The facts that I had went over the character limit that E2 allows with the last writeup and that some new things have come up have necessitated another writeup on this subject from me. There was briefly a response writeup in the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories - which was deleted - and the author started a back-and-forth email conversation with me. That conversation is largely the reason for this second edition. Please see the original to put this one into context. Another reason is I recently saw a special on the History Channel entitled 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction which I am using for a source in several places here. For the purposes of balance, the special has been criticized for being too biased on the side of the “official story” and a “hit job” on the conspiracy theorists, as well as setting up straw man arguments (although I would contend that most conspiracy theorist arguments are, indeed, straw men to begin with). And in typical conspiracy theorist connect the dots fashion it has been blasted by 9/11-Truthers for being biased because The History Channel is part of the A&E Television Network which is jointly owned by NBC Universal as well as Popular Mechanics, who were the major debunkers on the special and have been on the internet. Oh and NBC Universal is owned by General Electric, which is providing arms for the global War on Terror! This obviously means that the History Channel is not to be trusted to present information on 9/11 right? So, even though I have not verified those claims, if these connections concern you, keep them in mind as you read.
For the new theories I will present, I will use the same grading system as I did in the previous writeup:
- A: Probable and highly likely
- B: Plausible
- C: Plausible but not likely
- D: Possible but highly unlikely
- F: No. Absolutely not.
- F-: What are you smoking and can you pass me some?
MORE on: "The World Trade Center Collapse was a Controlled Demolition"
I had thought that the issue of the fires melting steel was put to death by the fact that the steel support columns in the World Trade Center buildings needn't have been melted to cause the towers to collapse, just weakened, which the fires were hot enough to do. However, the presence of molten metal at the collapse site (known at the time as "Ground Zero") continues to stir this melting pot. Numerous photographs and videos exist (a good many of dubious origin) clearly show pools of molten metal. This one is of firefighters supposedly discussing the "molten steel" at the site. This one actually shows some.
Let's just assume for the moment that the photographs are authentic. So there's molten metal on the ground after the collapse. Conspiracy theorists say that is impossible, it must have been thermite, because the fires, especially deprived of oxygen, could not get hot enough. But with the intense heat and pressure after the collapse, all that stuff compressed into the basement, that the fires would get hot enough at that point to melt the columns. Here is a graphic that attempts to explain scientifically how the debris pile got so hot. And here is an explanation from Popular Mechanics on the molten metal:
"The debris pile sat cooking for weeks, with the materials at the bottom of the pile getting incresingly hot beacuse the fires were confined and lost minimal heat to the atmosphere. As a result the fires could have easily reached temps sufficient to melt steel, not to mention most other metals found in the buildings."
According to this webpage, like a "stubborn coal mine fire," the combustion may not have been a fire at all, at least how we usually think of fire. Oxygen is charring the surfaces of buried fuels in a slow burn, and the scale of the 9/11 disaster is massive, with all the computers, carpet, office furniture, and other fuels like hydraulic oil also feeding the combustion. There is a huge underground fire in America that is the epitome of a "stubborn coal mine fire." Even without much air, this fire has been burning for decades, and may not stop burning for centuries: the coal mine fire in the Anthracite coal region in Ashland, Pennsylvania. This sucker, which has more or less made Ashland a non-town now, started in 1962 and likely will not end within any of our lifetimes.
Oh, and how about we let the NIST weigh in:
"Under certain circumstances it is conceivable for some of the steel in the wreckage to have melted after the buildings collapsed. Any molten steel in the wreckage was more likely due to the high temperature resulting from long exposure to combustion within the pile than to short exposure to fires or explosions while the buildings were standing."
But maybe it's not steel. Here's a better argument, though, I think, for those who cannot accept that the debris field got hot enough: why are the conspiracy theorists assuming that it's steel? Just think of all the different types, and amounts, of metals that were in those gigantic office buildings. Besides the planes - which would be mostly aluminum and probably not bright orange when melted - you had computers, other e-equipment, furniture, other metals making up other parts of the buildings, bathroom fixtures, pipes... well the list goes on and on. The point is, the steel columns were not the only metal in the buildings by far.
"But... but only steel glows orange like that!" Oh? here's a photograph showing workers pouring some molten aluminum. It is a dull silvery color at its melting point of approximately 660 C but continuing to heat it afterwards gets it to glow orange. And again, the aluminum from the planes was not the only other metal besides steel. And back to the melted steel: sometimes steel that is merely oxidized can look molten, so with extremely hot steel, be careful, looks can be deceiving.
But look at this webpage I've been sourcing here yourself for further reading. There's a great bit in there about how a photograph touted by conspiracy theorists of molten steel is really a photoshopped picture of firefighters and iron workers using torches on the wreckage (not to mention the fact that they could not possibly have stood that close to molten steel anyway).
