On the ninth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 this is not the only question we should be asking ourselves.
This essay represents the third time since 2001 that I have made an exhaustive examination of a specific set of facts and evidence presented in support of a 9/11 conspiracy theory. Like most Americans, I initially accepted at face value the assertion that 19 Muslim men, 11of them of Saudi nationality, inspired and led by Osama bin Laden, had hijacked four planes in a partially successful terrorist plot to destroy 3 national landmarks of the American political, military and industrial/commercial establishment.
As a result of the immediate, subsequent, bellicose foreign policy stance of the Bush Administration, their speedy actions to begin to curtail basic rights and freedoms in pursuit of a “War on Terror” and their stonewalling of the 9/11 Commission, I began to become persuaded there might be some merit to the immerging conspiracy movements that contended that “9/11 was an inside job.” At that time, I launched into a pretty extensive investigation of the claims of the 9/11 Truth movement and found that by and large, nearly all their claims failed to pass any evidentiary or logic test. I still had serious doubts as to the official story and definitely felt the government’s 9/11 report was a disastrously compromised white wash.
Ever alert for some satisfactory explanation of the real role of the Bush Administration in the events leading up to that fateful day I came across two documents that piqued my interest. These were no wildly improbable theories but straightforward assessments of the documented historical events and backgrounds of the major players that lead up to 9/11. The first was Paul Thompson’s 9/11 Timeline and the second was “The Power of Nightmares” by BBC documentarian, Adam Curtis. Here were no wild litanies of improbable and unproved assertions, but sober analyses that pointed to an equally damning indictment of a Neocon inspired Bush plot to instigate another Pearl Harbor on American soil that would initiate a New American Century to rule the world. The following Wikipedia summary from their review of “The Power of Nightmares” sums up what I think is the most realistic situation in terms of conspiracy theories.
“The final episode addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that, after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organisation of terrorists, and were dependent upon independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. The film instead argues that in order to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, US prosecutors had to prove he was the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the bombings. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden was the head of a massive terrorist organisation called "al-Qaeda". With the September 11th attacks, Neo-Conservatives in the new Republican government of George W. Bush use this created concept of an organisation to justify another crusade against a new evil enemy, leading to the launch of the War on Terrorism.”
Paul Thompson’s 9/11 Timeline documents many activities of the Bush Administration that would appear to have made way for the successful execution by the terrorists of the 9/11 attacks as well as a foreknowledge. Granted this deliberately feigned “failure of imagination” is not as spectacular or as exciting as Ninja-clad agents secreting explosive charges in the World Trade Center, creating a missile disguised as a jetliner to crash into an unused part of the Pentagon, or the fabricating of cell phone messages from the remote controlled plane that crashed in Shanksville. It is nevertheless as damning of Bush.
I have just finished watching the documentary “EA 9/11: Blueprint for Truth” (2008) in which American Institute of Architects, Richard Gage tries to present a fresh examination of some of the "latest" evidence surrounding the events of that day, most notably the “controlled demolition” of World Trade Center buildings 1, 2 and 7. He purports to have taken a new and “scientific” look at the evidence surrounding 9/11. It took me about six hours to debunk nearly all of the assertions found in this profoundly dishonest documentary. If you still care about anything the “Truthers” have to say about 9/11 you can read all the claims and counterclaims at the end of this essay.
It is easy to dismiss these kooks and charlatans as harmless fools lost in the spin of their own fantastic lies and conspiratorial delusions. I’m afraid it is a lot worse than that. These conspiracy buffs have pretty successfully marginalized any serious attempt to levy proper blame on the Bush Administration for their role in 9/11. I think authentic investigators have only seen the tip of the iceberg in this matter. Why stage a “false flag” event when you already have real conspirators ready to do the job for you? All you need do is remove the obstacles from these bumbling fanatics and hope they won’t all miss all their targets. The full extent to which Bush greased the skids for Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s “The Planes Operation,” which I suspect he knew about in advance, is yet to be appreciated in its full enormity.
