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Theories of 9/11

Last year, St. Joseph's College hosted a symposium for those who doubt the official version of what happened on 9/11. Are their doubts justified, or paranoid?

Comments (41)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

According to a 2006 Scripps-Howard poll, over a third of Americans believe high-ranking officials either helped commit the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or at least allowed them to happen. Other polls report even greater levels of cynicism.
Where do you draw the line separating “fringe conspiracy theory” from “mainstream phenomenon”? We’re not sure, but if one-third of the populace isn’t the mainstream it’s at least a significant tributary of it.
So last November, when we learned that the Connecticut Citizens for a New 9/11 Investigation were hosting a symposium at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, we paid it more attention than the usual “UFOs killed JFK” conspiracy e-mails that flood our in-box: rather than delete the message, we called the contact number within.
Distrusting the government is like drinking wine: if you never do it, you’re probably too uptight. If you do it in moderation, it’s very good for your health. But if you do it too much you make yourself ridiculous. Where on this spectrum do the 9/11 deniers fall? Not in the “uptight” zone, that much we knew. The question was, did they have a healthy anti-government buzz or a sloppy-drunk one?
Symposium organizer Damon Bean was quick to distance his group from what he considers the sloppy-drunk 9/11 deniers, those who claim that (for example) the government fired missiles at the Pentagon and hid this by pretending to hijack a plane, whose passengers are presumed alive and in government custody to this day.
Here’s what Bean told us: “Although we all have personal questions about other aspects of the official story, our group and thus the symposium focuses almost exclusively on the scientific and testimonial evidence for controlled demolition of the three towers [in the World Trade Center] because we believe the evidence against the official explanation in this area is so overwhelming.”
Controlled demolition means someone planted explosives in the towers long before the planes hit. If true, that has terrifying implications.
Yes it does, Bean agreed. Some lies, he argued, are so huge their very size helps keep them hidden because “the lie’s too enormous … if you accept [the truth], your whole worldview changes.”

On the second Tuesday of Sept. 2001, the sun rose for the last time on three buildings in Manhattan’s World Trade Center: the Twin Towers and the 47-story Building 7. By sunset on Sept. 11, all three had collapsed.
The official explanation is that 19 men with ties to al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger planes.
Suicidal pilots steered two of them into the twin towers, both of which collapsed within 100 minutes because the heat of the initial explosions and the fires they spawned weakened the skyscrapers’ steel frames.
A 2005 metallurgy report issued by NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) says that “All steels lose strength with increasing temperature. By 600° C, most structural steels have lost more than half their strength.”
In other words, the official story goes, the steel weakened to the point where it could no longer support the buildings, but the steel never melted. (Remember this; it’s the linchpin on which much of the 9/11 denier argument turns.)
So down went the towers. The force of their collapse flung burning debris into Building 7, which fell later that afternoon. The official report on Building 7 hasn’t yet come out, but will probably mention similar steel weakness whenever it does.
The 9/11 deniers have another explanation.
“We have prima facie forensic evidence for the controlled demolition of all three high-rise towers at the World Trade Center on 9/11,” said Richard Gage, a member of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (and a speaker at 9/11 symposia across the country).
“[The towers] dropped symmetrically, smoothly … at virtually free-fall speed against steel designed to resist such a collapse. That can only happen when the core columns are removed … within a fraction of a second of each other.”
With a controlled demolition, in other words.
Gage has video showing how much the tower collapses resemble controlled demolitions, and file footage of other high-rise fires: steel-frame skyscrapers completely engulfed in flames for over 24 hours without collapsing. Yet the World Trade towers fell after less than two hours of fire burned a mere 5 or 10 percent of their floors.
Of course, the burning buildings in Gage’s video weren’t hit by speeding planes filled with flammable jet fuel. But, the deniers point out, neither was Building 7. Incidentally, among the tenants in Building 7 were the IRS, the Department of Defence, the CIA, the Secret Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the mayor of New York’s Office of Emergency Management. Some think that the government brought Building 7 down because that’s where the plot was managed. Hence, pulling it down destroyed the evidence.

Steven Jones, a physicist formerly of Brigham Young University, can often be found at the same symposia as Gage. In 2006 Jones was stripped of his teaching duties at the university. In September of that year, Jones told the news talk show Radio West that the responsibility for the attacks rested with Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and an “international banking cartel.” Jones later quit his position, and has since declined to discuss who he thinks is behind the attack and has said he will “stick with the science.” At the West Hartford symposium, and later with us, Jones discussed Building 7 at length.
“The 9/11 Commission report failed to mention the collapse,” of Building 7, he said in a phone interview. “This is a 47-story skyscraper they didn’t mention.”
And there’s other things they never mentioned, he says, like the traces of a powerful explosive called thermite, which he claims have been found at the site. “We found thermite residue … in the dust from the towers’ collapse … NIST admits it didn’t search for explosive residue.”
Jones also talks about the microscopic “iron-rich spheres” he says he found in the dust. “To form spheres of iron requires the iron to be melted. Liquid … the dust is loaded with these iron-rich spheres. So already, we’re outside the official story of ‘the steel did not melt.’”

