Monday, August 29, 2011

My Top 10 Debunker Fails

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, and while people are beginning to reflect on the tragedy of the day and how, since then, the terrorists have clearly won, I thought I'd look back on ten amusing moments of patheticness from the world of duh-bunking.

10) Shyam Sunder squirms and debunks the NIST report

Let's start with the 'scientific' authority the debunkers hold in such high regard. The official explanations for the destruction of the three WTC skyscrapers were given to us by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For their investigation into the collapse of the twin towers, NIST denied key evidence of molten metal; and their theory is only plausible if you ignore the sudden onset of destruction, the missing jolt and the non-existence of the alleged 'pile driver' in the case WTC1, the symmetry of the collapse progression of WTC2 despite its initial asymmetry, and the fact that perimeter columns were launched sideways like cannonballs and speared into buildings like arrows. It may be hard to believe but their WTC7 report is even less scientific.

In August of 2008, NIST's draft of their final report was made public. Lead investigator Shyam Sunder gave a press conference and a technical briefing, and made a number of media appearances. In the press conference he confidently asserted that "the collapse of World Trade Center 7 was primarily due to fires". Two years prior, he had said that NIST "had trouble getting a handle on building No. 7", but now he was so confident in their findings that in the press briefing he said "The reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery" and that "the public should really recognize the science is really behind what we've said".

According to NIST's theory, fires on the north-east side of floor 12 heated the floor system of floor 13, causing thermal expansion of the beams. Unlike the Cardington tests, the One Meridian Plaza fire and - according to NIST - the twin towers, the heated floor beams in WTC7, instead of sagging, remained rigid and expanded linearly, resulting in the failure of a critical girder. The floor around column 79 then collapsed, initiating a catastrophic chain reaction that resulted in the entire building imploding. If you find that hard to swallow, you're not alone!

NIST's investigation according to Shyam Sunder:
We conducted our study with no preconceived notions about what happened. We gathered evidence, we analyzed that evidence, we constructed computer models grounded in physics and principles of science, and, using detailed data from every aspect of the building’s construction, detailed information on its contents, videos and photos of the event, and witness accounts, we drew conclusions and validated them against the video and photographic record.


We conducted the study without bias, without interference from anyone, and dedicated ourselves to the very best job we could. We have only one single-minded goal during this entire effort. We wanted to determine the probable sequence of events that led to the collapse of building 7 on 9/11, and then to share that information with the public in order to improve building codes, standards, and practices.
The reality:

Let's start with the "no preconceived notions" claim. The truth is, NIST did not really investigate anything other than fire-based theories. For their investigation into the twin towers, Catherine Fletcher of NIST claimed in a response to a request for correction from 9/11 truth experts and family members that NIST "found no corroborating evidence to suggest that explosives were used to bring down the buildings". She went on to say that "NIST did not conduct tests for explosive residue". It's pretty hard to find evidence for explosives when you don't look for it!

A 2008 article in the Hartford Advocate by reporter Jennifer Abel, contains the following humorous exchange:
Abel: What about that letter where NIST said it didn’t look for evidence of explosives?

Michael Neuman of NIST: Right, because there was no evidence of that.

Abel: But how can you know there’s no evidence if you don’t look for it first?

Neuman: If you’re looking for something that isn’t there, you’re wasting your time.
The same circular reasoning was employed in their WTC7 investigation. On page 330 of NCSTAR 1-9, NIST stated that "The challenge was to determine if a fire-induced floor system failure could occur in WTC 7 under an ordinary building contents fire". Why would that be the 'challenge'? Their 'challenge' was not to find out how WTC7 was destroyed, but if fire could initiate the catastrophic, house-of-cards chain reaction that they assume happened. Instead of following the evidence where it led, NIST started out with a story and the 'challenge' was to think of a way it could happen.

In the technical briefing when Shyam Sunder was asked by both Steven Jones and James Gourley if NIST tested for explosive or thermitic residues, his response was that NIST did not deem these hypotheses to be credible enough to warrant investigation. Essentially, they dismissed alternative theories by appealing to their own authority.

Saying you went into the investigation with no preconceived notions while at the same time admitting you dismissed any theory you deemed 'uncredible' is Orwellian doublethink at its most blatant.

NIST had no steel from WTC7 to study, so their final theory was entirely based on computer models. Computers are wonderful inventions don't get me wrong, but they have one fundamental flaw: garbage in, garbage out! Or, as some put it, 'garbage in, gospel out'!

It's quite amazing how much faith the mainstream scientific community puts in computers. Virtually the entire case for catastrophic man-made global warming, for example, is based on computer models. As a society we've been sort of conditioned to be more impressed with fancy computer simulations than real world data. But computer simulations are only valid if they are based on reality. Shyam Sunder claimed NIST's conclusions were "validated against the video and photographic record", but is that true?

The image above is a comparison between NIST's floor 12 fire progression simulation at 4:00PM and a video frame from the Vince Dementri footage, which NIST estimates was shot at about that time. As you can see, the fires in the north-east corner of floor twelve had burnt out by that time, yet NIST's simulation shows them raging.

NIST admitted on page 378 of NCSTAR 1-9 that "The observed fire activity gleaned from the photographs and videos was not a model input".

This is just one example of how NIST's simulations fail to accurately model reality. Their models at best can only tell us one what COULD have happened, but they don't tell us what actually DID happen. NIST's WTC7 investigation is a perfect example of 'garbage in, gospel out'.

Key forensic analysis of one of the few pieces of WTC7 steel that were saved was ignored by NIST, and in the technical briefing Shyam Sunder simply parroted Professor Sisson's and the BBC's whitewashing of it.

But NIST's biggest science fail was on the issue of freefall. For years, 9/11 truthers have pointed to near-freefall collapse time to make the case for controlled demolition. Debunkers typically counter this by arguing that if you include the east penthouse collapse, the total collapse time was about 14 seconds - much longer than freefall. NIST tried to deny freefall a different way. What they did was measure the time between the first visible motion of the west penthouse and the time that the building disappeared from view in the most well known video if its collapse. They say that time was about 5.4 seconds. A free fall time would have been 3.9 seconds.

Now this is debatable, because it seems for the first half a second of NIST's 5.4 seconds, nothing actually happens. But even if NIST's starting point is correct, the time doesn't really matter. Measuring a time of 5.4 seconds is only a refutation to claims of freefall if you assume that the acceleration was constant throughout those 5.4 seconds, which it wasn't. For the first 1.5 seconds of NIST's 5.4 seconds, there is movement, but only of the west penthouse and of the north-east corner of the outer structure. During this time, there is no downward acceleration at all really. The building doesn't properly drop until 1.5 seconds. Now we're back to 3.9 seconds - free fall time.

