states I should have attented some of those nutjob conventions. After all, nutcases are easily manipulated and after about two years of selling books at gunshows I know how to "talk the talk". This means I could have found a GREAT place to pick up CHICKS!!!

Pick-up Line: Baby, I want to take you down faster C4 in WTC7 with my Northwoods drone 757!

Conspiracy Chick: Oh WOW! Are you a libertarian too?

Me: YES! I HATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES! Oh wait, I meant to say "Soviet Indoctrination centers!"

The next day: Conspiracy girl wakes up naked in a hotel room with a note claiming the government drugged her because she was too close to the truth. The bruises all over her body will be attributed to CIA torture.

Being a CT, she'd believe it.

 
At 01 July, 2006 19:01, Blogger shawn said...

Me: YES! I HATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES! Oh wait, I meant to say "Soviet Indoctrination centers!"

...that's not exactly what libertarians believe.

 
At 10 July, 2006 02:40, Blogger wrongo said...

Transcript of David Ray Griffin's talk entitled "9/11: Myth & Reality"given at Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, March 30, 2006.



Good evening.

In this lecture I am going to try to give you your money's worth. That's code for this is going to be a very long lecture. So I'm going to get right into it.



Although I have given many lectures about 9/11, I had, prior to this one, never devoted an entire lecture to simply summarizing what I take to be the strongest evidence against the official account of 9/11. I will do this in terms of the distinction between myth & reality.

I am here using the term "myth" in two senses. In one sense, a myth is an idea that, while widely believed, is false, failing to correspond with reality. The official story about 911 is filled with myths in this sense. But the official story as a whole has served as a myth in a deeper sense. In this deeper sense, employed by students of religion, a Myth serves as an orienting and mobilizing story, telling people who they are and why they do what they do. When a story is called a myth in this sense, which can be called Myth with a capital M, the focus is not on the story's relation to the truth but on its function. This orienting and mobilizing function is possible only because Myths with a capital M have religious overtones. Such a myth is a sacred story.

However: Although to note that a story functions as a myth in a religious sense is not to say anything about its truth one way or another, a story cannot function as a sacred myth within a community or a nation unless it is believed to be true. In most cases, moreover, the truth of the Myth is taken on faith; it is not a matter of debate. If some people have the bad taste to question the truth of the sacred story, the keepers of the faith do not enter into debate with them; they ignore them or denounce them as blasphemers. The official story about 9/11 according to which America, because of its goodness, was attacked by fanatical Arab Muslims who hate our freedoms, has clearly functioned as a Sacred Myth for the United States since that fateful day, and this function appears to have been carefully orchestrated.

The very next day, President Bush announced his intention to lead a monumental struggle of Good versus Evil. Then on September 13th, he declared that the following day would be a national day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks. And on that next day, the President himself, surrounded by Billy Graham, a Cardinal, a Rabbi, and an Imam, delivered a sermon in the national cathedrals, saying:



Our responsibility to History is already clear: To answer these attacks and rid the world of Evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful but fierce when stirred to anger. In every generation the world has produced enemies to human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are Freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time. We ask almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come, and may He always guide our country. God bless America.



Through this unprecedented event, in which the President of the United States issued a declaration of war from a cathedral, French author Thierry Meyssan observed in 2002:



The American government consecrated its version of the events. From then on any questioning of the official Truth would be seen as sacrilege.



That attitude has remained dominant in the public sphere until this day, as the official account has continued to serve as a Sacred Myth. When people raise questions about this story, they are either ignored, ridiculed as conspiracy theorists or, as Charlie Sheen has recently experienced, personally attacked. When someone asks what right the administration has to invade and occupy other countries, to imprison people indefinitely without due process, or even to ignore various laws, the answer is always the same: 9/11. Those who believe that US law and international law should be respected are dismissed as having "a pre 911 mindset."

Given the role the official account of 9/11 has played and continues to play, the most important question before our country today is whether this account, besides being a Myth in the religious sense, is also a myth in the pejorative sense, i.e., whether it is simply false.

As a philosopher of religion, I would point out that the mere fact that a story has served as a Myth in the religious sense does not necessarily mean that it fails to correspond with reality. Many religious accounts contain at least a kernel of truth that can be defended in terms of a rational examination on the relevant evidence. In many cases, however, stories that have served as religious Myths in the religious sense cannot stand up to rational scrutiny. When such a story is stripped of its halo and treated simply as a theory, rather than an unquestionable dogma, it cannot be defended as the best theory to account for the relevant facts. The official account of 9/11 is such a theory. When challenges to it are not treated as blasphemy, it can easily be seen to be composed of a number of ideas that are myths in the sense of not corresponding with reality.

Using the word "myth," from now on only in this pejorative sense, I will discuss nine of the major myths contained in the official story about 9/11. I will thereby show that in light of the relevant evidence, the official account of 9/11 cannot be defended against the main alternative, according to which 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by people within our own government. I will begin with a few myths that prevent many people from even looking at the evidence for this alternative account.



Myth #1: Our political and military leaders simply would not do such a thing. This idea is widely believed, but it is undermined by much evidence. The United States, like many other countries, has often used deceit to begin wars. For example: the American-Mexican War with its false claim that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil; the Spanish-American War with its "Remember the Main" incidents; the war in the Philippines with its false claim that the Philippinos fired the first shot; and the Vietnam War with its Gulf of Tonkin hoax.

The US government has also sometimes organized false flag terrorist attacks, killing innocent civilians then blaming the attacks on an enemy country or group, often by planting evidence. As Daniele Ganser has shown in his recent book NATO's Secret Armies, NATO, guided by the CIA and the Pentagon, arranged many such attacks in western European countries during the Cold War in which hundreds of people were killed by bombs or hooded men with shotguns. These attacks were successfully blamed on communists, and other leftists, to discredit them in the eyes of the voting public.

Finally, if it be thought that US military would not orchestrate such attacks against American citizens, one needs only to read the plan known as Operation Northwoods which the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked out in 1962, shortly after Fidel Castro had overthrown the pro-American dictator Batista. This plan contained various pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba; some of them would have involved killing Americans. For example:



A 'Remember the Main' Incident. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.



At this point some people, having seen evidence that US leaders would be morally capable of orchestrating 9//11, might avoid looking at the evidence by appealing to Myth #2: Our political and military leaders would have had no motive for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. This myth, which is widely held, was re-enforced by The 9/11 Commission Report. While explaining that al Qaeda had ample motives for carrying out the attacks, this report mentions no motives that US leaders might have had. But the alleged motive of al Qaeda—that it hated America and its freedoms—is dwarfed by a motive held by many members of the Bush-Cheney administration: The dream of establishing a global Pax Americana, the first all-inclusive empire in history.

This dream had been articulated by many neoconservatives, or neocons, throughout the 1990s after the disintegration of the Soviet Union made it seem possible. It was first officially articulated in the Defense Plan and Guidance of 1992, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz on behalf of then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, a document that has been called a blueprint for permanent American global hegemony and Cheney's plan to rule the world.

Achieving this goal would require four things. One of these was getting control of the world's oil, especially in Central Asia and the Middle East; and the Bush-Cheney administration came to power with plans already made to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. A second requirement was a technological transformation of the military in which fighting from Space would become central. A third requirement was an enormous increase in military spending to pay for these new wars and this weaponization of Space. A fourth need was to modify the doctrine of preemptive attack so that America would be able to attack other countries even if they presented no imminent threat. These four elements, moreover, would require a fifth: an event that would make the American people ready to accept these imperialistic policies.

As Zbigniew Brzezinski explained in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard:



The American people with their democratic instincts are reluctant to authorize the money and human sacrifices necessary for imperial mobilization, and this refusal limits America's capacity for military intimidation. But this impediment could be overcome if there were a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat, just as the American people were willing to enter World War II after the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.



The same idea was suggested in 2000 in a document entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses, which was put out by a neocon think tank called The Project for a New American Century, many members of which—including Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz—became central members of the Bush administration. This document, referring to the goal of transforming the military, said that "this process of transformation is likely to be a long one absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor." When the attacks of 911 occurred, they were treated like a new Pearl Harbor. Several members of the administration spoke of "opportunities" provided by the 9/11 attacks. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that 9/11 created "the kind of opportunities that World War II offered to refashion the world." It created in particular the opportunity to attack Afghanistan and Iraq, to increase the military budget enormously, to go forward with military transformation, and to turn the new idea of pre-emptive warfare into official doctrine. This doctrinal change was announced in the 2002 version of the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, which said that America will "act against emerging threats before they are fully formed."

So, not only did the Bush administration reap huge benefits from 9/11, these were benefits that it had desired in advance. The idea that it would have had no motive for orchestrating 9/11 is a myth.



But there is one more myth that keeps many people from looking at the evidence. This is Myth #3: Such a big operation involving so many people could not have been kept a secret because someone involved in it would have talked by now. This claim is based on a more general myth, which is that it is impossible for secret government operations to be kept secret very long because someone always talks. But how could one know this? If some big operations had remained secret until now, we by definition don't know about them. Moreover, we do know about some big operations that were kept secret as long as necessary, such as the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb, and the war in Indonesia in 1957 which the United States provoked, participated in, and then kept secret until 1995. Many more examples could be given.

We can understand, moreover, why those with inside knowledge of 9/11 would not talk. At least most of them would have been people with a proven ability to keep secrets. Those who were directly complicit would also be highly motivated to avoid public disgrace and the gas chamber. Those people who had knowledge without being complicit could be induced to keep quiet by means of more or less subtle threats, such as: "Joe, if you go forward with your plan to talk to the press, I don't know who is going to protect your wife and kids from some nutcase angered by your statement." Still another fact is that neither the government nor the mainstream press, to say the least, has shown any signs of wanting people to come forward. For all these reasons, it is not surprising that no one has.



