Monday, April 30, 2012


A little while back, Pat Curley of the Screw Loose Change blog posted the following:
That's my vote with regard to this headline: 9/11 Conspiracy Theory–Insane or Insightful?
The writer, who apparently worked for CNN at one point, goes on to talk about one of the silliest tropes:
I keep coming back to one question in the 9/11 conspiracy story: How did two jets knock down three New York City skyscrapers?
Answer: They didn't. They caused a fire which knocked down the first two buildings, which damaged many surrounding buildings, including the third skyscraper, which burned uncontrollably for about 7 hours and finally collapsed.
Here is my reply wih a different vote, same answer, but with a better explanantion that debunks Pat.


That's my vote with regard to this headline: 9/11 Conspiracy Theory–Insane or Insightful?

The writer is Greg Hunter, a former reporter for the ABC and CNN news networks and founder of the self-described non-partisan site; described on a post as "a man of integity, credibility and intelligence."

Hunter follows the headline at his site:

I keep coming back to one question in the 9/11 conspiracy story: How did two jets knock down three New York City skyscrapers?

Answer: They didn't. They caused a fire which the official report from the government investigators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology states "likely would not have collapsed the buildings "if the thermal insulation [fire-proofing] had not been widely dislodged." However, the assertion about the fire-proofing is greatly flawed, lending even more credence to what has thus far proved to be undebunkable physical evidence they were demolished.

The explosiveness of the Towers destruction damaged many surrounding buildings, including building 7, but the government investigators say "this structural damage did not initiate the collapse." They also inform us that the diesel fuel for WTC 7's emergency generators "played no role in the destruction of WTC 7." They conclude that WTC 7's fires was "similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings," but lead to "the first known instance of fire causing the total collapse of a tall building."

In sum, a negligibly damaged building (not uncommon from fire itself) with normal office fires did something unprecedented since the first steel-framed skyscraper was built in 1885, and ever since 9/11 the former precedent that skyscrapers undergoing complete collapse involved either controlled demolition or severe earthquakes has held true to her longstanding ways. In other words, it was most likely a controlled demolition too; more details:

Other Collapses in Perspective: An Examination of Other Steel Structures Collapsing due to Fire and their Relation to the WTC

It seems that Pat Curley at least sees the counter-intuitive nature of the conclusion derived from the official story as told by the government investigators. Hence, his raising moot points about damage and in other posts exaggerating the fire severity in WTC 7, by grossly misrepresenting firefighter testimony and contradicting the official story in an attempt to defend it. The fact of the matter is, he wouldn't have to do these things if it wasn't an unsupported conclusion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'Debunker' Related Excerpts from and Review of '9/11 Truther The Fight for Peace, Justice and Accountability' by Jon Gold

Released 2/26/12, 9/11 Truther The Fight for Peace, Justice and Accountability starts off with a past aticle by author Jon Gold, which serves as a definition of the book's title:
So what is a "9/11 Truther”? As I said, it's kind of hard to spin the word "Truth," but the "debunkers" and "media" have jumped on the word "truther." To me, that's an inaccurate phrase because the real term is 9/11 Truther.

In my mind, a "9/11 Truther" is someone who fights alongside the family members seeking truth and accountability for the 9/11 attacks. In my mind, a "9/11 Truther" is someone who fights for the sick and dying 9/11 first responders who need health care desperately. In my mind, a "9/11 Truther" is someone who does not like how the day of 9/11 is being used to inflict pain and suffering around the world, and is trying to stop it. Stop it by using the truth. Something we have been denied by our government regarding the 9/11 attacks.

I am sorry that people have used the phrase as they have. All I know is that the definition of "9/11 Truther," to me, does not equal what those who are against this cause say it does.

I am proud to be a "9/11 Truther."
Gold prefaces his article by stating, "Because of the way this phrase has been tarnished by the media and debunkers, I have switched to saying that I am an 'advocate for 9/11 Justice.' I have also changed the name of my forum to the '9/11 Justice Forum.' Nonetheless, this article still rings true."

