A response to
The 9/11 Conspiracists: Vindicated at Last?
Nation of Change Op-Ed, 2 Sept 2011
15 September 2011 -- This is a detailed response to Alexander Coburn's (AC) piece, attempting to respond specifically to his assertions with references to facts, eschewing the sarcasm often characteristic of his approach. His piece is similar to most of the hit-pieces that have been written attacking the 9/11 Truth movement since Popular Mechanics started the practice back in 2005, using sarcasm, ignoring or demeaning quite valid evidence cited by the movement, citing extreme or manufactured quotes, and echoing official statements that have long been debunked.|
-- Dick Atlee
We're homing in on the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon. According to a survey conducted by Gfk NOP, one in 7 Americans and 1 in 4 among those aged 16-24 believe that there was a vast conspiracy in which the U.S. government was involved. But across those 10 years, have the charges that it was an "inside job" -- a favored phrase of the self-styled "truthers" -- received any serious buttress?
The answer is no.
Did the twin towers fall because they were badly built, which resulted in a consequence of corruption, incompetence and regulatory evasions by the Port Authority, not to mention that huge planes loaded with jet fuel struck them?
No, shout the conspiracy theorists, they "pancaked" because Dick Cheney's agents -- scores of them -- methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. These agents inserted the explosives in the relevant floors of three vast buildings (moving day after day among the unsuspecting office workers), and then on 9/11 activated the detonators. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom, a party to mass murder, have held their tongues ever since.
Take the plane that struck the Pentagon. Many conspiracists say it wasn't a plane but a missile. Eyewitnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon are contemptuously brushed aside. There are some photos of the impact of the "object" -- i.e. the Boeing 757, Flight 77 -- that seem to show the sort of hole a missile might make. Ergo, the Pentagon wasn't hit by a 757 but by a missile.
The missile argument is a red herring. Not a lot of serious people assert that. Bombs are far more likely, given the smell of cordite and the lack of a kerosene smell noted by witnesses who walked out of the wreckage.
And yet, images exist of the Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon. They were taken by the surveillance cameras at the Pentagon's heliport, which was right next to the impact point. Chuck Spinney, now retired after years of brilliant government service exposing the Pentagon's budgetary outrages, tells me: "I have seen them both -- stills and moving pictures. I just missed seeing it (the moment of impact) personally, but the driver of the van I just got out of in South Parking saw it so closely that he could see the terrified faces of passengers in the windows. I knew two people who were on the plane. One was ID'd by dental remains found in the Pentagon."
This won't faze the conspiracists. They're immune to any reality check. Spinney "worked for the government." They switched the dental records. The Boeing 757 was flown to Nebraska for a rendezvous with President Bush, who shot the passengers, burned the bodies on the tarmac and gave Spinney's friend's teeth to Dick Cheney to drop through a hole in his trousers amid the debris in the Pentagon.
Of course there are conspiracies. The allegations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction amounted to just such a one. I think there is strong evidence that Franklin D. Roosevelt did have knowledge that a Japanese naval force in the north Pacific was going to launch an attack on Pearl Harbor. It's quite possible Roosevelt thought it would be a relatively mild assault and that it would provide the final green light to get the U.S. into the war.
It's entirely plausible to assume that the FBI, U.S. military intelligence and the CIA -- just as convincingly claimed in the latter instance -- had penetrated the al-Qaeda team planning the 9/11 attacks. Intelligence reports that piled up in various Washington bureaucracies pointed to the impending onslaught and even the manner in which it might be carried out. The history of intelligence operations is profuse with examples of successful intelligence collection. It also shows the fatal slowness to act on the intelligence along with the eagerness not to compromise the security and future usefulness of the informant, who has to prove his own credentials by even pressing for prompt action by the plotters.
Sometimes an undercover agent will actually propose an action, either to deflect efforts away from some graver threat, or to put the plotters in a position where they can be caught red-handed.
There is not the slightest need to postulate pre-placed explosive charges to explain why the towers collapsed at near free-fall speeds. As Pierre Sprey, a former plane and weapons designer who knows a great deal about explosions, told me: "To ensure the collapse of a major building requires very sizable demolition charges, charges that are large enough to do a lot more than emit the 'puffs of smoke' cited as evidence for the explosives hypothesis.
Another characteristic of such hit-pieces is the citing of individual "experts," while ignoring a large number of actually relevant experts. It isn't clear what a weapons/plane designer knows about high-rise engineering and nano-scale incendiaries. 1500 architects, engineers, physics, and chemists have gone on record supporting the evidence-based claim of demolition. It would be interesting to find 1500 such professionals who will go on record as having examined the evidence and found it to support the official story.
"Take a look at live and filmed explosive building demolitions.
Each explosion is accompanied by a very visible shower of heavy rubble and a dense cloud of smoke and dust. Just that fact alone makes the explosives hypothesis untenable; no demolitions expert in the world would be willing to promise his client that he could bring down a tall building with explosions guaranteed to be indistinguishable from the effects of an aircraft impact."
Unfortunately for AC's argument, quite a few major demolition experts in the world think the WTC story is one of controlled demolitions.
As to the "effects of an aircraft impact," what kind of aircraft impact (or gravity-driven collapse, for that matter) would
Perhaps AC is referring to the fact that the WTC 1/2 destruction seemed to start at the airplane impact points. He apparently is not familiar with wireless computer-controlled demolitions, which can be programmed/reprogammed on the spot.
