| Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
On September 11, 2001, the Islamist terrorist organization al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, executed a plan in which a group of nineteen men,[note 1] mostly from Saudi Arabia, hijacked four passenger airplanes in order to crash two into New York City's World Trade Center twin towers, one into the Pentagon, and one into either the Capitol Building or the White House. The first three succeeded, but the fourth crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. While all 44 on board died, the goal was to fly either into the White House or U.S. Capitol, and obviously didn't.
The death toll has been established at 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers, making it the worst terrorist attack in American and International history. While the international community condemned the attacks, some Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East viewed them as part of a legitimate jihad.[note 2] As a result, the United States invaded Afghanistan to eliminate al-Qaeda and bin Laden and remove the Taliban regime (in retaliation for harboring bin Laden). The U.S. military subsequently occupied that country until December 2014, making it the longest war in America's history.
Besides unspeakable horror, this plan also unleashed a plethora of conspiracy theories, especially after President George W. Bush announced plans to intervene in Afghanistan (at the time, harboring al-Qaeda's leadership) and later Iraq (which had no involvement at all in 9/11). 9/11 conspiracy theorists are collectively known as "truthers".
What really happened
As pieced together by government and civilian authorities, the story is that 9/11 was a follow-up to the failed Bojinka plot by al-Qaeda under the auspices of founder Osama bin Laden. On the morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, hijacked four planes out of Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Without giving away their intentions, they redirected the planes on kamikaze missions towards four American landmarks on the east coast: the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and an unknown fourth location theorized by some to have been the White House or the Capitol building (the last plane was brought down through passenger interference in an open field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania). The attacks resulted in the complete collapse of the twin towers (now known as Ground Zero), massive damage to one side of the Pentagon,[note 3] and the deaths of just under 3,000 people, some 400 of whom were police, firefighters (with 3/4 of the responder casualties), and EMS workers in and around New York alone.
Later analysis showed that the World Trade Center towers, constructed as a stack of floors anchored between the building's facade and a central steel girder cage, had much of their steel structure weakened (not melted) by large amounts of burning jet fuel, much of which had been atomized on impact. WTC 7, another tower on the site, suffered severe structural damage from falling debris, burned uncontrollably for over 7 hours,[note 4] and collapsed several hours later of its own accord. The Pentagon, where the impact site was in an area that had been recently renovated and not fully reoccupied, had heavy but highly compartmentalized damage and comparably light casualties. The cleanup took several months, complicated by the fire under the WTC debris and the need to recover corpses.
|Purdue creates animation of 9/11 attack (Purdue University)|
|9/11: As Events Unfold (TSA)|
Flights 11 & 175
Did explosions heard or seen in New York suggest that the WTC buildings were deliberately destroyed? This contention, known as the "controlled demolition" theory, claims that the WTC buildings (either WTC 7 or the entire complex) were brought down in a stealth demolition, similar to that of large buildings, and that many people had foreknowledge of it. The problems with this are numerous to say the least, and we'll deal with them in little bits.
The 9-11 Commission report didn't mention the collapse of WTC 7
Rebuttal: Many truthers, such as Swiss Historian Daniele Ganser, have pointed out that the 9/11 Commission report, which was supposed to deliver a complete description of all the events occurring on that day, omitted the news that WTC 7 collapsed a few hours later due to fire. Truthers use this fact to empower their theory that the U.S. government wanted to hide critical events that may look suspicious for the general public, and shed light on many of the other (apparent) inconsistencies of the events of 9/11, such as BBC reporter Jane Standley reporting live that WTC 7 had collapsed 20 minutes before it actually collapsed. Truthers generally think like this: because WTC 7 isn't even mentioned, it must be Bush who did it. However, this ridiculous claim's rebuttal is relatively simple: the Commission did not consider a collateral damage engineering disaster, which occurred hours after the attack, to be relevant. Instead, WTC 7 was covered in hundreds of pages of engineering reports prepared by NIST. Boom, baby! How do you feel now, Alex Jones? To sum it up: the 9/11 Commission report and the NIST reports remain reliable, at least for us Untruthers.
The preparations were made in secret
Rebuttal: This is pretty much completely impossible, as planned implosions require months of preparation, including tearing apart walls to place charges, removing extraneous material from the building, laying miles of carefully measured detonation cord, and the intentional damaging of support columns.
On top of this, the WTC was bombed in 1993, meaning that there were routine checks from bomb squads, including sniffer dogs. Not only would these explosives have to be laid at night in secret, but they would also somehow be able to beat animals specially trained to detect them. You cannot secretly prepare a controlled demolition of the two World Trade Center buildings containing 50,000 workers, plus extensive security systems and guards, working round the clock, without anyone noticing anything unusual. Instead, we should accept at face value what we all witnessed: two massive jets that slammed into the buildings, damaging the structures and setting off raging fires, and igniting more than 40,000 square feet of office space per floor in a matter of seconds, including furniture, carpeting, desks, paper, etc. You cannot control the area around such a raging fire to have the proper conditions to start a demolition.
Larry Silverstein wasn't in the Twin Towers on 9/11
Larry Silverstein, the new leaseholder for the WTC, had been going to the Twin Towers' "Windows on the World" restaurant (where there were no survivors) to dine and meet with his new tenants, as he had done since July 26, 2001. But on 9/11, he didn't go because his wife had made a dermatologist appointment for him. Many truthers also point out that he appears to be showing signs of lying in the interview when asked where he was on 9/11.
Rebuttal: Likely, he was indeed simply going to a dermatologist appointment. Out of the thousands of people working at the site during the day, many dozens at any one time would have been on vacation, off sick, or simply slacking on September 11 (a good half dozen well-known celebrities were involved in and avoided a potential end in the attacks). That one of these happened to be the owner isn't remarkable. There are plenty of important traders who did die in the attack; by the logic that one escaped suggests a conspiracy, the fact that many died should discredit it, right?
Also going against the idea of advanced knowledge is how Neil David Levin, the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which would presumably be "in" on any conspiracy), was killed on 9/11, while dining at Windows on the World, no less. If there was advance knowledge, why was Silverstein informed while Levin wasn't?
Silverstein's insurance "scam"
It's been repeatedly reported that Larry Silverstein had insured the Twin Towers a year earlier, and it's more than "coincidental" that this insurance covered terrorist attacks. Furthermore, Silverstein had numerous legal disputes that aimed to increase the payout by arguing that there were two separate attacks. To a first approximation, this was successful, and Silverstein managed to claim approximately $4.6 billion.
Rebuttal: What conspiracy theorists don't mention is that the towers' total cost was significantly more than this — the insurance value was way below what it should have been. Most of the legal wrangling after the fact was also due to the insurance contracts being incomplete. The total cost of the attack would be in the region of $7 billion or more, leaving a considerable loss once the relatively measly insurance payout was claimed. With too low an insurance value and less-than-solid contracts, none of the insurance-based activities seem to point to the actions of people who knew what was going to happen in advance. If it was an insurance scam, it was the worst ever.
We've already noted that the World Trade Center had already been bombed once in 1993 and that several major terror plots against U.S. landmarks had been uncovered since then. In light of this, an anti-terrorism insurance policy would appear to be an entirely logical purchase.
There is no evidence to suggest that the WTC "had been losing money for years", was "a disaster", or "under-tenanted", as the original story claims. In fact, the reality seems to be the opposite, as it was doing very well at the time of the attacks. There's no reason to believe the asbestos problems were unmanageable or that the WTC was a "legal and financial timebomb", either.
Bomb-sniffing dogs were removed from the building
The basic quote you see most often is (Newsday, September 12, 2001):
Daria Coard, 37, a guard at Tower One, said the security detail had been working 12-hour shifts for the past two weeks because of numerous phone threats. But on Thursday, bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed.
"Today was the first day there was not the extra security," Coard said. "We were protecting below. We had the ground covered. We didn't figure they would do it with planes. There is no way anyone could have stopped that."
Rebuttal: Note that it is extra security in response to the phone threats that was removed. The standard level of bomb-sniffing dogs was still present, and in one case, a dog was crushed when the tower collapsed. Even if all bomb dogs had been present, they would've had to notice explosive charges, which would've been implanted months before the attack. And there is no indication that the security detail saw anything unusual during the months leading up to September 11th.
