Friday, September 08, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy Theorist's "Continuing Status" Blown up by Thermite!

The fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will soon be here. The events of that obscenely tragic day on American soil still to this day affect me in ways that are almost too personal to express. Anger, horror, grief, determination, and vigilance are just a very few of the words I would use to describe my feelings about 9/11. Outright fury, however, I reserve for the conspiracy theorists, leeches who have used 9/11 as yet another hitching post on their road to "exposing" global clandestine cabals whose invisible tentacles reach into the corridors of the very highest levels of the the U.S. government. For them, no fact based upon rigorous investigation can dissuade them from their dogmatic belief that some nefarious faceless conspiracy pulls all the strings. To them, 9/11 is just another historical event to display their mental prowess of seeing behind the curtain by vomitting out their ill-thought out theories upon the ignorant public.

I've recently finished the book Debunking 9/11 Myths by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, the editors of Popular Mechanics. One of the myths that fuel conspiracy buffs is the idea that the World Trade Center towers could not have collapsed from just the damage from the plane impacts, and the resultant fires. They had to be brought down by timed explosives, like those used in a planned demolition. The two facts they often cite are: jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel; and the presence of molten steel in the debris after the towers fell. Now, most conspiracy hounds are not trained scientists (the great effort it takes to ignore sustainable and reproducible facts tends to be a limiting factor for such a population), but this particular theory had a fully tenured professor of Physics at BYU as a feather in its cap, Steven Jones, the co-founder of "Scholars for the 9/11 Truth." Debunking 9/11 deftly disproves this theory (read it for yourself, or visit the website for the baloon-puncturing details), but that didn't stop Dr. Jones from publishing his "findings" in the book 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out. Now that book has gotten Dr. Jones into trouble with BYU, while their academic review board investigates whether his actions violate the provisions of his tenure. In a statement to The Desert Morning News in Salt Lake Utah:

BYU is "concerned about the increasingly speculative and accusatory nature of these statements by Dr. Jones...BYU remains concerned that Dr. Jones’ work on this topic has not been published in appropriate scientific venues."

A comment out of the University of Utah:

At the University of Utah, Physics Department Chairman Pierre Sokolsky said destruction of the towers typically would be a field within the expertise of engineers.
“This is not physics,” Sokolsky said. “I don’t want to comment on BYU’s actions. But if someone in my department was doing this, I would find it disconnected from the academic activities of the department.”

It goes without saying, of course, that if Dr. Jones thought his research would stand up to the scrutiny of a peer-reviewed journal, he would have sought that avenue for his work. Where he did publish it speaks volumes for exactly the kind of "proof" he actually had.


H/T to my brother for pointing out the Dr. Steven Jones was caught up in the Cold Fusion Hoax from the 1980's. Unlike Stanley Pons' team from the University of Utah where their research was completely fabricated, Jones' research methodology was regarded to be more theoritically thorough, but did have some experimental errors in it.

Update II:

According to the story in The Desert Morning News, BYU doesn't grant tenure to its professors, but confers a "Continuing Status" to professors who have performed well for over 6 years. I regret the error.


Rabbit said...

Very interesting.
I didn't know you had a blog til you plugged it.
Please link your blog to the roll at DHD.

Southern Fried Yankee said...

That is very interesting Petra and scarey. I thought Popular Mechanics had stomped all of those crazee conspiracy theoroists. I guess teh crazee lives on in academia. Thanx for the insight.

Chell said...

Thoughts of that black day are always with us as we both reflect on the lives lost and change the way we live based on it. And with the date coming up again there are even stronger reminders of the awful details, enough to keep the raw initial emotions fresh and wrenching at the heart.

I'm not a conspiracy buff, but will ask questions when necessary. Someone had pointed me to a picture a while back, a frame in the footage of the attack on the towers. Wish I still had the link, but new OS, no old bookmarks. Anyway, one of the smaller buildings that hadn't been hit, one at the base of a tower seemed to be either blowing up or collapsing even before the tower. What was that? It's troubled me for a long time, and you just might have the expertise to make me go, "ahhh, I seeee." Also, and this isn't directly related to the tower collapse, but what do you think about the fact that Bin Laden's family was allowed to leave this country following the attack? Those two things haunt me.

Great post. Very interesting read.

Petrarchan Motif said...

Hey all - thanks for stopping by.

Rabbit - I'll ask Sinner about your suggestion. It's up to him who ends up on the blogroll on DHD. I must admit that some of the blogs on the list don't change content very often, so perhaps a Sinner needs to look at the list again. Maybe mine will make the grade?

SFY - teh Crazee® was made for academia. I imagine we'll see more stories about tenured professor being scrutinized for their extracurricular activities. Steven Jones, Ward Churchill, the holocaust denier Arthur Butz out of Northwestern, and another 9/11 conspiracy buff Kevin Barrett out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison...the list is growing of members of the academy whose unhinged views are being exposed because of the internet. It's not just a tiny weekly newspaper with a circulation of 1000 that can find out about them now.