I come now to Myth #4: The 9/11 Commission, which has endorsed the official account, was an independent, impartial commission and hence can be believed. One needs only to look at the reviews of The 9/11 Commission Report on Amazon.com to see that this assumption is widely accepted. Perhaps this is partly because in the Preface, the Commission's chairman and vice chairman tell us that the Commission sought to be "independent, impartial, thorough, and non-partisan." But these terms do not describe the reality.

The Commission's lack of impartiality can be partly explained by the fact that Chairman Thomas Cane, most of the other commissioners, and at least half of the members of the staff had conflicts of interest. The most serious problem, however, is that the Executive Director, Philip Zelikow, was essentially a member of the Bush-Cheney administration. He had worked with Condoleeza Rice on National Security Council in the administration of the first President Bush. Then, when the Republicans were out of office, he and Condoleeza Rice wrote a book together. Then, when she was appointed National Security Advisor for the next Bush administration, she brought on Zelikow to help with the transition with the new National Security Council. Finally, he was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Zelikow was therefore the White House's man inside the 9/11 Commission. And yet, as Executive Director, he guided the staff, which did virtually all the work of the Commission. Zelikow was in position, therefore, to decide which topics would be investigated and which topics not. One disgruntled staff member reportedly said at the time, "Zelikow is calling the shots. He's skewing the investigation and running it his own way." Accordingly, the Commission was not independent from the Executive Branch.

Insofar as the Commission was supposed to be investigating the failure of the Bush administration to prevent the attacks, the Commission was no more independent and impartial than if Dick Cheney had been running it. This fact is further shown by one more fact about Zelikow that, until now, has not been widely known—I believe—even within the 911 Truth movement. I mentioned earlier, the Bush administration's National Security Strategy statement of 2002, in which the new doctrine of pre-emptive warfare was articulated. The primary author of this document, reports James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, was none other than Phillip Zelikow. According to Mann:



After Rice saw a first draft, which had been written by Richard Haass of the State Department, she—wanting something bolder—brought in Zelikow to completely rewrite it. The result was a document that used 9/11 to justify a very bellicose foreign policy. Max Boot called it, essentially, a neocon document.



We can understand, therefore, why the Commission, under Zelikow's leadership, would have ignored all evidence that would point to the truth: that 9/11 was a false flag operation intended to authorize the doctrines and funds needed for a new level of imperial mobilization. Talk about the fox leading the investigation into the raid on the henhouse!



The suggestion that 9/11 was a false flag operation brings us to Myth #5: The Bush administration provided proof that the attacks were al Qaeda terrorists under the direction of Osama bin Laden. One of the main pieces of alleged truth involved a claim that the baggage of Mohamed Atta, called the ringleader of the hijackers, was discovered at the Boston airport from which Flight 11 departed. This baggage, besides containing Atta's passport and drivers license, also contained various types of incriminating evidence: A flight computer, flight simulator manuals, videotapes about Boeing airliners, a copy of the Koran, and a letter to other hijackers about preparing for the mission. But the bags also contained Atta's Will. Why would Atta have intended to take his Will on a plane that he planned to fly into the World Trade Center? We seem to have planted evidence.

There are also many other problems with this story. Another element of the official story about the alleged hijackers is that they were very devout Muslims. The 9/11 Commission Report said that Atta had become "very religious, even fanatically so." The public was thereby led to believe that these men would have had no problems going on a suicide mission, because they were ready to meet their Maker. Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, however, discovered that Atta loved cocaine, alcohol, gambling, pork, and lap dances.

Several of the other alleged hijackers, the Wall Street Journal reported, had similar tastes. The Commission pretends, however, that none of this information was available while admitting that Atta and other hijackers met in Vegas shortly before 9/11. It says that it saw "no credible evidence explaining why on this occasion and others the operatives flew to and met in Las Vegas."

Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof of this claim was ever provided. The story, of course, is that they did not force their ways onto the plane but were regularly ticketed passengers. If so, their names should have been on the flight manifests, but the flight manifests that have been released contained neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any other Arab names. We've also been given no proof that the remains of any of these men were found at any of the crash sites.

One final little problem is that several of these 19 men, according to stories published on the BBC and in British newspapers, are still alive. For example, The 911 Commission Report named Walid al-Shehri as one of the hijackers and reproduced the FBI's photograph of him. It even suggested that al-Shehri was the one who stabbed one of the flight attendants shortly before Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. But as BBC news had reported ten days after 9/11, al-Shehri, having seen his photograph in newspapers and TV programs, notified authorities and journalists in Morocco—where he works as a pilot—that he is still alive.

But if there are various problems with the government's story about the hijackers, surely it presented proof that Osama bin Laden was behind the operation? Insofar as this belief is widely held, it is also a myth. Secretary of State Colin Powell promised to provide a White paper [sic] providing proof that the attacks had been planned by Osama, but this paper was never produced. British Prime Minister Tony Blair did produce such a paper, but it begins with the admission that it does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama bin Laden in a court of law. So, evidence good enough to go to war but not to go to court.

And although the Taliban said that it would hand bin Laden over if the United States presented evidence of his involvement in 9/11, Bush refused. This failure to provide proof was later said to be unnecessary because bin Laden, in a video allegedly found in Afghanistan, admitted responsibility for the attacks. This video is now widely cited as proof. But the man in this video has darker skin, fuller cheeks, and a broader nose than the Osama bin Laden of all the other videos. We again seem to have planted evidence.

There are, moreover, other problems in the official account of Osama bin Laden. For one thing, in June of 2001 when he was already America's most wanted criminal, he apparently spent two weeks in the American hospital in Dubai, was treated by an American doctor and visited by the local CIA agent. Also, after 9/11 when America was reportedly trying to "get Osama, dead or alive," the US military evidently allowed him to escape on at least four occasions, the last one being the battle of Tora Bora, which the London Telegraph labeled "A Grand Charade."

Shortly thereafter Bush said, "I don't know where bin Laden is. I really don't care. It's not our priority." Sometimes the truth slips out.

In any case, the idea that the Bush administration has provided proof for its claims about Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda hijackers is a myth.



I turn now to Myth #6: The 9/11 attacks came as a surprise to the Bush administration. Nothing is more essential to the official story than this idea. About 10 months after 9/11, FBI director Robert Mueller said, "To this day we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who knew of the plot." There is much evidence, however, that counts against this claim.

One type of evidence involves an extraordinarily high volume of put options purchased in the three days prior to 9/11. To buy put options for a particular company is to bet that its stock price will go down. These extraordinary purchases included two and only two airliners, United and American, the two airlines used in the attacks. They also included Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which occupied 22 stories of the World Trade Center. The price of these shares did, of course, plummet after 9/11, resulting in enormous profits for the purchasers. But these unusual purchases, as the San Francisco Chronicle said, "create suspicion that these investors had advance knowledge of the strikes." It would appear, in other words, that those who made the purchases knew that United and American airliners were going to be used in attacks on the World Trade Center.

The 911 Commission Report showed – [station ID: This is KMUD Garberville, KMUE Eureka/Arcata, KLAI Laytonville, and on the web kmud.org] It claimed, for example, "The purchases for United airlines do not show anyone other than al Qaeda had foreknowledge, because 95% of these options were purchased by a single US based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda." But the Commission thereby simply begged the question at issue, which is whether some organization other than al Qaeda was involved in the planning.

I'm not making this up.

Also, the Commission ignored the other crucial point, which is that US intelligence agencies closely monitor the stock market, looking for any anomalies that might provide clues to untoward events. Therefore, regardless of who orchestrated the attacks, the US government would have had intelligence suggesting that United and American airliners were to be used for attacks on the World Trade Center in the near future. [?]

Further evidence of advance knowledge is shown by the behavior of President Bush and his Secret Service agents at the photo op at the school in Florida that morning. According to the official story, when Bush was first told that a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers, he dismissed the incident as "a horrible accident," which meant that they could go ahead with the photo op. News of the second strike, however, would have indicated—assuming that the strikes were unexpected—that terrorists were using planes to attack high value targets; and what could have been a higher value target than the President of the United States? His location at the school had been highly publicized. Therefore, the Secret Service agents should have feared that a hijacked airliner might have been bearing down on the school at that very minute, ready to crash into it.

It is standard procedure for the Secret Service to rush the President to a safe location whenever there is any sign of danger, and yet these agents allowed the President to remain another half hour at the school, even permitting him to deliver an address on TV, thereby announcing to the world that he was still at the school. Would not this behavior only be explainable if the head of the Secret Service detail knew that the planned attacks did not include an attack on the President?

The 9/11 Commission, of course, did not ask this question. It was content to report that the Secret Service told us they did not think it imperative for the President to run out the door. Maintaining decorum, in other words, was more important than protecting the President's life. Can anyone seriously believe that the highly trained Secret Service would act this way in a situation of genuine danger?

A third example: A Pentagon spokesperson in explaining why the Pentagon was not evacuated before it was struck claimed that the Pentagon was "simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way." The 9/11 Commission claimed that there was no warning about an unidentified aircraft heading towards Washington until 9:36 and, hence, only one or two minutes before the Pentagon was struck. But this claim is contradicted by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony about an episode that occurred in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House.

In open testimony to the 9/11 Commission itself, Mineta said, "During the time that the airplane was coming in to 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 said, 'Of course the orders still stand! Have you heard anything to the contrary?'" Mineta said that this conversation occurred at 9:25 or 9:26, hence many minutes before the Pentagon was struck.

This example gives us one of the clearest examples of the fact that the Zelikow-led 9/11 Commission cannot be trusted. Having claimed that there was no knowledge that an aircraft was approaching the Pentagon until the last minute or so, it simply omitted Mineta's testimony to the contrary. Then, to rule out the possibility the episode Mineta had reported could have occurred, it claimed that Cheney did not even arrive down at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center until almost 10:00, hence about 20 minutes after the Pentagon was struck. But this claim, besides contradicting Mineta's eyewitness testimony that Cheney was already there when Mineta arrived at 9:20, also contradicts all other reports as to when Cheney had arrived there, including a report by Cheney himself.