WTC 7 was demolished by order of the WTC's owner
Rebuttal: This comes primarily from two miscommunications. The first was by the BBC, who broadcast an erroneous report that WTC 7 had collapsed while the building could still be seen standing through their studio window in New York. The second was an evacuation order ("pull it") that went out shortly before the building, badly damaged in the collapse of the main towers and on fire, collapsed of its own accord. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) 2006 "Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster" report, the reasons for the collapse of WTC 7 include:
Debris from the collapse of WTC 1, which was 370 feet to the south, ignited fires on at least 10 floors in the building at its south and west faces. However, only the fires on some of the lower floors — 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 — burned out of control. These lower-floor fires — which spread and grew because the water supply to the automatic sprinkler system for these floors had failed — were similar to building fires experienced in other tall buildings. The primary and backup water supply to the sprinkler systems for the lower floors relied on the city's water supply, whose lines were damaged by the collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2. These uncontrolled lower-floor fires eventually spread to the northeast part of WTC 7, where the building's collapse began.
... [T]he thermal expansion of building elements such as floor beams and girders, which occurred at temperatures hundreds of degrees below those typically considered in current practice for fire-resistance ratings; significant magnification of thermal expansion effects due to the long-span floors in the building; connections between structural elements that were designed to resist the vertical forces of gravity, not the thermally induced horizontal or lateral loads; and an overall structural system not designed to prevent fire-induced progressive collapse.
Although it wasn't completely obvious to the untrained eye at the time, WTC 7 had been seriously compromised by a 20-story gash in one corner facing Ground Zero, and by the time the evacuation order was given, it was visibly sagging. Conspiracy theorists have also tried to claim that "pull" is standard jargon within the demolition industry to fire off demolition charges within the building. Demolition experts have denied this, as the usual term would be "shoot it" or "blow it". "Pulling" refers to a procedure of attaching hauser cables to a building and using heavy vehicles to pull it over, something that would have been relatively easy for observers to detect.[note 5]
In a nutshell
The towers fell in their own footprint; if they collapsed from metal fatigue, they should have been all over the place
Rebuttal: While the idea of a giant building toppling over like a felled tree is popular in fiction, in reality, the structure is designed to bear its weight straight down and in no other direction. Throwing a massive building severely out of equilibrium would cause it to fall almost vertically, no matter what direction the initial force is applied from. (It is possible to fell a tall structure like a tree by selectively removing large amounts of support at one side or corner, near the base, but this requires a specific, well-prepared, overt demolitions plan and either the intent to do so or a horse doctor's dose of failure.)
In the case of the WTC, the upper floors detached and fell through lower undamaged sections, which can be clearly seen until they're obscured by dust and smoke. This falling mass would be too large for any one floor below it to stop or substantially redirect. NIST concluded that:
- The collapse was initiated in the impact and fire floors of the WTC towers and nowhere else; and
- The time it took for the collapse to initiate (56 minutes for WTC 2 and 102 minutes for WTC 1) was dictated by a) the extent of damage caused by the aircraft impact, and b) the time it took for the fires to reach critical locations and weaken the structure to the point that the towers could not resist the tremendous energy released by the downward movement of the massive top section of the building at and above the fire and impact floors.
Based on observations of the collapses as they happened and hundreds of experts' analyses of the building site and materials, the NIST could consider and reject other possible explanations for large buildings collapsing in their own footprints. The first is the theory that damage to the WTC floor systems caused their progressive collapse, known as the "pancake theory". The second is the theory that the Twin Towers were destroyed by controlled detonation. Neither theory matches the observation that each building appeared undamaged, except at its top, until it collapsed. The NIST concluded that damage to perimeter support columns initiated the detachment of the floors at and above the fire and impact floors, which subsequently fell into and through the towers. The claim that a building damaged by metal fatigue cannot collapse vertically does not square with observations of the collapses as they happened, nor the conclusions of experts evaluating the effects of physical damage to and the weakening by unusually high temperatures of critical building structures. WTC 1, 2 and 7 were not the first steel-framed structures to ever collapse from fire.
The buildings did not fall onto their footprints; they left substantial debris scattered across the entire WTC complex site, damaging or destroying almost all of the surrounding buildings, mostly with large pieces of the external aluminum cladding forced outwards by the descending mass of the floors. The damage to WTC 7 was actually caused by debris from WTC 1, 370 feet away. A controlled demolition would presumably try to avoid such behavior.
You can see flashes all over Building 7 as the demo charges fire off
Rebuttal: You can see flashing... sort of, but it isn't an explosion. What you see is window glass popping out as the floors collapse and compress the air inside. The sun is momentarily reflected in each pane of glass as it falls.
Thermite was used to cut structural members in the buildings
Rebuttal: This is based on a few pictures of vertical beams that had been sheared off by recovery workers. Although a thermite reaction is highly exothermic, it's nearly impossible to effectively channel it sideways to cut a vertical beam since it tends to pour straight down as it burns.[note 6]
Some creative truthers have suggested the use of "thermite straps". Given that thermite is generally a powder delivered from a cone-shaped cup, it's not clear that such a device is even possible, much less practical. This was later amended to thermate, a variation that includes sulfur, and appeared when there were chemicals found that matched what was found in the debris. However, such claims ignore the natural occurrence of these chemicals, do not match the chemical signatures found in the debris, and do not have corresponding traces of two major byproducts from thermate: aluminum oxide[note 7] and barium nitrate.
Moreover, the thermite reaction is highly exothermic. Supposed evidence of thermite use is the presence of unreacted thermite in the WTC debris. This, however, comes as close to falsifying the hypothesis of thermite use as one can reasonably get: any place containing significant amounts of elemental aluminum and iron oxide (unreacted thermite), yet not far higher amounts of aluminum oxide and elemental iron (the reaction products), can be safely assumed to be not even close to where a thermite reaction recently occurred. This criticism has been "answered" by claiming that the unreacted "nanothermite" is indeed merely a trace residue. But this would require attaching some 100 metric tons[note 8] of thermite to the WTC buildings' structure, in hundreds or even thousands of small packages, with nobody noticing. And even if that were true, the corresponding amount of reacted thermite has simply failed to turn up. Finding thermite educts yet failing to find the appropriate amount of thermite products turns the supposed "proof" of thermite use into a quite robust refutation of thermite use.
In any case, "unreacted thermite" is composed (in bulk) of elemental aluminum and iron oxide. Commercial aircraft contain enormous amounts of aluminum, and the WTC was an aluminum-clad, steel-cored building. Suppose an airliner crashes at high speed into a large steel-frame building, causing an enormous explosion, fire and building collapse. In that case, we can expect to find aluminum and iron oxide and aluminum oxide and metallic iron in the debris without any thermite charges being required to explain it.
Thermite would not be practical for the demolition of the World Trade Center. The thermite would have spontaneously detonated at well under 1000° F. and would not have been controllable; no signal receiving device could have survived the fires and continued to receive the destruct command.
A more recent truther claim is that traces of red-gray chips and iron-rich microspheres in the WTC rubble are best explained by thermite. This is held as their "smoking gun." A study of the dust from Ground Zero contradicts this: "There is no evidence of individual elemental aluminum particles of any size in the red/gray chips..." The chips are epoxy resins. More specifically, after further study, the red/gray chips were found to be Laclede Standard Primer by late polymer chemist Ivan Kminek, who demonstrated they have the same chemical composition, identical XEDS spectra, and nearly identical ignition point.
Explosions coming out the windows of the towers are indications of an explosive demolition
Rebuttal: When you squeeze an accordion what happens to the air inside? These side-jets of air and dust were not really explosions as such, but debris being expelled from the buildings as the floors pancaked on top of each other. There is a lot of air in a quarter-mile-tall office building, and when compressed, it has to go somewhere.
In addition, the Twin Towers were full of water in water mains, toilets, sinks, and beverage machines. Water heated to boiling temperatures expands violently, and expands explosively if contained. Water has a high heat capacity, which usually precludes rapid heating to boiling temperatures. Still, the heat of burning jet fuel will force water to heat rapidly to boiling, which causes explosions of such objects as unopened soft drink cans or whiskey bottles. Such explains many of the explosions that survivors heard.