Michael Neuman is the unfortunate bureaucrat whose name and number grace the contact information of that NIST report.
We called and (somewhat apologetically) explained we were doing a story on 9/11 conspiracies.
“We don’t want to get into a debate,” Neuman said. “Certainly people are entitled to their opinion … [but] we’re staying away from debates with these groups.”
We assured him we didn’t belong to “these groups,” though we admitted some of the groups’ members made points we could not refute. We hoped Neuman could. The first thing we mentioned was Jones’s claims of finding explosive residue in the debris.
“We examined over 200 pieces of steel and found no evidence of explosives,” Neuman said.
We know, we said (even more apologetically), but what about that letter where NIST said it didn’t look for evidence of explosives?
“Right, because there was no evidence of that.”
But how can you know there’s no evidence if you don’t look for it first?
“If you’re looking for something that isn’t there, you’re wasting your time … and the taxpayers’ money.”
Neuman really didn’t want to talk to us. Depending on your preference, you could interpret that as further proof of a government cover-up, or as a legitimate time-management technique from a bureaucrat who can’t be expected to persuade every single doubter who finds his phone number on the NIST report.
How to tell the difference? We called Stuart Vyse, a psychology professor at Connecticut College, to ask for a rule dividing theories worth investigating from those worth dismissing out of hand.
“A healthy level of skepticism is useful, and there’s no question governments lie to people,” he said. “But in this case, it’s certainly been carried too far … [tales of] government conspiracies are pretty common. They take many forms, the whole UFO thing … ‘we’re being visited by aliens but they’re keeping that from us.’”
To be fair, we said, some of Gage’s and Jones’ points sound (at least to a non-scientist) more reasonable than the alien antics of the Men In Black. The lack of an official report for Building 7 — maybe a new investigation wouldn’t hurt, even though we don’t believe government could pull off such a complicated plot.
Exactly, said Vyse, and the plot’s very complexity is one clue that debate might just be a waste of time. Consider the Law of Parsimony (also known as Occam’s Razor), a form of logical shorthand which basically says when given two competing theories, the simplest one is usually better.
The al-Qaeda hijacking theory is pretty simple: some guys hijacked airplanes and flew them into landmarks. That’s very easy to do, if you can find someone willing to commit suicide for your cause.
Now compare that to the controlled-demolition theory. How many hundreds of people would you need to acquire the explosives, plant them in the buildings, arrange for the airplanes to crash … and, perhaps most implausibly of all, never breathe a single word of this conspiracy?
If you played a role in the controlled demolition of the towers, you could move to a country that doesn’t extradite to the U.S., sell the rights to your story and live like a king. And if you’re evil enough to join such a plot, you’re probably avaricious enough to sell out your co-conspirators for a quick buck. Yet in the six-plus years since the attack, no such person has ever come forward.

The West Hartford symposium’s tightly packed schedule had lectures back-to-back, with no time to socialize. So we played hooky from a few lectures and milled about the lobby instead.
A clean-cut man in a polo shirt and khakis smiled at us. “You’re with the media?” he asked.
We said yes.
And with little preamble he told us the plane-hijacking story was invented by the Bush administration to cover up the fact that they’d hit the buildings with missiles.
“There’s no evidence of planes hitting the Pentagon,” he said. “It’s been proven the video footage of the plane hitting the south tower [of the WTC] is fake. Google Chopper Five.”
Another man said planes did hit the buildings, but not because of hijackers. “Flight 77 [the Pentagon plane] wasn’t really owned by American Airlines,” he said, but by a shadow company out West. “They take aircraft and retrofit them to be flown by remote control … remote is how they control the Mars Rovers. They can do it on earth too.”
Speaking of earth, America has the most powerful military on it. Therefore, someone else told us, “You cannot strike the Pentagon without inside involvement.”
Did we look a little dazed? Perhaps, for the next man smiled sympathetically. “You’re wondering how they planted explosives in the towers with nobody knowing, aren’t you?” We nodded. “Copy paper. Office paper moved into the buildings on skids, a ton of paper at a time … ”
“Who benefited from 9/11 and the global war on terror?” someone else rhetorically asked. “The U.S., if you think we should be controlling the world. Israel benefited tremendously. It was the Mossad masterminding it.”

The Mossad again. That’s the national intelligence agency of the state of Israel. Before the symposium, we’d spent some time online researching 9/11 conspiracies, and came to the following conclusion: not every 9/11 denier believes the Elders of Zion secretly rule the world, but everyone who believes the Elders of Zion secretly rule the world is a 9/11 denier.
In all fairness: the only people at the symposium who said things like “the Jews did it” were some of the off-the-street paying customers; we heard none of the featured speakers blame the plot on “Zionists” or any other shadow groups. But then, none of the featured speakers blamed the plot on anybody.
Damon Bean, Richard Gage and Steven Jones never would answer our questions regarding just who they thought was responsible for the attacks; they would only say that, while they don’t know who did commit the attacks, they know al-Qaeda didn’t.
If not al-Qaeda, then who?
We went online again in search of someone to blame. Anyone to blame, with the following caveat: we ignored all Web sites containing phrases like “Jew-controlled media,” “Illuminati” or “Zionist hegemony.”
Maybe that’s why we couldn’t find any alternate scapegoat.

Conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie. Robert Goldberg, a historian at the University of Utah, specializes in them, so we called to ask if he could give us a neat, simple answer to the question “Why do so many otherwise sane people believe such odd things?”
But of course no single answer exists. “In the 1960s, polls showed 75 percent of Americans said they trust the government; by the 90s, it was down to 25 percent,” Goldberg said. “With the erosion of faith, they want ‘someone to tell us what’s true,’ and that’s where the conspiracy theory comes in.”
So if you can’t trust the government, you can at least trust the guy who tells you why the government can’t be trusted. That explains some conspiracy theorists.
And there’s other motivational possibilities: if you’re able to discern the existence of a huge, secret conspiracy, that makes you more intelligent than the “sheeple” who still can’t see the truth. Quite an ego-boost, that. Or maybe it’s a simple comfort factor: if a big, shadowy organization lurks behind the scenes controlling the world — well, at least that means somebody’s in control.
The thought that a huge secret mystery group could bring down the World Trade Center, push America into war and get away with it is scary, yes. But is it any scarier than getting the same nasty result from the actions of a single wealthy Middle Eastern psychopath with a few suicidal friends?

Write to us at editor@hartfordadvocate.com
or jabel@hartfordadvocate.com

Comments (41)
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Given the difficulties of getting three people to agree on anything, I tend to doubt the X files view of the world. Why classify as a conspiracy that which is easily explained by general incompetence?

Then again, someone could have had their dog tied up on a breezeway near the top of one of the towers......
Posted by A Moose on 1.29.08 at 12.16

And there?s other things they never mentioned, he says, like the traces of a powerful explosive called thermite, which he claims have been found at the site. ?We found thermite residue ? in the dust from the towers? collapse ? NIST admits it didn?t search for explosive residue.?
Jones also talks about the microscopic ?iron-rich spheres? he says he found in the dust. ?To form spheres of iron requires the iron to be melted. Liquid ? the dust is loaded with these iron-rich spheres. So already, we?re outside the official story of ?the steel did not melt.??


If Jones was refering to the twin towers, there is an easy explanation for both the thermite residue and the evidence of melted iron. In fact, a knowledgeable physicist should not be at all surprised by the occurence of such.

There is nothing mysterious about thermite. Prior to the military using it as an incendiary explosive it was an industrial welding compound used for the repair welding of large steel and/or iron members in situ. The railroads still use it for welding together the ends of railroad rails after they have been laid on the road bed. Any good welding or chemistry text should have information on the "thermite reaction."

Essentially thermite is a mixture of aluminum, magnesium, and iron oxide (rust) in certain proportions. When this mixture is ignited it burns with an intense heat that results in a temperature several times that which is required melt steel or iron. Aluminum is not easy to light which is why magnesium is mixed into it. The magnesium is not only easier to ignite, but it produces a temperature sufficient to get the aluminum burning. Both of these metals become extremely chemically reactive when burning, so much so that they litterally reduce the iron from the iron oxide. That is to say, they rob the iron oxide (or rust) of its oxygen which in turn allows them to burn all the more hotly, melting the iron.

One might ask how these metals and chemicals could be present in a modern office building, but it would make more sense to ask how they could not be there. Aluminum and aluminum-magnesium alloys are found in everything from window frames to office furniture to soda cans; and of course, iron and steel are even more ubiquitous. As regards the Trade Center towers there was an even larger presence of aluminum and aluminum-magnesium - namely the bodies of the two burning aircraft that were inside them. Airliners are built of such metals; not only that, but they normally carry a supply of compressed air or oxygen for the passengers to breathe in case the plane should lose cabin pressurization. That combined with a pool of burning jet fuel in a relatively closed-in area would be more than sufficient to ignite any aluminum or magnesium present. The resulting inferno would have been akin to something like the inside of an open-hearth furnace - it could have been hot enough to melt even glass and some ceramics.

It is truly surprising how high a temperature can be achieved in a burning building, and that is especially true of a modern structure - just ask any experienced fireman or arson investigator. Given the myriad of synthetics, plastics, and various chemicals present to act as accelerants to a fire it is not uncommon to find examples of melted metal and glass in the aftermath of a fire these days.

