Saturday, February 02, 2008

Official Conspiracy Theorists Suckered a Gullible Michael Shermer

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Skeptic Michael Shermer has fallen for the most outlandish conspiracy theory of them all: the official conspiracy theory for which there is not a shred of evidence.

Shermer has bought into an official lie. Fallaciously, Shermer simply discounts as untrue anything that contradicts his pre-conceived notion, an elementary breach of logic. Shermer should know better. If he knows better and persists in spite of it, he is dishonest.

Jean-Paul Sartre termed this behavior -- "bad faith". Bertolt Brecht was more blunt: "A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook!" Shermer, which one are you?

Shermer's recent attempt to "debunk the 911" truth movement is flawed at the outset. His very headline on the Huffington Post is an ad hominem --the 911 movement, he says, are "liars". The bulk of his article is a strawman. Shermer chooses to zero in on Alex Jones, hardly the founder and most certainly not the "leader" of what is, in fact, a world-wide grassroots movement, a fact that must be terribly inconvenient for top-down, authoritarians who insist upon attacking a symbol or a figure-head. The pursuit of pure truth has no need of either. Shermer, I suspect, wanted an easy target, a fuhrer and finding none settled for a strawman.

Why Jones? Many folk dislike Jones and/or his style. Would Shermer have chosen Jones in order to inject personality and emotion into an issue that is difficult enough to discuss rationally? Certainly --Shermer's tactic does not illuminate but obscures with personality and emotion. Until the events of 911 are discussed critically and dispassionately, there is little hope that the truth about this crime against the American people will ever be attained. If I wished to demagogue an issue, I might be tempted to choose the most visible, the easiest target. I had hoped Shermer would not have taken this low road.

If I wished to advance a fallacious argument, I might wish to choose someone upon which I might pin a strawman. Is this what Shermer has done? I leave that to you. If I were going to "debunk" a bogus campaign of pure propaganda, I would certainly not choose an easy target, as Shermer has done.

The official theory is a fire theory. If the "fires" did not bring about the collapse, then the official theory is bunkum! I challenge Michael Shermer to cite a single case in which fire has been determined decisively, authoritatively to have been the cause of the collapse of a large steel-frame building. Cite it! There are no such cases --until 911 that is. Cite it, Michael, or shut up!

As David Ray Griffin accurately pointed out: Steel does not even begin to melt until it reaches almost 2800° Fahrenheit. Nor did the towers collapse because the fire had weakened the steel because the fires could not have burned long enough or hot enough for even that to have happened.

I have covered many fires in my day. A fire is considered spent when the smoke turns black. On 911 --the jet fuel, as to be expected, burned up quickly in enormous fireballs, coughing up black smoke very quickly. Any firefighter, any one who has 'covered' a fire, knows that black smoke indicates a 'spent' fire, a relatively 'cool' or cooling fire.

/p>The 911 fires --like all fires --cooled rapidly as the fuel was consumed rapidly. That was the case on 911. The fires cooled as fuel is spent. most certainly did not and could not have burned hot enough or long enough to have melted or weakened the steel! It is highly doubtful that even aluminum ( melting point 1220.666 °F)) would have utterly melted under 911 conditions and even if it had, it would not have affected the core known to have been made of steel --not aluminum. The very existence of the core was omitted from officialdom's earliest versions, namely, the idiotic 'pancaking' theory.

Shermer thinks melted (molten) alumininum had been mistaken for molten steel. So what? Even if melted aluminum had been found, it does not explain the utter collapse of a steel core. It does not explain why steel --in fact --melted!

Additionally --if the steel core did not melt the towers would not have collapsed? Kerosene fires are about a thousand degrees too cool to melt steel. How, then, does Shermer account for the fact that a dense, steel core melted and collapse on 911!

Shermer needs to get a clue: kerosene will not melt steel and did not melt steel on 911! Neither Muslims nor the NIST have changed the laws of physics. Shermer's reference to aluminum is utterly irrelevant!