Lots of things explode in fires: transformers, gas lines, water lines, air compressors, fire extinguishers, propane tanks, and refrigeration systems. An "explosion sound" is different from the high-brisance detonation necessary to cut even one 14" x 22" steel column of a major skyscraper (let alone 58–82 of them), which would exceed 140 decibels a half-mile away and be clearly audible from New Jersey. Meanwhile, seismographs picked up the collapse of the interior (preceding the collapse of the exterior frame), but no detonations. Regardless, such blasts would be loudly audible on all of the camera footage, seconds before the collapse began. There's nothing on the tapes. Here's how a controlled demolition really sounds like. Here are 12" steel pins failing, producing "explosion" sounds (at 0:40). In none of the videos of the fall of WTC 7 provide audio of a demolition. If there was a controlled demolition, you would hear a series of closely spaced, thunderous bangs.
The "pyroclastic flows" of dust indicate that explosives must have been used
Rebuttal: A pyroclastic flow is a movement of hot gas. In the context of a volcano, it is usually hot gases containing hot dust and other chunks spreading out. In this context, these flows were claimed to be the cloud of dust that dispersed during the collapse and when the towers hit the ground.
Aside from not being hot enough to qualify as a pyroclastic flow (see volcanoes and shuttle launches), most claims try linking it with the controlled demolition theory. The only thing this debris flow indicates is a fast vertical compression that caused air inside the building to push dust outward over a large area. The same flows can also be seen during controlled demolitions, but are usually much smaller than what happened at WTC.
It has been estimated that the total mass of sheetrock in the internal walls was on the order of 1000 tons (US). An enormous cloud of white dust is, therefore, not entirely surprising or unexplainable.
Molten steel was found in the basement seven weeks later, and jet fuel can't melt steel beams
There is apparently video footage of molten aluminum pouring out of the South Tower.
Rebuttal: There is no documented evidence of the presence of actually-melted steel at ground zero. The footage does not show real molten steel, but glowing aluminum. The melting point and glowing points of aluminum are two different things. The molten material noted in the 9/11 Commission report was "slag", not a molten metal. Most of the accounts of "molten steel" found at ground zero were merely references to obviously red-hot solid steel.
Additionally, AE911Truth likes to use images of fires as proof of molten metal, further diminishing its credibility. Even if they actually found "molten" metal, aluminum (which the planes were made out of) melts well under the temperature of jet fuel (pure aluminum melts at 660° C, jet fuel burns around 980° C going up to +2,000 °C). The mix of jet fuel, plastics, rugs, curtains, furniture, blinds, chairs, desks, and an enormous amount of paper may burn hot or long enough to melt aluminum. (This can be demonstrated by placing an empty aluminum soda can on top of an ordinary campfire.) NIST estimates that the fires in the towers reached at least 1000°C in certain pockets. The point at which steel weakens is 593.3°C, at which point it will have lost about 50% of its strength. Heated to 1000°C, steel will have lost about 90% strength. It was this weakness in the steel that led to the loss of the buildings' integrity.
Additionally, the melting point of steel is within the range of 1425-1540° C, well outside the temperatures recorded at Ground Zero in the weeks following the attacks. What conspiracy theorists fail to note is that steel thermally expands while it remains strong, and thus fire rapidly destroys uninsulated steel structures. Steel begins to lose its structural integrity (and red hot steel itself burns in air or in the presence of steam) at well below its melting point, or 700-820° C, well within temperatures recorded at Ground Zero in the weeks following the attacks. Meanwhile, molten steel is not typically found at the site of buildings that have actually been demolished using "explosives" to sever columns. Also, the first law of thermodynamics prevents even the super hot molten product of thermite charges from remaining molten long after thermite ignition. Therefore, whatever molten materials were observed at Ground Zero in the weeks following the collapses, that molten material was not initially present and molten at the time of the collapses (it began to melt after the collapses, not before).
That all being said, a 767 Family plane can carry up to 90,000 liters of fuel in its hull. It is estimated the two planes had about 28,000 liters left in their tanks, which is spread all over the hull from the wings to the fuselage (for ballast and balance control). The crash and shredding of the plane hardware caused the fuel to ignite almost instantly. Since it was not a controlled burn, it is likely to hit the highest end of the combustion scale at its core, causing simultaneous ignition of anything around that was combustible and severely damaging load-bearing pillars.
In a nutshell
Hysterical do-gooders ensured there wasn't enough asbestos in the building
This theory, proposed by Steve Milloy, immediately accepted by Andrew Schlafly, and also promoted by a Russian asbestos mine logo, holds that "Big Government", Nanny-Statism, hysterical environmentalists, lawyers, and do-gooders had ensured that spray-on asbestos was not allowed in the WTC buildings, thereby ensuring they were not adequately equipped to resist the fires that engulfed the structures.
Rebuttal: This is moot; any fireproofing there was blasted or torn off the core by the initial impact and explosion. Asbestos protection (of any kind) would've not only proven useless, but would have also been dispersed into the air when the buildings collapsed.
The buildings were full of asbestos, and this was the least expensive way to get rid of it
Rebuttal: This contradicts the previous claim. The argument is that if Larry Silverstein had removed the asbestos from the towers in the proper fashion, it would have cost him a tremendous amount of money, and officially demolishing the building would have been nearly impossible under New York City laws. So when he overheard that the powers that be were plotting to crash a couple planes into his towers, like any good tycoon, he sensed an opportunity (asbestos removal paid for by the government!), not a threat.
This is one of the few bases that truthers provide as a reason to plant explosives in a building that's going to be hit by planes: the towers had to go away completely, with no chance of being rebuilt.
The Empire State Building was hit by an airplane and survived; why not the WTC?
On July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber crashed into the 80th floor of the Empire State Building due to poor visibility. Some truthers seem to think that if a skyscraper survived a similar incident, the towers should also have.
Rebuttal: The two incidents were very different. Although it is smaller than the towers were, the Empire State Building is much heavier, being a steel-framed structure with movement-resisting bolted or riveted connections. This means that every joint resists bending moments and wind forces and the load from any failed/damaged columns can be redistributed, whereas the WTC's steel framed-tube configuration allowed only the exterior wall to resist bending moments due to wind. The Empire State Building's structure can redistribute loads from failed/damaged columns, but the core steel columns of the Twin Towers only supported downward loads.
The B-25 was a twin-engine World War II bomber that was much smaller and far slower than the Boeing 767 airliners that crashed into the Twin Towers. The B-25 is estimated at 9,750 kg flying 320 kph, versus a Boeing 767-223ER (AA 11) or 767-222 (UA 175) with a mass of at least 90,000 kg flying at 750 kph (or 950 kph) respectively. This would have given the B-25 40 megajoules of kinetic energy on impact. In contrast, the AA 11 and UA 175 would have delivered 2 gigajoules and 3 gigajoules, respectively, resulting in at least 50 times the kinetic energy on impact. Furthermore, the B-25 carried way less fuel than a modern airliner, which incidentally can carry about one-twentieth the energy of a Hiroshima bomb (yes, that is pretty incredible). Finally, the fire in the Empire State Building was different than in the World Trade Center, and the FDNY was able to extinguish it before it got out of control.
There was a nuke in the basement
Rebuttal: No, there wasn't.
None of the essential characteristics of a nuclear detonation (intense flash, thermal pulse, observable radial shockwave, emission of nuclear radiation, electronic devices being fried by EMPs, etc.) were exhibited during the event. If they were, the physics departments of NYU, Columbia, Stuyvesant High School, and every other school in the area would have been all over that with Geiger counters, and most of Lower Manhattan would be wiped off the map. (Also, to put it in perspective, the 1988 PEPCON explosion in Nevada was less than a tenth of the size of the 1945 Little Boy explosion in Hiroshima, and not even half the size of the fizzled 2006 North Korean nuclear test. That'd have to be one hell of a small nuke,[note 9] and it doesn't even begin to take into account that the tower collapses started from the impact sites, not the basement.)
The shockwave also would have easily registered on seismic counters worldwide that listen for nuclear testing.
China was involved
A book has been published suggesting that the Chinese government was complicit with the Taliban attack of 9/11. China allegedly used Bin Laden as a surrogate to attack the United States. Various events were cited, problems with an American surveillance plane earlier in 2001, a Chinese transport plane coincidentally or otherwise landed in Kabul on the actual day of the 9/11 attacks, the WND suggested Chinese aircraft assisted the Taliban.
theory conjecture put forward by Dr. Judy Wood claims that as the planes hit the towers, they were also hit by an energy weapon FROM SPAAAAACE!!! Also known for coining the term "dustification". Pseudoscientist Richard Hoagland was so enamored of this ass-pull he went to a conference in Amsterdam in April 2011 to deliver a lecture about Wood's theory for over two hours. He didn't have permission from Wood, and acknowledged her only briefly.[note 10]
On the thirteenth anniversary of the attack, Wood guested on Coast to Coast AM, reiterating her contention that the towers were "dustified". Even George Noory showed a little impatience when Wood said, "Well, are the towers still there or aren't they?" Noory replied, "Are we being silly now?"
