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  • Truth About 9/11 (Contrary to evidence)

    Apr 23, 2009
    Contrary to evidence

    Every year as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears, the conspiracy theorists' voices get louder. Did the events really occur as we have believed them to? Could the Twin Towers really go down as they did? What happened to all the debris of the two planes that crashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania? Did the US government actually have advance notice of the threat? And most importantly, who really benefited from them? There is a plethora of reading material on the internet with various websites dedicated to disproving the official accounts and media reports of the day's events. Various theories analyse the entire 9/11 Commission Report and use science, fact, logic and rationale to arrive at conclusions that are finding increasing popularity among the common man. Joining the bandwagon of media material on 9/11 conspiracy theories is a documentary, Loose Change, which has already established itself as one of the most watched documentaries on the attacks and has become one of the most downloaded videos on Google. Made on a budget of $2,000 by three students from New York, the film — that will supposedly see a third edition release to coincide with the fifth anniversary — has got fans of conspiracy theories rapt on various sites and blogs that debate the official version. The documentary is broken down into different parts that analyse the fall of the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon attack and the fate of United 93. It also looks at other anomalies such as whether cell phone calls are technically possible from the heights that the planes were flying at. However, like most written material that has been put up online justifying the theories, it also tries to answer an important question that pops up — if it wasn't Al Qaida, then who? And more importantly, why? The Trade Center towers collapse A website that calls itself Scholars for 9/11 Truth (http://www/ .st911.org) features regular papers, reports and analyses that pose theories and questions that are contrary to the widely-known and believed course of events. David Ray Griffin, author of a paper that is simply titled The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot be True says that according to the official theory, the towers collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires. Conspiracy theorists use the towers' destruction as their main argument in questioning the authenticity of the government's claims. Their primary reasoning is that never before has fire caused a steel-frame high-rise building to collapse. Griffin's report states that the 2005 report put out by the National Institute for Standards and Technology "even implies that fire-induced collapses of large steel-frame buildings are normal events". He elaborates that though defenders of the official version say that the collapses were caused not simply by the fire but by the fire combined with the damage caused by the airliners, the towers, however, were designed to withstand the impact of airliners about the same size as Boeing 767s. Hyman Brown, the construction manager of the Twin Towers, is quoted to have said: "They were over-designed to withstand almost anything, including hurricanes ... bombings and an airplane hitting." Griffin's theory takes into account that there is a first time possibility for anything and proceeds to examine the scientific plausibility of a fire actually bringing down high-rise structures. "What would count as an extraordinary fire?" he asks. "Given the properties of steel, a fire would need to be very hot, very big and very long-lasting. But the fires in the towers did not have even one of these characteristics, let alone all three." According to these reports steel melts only after reaching temperatures of 2,800°F. Open fires that are fuelled by hydrocarbons such as kerosene — jet fuel — can apparently only rise up to 1,700°F, which is almost 1,100° below the melting point of steel. So the theorists eliminate the possibility of the towers' collapse attributed to the melting of their steel columns. Their rationale is that a look at photographs of the disaster 15 minutes after collision reveals less flame and mostly black smoke — implying that the fires were starved of oxygen. Loose Change, which features conversations between firefighters, shows that some of them were able to get up close to the source and advise on two lines being sufficient to put them out. Analysts say that since few windows were broken and the fire itself didn't spread too far it is hard to understand how they could have brought down the towers. Though media reports — including CNN — suggested that the fires were intense and lasted a long time, documentation of the day's events shows that the North Tower collapsed 102 minutes after it was hit and the South Tower after just 56 minutes. All theories compare past examples of towering infernos to suggest that if buildings such as those in Philadelphia' s One Meridian Plaza, Los Angeles' First Interstate Bank Building and a 2004 fire in Caracas, Venezuela were gutted without actual collapses, how was it that the Twin Towers ended up becoming a first? Loose Change also shows media footage that was beamed live to viewers in 2001 and investigates initial comparisons of the collapses to a controlled demolition that is carried out to bring down buildings. The procedure involves the strategic placement of explosives cut through steel when they are detonated in a particular order. Griffin divides what he calls the empirical evidence in defence of the controlled demolition theory of the towers into 11 points. The most important point he says is the straight down