MORE on Building 7
In the controlled demolition theory in the previous writeup I mentioned Building 7 briefly. The investigation into WTC7’s collapse is still not 100% complete as of writing this but now I have some information on the building’s design and why it was vulnerable to collapse on that day. But first, to recap, in the last article I wrote: “There was much physical damage to the south face of WTC7 and the building also experienced intense fires. Videos of its collapse show kinks in the building's facade just before the two penthouses disappeared into the structure. The entire building imploded, with the slumping east side of the structure pulling down the west side in a diagonal collapse.” Now, the explanation of how the building was designed will better explain why this collapse was easier than most conspiracy theorists think. It was uniquely built like a small amphitheater. The whole lower section was hollow, without vertical beams going down into bedrock. Instead, the lower section supported the rest of the structure with trusses. And it was these trusses that had to support the entirety of the weight of the building above. According to structural engineer Gene Corley this collapse was much like the collapse of the Twin Towers. The fires were so hot that the steel columns and trusses were significantly weakened to where they could no longer carry the load. And this building was abandoned and left to burn unhindered for about eight hours. And one more thing, probably most important: not one shred of evidence has been recovered that suggests that it was a controlled demolition, or that ANY controlled demolitions took place at the WTC at all. No evidence of thermite. Not one blasting cap has ever been recovered. Not even a piece of one. Arguments about cover-ups aside, one should not assume a nefarious hypothesis about a government attacking and murdering 3,000 of its own people because of a lack of evidence that it didn't happen. Let's not forget that that's backwards. For such a powerful claim, you need powerful evidence that it did. And none exist.
Grade for "Controlled Demolition" stays at D
MORE on "Pentagon was Not Hit by a Boeing 757"
One thing I didn't mention in the previous writeup was another reason that conspiracy theorists think the Pentagon was hit by a missile and not a jet airliner. There is contention about the relatively small, circular hole that the object that hit the side of the Pentagon made. It seems perfect for a missile. Or something long and tubular nonetheless.
But what is a Boeing 757 without its wings or tail? A long metal tube. The reason that the shape of the wings aren't in the wall is simply that they sheared off at impact. Do not forget that an aluminum plane was slammed into a thick wall of reinforced concrete at an incredible rate of speed, a speed a pilot would never dare fly a plane at that low to the ground (unless of course he was suicidal and trying to incite a Holy War). And then whatever was left of that plane after making it through that wall destroyed itself in the forest of concrete columns that awaited it on the inside - as it destroyed them. The carnage and destruction in that wing of the Pentagon - as it was at the WTC towers - were almost unimaginable.
It's quite a dig at conspiracy theorists to point this out, but pointed out it nevertheless it must be, that you can't expect that when an object goes careening through a wall that the hole will be in the same exact shape as the object. Especially when the object is mostly aluminum and the wall is concrete. Well, maybe you can expect that in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but not real life.
And I must point out again that hundreds of eyewitnesses saw a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.
Grade for "Pentagon was Not Hit by a Boeing 757" stays at D
The Jews Did It
Are they blamed for everything?
Anti-Semites the world over were probably chomping at the bit to find a way to blame the Jews and find one they did: a conspiracy involving “4,000 Jews.” Supposedly Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) warned the Jews working in the WTC of the attacks before they happened. This theory was born of a report on September 17th by Lebanese Hezbollah-owned channel Al-Manar - which is believed to be based on a report in the September 12th edition of the Jerusalem Post’s - that claims that 4,000 Jews were missing during the chaos of the attacks. So obviously 4,000 forewarned Jewish WTC workers skipped work that day? What? 4,000 Jews worked at the WTC?? Actually the 4K number closely aligns with the percentage of Jews living in the New York area. The number of Jews who died in the attacks is estimated between 270 and 400. Five Israeli citizens perished in the terrorist attacks at the WTC.
Let’s not forget that most of the people perpetuating this theory also don’t believe the Holocaust happened. Just a credibility check there for you.
Evidence For: A report twisted and then perpetuated by a satellite channel run by people who hate Jews.
Evidence Against: What the report was actually about.
Hani Hanjour couldn’t pilot a 757
Conspiracy Theorists believe that Hani did not have the requisite skills to make that complicated maneuver that was necessary to crash into the Pentagon as it did. Loose Change talks about how he “allegedly executed 330 degree turn at 530 miles per hour.” But let’s not forget that he got his pilot’s certification and had logged at least 250 hours of flying time to get it. And let’s also not forget that he was not focusing on taking off, and certainly not landing, just steering the plane.
Evidence For: Um… there really isn’t any, unless somebody can find proof that he failed a class in flight school about crashing 757s into the Pentagon.
Evidence Against: Hani Hanjour’s flight certification.
