In the five
years since three World Trade Center buildings collapsed into
their own footprints in virtually free fall time, the convincing
power of the official explanation of that day's events has evaporated.
Polls show that 36 per cent of Americans do not believe the official
account. As Lev Grossman writes in Time magazine (September 3,
2006), "Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is
not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality."
acknowledges that alternative explanations of 9/11 are more compelling
than the official explanation. Grossman offers a psychological
explanation for the success of alternative explanations: "a grand
disaster like Sept 11 needs a grand conspiracy behind it."
Grossman's psychological explanation fails on its own terms. Which
is the grandest conspiracy theory? The interpretation of 9/11
as an orchestrated casus belli to justify US invasions
of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the interpretation that a handful
of Muslims defeated US security multiple times in one short morning
and successfully pulled off the most fantastic terrorist attack
in history simply because they "hate our freedom and democracy"?
Orchestrating events to justify wars is a stratagem so well worn
as to be boring. Indeed, it is the fantastic conspiracy of the
official explanation that makes it unbelievable.
engineers, and professors who pose the tough questions about 9/11
are not people who spend their lives making sense of their experience
by constructing conspiracy theories. Scientists and scholars look
to facts and evidence. They are concerned with the paucity of
evidence on behalf of the official explanation. They stress that
the official explanation is inconsistent with known laws of physics,
and that the numerous security failures, when combined together,
are a statistical improbability.
show that 36 per cent of
Americans do not believe the
official account (of Sept 11).
As Lev Grossman writes in
Time magazine (September 3, 2006),
"Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot
of people. This is not a fringe
phenomenon. It is a mainstream
by 9/11 skeptics for an independent investigation by an international
panel of experts is not a conspiracy theory. In principle there
is nothing wrong with such an investigation. In practice, it might
be difficult to create a truly independent panel. How many physicists,
for example, have careers independent of government grants, and
how many engineering firms would risk being branded "unpatriotic"
and lose business by coming down on the "wrong" side of the issue?
there a surfeit of brave men.
I do not
know what happened on 9/11, and I don't expect to ever find out.
Neither government nor media show any interest in providing us
with anything except a political commission's report.
have pointed out a large number of problems with the 9/11 Commission
Report. Here is a very short list:
appears to be a very large energy deficit in the official explanation
of the collapse of the two WTC towers, and no explanation for
the collapse of WTC 7. What is the source of the energy that brought
down the three buildings?
In the PBS
documentary, "America Rebuilds," broadcast in September 2002,
Larry Silverstein, who had the lease on the World Trade Center,
said that WTC 7 was brought down by a decision of the authorities
on the scene: "I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department
commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna
be able to contain the fire, and I said, 'We've had such terrible
loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it.' And
they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."
facts jump out from this quote. One is that fire was not raging
in WTC 7. The other is that "to pull" a building means to bring
it down by engineered demolition. For WTC 7 to be pulled on the
late afternoon of September 11, it would already have had to be
wired for demolition. Why was WTC 7 wired for demolition?
scientists, engineers, and
professors who pose the tough
questions about 9/11 are not people
who spend their lives making sense
of their experience by constructing
conspiracy theories. Scientists and
scholars look to facts and evidence...
They stress that the official explanation
is inconsistent with known laws
of physics, and that the numerous
security failures, when combined
together, are a statistical improbability.
University Professor of Physics Steven Jones has suggested that
thermite, or some other powerful, high temperature, high explosive
capable of slicing the powerful steel columns that comprised the
WTC towers central core, provided the energy missing in the official
In a September
1, 2006, New York Times article, "U.S. moves to debunk 'alternative
theories' on Sept. 11 attacks," Jim Dwyer reports that the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, disputes Professor Jones' suggestion.
NIST believes that such "enormous quantities of thermite would
have to be applied to the structural columns to damage them" that
engineered demolition is not feasible.
note what NIST is saying. If no reasonable quantity of the explosive
thermite, which is used for engineered demolition, could damage
the powerful buildings, the measly energy from an airliner, a
bit of jet fuel, and gravity could not have collapsed the buildings.
of the matter is that there has been no investigation of why the
three buildings collapsed. Bill Manning, the editor-in-chief of
"Fire Engineering" got it right when he wrote in the January 2002
issue of that publication that "the 'official investigation' blessed
by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is
a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by
political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie
far afield of full disclosure... As things now stand... the investigation
into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper-
and computer-generated hypotheticals."
about the "destruction of evidence... of the largest fire-induced
collapse in world history" and wrote that nowhere in the "national
standard for fire investigation" is there "an exemption allowing
the destruction of evidence."
we were not meant to know why the buildings collapsed.
was not raging in WTC 7.
The other is that "to pull" a building
means to bring it down by engineered
demolition. For WTC 7 to be pulled
on the late afternoon of September 11,
it would already have had to be wired
for demolition. Why was WTC 7
wired for demolition?
does not automatically lead to the conclusion that some elements
of the US government and/or Israeli intelligence destroyed the
buildings, using airliners as cover, in order to justify invasions
to achieve US/Israeli hegemony in the Middle East or US control
of oil supplies. No doubt, neoconservatives in the Bush administration
used 9/11 for this purpose. However, perhaps the buildings failed
for reasons that involve enormous liabilities, and those liabilities
were covered up with a bogus explanation.
to news reports, insurance payments to Silverstein for the buildings
were many multiples larger than the price he paid for the lease.
If the reports are correct, perhaps money explains the story.
(2) The belief
that Muslims pulled off the attacks is based on the concreteness
of the 19 names identified as the hijackers by the FBI. The fact
that the FBI attests to the identity of the hijackers is the source
of the official story's credibility.
the official story's dependence on the identity of the hijackers,
how is it possible for the official story to survive for five
years after the BBC's report (September 23, 2001) that a number
of the alleged hijackers are alive and well?
to BBC News World Edition, "Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri
was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed
American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Centre on 11
September. His photograph was released, and has since appeared
in newspapers and on television around the world. Now he is protesting
his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco. He told journalists there
that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington,
and had been in Morocco when they happened. He has contacted both
the Saudi and American authorities, according to Saudi press reports.
He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Daytona
Beach in the United States, and is indeed the same Waleed Al Shehri
to whom the FBI has been referring."
reason so many people doubt
the 9/11 story is not because they
have psychological needs for
conspiracies, but because
the 9/11 story is not believable.
Waleed Al Shehri would not be alive if he had crashed an airliner
into the World Trade Center. It would appear that the FBI's confidence
in the identity of the hijackers is more public relations than
reality. As the FBI has been proven wrong about the identity of
a number of the hijackers, how do we know the FBI is right about
any of them?
many holes in the official 9/11 story and very little evidence
in its behalf. Did the government, terrified by possible public
reaction to the catastrophe and expected to have an explanation
for the terrifying event, simply concoct a story?
so many people doubt the 9/11 story is not because they have psychological
needs for conspiracies, but because the 9/11 story is not believable.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution:
An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation
and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny
of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling
the Constitution in the Name of Justice.