This is what Gold is trying to redefine and avoid being associated with:
Twoofer , twoofer meaning , definition of twoofer , what is twoofer - 1. derogatory term for those on the outer edges of the 9/11 truth movement.2. derogatory term for any conspiracy theorist or political extremist who regularly uses the phrase 'speaking truth to power'
Some examples : The twoofer said I was following the sheeple for not believing 9/11 was done with holograms, and that he was speaking truth to power -
"Debunkers" had other ideas for the title of his book. Gold notes that Pat Curley of the Screw Loose Change blog suggested, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wasting a Decade?" With commenters suggesting the titles, "You're a liar! - The Fat Deluded Narcissist's guide to gaining attention by having yourself arrested for issues no one really cares about." … "Left Out In the Cold: One Man's Pointless Adventures at the Whitehouse." Gold writes, "One commenter suggested that I'm trying to 'sucker Truthers into forking over cash,' and that I am 'looking to make a killing out of scamming innocent people into buying his garbage novel.' 'Debunkers' disgust me. They are some of the most evil people you'd ever want to meet."

Elsewhere he notes, "More often than I should have, I fought with 'debunkers' about 9/11. Some people liked this about me but I found that it caused me a lot of stress, not because the 'debunkers' were right, but because they had such an obvious agenda. Very simply, they disgust me."

Speaking of his article "The Facts Speak For Themselves" Gold writes, "A few 'debunkers' have claimed to 'debunk' this article but I say that is a lie. To me, a true 'debunking' is when someone like me says Statement A, and a 'debunker'' shows Statements B and C which shows that Statement A is incorrect or never happened. In my opinion, they have failed to do this with my article."


On October 28, 2010 Gold left the following comment on Rosanne Barr's website after Barr linked to his "Facts Speak..." article with the prompt to "PLEASE READ" his "brilliant analysis."

Here's a "Debunking" of my article.

Here's a short film I made about "debunkers."

Don’t Expect an Honest Answer

January 7, 2011

Author: Jon Gold
Source: 9/11 Truth News
Category: BLOG

In November 2008, I made a short video called Ask Any Debunker. In it, I asked three simple questions.

1) Are there, or are there not a multitude of cover-ups concering the 9/11 attacks?

2) Was the 9/11 Commission, headed by Philip Zelikow, a whitewash?

3) Should there be accountability?

I figured these questions were no-brainers for anyone paying attention.

Over two years later, so-called "debunker” Pat Curley has attempted to answer these questions. (I debated Pat on this very topic. I thought I won the debate.)

Here are his answers (see screenshot):


At the end of the movie, I ask that you decide whether or not they sound like honest answers.

Well, do they?

Speaking of his debate with Curley, Gold writes, "More often than not, even though they are shown to be wrong, a 'debunker' will continue to repeat the same arguments so I pretty much had them memorized."

This use of debunked 'debunker' talking points is something I have noticed as well. A prime example is that debunkers will still use talking points after they have been refuted by the official reports! This is either due to just not being informed or it's intentional and in many cases I find it very hard to believe they are unaware of the information. In these cases I think cognitive dissonance and/or ego is often at play. They must prove us wrong at all costs and thus conceding anything is out of the question. This is also true of some individuals in the truth movement, but I contend it is not as widespread because many of us do concede points to debunkers. As Gold writes:
I despise "debunkers" because of their obvious agendas and because they are just some of the most nasty people you would ever want to meet. However, I do look at what they say. Again, if anything, it helps me to strengthen my arguments.

...During one argument with a "debunker," I was challenged to raise money for the 9/11 First Responders. Since I cared SO MUCH about them, then obviously I should spend some time raising money for them, right? It's not often "debunkers" are right,
but this time, they were.

In January 2007, I held my very first fundraiser for 9/11 First Responders.
And as is pointed out in the article "What everyone should know about the 9/11 truth movement...":
The 9/11 Truth movement is not a conspiracy movement. Believe it or not, the majority of people involved in criticism of the government's official story (the 'official conspiracy theory' as many have come to call it) do not know what really happened on 9/11, and they admit that...

