by David Ray Griffin
Debunking 9/11 Debunking
Early in 2007, Interlink Books published my Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory . The stimulus for my writing this book was the appearance in August 2006—just before the fifth anniversary of 9/11—of four publications intended to bolster the official account by debunking the alternative view, according to which 9/11 was an inside job. The most explicit and well-known of these publications was a book by Popular Mechanics entitled Debunking 9/11 Myths .
My book’s introduction and conclusion dealt with the irresponsible way the press, including the left-leaning press, has dealt with this issue. One of their failings, I showed, was simply to accept the official reports — especially The 9/11 Commission Report and the report on the World Trade Center put out by the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) — as neutral, scientific reports. They thereby ignored the fact that the 9/11 Commission was run by Philip Zelikow, who was virtually a member of the US. Bush administration, and that NIST is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce and hence of the Bush administration (which has distorted science for political purposes to an unprecedented extent).
The book’s four chapters then demonstrated that none of the documents of August 2006 actually served to debunk the claims of the 9/11 truth movement. The first two chapters dealt with two documents—including a new book by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission — that tried, by creating a completely new story, to debunk the claim that the U.S. military’s failure to intercept four hijacked airliners could have occurred only if there had been a stand-down order. I argued that this new story was too inherently implausible, as well as too contradictory of previous statements by the military, to be worthy of belief.
The third chapter dealt with NIST’s reports on the Twin Towers, showing that they are political, not scientific, documents, because they ignore all evidence not consistent with NIST’s theory, such as testimony showing that massive explosions had occurred and that steel had melted—even though the fires could not have gotten even close to the temperature needed to melt steel (which means that there had to have been another source of energy).
The fourth and longest chapter dealt with the Popular Mechanics book, which discusses all the issues (the failures to intercept, the WTC, the Pentagon, and United 93). My critique showed this book to be filled with distortions and outright lies. Although the Popular Mechanics book has been used as the basis for two TV specials intended to bolster the official story—one on the BBC and one on the History Channel in the USA (which is partially owned by the Hearst Corporation, which puts out Popular Mechanics ) — the fact that the public is increasingly seeing through this book’s deceptions is shown by recent reviews on Amazon.com.
My book, although it has yet to be reviewed by a single mainstream publication in the United States, has been supported by well-respected political commentators from the left and the right. Howard Zinn wrote: “Considering how the 9-ll tragedy has been used by the Bush administration to propel us into immoral wars again and again, I believe that David Ray Griffin’s provocative questions about 9-ll deserve to be investigated and addressed.” Paul Craig Roberts, who was the assistant secretary of the US Treasury during the Reagan administration, wrote: “Professor Griffin is the nemesis of the 9/11 cover-up. This new book destroys the credibility of the NIST and Popular Mechanics reports and annihilates his critics.”
My book was even endorsed by a former senior official of the CIA, Bill Christison, who had for the first five years after 9/11, he admitted, studiously avoided looking at the evidence that it might have been an inside job. He called my book “a superb compendium of the strong body of evidence showing the official US government story of what happened on September 11, 2001 to be almost certainly a monstrous series of lies.”
Book reviewers in mainstream publications were evidently not moved even by Publishers Weekly . Although it had dismissed my first two books about 9/11 as “ridiculous” and “pure speculation,” it said of Debunking 9/11 Debunking: “All but the most dogmatic readers will find Griffin’s evidence — from the inconsistencies between NORAD tapes and the 9/11 Commission Report to rigorous exploration into the physics of the collapse–detailed and deeply unnerving.”
Another source widely used to determine whether a book is worthy of review is Choice , put out by the American Library Association. It has recently spoken, saying: “Griffin exhibits exceptional skill in detailed scholarly analysis. He concludes with a call to the reader, and all of us, to bring these issues into full public discussion and to expose the truth about 9/11, whatever it may be. Indeed, such ‘truth’ has certainly not yet been revealed due to extensive gaps and contradictions in official theories that he documents in detail.” Whether this endorsement will lead to any reviews remains to be seen.
In any case, I was motivated to put out the Revised and Updated Edition primarily because of new information about the alleged phone calls from passengers on the flights to relatives, through which reports of hijackers on the airplanes reached the public.
In the first edition, I presented extensive evidence that reported cell phone calls from the airliners, including the approximately 10 reported cell phone calls from United 93 (which crashed in Pennsylvania), could not have occurred, because the cell phone technology at the time did not allow calls to be made from airliners flying at a high altitude (Flight 93 was at 34,300 to 40,700 feet when the calls were reportedly made). I argued not that the relatives of the passengers had lied about receiving the calls but that they had been duped—by means of voice morphing, which is now perfected to the point that, advertisers brag, you can fool your spouse.