characteristic. The controlled demolition of a tall building close to other buildings brings it straight down into, or at least close to, its own footprint, so that it does not harm the other buildings. "If the 110-storey Twin Towers had fallen over, they would have caused an enormous amount of damage to buildings covering many city blocks. But the towers came straight down. Accordingly, the official theory, by implying that fire produced collapses that perfectly mimicked the collapses that have otherwise been produced only by precisely placed explosives, requires a miracle," he states. Another oft-quoted argument is the speed with which the towers fell. The official report says that the South Tower collapsed in 10 seconds. The theorists term the official account a 'pancake theory', in which top floors that were weakened by the aircraft's impact fell on lower floors, starting a chain reaction and resulting in a pancake fall. However, scientists say that if this was the case then the lower floors, given the amount of steel and concrete used in them, would have resisted. Dave Heller, a builder with degrees in physics and architecture, has gone on record to say that "the floors could not have been pancaking. The buildings fell too quickly. The floors must all have been falling simultaneously to reach the ground in such a short amount of time. But how? ... In [the method known as controlled demolition], each floor of a building is destroyed at just the moment the floor above is about to strike it. Thus, the floors fall simultaneously, and in virtual freefall." In addition to exploring the various scientific theories, the documentary and other sites refer to witness accounts, narratives and testimonies. Five hundred of these from firefighters were recorded by their department; however, Mayor Bloomberg's office apparently refused to release them until the New York Times and several victims' families filed suit. The majority of these oral recounts were finally released last August and were published by the Times, which apparently revealed a number of references to explosions and symptoms that are typical of controlled demolition. In other words, what the theorists are suggesting is that while the two planes did indeed hit the Twin Towers, the only way they could have fallen the way we saw them fall is by way of strategically placed explosives that were intended to go off at a planned time. Another favourite of conspiracy theorists is the fate of Building No 7. Considering the World Trade Center Building 7 was not hit and it still collapsed, many are surprised why this hasn't been investigated more. The official account states that the building's collapse despite not being hit by an airplane is ample proof that a fire is sufficient to result in its fall. However, many firefighters and medical workers say that they were informed of its demolition during the course of 9/11. They say that while they were putting out fires they were asked to leave the premises. If indeed, as the theorists indicate it was a controlled demolition that destroyed Building 7, they state that preparations for such a procedure take at least a couple of weeks. Griffin elaborates in his report: "There is only one theory that explains both the nature and the expectation of the collapse of Building 7: Explosives had been set, and someone who knew this spread the word to the fire chiefs."
    Amazingly enough, a version of this theory was publicly stated by an insider, Larry Silverstein, who owned Building 7. In a PBS documentary aired in September 2002, Silverstein, discussing Building 7, said, "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, 'Maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it'. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse." Looking at the primary beneficiary of the demolition of the buildings, Loose Change, for instance, alleges that Silverstein stood to gain huge amounts by the towers' fall because he had taken out an insurance policy with a specific anti-terrorism clause, which had a maximum payout of $7 billion. Silverstein apparently took over total ownership of the entire World Trade Center complex just 6 weeks before 9/11. Other alleged beneficiaries of the attacks are indicated by reports that some investors indulged in insider trading with previous knowledge of the attacks. It is said that $2.5 million still remains unclaimed. It also suggests that the think tank comprising the likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton may have been involved as well and refers to the group's manifesto, titled Rebuilding America's Defence looking at politically reshaping the Middle East and controlling oil reserves in the region. The Pentagon Another source of continuing bafflement is the crashing of Flight 77 into the Pentagon. Loose Change talks to Marcel Bernard, the chief instructor at Freeway Airport in Maryland. Bernard comments on the flying skills of Hani Hanjour, one of the alleged hijackers of AA flight 77. In August 2001, Hanjour had difficulty controlling and landing a single-engine Cessna 172 when he did test runs. "Average or below-average piloting skills," is what Bernard is shown saying. If one looks at the official account, if Hanjour had been the pilot he would have executed a "perfect 330-degree turn at 530 miles per hour, descending 7,000 feet in two and a half minutes, in order to crash Flight 77, a Boeing 757, into the Pentagon". "[Flight 77] could not possibly have flown at those speeds without going into a high-speed stall," Russ Wittenburg, a former commercial and airforce pilot, says in Loose Change. Using photographs and other visuals of buildings that have been hit by cruise missiles, the film juxtaposes these next to the damaged Pentagon to show viewers what the filmmakers see as similarities. It also shows that