Rebuttal: This whole idea is so absurd that another truther debunked it.
There is no conclusive video evidence that any aircraft hit the Pentagon
The one video camera on the scene that was actually trained on the crash site was a time-lapse camera that flipped from a vague shot of the beginning of something incoming to a full-blown explosion. 9/11 truthers have argued that, without a direct image of an airplane in the security footage, it can't be proven that what hit the Pentagon was actually a plane. They back up this claim by saying that there was no plane visible in post-crash pictures, basically taking "pics or it didn't happen" way too seriously. This theory's adherents are sometimes called
"no-brainers" "no-planers", though that term has generally come to be associated with the biggest cranks in the movement who believe that no planes hit the WTC either.[note 11]
Rebuttal: There were six frames from a security camera showing impact released after an FOIA request. Furthermore, there is photographic evidence of wreckage on the scene and eyewitness accounts of plane wreckage and damage consistent with a plane crash. Essentially, the problem for no-planers is that the plane did not just hit the outside of the Pentagon, but actually penetrated some distance into the structure, some of which even collapsed on top of the plane. Numerous witnesses saw it approach, the plane's wings took out several light posts on a nearby roadway on the way in, and plane components were scattered all over the Pentagon lawn.
Also, although inconclusive (and "personal commentary"), a photo was presented on a 9/11 truther website claiming that the "round" debris observed was not possibly the wheel of the alleged jetliner. However, it clearly was, albeit stripped of its outer edge.
In any case, why would anyone expect a high-resolution video camera to be pointed at the exact spot where the plane hit? The intrinsic improbability of such a circumstance would make it direct evidence of a conspiracy, and no self-respecting conspiracy would allow evidence of its existence to remain.
The damage at the Pentagon is not large enough to have been caused by a passenger jet
Rebuttal: These claims rely on the remote assessment of non-specialists against the on-site investigation of experts on structural engineering. The Pentagon is a reinforced concrete building with blast-resistant windows. It was struck by an aluminum-skinned commercial aircraft that had already lost a wing before hitting the building: such an aircraft is mostly empty space, with voids in the wings for fuel and the fuselage for passengers; only the floor of the passenger compartment, the undercarriage, and the engine cores are particularly solid objects. The damage is consistent with this scenario: nobody but truthers would seriously expect a cartoony plane-shaped hole.
If people driving near the Pentagon who apparently were witnesses of the plane actually saw it, it would have blown them off
Rebuttal: Not proven and insignificant. (See rebuttal to the next point.)
Other evidence suggests it was a missile that hit the Pentagon
Rebuttal: The preponderance of evidence suggests that a commercial aircraft hit the Pentagon. An aircraft is known to have gone missing, the wreckage of the same aircraft was found at the Pentagon, and the damage was what structural engineers expected from such a strike. If the alleged conspirators went to this level of effort to create the illusion that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, why then use a missile? Using a plane would be simpler (as you already have one ready for the task), and there wouldn't be the risk of discovery. Further still, most cruise missiles have payloads that are actually quite small. The jet may well have more kinetic energy than the missile has explosive energy, and the jet also has considerably more energy in jet fuel than its own weight in cruise missiles.
The military would have scrambled to intercept
The US Air Force has planes that can hit Mach 3 (2100 mph) in moments. Why weren't they on the scene of the "missing" passenger jet planes?
Rebuttal: This is a charming conceit on behalf of people with a childlike faith in the US military, who cannot possibly imagine how bloated and inefficient an organization with nearly unlimited amounts of money can get. First off, the fastest combat plane in the US Air Force at the time was the Boeing/McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, which can hit Mach 2.5 tops, so wherever that Mach 3 came from is a bit of a mystery with only one unarmed high-altitude reconnaissance plane in the Air Force ever hoping to achieve that. Secondly, there were only a handful of squadrons on combat alert that day, and even that doesn't mean that the planes are fueled up, armed, and with pilots in them (bored out of their minds). Also, the speed at which events happened and the often conflicting information made it difficult to organize anything.
The United States Air Force (USAF) keeps its eyes on airspace outside the US, where there is ample time to scramble fighters to stop bombers from that vodka-drinking country: this is done using several massive over-the-horizon radar facilities called the Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS), with ballistic missile detection also handled by a dedicated radar network called the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). It falls to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the FBI to keep their eyes on American skies. Those agencies don't have planes they can scramble. Ever since this day, warplanes ready to defend against this specific sort of attack have been much more common: many of these conspiracy theories imagine the capabilities the US has now were in place then, even though said capabilities were established as a result of 9/11. Upgrades to tracking capabilities have also been put in place, allowing the FAA and NORAD to more readily know when something is wrong and intercept quicker.
Furthermore, in the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet, in October 1999. With passengers and crew unconscious from cabin decompression, the plane lost radio contact but remained in transponder contact until it crashed. Even so, it took an F-16 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the stricken jet—rules in effect back then, and on 9/11, prohibited supersonic flight on intercepts. Before 9/11, all other NORAD interceptions were limited to offshore Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ). "Until 9/11 there was no domestic ADIZ," FAA spokesman Bill Schumann tells PM. According to officials from both agencies, after 9/11, NORAD and the FAA increased cooperation, setting up hotlines between ATCs and NORAD command centers. NORAD has also expanded its fighter coverage and has installed radar to monitor airspace over the continent.
Flight 93 was shot down, and the passengers did not fight back against the hijackers
Rebuttal: There were recorded phone calls, either made from cell phones or airplane seat-back phones, telling what was going on and about what was going down on the airplane. Cockpit voice recorders also picked up the sounds of fighting near the cockpit, suggesting that the hijackers crashed before reaching their destination because they knew they were in danger of being overrun. Furthermore, USAF did scramble two F-16s to intercept Flight 93. However, before 9/11, the Air Force did not have armed fighters stationed in the continental United States. This was a leftover from the Cold War, as advanced warning systems would have given ample time to prep fighters to deal with incoming threats from outside the U.S. Keep in mind that before 9/11, virtually all skyjacking incidents involving commercial aircraft were for the purpose of hostage-taking. This meant FAA believed that a skyjacked plane would inevitably land somewhere, allowing for negotiations with the hijackers. Using anti-aircraft weapons against such aircraft was not something that the government had even considered.
The two jets scrambled to intercept would have had no choice but to ram United 93 out of the air. This would almost certainly have been a death sentence for the pilot and would have been absolutely guaranteed to destroy the pilot's plane. The pilots returned safe and sound, their unarmed jets intact; hence, United 93 could only have been brought down by those on-board the craft.
The debris field is too big for the size of a plane crash
Debris was found at a different community called Indian Lake, which, according to conspiracists, is six miles from Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Rebuttal: The problem is that this is the distance by road, not "as the crow flies". The straight-line distance between the two communities is only about one-and-a-half miles. Debris kicked up in the air does not follow the path that Google Maps would find, but instead goes in a straight line. Ask any crash investigator, and they will tell you that debris from a high-speed, steep impact can stretch for miles if an explosion occurred (like when an aircraft loaded with fuel crashes).
Flight 93 flew past crash time
ACARS, the acronym for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, is a digital datalink system for transmission of short, relatively simple messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite. A network of VHF ground radio stations ensures that aircraft can communicate with ground end systems in real-time. VHF communication is line-of-sight and provides contact with ground-based transceivers (often referred to as Remote Ground Stations or RGSs). A central router determines the RGS to communicate with the plane. The ACARS log provides, among other information, the following relevant items:
- Time (day-of-month and exact universal time)
- Aircraft registration number
- Three-letter code of the radio ground station (RGS)
- Flight number
- Departure and destination airports (three-letter codes)
- Text of the message
- Name of sender
- Reception time in aircraft (month-and-day and universal time)
Apparently, the last successful communication with Flight 93 happened at 10:10, from an RGS located at Willard Airport. However, the crash time was 10:03 at Shanksville, which is nearly 500 miles away.
