Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More 9/11 myths

In memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the casualties in the war against the terrorists since then, the Atlanta Conservative Examiner is addressing some of the conspiracies surrounding 9/11 in the hope that sanity will prevail and that Americans can once against unite against a very real and common enemy instead of wasting time and resources chasing phantoms. Six Georgians died in the attacks, eight Georgians died in Afghanistan and 124 Georgians were killed in Iraq. Let us honor their memory and the sacrifice of the thousands of other Americans and Georgians who served or were wounded in action by fighting the real enemy: Al Qaeda and radical Islam.

After the recent Atlanta Conservative Examiner article, “the truth about the September 11 attacks,” there was a lot of feedback, both from conspiracy believers and skeptics. Conspiracy believers pointed out several conspiracies that were not addressed in the article. Some of these other theories and claims will be addressed here.

A potentially explosive claim made by one conspiracy site is that the cockpit door on American 77, the flight that hit the Pentagon, was monitored on the flight data recorder and that this data showed the door was never opened. The site claims that the FDR data was obtained from the NTSB under the Freedom of Information Act and that the cockpit door parameter shows that the door did not open in flight. The site claims that this information was discovered eight years after the fact by an Australian researcher.

This claim cannot be closely examined because the link on the site’s page that purports to allow a download of the FDR data is a dead link. As a professional pilot, I can say that it is unlikely that the cockpit door was monitored on the FDR. Prior to 9/11, cockpit doors were not hardened as they are today and it is unlikely that they were monitored.

An acquaintance who worked in the training department at Delta Air Lines before and after 9/11 agrees that cockpit doors were probably not monitored. He suspects that the monitoring parameter on the FDR, if it actually existed at all, may have represented an electric mechanism that allowed the pilots to unlock the cockpit door without getting out of their seats. This mechanism could be monitored, but the door could also be opened manually.

He also notes that the sound of the door opening might have been picked up on the cockpit voice recorder. Unfortunately, CVRs only record for about 30 minutes. Additionally, according to the NTSB report, the CVR was extensively damaged and the magnetic tape inside was “fused into a solid block of charred plastic.” A photo of the CVR shows the damage from the crash.

Another claim is that Marvin Bush, brother to President Bush, was in charge of security at the World Trade Center on 9/11. This claim is easily disproved. The real head of security for the WTC was John O’Neill, a retired FBI agent. O’Neill was killed in the attacks. Ultimately, the WTC was owned by the Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J. so the Port Authority Police were responsible for security.

911myths.com goes further to debunk the Marvin Bush claim. Bush’s company, Securacom (later called Stratesec), did have a contract to help

install security systems in the WTC after the 1993 bombing. This contract ended in 1998 according the company’s SEC filings. Bush left the company in 2000, and despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that Wirt Walker, the firm’s current head, is a Bush relative. Even if Bush’s company had been actively working at the WTC on 9/11, it would be irrelevant since the towers were attacked from the outside by airliners. Additionally, the mere presence of a Bush family member is not evidence of any crime or conspiracy.

The conpiricists charge that the WTC must have been destroyed by explosive charges, claiming that it was the first time in history that a steel building collapsed from a fire. In particular, they point to Building 7, which was not struck by an airliner, and the fact that the buildings seemed to fall straight down, rather than to the side. In reality, no steel skyscraper had ever been hit by an airliner before. No steel-framed buildings had ever been left to burn for six hours without firefighting.

Charles Zimmerman, a Ga. Tech educated Structural Engineer, explains what happened: “Under normal temperatures, the bolted connections of the beams to girders or columns are simple shear connections and do not induce any significant tension in the bolts. However, under much higher sustained temperatures, the steel beams begin to sag like a cable, which introduces tension forces into the bolts in addition to the shear forces for which they were designed, causing brittle failures of the connections. If it is a girder connection to a column, it may cause an entire bay of floor beams to collapse onto the next lower level. The impact load of a floor collapsing onto the floor below is a dynamic load and is a much greater force than just its weight, because it is a moving load. This creates a collapse mechanism called "pancaking" which can continue all the way down the building with one floor collapsing onto the floor below, causing it to collapse, and so forth. While the loss of floors at some levels of a building reduces loads on the columns that once supported them, it also increases their unbraced lengths, which weakens their strength and their ability to support the floors above the removed floors. So the columns begin to fail at the levels [where] floors are lost and the entire building above begins to collapse.”

Zimmerman continues: “Where the fire was located on WTC 7, there were a number of collection girders and trusses to allow more open spaces uninterrupted by columns at lower levels, such that the failure of one of these collection elements due to the heat of the fire made it more vulnerable to progressive collapse. The Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was likewise vulnerable to progressive collapse for this reason, but from blast rather than fire loads.”

With respect to the failure of the Air Force to intercept the airliners, Col. Marc Sasseville, one of the first fighter pilots launched on 9/11, recently told his story in the Wall Street Journal. Sasseville was given the authority to shoot down threatening aircraft. The problem was that his aircraft, launched on short notice, had no missiles and carried only training ammunition. Sasseville decided that if he had to, he would try to disable a hijacked aircraft by crashing his fighter into it.

Additionally, there was not enough time to perform an intercept in most cases. According to the 9/11 Commission report (pp.32-33), in the case of American Flight 11, the first place to be hijacked and the first to crash into the WTC, there were only 27 minutes between the notification of the hijacking and the crash. United Flight 75, the second plane to hit the WTC, crashed 11 minutes after the hijacking was discovered. American Flight 77 went the longest between discovery of the hijacking and crashing at 32 minutes, but NEADS (Northeast Air Defense Sector) was only notified by the FAA three minutes prior to the crash at the Pentagon. United Flight 93 was discovered to have been hijacked 29 minutes before it crashed. NEADS was not notified by the FAA until after the crash. On all except UAL 175, the transponders were turned off by the hijackers, making it more difficult to track the planes. On UAL 175, the hijackers evidently tried to turn off the transponder, but only succeeded in changing it to a different code.

Another claim made on some sites is that the phone calls from the hijacked aircraft could not have happened because that technology had not been invented on 9/11. The reality is that phones were installed on airliners as early as the 1980s. As the planes flew lower to approach their targets, even personal cell phones may been able to make calls.

There are further holes in the 9/11 conspiracies as well. Apparently no one has developed a rational motive for anyone except al Qaeda to have carried out the attacks. If it was as an excuse to attack Iraq, then why blame Osama bin Laden, attack Afghanistan, and then wait 18 months to invade Iraq? Claims that it was to provide a rationale for cracking down on civil liberties or installing a U.S. dictatorship have been proven false by events. Likewise, no New World Order has arisen from the ashes of the WTC. Theories about Israel’s involvement seem similarly fanciful.

Osama bin Laden admitted to the attacks in a video message in 2004. Al Qaeda had a history of attacking American targets that included the 1993 WTC bombing, bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. In a prelude to the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda agents assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance, on September 9, 2001. This was meant to enable the Taliban to crush the Northern Alliance and prevent U.S. aid against the Afghan overlords. Conpiricists typically ignore these facts or else claim that they are hoaxes, as they do to anything that does not fit their narrow worldview.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the reasoning of the conpiricists is the existence of the conspiracies themselves. Would a government or entity that would sacrifice 3,000 people allow its actions to be made public? It seems more likely that such an organization would squelch the publication of books and movies that exposed their nefarious deeds and make the authors quietly disappear. Perhaps Alex Jones and his fellow conspiracy mongers should watch out.

Read the rest of this article on Examiner.com:


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