In sum, having compared the official stories about the put options, the Secret Service, and Mineta's testimony, we can reject as a myth the idea that the attacks were unexpected.



However, even if the attacks had been unexpected, should they not have been prevented? This brings us to Myth #7: US officials have explained why the hijacked airliners were not intercepted. Actually, there is a sense in which this claim is true! US officials have explained why the military did not prevent the attacks. The problem, however, is that they have given us three explanations that are all mutually contradictory, and none of them is a satisfactory explanation. I will explain.

According to standard operating procedures, if an FAA flight controller notices anything that suggests a possible hijacking, the controller is to contact a superior. If the problem cannot be fixed quickly—within about a minute—the superior should ask NORAD, the North American Aerospace Command, to send up or scramble jet fighters to find out what is going on. NORAD then issues a scramble order to the nearest Air Force base with fighters on alert. The jet fighters at NORAD's disposal should respond very quickly. According to the US Air Force website, F15s can go from scramble order to 29,000 ft in only two and a half minutes, after which they can fly over 1,800 miles an hour. Therefore, according to General Ralph Eberhart, the head of NORAD: "After the FAA senses that something is wrong, it takes about a minute for it to contact NORAD, after which"—according to a spokesperson—"NORAD can scramble fighter jets within a matter of minutes to anywhere in the United States." An Air Force Traffic Control document put out in 1988 warned pilots that any airplanes persisting in unusual behavior will likely find two jet fighters on their tail within 10 or so minutes."

If these procedures had been carried out on the morning of 9/11, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 would have been intercepted before they could have reached Manhattan, and American Flight 77 would have been intercepted long before it could have reached the Pentagon. Such interceptions are routine, being carried out about 100 times a year. A month after 9/11 the Calgary Herald reported that in the year 2000 "NORAD scrambled fighters 129 times."

Do these scrambles often result in interceptions? Just a few days after 9/11 Major Mike Snyder, a NORAD spokesperson, told the Boston Globe that NORAD's fighters "routinely intercept aircraft." Why did not such interceptions occur on 911?

During the first few days, the public was told that no fighter jets were sent up until after the strike on the Pentagon at 9:38. However, it was also reported that signs of Flight 11's hijacking had been observed at 8:15. That would mean that, although interceptions usually occur within ten or so minutes after signs of trouble are observed, in this case 80 or so minutes had elapsed before fighters were even airborne. This story suggested that a stand down order had been given.

Within a few days, however, a second story was put out according to which NORAD had sent fighters up but, because notification from the FAA had been very tardy, the fighters arrived too late. On September 18th, NORAD made this second story official, embodying it in a timeline which indicated when NORAD had been notified by the FAA about each airplane and when it had scrambled fighters in response. Critics quickly showed, however, that even if the FAA indications had come as late as NORAD's timeline indicated, NORAD's jets would have had time to make interceptions. The second story did not, therefore, remove the suspicion that a stand down order had been given.

Hoping to overcome this problem, The 9/11 Commission Repot provided a third account, according to which, contrary to NORAD's timeline of September 18th, the FAA did not notify NORAD about Flight 175 until after it had struck the South Tower, or about Flight 77 until after it had struck the Pentagon. But there are three big problems with this third story.

One problem is the very fact that it is the third story. Normally when a suspect in a criminal investigation keeps changing his story we get suspicious. Let's say that the police asked Charlie Jones where he was on the night of a particular crime. He says he was at the movie theater. They say, "No, the movie theater's been closed all week." "Oh," Charlie says, "That's right. I was with my girlfriend." "No," the police say, "We checked with her, and she was home with her husband." At that point Charlie says, "Oh, now I remember. I was home reading the Bible." You're probably not going to believe Charlie.

And yet that's what we have here. The military told one story right after 9/11, another story a week later, and a third through the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004.

A second problem with this third story is that it contradicts several features of the second story, which had served as the official story for almost three years. For example, NORAD's timeline had indicated that the FAA had notified it about Flight 175 20 minutes before the South Tower was struck, and notified it about Flight 77 at least 14 minutes before the Pentagon was struck. The 9/11 Commission maintains that both of these statements were "incorrect," that really there had been no notification about these flights until after they hit their targets: This is why the military failed to intercept them. But if NORAD's timeline was false, as the Commission now claims, NORAD must have been either lying or confused. But it is hard to believe that it could have been confused one week after 911. So it must have been lying. But if NORAD was lying then, why should we believe them now?

Further skepticism about this third story arises from the fact that it is contradicted by considerable evidence. For example, the Commission's claim that the military did not know about Flight 175 until it reached its goal is contradicted by a report by Capt. Michael Jellinek, who, on 9/11, was overseeing NORAD's headquarters in Colorado. According to a story in the Toronto Star—Jellinek is a Canadian—Jellinek was on the phone with NORAD as he watched Flight 175 crash into the South Tower. He then asked NORAD, "Was that the hijacked aircraft you were dealing with?" to which NORAD said, "Yes."

The 9/11 Commissions claims about Flight 175 and Flight 77 are also contradicted by a memo sent to the Commission by Laura Brown of the FAA. Her memo stated that the FAA had set up a teleconference at about 8:50 that morning, at which time it started sharing information about all flights with the military. She specifically mentioned Flight 77. Her memo, which is available on the web, was discussed by the Commission and read into its record on May 23, 2003, but Zelikow's 9/11 Commission Report fails to mention this memo.

Because of these and still more problems, which I have discussed in a lecture called Flights of Fancy, this third story does not remove the grounds for suspicion that a stand down order had been given. There is, moreover, ear-witness testimony for this suspicion.

An upper management official at LAX, who needs to remain anonymous, told me that he overheard members of LAX security, including officers from the FBI and the LAPD, interacting on their walkie-talkies shortly after the attacks. In some cases he could hear both sides of the conversation. At first the LAX officials were furious because they were told that the airplanes that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had not been intercepted because the FAA had not notified NORAD about the hijackings. But later, he reports, they were even more furious because they were told that NORAD had been notified but did not respond because it had been ordered to stand down. When LAX security officials asked who had issued that order, they were told that it came from the highest level of the White House: That, of course, would mean Cheney.

Accordingly, the idea that the attacks could not have been prevented is a myth.



I now turn to Myth #8: Official reports have explained why the Twin Towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed. This claim suffers from the same problem as the previous one. We have had three official explanations, each of which contradicts the other and none of which is anywhere near close to adequate.

The first explanation, widely disseminated through television specials, was that the buildings collapsed because their steel columns were melted by the jet fuel-fed fires. But this explanation contained many problems, the most obvious of which is that steel does not begin to melt until about 2800° F, while open fires based on hydrocarbon such as kerosene, which is what jet fuel is, cannot—even under the most ideal circumstances—rise above 1700°.

A second explanation, endorsed by The 911 Commission Report, is the "pancake theory," according to which the fires, while not melting the steel, heated it up sufficiently to cause the floors weakened by the airplane strikes to break loose from the steel columns—both those in the core and those around the outside. All the floors above the strike zone then fell down on the floor below the strike zone, causing it to break free, and this started a chain reaction so that the floors pancaked all the way down. But this explanation also suffered from many problems, the most obvious of which was that it cannot explain why the buildings collapsed into a pile of rubble only a few stories high. The core of each tower consisted of 47 massive steel columns. If the floors had broken loose from them, these columns would have still been sticking up in the air 1000 ft.

The 9/11 Commission Report tried to cover up this problem by claiming that the core of each tower consisted of a hollow steel shaft. But those massive steel columns could not be wished away.

The definitive explanation was supposed to be a third one, issued by the National Institute for Standards in Technology, usually called NIST. The NIST report claimed that when the floors collapsed, they—rather than breaking free from the columns—pulled on them, causing the perimeter columns to become unstable. This instability, then, increased the gravity load on the core columns, which had been weakened by tremendously hot fires in the core—which NIST claims reached over 1800° F—and this combination of factors resulted in "global collapse." But as physicists James Hoffman and Steven Jones have shown, this account is riddled with problems.

One of these is that NIST's claim about the tremendously hot fires in the core is completely unsupported by the evidence or logic. A second problem is that even if this sequence of events had occurred, NIST provided no explanation as to why it would have produced "global"—i.e., total—collapse. The NIST report asserts that "column failure occurred in the core as well as the perimeter columns," but this remains a bare assertion. There is no plausible explanation why the core columns would have broken or even buckled so as to produce global collapse.

And this is only to begin to enumerate the problems in this theory, all of which follow from the fact that it, like the previous two theories, is essentially a fire theory according to which the buildings were brought down primarily by fire. In the case of the Twin Towers, of course, the impact of the airplanes is said to have played a role. But most experts who support the official theory attribute the collapses primarily to the fire. NIST, for example, says that the main contribution of the airplanes, aside from providing jet fuel, was to dislodge a lot of the fire proofing from the steel, thereby making it vulnerable to the fires.

By the way, when you go home tonight and light your fires, be sure to fireproof your steel or the grate may collapse.

But these fire theories face several formidable problems. First, the fires in these three buildings were not very hot, very big, or very long lasting compared with fires in some steel-framed high-rises that did not collapse. A 1991 fire in Philadelphia burned 18 hours, and a 2004 fire in Caracas burned 17 hours, without causing even a partial collapse. By contrast the fires in the North and South Towers burned only 102 and 56 minutes respectively before they collapsed. And neither fire, unlike the Philadelphia and Caracas fires, was hot enough to break windows.

Second, total collapses of steel-framed high-rise buildings have never, either before 9/11 or after, been brought about by fire alone—or fire plus externally caused structural damage. The collapse of Building 7 has been recognized as especially difficult to explain. It was not hit by a plane, so the explanation has to rely solely on fire; and yet, because there was no jet fuel to get a big fire started, this building had fires on only two or three floors—according to several witnesses and all photographic evidence.