Just a note about the steel girders getting hot enough to collapse. Steel becomes soft and plastic when it reaches the red hot stage of incandescence. As it gets hotter it becomes even softer and glows orange, yellow, and then finally white - when it either melts or it burns like a Fourth of July sparkler depending on the amount of air present. However, before it reaches the red stage, while it is "black hot" it undergoes a temporary internal change that renders it brittle and subject to fracture if subjected to shock or other stress. Those steel girders in the towers would not have had to even reach red hot temperatures to become fragile.
Posted by smartass sob on 1.29.08 at 15.45
The name of this event was "9/11: Family Members, First Responders, & Experts Speak Out" yet I don't see mention of Donna Marsh O'Connor, Bob McIlvaine, Patty Casazza, Manny Badillo, John Feal, Sean Riordan, William Pepper, or Cynthia McKinney. Why is that?
Posted by Jon Gold on 1.30.08 at 16.47
The name of this conference was : "9/11: Family Members, First Responders and Experts Speak Out! " Yet there is no mention of the family members or first responder testimonials ( including Jersey girl Patty Cassaza) or the fact that the entire conference was a benefit for sick 9/11 first responders. I am deeply disappointed in the superficial coverage of this event and the important issues it raises. We can not control who lounges in the corridors of our events, we can only control the speakers and presentations. I encourage everyone to go the conference web site http://www.911hartford ( under media coverage link) where you can view the entire video of our conference, and make up your own minds.

Posted by Damon Bean on 1.30.08 at 17.55
Jennifer, you lost all credibility when you used the term "9/11 deniers." Trying to link 9/11 skepticism with holocaust denial is incredibly disingenuous.
Posted by Justin Martell on 1.30.08 at 21.44
Trying to link 9/11 skepticism with holocaust denial is incredibly disingenuous.

I'm not Jewish and so I have no real ax to grind - but I'd bet she didn't have to try very hard.
Posted by smartass sob on 1.30.08 at 22.22
"Distrusting the government is like drinking wine: if you never do it, you?re probably too uptight. If you do it in moderation, it?s very good for your health. But if you do it too much you make yourself ridiculous. Where on this spectrum do the 9/11 deniers fall? Not in the ?uptight? zone, that much we knew. The question was, did they have a healthy anti-government buzz or a sloppy-drunk one?"

This is one of the most absurd paragraphs I have ever read concerning the crimes of September 11, 2001, and the people who are trying to get to the truth of those crimes. What does distrusting government and drinking wine have to do with the irrefutable facts of that terrible day? For instance, although the 2 towers of the World Trade Center were hit by 2 planes, a third building, building 7, never hit by a plane, collapsed shortly after 5 pm. This 47 story steel high-rise collapsed into its own footprint in less than 7 seconds showing all the characteristics of a controlled demolition. This fact was never mentioned in the 500+ page 911 Commission Report. This alone is grounds for re-opening the investigation, but there are hundreds of other anomalies and inconsistencies which have not been addressed by the official explanation that was told to the public. If the reporter had just spent more time listening to the speakers at the Hartford Symposium, or done some research on the subject, he might have written a newspaper article with some real substance, instead of this ridiculous waste of time and paper.
Posted by R. S. Gillam on 1.30.08 at 22.34
911 was an inside job. Those who fail to see this despite the overwhelming evidence are the real 911 deniers!
Posted by Nils on 1.31.08 at 0.59
RS-
Undoubtably, one could come up with a number of areas where there are discrepancies in the report. As a trained engineer and scientist, I am a trained skeptic, and I'm fine with that. However, it is a valid point to ask "why", and not just focus on the "what".

You have a group which has claimed responsiblity, whom nobody (to my knowledge) denies exists. This group, contrary to a lot of people's stereotypes, is not so much in direct control, but acts more like a "board of directors" or a central funding conduit, using to no small extent preexisting transnational terror conduits. One can argue that these trace back to the French in Algiers years ago, and the Israel/Palestine situation was a couple steps further along, but that doesn't change that they do, in fact, exist.

While the precise failure mechanisms of each individual building are of interest, to allege that it was a coordinated conspiracy on someone's behalf would at minimum allege that you have a group which is no great friend of the USA willing to cover for the US Govt, you have a fairly large number of people who coordinated this using public money (even "black ops" is public money), or via private contractors such as Blackwater or something, still involving a large number of people. You then have a further group of large number of people who are tasked with killing off the first large number of people, who in turn are perhaps killed off by every smaller large groups of people, and absolutely NONE of them ever talked to a professional journalist who was able to even have a story worthy for the National Enquirer. I may follow your concerns in terms of failure mechanisms and mechanics, but I simply find that the number of people who would have to be involved and not having even one who would love the spotlight enough is inconcievable.

So, I would respectfully suggest that time would be better spent pursing a more mundane explanation of Bldg 7, such as vibration causing lateral displacement of underlying foundations, negative skin friction on piles due to overconsolidation at depth, etc. Once all of those, and only when all of those, have been eliminated can you reasonably justify spending time and cash pursing other alternatives.