Shortly before the release of NIST's draft report, physicist David Chandler did what no one had done before; he actually measured the downward acceleration using motion tracking software. According to his measurement, for the first 2.25 seconds of the building's drop, it accelerated downward at 9.8 meters per second per second - free fall acceleration. This is what we've been saying all along is impossible.

Chandler confronted NIST on this during the technical briefing, and a revised analysis was done for their final report which corroborated Chandler's analysis. Below is NIST's velocity-time graph of WTC7's collapse...

"In Stage 2, the north face descended at gravitational acceleration ... This free fall drop continued for approximately 8 stories or 32.0 m (105 ft), the distance traveled between times t = 1.75 s and t = 4.0 s." ~ NIST NCSTAR 1-A

So why is a collapse at free fall acceleration impossible? Time for a quick physics lesson! The formula for gravitational potential energy is mass × gravity × height or:
P.E. = m g h
The formula for kinetic energy is ½ × mass × velocity² or:
K.E. = ½ m v²
When dealing with change in kinetic energy (of an object increasing in velocity), the formula is:
∆K.E. = ½ m v² - ½ m u²


∆K.E. = ½ m (v² - u²)
Where u is the initial velocity and v is the final velocity. Now, if you make the change in kinetic energy equal to the gravitational potential energy, you get...
∆K.E. = P.E.

½ m (v² - u²) = m g h

½ (v² - u²) = g h
Substituting in some equations of motion (v = u + a t, h = u t + ½ a t²) and doing some relatively simple but scary-looking algebra gives you ...
½ ((u + a t)² - u²) = g (u t + ½ a t²)

½ ( + 2 u a t + (a t)² - ) = g (u t + ½ a t²)

½ (2 u a t + a² t²) = g u t + ½ g a t²

u a t + ½ a² t² = g u t + ½ g a t²

a t (u + ½ a t) = g t (u + ½ a t)

a = g
In order words, an object that is accelerating at the rate of gravity is converting all of its gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. For those eight stories of freefall, all the energy of the falling section of WTC7 was converted into energy of motion, which means there was no energy left over to actually destroy the eight floors that it was falling through!

If the upper section was destroying those eight floors, some of its gravitational potential energy would be consumed, and therefore the change in kinetic energy would be less than the gravitational potential energy...
∆K.E. < P.E.

a < g
... and thus, the acceleration would be less than gravity.

According to slide 37 of NIST's technical briefing presentation, global collapse occurred because:
  • The exterior columns buckled at the lower floors (between floors 7 and 14) due to load redistribution to the exterior columns from the downward movement of the building core.
  • The entire building above the buckled-column region then moved downward in a single unit, as observed, completing the global collapse sequence.
Even if the exterior columns between floors 7 and 14 were weakened and buckled as depicted above, it would have still required energy to destroy those floors, so the upper section could not have freefell through them. It's that simple!

In Shyam Sunder's almost painful-to-watch response to David Chandler's question during the technical briefing, he acknowledged, while denying freefall occurred, that a fall of less than freefall is to be expected:
"And if you look at the analysis of the video, it shows that the time it takes for the roof line of the video to collapse down the 17 floors that you can actually see in the video - below which you can't see anything in the video - is about 3.9 seconds. What the analysis shows - the structural analysis shows, or the collapse analysis shows - is that same time that it took for the structural model to come down - from the roof line, all the way for those 17 floors to disappear - is 5.4 seconds. It's about 1.5 seconds, or roughly 40 percent, more time for that free fall to happen. And that is not at all unusual, because there was structural resistance that was provided in this particular case. And you had a sequence of structural failures that had to take place. Everything was not instantaneous."
All of this is fine except that freefall actually did occur, as NIST acknowledged in the final report. Shyam Sunder's own words in the technical briefing debunk NIST's final report!

It doesn't matter that the period of freefall was only 2.25 seconds out of a longer overall collapse time. Free fall acceleration at any moment is impossible. Also, known controlled demolitions only accelerate at freefall for the first couple of seconds of their drop too. In other words, WTC7's velocity-time 'fingerprint' is identical to the velocity-time 'fingerprint' of controlled demolition. That is why, when you compare WTC7 side-by-side with a known controlled demolition, they look identical. That fact alone should be enough to at least investigate the demolition hypothesis, but NIST refuse to do this. In NIST's 'investigation', they did not follow the scientific method.

9) Michael Shermer praises Popular Mechanics

I once suggested to a friend that we make a drinking game out of the 2007 History Channel 'documentary' The 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction - down a shot every time they use the term 'conspiracy theorist' or spout psychological BS. If we were to ever attempt such a thing, I think we'd be dead after about five minutes. As sickening as the distortions in the program were, it was such a shockingly blatant hitpiece I think it probably woke more people up - and for that reason I actually find it quite entertaining.

There are plenty of amusing moments in the program, like when James Meigs of Popular Mechanics called Loose Change "very compelling propaganda", but the most amusing moment came from Michael Shermer, founder of the seriously misnamed 'Skeptics Society'. At one point in the program, Shermer gave the ultimate praise to the Popular Mechanics article, calling it "just about one of the best things ever done in the history of skepticism". If Shermer really believes that, it doesn't say much for his brand of 'skepticism'.

The Popular Mechanics article is a Rosetta Stone in hitpiece propaganda. They cherry-picked a handful of some of the more easily refutable 'truther' claims - many which the 9/11 truth movement has long since abandoned - and presented them as if our views are based entirely on those claims - ignoring our much stronger arguments. They parroted the statements of various authorities, such as Shyam Sunder of NIST, who asserted speculation as fact. And, on the issue of aircraft intercepts, they made outright false assertions.

The article contains a number of misleading statements as well, such as:
More than 3000 books on 9/11 have been published; many of them reject the official consensus that hijackers associated with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda flew passenger planes into U.S. landmarks.
The truth is, most truthers accept that the hijackers, Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were most likely involved to some degree, but they were only pawns in a much larger chess game. And we certainly don't deny that planes were flown into U.S. landmarks! Statements like these create the false impression that 9/11 truthers don't just question the official story of 9/11, but flat out DENY 9/11.