The implication that molten aluminum had been mistaken for aluminum is baseless and begs the question. It's a cover story proposed ex post facto as a result of 911 movement criticism, an attempt to paper over the glaring inadequacies of the official conspiracy theory. Additionally, it is put forward disingenuously by those who understand that the mere presence of molten steel, by itself, utterly discredits Bush's official conspiracy theory of 911.

In a nutshell: the towers collapsed because both core and frame-work melted. Secondly, both core and frame were made of steel. Third, kerosene fires caused by the airliner crash were about a thousand degrees too cool to have melted steel. Fourth: both kerosene fires began to cool almost immediately as evidenced by the fact that the smoke turned black within minutes if not seconds of impact.

Conclusion: the airliners DID NOT cause the collapses of the towers. If the airliners were not the cause, what was?

I submit that the falls looked like 'controlled demolitions' because they were controlled demolitions.

Lesser known "debunkers" than Shermer have claimed that emergency responders mistook molten aluminum for steel. There is simply no compelling reason, and certainly no evidence to suspect that that is the case. See the papers by Professor Steven Jones that I have cited in this post. The truth of all this might have been known if only there had been an investigation. Only a tiny portion of the steel columns were available for scrutiny; government officials --most certainly under orders from the Bush administration --ordered the steel sold and shipped off to China, as I recall. The willful concealment or destruction of evidence from a crime scene is a felony!

"We start with the fact that large quantities of molten steel were observed in basement areas under rubble piles in all three building: the Twin Towers and WTC7. ...The photographs ...by Frank Silecchia show chunks of the hotel metal being removed from the North Tower on September 27, 2001 (according to the photographer's aid). Notice the color of the lower portion of the extracted metal --this tells us much about the temperature of the metal and provides important clues regarding its composition, as we shall see." ..."On the basis of photographic and video evidence as well as related data and analyses, I have provide thirteen reasons for rejecting the official hypothesis, according to which fire and impact damage caused the collapse of the Twin Tower and WTC7, in favor of the controlled-demolition hypothesis. The goal of this paper is to promote further scrutiny of the official government-sponsored reports as well as serious investigation of the controlled-demotion hypothesis. (No rebuttal of my arguments for an in-depth investigation can be complete, of course, unless it addresses all of these points.)"

--Dr, Steven E. Jones, Physicist and Archeometrist. [Prof. Jones' peer-reviewed paper is available as a PDF file here.]

Shermer's "rebuttal" of Jones consists of quoting Jones and contradicting him. But Shermer never touches the science. Shermer's practiced fallacies are not confined to Jones. For those who believe that Building 7 fell due to controlled demolition, some of the most powerful “evidence” seemingly comes from WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein’s alleged “confession” that he authorized the tower’s destruction. The quote in question comes from a September, 2002 PBS Special called America Rebuilds, in which Silverstein says:
    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, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.” And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.

    --Larry Silverstein, 911 Quotes [my link, LH]

To conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones at prisonplanet.com, this quote seems to be a “smoking gun” because they interpret the phrase “pull it” to be “industry jargon for taking a building down with explosives.”15 Silverstein seems to be saying that he and the firefighters decided to pull (destroy) Building 7, and watched it fall after authorizing the demolition. No building could be controllably demolished so quickly, the conspiracy theorists go onto argue, so WTC 7 must have been prepared for demolition long in advance.

On closer inspection, this supposedly devastating evidence does not seem to mean what the 9/11 Truth Movement thinks it means. There is far from unanimous industry agreement that the phrase “pull it” always signifies a controlled demolition with explosives — more specific phrases such as “pull away” would be used to designate the specific operation to be performed.16 And of course, “pull” has many common language uses quite separate from demolition lingo. But if Silverstein wasn’t describing a decision to destroy WTC 7, what could the words “pull it” mean?