Oh, and in answer to your question "what distrusting govt (which I believe the reporter does strongly believe in) has to do with irrefutable facts.." etc, I would answer the following. When your distrust of govt causes you to ignore a large number of perfectly logical and logistically reasonable explanations, causing you to instead pursue as the most probable an illogical and logistically unreasonable position, then it's time to examine what you're trying to do. If you're a trained professional (engineer/architect/scientist), you owe it to the world to pursue things in a rational manner. If you're not a trained professional, then go get yourself education before you start drawing conclusions about mechanical phsyics and how buildings fall, etc.
Posted by A Moose on 1.31.08 at 6.34
Yet there is no mention of the family members or first responder testimonials ( including Jersey girl Patty Cassaza) or the fact that the entire conference was a benefit for sick 9/11 first responders. I am deeply disappointed in the superficial coverage of this event and the important issues it raises.

Damon-

Papers have limits to the amount that can be fit into certain spaces. If the article doesn't contain all the information you believe it should, you're doing the right thing and referencing more here.

Your link doesn't work though. I did try.

Why don't you post contact info so people who are interested can get ahold of you?

Posted by A Moose on 1.31.08 at 6.39
All-

Damon's link should be www.911hartford.org

You're welcome Damon.
Posted by A Moose on 1.31.08 at 7.04
See editoral from Kean and Hamilton - Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission report and Hamilton, Vice Chair

Kean and Hamilton issued a statement today, January 2, 2008 (only six-plus years since 9/11/2001) that was aired on CNN. They published an editorial in the New York Times. Their position: Their work was blocked, the investigation tainted. They repeatedly asked for tapes from the CIA that were never provided. See New York Time link

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02kean.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=hamilton+and+kean&st=nyt&oref=slogin
Posted by LJ on 1.31.08 at 7.17
RS-Forgot one thing:
If the reporter had just spent more time listening to the speakers at the Hartford Symposium, or done some research on the subject, he....

"He"=Jennifer, who in addition to the byline of the story is named on Damon's faulty link page, btw. Just wanted to point that out, since we're talking about fact checking here and attention to detail.
Posted by A Moose on 1.31.08 at 9.06
A NASA solar spectrometer was flown over the World Trade Center site on 09/16/01.
http://nasathermalimages.com
Posted by Justin Keogh on 1.31.08 at 9.06
Justin-What's your point, I don't understand what you're trying to infer by that statement, if anything?
Posted by A Moose on 1.31.08 at 9.15
Since anyone can post here and claim to be a expert in engineering, physics, etc.., to those who want to research this story themselves and come to their own conclusions, please visit a few of the hundreds of sites and see what the real experts have to say. See what the pilots, architects, physicist, engineers, government officials have to say. Then look a 9/11 family member in the face who has lost a child, father, husband, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, cousin and friend and then say to them ?we don?t need a new investigation, move on.?

www.911truth.org
www.911blogger.com
www.ae911truth.org
www.911research.wtc7.net
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
http://stj911.org
Posted by LJ on 1.31.08 at 10.29
You are sure to bring the nuts out of the woodwork with this piece of trash.

Why not use your usual keen insight and deliver an article how Bush flew one of the planes in the towers.
Posted by realist on 1.31.08 at 12.01
There are so many contradictory versions of "9/11truth" that the mountain of facts that stand in clear opposition to all the lies, damn lies, and fabrications of the "truther movement" stand out by virtue of their consistency six and a third years after the fact.

So yeah, if you have nothing better to do, no job, no family, no hobbies, check them all out:

The "planers" vs. the "no-planers" ( who believe there were no airplanes at the WTC ) vs. the "half-planers' (who believe there were planes at the WTC, but not one the Pentagon.) Then there are the ones who believe there were planes and that the towers came down as a consequence of the attacks, but that 7WTC wasn't hit by enough debris or burned long enough, or hot enough, to have come down without controlled demolition. There are "truthers" who believe nuclear weapons were used to bring down the towers, as well as those who believe Dr. Judy Woods' theory that particle beam weapons from space, not controlled demolition, or nukes, were the real WMD at the WTC. Some "truthers" believe the Bush Administration did it, but others believe it was the Israelis. David Icke a prominent "9/11truther" for years believes it was space lizards.

And of course, "9/11truthers" sometimes denounce each other as "shills" or "disinformation agents," and even "kooks," just as as they often accuse their detractors and debunkers of the same. 9/11truth isn't, but it is a veritable smorgasbord of conspiracy theory types.

Posted by A. M. Buria on 1.31.08 at 13.31
I attended the symposium. In no way is this a coverage of , its nothing more than an attempt at trying to stop free speech. They try and paint the picture here, regardless of any brainstorming in the hallways .There was absolutley no mention of the second tower film being faked by anyone of the presentators and they fail to mention a Congresswoman showed up as well. If thats not interest what is. They convinced anyone it was demolitions its kind of hard when they are actually are demolitions with the complete pulverization evident.
What a joke you guys are its a disgrace you tryed to paint that days events not mentioning the victims thats lost loved ones crying onstage, Im angered over this!! I was ready to kill any culprit when the victims who lost their loved ones gave their testimony.
Posted by Eric McLaughlin on 1.31.08 at 19.53
its nothing more than an attempt at trying to stop free speech.