In the 2006 Democracy Now! debate between Loose Change and Popular Mechanics, James Meigs compared the WTC7 demolition arguments to that of holocaust denial and creationism:
You know, this is a wonderful example of how conspiracy theories work. Any time there’s a little bit of doubt, a little bit of area where we don’t know everything, then the answer immediately is, 'well, someone must have blown it up'. It’s a form of argumentation that’s also used by creationists - if they can find one little gap in the evolutionary record, they say 'evolution’s a hoax' - or Holocaust deniers ... Holocaust denial works with very similar logic.
Basically, he is accusing WTC7 demolition theorists of employing the argument from ignorance, or the argument from incredulity. According to Meigs, the WTC7 demolition argument can be summarised as "the government hasn't adequately explained how this building collapsed naturally, therefore it must have been a controlled demolition". This is an oversimplified summation of our argument. Meigs is ignoring the positive case for demolition. A better summation of our argument would be "the government hasn't adequately explained how this building collapsed naturally, and the collapse exhibits none of the features of a natural collapse, but does exhibit all of the features of demolition, therefore the most likely explanation is controlled demolition".

Ironically, it is actually the controlled demolition critics who employ the argument from incredulity, when they make arguments like "it couldn't have been a controlled demolition because how would they rig it up without anyone noticing?". When debunkers make these types of arguments what they are basically saying is, "I can't imagine how they could demolish this building covertly, therefore I'm going to deny all the hard forensic evidence that proves this building was demolished covertly!". It is arguments like these that are comparable to those employed by holocaust deniers and creationists.

Skeptics are supposed to pride themselves on their ability to think critically and point out logical fallacies. The Popular Mechanics article was all straw man and appeal to authority, with the usual ad-hominem and emotional manipulation thrown in for good measure. If Michael Shermer was a consistent skeptic, and not just an establishment defender clinging to a worldview, this would be obvious to him.

8) The State Department links to an RKOwens4 production

In May of 2009, a month after the publication of the Active Thermitic Material ... paper, a new article appeared on the US State Department website, entitled The Top September 11 Conspiracy Theories.

The article is a rather typical debunking piece - full of ad-hominem attacks, straw man arguments and appeals to authority. What is especially interesting though is the fact that under the section devoted to controlled demolition, the article suggests readers watch the video 9/11 Debunked: Controlled Demolition Not Possible by YouTube debunker Ryan Owens.

I don't usually like accusing people of being shills, but even I couldn't resist speculating if this was the State Department outing one of their paid YouTube trolls! Whether "RKOwens4" is a paid troll or simply - as Jason Bermas put it - a "slithery, reptile-like being" with "no soul and cold blood", it certainly is odd that the State Department would claim some amateur Windows Movie Maker production on YouTube to be an authoritative analysis.

Ryan Owens is perhaps most notable for his confrontation with Jason Bermas in New York on the 7th anniversary of 9/11, when he accused Bermas of being a liar for claiming that FEMA reported temperatures of 2700 degrees at ground zero.

Here on this blog we've addressed his claims a number of times. Last year, blog contributor Adam Taylor wrote a detailed rebuttal to his videos.

For a good idea of the quality and style of Ryan Owens' work, let's look at his latest production, 9/11 Truth Movement R.I.P.

This was uploaded in June of this year. To make his case that the 9/11 truth movement has died, Owens uses footage shot two years and nine months prior, on the 7th anniversary of 9/11, and makes equally old claims.

But it is the ad-hominem and silliness that really illustrates my point - the sound effects, the silly music, the random remarks like "... but were orchestrated by the same guy who faked the moon landings, killed JFK, and impregnated your girlfriend behind your back".

Ryan Owens is a troll, nothing more. The only thing more pathetic than his videos is the fact that the State Department suggests people watch them!

7) BBC's Delessio Fail

The BBC WTC7 program that aired on July 6th, 2008, was full of fails. In their reenactment of Barry Jennings' experiences they had him running down the stairs as the south tower was collapsing, and for some reason he was still on the stairs half an hour later when the north tower collapsed! 30 minutes to make his way down 17 floors?! While running and "jumping landings"?! WTC7's stairwells must have been like some Escher painting!

When Mark Loizeoux was asked about the thermite, he basically said that a series of well-placed, accurately-timed, 4500 degree thermite reactions couldn't possibly melt all the columns at the same time and bring the building down in a symmetrical fashion, yet he believes ordinary 1400 degree office fires that moved around every half an hour or so could bring down the building in a symmetrical fashion! Why he even still has a career now is anyone's guess. After all, now that we know you can demolish a building simply by lighting a few fires, his industry is pretty much redundant!

And twice in the program the narrator casually acknowledges that most of the steel from WTC7 had been melted down and that NIST had nothing physical to go on - as if that fact is no big deal! You know, it was only the third worst and most suspicious structural failure in history! And it's not as if they were in a hurry to remove the debris. After all, no one was (supposedly) buried under there!

But the biggest fail of all came when they discussed the iron-rich microspheres. They mentioned that one of Steven Jones' samples was collected within twenty minutes of the collapse of the north tower - and they even interviewed Frank Delessio, who collected the sample - yet not even a minute and a half later, they suggested that the iron spheres could have come from the cutting torches used at ground zero!

They also suggest that the iron spheres could have formed during the construction of the towers. This seems to be the debunkers argument of choice now. Chris Mohr, in his 'respectful rebuttal' to Richard Gage, has claimed that the presence of iron microspheres could be due to either the welding of the steel when the towers were built, or from fly ash in the concrete.

The RJ Lee report contradicts this claim, stating:
Combustion-related products are significant WTC Dust Markers, particularly if seen in combination. However, it is worth noting that fly ash and partially combusted products can occur in trace concentrations in ordinary building dusts, but not in the concentrations observed in WTC Dust.
The reason the iron microspheres and other 'combustion-related products' were used by RJ Lee as 'markers' for WTC dust is because they were so prevalent in the WTC dust compared to dust from other buildings. The RJ Lee report claimed this was to be expected due to the fires in the towers, that's where we disagree.

Steven Jones also said in an email exchange with Frank Greening that he tested the concrete for iron microspheres, and found none ...
PS -- some time ago, we crushed a concrete sample obtained from the WTC rubble, used magnetic concentration, and looked for iron-rich spheres. There were NONE found.
So that rules out the fly ash theory. As well as finding iron-rich spheres, USGS also found a molybdenum-rich spherule. The melting point of molybdenum is 4500 F - there is no way ordinary fires can reach such extreme temperatures - and there is no reason for molybdenum to have been present in the towers anyway. Molybdenum trioxide can be used in thermite instead of iron oxide, and when this type of thermite is ignited, molybdenum spherules like the one found by USGS are produced.