It was a neoconservative plot
- George W. Bush did it
- Dick Cheney did it
- Donald Rumsfeld did it
- Richard Perle did it
- Paul Wolfowitz did it
Rebuttal: The "new Pearl Harbor" quote was about modernizing the military and had nothing to do with declaring war. It stated that progress with modernization would be slow barring an event causing a seismic political shift; it wasn't a statement of intention to create one.
- Elvis Presley pretending to be a janitor did it.
- Goats did it
- Anonymous readers of this site did it
- Cyborg Hitler working with the Knights Templar did it! (There is proof, you know!)
As with any claim, the burden of proof lies upon the claimant. Otherwise, arbitrary statements can be paraded as fact as long as they cannot be proven false.
Powerful money/Bush family/military-industrial conspirers did it, all of whom needed a new war in the Middle East for various commercial reasons (oil, arms sales, real estate, precious bodily fluids, etc.)
Rebuttal: While it could easily be said that "they" used 9/11 to create an unrelated Iraq War, they did not blame the Iraqis, but al-Qaeda, which isn't really as convenient if you want to declare war with Iraq and not lose some friends. To quote Bill Maher, "[That Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks] is an absurd statement, because it contains the words Bush and knowledge."
It was carried out by Mossad to galvanize US support for Israel and destroy their enemies
Rebuttal: The story of Mossad allegedly telling Jews to stay home the day of the attack, or that no Jews died in the attack, both of which are false, brought this one forward (the most common of these claims is that 4,000 Jews were warned to stay home). However, as Bush was already one of the strongest supporters Israel has ever had, it is questionable why they'd need more of his support.
The idea that the Jews were forewarned may originate in the fact that 9/11 happened to fall at the end of the month of Elul, during the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, when observant Jews would have additional prayers at their morning prayer services and therefore would likely be late to work. However, given that several Orthodox minyanim (prayer groups) were organized within the WTC, it is unclear how many, if any, Jews were away from the towers due to prayer services. Then again, if Mossad had wanted to destroy the towers when there were no Jews in them, they could simply have waited a few days until Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, when practically no Jews would have been at work.
The other possible origin of this myth is anti-semitism. Oh! That's it! That's the one!
A former CIA operative confesses
In 2010, Susan Lindauer self-published a book titled Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover-Ups of 9/11 and Iraq. In this book, she claims to have been working with the CIA and DIA for years.
Rebuttal: Sources like Wikipedia do not mention these claims outside of the section dedicated to the book. Lindauer may not be sane, to begin with, as she was deemed "unfit to stand trial" after refusing to take medicine to aid with a mental illness. This position was reaffirmed two years later.
Bush allowed 9/11 to happen
Another version of the conspiracy theory is that although 9/11 wasn't planned or carried out by the US government, Bush was aware that 9/11 would happen and did nothing to prevent it. This theory's most high profile proponent is former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who says the Bush administration ignored warnings of a likely attack from al-Qaeda. However, this was to suggest (with considerable validity) that the Bush administration was incompetent in its pre-9/11 security preparations rather than to accuse them of intentionally letting the attack happen.
Rebuttal: It is known that Condi received a memo entitled "Bin Ladin determined to attack inside the U.S." on August 6, 2001, but this memo discussed the threat in a general way and made no mention of the specific individuals who carried out the 9/11 attacks. Nevertheless, this memo's existence, Bush's reported flippant response "you've covered your ass, now" and the fact that it was not declassified until years later have contributed to the aura of foreknowledge and coverup.
Freemasons/Knights Templar/Zionists/Skull and Bones/"insert secret fraternal society dedicated to world domination here" did it
This "argument" relies, primarily, on interpreting architecture and symbolism within US culture as indicating that a conspiracy was openly declared for decades and part of some unknown secret plot by an illustrious and secretive elite society that has been alleged to be anything from protean space lizards who have been ruling the world for centuries to a cadre of rich guys who hang out in the woods every summer. These often include references to the Twin Towers as being constructed as symbolic of Solomon's twin pillars, Boaz and Jachin (which is an important symbol in Freemasonry and other esoteric literature such as tarot cards). Various premonitory events such as The Simpsons featuring a picture of the twin towers with the number 9 next to it or The Dude in The Big Lebowski signing "September 11th" on a check are cited to "prove" that someone has been secretly dropping clues for decades that 9/11 was going to happen. Other alleged examples include the pilot episode of The X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen, which deals with the titular characters preventing such an apparent false flag event and aired six months before the attack. Unlike other conspiracy theories, these theorists do not typically reference the actual events surrounding 9/11 but instead point out symbolic indications claiming that it was "foretold."
Rebuttal: As with all forms of pareidolia and confirmation bias pointing out examples where the Twin Towers show up is not evidence given that the Twin Towers were, in and of themselves, highly recognizable buildings, and, therefore likely to be included in multiple forms of literature, especially when referencing New York City. Additionally, it seems highly unlikely that anyone plotting mass murder on the scale witnessed during the WTC attacks will tell anyone about it in advance.
Building six is missing its interior
A claim made in 2013 is that building six is missing its interior, but its walls are intact.
28 classified pages
There are 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 that are still classified; it is said that among the information contained in the documents (by those who viewed them) is which country played a role in complicity to the attacks. A bipartisan bill, House Resolution 428, proposes to declassify these documents. It would be overdue by President Obama, who promised this to the victims' families back in 2008.
Saddam did it!
By far the most destructive of all of the conspiracy theories, and somehow the only one that's not consistently referred to as a conspiracy theory, even though it literally is.
The reality is there was mutual hatred between Al-Qaeda and Saddam, with the former openly offering their services to Saudi Arabia before the 1991 Gulf War, and the latter having his relations with Saudi (and their proxies) permanently soured by Saudi's participation in said war. Furthermore, Saddam's society was ruthlessly anti-Islamist, cracking down on all forms of political Islam within the country and responding with torture and mass executions when they emerged. The society was also secularized to a large extent, with Saddam abolishing shariah courts and allowing very un-Islamic institutions such as breweries and distilleries to thrive in Iraq. Saddam, in fact, once joked that Iraq's national drink was Johnny Walker Blue Label. Therefore, ideologically and in practice, Saddam and his Baathist comrades were diametrically opposed to Al-Qaeda's extremist Salafism. Bin Laden spent a not-insignificant amount of time condemning Saddam, remarking "the land of the Arab world, the land is like a mother, and Saddam Hussein is fucking his mother" to his biographer. Bin Laden also supported extremist groups in Iraq's Kurdish regions, such as Ansar al-Islam and its predecessor, the Kurdistan Islamic Movement. This was all well known in intelligence circles, yet the idea of Saddam's connection to Al-Qaeda and 9/11 was relentlessly pushed by the Bush Administration in the run-up to the Iraq war.
In the end, even the CIA and Pentagon were forced to admit that no link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda existed, with Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff remarking to Voice of America: "Saddam Hussein had his agenda and al-Qaida had its agenda, and those two agendas were incompatible. And so if there was any contact between them, it was a contact that was rebuffed rather than a contact that led to meaningful relationships between them."
Yet more damning were statements from National Security Council counter-terrorism directors Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, who said: "The administration pressed its case for war most emphatically by arguing that U.S. national security was imperiled by Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda. The argument had the obvious virtue of playing to the public's desire to see the war on terrorism prosecuted aggressively and conclusively. Yet, scant proof of these links was presented. The record showed a small number of contacts between jihadists and Iraqi officials. This was treated as the tip of an unseen iceberg of cooperation, even though it fell far short of anything that resembled significant cooperation in the eyes of the counter-terrorism community—as it always had. No persuasive proof was given of money, weaponry, or training being provided."
Iran is behind the Truther conspiracy
Abu Suhail, an al-Qaeda member and writer, denounced the "Inside Job" theory as a lie perpetrated by the Iranian government to undermine perceptions of al-Qaeda's global presence and effectiveness as a fighting force against the West. Funny that the conspirators themselves have been motivated to fight the Truther movement, believing the Truthers have stolen their thunder.