Even after my book appeared, Popular Mechanics continued to claim, on the basis of very weak evidence, that high-altitude cell phone calls were indeed possible (see the History Channel special, “9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction”). However, as I reported in the Revised and Updated Edition of my book, the FBI had in 2006 presented, as evidence in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui (sometimes called “the 20th hijacker”), a report on phone calls from the four airliners. According to this report, there were only two cell phone calls from United 93, and they were made at 9:58, shortly before the plane crashed, when it was down to 5,000 feet. When the FBI had to present evidence in a court of law, therefore, it would not claim that any high-altitude cell phone calls had occurred. (These two low-altitude calls from Flight 93 were, according to the FBI report, the only two cell phone calls made from all four flights).
The most well known of the reported cell phone calls from Flight 93 were four calls that Deena Burnett reported receiving from her husband, Tom Burnett. She knew that he had used his cell phone, she reported on several TV shows and later in her book, because she saw his Caller ID number. However, as I reported, there are now devices, such as “FoneFaker,” that will produce the person’s Caller ID as well as his or her voice. Deena Burnett and the others, I believe, were not lying; they were duped.
The most famous of the reported calls from the flights supposedly came from Barbara Olson, the well-known commentator on CNN who was married to Ted Olson, who was then the US solicitor general. Olson reported that his wife had called him twice from American Airlines Flight 77, stating that hijackers with knives and boxcutters had taken over the plane. Besides providing evidence of hijackers, this call also provided the only evidence that Flight 77 was still aloft (it had disappeared from radar and there had been reports of an airliner crash nearby). Although Olson went back and forth on the question of whether his wife had used a cell phone or an onboard phone, he finally settled on the latter.
In the first edition, I challenged this claim on the basis of evidence from American Airlines that their Boeing 757 (which is what Flight 77 was) had no onboard phones. After publishing the book, however, I became worried, because of some new evidence, that that statement from American Airlines, made in 2004, had referred only to their 757s at that time — that their 757s in 2001 may well have had onboard phones. So I published a retraction, saying that the claim was uncertain.
That retraction, however, evoked new evidence, including a statement made by American Airlines in 2006 that their 757s in 2001 had had no onboard phones, so that anyone calling out from Flight 77 had needed to use a cell phone. Barbara Olson, therefore, could not have used a passenger-seat phone. That left open, of course, the possibility that Ted Olson was correct when he said that his wife had used her cell phone.
However, the evidence from the Moussaoui trial ruled out this possibility. In its report on AA 77, it listed one attempted call from Barbara Olson, which was “unconnected” and hence lasted “0 seconds.”
This was an astounding discovery. The FBI is part of the Department of Justice. And yet it had undercut the testimony of the DOJ’s former solicitor general, saying in effect that the two calls that he reported had never happened. The implication is that unless Ted Olson had, like Deena Burnett, been duped, he had lied. Although this should have produced front-page headlines, it has thus far not been reported by any mainstream publication.
The Revised and Updated Edition of “Debunking 9/11 Debunking” provides the documentation for these reports from American Airlines and the FBI, which pretty thoroughly undermine the idea that any of the reported calls were genuine: If the cell phone calls were faked, why should we believe that the reported calls from onboard phones were genuine?
This new edition also contains more quotations from former military officers calling the official conspiracy theory impossible.
It also contains a report on Rudy Giuliani’s problematic response to a group of activists who asked him, with camera running, how he knew that the Twin Towers were going to collapse. (He had told Peter Jennings on ABC News on 9/11 itself that he had been warned.) Given the fact that he Giuliani is currently the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, evidence that he had inside information on the collapse of the towers—an event for which there was no historical precedent—should certainly be investigated.
This new edition has garnered some further endorsements. I was especially pleased to get one from former CIA case officer Robert Baer (the author of See No Evil , which inspired the movie Syriana ), because he had written a critical review of my first book, The New Pearl Harbor . Having more recently, like Bill Christison, become convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, he wrote: “Until we get a complete, honest, transparent investigation–not one based on ‘confession’ extracted by torture — we will never know what happened on 9/11. David Griffin will never let this go until we get the truth.”
Also, hoping that my new book would be found even more convincing than my earlier ones, I was very pleased to see that John Whitbeck, an international law specialist, had written: “After reading David Ray Griffin’s previous books on the subject, I was over 90% convinced that 9/11 was an inside job. Now, after reading Debunking 9/11 Debunking , I am, I regret to say, 100% convinced.”
The implications of this conclusion are, of course, enormous. But will you see the evidence for this conclusion discussed in the mainstream press? Don’t hold your breath.
John Stokes (firstname.lastname@example.org), executive managing international news editor at The Canadian, invited this commentary. Bravo, AgoraCosmopolitan, for posting Dr. Griffin’s piece on the front page, and continuing to publish the truth.
About the author:
David Ray Griffin, who has published 33 books, is emeritus professor of philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University.
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