Interestingly, USGS did not include this data in their report. It had to be obtained via an FOIA. Not only that but according to Steven Jones, when they received the FOIA data, the spectra was encrypted! James Gourley had to take it to Iowa State University to decrypt it.

Finally, the strongest argument against the 'nothing to see here' explanations for the iron microspheres is the fact that they are identical in composition to the iron microspheres produced during ignition of the red-grey chips (see figures 25 and 28 in the Active Thermitic Material ... paper).

In the October 26, 2008 updated version of the BBC WTC7 piece, which featured Michael Hess and discussed the 'findings' of NIST's draft report, including the claim that WTC7 didn't actually fall at freefall, all mention of Frank Delessio's dust sample had curiously been cut out. The claim that the iron microspheres could have formed at ground zero, however, had not. It seems the BBC propagandists realised their mistake!

6) The Skeptic's Guide to the 9/11 Denialism

I'm no fan of so-called 'skeptics', and the above video is a perfect example as to why. Several times a year, these pseudo-intellectual, metaphysical materialist 'science' bloggers meet up at conferences such as James Randi's 'Amaz!ng Meetings' to spew the most arrogant and condescending elitist vitriol about 'conspiracy theorists', paranormal investigators and anyone who in any way questions the group-think and peer-pressure tainted scientific and medical establishments - whether they be vaccine or GMO safety skeptics, global warming 'deniers' or Darwinism heretics.

Imagine if this was Nazi Germany. The skeptics would most likely be defending the 'well-established scientific consensus' of eugenics and 'race science', and accusing anyone who challenged it of being 'anti-science' or a 'denialist'. It's interesting that many prominent skeptics are former magicians. I can't help but wonder, are these 'critical thinkers' really exposing illusions? Or creating them?!

While they claim to pride themselves on detecting logical fallacies, you'll often find it is they who are the ones making fallacious arguments. Common fallacies / mental gymnastics employed by 'skeptics' include:
  • Straw man
  • Ad-hominem
  • Arguments from incredulity
  • Circular reasoning
  • Selective skepticism
  • Appeals to authority
  • Vague assertions of a 'consensus' or 'overwhelming evidence'
  • Black-and-white thinking / False dichotomy
  • Semantic sleight-of-hand / Equivocation
  • Moving the goalpost
  • Guilt by association
  • Psychological projection
  • More ad-hominem!
And just about all of these can be observed in the clip above. At the 2009 NECSS, Steven Novella, Evan Bernstein and Rebecca Watson of NESS and JREF's The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast engaged in a shockingly uninformed attack on 9/11 Truth.

A few days prior, Prison Planet had published a script written by a pre-'tiger blood' Charlie Sheen of a fictional meeting between him and President Obama, entitled Twenty Minutes with the President. In the article and an accompanying video, Sheen highlighted several unanswered questions surrounding the events of 9/11.

Virtually none of Sheen's questions were addressed by the SGU panel. Instead they simply dismissed it as a rehash of "the same-old thoroughly debunked points" (vague assertion), referenced the Popular Mechanics article and accused us of ignoring the "facts of science" (another vague assertion), while of course taking pot-shots against Sheen.

"He's obviously a structural engineer", one of the other panellists sarcastically jibed - as if it's Charlie Sheen saying all this. They forgot to mention that at the time there were over 800 members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth. It's interesting how they brought up the Popular Mechanics article when discussing WTC7, since Popular Mechanics' explanation for WTC7's collapse was refuted by NIST itself in their final report, which was published a year prior to NECSS 2009. The "facts of science" the SGU panel were referring to were not just false, they were outdated!

The only point they really did address was the point about the 9/11 Commissioners themselves doubting the conclusions of the report. Their response was, not surprisingly, a straw man!

Our argument according to them is "9/11 Commissioners doubt the official story, therefore: inside job!", and Steven Novella then explained why such an argument is flawed. I agree with Dr Novella. The problem is, that's not what we're saying! We've never said the 9/11 Commissioners believe it was an inside job. We are simply pointing out that the 9/11 Commissioners themselves lack confidence in their own report. It's a sort of counter-argument against people who say that 9/11 was thoroughly investigated and that we know all there is to know about it. By accusing us of twisting the 9/11 Commissioner's words, Dr Novella is in fact twisting our words.

What's really annoying about the "they were probably just covering up incompetence" chestnut is, even if they're right ... so what? Are you saying criminal cover-ups are okay if it's only incompetence that's being covered up? What they're essentially saying is, "rest assured truthers, there's no need to be concerned about this massive cover-up at the highest levels, because they're probably only covering up incompetence!". How is that in any way rational?!

Then again, we are talking about the man who whitewashed the Desiree Jennings case. I guess if a woman gets diagnosed by two different hospitals as having a neurological disease, most likely from toxins in a flu vaccine, and you're arrogant enough to believe, with only video footage to go on, that those doctors who physically examined her - and treated her - are wrong and that it's actually just all in her head, rationality isn't really your strong suite!

After their attacks on Sheen, Novella and the 'skepchick' then discussed the question Rebecca and MythBusters' Adam Savage were asked by Debunking the Debunkers contributor Stewart Bradley a week earlier at another skeptic convention regarding the nanothermite.

They claimed that we didn't actually find nanothermite, but a bi-product of nanothermite that's also found in melted computers. Stewart wrote to Dr Novella and it turned out Novella was referring to the chemical 1,3-diphenylpropane that Jones, Ryan and Gourley referred to in an earlier paper. Novella was addressing the wrong paper. When Stewart sent Novella a link to the actual nanothermite paper, Novella's response was to simply link to a blog post full of classic thermite denialist arguments that we've addressed ad-nauseum on this very blog.

This is the one of main things that annoy me about 'skeptics'. They always like to make themselves appear intellectually superior to their opponents by claiming that their views are supported by peer-reviewed science, while their opponents don't publish peer-reviewed science and make their claims only on blogs. They often demonize blogs and frame the debates as a bunch of idiots on the internet going up against a vast amount of authoritative, peer-reviewed literature. Yet when their opponents do publish peer-reviewed papers, and they attempt to debunk them, suddenly the roles reverse. The 'skeptics' are now the random bloggers on the internet going up against peer-reviewed science. But apparently it's okay when they do it! It seems critiquing peer-reviewed science on blogs is okay, as long as you side with them. If you don't, you're an idiotic, anti-science denialist! The hypocrisy is astounding.

After Novella 'debunked' the wrong paper, Rebecca then asserted that "there's been no new evidence in eight years", and told 9/11 truthers to "go away!". As disturbing as is to see such ignorance and dismissiveness from people who claim to be champions of reason and critical thinking, what's more disturbing is how their audience laughs and buys into the illusion.