certain pieces of debris are inconsistent in size or shape to the corresponding parts of that type of aircraft. They also raise another point: what happened to the debris? How can a commercial plane crash into a building without leaving any marks of its wings on the walls? How come the lawns show no signs of skidding? Also, how come surveillance cameras across the street at a petrol station were supposedly disconnected the day before the attack? So the theory goes that Flight 77 was actually diverted and taken elsewhere while the Pentagon was attacked by a military cruise missile. Some random message boards blatantly state that nowhere in the world can a terrorist organisation acquire a military weapon and aim it directly at the country's defence headquarters, implying that there can only be one way such an act could take place. Flight 93 While most accounts by followers of 9/11 believe that the passengers of Flight 93 were heroes, Loose Change presents another twist. It suggests that like Flight 77, United 93 did not crash in rural Pennsylvania, but landed safely at another airport where it was evacuated by government officials into an unused Nasa centre. The film uses photographs and eye-witness observations of the site as evidence. Once again the arguments emphasise a near absence of debris and just the presence of a crater as opposed to evidence of a plane crash. They also question why there is little or no information available about the black boxes. The most popular official version is that they were destroyed, though there are a couple of online references to statements that they were 'not found.' If they were, indeed, destroyed as claimed, the theorists go on to investigate the makings of the all-important black box that is designed to withstand critical damage to the plane. Another anomaly that is often raised by the theorists is the plausibility of the released cell phone call transcripts. Not related to the Flight 93 crash per se, the filmmakers do say that phone calls could not be made from American Airlines flights at the time of the crash in 2001. A system that allowed cell phone call reception inside the plane was installed after that in AA aircraft and the filmmakers ask why this was done, considering the passengers were able to make and receive calls during the 9/11 attacks. Analysing and examining the official statements against the conspiracy theorists' explanations has created a wealth of literature that is easily available online. The material is plenty and browsers will often find themselves bouncing back and forth between the official and the unofficial to only wonder whether fact is fiction or vice versa. How come? Steel from the buildings was removed from the World Trade Center site as fast as possible. Almost all of it was shipped off to Asia. This apparently goes against the fact that removal of evidence from a crime scene is a federal offence. The company in charge of World Trade Center security was Securacom (now Stratesec). Marvin Bush, the current president's brother, was one of the directors of the company and Bush's cousin, Wirt Walker III, was the CEO until January 2002. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is reported to have told ABC News about his temporary emergency command centre: "We were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse, and it did collapse before we could get out of the building." The fires destroyed everything in the Twin Towers and finally brought them down. The black boxes from American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were not found, but the passport of Flight 11's alleged hijacker, Satam Al Suqami, was found intact, a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Of all four planes, the only flight data recorder found was the one at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 Identities of hijackers mixed up The appearance of hijack leader Mohammad Atta's passport amid 1.6 million tonnes of Twin Towers debris in a matter of hours raised a number of conspiracy theorists' eyebrows. Considering the circumstances that the passport survived in order to be found, it started seekers of truth to explore other anomalies in the hijacking story. Most media reports indicate that there were 19 hijackers. However, the FBI rap sheet on the 9/11 hijackers has a disclaimer that states: "It should be noted that attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way." The case of hijacker Waleed Al Shehri is also rather bizarre. Both the BBC and The Daily Telegraph reported that the Saudi national was understandably upset over his name appearing on the list of dead hijackers. The Telegraph went a step further to add that four alleged hijackers were alive, well and not too happy. "The Saudi Airlines pilot, Saeed Al Ghamdi, 25, and Abdulaziz Al Omari, an engineer from Riyadh, are furious that the hijackers' 'personal details' — including name, place, date of birth and occupation —matched their own," said The Telegraph. "The FBI had published his personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had stolen his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Al Ghamdi. However, the news network has since clarified that the photo may not necessarily match that of the hijacker. Loose Change on its part has shown nine of the alleged hijackers — name and photo matching — who are alive, well and even mentioned where they are and what they're doing. As an indication of how popular the theories are, according to a May 2006 Zogby poll, 42 per cent of Americans say that they now believe that the US government and the 9/11 commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11 attacks", and that "there has been a cover-up". This number is as high as 50 per cent in New York City alone.


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