The people in this movement are not beyond critical thinking; they are deeply indebted to it. The forums on 9/11 truth have been filled with discussion and debate, much evidence, and many questions. In the past years and months many bad ideas and false leads have been weeded through. We have also become much more clear about what questions remain and what evidence best supports the notion that the government's story is incomplete, self-contradictory, and often times, simply false. This process of reaching consensus has been dynamic, and it is ongoing. It has been aided rather than hindered by the attempts of many scientists and even self-appointed 'debunkers' who have often presented compelling information which was acknowledged, digested, and incorporated into an ever-growing and changing body of knowledge.
In May of 2010, Pat Curley's counterpart at Screw Loose Change, James B., linked to an article about an SEC report refuting claims of pre-9/11 insider trading via put options and informed his readers that, "Nothing ever gets debunked permanently with these people. Put options and 'eight of the hijackers are still alive' will be prominently featured in David Ray Griffin's 2015 lectures." Having posted the entire article he cited the previous day while stating my agreement, I then added an update quoting James and responded by noting, "The fact that I agreed with him in this post debunks him. :) I also concur that none of the hijackers are alive."
Similarly, Economics Professor and truther Paul Zarembka, has written that the work of Mike Williams at the debunking site has caused him "to reconsider [his] prior conclusion of high probability of insider trading in put options" for American and United airlines stocks.

Moving on, Gold writes, "There are entire 'debunker' sites dedicated to debunking 'Controlled Demolition.' I don't know why this is. Sure, they will 'tackle' other things (dishonestly), but they sure do love 'Controlled Demolition.' I think it has to do with the fact that it does sound crazy at first to a lot of people."

After noting some of his problems with the controlled demolition argument, including that focusing  too much on the issue obscures other "aspects to 9/11 Truth," (I agree) Gold concludes, "After all is said and done, it comes down to this for me with regards to the 'Controlled Demolition' argument. Bob McIlvaine, Lorie Van Auken and quite a few family members question NIST's investigations. If the question is important to them, then it is important to me. It was a crime scene, after all."

In my opinion 9/11 Truther The Fight for Peace, Justice and Accountability should be required reading for any 9/11 truth seeker, as well anybody who thinks that 9/11 truthers are just perpetuating a bunch of conspiracy theories that have been debunked.

Truth and justice advocates should persistently implore such individuals, who very often have pigeonholed the movement as kooky, to give 9/11 truthers one more shot, because Gold has demonstrated the ability to educe a turning point in the stubborn.

This is noted by author Dr. Paul Rea in his recent review of the book when mentioning Gold's efforts to connect with well known anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and the Peace Movement:
In her Foreword, Sheehan recalls that

The most prevalent of these people who bombarded me, though, were the 9/11 'Truthers.' I was harassed all over the world by them and I swear if one more person asked me if I saw 'Loose Change' I was going to forget my pacifism and punch him (it was always a him) in the face. The sad thing about this harassment was that I never believed the so-called official story of 9/11 and would have tended to be an ally to these people, but they were so rude and pushy. And, I didn't feel that I had the time or the inclination to wade through the stacks of information that they tried to force on me... . I left a lot of that material in cabs or garbage cans.

The implication is that Jon Gold was one of the few “truthers” who favorably impressed Sheehan – and that he, perhaps more than any other individual, helped to bring her into the truth movement. Readers might like to know how he succeeded after so many others had failed.
9/11 Family Member Patty Casazza is also quoted in the book as stating, "Believe me, if it wasn't for our friend Jon Gold here, and so many other citizen activists, I'm sure the 9/11 movement would have died a long time ago."

Pat Curley recently wrote:
The "ignored and censored whistleblowers" include Patty Cassazza's mysterious roadside informant who claimed that the US government knew everything about the attacks including the date and method. Gold bitterly notes that I "debunked" that claim by saying that Patty was duped by a conman. But note the oddball response from the Truthers to that particular claim. Sibel Edmonds comes up with the LIHOP faction's dream witness and what happens? Complete and utter lack of curiosity about him or her. If I were a Truther, I'd be asking Patty about this person--was it a man or a woman? How old? Did he say what branch or agency of the government he was in? Can we get him on tape?
First off, as Gold points out in his "Facts Speak..." artcle, Cassazza stated that most whitleblowers did not come forward because they were not subpoenaed by the 9/11 Commission, which in doing so would ensure them not being retaliated against like Edmonds was.