Chell - by no means am I an expert on all the 9/11 conspiracies, but the 2 instances you mentioned have been explained some time ago. When the planes hit the towers, heavy debris, like the engines and the landing gear, from the jets slammed right through the towers and out the other side. One of the mostly intact engines landed right on the roof of a 5 or 7 story building (I forget how tall it was) about 300 ft from the WTC complex. That building later completely fell. No great mystery about it. The other bit about the bin Laden family, there were quite a few errant reports immediately following the impacts, which is true of any breaking news story. The initial reports get corrected later, but the corrections aren't as publicized as the initial ones. The bin Laden family reports were part of the initial confusion, combined with clumsy press releases about it from the Justice Department and the White House. They were allowed to fly back to Saudi Arabia, and into that country's protection, after being interrogated several hours by the FBI. They also didn't leave the country until after the official order to ground all air traffic was lifted days later. This information came out slowly, but you also have to understand that the FBI was investigating the 9/11 attacks and certainly didn't want to tip their hand with where leads were. All this information is the Office 9/11 Commission Report, but if one doesn't trust the official story, it is possible to find all the archived news stories on the internet about these topics where over time the true story was fleshed out.

Chell said...

Aaahhh... I see. :) Makes a lot of sense, what you say about debris hitting the building and news sources jumping the gun. I'll have to do some googling later. I still think we shouldn't have let the family leave. Period. After something of that magnitude we should have held them and made bin Laden make some move to come get them. Maybe that wouldn't have worked, as he's obviously a coward on a grand scale, but it would have been something.

Hosedragger said...

All the conspiricy stuff really gets my Irish and Scottish up. The steel did not melt. However, what it did way splay and warp, making them unstable and unable to withstand the weight above anymore. The Towers were built entirely different than any other skyscraper prior and it was this revolutionary design that sealed it's fate.

In a house, for instance, the rafters are no longer held together by nails. They are all held together by thin steel gussets. Direct flame impingement for 5 minutes in a common house fire will make these gussets "fail" after only 5 minutes causing the roof to collapse, thus one of the reasons we cut hole in a roof to allow for ventillation in the attic as well, hopefully staving off such collapse.

This is Firefighting 101 stuff. It pisses me off that these people know nothing about basic fire behavior, yet feel it necessary to not only comment on it but attempt to start a panic over this bullshit conspiricy stuff.

Hosedragger said...

Chell is refering to Building 7. That building WAS hit and actually had upwards of 25% of one section of it heavily damaged. It also had a fire burining iside fueled byall the ofice products as aell as diesel fuel from generators inside. Finally they wrote off the building. One of the guys in charge was heard to say "Pull it" meaning to get the firefighters battling putting it out out of the building and everyone to evacuate. This has been misinterpreted to mean they needed to detonate the devices inside.

The building collapsed due to the weight of the building no longer being evenly distributed due to the damage as well as the fire damage ruining further supports inside.

NOBODY destroyed any buildings on 9-11 except for 19 Islamic fanatics hel bent on killing as many Americans as they could to further a war declared on us by UBL in 1996 that was never taken seriously, no matter how many people were killed by many different attacks on our soverighnty, by the Clinton Administration.

Hosedragger said...

First, Bin Laden, Bin Laden's family disowned him and banned him from the family years prior to the 9-11 attack.

As for allowing them to leave, the Bin Laden family has hundreds of members, and they actually own companies in this country. NOONE was allowed to leave this country without first being scrutinized. NOONE was allowed to fly until after the airspace was once agained opened up for air travel.

The conspiricy asshole will never tell the whole story, and MIcael Moore did not relay all the facts concerning this.

There is a website you can find by doing a simple Google search for debunking Michael Moores lies on Farrenheit 9-11. I believe the list is up to over 60 lies told in that film and that one is one of them.

But to sum up, it didn't happen.

Hosedragger said...

I'll make this a simple annalogy. Let's say you have a 5th cousin. That cousin goes on a tri-state killing spree. Would you think it fair and/or reasonable for you, your immediate family as well as the rest of the family be held and put in prison for the actions of that 5th cousin, who doesn't even talk to anyone let alone has been allowed to perticipate in family events for over 5 years?

Petrarchan Motif said...

Hose - Thanks for stopping by.
In fairness to Chell regarding one of the buildings falling down, I don't believe she was referring to WTC 7, which, as you know, has its own special place among the conspiracy buffs. Some smaller buildings outside the WTC complex did get hit by plane debris, and early on (and perhaps even now)conspiracy theorists used a cavalcade of pics as a "See! Something other plane crashes were going on that day in NYC."

And as for UBL's family, we allowed those members who were in the U.S. to fly back to Saudi Arabia so that they could be protected by the kingdom - from UBL.