In a recent article in
The Crisis Papers
co-editor Ernest Partridge
described receiving a series of angry responses to comments he made
during a radio interview:
About half-way through the hour-long program, the conversation was going well,
until I expressed some doubts about the "controlled demolition" hypotheses
of the collapse of the World Trade Center.
That comment sealed the fate of the remainder of the hour . . .
This unexpected response prompted Partridge
to take a weekend to examine the diverse claims
countering the official version of events on 9/11/01,
and pen his essay,
The 9/11 Conspiracy: A Skeptic's View.
Given the dearth of media coverage of challenges to
the official version of events of that day,
it is not surprising
that Partridge was caught off-guard by his listener response.
While mainstream media was dutifully covering every nuance
of the 9/11 Commission,
people worldwide --
discovering that the puzzle pieces of 9/11 didn't fit --
were seeking information elsewhere.
Because the most basic questioning of the official version
has been pejoratively labeled the work of "conspiracy theorists,"
and summarily dismissed in progressive venues such as
few intellectuals have examined the unanswered questions in depth.
Partridge's sober treatment of the issue is thus refreshing,
as he both refutes nonsensical alternative theories
and highlights absurdities of the official account.
He points out a handful of striking anomalies
that undercut the official version of events,
including the destruction of an air traffic controller interview tape,
and the unconvincing explanation for the collapse of 47-story
thus showing a willingness to go beyond the familiar and sweeping
'incompetence theory' put forth for every outrage from 9/11,
to WMDs, to the 2004 election debacle.
However, Partridge rejects outright two of the most popular claims
implying insider engineering of the attack:
"that the WTC towers were brought down by pre-set demolition charges,
and that the Pentagon was not struck by a Boeing ."
He walks us through his rationale and even supplies his own theory:
that the Bush administration anticipated the attack and allowed it to proceed --
thinking it might only involve an attack on the Pentagon
similar in scale to the USS Cole bombing --
and then exploited it to launch their wars.
Here, the contrast becomes apparent
between Partridge's treatment of anomalies suggesting
Bush administration foreknowledge
(i.e., the behavior of the Secret Service at Booker Elementary
and surges in pre-attack put options on the targeted airlines)
and treatment of anomalies
suggesting insider engineering.
Notably, Partridge attempts to debunk only the latter type
and, in the case of the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks,
focuses on easily debunked claims
while overlooking undisputed facts and bodies of evidence
which don't fit his position.
One reason that Partridge's position is understandable --
limiting his speculations to scenarios short of ones
in which insiders orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center --
is that these are dark and difficult areas for anyone to fathom.
All Americans are being pressured to accept or deny
an increasingly dire, contradictory, and painful series of debacles
and general lawlessness under the Bush administration.
But fathom such recesses we must if we are to reclaim our future.
There is little hope of escaping the endless war as long as the
events on which it is predicated remain unexamined.
Because of the emotionally charged nature of the attack --
as shown by the tearful
We're not ready! outcry
to the premiere of United 93 almost five years on --
many would-be common-sense cognitions about the events
become distorted or denied entirely.
As with any traumatic event,
an individual's understanding of 9/11
typically progresses through stages;
an objective understanding is not easily attained through a weekend of study.
We pick up the analysis of 9/11 where Partridge left off.
What Hit the Pentagon
Partridge ridicules the Pentagon no-jetliner theory:
Hundreds of eyewitnesses on the George Washington Parkway
at morning rush-hour were either (a) victims of mass-hallucination,
or (b) taken aside and threatened or bribed to testify falsely
that they saw a commercial aircraft.
Immediately after the impact, squads of conspirators rushed to the scene
(including the inside of the burning Pentagon)
to plant body parts, personal effects, and bogus aircraft parts
(some, like the engines and landing gear weighing several hundred pounds).
Others dumped aviation fuel, to "falsely" suggest involvement of an airplane.
With just a few paragraphs
Partridge disposes of the case against the crash of Flight 77 at the Pentagon
by exposing its essential absurdities.
He does not address detailed claims of the no-Boeing theorists,
which are so numerous their debunking could amount to a full-time job.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the heavily promoted
Loose Change and In Plane Site films,
and Pentagon Strike Flash video
have given the no-jetliner theories legs
misleading presentation and reframing of evidence.
involves claims about the size of the impact hole in the Pentagon's facade.
