The Science and Politics of 9/11: The Toronto Hearings
by Jim Fetzer
In “The Pros and Cons of The Toronto Hearings”, Joshua Blakeney observes that, in spite of its admirable format and procedures, where many of its presentations contributed toward its ostensible goal of promoting the cause of 9/11 Truth, there were at least four areas in which it was at best only a qualified success or even an abject failure, where, by restricting the focus to those areas regarded as least controversial, it did not come to grips with the who and the why of 9/11; what did or did not happen at the Pentagon; and different theories of how the Twin Towers were destroyed. In what appears to have been a lapse by one of the participants, both “let it happen” (LIHOP) and “made it happen” (MIHOP) positions were advanced by two of the most prominent speakers present.
But, perhaps most surprisingly, even though the so-called “hard science” group was in charge, during the discussion of how it was done, what should have been the strongest aspect of the conference about nanothermite, was compromised by deliberately ignoring the serious criticisms that have called into question the theory of “explosive nanothermite”. The most serious of these inadequacies and shortcomings can be explained by adopting a policy that placed the politics of 9/11 ahead of the science. But even beyond reliance upon unsound research, the 9/11 movement is not going to capture the imagination of the American people without a compelling narrative about who was responsible, how it was done and why.
Consider, for example, the criteria of selection that were originally posted on the website announcing the Toronto Hearings that delineated the basis for decisions that would be made about what would and would not be presented during the hearings, namely:
Evidence presented at the Hearings will be chosen according to the following criteria: high degree of certainty; importance; and consensus. High degree of certainty means that the Hearings will concentrate not on speculation but on facts that can firmly be established. Importance means that the Hearings will concentrate on elements of the governmental explanation that are crucial to that explanation. Consensus means that evidence chosen will be that which is least controversial within the movement of dissent that is critical of the official explanation. (my emphasis)
This sounds admirable, until you consider that what is and what is not controversial within the movement tends to depend upon and vary with the evidence that is available to various parties, the alternative hypotheses they consider, and their capacity for reasoning.
These are not only properties that can vary from person to person at the same time but can also vary for the same person from time to time, such as before and after they have acquired new data, where an explanation that satisfies one set of data points may not also satisfy a revised or expanded set of data points. And those who do not have a firm grasp of the principles of scientific reasoning are not likely to be able to apply them properly to derive the conclusions that are best supported by the evidence. Much of the controversy over what did or did not happen at the Pentagon, for example, appears to be a consequence of the failure of members of the community to take into account the same data points, which requires ACTUALLY LOOKING AT EVIDENCE, a practice that has not always prevailed within this community. And when those who are responsible for conducting the hearings deliberately exclude crucial evidence that undermines what they are presenting, it should come as no surprise if what should have been its greatest strength should turn out to be its greatest liability or, as Joshua suggests, its Achilles heel.
In this commentary on the hearings, I shall contend that the LIHOP/MIHOP controversy was of the least moment and has, in effect, already been resolved, where exchanges between Joshua, Peter Dale Scott and David Ray Griffin have ironed them out, where Scott has graciously conceded that remarks of his that appeared to endorse LIHOP, which Griffin had dispatched in the presentation before his, were lapses on his part and require revision to conform to the available relevant evidence. Would that all members of the 9/11 community were so objective and rational in their response to criticism. But the suppression of discussion about the Pentagon, where there is no longer any good reason to doubt that a Boeing 757 did not hit the building, and of nanothermite, where there are now very good reasons to doubt it could have played a crucial role in the destruction of the Twin Towers, are another matter entirely. So far as I can see, ignoring new data about its lack of explosive potential has to have been deliberate as a form of saving face, when the history of this matter suggests that Steve Jones made an early blunder from which the movement has yet to recover.
