Posted by: Lister | September 13, 2007

I don’t get the “Even I” bit

Paul Craig Roberts — 9-11, Six Years Later. Roberts goes for an argument from authority. Beginning with the American public:

Polls show that 36 percent of Americans and more than 50 percent of New Yorkers lack confidence in the 9-11 commission report. Many 9-11 families who lost relatives in the attacks are unsatisfied with the official story.

[…] Over the past six years, the ranks of distinguished skeptics of the 9-11 storyline have grown enormously. The ranks include distinguished scientists, engineers and architects, intelligence officers, air traffic controllers, military officers and generals, including the former commanding general of U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, former presidential appointees and members of the White House staff in Republican administrations, Top Gun fighter pilots and career airline pilots who say that the flying attributed to the 9-11 hijackers is beyond the skills of America’s best pilots, and foreign dignitaries.

Some of the latter are listed on a link provided in Tathell’s article: Patriots question 9/11, which linked me to Pilots for 9/11 truth press release. Okay, I admit I can’t counter what they say — but I’ll look into it.

I’ve heard the physics of the collapse of the buildings arguments before, and I have trouble believing that so many civil engineers and demolition experts would keep quiet. Those experts are not in the same position as the pilots. The pilots needed the exact flight path in order to make their assessment. The demolition experts only need to know what it takes to bring a building down. And in a controlled demolition, it’s gravity which brings a building down — the explosives only start the collapse.

How stuff works

The basic idea of explosive demolition is quite simple: If you remove the support structure of a building at a certain point, the section of the building above that point will fall down on the part of the building below that point. If this upper section is heavy enough, it will collide with the lower part with sufficient force to cause significant damage. The explosives are just the trigger for the demolition. It’s gravity that brings the building down.

I looked up Roberts’ reference to James Quintiere questioning NIST’s conclusion, and found that Quintiere has called for an independent review of NIST findings. Calling for peer review is not strange. I didn’t feel I could leave out the first paragraph quoted, but read on to see Quintiere’s alternative theory.

Dr. Quintiere also expressed his frustration at NIST’s failure to provide a report on the third skyscraper that collapsed on 9/11, World Trade Center Building 7. “And that building was not hit by anything,” noted Dr. Quintiere. “It’s more important to take a look at that. Maybe there was damage by the debris falling down that played a significant role. But other than that you had fires burning a long time without fire department intervention. And firefighters were in that building. I have yet to see any kind of story about what they saw. What was burning? Were photographs taken? Nothing!”

[…] Although Dr. Quintiere was strongly critical of NIST’s conclusions and its investigatory process, he made it clear he was not a supporter of theories that the Twin Towers were brought down by pre-planted explosives. “If you go to World Trade Center One, nine minutes before its collapse, there was a line of smoke that puffed out. This is one of the basis of the ‘conspiracy theories’ that says the smoke puffing out all around the building is due to somebody setting off an explosive charge. Well, I think, more likely, it’s one of the floors falling down.”

Dr. Quintiere summarized the NIST conclusion about the cause of the collapses of the Twin Towers. “It says that the core columns, uninsulated due to the fact that the aircraft stripped off that insulation; they softened in the heat of the fire and shortened and that led to the collapse. They pulled in the external columns and it caused it to buckle. They went on further to say that there would be no collapse if the insulation remained in place.”

Dr. Quintiere then presented his and his students’ research that contradicts the NIST report and points to a different cause for the collapses; the application of insufficient fire-proofing insulation on the truss rods in the Twin Towers. “I suggest that there’s an equally justifiable theory and that’s the trusses fail as they are heated by the fire with the insulation intact. These are two different conclusions and the accountability for each is dramatically different,” he said.

Quintiere has more criticisms of NIST on page 2, including one on spoliation of fire scene evidence. But Quintiere is not in favour of an explanation involving explosives. He just wants to further the understanding of the science of demolition. He wants to know with greater certainty why a building fails — without it being blown-up.

The Roberts article was originally going to go at the end, but I didn’t want it to seem that I was burying the article I found hardest to argue with. The title of my post comes from Robert Fisk’s article: Even HE questions the ‘truth’ about 9/11. Robert Fisk doubts authority — wow what a headline.

Fisk, after distancing himself from crackpots, leads off with these questions — the first an evergreen I don’t understand because I remember pictures of aircraft parts.

But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It’s not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93’s debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I’m not talking about the crazed “research” of David Icke’s Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.)

And that one, too. Steel weakens before it melts.

Peter Tatchell: 9/11 – the big cover-up? Tatchell goes in a different direction — the need for a better investigation.

Six years after 9/11, the American public have still not been provided with a full and truthful account of the single greatest terror attack in US history.

What they got was a turkey. The 9/11 Commission was hamstrung by official obstruction. It never managed to ascertain the whole truth of what happened on September 11 2001.

The chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, respectively Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, assert in their book, Without Precedent, that they were “set up to fail” and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation. They also confirm that they were denied access to the truth and misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the federal aviation authority; and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate slapping officials with criminal charges.

Despite the many public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to, not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.

Lack of a trial or reprimand is not a sign of guilt.

Tatchell leaves the inconsistencies Fisk cites to the websites he links. Like 250+ 9/11 smoking guns which, in best CT tradition, begins with the most damning evidence: The Northwoods plot of 1962 and a TV show which had remote-controlled planes flying into buildings as a plot device. “Lone Gunmen co-producer hopes WTC attack wasn’t ‘somehow inspired’ by anything they did. (KC Star)”

On Conspiracy Theories in General
One of the best descriptions of what’s going on that I’ve heard (sorry, I forget the source) goes like this: I’m sure that any defence lawyer — no matter the case, no matter the evidence — can find a few chinks here and there. Just something which might put a little bit of doubt into the minds of a jury. Maybe this works, sometimes. Maybe some juries reject solid evidence on account of something small that doesn’t make sense. Clearly the reverse error also happens. Some juries accept evidence when the grounds for doubt where either not pointed out or lacked persuasive force.

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