More on 'skeptics' and their mantras:

BBC Attack Piece Promotes Cottage Industry Of Debunkers
When True Sceptics Fight Back
How Pseudoskeptics hijack "Skepticism" to mean its opposite: Disinformation, Mind Control and Suppression
Skeptical about the skeptics: The Health Ranger answers the skeptics on natural medicine
What 'skeptics' really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe

'Skeptics' article stirs up condemnation from skeptics, praise from holistic thinkers
The downfall of science and the rise of intellectual tyranny
Circular Rationalism
Skeptic Denialism blog
A Peer-Reviewed Deception

5) Charlie Veitch unsees reality

The common internet saying "What has been seen, cannot be unseen" has been challenged by Charlie Veitch of The Love Police, who appears to have proven that it is in fact possible to unsee reality. While Charlie never considered himself a 9/11 truth activist, he spoke about 9/11 being a false flag a number of times (see here, here, here, here ...). On the 10th of June, he stated passionately that, thanks to the work of Richard Gage, he fully believed after seeing the scientific evidence that 9/11 was a false-flag attack. Then a mere 19 days later he announced that he had completely changed his mind and has since become one of our biggest trolls since Troy Sexton.

Yes, it seems Mr Veitch has seen the light and come to terms with the obvious truth that nineteen debauchery-indulging Islamic fundamentalists with crash-proof, homing passports - who were financed by the Saudi government and Pakistani intelligence, given VISAs to enter the US, trained at US military bases and directed by an ex-CIA agent from a cave in Afghanistan - single-handedly hijacked four commercial airliners with box cutters and successfully crashed 75% of them into their intended targets all by themselves with only a devotion to Allah and a hatred of our freedoms guiding them. The first two planes were crashed into skyscrapers not much wider than the wingspan of the planes themselves at 500 miles per hour while banking, and the third was expertly piloted by a man who was incompetent in single-engine Cessna's, who pulled up out of 540 mile-per-hour dive, overcame high G-forces, knocked down five light poles and maintained the perfect trajectory required to crash into the first floor of a conveniently reinforced section of one of the most heavily defended buildings on Earth, without touching the lawn. And despite considerable foreknowledge of the attacks, routine drills of this sort of thing and an eighty-minute time window, the most sophisticated air defense system in the world was unable to even get close to intercepting any of these hijacked airliners. Then, for the first and only time in history, the two burning skyscrapers - that were hit high up and burned relatively modestly across only 5 out of 110 floors each for less than two hours - exploded volcanically and turned into smouldering, molten piles in seconds due to said fires. And hours later, in a third skyscraper damaged by some of the implausibly far-flung debris from the towers, non-existent fires on the twelfth floor caused a critical girder to fail, initiating a chain reaction that resulted in the entire building collapsing like a house of cards, neatly and symmetrically into its own footprint at the rate of freefall.

Of course, it's so obvious! How could we not see it before!

Charlie apparently changed his mind while taking part in a BBC documentary to be aired on the tenth anniversary. He visited the three attack sites and spoke to experts who showed him the light. Leaked video of Charlie having dinner with a BBC producer can be seen here! :D

But he did more than change his mind. What has understandably upset a lot of people is that he has been parroting typical debunker talking points about the movement itself, such as accusing the truth movement of being a cult of paranoid conspiracy theorists. In this interview, he argues that 9/11 truth research is little more than watching YouTube videos. In a way, I agree with this. Certainly your average '9/11 truther' does little more than watch online movies or YouTube clips, but that's not what the research of the movement itself is limited to. The scientists in the movement don't just watch movies, they do scientific experiments and forensic analyses and read the official reports. People like the folks over at Complete 9/11 Timeline don't just watch YouTube videos, they read tonnes of articles and documents and do an enormous amount of dot connecting. What Charlie is doing is using the typical misinformed truther to discredit the movement and the cause itself - a classic debunker tactic.

If Charlie is accusing the entire 9/11 truth movement of being a cult, then he is accusing his girlfriend (if they're still together) of being a cult member. Silkie Carlo of the Cambridge University truth movement was the organizer of Richard Gage's presentation there on June 18th. On July 3rd, she wrote:
I am extremely proud to report that we raised £501.17 for “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth” at Richard Gage’s presentation in Cambridge.

Thank you so much for your incredible support and donations. That money will help continue the flow of information from dedicated architects and engineers to the public to keep the debate about 9/11 alive.

I also met some really wonderful people at the talk. I hope we all stay in touch and help each other in our activism.

I’d like to clearly assert my position on the events of 9/11. There is much evidence to validate a new, fully independent investigation into the events of 9/11. I fully support an academic debate between opposing scientists, that deals (for example) with the discovery of nanothermite in the dust of the twin towers. I sincerely hope that truth and justice prevails and that the victims and their families can finally rest in peace.

Through extremely difficult personal experience, I have learned that those activists who rely on Youtube pop-research to form their opinions on 9/11 are whimsical and reckless with their ‘beliefs’ – and in turn, reckless with those who support them with their activism. My experiences have taught me some very valuable lessons though. Firstly, the academic approach is best; debate is invaluable. Secondly, that we should always have an open mind and dogma is to be avoided – that goes for sceptics and those who believe the official account verbatim.

I hope that everyone who wants answers to the inconsistencies of the official account of 9/11 stands up and gets active. As we approach the tenth anniversary, now is not the time for armchair activism. Do not lament that there are not sufficient 9/11 activists pulling you out of your seat. Do not lament that some of our leading activists are not reliable. Do not wait for others. Do not be hindered by infighting. Remember the bigger wider world out there and create the change you want to see.
Again, I agree with this. Unlike Charlie however, Silkie is still a truther. She acknowledges that considerable scientific evidence exists that supports our view. Charlie now denies such evidence exists.

I won't discuss Charlie's claims regarding the Pentagon, because I accept that what hit the Pentagon was most likely Flight 77, but it is worth addressing his claims regarding controlled demolition. Charlie's three main arguments are:
  1. WTC7's south face was 'scooped out' by falling debris from the north tower.
  2. WTC7 took over 14 seconds to collapse - much longer than a free fall time of six seconds.
  3. He was given a demonstration of nanothermite and it was ineffective at cutting through steel.
As I go into more detail here, his claims regarding WTC7 are outdated. The 'scooped out' claim was only hypothesized in NIST's June 2004 interim report but asserted as fact by Shyam Sundar in the Popular Mechanics article. Since there never really was any evidence supporting this claim, NIST changed their story for the final report.