--Michael Shermer

If I may address this reply to Shermer: well, Michael, apply Occam's Razor. Did it ever occur to you that that is, in fact, precisely what Silverstein meant? The term 'pull' is, in fact, industry jargon for"controlled demolition".

I submit that the word "pull" means precisely what it means to those who "pull" buildings for a living and I would suggest that Shermer conduct some field research to include interviews of people who make a living doing this kind of thing. Shermer posits that the word "pull" was used to mean "pull out" as in "pulling out the firefighters" still at work on Building 7. That is an illogical and unnecessary complication of a simple, straight forward explanation to be found in the very meaning of the word "pull" as it is, in fact, used by experts. Besides --why would firefighters have pulled out? What was the sudden urgency? The 'Twin Towers' had already collapsed and the fires in Building 7 were certainly insignificant by comparison if not already under control. There was simply no compelling reason to conclude anything other than Silverstein authorized the "controlled demolition" of the building, ordering it pulled just as he had said he did.
"I remember getting a call from the Fire Department commander, telling me they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, you know, 'We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is just pull it.' And they made that decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse."

--Larry Silverstein, 911 Quotes

If Silverstein had been referring to the "firefighters" themselves, he might have said "pull them" or "pull them out! But he didn't! He said "pull it" and, in the jargon of the trade "it" was Building 7. Since when do even callous people begin referring to other people (plural) as "it"? Not even Silverstein would have done that! People are a "them". A building is an "it"!

According to Debunking911, Silverstein's spokesperson, Mr. McQuillan, later clarified:
"In the afternoon of September 11, Mr. Silverstein spoke to the Fire Department Commander on site at Seven World Trade Center. The Commander told Mr. Silverstein that there were several firefighters in the building working to contain the fires. Mr. Silverstein expressed his view that the most important thing was to protect the safety of those firefighters, including, if necessary, to have them withdraw from the building."
Compare the "clarification" with Silverstin's actual words! The "clarification" hardly supports either the Debunking site or Shermer. It is the work of a PR flack. In other respects, Shermer's argument in this respect is not really Shermer's. It belongs to 911 Research.net, what Shermer would fallaciously "label" a conspiracy site, who plays a better "devil's advocate" than Shermer plays the devil himself. In other words, Michael, we've heard all your stuff before and are even less than impressed with it now.
However, there are several problems with this explanation.

  • According to Chapter 5 of FEMA's Building Performance Study , firefighters were never in the building: "Preliminary indications were that, due to lack of water, no manual firefighting actions were taken by FDNY."
  • Silverstein's statement implies a close temporal proximity between "that decision to pull" and "watch[ing] the building collapse," giving no time for the fires to become more severe and do what fires have never before done: cause the total collapse of a steel-frame high-rise.
Of course there are even greater problems with the implication that Silverstein
and the FDNY decided to demolish the building only after the attack on the Twin
Towers.
  • Rigging a building for controlled demolition normally takes weeks of preparation -- far longer than the at most a few hours between the determination that "they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire," and the 5:20 PM collapse of the building.

  • The building had several areas of fire -- hardly conditions under which a demolitions team could be expected to lay high explosives.
However, if we imagine that the "decision to pull" had been made before 9/11/01, Silverstein's comment makes more sense as an admission that there had been a deliberate decision to demolish the building.

--911 Research

Shermer's conclusion sounds remarkably similar:
There’s also the problem that, as even the 9/11 Truth Movement admits, prepping a building for demolition takes considerable time and effort. Usually a building targeted for demolition has been abandoned for considerable time and partially gutted to allow explosives intimate contact with the structure of the building. But since all of the WTC buildings were occupied right up to 9/11, how did the government gain access to wire 3 towers for complete demolition without anyone noticing? Imagine trying to sneak wires and bombs into buildings while thousands of people are working in offices, riding the elevators and milling about in the halls — that scenario is unlikely in the extreme.
The fact is: someone did do the "wiring" and getting in and out was not a problem. There numerous witnesses to the comings and goings. Had this crime been investigated all that testimony might have made its way into an official record. But --not! Bush has covered this crime up! Unless, of course, you subscribe to the "theory" that concrete-coated steel girders can be melted in minutes with cool burning kerosene fires! Absurd!