FEMA admitted that the best theory it could come up with for this collapse had "only a low probability of occurrence."

The 9/11 Commission Report implicitly admitted that it could not explain the collapse of this building by not even mentioning it.

The NIST report, which could not claim that the fire proofing had gotten knocked off the steel of this building, has yet to offer an explanation as to why it collapsed.

And NIST, like the 9/11 Commission, evidently does not want you asking why Building 7 collapsed even though it was not hit by a plane. On its website, it says that one of its objectives is "to determine why and how World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2 & 7 collapsed after the initial impact of the aircraft," thereby implying that Building 7, like the Twin Towers, was also hit by a plane.

In any case a third problem with the official account of the collapses of these three buildings is that all prior and subsequent collapses—total collapses of steel-frame high-rises—have been caused by explosives in the procedure known as controlled demolition. This problem is made even more severe by the fact that the collapses of these three buildings manifested many features of the most difficult type of controlled demolition known as implosion. I will mention seven such features.

First, the collapses began suddenly. Steel, if weakened by fire, would gradually begin to sag. But as one can see from the videos available on the web, all three buildings are completely motionless up to the moment they begin to collapse.

Second, if these huge buildings had toppled over, they would have caused enormous death and destruction in lower Manhattan; but they came straight down. This straight-down collapse is the whole point of controlled implosion, which only a few companies in the world are qualified to pull off.

Third, these buildings collapsed at virtually free-fall speed, which means that the lower floors with all their steel and concrete were offering virtually no resistance.

Fourth, as mentioned earlier, these collapses were total collapses, resulting in piles of rubble only a few stories high. This means that the enormous steel columns in the core of each building had to be broken into rather short segments, which is what explosives do.

Fifth, great quantities of molten steel were produced, which means that the steel had been heated up to several thousand degrees. And witnesses during the cleanup reported that sometimes, when a piece of steel was lifted out of the rubble, it was dripping molten metal.

Sixth, according to many firefighters, medical workers, journalists, and World Trade Center employees, many explosions went off both before and during the collapses. For example, Fire Captain Dennis Tardio, speaking of the South Tower, said:



I hear an explosion, and I look up. It is as if the building is being imploded from the top floor down, one after another: Boom, boom, boom!



Firefighter Richard Banacisky said:



It seemed like on television when they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.



Thanks to the release, in August of 2005, of the oral histories recorded by the Fire Department of New York shortly after 9/11, dozens of testimonies of this type are now available. I've published an essay on them, which is included in a forthcoming book on 9/11 and Christian faith; along with a lecture on the destruction of the World Trade Center, which I am now summarizing.

A seventh feature of controlled implosions is the production of large quantities of dust. In the case of the Twin Towers, virtually everything except the steel—all the concrete, the desks, the computers—was pulverized into very tiny dust particles.

The official story cannot explain one, let alone all seven, of these features—at least, as Hoffman and Jones point out, "not without violating several basic laws of physics." But the Controlled Demolition Theory easily explains all these features.

These findings are inconsistent with the idea that al Qaeda terrorists were responsible. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to those buildings for all the hours it would have taken to plant the explosives. Also, al Qaeda terrorists probably would not have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings came straight down rather than toppling over.

Terrorists working for the Bush-Cheney administration, by contrast, could have gotten such access, given—you're ahead of me here [audience erupts into cheers and applause]

They could have gotten such access, especially given the fact that Marvin Bush and Bert Walker, III—the President's brother and cousin respectively—were principals of the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center.

Another relevant fact is that the evidence was destroyed. An examination of the buildings' steel beams and columns could have shown whether explosives had been used to slice them, but virtually all of the steel was removed before it could be properly investigated, then put on ships to Asia to be melted down. It is usually a federal offense to remove anything from a crime scene, even a matchbook, but here the removal of over 100 tons of steel—the biggest destruction of evidence in history—was carried out under the supervision of federal officials.

Evidence was also apparently planted. The passport of one of the hijackers on Flight 11 was allegedly found in the rubble. [audience chuckling]

Having survived the fiery inferno—[audience continues to chuckle]

I am not making this up!

This passport had to survive not only the fiery inferno caused by the airplane but also whatever caused everything else in these buildings to be pulverized into tiny dust: The Magic Passport.

To sum up: The idea that US officials have given a satisfactory—or even close to satisfactory—explanation of the collapse of the World Trade Center is a myth. These officials have implicitly admitted this by refusing to engage in rational debate about it: Michael Newman, a spokesman for NIST, reportedly said during a recent interview, that none of the NIST scientists would participate in any public debate with scientists who reject their report. When Newman was asked why NIST would avoid public debate if it had confidence in its report, he replied, "Because there is no winning in such debates."

In the same interview, Newman had compared people who reject the government's account of the collapses with people who believe in Bigfoot and a flat Earth. And yet he fears that his scientists would not be able to show up these fools in a public debate!



In any case, I come now to the final myth, which is Myth #9: There is no doubt that Flight 77, under the control of al Qaeda hijacker Hani Hanjour, struck the Pentagon. There are, in fact, many reasons to doubt this claim. We have, in the first place, reasons to doubt that the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was under the control of Hani Hanjour. For one thing, the aircraft, before striking the Pentagon, reportedly executed a 270° downward spiral. And yet Hani Hanjour was known as a terrible pilot who could not safely fly even a small plane. Russ Wittenberg, who flew large commercial airliners for 35 years after serving in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, says that it would have been "totally impossible for an amateur, who couldn't even fly a Cessna, to maneuver the jetliner in such a highly professional manner."

Moreover, as a result of that very difficult maneuver, the Pentagon's West Wing was struck. A terrorist brilliant enough to get through the US military's defense system would have known that this was the worst place to strike, for several reasons. The West Wing had been re-enforced, so the damage was less severe than a strike anywhere else would have been. This wing was still being renovated, so relatively few people were there. A strike anywhere else would have killed thousands rather than 125. And the Secretary of Defense and all the top brass, whom terrorists would presumably have wanted to kill, were in the East Wing. Why would an al Qaeda pilot have executed a very difficult maneuver to hit the West Wing when he could have simply crashed into the roof of the East Wing?

A second major problem with the official story: There are reasons to believe that the Pentagon was struck only because officials at the Pentagon wanted it to be struck. For one thing, Flight 77 allegedly, after making a U-turn in the Midwest, flew back to Washington undetected for 40 minutes. And yet the US military, which, by then, clearly would have known that hijacked airliners were being used as weapons, has the best radar systems in the world—one of which, it brags, "does not miss anything occurring in North American airspace." The idea that a large airliner could have slipped through is absurd.

Also, the Pentagon is surely the best defended building on the planet. It is not only within the P-56-A Restricted Airspace that extends 17 miles in all directions from the Washington Monument but also within the P-56-B Airspace, the three-mile ultra-restricted zone above the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon. The Pentagon is only a few miles from Andrews Air Force Base, which has at least three squadrons with fighter jets on alert at all times. The claim by The 9/11 Commission Report that no fighters were on alert the morning of 9/11 is wholly implausible, as I have explained in my book on this subject. The Pentagon, moreover, is reportedly protected by batteries of surface-to-air missiles. So if any aircraft without a US militaries transponder were to enter the Pentagon's airspace, it would be shot down. So even if the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was Flight 77, it could have succeeded only because officials in the Pentagon turned off their missiles as well as ordering the fighters from Andrews to stand down.

A third major problem with the official story is that there is considerable evidence it could not have been Flight 77, because it was not a Boeing 757. For one thing, the strike on the Pentagon, unlike the strikes on the Twin Towers, did not create a detectable seismic signal. Also, according to several witnesses and many people who have studied the available photographs, both the damage and the debris were inconsistent with a strike by a large airliner. That issue, however, is too complex to discuss here, as is the issue of what should be inferred from conflicting eyewitness testimony.

Deferring those topics to another time, I will conclude by pointing out that the suspicion that the Pentagon was not struck by a 757, as the government claims, is supported by the fact that evidence was destroyed. Shortly after the strike, government agents picked up debris and carried it off. Shortly thereafter, the entire lawn was covered in dirt and gravel, so that any remaining forensic evidence was literally covered up. Also, the videos from security cameras on the nearby Citgo gas station and Sheraton Hotel, which would show what really hit the Pentagon, were immediately confiscated by agents of the FBI. And the Department of Justice has to this day refused to release them. If these videos would prove that the Pentagon was really hit by a 757, most of us would assume, the government would release them.

To conclude: It would seem, for many reasons, that the official story of 9/11, which has served as a religious Myth in the intervening years, is a myth in the pejorative sense of a story that does not correspond with reality. One sign that a story is a myth in this sense, I have pointed out, is that it cannot be rationally defended. The official story has never been publicly defended by any member of NIST or of the 9/11 Commission or of the Bush administration.

After Charlie Sheen had made public his skepticism about the official story, CNN's Showbiz Tonight wanted to have a debate, about the points he had raised, between a representative of the government and a representative of 911truth.org. But the producers reportedly could find no member of the government willing to appear on the show. In this unwillingness of the government to appear on an entertainment show to answer questions raised by an actor we would seem to have the clearest possible sign that the government's story is myth, not reality.

[applause]

If so, we must demand that the government immediately cease implementing the policies that have been warranted by the official account of 9/11. When charges were brought recently against members of Duke University's lacrosse team, the president of the university immediately cancelled all future games until the truth of the charges could be decided. But surely, as serious as the charges against some members of this team are, the charges against the official story of 9/11 are far more serious; for this story, serving as a national religious myth, has been used to justify two wars, which have cost many tens of thousands of deaths; to start a more general war on radical Islam, in which Muslims around the world are now considered guilty until proven innocent; to annul and violate civil rights; and to increase our military spending, which was already greater than all the spending of the rest of the world together. And yet now we've increased it by several more billions of dollars, much of this being used to put weapons in Space.