The only structural damage incorporated into NIST's final model is shown in the graphic above. While it appears from the ABC NewsCopter 7 footage that there was also a thin vertical gauge from top to bottom, NIST only considered this 'possible structural damage' and did not incorporate it into their model. The actual amount of damage is not important anyway, as NIST's report claims that, "Other than initiating the fires in WTC 7, the damage from the debris from WTC 1 had little effect on initiating the collapse of WTC 7".

And as I already explained in number 10, the time for WTC7's collapse is not important - it is the measured acceleration that matters. Veitch dismisses the 2.25 seconds of free fall on the basis that it was only a small part of the overall collapse time. This is based to a poor understanding of why we are saying free fall is impossible.

As for the alleged ineffectiveness of thermite-based devices, this is a debunker claim we frequently have to deal with. MythBusters, Nat Geo and Van Romero have all supposedly demonstrated that thermite and painted super-thermite are ineffective at cutting through steel.

Despite claims to the contrary by debunkers, thermite has been used in demolition. In 1935 for example, Popular Mechanics reported on the demolition of a 628-foot tall steel tower that was done using thermite to melt the steel legs:
Skyride Tower Felled by Melting Steel Legs

Intense heat was employed by wrecking engineers in toppling the 3,000,000-pound east tower of the “Skyride,” a major attraction of Chicago's Century of Progress. Huge “overshoes” in the form of cupolas made of steel and lined with firebrick were constructed around two legs of the tower and filled with 1,500 pounds of thermite, a mixture of aluminum and iron oxide. When fired by electricity the thermite generated a temperature of more than 5,000 degrees about the two legs, melting the ten-foot sections almost instantly, causing the tower to tip and then to crash. A microphone attached to the tip of the tower broadcast the noise of the fall by radio, and the spectacle was viewed by a crowd estimated at more than 100,000. The west tower had been wrecked several weeks earlier with dynamite. The 628-foot twin towers, the cables which supported the cars passing between them and the elevators cost more than $1,750,000 to erect.
Granted, the tower toppled, but the thermite was only added to two of the legs. And the article did say those legs melted "almost instantly". While this example isn't really in any way comparable to the World Trade Center towers, it does refute assertions that thermite has never been used in demolition and can't melt a vertical steel beam.

With thermite, it all depends on how it is used. 9/11 truth 's very own MythBuster, Jonathan Cole, has demonstrated that thermate (thermite + sulphur), if used the right way, is effective at cutting through steel - refuting the claims of debunkers who cite the MythBusters and Nat Geo experiment as a refutation to our claims. And Kevin Ryan has recently demonstrated that what Van Romero tested was not actually nanothermite. I expect that the demonstration Charlie was given was just as deceptive.

But even if the debunkers are right, it still doesn't change the fact that nanothermite has been found in the WTC dust. Highly engineered, energetic nanotechnology developed in military laboratories is not something we would expect to find in an ordinary office building collapse! There is simply no way to reconcile this find with the official story. Regardless of its role in the destruction of the WTC towers, its very existence in the dust proves foul play. It's as simple as that!

About a year ago, Charlie commented on my Evidence video, calling it a "fantastic video". Charlie, I think you need to watch the first couple of minutes of it again! I know you don't consider watching YouTube videos research, but that's okay coz I sourced everything!

4) Pat Curley thinks censored testimony is no big deal

I occasionally get into arguments on Facebook with a couple of 'liberal' friends of mine who I went to school with. One time, one of them wrote something about a famous Christian attacking feminism and called that Christian an idiot. I then commented on his post that I actually kind of agreed with what the Christian was saying and I linked to a part of Alex Jones' interview with Aaron Russo in which Aaron revealed that the Rockefeller family funded things like Women's Liberation for sinister reasons. My point was that even the most apparently noble causes can have an evil agenda behind them. It's not that these causes are bad, it's just they get co-opted and turned into something bad. What followed was an impressive amount of hate directed my way by other Facebook friends of ours who support feminism. If any of those people happen to read this, and just in case you're thinking my skepticism of feminism was driven by some deep hatred of strong women or something, allow me to introduce you to Sibel Edmonds ...

... she's one of the strongest women I know of and I greatly admire her, so you couldn't be more wrong!

Anyway ... sorry about that! The next debunker fail involves Sibel ...

In August 2004, Sibel wrote an open letter to Thomas Kean, the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. In the letter, she wrote:
Over three years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes, 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States, 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing “302” forms, and the translator translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to ‘keep quiet’ regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General. The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004 stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (Please refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004).
So here we have evidence of 9/11 foreknowledge, negligence and a cover-up. Pat Curley of ScrewLooseChange, however, is cynical of her claims. In 2009, he wrote a blog post entitled My Problem With Sibel Edmonds. His problem was with her citation of the Chicago Tribune article. Most of specific details mentioned by Sibel were not explicitly mentioned in that article. Thus, Pat claims, "Sibel lied to the 9-11 Commission about the contents of the Chicago Tribune article".

This is a straw man argument though. Sibel didn't cite the article as proof of her claims. She simply stated that the press had reported on the incident. She went on to write:
Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to your investigators on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information (Please refer to the tape-recorded testimony provided to your investigators during a 2.5 hours testimony by Mr. Sarshar on February 12, 2004). I provided your investigators with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. (Please refer to tape-recorded 3.5 hours testimony by Sibel Edmonds, provided to your investigators on February 11, 2004). Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this issue (Please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report).
These citations are her proof. This is a perfect example of how debunkers twist things, and why I feel Mr Curley is deserving of the nickname, Strawman Pat!

In January of this year, the website Cryptome posted 9/11 Commission memorandums, including one of Sibel's interview with the commission and one of Mr Sarshar's interview.

As you can see, virtually all of Sibel's testimony, and most of what is under the heading "September 11th information" for Mr Sarshar's testimony has been classified. Isn't it interesting how the two pieces of testimony Sibel referenced in her letter were redacted!

A couple of weeks later, Sibel posted the testimony Mr Sarshar gave to several congressional investigations, including the Office of the Inspector General. The information she posted perfectly corroborates what she wrote in her letter to Thomas Kean:
They asked the guy to stop, asked him to repeat that again, and ordered me to take verbatim notes as I translated. They too took notes.

