Book Review: Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007)

An answer to Popular Mechanics and other Debunking 911 Debunkingdefenders of the official conspiracy theory… by Dr. David Ray Griffin
Review by Brian Wright (original post 2008-01-23)

2007, Olive Branch Press–Interlink Publishing Group, 385 pages

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained. — Gandhi

For almost a year after the 9/11/2001 attacks, I’m extremely sad to report, I accepted the party line—the official government conspiracy theory: 19 radical Muslim Arabs with boltcutters, under direction of a diabetic (and CIA resource) on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan, defeated the most sophisticated air defense system in the history of the world… in an hour—even becoming enamored of the Bush administration’s toughness and determination to root out and destroy these incredible antihuman monsters.  (I’ll even admit to a little racial hatred thrown in for good measure.)

Then one day, someone, I don’t remember who, sent me a video In In Plane SitePlane Site.  It floored me.  I had simply accepted the government-media (GM) account that a commercial jet—specifically, American Airlines Flight 77—had flown into the Pentagon.  And I was wrong.  There is no way to look at the video evidence, or any of the other documentation—I particularly like Dave McGowan’s site Center for an Informed America—and conclude the official story is valid… at least with respect to Flight 77.  (No, the general public doesn’t know yet what happened to Flight 77, but it sure as hell did not intersect any of the rings of the most fortified building in the world.)  Later I caught up with Professor Steven Jones, Professor Kevin Barrett, and finally Professor David Ray Griffin… the man who deserves to win the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer for 9/11 truth literature.

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Thanks to the efforts of these men, as well as the discoveries and writings of so many other fine minds and courageous souls who are standing up to GM lies about 9/11, the official conspiracy theory has now been disproved beyond a rational certainty.  And don’t think for a minute the expose hasn’t PO’d the powers that be.  They have struck back with a flurry of publications reasserting—evidence-free—the official fable and ridiculing those who persist in bringing light to the events of that sad day.  In addition to the 9/11 Commission Report itself (which simply dismissed alternative conspiracy theories without discussion) the following works have been used to attack the Alternative Theory[1]:

  • August 2006 essay in Vanity Fair by Michael Bronner entitled “9/11 Live: the NORAD Tapes” (The NORAD Tapes)—purports to show in particular the military did not stand down on 9/11, in fact, claims the military knew nothing of any of the planes until they crashed. (!) (Remarkable because the military had previously claimed it did know of the planes in time to intercept, but screwed up in the scramble process.)
  • Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers (NIST Report), September 2005 and a Frequently Asked Questions addendum in August of 2006—generated by the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST), an agency of the Bush administration’s commerce department, the NIST Report attempts to show by computer modeling that the plane impacts and resulting fires caused the symmetrical free fall pulverization of WTC1 and WTC2 on their own footprints.
  • Without Precedent: The inside story of the 9/11 Commission, by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton—published virtually simultaneously with the NORAD Tapes, and it tries to argue the same case that the military could not have stood down because it knew nothing of the attacking planes until they crashed.  Also presents some halfhearted denials of other points of the Alternative Theory.
  • Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts, by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan—follows on from a Popular Mechanics article of the same name, and has the ambition to debunk the main points of the alternative theory.  It mentions many of the key alternative theory arguments yet ignores or distorts the facts so blatantly as to be comical… if it weren’t so dangerous.

Griffin’s book is a breath of fresh air, and in my opinion the most important work yet in the 9/11 truth arsenal.  It deals with the counterarguments and shows how logic can elegantly, entirely dismantle the gargantuan GM—government-media—myth of 9/11. Debunking 9/11 Debunking (D9/11D) is a work of art.  The remainder of my review is mainly a tabular summary of key arguments; please purchase (D9/11D) as the ultimate reference on probably the most important issue of the century.

First let’s put a table together of what we know of the flights.