Congress needs to put the implementation of these policies on hold until there is a truly independent investigation carried out by qualified individuals who are not members of the various circles that—if 9/11 truly was a false flag operation—planned it, carried it out, and then covered it up.

Thank you very much for your attention.



Transcribed by Jerit Adamson Fourman. wrongo@gmail.com

 
At 10 July, 2006 02:40, Blogger wrongo said...

Transcript of David Ray Griffin's talk entitled "9/11: Myth & Reality"given at Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, March 30, 2006.



Good evening.

In this lecture I am going to try to give you your money's worth. That's code for this is going to be a very long lecture. So I'm going to get right into it.



Although I have given many lectures about 9/11, I had, prior to this one, never devoted an entire lecture to simply summarizing what I take to be the strongest evidence against the official account of 9/11. I will do this in terms of the distinction between myth & reality.

I am here using the term "myth" in two senses. In one sense, a myth is an idea that, while widely believed, is false, failing to correspond with reality. The official story about 911 is filled with myths in this sense. But the official story as a whole has served as a myth in a deeper sense. In this deeper sense, employed by students of religion, a Myth serves as an orienting and mobilizing story, telling people who they are and why they do what they do. When a story is called a myth in this sense, which can be called Myth with a capital M, the focus is not on the story's relation to the truth but on its function. This orienting and mobilizing function is possible only because Myths with a capital M have religious overtones. Such a myth is a sacred story.

However: Although to note that a story functions as a myth in a religious sense is not to say anything about its truth one way or another, a story cannot function as a sacred myth within a community or a nation unless it is believed to be true. In most cases, moreover, the truth of the Myth is taken on faith; it is not a matter of debate. If some people have the bad taste to question the truth of the sacred story, the keepers of the faith do not enter into debate with them; they ignore them or denounce them as blasphemers. The official story about 9/11 according to which America, because of its goodness, was attacked by fanatical Arab Muslims who hate our freedoms, has clearly functioned as a Sacred Myth for the United States since that fateful day, and this function appears to have been carefully orchestrated.

The very next day, President Bush announced his intention to lead a monumental struggle of Good versus Evil. Then on September 13th, he declared that the following day would be a national day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks. And on that next day, the President himself, surrounded by Billy Graham, a Cardinal, a Rabbi, and an Imam, delivered a sermon in the national cathedrals, saying:



Our responsibility to History is already clear: To answer these attacks and rid the world of Evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful but fierce when stirred to anger. In every generation the world has produced enemies to human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are Freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time. We ask almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come, and may He always guide our country. God bless America.



Through this unprecedented event, in which the President of the United States issued a declaration of war from a cathedral, French author Thierry Meyssan observed in 2002:



The American government consecrated its version of the events. From then on any questioning of the official Truth would be seen as sacrilege.



That attitude has remained dominant in the public sphere until this day, as the official account has continued to serve as a Sacred Myth. When people raise questions about this story, they are either ignored, ridiculed as conspiracy theorists or, as Charlie Sheen has recently experienced, personally attacked. When someone asks what right the administration has to invade and occupy other countries, to imprison people indefinitely without due process, or even to ignore various laws, the answer is always the same: 9/11. Those who believe that US law and international law should be respected are dismissed as having "a pre 911 mindset."

Given the role the official account of 9/11 has played and continues to play, the most important question before our country today is whether this account, besides being a Myth in the religious sense, is also a myth in the pejorative sense, i.e., whether it is simply false.

As a philosopher of religion, I would point out that the mere fact that a story has served as a Myth in the religious sense does not necessarily mean that it fails to correspond with reality. Many religious accounts contain at least a kernel of truth that can be defended in terms of a rational examination on the relevant evidence. In many cases, however, stories that have served as religious Myths in the religious sense cannot stand up to rational scrutiny. When such a story is stripped of its halo and treated simply as a theory, rather than an unquestionable dogma, it cannot be defended as the best theory to account for the relevant facts. The official account of 9/11 is such a theory. When challenges to it are not treated as blasphemy, it can easily be seen to be composed of a number of ideas that are myths in the sense of not corresponding with reality.

Using the word "myth," from now on only in this pejorative sense, I will discuss nine of the major myths contained in the official story about 9/11. I will thereby show that in light of the relevant evidence, the official account of 9/11 cannot be defended against the main alternative, according to which 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by people within our own government. I will begin with a few myths that prevent many people from even looking at the evidence for this alternative account.



Myth #1: Our political and military leaders simply would not do such a thing. This idea is widely believed, but it is undermined by much evidence. The United States, like many other countries, has often used deceit to begin wars. For example: the American-Mexican War with its false claim that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil; the Spanish-American War with its "Remember the Main" incidents; the war in the Philippines with its false claim that the Philippinos fired the first shot; and the Vietnam War with its Gulf of Tonkin hoax.

The US government has also sometimes organized false flag terrorist attacks, killing innocent civilians then blaming the attacks on an enemy country or group, often by planting evidence. As Daniele Ganser has shown in his recent book NATO's Secret Armies, NATO, guided by the CIA and the Pentagon, arranged many such attacks in western European countries during the Cold War in which hundreds of people were killed by bombs or hooded men with shotguns. These attacks were successfully blamed on communists, and other leftists, to discredit them in the eyes of the voting public.

Finally, if it be thought that US military would not orchestrate such attacks against American citizens, one needs only to read the plan known as Operation Northwoods which the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked out in 1962, shortly after Fidel Castro had overthrown the pro-American dictator Batista. This plan contained various pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba; some of them would have involved killing Americans. For example:



A 'Remember the Main' Incident. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.



At this point some people, having seen evidence that US leaders would be morally capable of orchestrating 9//11, might avoid looking at the evidence by appealing to Myth #2: Our political and military leaders would have had no motive for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. This myth, which is widely held, was re-enforced by The 9/11 Commission Report. While explaining that al Qaeda had ample motives for carrying out the attacks, this report mentions no motives that US leaders might have had. But the alleged motive of al Qaeda—that it hated America and its freedoms—is dwarfed by a motive held by many members of the Bush-Cheney administration: The dream of establishing a global Pax Americana, the first all-inclusive empire in history.

This dream had been articulated by many neoconservatives, or neocons, throughout the 1990s after the disintegration of the Soviet Union made it seem possible. It was first officially articulated in the Defense Plan and Guidance of 1992, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz on behalf of then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, a document that has been called a blueprint for permanent American global hegemony and Cheney's plan to rule the world.

Achieving this goal would require four things. One of these was getting control of the world's oil, especially in Central Asia and the Middle East; and the Bush-Cheney administration came to power with plans already made to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. A second requirement was a technological transformation of the military in which fighting from Space would become central. A third requirement was an enormous increase in military spending to pay for these new wars and this weaponization of Space. A fourth need was to modify the doctrine of preemptive attack so that America would be able to attack other countries even if they presented no imminent threat. These four elements, moreover, would require a fifth: an event that would make the American people ready to accept these imperialistic policies.

As Zbigniew Brzezinski explained in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard:



The American people with their democratic instincts are reluctant to authorize the money and human sacrifices necessary for imperial mobilization, and this refusal limits America's capacity for military intimidation. But this impediment could be overcome if there were a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat, just as the American people were willing to enter World War II after the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.



The same idea was suggested in 2000 in a document entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses, which was put out by a neocon think tank called The Project for a New American Century, many members of which—including Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz—became central members of the Bush administration. This document, referring to the goal of transforming the military, said that "this process of transformation is likely to be a long one absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor." When the attacks of 911 occurred, they were treated like a new Pearl Harbor. Several members of the administration spoke of "opportunities" provided by the 9/11 attacks. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that 9/11 created "the kind of opportunities that World War II offered to refashion the world." It created in particular the opportunity to attack Afghanistan and Iraq, to increase the military budget enormously, to go forward with military transformation, and to turn the new idea of pre-emptive warfare into official doctrine. This doctrinal change was announced in the 2002 version of the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, which said that America will "act against emerging threats before they are fully formed."

So, not only did the Bush administration reap huge benefits from 9/11, these were benefits that it had desired in advance. The idea that it would have had no motive for orchestrating 9/11 is a myth.



But there is one more myth that keeps many people from looking at the evidence. This is Myth #3: Such a big operation involving so many people could not have been kept a secret because someone involved in it would have talked by now. This claim is based on a more general myth, which is that it is impossible for secret government operations to be kept secret very long because someone always talks. But how could one know this? If some big operations had remained secret until now, we by definition don't know about them. Moreover, we do know about some big operations that were kept secret as long as necessary, such as the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb, and the war in Indonesia in 1957 which the United States provoked, participated in, and then kept secret until 1995. Many more examples could be given.

We can understand, moreover, why those with inside knowledge of 9/11 would not talk. At least most of them would have been people with a proven ability to keep secrets. Those who were directly complicit would also be highly motivated to avoid public disgrace and the gas chamber. Those people who had knowledge without being complicit could be induced to keep quiet by means of more or less subtle threats, such as: "Joe, if you go forward with your plan to talk to the press, I don't know who is going to protect your wife and kids from some nutcase angered by your statement." Still another fact is that neither the government nor the mainstream press, to say the least, has shown any signs of wanting people to come forward. For all these reasons, it is not surprising that no one has.



I come now to Myth #4: The 9/11 Commission, which has endorsed the official account, was an independent, impartial commission and hence can be believed. One needs only to look at the reviews of The 9/11 Commission Report on Amazon.com to see that this assumption is widely accepted. Perhaps this is partly because in the Preface, the Commission's chairman and vice chairman tell us that the Commission sought to be "independent, impartial, thorough, and non-partisan." But these terms do not describe the reality.

