People with unfair power and privilege generally try to hold onto that unfair power and privilege. Sometimes they make plans that are not publicly announced. Sometimes they engage in illegal plots. Real conspiracies have been exposed throughout history. History itself, however, is not controlled by a vast timeless conspiracy. The powerful people and groups in society are hardly a "secret team" or a tiny club of "secret elites." The tendency to explain all major world events as primarily the product of a secret conspiracy is called conspiracism. The antidote to conspiracism is Power Structure Research based on some form of institutional, systemic or structural analysis that examines race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, class and other factors that are used to create inequality and oppression. Political Research Associates does not criticize conspiracism because we want to shield those with unfair power and privilege; but because we believe that conspiracism impedes attempts to build a social movement for real social justice, economic fairness, equality, peace, and democracy.

There are many unanswered questions about the attacks on 09/11/01, the obvious failures of existing security systems, the decisions regarding the assessment of terrorist threats; the wisdom, morality, and legality under international law of the unilateral attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq; the implementation of repressive domestic measures such as the Patriot Act and the confinement of immigrants and undocumented visitors without due process; and the reluctance and refusal of key government officials to fully cooperate with congressional and media investigations. Political Research Associates fully supports the vigorous investigation of these matters.

See Response by David Ray Griffin

The New Pearl Harbor
Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11

by David Ray Griffin

Review by Chip Berlet

This book by David Ray Griffin is largely a compilation and restatement of materials from a variety of print and electronic sources, as the author points out in his Introduction and Acknowledgments. Griffin’s book reflects a relentless disregard of substantial evidence from multiple sources that contradict the claims he is making. Griffin repeatedly uses classic Fallacies of Logic in his presentation rendering whole sections of the book refutable on this basis alone. In this review, examples of fallacies of logic are highlighted with the phrase "{Logical Fallacy}," and linked to a more detailed discussion of the specific fallacies of logic at the bottom of the web page.

Griffin makes a number of claims suggesting a widespread conspiracy to create and carry out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This conspiracy, as outlined in Griffin's book, would involve numerous U.S. government elected officials as well as multiple state level, commercial, and media conspirators. To accomplish this vast conspiracy would necessarily involve hundeeds--if not thousands--of individuals. Griffin never explains how this conspiracy would actually function, claiming that is not his goal. Nor does Griffin summarize his many claims in one place. Here are some of his more alarming claims:

  • The U.S. government caused or deliberately allowed the attacks of 09/11/01 to take place.{Logical Fallacy}
  • The collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was caused by a controlled demolition (bombs planted in the buildings prior to the planes striking the buildings).{Logical Fallacy}
  • The Pentagon was not struck by American Airlines flight 77 or any commercial jet, but was hit by a guided missile.{Logical Fallacy}
  • The commercial jet that crashed in Pennsylvania was hit by a heat-seeking guided missile launched by the government to silence the hijackers who could have exposed government complicity. {Logical Fallacy}
  • Bush knew in advance that the attacks would take place because after the attacks began he stayed talking to children in a classroom.{Logical Fallacy}

Griffin is constantly stating that he does not know what actually happened, but that he is just analyzing possible scenarios that need to be investigated. This is disingenuous at best. While Griffin repeatedly refers to the “claims” of “critics” of the “official” account of the events of 9-11-01, he is clearly endorsing these views. In a number of cases Griffin becomes an apologist for authors (such as Thierry Meyssan or Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel) whose assertions have been thoroughly demolished by an armada of writers across the political spectrum. Griffin accomplishes this by selectively highlighting certain aspects of their work while sidestepping their most lurid and outlandish conclusions in which they claim the functioning of vast conspiracies on the flimsiest of evidence. Griffin is far more straightforward and candid about what he really believes in an interview he gave to the Santa Barbara Independent, ("Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts: Theologian Charges White House Complicity in 9/11 Attack," by Nick Welsh). [Read article here].

Griffin: "It is very difficult for Americans to face the possibility that their own government may have caused or deliberately allowed such a heinous event." {Logical Fallacy}

Welsh: Let’s say there has been this complicity. To what end?

