911 Debate: Government Derelection, Coverups, Conspiracy Theories

This blog and a Yahoo group, The911Debate, complement each other. Both focus on 9/11 exploitation, culpability, cover-ups, conspiracy theories, and manipulation of public opinion by both the Government and hoax peddlers (a surprising number of whom are former Government officials.) Fantastic theories, such as controlled demolitions destroying the World Trade Center and a guided missile rather than Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, are drawing attention away from very real Government malfeasance.

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Location: Seaside, California, United States

Born in 1925, US Navy 1942-1946, retired mathematician (Ph.D. MIT 1958), former Member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), of TECNICA (Technical Assistance to Nicaruaga), and of Food Not Bombs.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Scientific American on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

There are three types of theories about U.S. Government culpability on 9/11: (1) that our Government orchestrated the terrorist attacks and supported them by destroying buildings with planted explosives or guided missiles; (2) that our Government had adequate warning but deliberately failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the attacks; and (3) that our Government improperly exploited the attacks for political gain and to further ambitions to invade Iraq for oil and military bases.

(One could add to this a fourth speculation—that our Government has been lying to cover up its failure, given sufficient warning, to take adequate measures to prevent the 9/11 attacks. But no speculation is involved here: lying, even by our President before the 9/11 Commission Hearings—which compelled the Commission to hide the lying in its report—has been well documented (Harper’s October 2004 [http://summeroftruth.org/image/whitewash.pdf]).This lying-to-cover-up will be returned to in later postings, for it provides a motive for the Bush administration to covertly promote outlandish hoax theories of type 1 in order to draw attention away from the convincing evidence of its cover-up lying.The type 1 theories, implying that our Government orchestrated the attacks, have been effectively promoted by conspiracy theorists from both the extreme left and the extreme right. These theories have been well received by peace-and-justice groups and websites, causing confusion and dissension in the left. For this reason this blog, The911Debate, will focus mainly on the type 1 theories, implausible as they are, although the other two theories are plausible and type 3 theories have plenty of supporting evidence.

Recently Scientific American has spoken out on the type 1 theories. It’s short article in the "Skeptic" column, excerpts of which appear below, can be expected to become the most influential concise refutation of type 1 theories. It also points to a detailed refutation in the March 2005 Popular Mechanics.

The "SKEPTIC" column in the June 2005 issue of Scientific American[http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000DA0E2-1E15-128A-9E1583414B7F0000]
"Fahrenheit 2777: 9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy theories"
By Michael Shermer

Noted French left-wing activist Thierry Meyssan's 9/11 conspiracy book, L'Effroyable Imposture, became a best-seller in 2002. But I never imagined such an "appalling deception" would ever find a voice in America. At a recent public lecture I was buttonholed by a Michael Moore–wannabe filmmaker who breathlessly explained that 9/11 was orchestrated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Central Intelligence Agency as part of their plan for global domination and a New World Order. That goal was to be financed by G.O.D. (Gold, Oil, Drugs) and launched by a Pearl Harbor–like attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, thereby providing the justification for war. The evidence was there in the details, he explained, handing me a faux dollar bill (with "9-11" replacing the "1," a picture of Bush supplanting that of Washington) chockablock with Web sites.
In fact, if you type "World Trade Center" and "conspiracy" into Google, you'll get more than 250,000 hits. From these sites, you will discover that some people think the Pentagon was hit by a missile; that U.S. Air Force jets were ordered to "stand down" and not intercept Flights 11 and 175, the ones that struck the twin towers; that the towers themselves were razed by demolition explosives timed to go off soon after the impact of the planes; that a mysterious white jet shot down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania, . . . Books also abound, including Inside Job, by Jim Marrs; The New Pearl Harbor, by David Ray Griffin; and 9/11: The Great Illusion, by George Humphrey. The single best debunking of this conspiratorial codswallop is in the March issue of Popular Mechanics[http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html],which provides an exhaustive point-by-point analysis of the most prevalent claims.The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking (as well as creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank theories of physics). All the "evidence" for a 9/11 conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy. . .

No melted steel, no collapsed towers.
For example, according to www.911research.wtc7.net, steel melts at a temperature of 2,777 degrees Fahrenheit, but jet fuel burns at only 1,517 degrees F. No melted steel, no collapsed towers. "The planes did not bring those towers down; bombs did," says www.abovetopsecret.com. Wrong. In an article in the Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society and in subsequent interviews, Thomas Eagar, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains why: steel loses 50 percent of its strength at 1,200 degrees F; 90,000 liters of jet fuel ignited other combustible materials such as rugs, curtains, furniture and paper, which continued burning after the jet fuel was exhausted, raising temperatures above 1,400 degrees F and spreading the inferno throughout each building. Temperature differentials of hundreds of degrees across single steel horizontal trusses caused them to sag—straining and then breaking the angle clips that held the beams to the vertical columns. Once one truss failed, others followed. When one floor collapsed onto the next floor below, that floor subsequently gave way, creating a pancaking effect that triggered each 500,000-ton structure to crumble. . .

All the 9/11 conspiracy claims are this easily refuted. On the Pentagon "missile strike," for example, I queried the would-be filmmaker about what happened to Flight 77, which disappeared at the same time. "The plane was destroyed, and the passengers were murdered by Bush operatives," he solemnly revealed. "Do you mean to tell me that not one of the thousands of conspirators needed to pull all this off," I retorted, "is a whistle-blower who would go on TV or write a tell-all book?" My rejoinder was met with the same grim response I get from UFOlogists when I ask them for concrete evidence: Men in Black silence witnesses, and dead men tell no tales.Michael Shermer is publisher of Skeptic [www.skeptic.com]. His latest book is Science Friction.


Blogger skadawg78 said...

Why wouldn't the buildings topple over once the steel began to melt? They imploded instead. It seems kind of fishy. Why is the hole in the pentagon smaller than the plane?

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's your explanation for how the 176 meter tall WTC7 could have collapsed in 6.6 seconds when free-fall collapse time is 6.0 seconds? Since you're a retired mathematician, how about critiquing some of the peer-reviewed publications in the Journal of 9-11 Studies (click the logo in upper right corner of the http://www.st911.org/ website).

7:39 AM  

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