The Commission's lack of impartiality can be partly explained by the fact that Chairman Thomas Cane, most of the other commissioners, and at least half of the members of the staff had conflicts of interest. The most serious problem, however, is that the Executive Director, Philip Zelikow, was essentially a member of the Bush-Cheney administration. He had worked with Condoleeza Rice on National Security Council in the administration of the first President Bush. Then, when the Republicans were out of office, he and Condoleeza Rice wrote a book together. Then, when she was appointed National Security Advisor for the next Bush administration, she brought on Zelikow to help with the transition with the new National Security Council. Finally, he was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Zelikow was therefore the White House's man inside the 9/11 Commission. And yet, as Executive Director, he guided the staff, which did virtually all the work of the Commission. Zelikow was in position, therefore, to decide which topics would be investigated and which topics not. One disgruntled staff member reportedly said at the time, "Zelikow is calling the shots. He's skewing the investigation and running it his own way." Accordingly, the Commission was not independent from the Executive Branch.

Insofar as the Commission was supposed to be investigating the failure of the Bush administration to prevent the attacks, the Commission was no more independent and impartial than if Dick Cheney had been running it. This fact is further shown by one more fact about Zelikow that, until now, has not been widely known—I believe—even within the 911 Truth movement. I mentioned earlier, the Bush administration's National Security Strategy statement of 2002, in which the new doctrine of pre-emptive warfare was articulated. The primary author of this document, reports James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, was none other than Phillip Zelikow. According to Mann:



After Rice saw a first draft, which had been written by Richard Haass of the State Department, she—wanting something bolder—brought in Zelikow to completely rewrite it. The result was a document that used 9/11 to justify a very bellicose foreign policy. Max Boot called it, essentially, a neocon document.



We can understand, therefore, why the Commission, under Zelikow's leadership, would have ignored all evidence that would point to the truth: that 9/11 was a false flag operation intended to authorize the doctrines and funds needed for a new level of imperial mobilization. Talk about the fox leading the investigation into the raid on the henhouse!



The suggestion that 9/11 was a false flag operation brings us to Myth #5: The Bush administration provided proof that the attacks were al Qaeda terrorists under the direction of Osama bin Laden. One of the main pieces of alleged truth involved a claim that the baggage of Mohamed Atta, called the ringleader of the hijackers, was discovered at the Boston airport from which Flight 11 departed. This baggage, besides containing Atta's passport and drivers license, also contained various types of incriminating evidence: A flight computer, flight simulator manuals, videotapes about Boeing airliners, a copy of the Koran, and a letter to other hijackers about preparing for the mission. But the bags also contained Atta's Will. Why would Atta have intended to take his Will on a plane that he planned to fly into the World Trade Center? We seem to have planted evidence.

There are also many other problems with this story. Another element of the official story about the alleged hijackers is that they were very devout Muslims. The 9/11 Commission Report said that Atta had become "very religious, even fanatically so." The public was thereby led to believe that these men would have had no problems going on a suicide mission, because they were ready to meet their Maker. Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, however, discovered that Atta loved cocaine, alcohol, gambling, pork, and lap dances.

Several of the other alleged hijackers, the Wall Street Journal reported, had similar tastes. The Commission pretends, however, that none of this information was available while admitting that Atta and other hijackers met in Vegas shortly before 9/11. It says that it saw "no credible evidence explaining why on this occasion and others the operatives flew to and met in Las Vegas."

Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof of this claim was ever provided. The story, of course, is that they did not force their ways onto the plane but were regularly ticketed passengers. If so, their names should have been on the flight manifests, but the flight manifests that have been released contained neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any other Arab names. We've also been given no proof that the remains of any of these men were found at any of the crash sites.

One final little problem is that several of these 19 men, according to stories published on the BBC and in British newspapers, are still alive. For example, The 911 Commission Report named Walid al-Shehri as one of the hijackers and reproduced the FBI's photograph of him. It even suggested that al-Shehri was the one who stabbed one of the flight attendants shortly before Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. But as BBC news had reported ten days after 9/11, al-Shehri, having seen his photograph in newspapers and TV programs, notified authorities and journalists in Morocco—where he works as a pilot—that he is still alive.

But if there are various problems with the government's story about the hijackers, surely it presented proof that Osama bin Laden was behind the operation? Insofar as this belief is widely held, it is also a myth. Secretary of State Colin Powell promised to provide a White paper [sic] providing proof that the attacks had been planned by Osama, but this paper was never produced. British Prime Minister Tony Blair did produce such a paper, but it begins with the admission that it does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama bin Laden in a court of law. So, evidence good enough to go to war but not to go to court.

And although the Taliban said that it would hand bin Laden over if the United States presented evidence of his involvement in 9/11, Bush refused. This failure to provide proof was later said to be unnecessary because bin Laden, in a video allegedly found in Afghanistan, admitted responsibility for the attacks. This video is now widely cited as proof. But the man in this video has darker skin, fuller cheeks, and a broader nose than the Osama bin Laden of all the other videos. We again seem to have planted evidence.

There are, moreover, other problems in the official account of Osama bin Laden. For one thing, in June of 2001 when he was already America's most wanted criminal, he apparently spent two weeks in the American hospital in Dubai, was treated by an American doctor and visited by the local CIA agent. Also, after 9/11 when America was reportedly trying to "get Osama, dead or alive," the US military evidently allowed him to escape on at least four occasions, the last one being the battle of Tora Bora, which the London Telegraph labeled "A Grand Charade."

Shortly thereafter Bush said, "I don't know where bin Laden is. I really don't care. It's not our priority." Sometimes the truth slips out.

In any case, the idea that the Bush administration has provided proof for its claims about Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda hijackers is a myth.



I turn now to Myth #6: The 9/11 attacks came as a surprise to the Bush administration. Nothing is more essential to the official story than this idea. About 10 months after 9/11, FBI director Robert Mueller said, "To this day we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who knew of the plot." There is much evidence, however, that counts against this claim.

One type of evidence involves an extraordinarily high volume of put options purchased in the three days prior to 9/11. To buy put options for a particular company is to bet that its stock price will go down. These extraordinary purchases included two and only two airliners, United and American, the two airlines used in the attacks. They also included Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which occupied 22 stories of the World Trade Center. The price of these shares did, of course, plummet after 9/11, resulting in enormous profits for the purchasers. But these unusual purchases, as the San Francisco Chronicle said, "create suspicion that these investors had advance knowledge of the strikes." It would appear, in other words, that those who made the purchases knew that United and American airliners were going to be used in attacks on the World Trade Center.

The 911 Commission Report showed – [station ID: This is KMUD Garberville, KMUE Eureka/Arcata, KLAI Laytonville, and on the web kmud.org] It claimed, for example, "The purchases for United airlines do not show anyone other than al Qaeda had foreknowledge, because 95% of these options were purchased by a single US based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda." But the Commission thereby simply begged the question at issue, which is whether some organization other than al Qaeda was involved in the planning.

I'm not making this up.

Also, the Commission ignored the other crucial point, which is that US intelligence agencies closely monitor the stock market, looking for any anomalies that might provide clues to untoward events. Therefore, regardless of who orchestrated the attacks, the US government would have had intelligence suggesting that United and American airliners were to be used for attacks on the World Trade Center in the near future. [?]

Further evidence of advance knowledge is shown by the behavior of President Bush and his Secret Service agents at the photo op at the school in Florida that morning. According to the official story, when Bush was first told that a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers, he dismissed the incident as "a horrible accident," which meant that they could go ahead with the photo op. News of the second strike, however, would have indicated—assuming that the strikes were unexpected—that terrorists were using planes to attack high value targets; and what could have been a higher value target than the President of the United States? His location at the school had been highly publicized. Therefore, the Secret Service agents should have feared that a hijacked airliner might have been bearing down on the school at that very minute, ready to crash into it.

It is standard procedure for the Secret Service to rush the President to a safe location whenever there is any sign of danger, and yet these agents allowed the President to remain another half hour at the school, even permitting him to deliver an address on TV, thereby announcing to the world that he was still at the school. Would not this behavior only be explainable if the head of the Secret Service detail knew that the planned attacks did not include an attack on the President?

The 9/11 Commission, of course, did not ask this question. It was content to report that the Secret Service told us they did not think it imperative for the President to run out the door. Maintaining decorum, in other words, was more important than protecting the President's life. Can anyone seriously believe that the highly trained Secret Service would act this way in a situation of genuine danger?

A third example: A Pentagon spokesperson in explaining why the Pentagon was not evacuated before it was struck claimed that the Pentagon was "simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way." The 9/11 Commission claimed that there was no warning about an unidentified aircraft heading towards Washington until 9:36 and, hence, only one or two minutes before the Pentagon was struck. But this claim is contradicted by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony about an episode that occurred in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House.

In open testimony to the 9/11 Commission itself, Mineta said, "During the time that the airplane was coming in to 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 said, 'Of course the orders still stand! Have you heard anything to the contrary?'" Mineta said that this conversation occurred at 9:25 or 9:26, hence many minutes before the Pentagon was struck.

This example gives us one of the clearest examples of the fact that the Zelikow-led 9/11 Commission cannot be trusted. Having claimed that there was no knowledge that an aircraft was approaching the Pentagon until the last minute or so, it simply omitted Mineta's testimony to the contrary. Then, to rule out the possibility the episode Mineta had reported could have occurred, it claimed that Cheney did not even arrive down at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center until almost 10:00, hence about 20 minutes after the Pentagon was struck. But this claim, besides contradicting Mineta's eyewitness testimony that Cheney was already there when Mineta arrived at 9:20, also contradicts all other reports as to when Cheney had arrived there, including a report by Cheney himself.

In sum, having compared the official stories about the put options, the Secret Service, and Mineta's testimony, we can reject as a myth the idea that the attacks were unexpected.