Herman Soifer, a retired structural engineer, summarized the collapse of World Trade Center Buildings 1 and 2 succinctly, in a letter to me, remarking that since he had followed the plans and engineering of the Twin Towers during construction, he was able to explain the collapses to his wife a few hours after the buildings went down.
"The towers were basically tubes, essentially hollow. Tubes can be very efficient structures, strong and economical. The Trade Center tubes effectively resisted vertical loads, wind loads and vibrations and could probably have done very well against earthquakes. However, the relatively thin skin of the hollow tube must be braced at intervals to prevent local buckling of the skin under various possible loads, otherwise the tube itself can go out of shape and lose its strength.
"For their interior bracing, the thin-walled tubes of the Trade Center towers depended primarily on the interior floors being tied to the outer wall shells. These floor beam structures were basically open-web joists, adequate for the floor loads normally to be expected. These joist ends rested on steel angle clips attached to the outer walls.
"As the floors at the level of airplane impact caught fire, the open web joists, which could not be expected to resist such fires, softened under the heat, sagged and pulled away from their attachments to the walls. Their weight and the loads they were carrying, caused them to drop onto the next lower floor, which was then carrying double loads and also becoming exposed to the heat. Then that floor collapsed, and so it went. But as the floors dropped, they no longer served as bracing for the thin-walled main tubes. This loss of bracing permitted the walls to buckle outward in successive sections and thus the house of cards effect."
And then there's that inconvenient 30-story chunk of the top of the South Tower, which tipped over as the collapse began. It certainly couldn't have been plummeting straight down the middle of the building, because it was still rotating outward as it disappeared in a cloud of dust. The fact that it was not found in pieces off to the side at the base of the building (having not interacted with the rest of the solid building that it allegedly demolished like a pile driver) indicates it was demolished in mid-air. Can you think of another explanation?
The conspiracists' last card is the collapse of the adjacent World Trade Center building No. 7 some hours after the morning attacks. But here again, as with the twin towers, the explanation offered by the U.S. government's National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, is more than adequate.
"Collapse was caused by the rupturing of the building's metal framework due to the thermal expansion of its floor beams, which were heated by uncontrolled fires because the water main that supplied the building's fire suppression system had been cut by the collapse of World Trade Center 1."
But perhaps more indicative of their lying was the fact that their model omitted the steel pins -- indicated in the building plans -- that connected the beams in question to the concrete floor they were supporting. These beams that supposedly expanded and pushed the girder off its footing on Column 7 could thus not have expanded to the necessary extent.
Even worse for NIST's case, the so-called uncontrolled fires that caused the expansion (that didn't happen) had burned out in the area of the alleged expansion a couple of hours before the building collapsed. NIST's fire models are completely inconsistent with the photos in their report.
And then there's the video of the collapse produced by their model, in which the building looks like a beer can being crushed and twisted. Anyone watching the absolutely straight down, straight edged collapse has to laugh at the incongruity. What does it say when you lie in such an utterly transparent fashion?
And to top it off, NIST refuses to let its scientists engage in public discussion of all the issues brought forward. The chief investigator for WTC 1-2 claimed no one had seen or reported molten metal. The chief investigator for WTC 7 initially claimed there was no free-fall. And NIST refuses to release the data used in their computer models, on the grounds of "public safety." All the tenets of high-rise engineering have now been called into question, and NIST won't allow anyone to look inside their black box. What are engineers supposed to do now?
The NIST team said that the smallest blast event capable of crippling the critical column would have produced "a sound level of 130 to 140 decibels at a distance of half a mile." Yet no noise this loud was reported by witnesses or recorded on videos. Sound at 130 to 140 decibels is about as loud as humans can tolerate.
High-grade steel can bend disastrously under extreme heat. As discussed in Wayne Barrett and Dan Collin's excellent book "Grand Illusion," about New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, helicopter pilots radioed warnings 9 minutes before the final collapse of the South Tower and, repeatedly, as much as 25 minutes before the North Tower's fall.
What Barrett and Collins brilliantly show are the actual corrupt conspiracies on Giuliani's watch: the favoritism to Motorola, which saddled the firemen with radios that didn't work; the ability of the Port Authority to skimp on fire protection; the mayor's catastrophic failure in the years before Sept. 11, 2001, to organize an effective unified emergency command that would have meant that cops and firemen could have communicated; that many firemen wouldn't have unnecessarily entered the towers; that people in the towers wouldn't have been told by 9/11 emergency operators to stay in place; that firemen could have heard the helicopter warnings and the final mayday messages that prompted most of the New York policemen to flee the towers.
That's the real political world, in which Mayor Giuliani and others have never been held accountable. The conspiracists disdain the real world. They wanted to promote Bush, Cheney and the neo-cons to an elevated status as the arch demons of American history, instead of them being just one more team running the American empire, a team of more than usual stupidity and incompetence (characteristics I personally favor in imperial leaders). There are plenty of real conspiracies in America. Why make up fake ones?
I hope the above comments will help dispel the issue of "fakeness" about the doubts surrounding the official story. What actually happened, who did what, we don't know. But we have good evidence that AC's "real political world" of the official story didn't happen the way he claims it did. Which is why we in the 9/11 Truth Movement are calling for a new, truly independent, subpoena-powered investigation. We may yet get one in New York City -- http://rememberbuilding7.org.
Original article Copyright Creators.com.
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