- In every major conspiracy to cover up government criminal
activity, agents of change or naïve "experts" have been
hired by the establishment media to debunk conspiracy theories and facts.
Walter Cronkite was trotted out of retirement to host a PBS documentary
debunking the conspiracy facts surrounding the assassination of JFK (which
was hardly convincing). In like manner, other programs have been produced
at great expense to discredit the charges of government cover-ups in the
Vince Foster and Ron Brown murders, the downing of TWA 800 by a missile,
and the OKC bombing of the Murrah building.
- The professional debunkers use four primary tactics to
accomplish their propaganda feats:
- 1) They refuse to mention, much less attempt to disprove,
the most irrefutable and damaging evidence.
- 2) They take great delight in debunking only those conspiracy
theories that are the weakest or that are planted by other government sympathizers
to help discredit the more credible conspiracy facts. This is what is referred
to as a "straw man" argument, where a weak or false argument
is set up so that it can easily be knocked down.
- 3) They only select "experts" who agree with
the official conclusion.
- 4) They snicker at or mock anyone who believes that government
engages in criminal behavior or covers up crimes in collusion with judges,
investigators, prosecutors, media heads, and hand-picked commissions. Worse,
they label dissenters as unpatriotic or mentally imbalanced.
- So it is with the latest government attempt to debunk
the evidence of government collusion in the 9/11 attacks. For over a decade
now, the PTB have used an odd vehicle to do their debunking on a variety
of issues-Popular Mechanics Magazine (a Hearst publication). I suppose
they are targeting the back-yard mechanic and auto-enthusiast crowd, who
are often prone to accepting conspiracy facts and theories.
- In the March 2005 issue, PM magazine singled out 16 issues
or claims of the 9/11 skeptics that point to government collusion and systematically
attempted to debunk each one. Of the 16, most missed the mark and almost
half were straw men arguments-either ridiculous arguments that few conspiracists
believed or restatements of the arguments that were highly distorted so
as to make them look weaker than they really were. PM took a lot of pot
shots at conspiracy buffs, saying that those "who peddle fantasies
that this country encouraged, permitted or actually carried out the attacks
are libeling the truth - and disgracing the memories of the thousands who
died that day."
- That would be true only if there was no basis in fact
for these controversies. I am one of those who claim there are factual
arguments pointing to conspiracy, and that truth is not served by taking
cheap shots at those who see gaping flaws in the government story-especially
when you don't address the really tough questions in your rebuttal. Here
is a quick run down of the claims (some lumped together) and why PM's debunking
was superficial and distorted:
- 1) The bulging projection (pod) visible on the bottom
of Flight 175 as it struck the south tower
- If the bulge is real, critics claim it means the aircraft
was modified for the attack, which could not have been done by hijackers.
PM says the anomaly was simply the bulging faring under each wing root
which hides the landing gear. This is a possibility since the bulge viewed
on all pictures of Flight 175 is in the same location as the landing gear
faring. However, the bulge is significantly bigger than the actual faring,
and casts a shadow on the bottom of the aircraft. The real landing gear
faring is flush with the bottom of the plane and could not cast a shadow
on that area.
- Besides, I talked to Boeing about the bulge and a woman
spokesperson admitted that Boeing had studied the bulge and concluded,
"It wasn't modified by Boeing." She didn't deny the bulge wasn't
there, nor did she try to persuade me it was the landing gear faring. However,
I don't have an answer for what the purpose of the modification might have
- Later PM turns a related claim by a witness (that there
were no windows on this aircraft) into a major issue to debunked. This
was a straw man issue that was easily debunked with a photo of the plane's
debris, with windows. This was never a credible issue with most conspiracy
- 2) The "stand down" order to stop intervention
against the hijackers
- PM cites the existence of a few scrambled jets as proof
there was no "stand down" order given. This is a straw argument
because key facts are omitted. There is other evidence to show that these
fighters were called out purposely from bases too distant to make the intercepts-and
never engaged afterburners for extra speed, indicating no sincere attempt
to intercept. I received an email from one of the tower operators at McGuire
AFB telling me he had received a call from the base commander ordering
him to shut down military flight ops and not let fighter-interceptors take
off. This was before the general shut down of the air traffic system by
the FAA. This indicates that aircraft closer to the hijacked planes were
told to stand down.