Griffin: There were several benefits that could have been anticipated from 9/11. One was the so-called Patriot Act. It did appear that the Patriot Act, given how fast it was rushed into Congress, voting had already been prepared. The Patriot Act is so large that it’s inconceivable it could have been written after 9/11. Rushing it through Congress when most members had not even read a small portion of it was clearly one benefit, giving the government increased powers. {Logical Fallacy}

This is a good example of how Griffin uses fallacies of logic to make his case. In this case the Fallacy of Logic is called the "Post Hoc" fallacy. This is also sometimes called the "Sequence Implies Causation" fallacy (because mere sequence does not imply causation). Griffin has leapt to the conclusion that there is evidence of a conspiracy to authorize or allow the 9/11 attacks as a way for the Bush Administration to pass the Patriot Act (or control oil in the Middle East, or to justify invading Afghanistan or to justify invading Iraq). In the realm of all possible explanations in the universe is this even a remote possibility? Yes. In the realm of logic and evidence is it likely? No. Is there a simpler explanation (Occum's Razor)? Yes. Is there a more logical explanation available when all the evidence is considered? Yes.

Let's examine Griffin's claim about the Patriot Act. It is indeed true of the Patriot Act that, as Griffin asserts, it is "inconceivable it could have been written after 9/11." Griffin is correct that most of the elements of the Patriot Act had been written well before 09/11/01. Does this provide evidence that the 9/11 attacks were part of a conspiracy designed to create or allow a "heinous event" to facilitate passage of the Patriot Act? No. Ask anyone who has organized against government intelligence abuse since the 1970s and they will tell you that conservatives have been circulating many of the elements incorporated into the Patriot Act since the Carter Administration "Levi Guidelines" were issued to restrict the well-documented abuses by federal intelligence agencies exposed by activists, the media, and Congress after exposure of the illegal FBI COINTELPRO operations and Watergate.

Griffin chides progressive political analyst Rahul Mahajan because Mahajan has argued that the Bush administration reacted quickly to the events of 09/11/01 in an opportunistic way that did not require a conspiracy in advance (pp. xvi-xvii, xxiii). Ultimately Griffin does not provide a progressive analysis such as that provided by Mahajan. Griffin provides a centrist or right-wing populist explanation that if deconstructed suggests that an otherwise acceptable political and economic system has been distorted by a conspiracy of secret elites. There is not structural, systemic, or institutional analysis. The basic premise articulated by Griffin is that there is a nefarious plot by Republicans, government intelligence agencies, the neoconservatives and their Project for a New American Century, and the Christian Right. But this is hardly a secret conspiracy...all of these named groups are public players in a system where they are seeking unfair power and privilege.

Many of Griffin's cites track back to unsubstantiated claims. For example, Griffin cites a claim from the book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Freedom, where Ahmed is quoting Michael C. Ruppert (From the Wilderness / Cop v CIA), from an article "Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider Trading Lead Directly into the CIA's Highest Ranks" (p. 191, n. 33). When you track the Griffin cite to the original Ruppert article, you discover that the claims are simply not substantiated, and never have been. A major Griffin source, Michel Chossudovsky, has departed from a history of serious left critique to making unsubstantiated claims based on right-wing conspiracists such as Jeffrey Steinberg, a well-know top aide to neofascist Lyndon LaRouche, and John Whitley, who sees world affairs shaped by secret plots. Chossudovsky's website also cites and praises material from the American Patriot Friends Network, a site notorious for peddling unsubstantiated right-wing anti-government conspiracist theories similar to those circulated in the militia movement ( 1, 2 ).

Among the sources cited by Griffin is Christopher Bollyn writing in the American Free Press, a right-wing publication with a long history of dubious conspiracist tales of sinister intrique with a subtext of antisemitism (p. 179, n. 75). This particular article on the World Trade Center is picked up from the < rense.com > website, which also features discussions of UFOs. Griffin cites materal from several other right-wing sources with a long history of conspiracist allegation: World Net Daily, Judicial Watch, The New American (of the John Birch Society), and Accuracy in Media (notes on pp. 194-195). None of these groups should be cited uncritically--not because they are right wing, but because they have a history of circulating unsubstantiated right-wing conspiracy theories. The problem of progressive researchers laundering right-wing conspiracy theories into the left simply because they carry anti-government claims has been growing for many years.

The Pentagon

Griffin spends a chapter discussing the claim that the Pentagon was not struck by American Airlines flight 77, a large commercial Boeing 757 airliner. This is the chapter I have chosen to examine more closely to illustrate the larger problems with the Griffin book.

