Exposing Falsehoods and Revealing Truths
IS "9/11 TRUTH" BASED UPON A FALSE THEORY?
Jim Fetzer (with T. Mark Hightower)
Given my background in the history and the philosophy of science and as a professional scholar, I founded Scholars for 9/11 Truth for the purpose of promoting collaborative research on the events of 9/11 by creating a web site, issuing press releases, archiving old research and supporting new research, sponsoring conferences, announcing public presentations, and making efforts to reach out to the public with the results of our investigations. The most intense conflicts in relation to the 9/11 Truth movement, however, turn out to come from within and between research groups, which have all too often found themselves at odds and severely attacked and even denounced one another.
Based upon my experience, I can report with confidence that the three most controversial issues within the 9/11 Truth movement are these:
(3) the demolition of the Twin Towers, especially, how it was done, the dominant theory being that they were destroyed using nanothermite as the principal mechanism, which I address here.
These are questions that can be investigated using scientific reasoning to evaluate alternative hypotheses. The benefits from this appear to be considerable, since, if my efforts are successful, (a) we will have a better understanding of what happened, (b) there will be fewer, less intense conflicts between us, and (c) we will become more cohesive and effective in promoting our objectives and goals. A “9/11 Truth” movement, after all, has to be based on truth, where science is our most reliable method for distinguishing between what is true and what is false, where I can apply my background and the 35 years I spent offering courses in logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning.
The evidence presented in those studies about (1) the Pentagon attack and (2) the planes in New York and (3) the demolition of the Twin Towers here not only falsifies the official account of 9/11 but also implicates the Department of Defense in the case of (1) and the national media in the case of (2) with its deceit and deception in perpetrating fraud on the American people. While I have no doubt that the Mossad was involved, it could not have been responsible for the “stand down” of the US Air Force on 9/11 nor for the failure of the Pentagon to take measures to protect itself from an aircraft, whose approach was known to Dick Cheney and to the pilot of a C-130, who was circling the building at the time. The Mossad is far more likely to have been deeply involved in (3) the destruction of the Twin Towers.
The Nanothermite Theory
While there are many points of agreement within the 9/11 Truth community, which include that the North Tower was hit first but “collapsed” second’; that the fires burned neither long enough nor hot enough for the steel to have weakened, much less melted; that collapse scenarios were not even physically possible; and that NIST has never been able to justify a “point of initiation”, much less present a serious collapse simulation, there has been ongoing controversy over how it was done, where the prevalent theory is that nanothermite was the principal ingredient. If any single event could be said to have inspired the 9/11 Truth community, it was the publication of an article in the Bentham Open Science journal:
Bolstered in their belief by this article by Niels Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan, and others,“Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World T... in The Open Chemical Physics Journal 2 (2009), pp. 7-31, the theory has become dominant in 9/11 research. And this has remained the case even though the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Marie-Paule Pileni, who specializes in nano-materials research at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France, resigned her position in protest of its publication, which she regarded as very inappropriate.
The article itself, which was based upon studies of dust that was collected from the immediate vicinity of “Ground Zero”, maintains that nanothermite residue was found in the dust and suggests that this finding holds the key to understanding the means by which the Twin Towers were blown apart. It was done using “explosive nanothermite”. The article asserts, for example,
“The feature of ‘impulse management’ may be significant. It is possible that formulations may be chosen to have just sufficient percussive effect to achieve the desired fragmentation while minimizing the noise level”(page 26);
And concludes with the following (somewhat ambiguous) declaration:
“Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material” (page 31);
. . . which has been widely construed to have established scientifically that nanothermite was found in the dust, that nanothermite is explosive, and that nanothermite was the crucial ingredient in bringing about the conversion of the Twin Towers into a few large pieces and millions of cubic yards of very fine dust, which appears to have been critical for the preservation of the bathtub, the shattering of which would have allowed Hudson River water to flood beneath Lower Manhattan, the subway and the PATH train tunnels, causing monumental damage to the most valuable real estate in the world, which the conspirators, it appears, wanted to preclude by employing a novel mode of demolition.
The widespread acceptance of nanothermite as the crucial component of the demolition of the Twin Towers has become a matter of common knowledge within the 9/11 Truth community. But here are samples of the extent to which it has become embedded in reasoning about 9/11. On April 5, 2009, for example, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth published “Exotic High Tech Explosives Positively Identified in World Trade C..., presenting its ringing endorsement of its findings:
“A ground-breaking scientific paper confirmed this week that red-gray flakes found throughout multiple samples of WTC dust are actually unexploded fragments of nanothermite, an exotic high-tech explosive.
“The samples were taken from far-separated locations in Manhattan, some as early as 10 minutes after the second tower (WTC 1) collapsed, ruling out any possible contamination from cleanup operations. . . .
“Ordinary thermite burns quickly and can melt through steel, but it is not explosive. Nanothermite, however, can be formulated as a high explosive. It is stable when wet and can be applied like paint.”