The Who and the Why
Although the indications of Israeli involvement in 9/11 are abundant and compelling, ranging from the transfer of ownership of the World Trade Center to private hands, the replacement of the firm that had provided security since it had opened for occupancy in 1970 by an Israeli company, Kroll Associates, the airport security at the 9/11 airports by another Israeli firm, ICTS, which was also in charge when the “shoe bomber”, Richard Reid, was allowed to board and which was granted immunity from lawsuits with the passage of the PATRIOT Act (which prevents them from having to produce surveillance videos from 9/11), “the Dancing Israelis”, Urban Moving Systems, the Odigo messaging service (which sent warnings in advance of the attacks), the 200 Israeli “art students”, the list of hijackers provided to the FBI by the Mossad, and more. This is all common knowledge to serious students and creates the framework for a narrative that explains who and why these atrocities were committed. Indeed, there are many articles about all this by Alan Sabrosky, Christopher Bollyn, and others, with which members of the organizing committee had to have been familiar. If the hearings were intended to promote 9/11 Truth, then it appears inexcusable that all this was omitted.
The strongest element of the “official account” of 9/11, which we find in THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT (2004), is the narrative about 19 Islamic fundamentalists, who hijacked four commercial carriers with box cutters, outfoxed the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, and perpetrated these atrocities under the control of a guy off in a cave in Afghanistan. This may be its most compelling dimension, especially when combined with the stories of heroism on those planes, such as Flight 93, the calls to their loved ones, including by Barbara Olson to her husband, Ted, and the crashes that took the lives of 125 at the Pentagon, apart from any passengers aboard any of those planes. All of this makes for a moving and emotional narrative of what unfolded on 9/11, which is what we would expect from its own Executive Director, Phillip Zelikow, whose area of academic specialization prior to becoming engaged in public service was the creation and maintenance of “public myths” which was surely his prime qualification for that position, where, as Kevin Barrett has also observed, he completed a draft outline of the commission’s report a year before he would share it with other members of the staff and has now been promoted to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, where he can cope with 9/11 criticism, a nice example of putting “the foremost expert” in charge!
The fact that the alleged “terrorists” were not devout Muslims but partook of strip shows, hookers, alcohol and pork, is not among the few reports we learn about their activities, not to mention that none of them was qualified to fly Boeing 757s and 767s, which is not a trivial task. We even know (from Elias Davidsson) that the government has never proven that any of them were actually aboard any of those planes and learn (from David Ray Griffin) that all of the phone calls from those four aircraft were faked. And we know from Col. George Nelson, USAF (ret.) that, even though there are millions of uniquely identifiable component parts from those four planes, the government has yet to produce even one. And we learned from an FBI agent that the reason why the NTSB did not investigate any of those crashes (for the first time in its history) is that, “It wasn’t necessary because we saw them on television!” But we actually didn’t see what happened in Shanksville on television.
We didn’t see the Pentagon crash on television. And what we did see on television about the hit on the North Tower and on the South were laden with anomalies that make them highly suspect as examples of video fakery. And these are hardly the only indications that the events of 9/11 were fabricated.
The 9/11 Truth movement has to provide a competing narrative as a necessary condition for it to gain traction with the public. We know the “official account” cannot be sustained on multiple grounds, including that it violates laws of physics, of engineering and of aerodynamics. This means that accepting what we have been told is just fine as long as you are willing to believe impossible things. But we also know far more than that the “official account” is false. We have ample justification to conclude that the neo-cons who ran the Department of Defense and were prominent participants in the Project for the New American Century were concerned that, with the demise of the Soviet Union, there was an unprecedented opportunity for the US, as the sole remaining superpower, to seize its chance to create a world-wide empire for the next 100 years, if only the American people could be persuaded to support the wars of aggression that would be entailed by invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq in its initial effort to take control of the Middle East for the sake of oil, Israel, and ideology. They feared that the moment would be lost because American values and traditions oppose attacking nations that have not attacked us–unless there were to be a traumatic, catalyzing event on the order of “a new Pearl Harbor” that would convince the public to support these actions and curtail civil rights in the face of a foreign threat.