How is a report, accurate or not, an attempt to try to stop free speach? That seems like a rather strange viewpoint to me. It may be an attempt to ascribe a value judgement to a particular opinion, but it's certainly not an attempt to stop free speach by engaging in free speach.

Since anyone can post here and claim to be a expert in engineering, physics, etc..,

LJ-
I got my first engineering license in Florida in 1990, after working in the field, building, not designing or testing, for four years. How about you?

My point is that you have people who really want to believe that fate doesn't apply and that there is some conspiracy. That's fine, we live in a free country, and there are those who believe that the FSM will be viewed as a legitimate religion in 100 years or so. However, don't exclude completely rational engineering explanations chasing something which has a much lower probability and flat out wastes time and money chasing. I haven't looked at Bulding 7, I admit, and that particular day I spent in a construction trailer with F-16's circling overhead and had no TV. However, I also spent a few years in the military in my past, and I can tell you it's just not possible to have that many people maintain a secret in the government. I understand people have grief, that's natural, and with grief comes a strong desire to have something make sense which may not make sense. People create things in their minds to cause it to make sense, some people even believe religion is a result of this tendency. However, wanting to believe it, acutally believing it, that doesn't make it true.
Posted by A Moose on 2.1.08 at 4.33
A Moose said: "Why classify as a conspiracy that which is easily explained by general incompetence?" The question is rather: "Why do so many accept the explanation of general incompetence for that which cannot be explained by
incompetence?" Ms. Abel attempts to use Occam's Razor, without understanding that this only means that the simpler of explanations that explains all phenomenon is preferred.

Ms. Abel, your article was rude, flippant, and very poorly argued. Show some respect for very serious issues raised by good, smart people. This includes 9/11 family members that spoke at the event, as you failed to even mention. Here are the words of one of those you tried to mock:

http://mujca.com/911familymember.htm

Your
writing strikes me as an example of what English professor Eric Larsen writes about in his book A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit (2006).

http://www.ericlarsen.net/books.html

Here's
his latest essay on this phenomenon:

http://www.ericlarsen.net/foodforthought1.1.1.2008.html

With
your absurd analogy to ostracism of drunks, you've taken serious issues of science, forensics, law, and politics, and turned them into juvenile mockery, not worthy of even high school student.

What's sad is that you got a psychology professor and history professor to use their credentials in support of the same
specious speculations about the motives and views of people at the conference.

Remarkably, Stuart Vyse's website contains this quote:

"My most important advice for students: Ask questions. There are few certainties in life, and the only way to separate
information from misinformation is to probe the logic and evidence behind the things you hear."
- Stuart Vyse

Good advice. Before misstating and misapplying Occam's Razor, did he first probe the logic and evidence behind what
the government and corporate media say about 9/11, then probe the logic and evidence of speakers at this conference? After all, it is the government with control over the evidence that has the burden and duty of explaining crimes on U.S. soil. Professor Vyse begs the question by asking us to believe that "9/11 conspiracy theories" are related to the "psychology of irrational behavior, superstition and belief in the paranormal."

Just looking at the impossible physics of the so-called "collapses," it is obvious that it is he that believes in the paranormal. Or more likely, he just hasn't bothered to look at the evidence, and takes the authoritarian and most un-American view that questioning the government is inherently wrong.

In trying to mock, you and the professors made mockeries of yourselves and your chosen professions.
Posted by Dwight Van Winkle on 2.1.08 at 16.15
I criticized Professor Goldberg without explaining why. He makes the same specious argument as Mark Fenster of University of Florida School of Law: more people distrusting the government means that more people are willing to raise irrational questions. Once again, this begs the general question of whether that distrust is irrational, or rather a rational response to government actions and inactions. Further, it begs the specific question of whether questions about 9/11 are rational.

As a student of social movements, Professor Goldberg should be well aware that citizens have revealed deadly lies by government and corporations, for example about toxin releases or unsafe pharmaceuticals. They have also revealed the corruption of science by profit-seeking corporations and captured regulatory agencies. 9/11 has been very profitable for some, and the event itself was not more deadly than government and corporate lies about toxins and pharmaceuticals. In this context, Professor Goldberg should be aware that distrust of government cannot be considered unjustified or irrational without looking at the facts, which he has not done.