Furthermore, as Fran Shure at pointed out to me, Casazza's account of a whistleblower telling her "the government knew the exact day, the type of attack, and the targets" corroborates an earlier account by David Schippers, former Chief Investigative Counsel for the US House Judiciary Committee and head prosecutor responsible for conducting the impeachment against former president Bill Clinton. Schippers stated that at the behest of several FBI agents he had attempted multiple times to warn US Attorney John Ashcroft, along with other federal officials, of the impending attacks weeks before they occurred, only to be stalled and rebuffed in each attempt.

As summarized in the books The War on Freedom and The War on Truth by Nafeez Ahmed, who personally corresponded with Schippers, "According to Schippers, these agents knew, months before the 11th September attacks, the names of the hijackers, the targets of their attacks, the proposed dates, and the sources of their funding, along with other information."

The FBI command, however, cut short their investigations threatening the agents with prosecution under the National Security Act if they publicized this information.

Ahmed has stated, In The War on Freedom, I merely laid out facts and lines of inquiry for an official investigation. The book was the first read by the Jersey Girls, informing their work with the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, and is part of the 9/11 Commission Collection at the US National Archives (a collection of 99 books, copies of which were provided to each Commissioner)."

Despite this fact, the account of David Shippers is nowhere to be found in The 9/11 Commission Report.

Pat needs to be complaining about the 9/11 Commissioners, not truthers.

Available here:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two criticisms of the Harrit et al paper that are no longer valid [Updated]

UPDATE: Oystein and Mohr have responded. Oystein took my post as an acknowledgement that Harrit et al wasn't actually peer-reviewed. It wasn't. I do agree that Bentham isn't exactly what debunkers and skeptics would call an "established journal" - akin to Nature or Science - but that doesn't mean it wasn't reviewed. 9/11 truth is anti-establishment, so criticising it for not being accepted yet by the very establishment it's challenging is stupid and circular. My point was, you shouldn't assume from the fact that the editor-in-chief resigned that there were issues with the review. It could be that she was pressured to resign or that she was driven to resign by her own ideological commitments. The scientific community is unfortunately not immune to things like groupthink, cognitive dissonance and peer-pressure. And that was my point. I wasn't attacking peer-review per se, I was attacking idealism and elitism regarding the scientific review and editorial process. It annoys me when people try to dismiss or discredit research they don't like by calling into question its peer-review, because that's the sort of thing you'd expect from a meticulous lawyer or a nitpicky bureaucrat, not a scientist. I'd rather the discussions just be about the data.

Chris Mohr seems to agree with what I'm saying:
While I am familiar with the arguments about whether the Bentham paper was properly peer-reviewed or whether there was a proper chain of custody for the WTC dust in that study, I have always considered these to be of very secondary interest to me. Knowing some of the people at least peripherally involved in that study, I have always asserted that Harrit/Jones et al did everything in their power to preserve the integrity of their dust samples (including rejecting some whose sources were more questionable), and that perfectly good science gets reported in the Bentham journals, whatever its peer-reviewed status.
As to whether or not I accept the validity of Millette's samples, well I don't doubt that they were collected professionally, but I'm still very much open to the possibility that they may have been tampered with. That's why I said, "red/gray chips, or at least particles purporting to be them". My argument was, assuming Millette's samples are genuine, and assuming the chips in his samples are what Jones et al found, then that undermines criticisms regarding the chain of custody of Jones' samples. Those assumptions may be false, but if they are then that's more of a problem for the debunkers than it is us.

The vast majority of debunker responses to the discovery of active thermitic material over the past three years have been one of the following mantras: "Paint!", "Peer-review!" and "Chain of custody!". Dr James Millette's report on the red/gray chips has apparently given the "Paint!" mantra new life, but let's look at the other two...


Even before the Harrit et al paper was published, debunkers were disimissing the journal it was published in as a "vanity publication" or a "pay-to-publish" journal. They ignore the reasons why the authors chose that journal. The main reasons were: 1. It's free and open access. There's no paywall preventing people from downloading the paper. And 2. The paper is very long - 25 pages with 33 coloured pictures, many of which fill an entire page. A paper like that would never be accepted by a top journal like Nature or Science. Bentham, however, was willing to publish such a paper.