The 9/11 Truth movement is the best friend George Bush and his Neo Con pals have ever had. If there is any wild conspiracy I would put forth here (tongue in cheek), it is that these crazies are encouraged, lead and funded by deep operatives of the government in order to deliberately discredit and deflect any attempt to reveal Bush’s real role in the events. Parenthetically I might add that, in a similar manner, Glen Beck’s followers and the Tea Bag Party are the best friends Obama could ever ask for. These “Corn Pone Nazis” (thanks to Jim Kunstler for this characterization) would never vote for the man anyway, but they sure help him marginalize his progressive critics. The same with the Jew-hating holocaust deniers who help the thugs in the government of Israel and the AIPAC repel its legitimate critics as anti-Semitic.
For those who are still with me then, here is my refutation of my latest steaming pile of 9/11 “truth.”
9/11 Conspiracy—Claims and Counterclaims
Mork, "Nano Nano"—or the Thermite Question.
Claim: Thermite caused the controlled demolition of the towers and WTC7. Charges blew out the main core support beams of WT1 and WT2.
Counter claim: A thermite test conducted by National Geographic demonstrated that this was highly improbable. It took too much thermite and took too long to create even a negligible effect. The thermite failed to penetrate the test column.
New Claim: It was nano thermite which is exponentially more powerful than regular thermite. Sadly none of this substance is available for a conclusive test because the substance is classified for military use only.
Conclusion: absent any reliable demonstration of the proven power of this material, the initial point is speculative and not conclusive.
Note: in this analysis, I am trying to keep my counter claims as close to the physical evidence and its implications without attempting to address larger logistic issues such as, how the hell was it possible to plant enough huge explosive charges in public buildings without attracting attention? Or isn’t it a little amazing that a conspiracy to bring down a three buildings as complex and as vast as WTC 1, 2 and 7 could have been accomplished without a conspiracy numbering in the hundreds and taking months to put in place?
Claim: evidence of Thermite particles and microscopic steel balls found in the dust emitted by the fall of the towers prove the presence of thermite source explosions used to bring down the buildings. Dr. Stephen E. Jones, in examining the Ground Zero dust, found iron microspheres, which are evidence of welding or thermite, and a signature of controlled demolition. In a word, molten metal that had been cast hundreds of yards from the collapses.
CC: An NIEHS study done much earlier, published by Paul J. Lioy et al in the Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 7, July 2002, subjected the dust from 3 locations, Cortlandt, Cherry and Market streets, to analyses too numerous to list here, but found no iron microspheres (or evidence of termite).www.nc911truth.org/foto/no_iron.html
For more on Steven E. Jones credentials see footnote 
Claim: The official version is a lie. An airplane cannot cause a fire hot enough to melt steel.
CC: The official version never said the steel melted only that the fire of the burning jet fuel and other site combustibles was sufficient to cause the steel structures to lose 50% of their strength causing the building supports to sag and fail. At 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, a fire is sufficient to soften steel causing it to lose 50 to 60% of its initial strength—enough to cause collapse of WTC 1 & 2. An actual test of this was conducted for the National Geographic film, “9/11 Science and Conspiracy.”
Claim: Never before in the history of the world has a steel building collapsed due to fire.
CC: Not true. Several other steel structure buildings have collapsed due to fire. McCormick Place in Chicago collapsed after a small electric fire (I covered the story in 1967!) Sight and Sound Theater in Philadelphia similarly collapsed. The fact is the towers had other firsts that day they never seem to include. Not one has ever been hit with a plane traveling 500 miles an hour and had its fire proofing removed from its trusses. Not one has ever had its steel columns which hold lateral load sheared off by a 767. Not one has ever been a building which had its vertical load bearing columns in its core removed by an airliner. And (Building 7), in all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been left for 6-7 hours with its bottom floors on fire with structural damage from another building collapse.
Claim: The collapse of WTC 1, 2, &7 can only be explained as a classic controlled demolition due to its vertical fall into its own footprint.
CC: Unlike controlled demolition, the buildings did not come down due to explosion created failures of the lower structures, they collapsed from the upper floors beginning around the points of the plane impacts (WTV 1 & 2). There is no certain evidence of explosions occurring below the point of collapse of the three buildings.
Claim: ETC 1 & 2 collapsed at near free fall speed. This indicates there was no resistance to the falling material, presumably because the support resistance had been taken out by controlled demolition explosives.