Flight Timeline

AA F11 767 UA F175 767 AA F77 757 UA F93 757
0759 takeoff Boston 0814 takeoff Boston 0820 takeoff Dulles DC 0842 takeoff Newark
0814 failed to follow order to climb [18] 0841 suspicious noises [x] 0846 significantly off course 0916 CNN report NORAD learned from FAA of possible hijack
0825 voice transmissions [19] 0842 veered off course, transponder lost [x] 0850 back on course but lost radio contact 0927 FAA learns hijackers control cockpit
0825-0832 notify up chain of FAA command [19] 0843 NORAD notified [x] 0856 transponder off 0930 transponder signal lost
0834-0838 FAA notifies NEADS [20] 0846 scramble from Otis AFB [20] 0857 airplane lost [z] 0934 FAA hears voice say bomb aboard
0847 WTC 1 North 0852 scramble order [x] 0924 NORAD notified “may have been” hijacked [x] 0936 FAA Cleveland asks Herndon command center whether military notified
>0847 NORAD first learns of plane having a problem [y] 0853 airborne from Otis [20] 0924 scramble order Langley 1003 Shanksville, PA crash [9/11C]
1028: WTC 1 North disintegrates into its own footprint 0903 WTC 2 South 0930 airborne Langley 1006 around
Shanksville, PA crash [all others, seismic record]
>0903 NORAD first learns of plane having a problem [y] 0938 Something crashes into Pentagon > 1003 NORAD first learns of plane having a problem [y]
1720: WTC 7
disintegrates into its own footprint
0959: WTC 2 South disintegrates into its own footprint >0938 NORAD first learns of plane having a problem [y]

[page number of 9/11 Commission Report (9/11CR)]
[x] per original NORAD 2001 report 9/18/2001
[y] new revised NORAD tapes story August 2006
[z] NY Times article 9/15/2001

The NORAD Tapes

What is it?

August 2006 article in Vanity Fair, essay by Michael Bronner entitled “9/11 Live: the NORAD Tapes,” only journalist who had received audiotapes from NORAD.  Were also received and played by 9/11 Commission (9/11C), June 2004 public hearing.  Controversial: it claims between 2001 and 2004, the story given by the military of its response to the airliners on 9/11 was false.  Implication from NORAD Tapes and 9/11CR: military lied about 9/11.  “Tapes” refers to both NORAD tapes and what are called parallel recordings made by the FAA.

Who’s behind it?

Michael Bronner, who also associate-produced the movie United 93, which faithfully conveys the official story that the military could not have responded in time to intercept (or shoot down) Flight 93.  Also, features impossible cell phone calls.

Key claims Evidence per D9/11D
Military did not hear from FAA in time to intercept any of the planes on 9/11. Large amounts of data and testimony indicate the military was informed by the FAA of all planes, and continuously throughout the morning of 9/11, in plenty of time for planes to have been intercepted and/or shot down.
Military did not hear from FAA in time to intercept any of the planes on 9/11. Emergency protocols have fighters in waiting 24/7 to scramble upon any deviation in flight plan.  FAA procedures result in notification of NORAD “within minutes.”  NORAD jets arrive within 10 minutes of notification on wings of suspect plane.  67 times that year.  Highly efficient rehearsed operation.  Air Force asserts on its website prior to 9/11: F-15s go from scramble order to 29,000 ft in 2.5 minutes.
When a plane loses its transponder signal it cannot be tracked. False.  In addition to multiple FAA radar installations, the military maintains even more sophisticated ones.  Would foreign-aggressor missiles or planes, which presumably our air defenses can track, have transponders?  All planes on 9/11 were tracked by radar until they crashed.
The FAA was completely incompetent for not notifying the military sooner. The FAA carried out an unprecedented order to ground all planes in US airspace (except those carrying bin Laden’s relatives) within a day.  How could they have failed so miserably to perform a task they had been performing between 50 and 100 times per year regularly?  And if they had failed, why wasn’t anyone fired or reprimanded?
Tapes are authentic record of individuals’ actions and knowledge of the events. Inconsistencies with known timelines, testimony, contradictions with the military’s former story, and multiple logical problems for every flight timeline—combined with national security state (NSS) ability to script, change time lines, perform voice morphing, and so on => tapes are inauthentic.  FAA records were in sole possession of the FBI.
Multiple cell phone calls were alleged from Flight 93.  (Also F77.) In 2001, making cell calls from the altitude at which Flight 93 was flying was impossible.  Because voices were supposedly caught on tape from these phone calls, this is additional evidence that the military tapes and FAA tapes have been doctored.
Military was ordered to stand down from the top.