- There are two witnesses (a general and a Congressman)
who said VP Dick Cheney was operating under stand-down orders, except as
pertaining to Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. PM tried to make the case that
NORAD had never vigorously followed standing orders to intercept hijacked
aircraft, and that their high definition radars were all pointed outside
the US boundaries (like a doughnut). Neither is true. There were dozens
of intercepts in the two years prior to 9/11 (PM said there was only one)
and NORAD has complete radar coverage within the US.
- PM also presented disinformation when it claimed that
if an airliner turns off its transponder, the controller can no longer
distinguish the aircraft from thousand of other smaller blips on his screen.
Not so. First, there aren't thousands of unlabeled blips on the screen
in any given sector, and second, the actual radar return is still on the
screen at the same approximate position of the transponder data symbol,
making it easier to acquire.
- PM neglected to mention the more powerful evidences of
cover-up and collusion here, including the FAA's destruction of the tape
recording of air traffic controllers' description of the events, the FAA
refusing to turn over tape recordings of the ATC controllers talking to
the pilots when the hijackings were declared, and the discrepancies between
the claims of when the FAA supposedly notified NORAD.
- 3) Explosives brought down the twin towers (puff of dust,
- This is only a partial straw man argument. There is significant
evidence that the aircraft impacts did not cause the collapse, but PM only
discussed the fire and explosive claims that were easily explained away.
An early claim making the rounds was that the towers couldn't have collapsed
since fuel doesn't burn hot enough to melt steel. PM correctly pointed
out, as I have also in my briefs, that steel trusses supporting the floor
system only need be heated to the point of sagging-not melting-in order
to give way.
- Early conspiracists claimed that the puffs of smoke coming
out of the windows as each floor pancaked down on another were evidence
of demolition charges. Once again, PM correctly pointed out that the crushing
of sheet rock interiors can cause this. I was never convinced of controlled
demolition myself, since it would have required months of prep work inside
the building, unbeknownst to all the tenants.
- But conspicuously absent from the PM arguments was the
blockbuster evidence that the 42 main pillars in the central core of the
building had been taken down by a combination of explosives and thermite
charges-which can melt steel like butter. The head of the company removing
the debris from the WTC said in an interview that there were large pools
of hot molten steel in the lowest basement where the main support pillars
had stood. No expert has claimed that either fuel or burning debris falling
into an oxygen starved basement would have been capable of creating the
huge quantity of concentrated heat needed to melt 42 huge pillars with
two-foot-thick steel walls. Numerous witnesses and fire fighters heard
large explosions in the lower section of the building just prior to the
collapse. One video shot of the south WTC (whose central core was not even
damaged by Flight 175) gives clear evidence of the central core being collapsed
prior to the general collapse: the center mounted TV towers started descending
downward well prior to the outer section of the building. PM was silent
on these major anomalies, and so was the 9/11 Commission, which indicates
they were avoiding the tough issues.
- PM did attempt some sleight of hand, with some remarks
by a paid "expert" trying to explain away the symmetrical and
absolutely vertical collapse of WTC building #7 that was only slightly
damaged on one side. A video of the collapse does show the telltale signs
of explosive demolition on each floor-which would have been impossible
if the building was heeling over toward the damaged side.
- 4) The Pentagon crash
- PM discussed the common arguments against the official
version: the penetration hole was too small; there was not enough debris
outside; windows close to the impact were still intact. The window argument
was a straw man with an easy explanation-they were reinforced security
glass. The issues of the penetration hole and the lack of large pieces
of debris simply do not jive with the official story, but they are explainable
if you include the parking lot video evidence that shows a huge white explosion
at impact. This cannot happen with an aircraft laden only with fuel. It
can only happen in the presence of high explosives. Some witnesses saw
a smaller aircraft, others saw the Boeing. One or two saw and heard a missile
launch. Could all three have been present? I think so.