The informant continued:
‘According to my guys, Bin Laden’s group is planning a massive terrorist attack in the United States [1]. The order has been issued. They are targeting major cities, big metropolitan cities; they think four or five cities [1]; New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco; possibly Los Angeles or Las Vegas. They will use airplanes to carry out the attacks [2]. They said that some of the individuals involved in carrying this out are already in the United States [3]. They are here in the U.S.; living among us, and I believe some in US government already know about all of this (I assumed he meant the CIA or the White House).’
Tony, one of the agents asked ‘did they say when? Did they give any specific dates? Did they say how they were going to use airplanes; bombs or high jacking?’

The informant paused for a second:
‘No specific dates; not any that they were aware of. However, they said the general timeframe was characterized as ‘very soon.’ They think within the next two or three months.’ [4] He then added: ‘As far as how they are going to use the planes to attack; your guess is as good as mine. My bet, it will be bombs; planting bombs inside these planes, maybe the cargo, then have them blown up over the populated cities.’
The 9/11 Commission memorandum for Mr Sarshar's interview confirms that the commission had been provided the above information:
On Thursday, February 26, 2004, the Department of Justice Inspector General provided to the Commission a transcript of the 11/20/04 OIG interview of Mr. Sarshar (taken in connection with investigation relating to Sibel Edmond's allegations).
Pat Curley was again cynical of Sibel's revelations. His response was to again refer back to the Chicago Tribune article. His argument seems to be that because the 2004 article did not mention the five cities or tall buildings, the testimony is invalid. I personally will take raw testimony over a media report any day, but then again it's not my world view that's being challenged!

Pat ended his post by saying:
I would love to see Sarshar's testimony unredacted; based on what we already know there is no real good reason for keeping it secret. But I'm guessing that it bears little resemblance to the account at Sibel Edmonds' site.
As I said at the time ...
Pat is confident that if we were to ever see the unredacted testimony, it will bear no resemblance to what Sibel posted. Well, how about supporting the truth movement in a quest for a new investigation so we can maybe see it unredacted then?
Well does he? Do any debunkers? No. Of course not. After all, they're probably just redacting incompetence! ;)

3) Debunkers and skeptics passionately defend the Nazis

I mentioned earlier how Steven Novella whitewashed the Desiree Jennings case. Another 'skeptic' blogger who engages in even more vitriolic attacks on the so-called 'anti-vaccine' movement is David Gorski, a breast cancer surgeon who manages the blog Respectful Insolence under the alias 'Orac' - the second most popular blog on the ScienceBlogs network, second only to biologist PZ Myers' even more vitriolic blog Pharyngula. In May of 2007, ScrewLooseChange linked to a post of his in which he argued that the Reichstag fire was not a false-flag operation.

It cannot be denied that the Nazis used the Reichstag fire to consolidate power. This is well-established, uncontroversial history that is taught here in the UK in schools to GCSE students. What I don't think is taught, however, is that many historians suspect the Reichstag fire was a false-flag operation.

The truth about the Reichstag fire basically came out in the Nuremberg Trials. The following is an extract from the 1947 book, Final Judgement: The Story of Nuremburg:
Who started the fire? Dozens of persons were interrogated on this subject during the course of the trial, some in the secrecy of the interrogation rooms, others on the stand in the courtroom.

Cecilie Mueller, private secretary to the banker Schroeder, said that she was present at a meeting between Hitler and industrialists on January 3, 1933, at which "Goering and Papen plotted to burn the Reichstag in order to make possible the banning of the Communist party, which would be blamed for the fire... Schroeder and Keppler consented to the plan proposed by Papen".


Franz Halder, for a while Chief of Staff of the German Army, testified: "On the occasion of a luncheon on the Fuehrer's birthday in 1942 the conversation turned to the topic of the Reichstag building and its artistic value. I heard with my own ears when Goering interrupted the conversation and shouted:
'I am the only one who really knows the Reichstag story, because I set it on fire.'
"He slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand."

[Hans] Gisevius, who at the time held office in the Ministry of the Interior, and later became identified with the so-called "Hitler opposition," testified: "Hitler had stated the wish for a large-scale propaganda campaign. Goebbels took on the job of making the necessary proposals and preparing them, and it was Goebbels who first thought of setting the Reichstag on fire. Goebbels talked about this to the leader of the Berlin SA Brigade, Karl Ernst, and he suggested in detail how it should be carried out."

"Goering gave assurances that the police would be instructed, while still suffering from shock, to take up a false trail. Right from the beginning it was intended that the Communists should be debited with this crime, and it was in that sense that ... ten SA men who had to carry out the crime, were instructed."

Rudolf Diehls, at the time head of the Gestapo and for a while Goering's relative by marriage, insisted that "Goering knew exactly how the fire was to be started" and that he, Diehls, "had to prepare, prior to the fire, a list of people who were to be arrested immediately after it."
A much more recent work supporting the theory that the Reichstag fire was a false-flag by the Nazis is the 2001 book Der Reichstagbrand - Wie Geschichte gemacht wird (The Reichstag Fire - How History is Made). There's no English version of the book, but according to a review:
In years of meticulous research, the two authors of the book, historian Alexander Bahar and physicist and psychologist Wilfried Kugel, carried out the first comprehensive evaluation of the 50,000 pages of original court, state attorney office and secret police (Gestapo) files that had been locked away in Moscow and East Berlin until 1990. The result is a remarkable and explosive, more than 800-page document that for the first time provides almost complete circumstantial evidence that the Nazis prepared and set the Reichstag fire themselves.


Responsibility for the Reichstag Fire was a constant source of debate between German historians after the Second World War. In the early 1960’s, the attempt was made to establish the hypothesis of van der Lubbe as the sole culprit—in particular by Rudolf Augstein’s magazine Der Spiegel and the “amateur historian” and intelligence officer Fritz Tobias. To this very day, some prominent German historians base themselves on this hypothesis and still attempt to deny the guilt of the Nazis. With their new book Der Reichstagbrand, Alexander Bahar and Wilfried Kugel have provided authoritative evidence to finally dispel the longstanding controversy.
Neither of these books were mentioned by Gorski in his article defending the lone-nut interpretation. What is interesting to me though is not so much the fact that debunkers deny the Reichstag fire was a false flag, but the level of passion with which they deny it. Consider the following quote by a Wikipedia user on the talk page for the article on Marinus van der Lubbe:
There's no substantive evidence whatsoever for the allegation that Van der Lubbe was "a pawn of the Gestapo", "assisted by the SA" and similar stuff. The book by Bahar/Kugel is full of CT nonsense and has completely flopped in Germany. No need to introduce it here as a prime source.
You can read university student essays on the internet arguing that the Reichstag fire was probably a Nazi plot, so it is by no means "Conspiracy Theorist nonsense". It is, at the very least, a legitimate historical debate. And we are talking about the Nazis here - you know, the people who systematically exterminated millions of human beings - and we are debating about whether conspired to set fire to an empty building! What's with the emotional attachment to the view that they played no role in orchestrating the Reichstag fire? What's with branding the other view "CT nonsense"?