The NIST Report

What is it?

National Institute of Science and Technology, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers (NIST Report), September 2005 and a “Frequently Asked Questions” addendum in August of 2006.

Who’s behind it?

NIST is an agency of the US Department of Commerce; all of NIST’s directors are Bush appointees.  It is not a standards organization.  Therefore, NIST like the 9/11C is a dedicated agency of the Bush-Cheney administration.

Key claims Evidence per D9/11D
The airplanes caused so much damage to the Towers because a 767 is heavier than a 707. Earlier analysis by Port Authority shows a Boeing 707 at cruising speed would cause only localized damage to the WTC.  Cruising speed of a 707 is higher than a 767; thus 707 kinetic energy greater.  In any case, complete bldg. disintegration cannot be inferred if a crash will cause “greater than” localized damage.
Impact damage to WTC1 induced collapse by severing 35 exterior columns, 6 core columns, 43 of 47 core columns stripped of insulation one or more floors.  WTC2 similar. Even if plausible, 205 perimeter columns remain, 41 massive core columns remain, loads would have been shifted to remaining columns on highly redundant structure.  NIST simulations: none of the columns with intact insulation exceed 600 °F; no evidence any insulation was damaged.  No evidence any core columns were severed.  NIST performed computer simulations to get results desired.
Unusually large fires burned for a long time at sufficient temperature to weaken susceptible structural steel.  With impact damage causing “total collapse.” Buildings did not “collapse,” they disintegrated into dust and small pieces uniformly and symmetrically into their own footprints.  Vast pools of molten steel underground for months.  Temperatures (<1800 °F) were not hot enough to cause melting of steel (2800 °F), nor weakening beyond very local areas—each tower contains 90,000 tons of steel to conduct heat away from source.  NIST analysis shows no steel temp > 1100 °F.  No steel frame structure has ever collapsed (or disintegrated into dust) because of long, hot hydrocarbon fires.  Fires in WTC did not burn hot enough and obviously did not burn long.
Towers suffered a “progressive collapse” due to a “disproportionate spread of an initial local failure.”  Inward bowing of perimeter columns and “complete failure.” Even if the “progressive collapse” term could be demonstrated, what would remain standing from this causal mechanism would be the 47 core steel columns (or the 41 that NIST concedes did not sever), each of which were at least 36” x 12” box cross-section with a steel thickness of two inches running the entire 1000 ft. + height of the buildings.  NIST produces no calculations of mechanisms.  How does progressive collapse of one structure upon another explain building falling symmetrically at nearly free fall speed?  (WTC1: 11 seconds, WTC2: 9 seconds)  It’s like saying throw a heavy ball into a wall and the ball continues at the same speed it would if thrown through air.
Did not consider controlled demolition hypothesis, because it does not jibe with our assertions.  No evidence of explosions. On the contrary, per the scientific method, a valid hypothesis must at least be preceded by one instance of some event in reality that fits that hypothesis.  Controlled demolitions have been performed on buildings for decades.  There has never been a “progressive collapse” of a steel frame structure from airplane impact and resulting fire.  Evidence of explosions is voluminous from eyewitness accounts to seismic recordings to analysis of the few samples available.[2]  [3]
On World Trade Center building 7; “we decided not to investigate that collapse because we ran out of time.” FEMA 2003 World Trade Center Performance Study proposed a causal sequence but added “this scenario has a low probability of occurrence.”  Only 50% of the American public realize WTC7 came down that day; concerted effort to conceal that fact.  Only two mainstream media videos.  Hours of foreknowledge that the building would collapse, it was evacuated by mayor’s office order.  Larry Silverstein says “pull it” on TV.  Other WTC buildings sustained more damage than WTC 7.

The 9/11 Commission Report (9/11CR)

What is it?

The 9/11 Commission Report: Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, August 31, 2004.  I.e. the official conspiracy theory.

Who’s behind it?

10 commissioners led by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton.  Most of the research and writing of reports was done by staff of 75 people, over half of whom were former members of the CIA, the FBI, the DOJ, and other governmental spook-and-enforcement-thug agencies.  Staff executive director Philip Zelikow was essentially a member of the Bush administration.

