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Hansen: Official 9/11 story is hooey, critic maintains

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April 12, 2010
by Marc Hansen
Des Moines Register Editorials

David Ray Griffin comes to Drake University on April 23 to tell us why the official explanation for the 9/11 attack on the United States doesn’t hold water.

A theologian, philosopher of religion and professor emeritus at California’s Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, Griffin has been at it for about seven years now and says he won’t stop until the government conducts a new, impartial, independent investigation.

As opposed to the 9/11 Commission probe. He calls that exercise a charade.

Griffin has written eight books on the subject with another on the way: “Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.”

The appointee, a former Harvard professor named Cass Sunstein who now heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, co-wrote an academic paper saying government should undermine conspiracy theory groups by infiltrating their chat rooms, social networks and group meetings.

Griffin believes “cognitive infiltration” is the wrong term. “It’s more like fascism,” he says.

He also believes the real conspiracy theorists are people who believe the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks were hatched by Osama bin Laden and carried out by al-Qaida. In Griffin’s mind, it’s also an excuse for every extreme military action we’ve taken since.

He can produce a long list of scientists and other scholars who endorse his views. Detractors like Matt Taibbi, author of “The Great Derangement,” say he’s “an idiot.”

At first, Griffin went along with the official explanation: The country was attacked by Muslim extremists. But the more he learned, the more he questioned, the more he doubted.

“I didn’t know steel frame buildings couldn’t come down like that,” he says, adding that only explosives could have done the job.

He didn’t stop to consider how the “greatest defense system in history” could fail to protect the “best protected building” in the world from a plane that had been in the air for 40 minutes.

He didn’t know about “nano-thermite,” a high-tech explosive only recently identified in the World Trade Center dust by a group of international scientists.

Griffin could go on and on, and when he gets to Drake, you can bet he will. He can’t say for sure what really happened and has been slammed for not having a well-documented alternative story.

But he has a theory: 9/11 was an inside job led by Dick Cheney.

Though he can’t prove it, he says the spoonful of mush we’ve been served strains credibility past the breaking point.

On a recent “Nightline” show, the interviewer talked to the two young creators of the popular conspiracy movie “Loose Change.” He asked them whether they believed elements of the government were complicit in slaughtering innocent civilians on 9/11.

One called it a loaded question. The other, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said yes.

This led the interviewer to ask why nobody on the inside has stepped forward. It would require a cast of hundreds, maybe thousands, to pull off such a complex hoax. Surely, someone with a conscience would have come out of hiding by now.

Griffin says he doubts anyone who would participate such a heinous act has a conscience.

What’s more, he adds, some secrets stay secret for a long time. The Manhattan Project, which produced the atomic bomb, is just one.

Governments have ways to keep people from talking. It’s possible, Griffin says, that insiders haven’t felt sufficient pressure to tell what they know.

A few years ago, Popular Mechanics magazine devoted an issue to debunking 9/11 “myths.” The editor-in-chief says the “Truthers” have been suckered by “the myth of hyper-competence” as it pertains to the military’s ability to bring down hijacked planes.

The magazine brought together nine researchers and reporters and consulted more than 70 professionals from aviation, engineering, the military and other disciplines.

They investigated 16 of the “most prevalent claims” and concluded they were false. And yet Griffin’s side seems to be the one that’s growing.

“Healthy skepticism,” Popular Mechanics wrote, seems to have “curdled into paranoia. Wild conspiracy tales are peddled daily on the Internet, talk radio and other media. Blurry photos, quotes taken out of context and sketchy eyewitness accounts have inspired a slew of elaborate theories. … As outlandish as these claims may sound, they are increasingly accepted abroad and among extremists here in the United States.”

Griffin responded by taking a whack at debunking the debunkers. And on it goes.

His talk in the Olmsted Center’s Bulldog Theater is sponsored by the 911 Truth of Central Iowa, a group that meets once a month at the Adel Public Library.

Griffin’s topic: “Is the Afghanistan War Justified by 9/11?” Anyone care to guess his answer?