Pre-collapse photographs clearly show that the facade was punctured
for a width of 18 feet on the second floor,
but more than 96 feet on the first floor.
Yet no-jetliner promoters, such as
David Von Kleist,
and James Fetzer
steadfastly insist that "the hole" was only 18 feet in width.
Each supports this claim through the
selective presentation of photographs
in which fire suppression foam spray conceals the first-floor damage.
When, Where, How, and Why the Pentagon Was Hit
Partridge's focus on the sensational no-Boeing theory
makes it easy to miss his failure to address undisputed facts of the attack
that suggest planning by insiders.
First, the Pentagon was hit at 9:37 AM, 77 minutes
after the first flight showed all the signs of a hijacking.
The explanation advanced by the 9/11 Commission
for the failure to defend the US military's headquarters
lacks basic plausibility,
and is all the more astounding given that the Pentagon
is just 11 miles from Andrews Air Force Base,
with USAF and ANG fighter squadrons.
Second, the location of the attack -- the west side of Wedge One --
was sparsely occupied as it was nearing completion of its renovation program.
only Wedge One had been retrofitted
with blast-resistant walls.
Third, the attack involved an extreme aerobatic maneuver culminating
in a tree-top approach to impact the first floor --
a maneuver that might have been beyond the skill of any human pilot,
let alone that of alleged suicide pilot Hani Hanjour,
too incompetent to fly a single-engine Cessna.
multiple war games
were being conducted on 9/11/01,
some with scenarios mimicking elements of the actual attack.
The consequent deployment of interceptor jets to northern Canada
and confusion between exercises and the real attack
may help to explain the failure of the military to respond,
but was the scheduling of these exercises a mere coincidence?
That Partridge missed this compelling circumstantial evidence
of insider planning of the attack is not surprising
given the extent to which it has been eclipsed by the no-Boeing theory.
The Destruction of the World Trade Center
Partridge attacks much of the "evidence" presented by
"WTC conspiracy theorists,"
with a mixture of valid and flawed arguments.
In attacking the demolition theory,
Partridge makes four claims:
We examine each of these claims in turn.
Fallacious Arguments for Demolition
Partridge correctly flags as irrelevant
one of the more common arguments made for demolition:
that hydrocarbon-fueled open fires burn at temperatures
far below the melting points of structural steels.
This argument does not refute any of the collapse theories
endorsed by official reports, which blame fires for weakening,
not melting, steel.
The real question is whether the fires could have sufficiently
weakened steel to induce a collapse event. Partridge states:
The temperature sufficient to weaken steel by fifty-percent (1170°F)
was well within the range of the burning jet fuel and office supplies.
found only three perimeter columns
and two core column specimens that showed evidence of having reached
482°F -- a temperature at which steel retains 99% of its strength.
Furthermore, even if the combination of crash damage and fires could
cause structural failures in the Twin Towers,
one is left with the question of how any initial failure could have
led to the Towers' total, explosive collapse --
a question strategically avoided by NIST's investigation,
whose analysis stops at the moment each Tower was "poised for collapse."
The Missing Structural Steel
Although Partridge criticizes authorities for withholding
and destroying evidence,
he defends their treatment of structural steel
from the World Trade Center,
claiming that it was "examined by forensic engineers" on Staten Island.
However, the articles he cites mention forensic examination
of debris only for human body parts and personal effects.
Despite that effort,
more than 1,000 bodies were never identified.
Partridge doesn't mention that FEMA's collapse inquiry
relied on volunteer engineers,
and was funded with a paltry $600,000.
New York Daily News reported:
About 80% of the structural steel from the World Trade Center
was scrapped without being examined by even one fire expert,
mostly because investigators did not have the authority
to preserve the wreckage as evidence, the experts said.
Nor does FEMA's final Report inspire confidence in the thoroughness
of their forensic work.
According to Appendix D:
Collection and storage of steel members from the WTC site
was not part of the BPS Team efforts sponsored by FEMA
and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
SEAoNY offered to organize a volunteer team of SEAoNY engineers
to collect certain WTC steel pieces for future building performance studies.
How many steel pieces did they save for future studies?
According to the same Appendix,
Furthermore, their report was inconclusive about the cause of the collapses
and called for "further research, investigation, and analysis"
at a time after the vast majority of structural steel had been recycled.