During an interview in RUSSIA TODAY (July 2009), Neils Harrit, the paper’s first author, offers observations that are rather more qualified by suggesting that, while thermite was “used for melting the steel beams”, he is certain that conventional explosives were also used:
“There is very solid evidence for that some thermite has been used for melting the steel beams. We should not, I do not know, we do not know if the thermite that we have found is the same thermite which has been used for melting the beams. It’s very very possible that different varieties was used and I personally am certain that conventional explosives were used too in abundance.” When asked what he meant by the phrase,“in abundance,” he said “tons, hundred tons, many many many tons.”
In his admirable “Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really B..., GLOBAL RESEARCH (6 July 2010), David Ray Griffin, the dean of 9/11 research, expressed his emphatic support for nanothermite as a powerful explosive capable of exerting enormous force and ejecting large sections of steel hundreds of feet:
“NIST thereby admitted that debris had been thrown out horizontally from the North Tower at least 350 feet.84 NIST’s report also stated:
“When WTC 1 collapsed at 10:28:22 AM, . . . some fragments [of debris] were forcibly ejected and traveled distances up to hundreds of meters. Pieces of WTC 1 hit WTC 7, severing six columns on Floors 7 through 17 on the south face and one column on the west face near the southwest corner. The debris also caused structural damage between Floor 44 and the roof.85
“Debris that caused such extensive damage, including the severing of seven steel columns, had to be quite heavy. NIST seemed to be granting, therefore, that sections of steel columns had been hurled at least 650 feet (because “hundreds of meters” would mean at least 200 meters, which would be about 650 feet). Enormous force would be needed to eject large sections of steel that far out.
“What could have produced this force? According to NIST, as we saw earlier, there were only three causal factors in the collapse of the Twin Towers: the airplane impacts, the fires, and gravitational attraction. The airplane impacts had occurred 56 minutes (South Tower) and 102 minutes (North Tower) earlier, and gravitational attraction pulls things straight downward. Fire could, to be sure, produce horizontal ejections by causing jet fuel to explode, but the jet fuel had, NIST pointed out, burned up within “a few minutes.”86 Therefore, although NIST admitted that these horizontal ejections occurred, it suggested no energy source to explain them.
“High explosives, such as RDX or nanothermite, could explain these horizontal ejections. According to NIST, however, explosives did not contribute to the destruction of the Twin Towers. Those who accept NIST’s account must, therefore, regard these horizontal ejections as constituting yet another miracle.”
And there can be scant room for doubt that Griffin’s characterization has become the dominant view within the 9/11 Truth community, where it has assumed a standing akin to that of a religious dogma, where those who challenge that belief have been subject to severe reactions from within the community, including forms of banishment and blackballing, very much on the order of heretics in theological disputes of the past, many of whom were even burned at the stake.
The Split in Scholars
And I have been among them. When I founded Scholars for 9/11 Truth, I invited Steven Jones, a physicist from BYU, to serve as my co-chair, on the advice of David Ray Griffin, whom I invited first. I would later learn from David that, at that time, he had no confidence that a society could make a difference, which was an opinion he would later retract. In the months between founding the society in December of 2005 and the American Scholars Conference in Los Angeles in June of 2006, I had heard a lot about thermite, thermate, and nanothermite, but was skeptical that it could perform the feats of blowing massive assemblies of steel hundreds of yards and converting two 500,000 ton buildings into millions of cubic yards of very fine dust. On Saturday of the conference, I approached Steve in the lobby and asked him if he was confident that nanothermite could bring about these effects—and was not entirely persuaded when he assured me that, “Yes, it could!”
By the end of the year, I had become convinced that it was necessary to broaden the range of hypotheses that were under consideration as candidates to explain the destruction of the Twin Towers. None of us had any problems with WTC-7, which exhibited all the characteristics of a classic controlled demolition: the explosion began at the base, ran up the side of the building with a kink in the roof, where all the floors fell at the same time into the buildings foundation at the approximate rate of free fall and a stack of debris about 12% of its original height remained. The Twin Towers were different, where all of their floors remained stationary until they were “blown to kingdom come” (in the memorable phrase of Morgan Reynolds), where they were destroyed at the approximate rate of free fall, too, but where, as Fr. Frank Morales from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church observed during two interviews on a radio program I co-hosted with Kevin Barrett, “The Dynamic Duo”, both buildings, unlike WTC-7, were destroyed below ground level!
The differences between us were exacerbated when I interviewed Dr. Judy Wood, a former professor of mechanical engineering, who was promoting the alternative theory that directed energy weapons might have been used to destroy the buildings rather than thermite in any of its guises, which took place on November 11, 2006. What I liked the most about Judy’s work was that it offered a fresh perspective about how it could have been done, where she asked me to guess where a directed energy device could have been located and, when I offered WTC-7 as a guess, she corrected me and said, “In space!” I would bet that this interview caused more division in the 9/11 Truth community than any other event before or after. Judy began being attacked for advocating “space beams” and “death rays”, while I was castigated for supporting her. That I was SUPPORTING RESEARCH on her theory as opposed to ENDORSING IT was a subtlety that was lost on the crowd, where it has become part of the presumptive history of the 9/11 movement.