Perhaps I am guilty of what Professor Goldberg and Fenster did by extrapolating their pre-9/11 theories of "conspiracy theory" to the facts of 9/11. I consider government and corporations to be organizationally willing and capable to carry out, and cover up, terrible acts, and am not surprised that government could be complit in at least covering up the facts of 9/11. It is those facts which were discussed at the Hartford conference, and those facts which Professor Goldberg needs to address before claiming ex cathedra that questions about 9/11 are a priori absurd.
Posted by Dwight Van Winkle on 2.1.08 at 17.38
I just read its just not possible to maintain secrecy in the military from some guy that was in it. First of all nothing has remained secret many many military officials question the 911 story just as you are saying they havent. This symposium showed a Congresswoman as well. check here http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/ The media simply is very privatized and has long worked with the military (CIA) just look up Operation Mockingbird in any encyclopedia.
Nothing is secret and yet no network or court is willing to get into it.
As for the towers no education on the books authorizes a near terminal velocity pulverization with pyroclastic dust clouds consistent with only volcanos and demolitions from fire alone. When the facts about temperatures and weakening steel come into play it must be necessary to assess the volume of steel the cores were 80+ ft by 130 + ft
and 1300 + ft tall they were made up of dozens of large beams which were cased in concrete all vertical. All the horizontal trusses held were the floors. so essentially the theory presented by Popular Mechanics should leave you with a standing core unless you chop that up in pieces.
The exasperative effort to play up jet fuel fire in this case is defeated quickly when there were people waving for help in the impact hole (the main exhaust vent) and they arent on fire. Also caught on video is molten metal pouring out windows shortly before the collapse. Just look it up on Youtube the networks covered it. Continuous explosions reported and the fact that all pieces of beams were shorter than 30 ft make it really hard to apply just the weakening of steel. Also hard on the families and the NYC Fire Dept who officially requested a reinvestigation another thing that didnt (come out) Basic Physics ( Newtons Law) points to resistance of some degree from the vertical beams. It seems they either dissapeared or the highest levels of govt which held the f-16s down are defying Mr Newton.
Posted by Eric McLaughlin on 2.1.08 at 18.19
You better read this before you expect the media not to keep a secret for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird
Posted by Eric McLaughlin on 2.1.08 at 18.30
Completely ignored is "why were multiple hijacked airliners not intercepted by US military aircraft?" Such interceptions are not unusual, they are standard procedure. For example, when Payne Stewart's small Learjet lost contact with ground control we intercepted it.

Our military jets did not respond because they were sent to training missions on 9/11. Further, those training missions were to simulate the interception of hijacked aircraft, which is a perfect excuse for the confusion that delayed a proper response to a real hijacking. Further, it was Cheney who was in charge of this. Cheney? This is a smoking gun.
Posted by Da Planes, Da Planes on 2.1.08 at 19.18
Since so many here are offering links to various sources of information about 9/11, I'd like to offer one as well. Anyone who wishes to take the time can go and read the following refutations to the issues that the conspiracy theorists raise. Here" target="_blank">http://www.debunking911.com/index.html">Here the reader will find info about fires, thermite, pools of molten metal, structural collapse, etc. It makes for very interesting reading. Or here: http://www.debunking911.com/index.html
Posted by smartass sob on 2.2.08 at 2.56
The building-pancaking theorists say that the implosion theory is sociologically impossible; that people couldn't keep a secret that big. The implosion theorists say that the pancake theory is physically impossible; that it wouldn't diagonally shear support columns or produce molten steel. So which science do I trust more, sociology or physics? In my case, physics.

Posted by paradoctor on 2.2.08 at 9.16
The "issues that the conspiracy theorists raise" that are amazingly not covered on sites like the one "smartass sob" posted can be found at sites like:

http://www.911independentcommission.org/questions.html

http://www.911truth.org/downloads/Family%20Steering%20Cmte%20review%20of%20Report.pdf

www.cooperativeresearch.org
Posted by Jon Gold on 2.2.08 at 10.37
The "issues that the conspiracy theorists raise" that are amazingly not covered on sites like the one "smartass sob" posted

The issues I was referring to were the scientific and technological issues; if one wishes to speculate about political intrigues, I'm sure there are sites that discuss both sides of that as well. I don't waste much time wondering about such intrigues, because I don't think there is any way for the average person to reach a valid conclusion about such things - except perhaps to realise that one will probably never know for sure one way or the other.
Posted by smartass sob on 2.2.08 at 13.46
So which science do I trust more, sociology or physics? In my case, physics.

You forgot to add "But, only physics which agrees with my preconceived notions, otherwise, I'll ignore it".
Posted by A Moose on 2.2.08 at 14.36
Cool article Jen,

You got some people fired up I see.
Posted by kiran on 2.3.08 at 5.35
I have no problem with the two towers coming down due to the high heat created by aviation fuel. Building 7 was a problem and the BBC mistaken broadcast where they discussed the collapse of building 7 before they realized building 7 was still up directly behind the reporter raises one's eyebrows.
Posted by Gary Denton on 2.3.08 at 10.36
The Hartford Advocate is the biggest piece of bullshit journalism that I have ever encountered. And this article is just proof. Good job guys keep up the shitty work.
Posted by Eve on 2.4.08 at 6.13
Not this crap again.

Jezus.