However, even if the attacks had been unexpected, should they not have been prevented? This brings us to Myth #7: US officials have explained why the hijacked airliners were not intercepted. Actually, there is a sense in which this claim is true! US officials have explained why the military did not prevent the attacks. The problem, however, is that they have given us three explanations that are all mutually contradictory, and none of them is a satisfactory explanation. I will explain.

According to standard operating procedures, if an FAA flight controller notices anything that suggests a possible hijacking, the controller is to contact a superior. If the problem cannot be fixed quickly—within about a minute—the superior should ask NORAD, the North American Aerospace Command, to send up or scramble jet fighters to find out what is going on. NORAD then issues a scramble order to the nearest Air Force base with fighters on alert. The jet fighters at NORAD's disposal should respond very quickly. According to the US Air Force website, F15s can go from scramble order to 29,000 ft in only two and a half minutes, after which they can fly over 1,800 miles an hour. Therefore, according to General Ralph Eberhart, the head of NORAD: "After the FAA senses that something is wrong, it takes about a minute for it to contact NORAD, after which"—according to a spokesperson—"NORAD can scramble fighter jets within a matter of minutes to anywhere in the United States." An Air Force Traffic Control document put out in 1988 warned pilots that any airplanes persisting in unusual behavior will likely find two jet fighters on their tail within 10 or so minutes."

If these procedures had been carried out on the morning of 9/11, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 would have been intercepted before they could have reached Manhattan, and American Flight 77 would have been intercepted long before it could have reached the Pentagon. Such interceptions are routine, being carried out about 100 times a year. A month after 9/11 the Calgary Herald reported that in the year 2000 "NORAD scrambled fighters 129 times."

Do these scrambles often result in interceptions? Just a few days after 9/11 Major Mike Snyder, a NORAD spokesperson, told the Boston Globe that NORAD's fighters "routinely intercept aircraft." Why did not such interceptions occur on 911?

During the first few days, the public was told that no fighter jets were sent up until after the strike on the Pentagon at 9:38. However, it was also reported that signs of Flight 11's hijacking had been observed at 8:15. That would mean that, although interceptions usually occur within ten or so minutes after signs of trouble are observed, in this case 80 or so minutes had elapsed before fighters were even airborne. This story suggested that a stand down order had been given.

Within a few days, however, a second story was put out according to which NORAD had sent fighters up but, because notification from the FAA had been very tardy, the fighters arrived too late. On September 18th, NORAD made this second story official, embodying it in a timeline which indicated when NORAD had been notified by the FAA about each airplane and when it had scrambled fighters in response. Critics quickly showed, however, that even if the FAA indications had come as late as NORAD's timeline indicated, NORAD's jets would have had time to make interceptions. The second story did not, therefore, remove the suspicion that a stand down order had been given.

Hoping to overcome this problem, The 9/11 Commission Repot provided a third account, according to which, contrary to NORAD's timeline of September 18th, the FAA did not notify NORAD about Flight 175 until after it had struck the South Tower, or about Flight 77 until after it had struck the Pentagon. But there are three big problems with this third story.

One problem is the very fact that it is the third story. Normally when a suspect in a criminal investigation keeps changing his story we get suspicious. Let's say that the police asked Charlie Jones where he was on the night of a particular crime. He says he was at the movie theater. They say, "No, the movie theater's been closed all week." "Oh," Charlie says, "That's right. I was with my girlfriend." "No," the police say, "We checked with her, and she was home with her husband." At that point Charlie says, "Oh, now I remember. I was home reading the Bible." You're probably not going to believe Charlie.

And yet that's what we have here. The military told one story right after 9/11, another story a week later, and a third through the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004.

A second problem with this third story is that it contradicts several features of the second story, which had served as the official story for almost three years. For example, NORAD's timeline had indicated that the FAA had notified it about Flight 175 20 minutes before the South Tower was struck, and notified it about Flight 77 at least 14 minutes before the Pentagon was struck. The 9/11 Commission maintains that both of these statements were "incorrect," that really there had been no notification about these flights until after they hit their targets: This is why the military failed to intercept them. But if NORAD's timeline was false, as the Commission now claims, NORAD must have been either lying or confused. But it is hard to believe that it could have been confused one week after 911. So it must have been lying. But if NORAD was lying then, why should we believe them now?

Further skepticism about this third story arises from the fact that it is contradicted by considerable evidence. For example, the Commission's claim that the military did not know about Flight 175 until it reached its goal is contradicted by a report by Capt. Michael Jellinek, who, on 9/11, was overseeing NORAD's headquarters in Colorado. According to a story in the Toronto Star—Jellinek is a Canadian—Jellinek was on the phone with NORAD as he watched Flight 175 crash into the South Tower. He then asked NORAD, "Was that the hijacked aircraft you were dealing with?" to which NORAD said, "Yes."

The 9/11 Commissions claims about Flight 175 and Flight 77 are also contradicted by a memo sent to the Commission by Laura Brown of the FAA. Her memo stated that the FAA had set up a teleconference at about 8:50 that morning, at which time it started sharing information about all flights with the military. She specifically mentioned Flight 77. Her memo, which is available on the web, was discussed by the Commission and read into its record on May 23, 2003, but Zelikow's 9/11 Commission Report fails to mention this memo.

Because of these and still more problems, which I have discussed in a lecture called Flights of Fancy, this third story does not remove the grounds for suspicion that a stand down order had been given. There is, moreover, ear-witness testimony for this suspicion.

An upper management official at LAX, who needs to remain anonymous, told me that he overheard members of LAX security, including officers from the FBI and the LAPD, interacting on their walkie-talkies shortly after the attacks. In some cases he could hear both sides of the conversation. At first the LAX officials were furious because they were told that the airplanes that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had not been intercepted because the FAA had not notified NORAD about the hijackings. But later, he reports, they were even more furious because they were told that NORAD had been notified but did not respond because it had been ordered to stand down. When LAX security officials asked who had issued that order, they were told that it came from the highest level of the White House: That, of course, would mean Cheney.

Accordingly, the idea that the attacks could not have been prevented is a myth.



I now turn to Myth #8: Official reports have explained why the Twin Towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed. This claim suffers from the same problem as the previous one. We have had three official explanations, each of which contradicts the other and none of which is anywhere near close to adequate.

The first explanation, widely disseminated through television specials, was that the buildings collapsed because their steel columns were melted by the jet fuel-fed fires. But this explanation contained many problems, the most obvious of which is that steel does not begin to melt until about 2800° F, while open fires based on hydrocarbon such as kerosene, which is what jet fuel is, cannot—even under the most ideal circumstances—rise above 1700°.

A second explanation, endorsed by The 911 Commission Report, is the "pancake theory," according to which the fires, while not melting the steel, heated it up sufficiently to cause the floors weakened by the airplane strikes to break loose from the steel columns—both those in the core and those around the outside. All the floors above the strike zone then fell down on the floor below the strike zone, causing it to break free, and this started a chain reaction so that the floors pancaked all the way down. But this explanation also suffered from many problems, the most obvious of which was that it cannot explain why the buildings collapsed into a pile of rubble only a few stories high. The core of each tower consisted of 47 massive steel columns. If the floors had broken loose from them, these columns would have still been sticking up in the air 1000 ft.

The 9/11 Commission Report tried to cover up this problem by claiming that the core of each tower consisted of a hollow steel shaft. But those massive steel columns could not be wished away.

The definitive explanation was supposed to be a third one, issued by the National Institute for Standards in Technology, usually called NIST. The NIST report claimed that when the floors collapsed, they—rather than breaking free from the columns—pulled on them, causing the perimeter columns to become unstable. This instability, then, increased the gravity load on the core columns, which had been weakened by tremendously hot fires in the core—which NIST claims reached over 1800° F—and this combination of factors resulted in "global collapse." But as physicists James Hoffman and Steven Jones have shown, this account is riddled with problems.

One of these is that NIST's claim about the tremendously hot fires in the core is completely unsupported by the evidence or logic. A second problem is that even if this sequence of events had occurred, NIST provided no explanation as to why it would have produced "global"—i.e., total—collapse. The NIST report asserts that "column failure occurred in the core as well as the perimeter columns," but this remains a bare assertion. There is no plausible explanation why the core columns would have broken or even buckled so as to produce global collapse.

And this is only to begin to enumerate the problems in this theory, all of which follow from the fact that it, like the previous two theories, is essentially a fire theory according to which the buildings were brought down primarily by fire. In the case of the Twin Towers, of course, the impact of the airplanes is said to have played a role. But most experts who support the official theory attribute the collapses primarily to the fire. NIST, for example, says that the main contribution of the airplanes, aside from providing jet fuel, was to dislodge a lot of the fire proofing from the steel, thereby making it vulnerable to the fires.

By the way, when you go home tonight and light your fires, be sure to fireproof your steel or the grate may collapse.

But these fire theories face several formidable problems. First, the fires in these three buildings were not very hot, very big, or very long lasting compared with fires in some steel-framed high-rises that did not collapse. A 1991 fire in Philadelphia burned 18 hours, and a 2004 fire in Caracas burned 17 hours, without causing even a partial collapse. By contrast the fires in the North and South Towers burned only 102 and 56 minutes respectively before they collapsed. And neither fire, unlike the Philadelphia and Caracas fires, was hot enough to break windows.

Second, total collapses of steel-framed high-rise buildings have never, either before 9/11 or after, been brought about by fire alone—or fire plus externally caused structural damage. The collapse of Building 7 has been recognized as especially difficult to explain. It was not hit by a plane, so the explanation has to rely solely on fire; and yet, because there was no jet fuel to get a big fire started, this building had fires on only two or three floors—according to several witnesses and all photographic evidence.

FEMA admitted that the best theory it could come up with for this collapse had "only a low probability of occurrence."

The 9/11 Commission Report implicitly admitted that it could not explain the collapse of this building by not even mentioning it.

The NIST report, which could not claim that the fire proofing had gotten knocked off the steel of this building, has yet to offer an explanation as to why it collapsed.

