Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Questions For The 9/11 "Truth" Movement

Now that my race for Congress includes a Green who claims the Bush administration staged 9/11, I've surveyed the landscape of the 9/11 conspiracy funhouse. As someone who spent years debunking JFK conspiracy theories in the pre-Web era of the Internet, I've had no trouble zeroing in on the multiple weak spots of the 9/11 "Truth" movement. For those new to the funhouse, the 9/11 "Truth" movement believes that the Bush administration staged the 9/11 attacks by
  • controlling the two 767's that crashed into the World Trade Center;
  • using pre-planted explosive charges to demolish the twin towers and the 47-story tower 7;
  • making Flight 77 and its passengers and crew disappear, so that the least-important wing of Pentagon could be hit with a missile alleged to be Flight 77;
  • shooting down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania and faking all the evidence of a passenger revolt;
  • arranging that America's air defenses failed to intercept the allegedly-hijacked jets; and
  • arranging that al Qaeda fails to deny responsibility and indeed appears to claim responsibility.
9/11 Truthers say that the linchpin of their case is the "obvious" and "incontrovertible" visual evidence that the WTC buildings collapsed as a result of controlled demolition. Even though demolitions experts are nearly unanimous in disagreeing with such claims, the Truthers assert that a proper understanding of physics and materials science proves their case. So they focus on the technical details of the building collapses, and ignore questions showing that the conspiracy can be seen to be utterly implausible without any technical expertise whatsoever.

Thus to my opponent Carol Brouillet and all other Truthers I ask the following.

1. al Qaeda. The JFK conspirators couldn't get their lone gunman to claim responsibility, but the omni-competent 9/11 conspirators have such influence over al Qaeda as to make it consistently take credit -- and never again deny responsibility -- for 9/11. Why has al Qaeda taken credit for 9/11 in multiple communiques, and not attempted to deny responsibility since losing Taliban protection in 2001? Bonus questions: If the conspirators are making al Qaeda (appear to) claim credit, why didn't they do so earlier? If you can prove the conspirators control al Qaeda, then why bother arguing the rest of the conspiracy theory -- missiles, controlled demolition, faked hijackings, etc -- to people who believe al Qaeda did it? Why does Zacarias Moussaoui not deny that his al Qaeda comrades perpetrated 9/11?

2. Flight 93. If the government conspiracy could control commercial 767's and fly them into the WTC, why would it shoot down a 757 over Pennsylvania instead of fly it into the ground as suggested by all the carefully-prearranged onboard transmissions and recordings suggesting a passenger revolt that you say never happened?

3. Pentagon. If the government conspiracy could control commercial 767's and fly them into the WTC, why use a missile instead of another jetliner to hit the Pentagon in broad daylight and clear skies over a crowded metropolitan area bristling with civilian witnesses and camcorders and camera phones? Bonus questions: And if a missile was used, why make a 330-degree turn in the final approach, creating more exposure to cameras and witnesses? And if the radar recordings are fabricated, why include a turn that you say is suspicious?

4. Wristwatches. If the government conspiracy could crash two commercial 767's in a window of 17 minutes, why would it risk ordering a suspicious and traceable stand-down of air defenses so it could hit the Pentagon with a missile 80 minutes later? Flight 77 would not have struck D.C. until about 95 minutes after the first WTC crash. Instead of the government conspiracy spreading its four meticulously planned attacks across an hour and a half, why not instead just pretend the hijackers had wristwatches and then competently synchronize the four strikes? Did the Pentagon missile/drone team oversleep the morning of 9/11? And why were the cockpit takeovers spread over 90 minutes, allowing Flight 175 to even be warned of cockpit intrusion before it happened?

5. We Have Some Planes. Truthers claim that the government conspiracy was so worried about the alleged ability of America's air defenses to intercept hijacked airliners that the conspiracy took the risk of arranging stand-down orders. Whey did the conspiracy then use a suicide flight crew so incompetent that two of them repeatedly used the air-traffic radio to broadcast warnings they were trying to give to their passengers over the cabin intercom, thus giving the earliest possible notice that hijackings were under way? Why did they broadcast "planes" plural? Why did they only turn off the transponders on Flights 77 and 93 only after deviating from their course? Why did they never turn off the transponder on Flight 175 at all? Just how stupid were these evil government geniuses who took over these planes?