CC: Why then are free falling elements of the outer structure, steel and other debris shown in the video as falling faster than the collapsing structure? Some of the aluminum may be falling with the collapse or slightly slower due to wind resistance.
Claim: Squibs or explosive charges are seen at floors well below the collapsing floors.
CC: This is not conclusive evidence of explosions. The blast pattern and development of the bursts are not characteristic of explosions. These “squibs” could be the result of debris blown out of widows caused by increased air pressure or debris cast out by items falling down elevator shafts colliding and spraying through windows. Explosions are the least likely explanation.
Claim: There was a “pyroclastic-like” cloud generated by the fall of the towers. More evidence of explosions?
CC: No way could you consider these great clouds of dust and fine debris as pyroclastic. Pyroclastic clouds move at tremendous speeds of up to 150mph reaching temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. So exactly how was this relatively cool, slow moving cloud of dust in any way similar to volcanic pyroclastic?
Claim: Slurry walls that helped hold back the river were disturbed by sub-level pre-collapse explosions.
CC: It is more likely they were disturbed by the collapse of the buildings. There is no proof either way for the disturbing of the walls. Again pre-planted explosions are the least probable explanation.
Claim: There were pools of molten steel (Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth say “iron”) that were found below the ruins for weeks after the collapse.
CC: Were samples taken to prove this was steel or iron? Aluminum melts at 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Why couldn’t it have been Aluminum?
Claim: Thermolite charges were planted at intervals on the steel core columns.
CC: If that was the case, the core would have collapsed first. Actually it came down last. The floors pancaked around the core and collapsed first around the slower collapsing core as video footage makes abundantly clear.
Claim: Larry Silverstein ordered the NYFD to “pull it” meaning bring WTC 7 down, demolish it.
CC: No such thing. “Pull” in this case meant to evacuate all NYFD personnel from the WTC7 as it was in danger of collapsing. That is an expression the fire personnel would have understood as "evacuate." Extra note: in a different context, in demolition parlance, “pull” means to bring a building down with cables not explosives.
Claim: The collapse of WTC7 can only be explained by a controlled demolition.
CC: How about massive structural attack from debris from WTC tower 1 and the fire that burned for six hours? WTC7 suffered a 20-story hole in its southwest corner and another gaping hole on its south side. The building also contained 43,000 gallons of diesel fuel used to run backup generators.
in the development of this article I have relied extensively on many sites. Material in the following link is probably the most easily accessible and up to date:: http://www.debunking911.com/
 Here is a letter to the editor by one of Dr. Jones’ colleagues. It sheds a lot of light on this whole 9/11 “Truth” business and one of its "experts."
Refuting 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, April 09, 2006
After reading in the Daily Herald the presentations made by Professor Steven E. Jones (BYU Physics) to students at UVSC and BYU, I feel obligated to reply to his "Conspiracy Theory" relating to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (9/11/01).
I have studied the summary of the report by FEMA, The American Society of Civil Engineers and several other professional engineering organizations. These experts have given in detail the effects on the Towers by the impact of the commercial aircraft. I have also read Professor Jones' (referred to) 42 page unpublished report (not subjected to peer review). In my understanding of structural design and the properties of structural steel I find Professor Jones' thesis that planted explosives (rather than fire from the planes) caused the collapse of the Towers, very unreliable.
The structural design of the towers was unique in that the supporting steel structure consisted of closely spaced columns in the walls of all four sides. The resulting structure was similar to a tube. When the aircraft impacted the towers at speeds of about 500 plus mph, many steel columns were immediately severed and others rendered weak by the following fires. The fires critically damaged the floors systems. Structural steel will begin to lose strength when heated to temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Steel bridge girders are bent to conform to the curved roadway by spot heating flanges between 800 and 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. It is easy to comprehend the loss of carrying capacity of all the structural steel due to the raging fires fed by the jet's fuel as well as aircraft and building contents.
Before one (especially students) supports such a conspiracy theory, they should investigate all details of the theory. To me a practicing structural engineer of 57 continuous years (1941-1998), Professor Jones' presentations are very disturbing.
D. Allan Firmage
Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering, BYU
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