If one wishes to be logical, one simply must be prepared to follow facts to logical conclusions --even if you don't like the consequences, even if the conclusions run counter to your prejudices and pre-conceived notions. No one wanted to believe what the evidence points to. No one wanted to accept the logical consequences of the facts, the multitudinous Bush lies, the laws of physics.

The Twin Towers were largely "un-occupied" at the time of the attacks. Access prior to the attacks was not the problem. Entire floors were unoccupied and were the "site" of extensive and even "mysterious" renovations. A recently published chart proves that the offending airliners seemed to "target" precisely those floors where "renovations" were known to have been going on in the months preceding 911.
NIST report NCSTAR1-6A, page xxxvii (Via 911 Blogger): in WTC 1, floors 92 through 100 and 102 were upgraded; and in WTC 2, floors 77, 78, 88, 89, 92, 96 and 97 were upgraded. [See: Chart I, Chari II, Chart III, ] a number of the floors affected by the fires on September 11, 2001. Specifically, In the years between 1995 and 2001, thermal protection was upgraded in These renovations covered the almost exact same floors as where the "planes" hit-- particularly they spanned the "plane-hit" floors perfectly for WTC1 (94-98), and covered the lowest floor of the "plane-hit" floors (78-84) for WTC2.

Simply put, this is too much of a coincidence to be mere chance: that the same regions of both towers where the demolition started following the "plane hits" were the same regions that were recently "upgraded".

Renovations would have been perfect times to plant explosives and other devices that could mimic plane hits and subsequent fires. [See: Chart I, Chart II, Chart III]

At 610 feet, 47 stories, Building 7 would have been the tallest building in 33 states. It was not hit by an airplane and there is absolutely no mention of it in the report of the 911 Commission, lately disowned by the committe co-chairs. Watch the collapse video here. Six years on, our government has not seen fit to publish a complete explanation of its fall.

Conan Doyle's creation, Sherlock Holmes, said:
"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -Sherlock Holmes.
When the "official conspiracy theory" is, thus, eliminated, that leaves the only logical and scientific explanation that makes sense and explains the observable facts consistent with the laws of science and logic.

It is interesting to note that Bush himself may have given the game away, implying that the airliner fires alone did not bring down the towers.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed described the design of planned attacks of buildings inside the U.S. and how operatives were directed to carry them out. That is valuable information for those of us who have the responsibility to protect the American people. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a high -- a point that was high enough to prevent people trapped above from escaping.

--Bush, Press Conference of the President, The Rose Garden, September 2006

Conspiracy theorists say World Trade Center 7 is the best proof for controlled demolition because it wasn't hit by airliners and only had a few fires. They also claim that there was a confession from the building owner who said he "pulled" it. But this is deceptive because while building 7 wasn't hit by an airliner, it was hit by the large perimeter columns of the Tower collapse. It was 400 ft away but the towers were more than 1300 ft tall. As the tower peeled open, it easily tilted over to reach building 7. Below is evidence showing that conspiracy theorists are wrong.

--Debunking911

Check the bolded part. The bolded assertion is ludicrous and would be hilarious if the event had not been so tragic. That is not what happened. The towers did not tip over onto Building 7. Worth repeating: the towers did not tip over onto Buliding 7.

Nor did they "peel open". Who comes up with this stuff? What cold blooded liar is paid to put this utter shit into print?

Any cursory examination of any video of the Twin Towers collapse disproves it; you don't have to take my word for it. Just open your eyes. Certainly, the damage done by debris from the Twin Towers was relatively minor; it would not have necessitated that the building be pulled, nor would it have caused its collapse. Statements by "Debunking911" are evidence striking writers are moonlighting.

bombing of the Murrah building in OK City. Both buildings were constructed using the same bridge beam system that, in WTC 7's case, allegedly contributed to its demise. But more importantly WTC 7, like the Murrah building, housed high-level government offices including the FBI, CIA and the Secret Service. WTC 7 was also the storage facility for millions of files pertaining to active cases involving international drug dealing, organized crime, terrorism and money laundering.