PZ worked with Condoleezza Rice on the NSC, coauthored book with her, part of the transition team for NSC between Clinton and Bush II, principal drafter of the 2002 version of National Security Strategy, used 9/11 to justify preemptive attacks (“even if the countries pose no imminent threat” to the United States).

The staff director, Zelikow, Decides what topics investigated and what not; example, omission of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta’s testimony that Cheney is in bunker at 0930 and making statements that “the orders still stand.”  Many other facts ignored, distorted, or concealed. Please refer to David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.

Without Precedent

What is it?

Without Precedent: The inside story of the 9/11 Commission, by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, chair and vice chair of the 9/11C.  Intended to discuss alternative theories in general, but focuses on the alternative theory of the military stand-down order.  Essentially an affirmation of the NORAD Tapes.

Key claims Evidence per D9/11D
Supports the Bronner Vanity Fair article mainly, tapes now show the military had no knowledge of the planes until they crashed. Repeating: Large amounts of data and testimony indicates the military was informed by the FAA of all planes, and continuously throughout the morning of 9/11, in plenty of time for them to have been intercepted and/or shot down.
Emergency protocols have fighters in waiting 24/7 to scramble upon any deviation in flight plan.  FAA procedures result in notification of NORAD “within minutes.”  NORAD jets arrive within 10 minutes of notification on wings of suspect plane.  67 times that year.  Highly efficient rehearsed operation.  Air Force asserts on website prior to 9/11: F-15s go from scramble order to 29,000 ft in 2.5 minutes.
Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.  (The remainder of Without Precedent is a potpourri of assertions against many aspects of the alternative theory, made without evidence and little much argument.) No air traffic control conversations with anyone on this plane 40 minutes before Pentagon struck, no evidence of radar picking up Flight 77.  Hani Hanjour, alleged pilot, could not conceivably have maneuvered a 757 as asserted.  No publicly verifiable evidence of 757 debris or remains.  Damage to bldg inconsistent with being struck by a 757.  If a 767 causes total disintegration of WTC towers, why doesn’t a 757 cause similar sort of disintegration at the Pentagon.  FBI confiscation of video tapes, refusal to release flight recordings, full control of site and access.
We will assume what we want to prove. Often the truth about a criminal conspiracy comes out in the trial of the conspirators, where the public is presented with evidence and witness testimony.  This time, though, there would be no trial: the nineteen perpetrators were dead, victims of their own atrocities.  So we directed our team to approach their task as if putting together the case against the conspirators.”—page 117.  (I.e. 9/11C was not impartial.)
Osama had motive. Ignores those who would have had deeper motives, e.g. the Neocons and the use for another Pearl Harbor to galvanize the American public into war and subject them (and the rest of the world) to violations of basic civil liberties and protections, not to mention death and destruction.  Hundreds of billions of dollars roll into the Military Industrial Complex.
Attacks were a surprise. Bush and his Secret Service entourage, after learning of the attacks, remained in the Florida school for a full half an hour afterward.  Thus, they had reason to believe the president was not a target.
Al Qaeda responsible. All alleged discoveries of passports of hijackers supposedly from plane wreckage are suspect, particularly one supposedly picked up on the street after the plane crash and fireball of F11 but before WTC (2) collapsed.  The 19 hijackers run by Al Qaeda story was spun within a couple of days.  Flight manifests reveal none of the alleged hijackers nor even any Arab names.  Mainstream UK news sources reported within weeks that several alleged hijackers are alive.  Pakistani intelligence chief (General Ahmad, head of the ISI) was meeting with White House officials in DC on week of 9/11/01.  He ordered $325,000 to be wired to alleged hijackers/patsies.)  The FBI Web page on bin Laden does not mention 9/11 and spokesman states “bin Laden is not wanted by the FBI for 9/11 “because it has no hard evidence that bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11.

Popular Mechanics’ Bunk

What is it?

Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts, by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, is an expansion of the Popular Mechanics article published in 2005.  Cited and lifted most frequently by proponents of official conspiracy theory, e.g. the BBC documentary The Conspiracy Files: 9/11, Guy Smith.

Who’s behind it?