In his "Introduction," Griffin writes that while many dismiss Meyssan's claims as far-fetched: “Nevertheless, after I got Meyssan’s books and read them for myself, I saw that his case, as absurd as it had seemed at first glance, is quite strong. I eventually became convinced, in fact, that it is with regard to the strike on the Pentagon that—assuming Meyssan’s description of the evidence to be accurate—the official account seems most obviously false.” p. xx.

Griffin for the most part simple takes the claims of Meyssan as substantial, and dismisses the critics of Meyssan. Why would any serious author simply assume that Meyssan’s description of the evidence is accurate without at least discussing in detail the voluminous evidence that contradicts Meyssan?

An elegant overview refuting Meyssan’s (and Griffin’s) claims is available online at Snopes.com, the website that exposes Internet hoaxes and urban legends.

http://www.snopes2.com/rumors/pentagon.htm

Griffin, relying on Meyssan, suggests that whatever hit the Pentagon was not American Airlines flight 77.

This assertion contains two sub-arguments.

  1. If it was a commercial jet that hit the Pentagon, it was not American Airlines flight 77.
  2. If it was not a commercial jet that hit the Pentagon, it was a guided missile.

    Griffin:

    "Were the Sources for the Identification Credible?"
    " Meysann, in addition to noting the identification between AA Flight 77 and the aircraft that struck the Pentagon was made only gradually, argues that the original sources for this identification are dubious. In particular, he suggests, all but one of the statements on which this identification was based came from military personnel." p. 27

If we believe the claim that the hijacked 757 jet, flight 77, did not hit the Pentagon, how do we explain what happened to the passengers who were seen boarding American Airlines flight 77? What about the many interviews with family members whose relatives have vanished that have appeared in regional and local newspapers? Where is Theodore Olson's wife? Were the passengers all murdered by agents of the CIA and the plane cut into small pieces at some secret airbase? Are all the passengers complicit in the vast conspiracy and living out a life of luxury on some remote island?

After a brief discussion, Griffin admits that there are problems with the idea that Ted Olson—who spoke with his wife Barbara Olson while she was a passenger on the ill-fated hijacked flight—was part of a conspiracy in which she would disappear. If she did not die when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon what happened? According to Griffin: "Any of the alternative scenarios …would need to explain, of course, what became of Barbara Olson, and also whether it is plausible that Ted Olson would have participated in a plan with that outcome." p. 28.

Yet in the next section, Griffin engages in “pyramiding,” a process used by conspiracists whereby an unproven allegation in a prior section is converted into a factual basis to introduce a following section. According to Griffin:

"Physical Evidence That the Pentagon Was Not Hit by a Boeing 757"
" In addition to the argument that all the information originally connecting Flight 77 with the aircraft that struck the Pentagon evidently came from dubious sources, a second argument, provided by Meyssan, consists of physical evidence that the Pentagon was not hit by a Boeing 757, which is what AA Flight 77 was." p. 28

In "addition" to what? The first premise has not been demonstrated as true--much less plausible.

Several sources cited by Griffin dismiss eyewitness accounts of a commercial jet hitting the Pentagon as vague or from military personnel. Yet almost from the beginning there were eyewitness accounts that were not vague and not from military personnel. In a clear case of omitting conflicting eyewitness testimony, Griffin quotes one air traffic controller and three eyewitnesses who describe something that does not resemble a Boeing 757 commercial jetliner heading towards the Pentagon, implying that it was a missile. But there are scores of eyewitness reports who describe a commercial jetliner flying almost on the ground toward the Pentagon, and dozens of eyewitnesses who actually saw the jetliner strike the Pentagon itself.

Here are two from news media staff who are not connected to the government or the military:

From the transcript of an early 9-11-01 CNN story:

"I saw the tail of a large airliner. ... It plowed right into the Pentagon," said an Associated Press Radio reporter. "There is billowing black smoke."

This was Dave Winslow, an AP Radio reporter...not a government employee or agent.

A year later, Winslow told the Washingtonian magazine:

"I heard this enormous sound of turbulence. . .As I turned to my right, I saw a jumbo tail go by me along Route 395. It was like the rear end of the fuselage was riding on 395. I just saw the tail go whoosh right past me. In a split second, you heard this boom. A combination of a crack and a thud. It rattled my windows. I thought they were going to blow out. Then came an enormous fireball."