Posted by J.R. "Bob" Dobbs on 2.4.08 at 11.55
It's all been debunked TO DEATH.

http://wtc7lies.googlepages.com/

what's
next? A feature-length article about images of the Virgin Mary in potato chips?
Posted by unnamed celebrity on 2.4.08 at 12.04
"BBC mistaken broadcast where they discussed the collapse of building 7 before they realized building 7 was still up directly behind the reporter raises one's eyebrows."

I didn't realize 7WTC was in London.

The broadcast you're talking about was from BBC studios in the UK and the image behind the reporter was on a screen.

Posted by Anon & mous on 2.4.08 at 12.24
"..pyroclastic dust clouds consistent with only volcanos and demolitions from fire alone..."

I've read everything in the public literature on this. There are no volcanic type flows or ash at demolitions from fire alone. In fact, there are no pyroclastic flows anywhere but volcanos. This claim is outright gibberish, unless there was indeed a volcano at the WTC.

"dozens of large beams which were cased in concrete all vertical."

This is absolutely not true. (Where do they get this stuff?) Concrete was used only for the floors above the horizontal trusses. The vertical columns were encased only in sheetrock/drywall. The easily pulverized stuff in all the dust clouds. There is only about a ton of information on this simple fact.
Posted by anon & mous on 2.4.08 at 12.36
It is true that thermite is sometimes used for welding railroad ties together, but thermite was not used for welding in the WTC structural steel buildings since it does not meet the applicable code requirements. The NIST report notes the tight requirements for welding in the construction of the WTC Tower, see:
http://public.gregjenkins.promessage.com/E7018-WeldingMaterialSpecs.doc

As
noted by Dr. Greg Jenkins, "The upshot is that the towers were welded together within specifications, subject to the E7018 conforming to the codes of the American Welding Society (AWS) A5.1 Specifications for Covered Carbon Steel Arc Welding Electrodes."

Dr Jenkins also notes:

"The impurities in such welding rods is non-existent in comparison to the impurities measured by Jones et al. in the iron-rich spherules. The large fraction of impurities alloyed/fused with the iron precludes welding splatter during the construction of the towers."

Note that thermite welds in railroads failed at unacceptable rates, see: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-95954172.html .

Clearly, Thermite does not meet the tight codes required for the WTC buildings, nor could the observed microspheres be due to welding splatter (due to significant differences in composition).
For more information, please read our published, peer-reviewed paper: :

http://journalof911studies.com/articles/WTCHighTemp.pdf

And see: 9/11 Research, Orem 2007: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-281848486800635615&hl=en
Finally, regarding the Red/gray chip discovery: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4186920967571123147&hl=en

Posted by Steven E Jones on 2.4.08 at 13.48
It is true that thermite is sometimes used for welding railroad ties together, but thermite was not used for welding in the WTC structural steel buildings since it does not meet the applicable code requirements.

I don't know of anyone who thinks or asserts that thermite was used to weld anything in the WTC buildings. Certainly I was not making that assertion. I merely said that an accidental thermite reaction might have taken place and that whether one did or not , the proper materials were there to leave the residue of one. BTW railroad ties are fashioned of wood and are therefore never welded. It is the steel rails themselves that are welded end to end. They in turn are fastened to the wooden ties by means of steel plates and spikes.
Posted by smartass sob on 2.4.08 at 17.44
Occam?s Razor is a fallacy. The only reason it seems to make sense is that human beings crave simplicity over complexity. Just look around: the universe is anything but simple. Why should it 'naturally' follow that the simpler explination tends to be correct? If anything, the complexity of the universe should suggest the opposite.
Posted by OmegaZ on 2.5.08 at 15.11
When I first heard about there being a 9/11 conspiracy, I though to myself: "What a bunch of loons."

When someone finally asked me to review some material, I said: "Sure, I'm willing to look at anything." And then I thought to myself: "OMG - he's a loon."

And after I looked, I thought to myself: "That's interesting - somebody must have shot this stuff down."

Then I looked for myself. The single good thing the reporter did when she called NIST and got a contradictory run-around, which is the first clue. Another good clue was when the NIST guy says "We are not going to debate." No sh*t - that's last thing anyone defending this fairy tale ever wants to do - debate what happened.

So Moose - congrats on that in-the-field engineering training of yours. I only have a degree in physics from Rice University and I go after the bad guys in the world of finance for a living. And my grandfather was an Admiral in the Navy, and I was raised a Goldwater conservative and voted for Reagan twice.

Nobody seriously defends the official government position on 9/11 who has half a brain and has looked at it. Nobody.

I remember right after the attacks the story about the "put option" trading activity on the airlines involved. Classic insider trading. I thought to myself - "Well at least they will be able to trace - no sweat." That's my field now.

That was one of the first things I checked out when I started looking at this. And what is the official government explanation? Get this - because this is really, really very funny. The government position - "No connection."

Well boys and girls - that is flat out statistically impossible. So Moose & smartass - lucky for the government there are plenty of gullible people out there like you.

And when you actually study this, it is just one fairy tale after another.

Good work Professor Jones.
Posted by Tom on 4.28.08 at 18.39
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