Before publication of the article and book Hearst Magazines—with high-level personnel hooks to the CIA/NSS—orchestrated “a brutal takeover” of Popular Mechanics, firing the editor-in-chief and PM’s 21-year creative director.  In addition, self-styled lead researcher of the 9/11 debunkment article was Benjamin Chertoff, cousin of the new head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.  Simple coincidence?  Possibly, except new PM editor James Meigs has gone to great lengths to deny or obscure the relationship.


I won’t go into each of the claims made by PM, as the key ones and the evidence contradicting them are summarized in the tables above.  The only thing to add is evidence PM refuses to consider that Flight 93 was shot down.  The entire PM article/book in addition to glossily knocking over straw men consists of appeals to authority, making unsubstantiated assertions and denials, e.g. the truly incredible claim that “the armed forces do not keep fighters on alert.”

Several demolitions of the flimsy PM job have been made, including Popular Mechanics’ Assault on 9/11 Truth by Jim Hoffman and Jeremy Baker, the latter of whom stated, “if this absurdly flawed attempt to discredit the 9/11 truth movement is an indication of PM’s research skills and technical expertise, I’m definitely not building that tree house on page 87.”

Note: None of the authors of the above reports aimed at debunking alternative theories as to what happened on 9/11 has consented to open public debate with their opponents, all expenses paid, format of their choosing.  (I guess they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.)


Please to all of my professional colleagues—whether in engineering or information technology—and my allies in the cause of political freedom: read this book!  It’s simply a towering edifice of scholarship, logic, and evidence that will blow your mind.  On the basis of revealing the truth of what happened that fateful day in September, we the citizens of the United States of America will be taking our country back… imminently. I feel confident that when you give yourself permission to learn the truth about 9/11, with a “30% open mind,” you’ll want to be part of this unfolding process of world liberation.

Finally, recognizing that the impediments to spreading the truth about 9/11 do not lie in the abundant evidence and reasoning arrayed about us—rather in psychological barriers we humans together experience when confronted with the Big Lie—my movie review this week explores those barriers.  Ken Jenkins has presented an excellent case for overcoming the fears and emotions that prevent us from acknowledging the baldfaced truth; I’ve found it helpful in my own case wrestling with the difficulties of believing men in our government could do something so horrendous.

[1] The Alternative Theory is—from my own perspective—that 9/11 was a long-planned psychological operation (psy op) of the Cartel’s intelligence agencies (mainly the US government national security establishment) intended to terrorize Americans, ravage the Constitution, and justify imperial aggression and funding of the war machinery.  The WTC towers were destroyed by controlled demolition and the evidence was carted away; no evidence exists for a 757 jetliner striking the Pentagon, which was probably penetrated by a bunker busting missile; the government’s stories of Flight 77 and Flight 93 are outright fabrications, and cell phones do not work on jets above 30,000 feet (in 2001).  Osama bin Laden was an asset of the CIA at the time of 9/11, and is probably dead.  Al Qaeda is a false-flag creature of the Cartel, a useful terrorizing myth.  The Cartel employs the mainstream media (the GM) as “weapons of mass deception,” and does so particularly on 9/11.  For remedy, alternative theorists want to empanel a citizens’ Grand Jury—with subpoena power—to question individuals and authorities, determine what actually happened, and bring 9/11 perpetrators to justice.  The alternative conspiracy theory unlike the official conspiracy theory is amenable to refutation by evidence that contradicts it; publications so far, such as above, supporting the official theory have failed miserably on every salient point—from the standpoint of logic, common sense, and relevance.

[2] 97% of the structural steel was removed by cleanup authorities under direction of the mayor’s office and systematically destroyed or recycled.  Typically, in our system of government destruction of evidence is considered a major crime; now apparently it’s a virtue for presidential candidates (Giuliani).

[3] Who had access? Natural question if one believes controlled demolition is most likely cause.  NIST doesn’t mention that from 1999 to January of 2002, President Bush’s cousin Wirt Walker III was the CEO of a company—now called Stratasec but then called Securacom—that helped provide security for the WTC complex; from 1993 to 2000, during which the company installed a new security system; Marvin Bush, the president’s brother, was one of the company’s directors.

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