The Plasco Building collapse must have been a controlled demolition, too
Truthers had it pretty easy from 2001–2016, with everyone agreeing that no steel skyscraper had ever collapsed due to fire before 9/11. But when the Plasco Building in Tehran, Iran, collapsed to the ground in January 2017, things got a little awkward for conspiracy believers. The 9/11 profiteering group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth was forced to immediately put out a press release, hilariously suggesting that Plasco, too, could have been a controlled demolition. Well, the collapse was investigated, and shockingly, that case was actually a collapse due to fire, too… who knew? Keep hope alive!
Though it is true that no tall steel frame buildings ever collapsed due to fire alone before 9/11, since then, another tall steel frame building has. On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint. Gravity increases the force of a falling object by a factor of 3[degrees] for a single collapsing floor, and collapsing buildings have nowhere to go but straight down. Other types of steel frame structures have also collapsed due to fire.
Several al-Qaeda members conspired to hijack some planes and attack some buildings
Rebu... okay, we'll give you that one.
Al-Qaeda first denied, then accepted responsibility
Al-Qaeda had become a suspect for the attack within the day of the attack because of the 1998 Embassy bombings and some intercepted phone calls. Taliban was threatened with war if it does not extradite Bin Laden. At this point, Osama Bin Laden denied responsibility, hoping that the USA will go away. The effect? Nothing. In October 2001, the USA initiated military hostilities against the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden and his organization took responsibility for the attack in October 2001 and in a letter to America in 2002.
Videotape of Bin Laden
A videotape found in a bombed house in Jalalabad, November 2001, showed Osama Bin Laden talking to one Khalid al-Harbi about the attack. In it, he says, 'The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them to go to America but they didn't know anything about the operation, not even one letter. But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes.' This, however, contradicts an email sent by hijacker Saeed al-Ghamdi to the 20th hijacker who failed to enter the USA, Ramzi bin al-Sibh. 'The first semester commences in three weeks. Two high schools and two universities. … This summer will surely be hot ...19 certificates for private education and four exams. Regards to the professor. Goodbye.' Certificates mean hijackers, exams mean planes, 'high schools' and 'universities' refers to targets.
An Internet phenomenon, Loose Change, an amateur documentary advocating 9/11 conspiracy theories, was a huge hit on Google Video and beyond, and is one of the rare examples of an amateur Internet film to have made the leap to the mainstream media, going on to be broadcast in the UK. It advances many of the most popular conspiracy theories about 9/11.
False false flag operations
Truthers like to cite false flag operations that never actually happened or weren't actually false flags as "precedent" for the 9/11 conspiracy, though even citing real false flag operations would not constitute evidence that 9/11 was a false flag:
- FDR did Pearl Harbor!
- Rebuttal: Another conspiracy theory. See the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory page for a full debunking.
- Operation Northwood was a plan for a false flag attack.
- Rebuttal: This made it into the second cut of Loose Change, which alleges that a plan to blow up drone planes as part of a false flag operation to justify the invasion of Cuba is a precedent for a 9/11 false flag. This plan was proposed by a few members of JFK's Department of Defense. JFK and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara dismissed it as batshit crazy. If anything, this is a precedent for the president discounting such false flags.
- LBJ did the Gulf of Tonkin!
- Rebuttal: There were two Gulf of Tonkin incidents involving the USS Maddox in 1964. In the first, the Maddox did engage with North Vietnamese torpedo ships. In the second, the Maddox mistakenly reported itself as being under attack. This incident was massively exaggerated by LBJ to justify the Vietnam War's escalation, but it wasn't a false flag operation.
Problems with the "Bush did it!" theory
“”Within eight months of taking office, President Bush planned and executed the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil with the full cooperation (and unbroken silence) of the U.S. military, intelligence community, and airline industry. Eight months.
|—Mike Sawyer on what 9/11 truthers actually believe|
As aforementioned, the biggest problem is that for the Bush administration to enact such a vile plot and keep it a secret would seem to require a level of competence they never displayed at anything else. While there is some evidence that intelligence regarding the attack was ignored, that does not mean it was a nefarious plot. As Heinlein said, "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity."
The second problem is that if BushCo did stage the 9/11 attack, their failure to directly blame Saddam Hussein's regime is somewhat baffling since their alleged main "use" of 9/11 was to force the U.S. into war with Iraq.
Why use explosives?
Apart from all the problems regarding means and opportunity to plant hidden explosives in the buildings, there's also the question of the motivation for those particular means. Presumably, a "hypothetical" situation in which jetliners hit the towers, and no bombs were involved (i.e., the real situation) would have caused quite a lot of damage, killing many people and searing into the minds of Americans an image of two buildings attacked by terrorists. So why would the conspirators bother with bombs in addition to jetliners? (Alternatively: why bother with jetliners in addition to bombs?)
Truther answers vary. Only a few of their arguments suggest any relevant differences between the known scenario and what they imply would have been observed in a bomb-free one. One difference is that the towers fell straight down into their own footprints (as opposed to sideways, or just the tops flying off by themselves). Another is that their speeds approached free-fall. In short, we are supposed to believe that the conspirators would not have accomplished their goals without the buildings falling quickly and straight down. (Stupid gravity.)
This point does not apply to non-controlled-demolition conspiracies, but the CD hypothesis has managed to dominate to the point of being synonymous with trutherdom. Why? Perhaps because controlled demolition offers more hope of an un-dismissible smoking gun than the mere LIHOP argument ever could. (Any scenario where the buildings came down per the mainstream view is one that could only be exposed by a paper trail, confessions, etc., but physical evidence like bombs would seal the deal.) Ironically, though, it is almost the least plausible of the theories (though space-beams and hologram-planes show us that one can always find a wealthier stash of crazy somewhere else).
Of course, the "Why?" problem is not an ironclad argument even if it has no answer because (hypothetically) sufficient evidence in favor of bombs would confirm that bombs indeed had been planted. Say, if C-SPAN captured footage of a famously-sane Senator Jon Doe suddenly meowing like a cat, the fact that no one can provide a rational reason for his doing so would not somehow disprove the assertion that Smith meowed. Likewise, maybe the conspirators just like planting bombs.
In fact, maybe the bombs' purpose was to draw in the conspiracy-theory crowd like moths to a flame: any subsequent "truth movement" would be unable to resist making themselves look ridiculous by continually talking about something as absurd as redundant explosives! As phrased by a character in a truther-parodying dialogue in LessWrong, which satirically suggests that controlled demolition ideas are, in fact, an instance of "disinformation" by the real conspiracy: "I don't suppose we actually planted some explosives, just to make sure...?"
Filipinos discovered it first
The Philippine National Police discovered the plot of what became 9/11 in 1995, only to be ignored. The Al-Qaeda, who were testing ways for the terrorist attack to work out, was clearly the mastermind of it.
23 Sep 2010: "Delegates from the US and European countries walked out of the UN's General Assembly hall during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech when the Iranian president claimed 'most nations' believed the US government was behind the September 11 attacks."
9/11 conspiracy theorists, known collectively as "truthers", make varying assertions, including claiming the attacks were condoned by the U.S. government; carried out by the government as a false flag operation as a pretext for launching the War on Terror; claiming that Israel did the attacks to increase American support; claiming the attacks were masterminded by an international Jewish conspiracy; or claiming they were carried out as part of an ongoing strategy to bring about the New World Order or the Illuminati.
Common themes in truther thinking
A freakishly large number of truthers are shamelessly anti-Semitic, blaming various US neoconservatives (come on, people), property owner Larry Silverstein, and the Mossad for planning/covering up the attack. Many truthers also seem to think that a group of Ay-rabs couldn't have planned an operation this complex, a slightly (but only slightly) more subtly racist attitude reminiscent of Erich von Däniken, Orientalism and a host of other "[insert group here] couldn't possibly have done X (subtext: because they are too ignorant/uncivilized)"-claims.[note 12]
Technological illiteracy is a frequent theme as well — the invention of fanciful devices such as "thermite straps" to cut vertical girders, for example (thermite is very hard to direct and usually burns straight down), "quiet" explosives, very-low-yield nuclear weapons, and even undetectable holographic projectors (favored by some of the no-planers) all figure into theories put forth by truthers. Outright lying is not unusual either; for example, claims of no plane parts on the lawn of the Pentagon were directly refuted by eyewitnesses.
Truthers also seem to have a thing for digging around in the statistical noise, misinterpreting photo artifacts and other random bits of data,[note 13] and even taking operational jargon (such as the infamous "pull it" command that was used to order the evacuation of WTC 7) out of context, while avoiding things like the fact that steel doesn't have to melt to bend, that office fires can be much hotter than just a kerosene fire, or the fact that there was a 20-story gash in the side of WTC 7 after the tower collapses that seriously compromised its structural integrity. In fact, the entire truther thought process is very much akin to quote mining—who'd a thunk.