Then of course, the journal's editor-in-chief resigned and the debunkers have since highlighted that fact at every opportunity. As CSI's Dave Thomas wrote in the 9/11 10th anniversary edition of the Skeptical Inquirer:
The article’s publication process was so politicized and bizarre that the editor-in-chief of the Bentham journal that featured Jones’s article, Marie-Paule Pileni, resigned in protest.
Debunkers of course assume that this must mean the paper was crap. It doesn't seem to occur to them that she may have been pressured to resign, or that her emotional reaction may be due to the implications of the paper's conclusions rather than the quality of science. Scientists and journal editors are only human. They are affected by the same conflicts of interest and ideological biases as anyone else. That's the major flaw of the peer-review process. The U.S. Supreme Court agrees...

U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993):
Another pertinent consideration is whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication. Publication (which is but one element of peer review) is not a sine qua non of admissibility; it does not necessarily correlate with reliability, and in some instances well-grounded but innovative theories will not have been published. Some propositions, moreover, are too particular, too new, or of too limited interest to be published. But submission to the scrutiny of the scientific community is a component of "good science," in part because it increases the likelihood that substantive flaws in methodology will be detected. The fact of publication (or lack thereof) in a peer-reviewed journal thus will be a relevant, though not dispositive, consideration in assessing the scientific validity of a particular technique or methodology on which an opinion is premised.
In other words, what the Supreme Court is saying here is, don't put "peer-review" on a pedestal! The process is not without its flaws, especially when it comes to controversial issues such as global warming or 9/11.

Publication and peer-review are just the first stage of the scientific process . The stuff that comes after - replications, rebuttals, debates, symposia etc. - are much more important than the initial publication. Pretty much every paper ever published has been either expanded upon or refuted later on. And so you could look back on any paper and say, in retrospect, based on what we know now, that that paper, if it had been submitted now, wouldn't be acceptable. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't have been published back when it was. This is the nature of science.

Consider, for example, NASA's 2010 claim of finding arsenic-based life, or CERN/OPERA's 2011 claim of faster-than-light neutrinos. In both cases, the publication and announcement of these finds attracted a great deal of controversy, and both claims were recently refuted by replication, but that doesn't mean the initial results were fraudulent, or that the claims were unscientific.

The fact that skeptical scientists have attempted to independently replicate and rebut the findings of Harrit et al means the hypothesis has progressed to the next stage of the scientific process - meaning any criticisms of its initial peer-review are now null and void. For years, debunkers have basically said, "we're going to dismiss this paper because we don't believe it was properly peer-reviewed". But now, this position has been undermined. As I pointed out before, the JREFers' support of Dr Millette's study was an acknowledgement of the nanothermite hypothesis' scientific legitimacy. They can no longer argue on the basis of editorial controversy that the claims of Harrit et al should not be taken seriously, because they DID take them seriously!

"Chain of Custody!"

In a September 2009 debate between Dylan Avery and Pat Curley, Pat questioned the chain of custody of Steven Jones' dust samples. When Dylan noted that the chain of custody is documented in the Harrit et al paper, Pat's response was:
I don't think you're gonna find that this stuff was hermetically sealed, that it was labeled at the time that it was taken - all the sorts of things that police would do with something that they're using as evidence.
Pat does sort of have a point here about the samples not being collected professionally. But as I wrote in response at the time:
By questioning the chain of custody you are effectively accusing the scientists and the citizens of conspiring to fake evidence by manufacturing high-tech energetic nanocomposites that only a handful of labs in the world can even make and adding them to samples! That sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory to me! And yet you find the idea of the government tampering with evidence ridiculous! Someone get Pat a tin foil hat!
Now that red/gray chips, or at least particles purporting to be them, have been found in professionally collected samples independent of Steven Jones', debunkers can now be assured that these red/gray chips, whatever they are, did not enter Jones' samples via accidental contamination, and were not intentionally added by 9/11 truth activists. So criticisms regarding the collection and chain of custody of Jones' samples are now null and void.

These two debunker arguments have now been undermined by the debunkers themselves. If they were intellectually honest, they'd stop making them. But I doubt they will. Their "Peer-review!" and "Chain of custody!" mantras function as sort-of quasi-ad-hominems. Debunkers are more interested in discrediting the research than they are in having a genuine scientific discussion about it.