There's also disturbing correlations between the collapse of WTC 7 and the Murrah Bldg

--Owner of WTC admits explosives were used!

Method and opportunity can be demonstrated. But what of motive? Why would Silverstein want to blow up his own buildings?
Six months before the attacks on the World Trade Center, the World Trade Center was "privatized" by being leased to a private sector developer. The lease was purchased by the Silverstein Group for $3.2 billion 6 weeks before 911. But the World Trade Towers were not the real estate prize the Silverstein Group might have been led to believe. The towers required some $200 million in renovations and improvements, most of which related to removal and replacement of building materials declared to be health hazards in the years since the towers were built. Other New York developers had been driven into bankruptcy by the costly mandated renovations, and $200 million represented an entire year's worth of revenues from the World Trade Towers.

The attacks on 9/11 changed the picture. Instead of renovation, Silverstein is rebuilding, funded by the insurance coverage on the property which 'fortuitously' covered acts of terrorism. Even better, Silverstein filed TWO insurance claims for the maximum amount of the policy, based on the two, in Silverstein's view, separate attacks. The total potential payout is $7.1 billion, more than enough to build a fabulous new complex and leave a hefty profit for the Silverstein Group, including Larry Silverstein himself.

As reported in The Washington Post, the insurance company, Swiss Re, has gone to court to argue that the 9/11 disaster was only one attack, not two and that therefore the insurance payout should be limited to $3.55 billion, still enough to rebuild the complex. The destruction of the World Trade Towers may make Silverstein one of the wealthiest men alive.

Giuliani Was Warned About The Demolitions

Before either of the Twin Towers had collapsed, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his associates were told to leave the headquarters that they had set up within Building 7.

" We were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse," Rudolph Giuliani told Peter Jennings of ABC News that morning, "and it did collapse before we could get out of the building."

Mind you, no steel building had ever collapsed because of a fire in the world's
history. So, how did they know that the Twin Towers were going to collapse if
it was such an unprecedented occurrence?

--Portland Indymedia

Much is said about the how the towers collapsed, or more properly, were collapsed. Most violate Occam's Razor with unnecessary complications, rationalizations after the fact. There is no reason to come up with crazy explanations about how they might look like controlled demolitions but are not really. Simply: the collapse of the Twin Towers looked like controlled demolitions because they were controlled demotions.
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.

--The Bigger They Come, the Harder They Fall

At last, some straight talk about "controlled demolitions", the only process which can explain what was witnessed and what happened on 911.
You can demolish a stone wall with a sledgehammer, and it's fairly easy to level a five-story building using excavators and wrecking balls. But when you need to bring down a massive structure, say a 20-story skyscraper, you have to haul out the big guns. Explosive demolition is the preferred method for safely and efficiently demolishing larger structures. When a building is surrounded by other buildings, it may be necessary to "implode" the building, that is, make it collapse down into its footprint.

--How Building Implosions Work

My conclusion: if airliners had merely crashed into the Twin Tower of the WTC that day, there would have been fires and loss of life. The fires would have burned out as rapidly as they, in fact, did that very day. In the absence of "help", that would have been the beginning and the end of it. The towers would not have fallen and there would have been no need to "pull" Building 7.

There would have been no need for the vast propaganda and strong-arm machine that this crooked administration marshaled to cover up its crimes that day and its criminal complicity in a cover up. The destruction of evidence in and of itself should have been sufficient to send this administration up the river on felony charges of obstruction of justice.

Power corrupts and absolute power has corrupted absolutely this most corrupt, the most evil administration that the United States, possibly the world, has ever seen.
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