What I suspect is going on here is that this Wikipedia user is aware of the 9/11 false-flag arguments and is suffering from such extreme cognitive dissonance that he either refuses to acknowledge that state-sponsored false-flag operations are ever carried out in real life, even by regimes like Nazi Germany, or is so convinced that everything 9/11 truthers say is nonsense, that he is ideologically driven to dismiss everything we say as a fringe view, even the claims as mainstream and scholarly as this. I suspect the same is also true for people like Pat Curley and David Gorski.

What next? Are the debunkers gonna call it 'CT nonsense' to talk about the Star Wars prequels? Are they going to revise fiction and deny that Senator Palpatine ordered an attack on his own planet in a plot to make himself chancellor?!

The false-flag operation is a political tool that is not just confined to fiction. It has been used throughout human history by power-hungry regimes. Where do you think the writers of things like Star Wars got their ideas from?

It wasn't just the Nazis. To give you an idea of just how much Britain and the US wanted America to enter World War II, when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened Winston Churchill reportedly danced with joy, happy that they now had an excuse.

And if you think modern geopolitics is above this sort of thing ...

Here you have an admitted example of planned provocateuring. Behind close doors, George Bush and Tony Blair suggested luring Saddam into attacking allied aircraft in UN colours, so they could exploit the attack and shift public opinion in favour of going to war. They wanted to invade Iraq, they needed an excuse, and they came up with all kinds of ideas to deceive the public into going along with it. To people who understand history, this is nothing new.

Even a five-year-old understands, if you want to get someone else in trouble, you do something bad and blame it on them! It seems debunkers and skeptics, however, want to deny it even exists - perhaps because it is the favourite tactic of manipulators, and a population that is aware of the technique is impossible to control.

2) Fox News hitpiece exposes Silverstein

For years there has been intense debate over what Larry Silverstein's infamous "pull it" quote was referring to. Researchers such as Jim Hoffman and contributors to this blog have remained neutral on this issue, preferring to stick to the science instead. When I saw Richard Gage live in Bristol in June, he was asked why he didn't mention the quote. His answer was that he was tired of arguing with people over what Silverstein meant so he took it out of his presentation. Regardless of what the original quote was referring to, there is other evidence that on 9/11 Silverstein was conspiring to demolish WTC7.

In April 2010, when Jesse Ventura was plugging his book American Conspiracies and bringing 9/11 truth to the mainstream, reporter Jeffrey Scott Shapiro attacked Ventura in a Fox News piece entitled Shame On Jesse Ventura!.

Much of the piece was a fairly typical, emotionally-driven, uninformed attack, but while playing the typical "I was there" card, Mr Shapiro inadvertently revealed a shocking truth - that Larry Silverstein was on the phone to his insurance company discussing plans to demolish WTC7:
I was working as a journalist for Gannett News at Ground Zero that day, and I remember very clearly what I saw and heard.


Shortly before the building collapsed, several NYPD officers and Con-Edison workers told me that Larry Silverstein, the property developer of One World Financial Center was on the phone with his insurance carrier to see if they would authorize the controlled demolition of the building – since its foundation was already unstable and expected to fall.

A controlled demolition would have minimized the damage caused by the building’s imminent collapse and potentially save lives. Many law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other journalists were aware of this possible option.
With debunkers like these, who needs truthers! The level of cognitive dissonance expressed by Mr Shapiro is astonishing. He dismisses all notion of a conspiracy, and his evidence that there was no conspiracy is the fact that Larry Silverstein was conspiring to demolish WTC7!

1) Frank Greening's 'Intelligent Thermite'

In an attempt to reconcile the thermite evidence with the official story, debunker Frank Greening once proposed that aluminium from the planes reacted with rust on the steel structures, "inducing violent thermite explosions", and that this "repeated in a rapidly accelerating, and increasingly violent cascade of destruction", resulting in the global collapse of the towers. In other words, he proposed that the twin towers were destroyed by thermite ... naturally!

In 2006, Gordon Ross responded to Greening's thesis in a hilarious essay entitled Sorry Dr. Greening et al ...
Dr. Greening is, I believe, a chemist so it is only fair to look at this field of study first of all. One of his most well known arguments is that there could have been natural thermite reactions within the tower fires. He lists those ingredients which are necessary for this natural thermite and shows that all of these ingredients were present, so his argument follows that a natural thermite reaction could have taken place. Now I will never claim to be good at chemistry but I know that if I leave margarine, flour, sugar and fruit in a cupboard, when I next open the cupboard I will not find a fruit crumble. Some mechanism is required to convert the ingredients. Similarly, if I take these same ingredients, set them alight and throw them out the window, I still will not get my fruit crumble. The mechanism must have some order. Dr. Greening fails to provide any explanation or narrative for these required mechanisms but rather relies on simply ticking off the ingredients and falling back on the unfailing support of his accolytes. It came as an enormous surprise to me that some educated people have been taken in by this, most notably and recently was Manuel Garcia, in his Counterpunch article. What we are being asked to swallow in place of our absent fruit crumble, is that the tonnes of aluminium aircraft parts were powderised upon impact, thoroughly mixed with tonnes of rust from the towers steel superstructure in exactly the required proportion to form tonnes of thermite, which then hung around for about an hour before distributing itself to key structural points throughout the tower, then igniting in a complex sequence to cause the towers' collapse. It is granted that a good imagination is a requirement for a good scientist, but this just abuses the privilege. Perhaps the name for this natural thermite should instead be intelligent thermite, or intelligent malevolent thermite.
As both a 9/11 truther and a Darwinism heretic, I find the fruit crumble analogy and 'intelligent malevolent thermite' designation doubly scrumptious. It is hard to believe anyone with the slightest semblance of rationality, never mind a professional chemist, would seriously suggest such a thing, but what do you expect from someone who denies Newton's third law?!

So there you go; in this article I have exposed just about every tactic and fallacy employed by debunkers, with humorous examples. A few hours after this article is published, BBC2 is going to air another Conspiracy Files hitpiece, and I expect we'll see many more around the tenth anniversary. Even though I'm sure they'll contain a disgusting amount of misinformation and propaganda, I'm looking forward to them, because not only is refuting these debunking pieces a great way to wake people up, it can also be highly entertaining!