Or consider this first-person commentary by a reporter for USA Today:

'Tomorrow always belongs to us'
By Vin Narayanan, USATODAY.com
09/17/2001 - Updated 02:43 PM ET

"At 9:35 a.m., I pulled alongside the Pentagon. With traffic at a standstill, my eyes wandered around the road, looking for the cause of the traffic jam. Then I looked up to my left and saw an American Airlines jet flying right at me. The jet roared over my head, clearing my car by about 25 feet. The tail of the plane clipped the overhanging exit sign above me as it headed straight at the Pentagon. The windows were dark on American Airlines Flight 77 as it streaked toward its target, only 50 yards away. The hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon at a ferocious speed. But the Pentagon's wall held up like a champ. It barely budged as the nose of the plane curled upwards and crumpled before exploding into a massive fireball."

Even if we discard Narayanan's assumption that the plane he saw was American Airlines Flight 77, he still saw a large American Airlines commercial jet, not a guided missile.

Some of the sources relied on by Griffin claim to have debunked ten or twenty eyewitness accounts they found on the internet; but there were, in fact, hundreds of eyewitnesses to the commercial jet hitting the Pentagon. Scores gave their accounts to reporters and investigators. Some of their statements can be found at:

http://www.geocities.com/someguyyoudontknow33/witnesses.htm
http://www.criticalthrash.com/terror/identification.html

This is discussed in more detail in the table below.

While some eyewitness accounts are contradictory, this is always the case with eyewitness accounts. Most accounts support the claim that an American Airlines 757 jet slammed into the Pentagon. Most of the detailed accounts are simply discarded by Griffin because they are from people with some connection to the government, especially the military. There are dozens of eyewitnesses who are government employees from a variety of agencies who we are told to ignore because they are what? We are supposed to find credible the claim that all these eyewitnesses are active agents of the vast conspiracy by the Bush administration to send a missile slamming into the side of the Pentagon in order to have an excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Alternatively, they all were mesmerized by the "official" story that it was an American Airlines passenger jet that struck the Pentagon. Yet many of these eyewitness accounts were given to reporters before there was an "official" story.

Another claim is that no one saw pieces of an airplane after the impact. This is refuted by several eyewitnesses who described seeing pieces of the plane, and there is even a photograph of a piece of wreckage that appears to be from an aircraft lying on the grass outside the Pentagon. See the photo about halfway down the page at:
http://www.snopes2.com/rumors/pentagon.htm. This is discussed in more detail in the table below.

I am frankly puzzled and saddened that Richard Falk, Howard Zinn, and Rosemary Radford Reuther—persons for whom I have tremendous respect—have lent their names to this seriously flawed book.

Below is a detailed examination of Griffin's claims about the attack on the Pentagon. It is designed to illustrate how Griffin has uncritically accepted the claim of conspiracists while ignoring the ample evidence that refutes their claims. It also lists the Fallacies of Logic utilized by Meyssan and Griffin.

Discussion of Specific Claims Regarding the Pentagon

Meyssan: 

Pictures of the explosions at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. p. iii.

Cutlines:

[Photo]

"The flame descends, fairly slowly, in front of the façade [of the World Trade Center]."

[Photo]

"That of the Pentagon, in contrast, rises suddenly from inside the building."

Claim by Meyssan and Griffin:

The fireballs of the commercial jets that struck the World Trade Center towers are different from the fireball at the Pentagon, therefore the fireball at the Pentagon was not caused by a commercial jet airliner.

The explanation offered is that the Pentagon was struck by a guided missile.

Meyssan ignores the simple explanation: 

The fireballs are indeed different.

The fireballs at the World Trade Center towers are hundreds of feet in the air, and can attain a rounded shape against the walls of the building and the holes in the walls. The fireball at the Pentagon is shaped by the wall of the building, the hole in the wall of the building, and the ground; therefore the blast is shaped differently and is forced upwards in a distinctive shape by not being able to expand against the ground.

This is an example of Meyssan taking something with a simple explanation and twisting it to conform to his idea that there is some sinister aspect.
Meyssan: pp. 73-78. 

Meyssan claims that there is evidence that the "type of explosion observed at the Pentagon" is not consistent with an explosion caused by Jet Aviation Kerosene.
{Logical Fallacy}

Note that Meyssan has no qualifications whatsoever to analyze explosions from a forensic perspective.
{Logical Fallacy}

Griffin: pp. 31-34.

Griffin discusses hydrocarbon fires based on the Meyssan claims.

Griffin cites Meyssan suggesting that the Pentagon was hit by a missile of a type that can cause "an instantaneous fire, giving off heat in excess of 3,600° Fahrenheit." 