The Four-Mile Debris Field at United 93’s Crash Site
Even though the jetliner was headed straight down at a speed nearing that of sound, the explosion shouldn’t toss debris four miles away should it? This proves a grand conspiracy right?
No…. and no.
Actually, the debris reportedly (by conspiracy theorists) found 4 miles away was actually only about a mile and a half away from the crash crater. So where did this erroneous data come from and why does it still persist? Well, I can’t answer the latter question, but I can easily answer the former. The debris found at Indian Lake, said to be four (sometimes even eight!) miles away, was actually not all that far from the crash site. In fact, Indian Lake is only about a mile and a half from the crash, if you’re not driving that is. That’s right, the mileage information came from when reporters heading to the crash site used Mapquest to find Indian Lake to see the debris there. And this error has been persistent in not going away, which can be blamed on a lack of fact-checking, something conspiracy theorists are often reluctant to do. Yes, Mapquest, and Google Maps, will tell you that the distance is 4 miles because of the roads you have to take to get there. If you were to walk – or fly – straight there, the distance is more than half that. To get to Indian Lake from Shanksville, one must drive south and east down Corner Stone Road and then up north on Highway 160. Google Maps says that’s five miles if you’re driving. If you’re flying debris? Not so much.
And the debris there was mostly papers anyway.
Evidence For: A debris field that stretches “4 miles.”
Evidence Against: It’s actually only about a mile and a half.
Witnesses Heard Secondary Explosions
I do find this one interesting.
In the moments just after the attacks witnesses reported hearing secondary explosives. NBC reporter Pat Dawson interviewed Fire Safety Chief Albert Turi and he did say that said he had heard secondary explosions. Debunkers are quick to point out that Turi did not say they were bombs. But that’s splitting hairs. Because yes, technically, in that statement, he did not specifically say it was bombs that he had heard. But it was part of an interview with Dawson where (according to Dawson at least in a report on September 11, 2001, hours after the attack) the Chief was talking about bombs. According to Dawson Turi did said that he received word of a bomb in the WTC and after that tried to get his men out as quickly as he could. Dawson also reported that Turi had said that he believed there was possibly a bomb in one of the planes and in the tower. How he could possibly know that, or what information he had that could lead him to that speculation, I don’t know.
Here is a partial transcript of the report by Dawson in question (you can see the whole thing in YouTube in several different videos):
Just moments ago I spoke to the Chief of Safety for the New York City Fire Department, who was obviously one of the first people here after the two planes were crashed into the side, we assume, of the World Trade Center towers, which used to be behind me over there. Chief Albert Terry told me that he was here just literally five or ten minutes after the events that took place this morning, that is the first crash.
He said that at one point he had roughly ten alarms, that would equate to roughly 200 to 225 New York City firefighters who were in the building, this was after the crash, trying to rescue civilians who were in there. Now earlier this morning on the Today Show we spoke to the director of the World Trade Center. He said at that hour of the morning you could have upwards of 10,000 people in each of those towers. That would be 20,000 people total in each tower.
The Chief of Safety of the Fire Department of New York City told me that shortly after 9:00 he had roughly ten alarms, roughly 200 men, trying to effect rescues of some of those civilians who were in there, and that basically he received word of a secondary device, that is another bomb, going off. He tried to get his men out as quickly as he could, but he said that there was another explosion which took place.
And then an hour after the first hit here, the first crash, that took place, he said there was another explosion that took place in one of the towers here. So obviously, according to his theory, he thinks that there were actually devices that were planted in the building. One of the secondary devices, he thinks, that detonated after the initial impact he thinks may have been on the plane that crashed into one of the towers. The second device, he thinks, he speculates, was probably planted in the building.
This is intriguing. But in such a time of chaos you have to question initial reports and initial reactions by people. Again, this took place only hours after the attacks. And if I am the Safety Chief, or the person who is responsible for telling him there are bombs… hell, if I am anybody at the WTC during the attacks, I’m probably going to assume there are bombs as well. Going to crash planes into the buildings? Why not put bombs there as well just for good measure?
Besides, even if there were bombs, why are all the conspiracy theorists assuming the U.S. government planted them? Why?? Why not al-Qaeda? They tried to bomb it in 1993!
Debunkers will tell you that secondary explosions witnesses heard could have been huge pieces of falling debris and that the chaos at that time could explain numerous witness errors about what they thought they saw and heard, this being one of them. Dawson also went on to say that secondary explosions, according to Turi, were caused by ruptured gas lines that had been feeding the WTC. This would be probably the most likely explanation for any secondary explosions.
Evidence For: Accounts by numerous eyewitnesses and one by the Fire Chief, as told by the NBC reporter.
Evidence Against: None. There were secondary explosions… caused by ruptured gas lines. However some explosions heard probably weren’t explosions but falling debris smashing into the pavement below.
History Channel’s August, 2007 special The 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Fact or Fiction.