At the conservative end of the truther spectrum are LIHOPers (short for "Let It Happen On Purpose," in contrast to MIHOPers for "Made It Happen On Purpose"[note 14]) who believe US intelligence agencies had data on the coming attacks before September 11th, 2001, which the administration willfully ignored, but whose direct involvement was limited to (at very most) diverting defenses that might have interfered with the attack. Still dumb. The least indulgent of the truthers speculate that the 9/11 attacks were planned and carried out by Osama Bin Laden, a disgruntled associate of the Saudi Royal family, and a cadre of veteran mujahideen, and not a lone, nondescript terrorist who single-handedly hijacked and piloted all four planes to their targets.
A small but prolific number of truthers even go so far as to claim the planes were holographic.
Of course, some truthers simply don't like America and/or the American government and are very willing to believe anything that discredits them. In other words, they are just confirming their own bias.
- Pilots for 9/11 Truth is a 9/11 truther organization made up of "aviation professionals and pilots throughout the globe who have gathered together for one purpose. We are committed to seeking the truth surrounding the events of the 11th of September 2001." Oddly, and unlike most conspiracy groups, they claim not to "offer theory or point blame" in their pursuit of the truth, and as a result leave a void that is filled with every wacky 9/11 "theory" out there, including the contradictory ones, and those that are easy to prove wrong. The organization seems utterly convinced that United Flight 93 did not crash when or where the official report says it does and thus, this is somehow a sign of conspiracy, even though there is ample evidence to contradict their claims. They also seem to think that no true airline pilot would let themselves be stabbed to death in a hijacking.
- Truth News Australia (TNA) is an Australian media outlet dedicated to preaching libertarianism and a wide variety of conspiracy theories. TNA is mostly run by conspiracy theorist Hereward Fenton.
- Mike Adams
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
- James Corbett
- Mark Dice
- Jimmy Dore
- James H. Fetzer
- Yukihisa Fujita
- Mike Gravel
- Marjorie Taylor Greene
- David Ray Griffin
- Nico Haupt
- David Icke
- Alex Jones
- Laura Knight-Jadczyk
- Adam Kokesh
- Lyndon LaRouche
- Henry Makow
- Texe Marrs
- Cynthia McKinney
- Jeff Rense
- Luke Rudkowski
- David Shayler and Annie Machon
- Scottie Spencer of Smoloko News
- Mike Stanfill
- David J. Stewart of Jesus Is Savior
- Jesse Ventura
- Judy Wood
Department of foreign ignorance
In a 2011 survey of 15- to 30-year-old men in Afghanistan's Kandahar and Helmand provinces by the International Council on Security and Development, 92% of those interviewed said they had never heard of "this event which the foreigners call 9/11." Perhaps they would answer otherwise if the event was described to them.
Other events that happened on September 11th
- 1683 - The Battle of Vienna was fought between 11-12 September 1683, between the Ottoman Empire and a Christian alliance led by the Holy Roman Empire. Andrew Schlafly of all people suggests that this is directly related to the events of September 2001, but fails to explain why the apparent Muslim conspiracy took 318 years to materialize. Also, why on earth would Fundamentalist Muslims care for the Christian calendar (the same applies for most of these anniversaries listed below)
- 1965 - Bashar al-Assad was born.
- 1973 - The Pinochet coup d'état against the democratically elected socialist President of Chile, Salvador Allende (who died during the bombing of La Moneda Palace, allegedly by suicide), which installed a brutal and repressive military dictatorship in his place. You know, the one that right-wing "libertarians" are continually obsessing over with those "free helicopter ride" memes.
- 2001 - Albums released on the day of the attacks include Bob Dylan's Love and Theft, Nickelback's Silver Side Up, Jay-Z's The Blueprint, Slayer's God Hates Us All, Nick Lowe's The Convincer, and Ben Folds' Rockin' the Suburbs. The original release of prog-rock group Dream Theater's live album Live Scenes from New York also occurred the day of the attacks and had a piss-take on the Sacred Heart referred to as the Flaming Apple, which included the Twin Towers. Yesterdays New Quintet released their debut LP, AnglesWithoutEdges, produced by Madlib, on September 11th, 2001. New York anti-folk group The Moldy Peaches' self-titled album, which coincidentally contained the track "NYC's Like a Graveyard", was also released this day.
- 2009 - 21st of Ramadan, a significant Muslim holy day in commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Ali, happened to be on September 11th in the year 2009.
- 2012 - The 2012 Benghazi attack, which left 4 Americans dead (including an ambassador) that day, and years of manufactroversy afterward.
- 2001 Clear Channel memorandum — the lame-ass corporate response
- Badger's Law, of which the Truther movement is an example
- Cognitive infiltration
- Ground Zero mosque
- Journal of 9/11 Studies
- Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory
- Point refuted a thousand times (PRATT)
- Project for the New American Century
- USA PATRIOT Act
- War on Terror
- Ward Churchill
- See the Wikipedia article on the Bojinka plot.
- See the Wikipedia article on the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- The 9/11 Meta-Truther Conspiracy Theory, on LessWrong.
- The Encyclopedia of 9/11, New York Magazine.
- StoryCorps September 11th Initiative.
- 911 Myths. They're working on a wiki as well.
- Screw Loose Change blog
- NIST reports
- Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report, Popular Mechanics' well-regarded and very thorough article from March 2005 debunking conspiracy theorists' claims. (This was later expanded into a book called Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts.)
- Published Scientific Research on the Physics of the World Trade Center Airplane Impacts
- Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
- 9/11 Science and Conspiracy, National Geographic special
- Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, Anti-Defamation League
- Skeptic's Dictionary on 9/11 conspiracy theories
- Was 9/11 an Inside Job?, Cracked
- September 11th Conspiracies - What Do We Know?
- First-Responder Eyewitness Accounts of the Planes That Hit the WTC
- The Onion Predicted al-Qaeda's Frustration with Ridiculous Truthers
- Thomas W. Eagar and Christopher Musso. Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation. JOM, 53 (12) (2001), pp. 8-11.
- S.W. Banovic et al. The Role of Metallurgy in the NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Towers Collapse. JOM, Vol. 59, No.11 (2002), p. 22-30
- You Can't Handle the Truthiness: A Night Out with the 9/11 Truth Community, Skeptical Inquirer
- Final Report: Hulsey/AE911Truth's WTC7 Study Analysing AE911Truth's flawed study.
- Was more, dropped to 19 by the end. Even al-Qaeda has turnover.
- Some Palestinians celebrated the attack in refugee camps in Lebanon. Images of celebration from the BBC
- The remainder of the Pentagon held up quite well because at the time it was constructed, it was intended for use as a library, which requires a sturdier structure than an office building.
- WTC 7 contained several large tanks of diesel fuel stockpiled by New York City's emergency management agency, and the main towers were still on fire at the time of their collapses.
- Pictures of damage to WTC 7 and "pull it" explanation at Debunking 9/11. This video shows the penthouse collapse and uneven implosion that is not characteristic of a controlled demolition.
- Something would have to hold the burning thermite up — without itself melting or shattering at temperatures over 4000 K — for it to remain in any one place on a vertical surface. Such highly refractory materials exist, but they are quite expensive, and the procurement of large numbers of unusually-shaped items made from them would inevitably have been remarked upon.
- Large aircraft tend to contain sizable quantities of aluminum, and aluminum is a reactive metal that forms an oxide coating in air to prevent further corrosion. Also, the cladding of the two main WTC towers was aluminum. Not finding aluminum oxide in the wreckage would be somewhat more surprising, given it would require an enormous amount of already present material to have vanished.
- Under the unrealistic assumption of 100% packing density, this would mean about 24 cubic meters of thermite; including packaging, this would approximately fill up a 20' shipping container. But for proper reaction, thermite cannot be a solidly-packed block; it has to be a reasonably loose powder, meaning that the actual volume would be about twice as high. See Debunking 9/11 for the math.
- Sub-kiloton "suitcase" nukes may exist, though the facts on the matter aren't well known; even so, the decay products would've been easily detectable.