Then Griffin writes: "And...[a missile strike] corresponds with the fire started in the Pentagon."
 
 

Vaporized "Jet A" Aviation Kerosene exposed to a source of ignition can create a powerful explosion that reaches a temperature of 3,600° Fahrenheit.

Meyssan's claims that jet fuel cannot create such an explosion are easily refuted.

The impact of the jet against the Pentagon ruptured the fuel tanks and dispersed the Aviation Kerosene into the air as a vapor which was ignited and created an explosion. The science for this type of explosion is well studied. 

Flash point is discussed below in this column; while vapor explosion dynamics is discussed in the column to the right.

= = = = = = = = 

Kerosene is less likely to ignite at certain temperatures than is Gasoline, but it easily ignites at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

From the Pasadena Fire Dept. website:

"Flash point - The temperature at which a particular flammable liquid gives off vapors (vaporizes) and therefore can ignite. The flash point differs for each type of flammable liquid. Kerosene has a flash point of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Gasoline has a flash point of 40 degrees. This means that at 110 degrees or higher kerosene gives off flammable vapors and can ignite. However, gasoline requires a temperature of only 40 degrees to vaporize to cause an explosion or fire. This means that when the temperature is freezing, gasoline still vaporizes and can cause an explosion and/or fire. At the same temperature, kerosene cannot ignite. Liquids such as gasoline with a flashpoint below 100 degrees are called flammable liquids. Kerosene and other liquids with a flash point above 100 degrees are referred to as combustible liquids."

Flash Point - Pasadena

Explosion Dynamics Laboratory
Aviation Kerosene (Jet A) Research at Caltech:

= = = = = = = = 

"Hundreds of experiments documented in Nestor, Ott, and the Caltech studies [Exhibit 20D, L, T, P] demonstrate that an explosion can be produced in a quiescent mixture of Jet A vapor in air." 

"What happens in the explosion?" 
"The explosion occurs through the motion (propagation) of a flame, or combustion wave, through the ullage of the tank. The flame is a thin layer of intense chemical reaction in which the fuel vapor molecules and oxygen in the air combine to produce high temperature (3600 degree Fahrenheit) combustion products, water vapor and carbon dioxide. The motion of the flame sweeps up or lofts the liquid fuel in the bottom of the tank, creating a fireball of burning fuel with the remaining oxygen in the tank. Any liquid remaining on the tank bottom may also continue to burn after the fuel vapor is combusted."
 

"How can the explosion destroy the tank?"
"The high-temperature combustion products try to occupy much more volume than the original contents of the tank. Unless the products can be rapidly released through the vent system, the pressure in the tank will increase as the flame moves through the tank. The pressure reaches a maximum value and then falls as the hot products cool off and are released through the vent to the atmosphere. The speed of the flame and the rate of venting from the tank determine the maximum pressure reached inside the tank. In all cases that we have studied, the pressure inside the tank increases quickly enough that the strength of the tank, known as the failure pressure, is exceeded before the gas produced by the explosion can be vented out of the tank. This causes the outer walls of the tank to be forced outward and to rupture. The force of the explosion can be strong enough to tear the walls of the tank and propel the pieces outward at high speed." 

Caltech-1 Caltech-2

Meyssan:

Illustration. Photo of debris by Mark Faram. p. xvi, 

Meyssan has a title for the cutlines that dismisses the validity of the claim that this is a piece from American Airlines flight 77: 

Title: " 'Evidence' of the plane "

The cutlines read as follows: "Numerous newspapers have reproduced this shot assuring that it represents a piece of debris from American Airlines flight 77. Yet this piece of sheet metal does not correspond with any piece of a Boeing 757-200 painted in the colors of American Airlines. It has not moreover been inventoried by the Department of Defense as coming from flight 77."

Griffin:

"Further physical evidence is provided by the simple fact there were evidently no remains of a Boeing 757 at the crash site." 

A few lines later, Griffin quotes a fire chief as saying there were "some small pieces...but not large sections...." p. 33.

Griffin dismisses the Faram photo by citing Meyysan in footnote 26 for Chapter 2.

Several persons have shown that the large piece of debris dismissed by Meyssan and Griffin is consistent with the painted upper section of an American Airlines Boeing 757-200. 

There are several similar photographs circulating. One is discussed below.

