By Paul Craig Roberts
March 30, 2007
Professor David Ray Griffin is the nemesis of the official 9/11
conspiracy theory. In his latest book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, Griffin
destroys the credibility of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) and Popular Mechanics reports, annihilates his
critics, and proves himself to be a better scientist and engineer than
the defenders of the official story.
Griffin’s book is 385 pages divided into four chapters and containing
1,209 footnotes. Without question, the book is the most thorough
presentation and examination of all known facts about the 9/11 attacks.
Griffin is a person who is sensitive to evidence, logic, and scientific
reasoning. There is no counterpart on the official side of the story who
is as fully informed on all aspects of the attacks as Griffin.
At the outset, Griffin points out that the reader’s choice is between
two conspiracy theories: One is that Muslim fanatics, who were not
qualified to fly airplanes, defeated the security apparatus of the US
and succeeded in three out of four attacks using passenger jets as
weapons. The other is that security failed across the board, not merely
partially but totally, because of complicity of some part of the US
Griffin points out that there has been no independent investigation of
9/11. What we have are a report by a political commission headed by Bush
administration factotum Philip Zelikow, a NIST report produced by the
Bush administration’s Department of Commerce, and a journalistic account
produced by Popular Mechanics. Various scientists who work for the
federal government or are dependent on government grants have issued
speculative statements in behalf of the official conspiracy theory, but
have not produced meaningful evidence in its behalf.
The relevant skeptics of the official story are approximately 100
independent researchers consisting of experts and professors whose
careers have required them to deal with evidence and its analysis. Their
individual contributions to 9/11 analysis can be found online.
Griffin has undertaken to absorb the arguments and evidence for the
official account and the arguments and evidence against it. In his
latest book, which has just been released, he presents the case for the
official account and its evidential failure.
Polls show that 36% of Americans do not believe the official story.
Setting aside the 25% of the public that is so uninformed or uninvolved
as to believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attack,
leaves 39% of the public who believe the official story. However, this
39% is essentially relying on the mainstream media’s endorsement of the
official story. Griffin believes, perhaps naively, that truth can
prevail, and it is his commitment to truth that has motivated him to
shoulder the enormous task.
Everyone who believes in the integrity of the US government or the Bush
administration will find Griffin’s book to be disturbing. Readers will
have to confront such issues as why US authorities seized the forensic
evidence resulting from the destruction of the three World Trade Center
buildings, the attack on the Pentagon and the crashed airliner in
Pennsylvania and prevented any forensic examination of any part of the
Despite widespread belief that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the
attack, the evidence we have is a suspect video declared to be ‘bogus’
by Bruce Lawrence, perhaps the leading American expert on bin Laden. The
US government has never produced the promised report on bin Laden’s
responsibility. When the Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden on
presentation of evidence, the US government had no evidence to deliver;
thus the invasion of Afghanistan.
The fragility of the NIST report is astonishing. The report succeeded
because people accepted its assurances without examination.
Griffin shows that the Popular Mechanics report consists of special
pleading, circular reasoning, appeals to the authority of the NIST
report, straw men, and internal contradictions in the report itself.
There is not space in a review to present the evidence Griffin has
mustered. A few highlights should suffice to alert readers to the
possibility that the Bush administration has lied about more than Saddam
Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
The two WTC towers did not collapse. They blew up and disintegrated, as
did WTC 7. There is an enormous energy deficit in every account that
rules out the use of explosives. Gravitational energy is insufficient to
explain the pulverization of the buildings and contents and the severing
of the 47 massive center core steel columns in each of the towers into
convenient lengths to be picked up and loaded onto trucks; much less can
gravitational energy account for the pulverization of the top floors of
the towers and ejection of steel beams hundreds of feet horizontally
just prior to the disintegration of the floors below.
Damage caused by airliners and short-lived limited fires cannot explain
the disintegration of the buildings. The massive steel skeletons of the
towers comprised a gigantic heat sink that wicked away whatever heat the
limited fires produced.