- The audio of Hoagland's Amsterdam performance has since been deleted, but the lecture info can be found on this crazy site.
- See conspiracy theorist Eric Salter's "A Critical Review of WTC 'No Plane' Theories" for an overview of these theories. (Again, some truther material is too nuts even for fellow conspiracy theorists.)
- Similar examples include various claims about this or that civilization being "white", "black" or from some particular country as "the natives" obviously couldn't have built the pyramids or whatever (e.g., the ancient Egyptian race controversy, Clyde Winters or Hwandan Gogi)
- In one case, a truther showed a picture where he had apparently mistaken speedboats in the Hudson River for missile contrails.
- Both are entirely different from the IHOPers, who recognize that "pancaking" is a typical and expected result of skyscraper collapse.
- "'We Have Some Planes'". 9/11 Commission Report. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. 2004. See the Wikipedia article on United Airlines Flight 93.
- 9/11 Investigation FBI
- "Bush admits that Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11" uploaded by marky1dark on August 23, 2006
- WTC (demolition), 9/11 Myths
- Foreknowledge, 9/11 Myths
- 9/11 and the science of controlled demolitions: is there any scientific validity to the claims of 9/11 controlled-demolition conspiracists about the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings? by Mohr, Chris. Skeptic [Altadena, CA], vol. 17, no. 1, 2011, p. 28+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 27 Aug. 2020
- Larry Silverstein On Getting Hit By a Car, World Trade Center Timetable, New York Observer
- "Lucky Larry Silverstein and his Jewboys just happened not to go to work that day"
- 10 Famous People who Avoided Death on 9/11
- Neil Levin, Executive Director Of Bistate Port Authority, 46, The New York Times
- Windfall, 9/11 Myths
- Losing Money at the WTC?, 9/11 Myths
- 9/11/01: Heightened security alert had just been lifted, Newsday
- Tribute To Sirius, K9 Bomb Detection Dog with the the NY/NJ Port Authority Police Department
- WTC7 Pulled, 9/11 Myths
- Early report of WTC 7 collapse by BBC (Appears they got it from an incorrect Reuters wire.)
- Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation, NIST
- Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, NIST
- First time in history, Debunking 9/11
- 9/11 Debunked: Thermate Chemical Signatures Disproven
- Analysis of Red/Gray Chips in WTC Dust, American Academy of Forensic Science
- WTC7 Squibs, 9/11 Myths
- Audio Reference for Falling or Burning Things that Sound Like Explosions by Mick West of Metabunk
- WTC2 South Tower on 9/11 Molten Metal North-East Corner Purported evidence of a thermate reaction
- Molten and Glowing Metal — Metabunk (Jul 18, 2013)
- Debunked: AE911Truth's Analysis of Slag Residue from WTC Debris | Metabunk
- A "Molten Metal" 9/11 Photo - Is Just Burning Paper — Metabunk
- Studies of a Falsified Photo, Part 1 Shows how an image of molten metal was formed.
- WTC Molten Steel — 9/11 Myths
- Jet Fuel summary
- Performance of JP-8 Unified Fuel in a Small Bore Indirect Injection Diesel Engine for APU Applications, SAE International
- Melting temperature of some common metals and alloys
- Asbestos Fireproofing Might Have Prevented World Trade Center Collapse
- "Did Flawed Science and Litigation Help Bring Down the World Trade Center?"
- Russian mining firm puts Trump's face on its asbestos products: As US officials decide against banning product, producer Uralasbest puts Trump 'seal of approval' on pallets by Oliver Milman (11 Jul 2018 06.00 EDT) The Guardian.
- Fireproofing Blown Off Twin Towers: Report Details 9/11 Collapse in N.Y. by Michelle Garcia (April 6, 2005) The Washington Post.
- "B52 Bomber Crashes Into The Empire State Building"
- B-25 Empire State Building Collision
- Stanford scientist compares impact of World Trade Center attack to a nuclear bomb explosion by Craig Kapitan (9/11/01) Stanford News Service.
- Book says China involved in 9/11 attacks
- Oh. Play it cool. Play it cool. Here come the space cops.
- James Gourley's critique of Judy Wood's Space Beam paper
- Watch the upper right corner at 0:24.
- Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - Flight 77 Debris, Popular Mechanics
- Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - Big Plane, Small Holes, Popular Mechanics
- Government Admits It Was Only Behind Destruction Of North Tower
- Gates Concerned over Bloat in US Military Hierarchy in Europe, Atlantic Council
- F-15 Technical Specs, Boeing
- The First 109 Minutes: 9/11 and the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Historical Studies Office
- The 'chilling' 9/11 audio tapes: 5 takeaways, The Week
- Debunking 9/11 Myths: About the Airplanes Popular Mechanics
- American Voice 2004: Why didn't military jets intercept the hijacked airliner before it crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11? Institute for Local Self-Reliance
- Flight 93 Hijack Transcript, The Smoking Gun
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
- F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11, Washington Post
- Indian Lake: Plane shot down?
- Hijacking America's Mind on 9/11: Counterfeiting Evidence by Elias Davidsson (2013) Algora Publishing. ISBN 0875869726.
- Tanker fire destroys part of MacArthur Maze / 2 freeways closed near Bay Bridge, San Francisco Chronicle
- 4/29 Truth website
- "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century", PNAC, page 51
- Absent without Leave, Snopes
- Woman Accused of Iraq Ties Is Ruled Unfit for Trial Again, The New York Times
- "9/11: allowed to happen, given technical assistance to make sure it happened, but some claims of complicity are not true"
- Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush Committed War Crimes (May 28, 2014) Democracy Now!
- White House releases bin Laden memo, CNN
- Dark Secrets Inside the Bohemian Grove!
- Freemasonry: The Pillars of Solomon's Temple, MIT
- See the High Priestess tarot card.
- So what do you think the wad of cash stands for?
- Damn, 41 was monotone.
- Win every 9/11 debate with this one fact ! by BeautifulGirlByDana (Jul 23, 2013) YouTube (archived copy). The arrogance of the guy in this video is infuriating.
- 9/11's secret 28-page history, Al Jazeera
- The Twenty-Eight Pages, The New Yorker
- Al Qaeda To Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Stop Pitching 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (September 28, 2011, 9:46 AM) CBS New York.
- Tehran Building Collapse: Investigators Must Consider Explosives (January 20, 2017) Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
- Why 9/11 Truthers Are Obsessed With the Plasco High-Rise Fire in Tehran by Alex Weinberg (1/19/18 1:02PM) Gizmodo
- 9/11 and the Science of Controlled Demolitions: Is There Any Scientific Validity to the Claims of 9/11 Controlled-Demolition Conspiracists about the Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings? by Chris Mohr
- Piece by piece, the jigsaw of terror revealed: Al-Qa'edah leaders in prison (30 September 2001) The Independent (archived from September 15, 2007).
- Taliban defies Bush's demand on bin Laden (Sep 21, 2001, 01:00) The Irish Times.
- Usama bin Laden Says the Al-Qa'idah Group had Nothing to Do with the 11 September Attacks Interview published in newspaper Ummat Karachi, 28th September, 2001. Robert-Fisk.com (archived from May 16, 2008).
- Bin Laden denies being behind attacks (Sept. 16, 2001) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (archived from May 22, 2008).
- See the Wikipedia article on United States invasion of Afghanistan.
- See the Wikipedia article on Responsibility for the September 11 attacks § Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
- Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America' (24 Nov 2002 07.07 EST) The Guardian.
- See the Wikipedia article on Ramzi bin al-Shibh § Saeed al-Ghamdi.
- Destruction of the Maine (1898) Louis Fisher. Law Library of Congress.
- What I Learned from 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
- JREF tries to unravel the bullshit.
- The 9/11 Meta-Truther Conspiracy Theory
- "Philippines: U.S. missed 9/11 clues years ago", CNN.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 9/11 claims cause UN walkout, The Guardian
- 0:02 / 19:28 Conclusive Evidence 911 Planes were NOT REAL Mick West+Metabunk are disinformation agents by Anna Layloria (Dec 27, 2013) YouTube (archived copy).
- Their website
- Their page on United 93
- Like photos of its crash site
- As stated in their first section on American Airlines Flight 77
- Afghans Unfamiliar With 9/11, Survey Suggests, Huffington Post
- Profile: Bashar al-Assad. Al Jazeera.
- Store Honors Islamic Martyr, Snopes.com