6. Demolitions. Nobody trapped above the impact floors in the WTC was going to be saved from the fire, and 200 of them had already jumped to their deaths. The collapse of WTC 1 and 2 only contributed 400-600 of the 3000 fatalities on 9/11, and the collapse of WTC 7 contributed zero. Why would the conspiracy risk setting up and then performing in broad daylight a controlled demolition of buildings that it knew would be under massive videographic surveillance, just to kill 400 rescue workers? Bonus questions: What if one of those swarming radio-equipped rescue workers had found an explosive charge while breaking through walls to seek trapped victims or clear exits? And with the towers twice as tall as anything around them, why not quintuple the death toll by hitting the 110-story towers just above the 57-story highest neighbor, instead of at the 96th and 81st floors? And why wait an agonizing 102 minutes to push the detonator for the first tower struck, since it is allegedly known that jet fuel cannot bring down a steel skyscraper now matter how big a fire it ignites and no matter how long it burns? Also, consider that at least 25% of the jets controlled by the conspiracy failed to hit their target. What was the government conspiracy's contingency plan if one of the WTC jets missed its assigned tower, and the building was then found to be wired from top to bottom with demolition charges?

7. Execution. The story told by 9/11 Truthers would have taken hundreds of conspirators to plan and execute:
  • demolition experts to plant the explosives days in advance;
  • insiders to allow planting of the explosives in the WTC -- whose chief of security John O'Neill was killed on 9/11 and as FBI Special Agent in Charge for National Security in the New York Field Office from 1997 to 2001 had led the bin Laden investigation;
  • a team (presumably near the WTC) to stick around all day and trigger 3 controlled demolitions over a 7-hour span;
  • people in the air defense chain of command to issue traceable and documented orders for exercises and a stand-down on 9/11;
  • an Air Force pilot to fire a missile at Flight 93;
  • military personnel to execute the missile/drone strike on the Pentagon;
  • Pentagon insiders to allegedly suppress its air defenses;
  • operatives to fabricate and plant fake Pentagon surveillance camera images;
  • American Airlines and United Airlines insiders to allow access to the WTC jets;
  • either suicidal pilots, or a team of aeronautical/avionics/jamming experts to secretly modify and remotely control the WTC jets and prevent the actual crew from using any radio or cell phone to call out;
  • operatives to divert Flight 77 and make it and its passengers and crew vanish without any trace or making any onboard calls;
  • operatives to plant physical evidence at each crash scene right in front of first responders;
  • radio technicians remotely engineering the transmissions from the planes (or a far larger team to alter and fake the transmission records after the fact; see below);
  • actors pretending to be doomed passengers talking on cell phones to loved ones and operators;
  • agents to create false identities and histories and financial records for the hijackers;
  • actors to pose as the hijackers on airport and ATM surveillance cameras;
  • etc.
How is it plausible that the bumbling administration of George W. Bush could plan and execute such an intricate operation, without anyone among these hundreds of people blowing the whistle when first approached, or anonymously/accidentally leaking the truth anytime since?