- There are credible witnesses who saw many small pieces
of aluminum scattered about, plus a few larger pieces. If the larger Boeing
was blasted apart at impact with high explosives it would explain the shower
of aluminum shards that littered the road. The Pentagon parking lot video
tape (which strangely fails to show a large Boeing aircraft) does show
a huge white explosion-the unique sign of high explosives. An aircraft
laden only with fuel gives off the red and black signature only-nothing
white or bright. If the Boeing was laced with explosives, it would also
explain why the wings didn't totally penetrate the structure. I have checked
the photographs of major engine and landing gear pieces among the wreckage
and they do match the Boeing aircraft, so I do think a Boeing hit the Pentagon.
But I am not buying PM's statement (given without any evidence or photos)
that a landing gear was responsible for the 12-foot round hole that penetrated
three rings of the Pentagon. The landing gear is a long, gangly affair,
and it didn't even make it through the first ring, according to photos
I have seen. Only a missile could have penetrated that far. Was a missile
on the smaller jet seen by witnesses used to prep the hardened Pentagon
- PM's glib explanations did not do justice to the multiple
possibilities. Besides, if the government version is true, why is the FBI
refusing to turn over the two video surveillance tapes (one from a gas
station and one from a hotel) that would show what really happened?
- 5) Flight 93 was shot down by an F-16
- PM discussed all the key issues: a small white private
jet that was shadowing the flight; engine parts apart from the main wreckage;
debris two miles away in Indian Lake; and the purported identity of the
F-16 pilot. But in each case, it falsified the evidence by quoting erroneous,
distorted or planted theories by government experts.
- For example, while it finally acknowledged the presence
of a white unmarked jet, it claimed it was a private jet flying at 30,000
feet, asked to descend from high altitude and check out the crash. This
was impossible as witnesses saw the plane before the crash. PM even claimed
to have talked to the company (which conveniently didn't want to be named)
that owned the jet. But this is at variance with prior admission by a leasing
company that said the jet was theirs and was leased to the government (the
CIA often uses white unmarked jets).
- This story by PM was a total fabrication. I have listened
to the private transcripts of the radio talk between Cleveland Center and
all the other airliners controlled by ATC in that sector (including Flight
93). Even the 9/11 commission refused to address this private tape, which
was recorded by one private jet that was in the area, and is still available
on the internet. Nowhere in that transcript is any private aircraft asked
by Cleveland Center to follow or descend with Flight 93. In fact, the one
airliner that was closest to Flight 93 was asked by Cleveland Center to
verify visually the condition of Flight 93 after the Center and all other
aircraft on that frequency heard the pilot of the aircraft announce that
"there was a bomb on board." The aircraft acknowledged seeing
Flight 93 in the distance and then suddenly announced that he observed
an explosion. This was while Flight 93 was at altitude, confirming reports
from ATC controllers who had vectored an F-16 to Flight 93, and witnesses
who saw the shoot down from the ground.
- It also explains why one of the engines was found miles
away. PM tried to divert its readers from the issue by telling about another
part of the engine found about 300 meters from the crash site-which is
explainable, if you don't address the issue of the other engine. Many witnesses
saw streams of papers, luggage and even body parts falling some distance
from the crash site. PM blamed this on an updraft-but luggage and body
parts don't blow two miles away in a gentle breeze.
- Lastly, the issue on the identity of the pilot of the
F-16 (a Major Gibbons) is problematic. The source is a retired Colonel
Donn de Grand-Pre, who makes many claims about hobnobbing with big wigs
in Washington that I find uncredible and suspicious. He claims he was at
an awards ceremony in North Dakota when Major Gibbons was supposedly awarded
a medal for shooting down Flight 93. I always found this a little fantastic.
Why would the government give out a public award for something they were
trying to keep secret? The government still doesn't admit to shooting down
Flight 93, let alone disclose who did it. Of course, if they did allow
a private awards ceremony, it would explain why they would have Major Gibbons
deny it. While PM's debunking of the Gibbons story may be true (they claim
he was using his F-16 to pick up a big-wig in Montana), their explanation
was also a bit fantastic: people have to be trained in ejection seat procedures
prior to flying in a high performance jet.