NIST’s final report stated that of the steel available to it for
examination, ‘only three columns had evidence that the steel reached
temperatures above 250 degrees Celsius’ (482 degrees Fahrenheit). The
self-cleaning ovens in our home kitchens reach temperatures higher than
this, and the ovens do not melt or deform.
Steel begins to melt at 1,500 degrees C or 2,800 degrees F. Temperatures
of 250 degrees C would have no effect on the strength of steel. The
explanation that the buildings collapsed because fire weakened the steel
is speculative. Open air fires do not produce temperatures sufficient to
deprive steel of its structural integrity. Steel framed buildings have
burned 22 hours in raging infernos, and the steel skeletons remained
standing. The WTC fires in the towers lasted about one hour and were
limited to a few floors. Moreover, it is impossible for fire to account
for the sudden, total and symmetrical disintegration of powerfully
constructed buildings, much less at free fall speeds that are obtainable
only with controlled demolition.
Griffin provides quotes from firefighters, police, and tenants, who
heard and experienced a series of explosions prior to the disintegration
of the towers. Such witness testimony is generally ignored by defenders
of the official conspiracy theory.
Molten steel was found in underground levels of the WTC buildings weeks
after the buildings’ destruction. As everyone agrees that the fires did
not approach the melting point of steel, a possible explanation is high
explosives used in demolitions that produce 5,000 degree temperatures.
The possibility that explosives were used remains unexamined except by
Contradictions in the official conspiracy theory leap off the pages and
hit the reader in the face. For example, the evidence that Flight 77, a
Boeing 757, crashed into the Pentagon is the government’s claim to have
obtained from the wreckage enough bodies and body parts to match the DNA
for each person on the passenger list and flight crew. Simultaneously,
the absence of passenger luggage, fuselage, wing and tail
sections–indeed the absence of a 100,000 pound airliner–is attributed
to the vaporization of the airplane due to the high speed crash and
intense fire. The incompatibility of vaporized metal but recovered flesh
and blood stood unnoticed until Griffin pointed it out.
Another striking inconsistency in the official conspiracy theory is the
difference in the impact of airliners on the Pentagon and the WTC
towers. In the case of the Pentagon, the emphasis is on why the airliner
caused so little damage to the building. In the case of the WTC towers,
the emphasis is why the airliners caused so much damage.
Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that just prior to 9/11 Cathleen P.
Black, who has family connections to the CIA and Pentagon and is
president of Hearst Magazines, the owner of Popular Mechanics, fired the
magazine’s editor-in-chief and several senior veteran staff members and
installed James B. Meigs and Benjamin Chertoff, a cousin of Bush
administration factotum Michael Chertoff. It was Meigs and Benjamin
Chertoff who produced the Popular Mechanics report that Griffin has
In his conclusion Griffin reminds us that the 9/11 attack has been used
to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to plan an attack on Iran, to
curtail constitutional protections and civil liberties in the US, to
radically expand US military budgets and the power of the executive, and
to enrich entrenched vested interests. Griffin is definitely correct
about this regardless of whether a believable case can ever be made for
the government’s version of the 9/11 conspiracy.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is
coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Source URL: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17422.htm
“David Ray Griffin’s Debunking 9/11 Debunking is a superb compendium of the strong body of evidence showing the official U.S. Government story of what happened on September 11, 2001 to be almost certainly a monstrous series of lies. Tragically, the entire course of U.S. foreign and domestic policies since that date has grown out of these almost certain falsehoods. This single book could (and should) provide the basis for the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, or some specially constituted global body (independent of the U.S.) to investigate with highest priority, and publicly report its findings about, the charge that unknown elements within the U.S. Government, and possibly some individuals elsewhere closely allied to the U.S., caused or contributed to causing the events of September 11 to happen.”–Bill Christison, (former senior official of the CIA.)
“Considering how the 9/11 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 9/11 deserve to be investigated and addressed.”–Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States.