This is an attempt to address some of the anomalies - real, imagined and contrived - that have been highlighted by the 9/11 Truth Movement. It is by no means inclusive.
The basic premise of the Truthers is that the atrocities of September 11, 2001 were not committed by 19 men armed with boxcutters - as the saying goes - who somehow managed to thwart American airline security, said to be the best in the world, and then, necessarily sacrificing their own lives, attempted to crash the planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and either the White House or the Capitol, succeeding in three of these attempts and causing massive loss of life.
The bottom line of the 9/11 Truthers' claims is that "9/11 was an inside job". There is no single, coherent narrative, but the following claims are espoused by the majority:
that the whole episode was staged
a) as a pretext for turning America into a police state (a claim once made about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing)
b) in order to justify the invasion of Iraq, etc
that the hijackers were working for the New World Order, or some agency of government, that they were Arab Mossad agents, that the planes were not really hijacked, that a missile rather than a plane hit the Pentagon, or alternatively that a different plane hit it
that no plane or a different plane crashed at Shanksville
that phone calls made from this plane were faked
that it was not the planes hitting the Twin Towers but controlled explosions that brought them down
that Building 7 was likewise brought down by a controlled demolition
that the hijackers - or someone - left a trail of deliberate clues, eg Mohamed Atta's will
that these so-called devout Moslems were nothing of the sort, in particular that they drank alcohol, gambled and had sex with American women
that some government agency or agent planted a passport near the World Trade Center, a passport that could not possibly have survived the crash
that the BBC and others had suspicious foreknowledge of the collapse of Building 7
that Larry Silverstein was in on the plot
and so on. There is more, but life is short. It has to be said that some Truthers don't go anywhere near this far. One school of thought says the Orwellian conspiracy that controls America knew or suspected what the hijackers were doing but allowed them to go ahead with it in order to use the atrocity as a pretext to implement the aforementioned agenda of repressive laws and foreign invasions.
That is quite a lot to tackle, but there is one more thing, namely that anyone who doesn't accept these lunatic ravings or questions any aspect of them can only be a shill working for the government or some such. I have been branded so more than once, by one loony in particular who also ropes in the Kennedy Assassination, the death in Oxfordshire of Dr David Kelly (which his family accepts was suicide) and God knows what else.
My position is that although this is indeed lunacy, the Bush Administration did mislead the American public and the world, as did the Blair Government, in the aftermath of 9/11. In particular they lied, gratuitously, attempting to palm off at least some of the responsibility on Saddam Hussein, and all that business about weapons of mass destruction. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and far from controversial.
Was Osama Bin Laden responsible for 9/11? Almost certainly not, at least directly, but he may have provided some funds for it, and was certainly an inspirational figurehead for this type of terrorism. That is the extent of Western duplicity, although in view of the suffering wrought on American service personnel and the Arab world in particular since, that is surely bad enough.
Now, those anomalies.
There is a classic tale of the man who said all swans are white. Now, he sees a black swan, one, what is his position? If it can be shown that this swan is indeed black, has not been painted or something, then his position collapses. One tiny exception is all that is needed. Let's take this black swan analogy a bit further. In April 1981, Manny Carpel was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court for a politically related arson offence. Many years later, the same print works was targeted in another arson attack, so naturally the police went looking for Carpel. They found him in Lewes Prison where he was being held on remand for some sort of antiques fraud. This is what might be called a black swan alibi. Unless he managed somehow to jump over the prison wall, make an 18 mile round trip to commit the crime and get back to his cell unnoticed, or the equally unlikely scenario of several members of the prison staff colluding with him, someone else committed the crime.
The anomalies of 9/11 are far more improbable, for the following reasons.
This was not one event but a complex series of events that began that morning, that is without considering the preparations, which took many months. In any complex event in which there are - in this case - tens of thousands or more eyewitnesses, there will be a great deal of contradictory testimony. This is recognised now by courts and other tribunals the world over.
Eyewitness testimony can be both totally sincere and utterly compelling, yet wrong, sometimes with tragic consequences. I had a personal experience of this in April 1994 when I witnessed an attempted armed robbery at the Abbey National Building Society in Catford. The screens came down, and the would-be robber fled empty-handed. When the police came round to take my statement, they asked me what colour the guy was. White, I said. Are you sure? they asked. Apparently at least one witness said he was black. Now clearly there are light skinned black men, dark skinned white men, Chinese, Arabs, etc, but at the end of the day, at least one unquestionably sincere witness thought the would-be robber was black. The obvious solution is that here, one person (at least) was mistaken.
With 9/11, to this sort of thing we can add the testimony of cranks, mischief makers, mentally disturbed people, and so on. In view of the number of witnesses to the 9/11 attacks, it is a racing certainty that some testimony falls into this category, especially when one considers that in the 21st Century we are all a little mad.