Despite its limitations, the BPS disclosed in Appendix C of its Report
-- Limited Metallurgical Examination -- that:
The severe corrosion and subsequent erosion of Samples 1 and 2
are a very unusual event. No clear explanation for the source
of the sulfur has been identified. The rate of corrosion is also unknown.
The New York Times called the phenomenon, which
turned a solid steel girder into "Swiss cheese,"
"the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation".
The unanswered questions surrounding the corroded steel
were entirely ignored by NIST's subsequent investigation.
Evidence for Demolition
Partridge maintains that all claims,
whether for official or alternative theories,
rest on "weak" evidence:
For [the public],
the evidence is 2nd, 3rd, and Nth-hand hearsay.
The best evidence available to us, when relevant,
are photographic and video images, and even these are subject
to various interpretations.
While it is true that authorities
systematically destroyed and suppressed evidence,
creating space for vapid speculations that the plane crashes were faked,
the nature of the destruction of the Twin Towers
is documented by a mountain of surviving evidence, including:
Taken together, these bodies of evidence show the destruction
of each of the Twin Towers exhibited the following characteristics:
- Sudden onsets of the Towers' telescoping descents
- Sounds of loud explosions immediately beforehand
- Rapid descents, only slightly slower than free-fall
- Rows of horizontal jets of dust emerging from the facades
- Radial symmetry about Towers' vertical axes
- Total destruction, leaving virtually no large sections intact
- Rapid growth of exploding dust clouds to four times the Towers' diameters
- Hurling of heavy projectiles distances as much as 500 feet
- Thorough pulverization of most non-metallic materials to powder
- Observations of molten metal in the rubble up to six weeks afterward
None of these features has ever been observed
in any natural collapse of any structure.
The first six features are characteristic of
conventional controlled demolitions of skyscrapers.
The last four features indicate the involvement of much more
energy than is used in such demolitions.
In civil engineering, controlled demolitions are usually designed
to minimize disturbances to surroundings,
so they remove tall buildings by imploding them from the ground up,
minimizing the quantities of explosives required.
As part of deadly psychological operations,
demolitions would be designed for a very different set of objectives,
such as hiding resemblances to conventional demolitions,
supporting a contrived narrative of events,
and maximizing shock.
The differences between the Towers' explosions
and demolition implosions
should not prevent us from us from understanding that both
are necessarily engineered events.
No natural process could maintain the rapidity or symmetry
of the Towers' descents,
nor achieve the thoroughness of the destruction evident
in the Towers' remains.
Engineering the Demolitions
Partridge's most persuasive argument against demolition is
that the crashes of the jetliners would have wreaked havoc with
pre-positioned explosive charges in the Towers.
However, if numerous small charges were positioned around the crash zones,
the detonation of some by the crashes would easily have been disguised
by the massive jet fuel fireballs.
Furthermore, charges could have been encased in protective packages
designed to withstand extreme accelerations and sustained exposure
to high temperatures,
similar to the
casings that protect aircrafts' black boxes.
Although Partridge has shown courage to expose absurdities
of the official version of events on 9/11/01, he does not
equally acknowledge the numerous
strong arguments for the intentional demolition of the WTC Towers,
and minimizes the evidence supporting those arguments as
"2nd, 3rd, and Nth-hand hearsay."
In fact, however, the vast public collection of
and scientific reports
form a body of first-hand evidence
of unprecedented redundancy and verifiability.
It's easy to understand reluctance to confront
the case for demolition.
It implies that,
not only were the gates held open
for attackers to kill unwitting American innocents,
but that the spectacular grand finale
was conceived and engineered long in advance.
Controlling the entire event would maximize and guarantee
a necessary propaganda outcome for war.
One need only ask: when have the most powerful politicians
and billionaires chosen a strategy of 'wait and see'
where their fortunes and futures are concerned?
Examined logically, the idea that those with the power to wage war
on the world or stand down the US military on 9/11
would let a handful of Arab patsies determine the ultimate fate
of attacks on the 'homeland' --
i.e., perhaps hitting a nuclear plant or missing their targets altogether --
is far more difficult to imagine than creating and controlling
a raw shock-and-awe display of power which could then be blamed on others.
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