What didn’t happen at the Pentagon
There was no “foreign threat”, however, which meant that one had to be invented. This is a scenario we all know, from David Ray Griffin’s first book, THE NEW PEARL HARBOR (2004), to his latest, THE NEW PEARL HARBOR: TEN YEARS LATER (2011), where I myself–and I am by no means unique in this respect–have published about it and made presentations in 2008 (“9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda”), 2009 (“Is 9/11 research ‘anti-Semitic’?”), 2010 (“Are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justified by 9/11?”), and 2011 (“False Flag Terror and the Rise of the Global Police State”), where one difference between my presentations and those of many others is that I openly discuss indications of Mossad and Israeli involvement, while most of them do not. Even Peter Dale Scott and David Ray Griffin, to the best of my knowledge, steer clear of addressing the abundant and compelling evidence that Israel was profoundly involved in 9/11. The only instance in which the subject was broached during the Toronto Hearings, as I understand it, was when Griffin was asked after his lecture whether five Israelis had been arrested on 9/11. He replied, “Yes.” So 9/11 Truth has the world’s stage during this conference and THAT is the only mention of Israel? What’s wrong with this picture?
But if Peter Dale Scott and David Ray Griffin say too little about Israeli complicity in 9/11, others, such as Alan Sabrosky and Christopher Bollyn, claim too much. As Webster Griffin Tarpley, 9/11 SYNTHETIC TERROR: MADE IN THE USA (2006, revised edition), has observed, there were as many as 17 anti-terrorism drills taking place on 9/11–a number that he has recently increased to 27!–which disrupted normal channels of communication between the FAA and NORAD. These drills are not something that 19 Islamic terrorists could have arranged, where either they were incredibly lucky to have chosen the one day that the US Air Force would not be in any position to respond or else there was high level duplicity in making sure that no USAF fighters would intercept any of the allegedly hijacked planes. Even more incredibly, one of them is purported to have traveled at more than 500 mph, barely skimming above the Pentagon lawn and encountering several lampposts en route to its target on the ground floor of the West Wing of the building, where two civilian lime-green firetrucks would arrive in short order and extinguish the very modest fires. Yet there was no massive pile of aluminum debris from a 100-ton aircraft with a wingspan of 125′ and a tail that stood 44′ above the ground. No wings, no tail, no bodies, seats, or luggage were found there. Not even the engines, virtually indestructible, were recovered from the Pentagon.
An even more stunning indication that officials at the highest levels of the Department of Defense had to have been involved than arranging those convenient “anti-terrorism” drills is that we have abundant and compelling proof that no plane hit the building or, to be more precise, that no Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon. The best witness at the scene, April Gallop, walked through the hole in the wall on the ground floor and has reported seeing no signs of debris from an airplane having crashed there. Jamie McIntyre of CNN, among the first reporters to arrive, explained to his anchor that, from his close up inspection, there were no signs that any large plane had hit anywhere near the Pentagon. Flight recorder data provided to Pilots for 9/11 Truth as having come from Flight 77 by the NTSB has turned out to correspond to a plane on a different, due east, trajectory, which was too high to have hit any lampposts and was 100′ above the building one second from impact. CIT realized that a Citgo station was situated between the two trajectories, where on the “official account” it would have flown SOUTH of the station, but on the alternative NORTH, and located more than a dozen witnesses who reported that the plane had approach the building NORTH of the Citgo station.
That a plane was used to create the misleading impression that it had actually hit the Pentagon (by setting off explosives as it passed over it) has also been confirmed by the report of Dave Ball, the trucker buddy of a friend of mine from JFK research, Roy Schaeffer, who told Roy that he had been in front of the Pentagon at the time and watched a large plane fly toward the building and then swerve over it. When we take into account that Flights 11 and 77 were not even scheduled to depart that day (which Gerald Holmgren discovered) and that the planes corresponding to Flights 93 and 175 were not de-registered by the FAA until 28 September 2005 (as its own records revealed), pursuing the planes (like following the money) would appear to offer some of the most fertile ground to promote 9/11 Truth among the public. How can planes that were not even in the air have crashed and how can planes that crashed have still been in the air four years after 9/11? And the very idea that the government would mislead citizens of the United States about what happened at the Pentagon, which is our nation’s center for national defense, provides proof beyond any reasonable doubt that 9/11 was “an inside job”! It is therefore profoundly disturbing that this line of inquiry was not pursued with the greatest vigor during The Toronto Hearings, which thereby forfeited a major opportunity to reach the public.