8. Cover-Up. Attempting a cover-up the 9/11 conspiracy miracle would require thousands of more conspirators:
  • operatives with sufficient influence over al Qaeda to prevent any of its leaders from disavowing al Qaeda's multiple admissions of 9/11 responsibility over the last four years;
  • the nearby pilots who say they heard the cockpit transmissions from the hijacked jets,
  • experts to fake the recordings of the 9/11 transmissions, cockpit recordings, black box data, and radar tracking data;
  • the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and its staff of 100;
  • FBI, including the teams who searched for traces of explosives at the crash sites;
  • bitter Bush critic Richard Clarke, the NSC counterterrorism aide who managed the Situation Room video conference on 9/11;
  • Secret Service;
  • Justice Department;
  • CIA;
  • NSA;
  • FAA, including air traffic control centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Boston, and New York;
  • DOT;
  • NORAD in Colorado,
  • NEADS in New York;
  • CONR in Florida;
  • NMCC in the Pentagon;
  • Andrews AFB in Maryland;
  • Langley AFB in Virginia;
  • Otis AFB in Massachusetts;
  • Air National Guard;
  • INS;
  • Customs Service;
  • State Department;
  • NTSB;
  • NIST;
  • FEMA;
  • NYPD;
  • FDNY;
  • NY City Office of Emergency Management;
  • Port Authority Police Department;
  • four flight training schools in Florida and Oklahoma;
  • the government of Pakistan;
  • the government of Italy;
  • the government of Britain;
  • the government of France;
  • the government of Spain;
  • operatives working against or among the 185 photographers to suppress or plant evidence in the nearly 7000 photographs taken at the WTC on 9/11;
How is it plausible that the bumbling administration of George W. Bush could orchestrate such a massive cover-up, without anyone among these thousands of people blowing the whistle or anonymously leaking the truth anytime since?

9. Scientific Apologists. If the scientific and technical evidence for the impossibility of the mainstream explanation is so overwhelming, then when will that evidence be believed by a fraction of the scientific community that is larger than the fraction who believe in creationism? The mainstream explanation is based on or corroborated by expert investigations by:
  • Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers;
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers;
  • National Fire Protection Association;
  • American Institute of Steel Construction;
  • American Iron and Steel Institute;
  • Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat;
  • Structural Engineers Association of New York;
  • Underwriters Laboratories;
  • NY City Dept. of Design and Construction;
  • American Society of Civil Engineers;
  • Controlled Demolition, Inc.; and
  • researchers from Purdue, Northwestern, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and UCSD.
10. Radical Non-Believers. Why is sole al Qaeda responsibility for 9/11 not denied by radical critics of the U.S. government? Such critics include:
  • Ralph Nader, who said about reinforcing cockpit doors: "this single safety step could have thwarted the events of September 11";
  • Jesse Jackson, who wrote in 2006 that "bin Laden has not stopped targeting us", and called the 9/11 Commission's recommendations "common sense steps";
  • Noam Chomsky, who says corporate control of media and government in America leads to "manufactured consent" , but calls a 9/11 government conspiracy "extremely unlikely";
  • Michael Moore, who in Fahrenheit 9/11 alleged nefarious Bush collusion with Big Oil and the House of Saud;
  • JFK director Oliver Stone, who thinks the CIA assassinated Kennedy;
  • BBC muckraking journalist Greg Palast, who thinks Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections;
  •, which thinks the Bush Administration lied about Iraqi WMDs and terrorist connections in order to use an Iraq war as an excuse to consolidate political power and attack civil liberties;
  • the Green Party, which admits Mohammed Atta led the al Qaeda 9/11 attacks; and
  • the Communist Party USA, whose official newspaper lauded the 9/11 Commission's finding that al Qaeda's responsibility for 9/11 was not shared by Iraq.
I criticize the conspiracists for indulging in selective explanation -- for focusing on an accumulation coincidences and minor mysteries instead of advancing a comprehensive hypothesis that is consistent with the most evidence and leaves no glaring anomalies or contradictions. So what is my hypothesis for the existence of the 9/11 "Truth" movement? Read it in an upcoming posting on my blog.


Anonymous said...

Why would 400 rescue workers, well trained and well experienced with building fires, run into buildings they knew were going to suddenly collapse at any moment, certainly killing them?
Reinforced concrete and steel simply doesn't act that way. Is there any other case in history where a fire resulted in a collapse like that?
Why hire demolition teams in the first place, when you can simply start a jet fuel fire at the top of your building, and know it will eventually perfectly implode in in itself?
We can ask questions all day. But i doubt they bring us any closer to the truth.

Brian Holtz said...

None of the responders were "trained and welled experienced" for huge fires in a hollow skyscraper that caused its floors to sag and pull inward on the outer columns that bore the weight of the floors above. WTC construction was as unique as the method of attack aimed at it.

If you don't/can't answer my questions above, then you're just not interested in 9/11 Truth.