And NIST, like the 9/11 Commission, evidently does not want you asking why Building 7 collapsed even though it was not hit by a plane. On its website, it says that one of its objectives is "to determine why and how World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2 & 7 collapsed after the initial impact of the aircraft," thereby implying that Building 7, like the Twin Towers, was also hit by a plane.

In any case a third problem with the official account of the collapses of these three buildings is that all prior and subsequent collapses—total collapses of steel-frame high-rises—have been caused by explosives in the procedure known as controlled demolition. This problem is made even more severe by the fact that the collapses of these three buildings manifested many features of the most difficult type of controlled demolition known as implosion. I will mention seven such features.

First, the collapses began suddenly. Steel, if weakened by fire, would gradually begin to sag. But as one can see from the videos available on the web, all three buildings are completely motionless up to the moment they begin to collapse.

Second, if these huge buildings had toppled over, they would have caused enormous death and destruction in lower Manhattan; but they came straight down. This straight-down collapse is the whole point of controlled implosion, which only a few companies in the world are qualified to pull off.

Third, these buildings collapsed at virtually free-fall speed, which means that the lower floors with all their steel and concrete were offering virtually no resistance.

Fourth, as mentioned earlier, these collapses were total collapses, resulting in piles of rubble only a few stories high. This means that the enormous steel columns in the core of each building had to be broken into rather short segments, which is what explosives do.

Fifth, great quantities of molten steel were produced, which means that the steel had been heated up to several thousand degrees. And witnesses during the cleanup reported that sometimes, when a piece of steel was lifted out of the rubble, it was dripping molten metal.

Sixth, according to many firefighters, medical workers, journalists, and World Trade Center employees, many explosions went off both before and during the collapses. For example, Fire Captain Dennis Tardio, speaking of the South Tower, said:



I hear an explosion, and I look up. It is as if the building is being imploded from the top floor down, one after another: Boom, boom, boom!



Firefighter Richard Banacisky said:



It seemed like on television when they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.



Thanks to the release, in August of 2005, of the oral histories recorded by the Fire Department of New York shortly after 9/11, dozens of testimonies of this type are now available. I've published an essay on them, which is included in a forthcoming book on 9/11 and Christian faith; along with a lecture on the destruction of the World Trade Center, which I am now summarizing.

A seventh feature of controlled implosions is the production of large quantities of dust. In the case of the Twin Towers, virtually everything except the steel—all the concrete, the desks, the computers—was pulverized into very tiny dust particles.

The official story cannot explain one, let alone all seven, of these features—at least, as Hoffman and Jones point out, "not without violating several basic laws of physics." But the Controlled Demolition Theory easily explains all these features.

These findings are inconsistent with the idea that al Qaeda terrorists were responsible. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to those buildings for all the hours it would have taken to plant the explosives. Also, al Qaeda terrorists probably would not have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings came straight down rather than toppling over.

Terrorists working for the Bush-Cheney administration, by contrast, could have gotten such access, given—you're ahead of me here [audience erupts into cheers and applause]

They could have gotten such access, especially given the fact that Marvin Bush and Bert Walker, III—the President's brother and cousin respectively—were principals of the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center.

Another relevant fact is that the evidence was destroyed. An examination of the buildings' steel beams and columns could have shown whether explosives had been used to slice them, but virtually all of the steel was removed before it could be properly investigated, then put on ships to Asia to be melted down. It is usually a federal offense to remove anything from a crime scene, even a matchbook, but here the removal of over 100 tons of steel—the biggest destruction of evidence in history—was carried out under the supervision of federal officials.

Evidence was also apparently planted. The passport of one of the hijackers on Flight 11 was allegedly found in the rubble. [audience chuckling]

Having survived the fiery inferno—[audience continues to chuckle]

I am not making this up!

This passport had to survive not only the fiery inferno caused by the airplane but also whatever caused everything else in these buildings to be pulverized into tiny dust: The Magic Passport.

To sum up: The idea that US officials have given a satisfactory—or even close to satisfactory—explanation of the collapse of the World Trade Center is a myth. These officials have implicitly admitted this by refusing to engage in rational debate about it: Michael Newman, a spokesman for NIST, reportedly said during a recent interview, that none of the NIST scientists would participate in any public debate with scientists who reject their report. When Newman was asked why NIST would avoid public debate if it had confidence in its report, he replied, "Because there is no winning in such debates."

In the same interview, Newman had compared people who reject the government's account of the collapses with people who believe in Bigfoot and a flat Earth. And yet he fears that his scientists would not be able to show up these fools in a public debate!



In any case, I come now to the final myth, which is Myth #9: There is no doubt that Flight 77, under the control of al Qaeda hijacker Hani Hanjour, struck the Pentagon. There are, in fact, many reasons to doubt this claim. We have, in the first place, reasons to doubt that the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was under the control of Hani Hanjour. For one thing, the aircraft, before striking the Pentagon, reportedly executed a 270° downward spiral. And yet Hani Hanjour was known as a terrible pilot who could not safely fly even a small plane. Russ Wittenberg, who flew large commercial airliners for 35 years after serving in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, says that it would have been "totally impossible for an amateur, who couldn't even fly a Cessna, to maneuver the jetliner in such a highly professional manner."

Moreover, as a result of that very difficult maneuver, the Pentagon's West Wing was struck. A terrorist brilliant enough to get through the US military's defense system would have known that this was the worst place to strike, for several reasons. The West Wing had been re-enforced, so the damage was less severe than a strike anywhere else would have been. This wing was still being renovated, so relatively few people were there. A strike anywhere else would have killed thousands rather than 125. And the Secretary of Defense and all the top brass, whom terrorists would presumably have wanted to kill, were in the East Wing. Why would an al Qaeda pilot have executed a very difficult maneuver to hit the West Wing when he could have simply crashed into the roof of the East Wing?

A second major problem with the official story: There are reasons to believe that the Pentagon was struck only because officials at the Pentagon wanted it to be struck. For one thing, Flight 77 allegedly, after making a U-turn in the Midwest, flew back to Washington undetected for 40 minutes. And yet the US military, which, by then, clearly would have known that hijacked airliners were being used as weapons, has the best radar systems in the world—one of which, it brags, "does not miss anything occurring in North American airspace." The idea that a large airliner could have slipped through is absurd.

Also, the Pentagon is surely the best defended building on the planet. It is not only within the P-56-A Restricted Airspace that extends 17 miles in all directions from the Washington Monument but also within the P-56-B Airspace, the three-mile ultra-restricted zone above the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon. The Pentagon is only a few miles from Andrews Air Force Base, which has at least three squadrons with fighter jets on alert at all times. The claim by The 9/11 Commission Report that no fighters were on alert the morning of 9/11 is wholly implausible, as I have explained in my book on this subject. The Pentagon, moreover, is reportedly protected by batteries of surface-to-air missiles. So if any aircraft without a US militaries transponder were to enter the Pentagon's airspace, it would be shot down. So even if the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was Flight 77, it could have succeeded only because officials in the Pentagon turned off their missiles as well as ordering the fighters from Andrews to stand down.

A third major problem with the official story is that there is considerable evidence it could not have been Flight 77, because it was not a Boeing 757. For one thing, the strike on the Pentagon, unlike the strikes on the Twin Towers, did not create a detectable seismic signal. Also, according to several witnesses and many people who have studied the available photographs, both the damage and the debris were inconsistent with a strike by a large airliner. That issue, however, is too complex to discuss here, as is the issue of what should be inferred from conflicting eyewitness testimony.

Deferring those topics to another time, I will conclude by pointing out that the suspicion that the Pentagon was not struck by a 757, as the government claims, is supported by the fact that evidence was destroyed. Shortly after the strike, government agents picked up debris and carried it off. Shortly thereafter, the entire lawn was covered in dirt and gravel, so that any remaining forensic evidence was literally covered up. Also, the videos from security cameras on the nearby Citgo gas station and Sheraton Hotel, which would show what really hit the Pentagon, were immediately confiscated by agents of the FBI. And the Department of Justice has to this day refused to release them. If these videos would prove that the Pentagon was really hit by a 757, most of us would assume, the government would release them.

To conclude: It would seem, for many reasons, that the official story of 9/11, which has served as a religious Myth in the intervening years, is a myth in the pejorative sense of a story that does not correspond with reality. One sign that a story is a myth in this sense, I have pointed out, is that it cannot be rationally defended. The official story has never been publicly defended by any member of NIST or of the 9/11 Commission or of the Bush administration.

After Charlie Sheen had made public his skepticism about the official story, CNN's Showbiz Tonight wanted to have a debate, about the points he had raised, between a representative of the government and a representative of 911truth.org. But the producers reportedly could find no member of the government willing to appear on the show. In this unwillingness of the government to appear on an entertainment show to answer questions raised by an actor we would seem to have the clearest possible sign that the government's story is myth, not reality.

[applause]

If so, we must demand that the government immediately cease implementing the policies that have been warranted by the official account of 9/11. When charges were brought recently against members of Duke University's lacrosse team, the president of the university immediately cancelled all future games until the truth of the charges could be decided. But surely, as serious as the charges against some members of this team are, the charges against the official story of 9/11 are far more serious; for this story, serving as a national religious myth, has been used to justify two wars, which have cost many tens of thousands of deaths; to start a more general war on radical Islam, in which Muslims around the world are now considered guilty until proven innocent; to annul and violate civil rights; and to increase our military spending, which was already greater than all the spending of the rest of the world together. And yet now we've increased it by several more billions of dollars, much of this being used to put weapons in Space.

Congress needs to put the implementation of these policies on hold until there is a truly independent investigation carried out by qualified individuals who are not members of the various circles that—if 9/11 truly was a false flag operation—planned it, carried it out, and then covered it up.

Thank you very much for your attention.



Transcribed by Jerit Adamson Fourman. wrongo@gmail.com

 

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