On how it was done
Mark and I had hoped that those who were running the shop at the Toronto Hearings would be responsive to what we had reported to them over and over again. Even before publishing “Has nanothermite been oversold to the 9/11 Truth community?”, for example, Mark had written to the leading figures in the “hard science” group, including Steve Jones, Kevin Ryan, and Niels Harrit, who were either non-responsive or dismissive of his findings. Even David Ray Griffin reaffirmed that “we are happy with our formulation” and denied that they–the leaders of the movement–should be held responsible for the belief that nanothermite is a high-explosive, which is stunning considering that he himself has been among those who have perpetuated that belief! In “Is ’9/11 Truth’ based upon a false theory?”, for example, we quote Richard Gage and Griffin’s enthusiastic endorsements of (what we call) “explosive nanothermite” or “the nanothermite myth”, which those who have been offering rebuttals to Joshua in posts about his column, such as WearechangeAtlanta and Camron Wiltshire, whom I believe are one and the same, have either overlooked or are deliberately distorting. Without suggesting that Camron falls into that category, a technique well known to political advisers, advertisers, and disinfo ops is having one of their group publish something another of them can enthusiastically endorse!
We certainly agree that, if the “thermite sniffers” (as Rosalee Grable has humorously referred to them) were to exclude contrary evidence from consideration, the case can be made that nanothermite MIGHT be explosive. But the facts show otherwise, where its detonation velocity of 895 m/s in conjunction with the acknowledgment that destroying materials by means of shockwaves requires velocities at least equal to the speed of sound in those materials, 3,200 m/s for concrete or 6,100 m/s for steel, demonstrates its impossibility. How much more proof is required to establish the point that the explosive properties of nanothermite have been oversold? Mark issued his “nanothermite challenge” on 1 May 2011, which should have been ample time for a serious response from the “hard science” group. Instead, on the day “the challenge” expired, 20 June 2011, Kevin Ryan published “The Explosiveness of Nanothermite”, a shoddy piece of research that not only did not come to grips with the problem but actually implicitly cited an article that affirmed an even lower detonation velocity of 300 m/s for nanothermite!
Ryan, like the Toronto Hearings, appears to be driven more by considerations of public relations than he is with the integrity of their research on nanothermite. The most striking example of rational response to Mark’s findings has been Dwain Deets, the former Chief of Research Engineering and Director for Aeronautical Projects at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, who has even provided a diagram illustrating certain detonation velocities as well as the sonic (speed of sound) velocities in various materials to illustrate the dimensions of the problem, published in “Is ’9/11 Truth’ based upon a false theory?” We are talking about laws of nature–in this case, laws of materials science–which cannot be violated and cannot be changed. The “hard science” group has now made several moves to save face by suggesting that nanothermite can become explosive if it were combined with explosives, which is also true of toothpaste (my example) and of breakfast cereal (Mark’s). So that claim is true but trivial. The other has been to suggest that classified military technology may exist that makes nanothermite explosive. But, since there is no available proof that that is the case, the “hard science” group is then trading in speculation of the kind that it has used to pillory those who have advanced alternative theories, such as the use of directed energy weapons, for which, I dare say, there is less doubt about the existence of corresponding weaponry.
If the objective was to concentrate not on speculation but on facts that can firmly be established, therefore, then these hearings were a failure, even with respect to the core issue of explosive nanothermite. The claim that nanothermite can become explosive when it is combined with explosives is true but also trivial, while the claim that nanothermite is explosive is either false or merely speculative. This means that The Toronto Hearings were focused on “evidence” that is either false or trivial or speculative, which is hardly the premium standard with which these hearings were advertised and falls far short of accomplishing the objective of reassuring the public that the 9/11 Truth movement is based upon a firm foundation. If anyone still harbors any lingering doubts about all of this, consider that, even though Mark and I had contacted those who were controlling the hearings some five months or more before they would be held to inform them of the nature of the problem, MARK’S DISCOVERIES WERE NEITHER REPORTED NOR DISCUSSED.