The question is, do any of these countless apparent anomalies amount to a black swan which will force us to abandon the accepted hypothesis in its entirety? My contention is that this is not the case. However, I admit freely that I am unable to explain every single anomaly, nor should I have to. But just because I, NIST or any other individual, government agency, etc, is unable to explain every single anomaly, does not mean the 9/11 Truthers and conspiracy mongers are right and we are wrong. Note, I do not call these people conspiracy theorists, a much used and abused term, because there is a massive gap between a conspiracy theory and scurrilous gossip, on the web or anywhere else.
Most of the above apparent anomalies can be dismissed after the most cursory examination, for example, the so-called suspicious foreknowledge of the collapse of Building 7 was no such thing. This is a case of either Chinese whispers or a breakdown of communications, something that was totally understandable. Check out some of the many reports on YouTube and you will see that the collapse of Building 7 was neither a mystery, nor unanticipated. The people on the ground - firefighters in particular - had been remarking on the likelihood of its collapsing for some time.
Some of the claims made about this building are, frankly, ludicrous, none more so than the one that the conspirators released the news of its collapse prematurely. Why would they need to do so at all? Surely such reports could be left to people who were not in the loop?
The collapse of the Twin Towers and later of Building 7 has been the main focus of the conspiracy mongers, how could these buildings have come down so quickly? is one of the questions most frequently asked. The answer regarding Building 7 is that it did not come down quickly, except for the final collapse. The building suffered structural damage, and fires raged for seven hours before its sudden collapse.
I have dealt with the claims that it was a missile rather than a plane that hit the Pentagon and the so-called magic passport elsewhere. The latter of these is based on ignorance of physics; the former on outright lies.
The black box from American Airlines Flight 73 that hit the Pentagon that fateful day. A photograph released by the FBI.
The issue of thermate/thermite sounds persuasive to non-chemists, which is most of us, but it has been thoroughly debunked many times, including by this guy in parts 11a and 11b of his 9/11 Truth rebuttal.
Recently, one person who made a plethora of vitriolic attacks on me personally (and has now been kicked off the site), posted what he claimed was evidence of temperatures that could not have been generated by the fires that were started by the planes. There is what has been called the meteorite, which is said to be three or perhaps four floors of the World Trade Center compressed into a large meteor-like object. NIST has come in for a great deal of criticism for the way it has explained or attempted to explain much of this sort of evidence, the collapses of the three buildings, and so on. Most of this criticism is unfair, but some of it is legitimate.
The simple fact though is that never in history have planes of this size hit buildings of the size of WTC North and South Towers, then there is the speed and fuel to be taken into account. We are probably never going to be able to explain precisely what happened down to the finest detail. This was a unique event or series of events, and may it always remain so.
It would be possible, in theory, to build a replica of all the affected buildings in say the Arizona Desert, and crash planes into them so as to replicate as accurately as possible the circumstances of that terrible day. The cost would be exorbitant, though of course it has been done before.
Until we find that black swan, the smoking gun, call it whatever you will, we should not abandon the official version, however much rubbish we are bombarded with about Operation Northwoods, false flags, etc and ad nauseum, and however much we may despise, detest and distrust Uncle Sam, the New World Order, George W. Bush or International Zionism. The alternative scenario is so utterly fantastic considered purely from the logistics that no rational person should even consider entertaining it. Moreover, by continuing not only to defend but to expound such self-evident nonsense, the 9/11 Truthers do the enemies of big government, and genuine researchers a gross disservice by allowing those who have real secrets to hide to tar us all with the same brush.
I've said this before, but this really is my final word on 9/11 Truth. Further articles by me would simply entail debunking the same lies and nonsense over and over again. The bottom line is that the 9/11 Truthers have to do more than simply pick holes in the accepted narrative, they have to provide either the aforementioned black swan or a better paradigm with hard evidence. This has been done with another great myth of our times, but let's not go there.
One final thing I will add; although some of them are rational but misguided human beings - like Jon Gold - for people who profess to be investigating the most horrific crime on American soil in living memory and to be attempting to save us from the tyranny of the New World Order, some of them have what might be called a sinister streak in their personalities. I was kicked off the 12160 website without being afforded a reply, much less a reason, although this was obviously due to my having the temerity to challenge some of the nonsense about 9/11 it is peddling that clearly emanates from at best mystics and at worst dedicated anti-Semites. Also, some of them literally gloat over 9/11, none more so than David Ray Griffin.
To me this indicates that the Truthers are not really interested in truth, only in affirming this ludicrous religion belief; they will brook no opposition, not even the slightest dissent, which makes them in their own petty way every bit as authoritarian as the New World Order they claim to despise so much, and to be so resolute in opposing.