What was really going on?
Science cannot proceed by papering over problems or evading their consideration. I am therefore perhaps most perplexed that Camron Wiltshire and others are attacking me and Mark rather than FOCUSING ON THE FAILURE OF THE “HARD SCIENCE” GROUP to have done its homework. This issue is not going to go away and this would have been the perfect time to deal with it. The pretense that there really is no problem simply cannot be sustained. I am reminded of the children’s story about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. How can a 9/11 research group that identifies itself as the “hard science” group leave the movement in such a precarious position? Perhaps they have a solution to the problem. But if they have a solution to the problem, it would have been appropriate to present it rather than feign that all is well with respect to 9/11 science, where Harrit’s suggestion that perhaps the distinction between incendiaries and explosives may no longer matter in the age of nanotechnology reveals the depths of denial into which the movement has sunk.
The suppression of discussion of what didn’t happen at the Pentagon may even be outweighed by the lack of willingness of the 9/11 Truth community in general to admit the evidence that substantiates video fakery in New York, which is objective and scientific. As an illustration, the plane shown in the Hezarkhani and Fairbanks videos passes though its entire length into the building in the same number of frames it passes through its entire length in air. Ascertaining that this is the case can be replicated by anyone using frame-by-frame advance. That, of course, would be impossible unless this massive 500,000-ton building provides no more resistance to the trajectory of an aircraft than air. Science requires testing hypotheses on the basis of observation, measurement, and experiment; but that is exactly what is taking place in this case on the basis of observation, calculation, and comparisons as an experiment, which refutes the hypothesis that the videos are genuine on the presupposition that videos displaying impossible events cannot be authentic. It may have been done using CGIs, video compositing, or even a holographic projection. In our visually dominated culture, where movies and television are pervasive, I believe the public would be fascinated to learn that it had been deceived on 9/11 by video fakery!
Were I even more cynical than I have become in dealing with the members of the “hard science” group, I would suggest that, by excluding discussion of the who and the why and by omitting evidence with the greatest potential to convince the public at a single stroke that 9/11 WAS “an inside job”–which includes what didn’t happen at the Pentagon but also the use of video fakery in New York–the effect was to present an atrophied version of “9/11 Truth” that will not cause a ripple in the world’s understanding of how all this was done. The evidence of Israeli complicity is abundant and compelling, yet hardly a word about it was mentioned during these hearings (apart from a single answer to a single question). The Pentagon was discussed in passing, but the evidence that no Boeing 757 crashed there did not receive the emphasis it deserved. These are among the elements that could be used to create a compelling narrative about what really happened on 9/11. The focus on how it was done, where the myth of nanothermite remained “front and center”, alas, represents a betrayal of the standards of science to which the “hard science” group professes its dedication. In crucial respects, therefore, this conference appears to have been an exercise in politics and public relations, not scientific research or 9/11 Truth.
Jerry Mazza and I recently reflected on The Toronto Hearings during a conversation between us on “The Real Deal”, the radio program I host on M/W/F from 5-7 PM/CT. He resides in New York and has frequently written about 9/11. In 9/11 Truth splits its impact he raises the question of “whose bright idea it was to take some of the best minds of the 9/11 Truth Movement and go to Toronto to conduct International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001. Its linked position paper reads like a statement restating the now obvious findings of the last decade.” He thought that 9/11 (or a substantial part of it, at least) had happened in New York and deserved the whole of 9/11 Truth’s presence. But it was not to be. The ceremonies at “Ground Zero”, astonishingly enough, excluded the survivors of those who died that day and even the first responders! If a miscarriage of justice of this magnitude can take place in New York, perhaps I should not be surprised that events in Toronto were at least equally disconcerting. The nation and the world has been subjected to an elaborate hoax, a staged event replete with Hollywood-style special effects, which is not going to be exposed by half-hearted efforts by the 9/11 movement to stage events of its own that, like those of 9/11, were used to achieve political objectives and manipulate the opinion of the public. I am sorry to say it, but the dead deserved far better.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
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