"010911-N-6157F-001 Arlington, Va. (Sep. 11, 2001) -- Wreckage from the hijacked American Airlines FLT 77 sits on the west lawn of the Pentagon minutes after terrorists crashed the aircraft into southwest corner of the building. The Boeing 757 was bound for Los Angeles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Mark D. Faram. (RELEASED)"

Story

Click Here to see a low resolution image of the debris.  dubious_claims/web_010911-N-6157F-001.jpg

Click Here to see a high resolution image of the debris.  dubious_claims/010911-N-6157F-001.jpg

Note that there is a litter of small debris visible in the high resolution photograph, along with what appears to be another fragment from the jet to the right of the larger piece. Photo by Mark Faram / SIPA - Associated Press

At least one person has used a photo editing program to place the piece of debris against the photograph of an undamaged American Airlines Boeing 757-200, showing that is very likely the top part of the letter "n" in the painted name "American Airlines." 

Photo Match-up

On the same page, see the analysis:

The AA 757-200 Pentagon Wreckage Photo Is Authentic 

From Dr. Russell R. Bingman, Col. US Army (Ret) 

Note (with irony) that this refutation by Bingman is posted on Rense.com, a conspiracist website.

As for other debris, there are many other accounts that talk about debris from an airplane, including a large piece that struck a car on a nearby highway.

Meyssan: 

"We should thus be able to see the wings of the fuselage outside, and on the lawn in fact."

Griffin: 

"the most obvious problem is that since the aircraft penetrated only the first three rings of the Pentagon, only the nose of a Boeing 757 would have gone inside.... The rest of the airplane would have remained outside." p. 29.

This claim involves a series of false assertions and false assumptions. The claim is logically invalid because Meyssan and Griffin have no forensic engineering expertise to make this claim [the logical fallacy of [Appeal to Authority]; they deny the evidence of forensic engineers that explain how a Boeing 757 caused the damage at the Pentagon [Exclusion]; and the evidence they do present is highly biased [Non-Support].

The quote by Griffin falsely assumes that the entire jet aircraft maintained its structural integrity lengthwise as it plowed through the Pentagon, leaving its wings outside on the lawn.

This is a physical impossibility given the dense mass and structural strength of the Pentagon building materials and reinforcements. In fact, the plane disintegrated and collapsed lengthwise as it proceeded through the building.

See the refutation of the claims by Meyysan (and Griffin):

"Hunt the Boeing" Answers

by Paul Boutin and Patrick Di Justo

Meyysan: 

"The impact itself is nevertheless quite narrow." p. 54.

"The building was not smashed into as if it had suffered from a classic plane crash, but was perforated as if struck by a missile." p. 63.

Griffin:

"...whatever did hit the Pentagon simply did not cause nearly enough destruction for the official story to be true. A Boeing 757, besides being so tall and having such a wide wingspan, weighs over 100 tons. Travelling at a speed of 250 to 440 miles per hour, it would have caused tremendous devastation." p. 31. 

The Pentagon is an immense, solid, reinforced structure with a mass that makes a 100 ton airplane relatively small by comparison.

The airplane hit the ground before it hit the wall of the Pentagon, reducing its speed.

See the refutation of the claims by Meyysan (and Griffin):

"Hunt the Boeing" Answers

by Paul Boutin and Patrick Di Justo

Meyysan:

Discussing the nose cover of a Boeing 757 and the electronic gear behind it, Meyysan writes it is made of "carbon fibers...not particularly shock-resistant...extremely fragile. Against an obstacle, they would be crushed rather than piercing through." p. 60.

Griffin:

"the nose of a Boeing, which contains the electronic navigation system, is made of carbon fibers rather than metal. Being 'extremely fragile,' such a nose could not have gone through three rings of the Pentagon, creating a seven foot exit hole in the inside wall of the third ring. The Boeing's nose would have been 'crushed rather than piercing through.' What could create such a hole is the head of a missile." p. 31. 

The tiny black nose cover of the Boeing 757 that houses electronics undoubtedly disintegrated immediately upon impact with the outside wall of the Pentagon. This nose cover did not go through three rings of the Pentagon. What did was the rest of the aircraft fuselage and metal skin, along with the wings and jet engines, and the tail.

Both Meyssan and Griffin misdirect attention from the hurtling mass of the jet aircraft to the small and fragile nose cover. One official said the "nose" caused the damage to the third ring. Clearly this official is not referring to the tiny nose cover. 

Both Meyssan and Griffin mislead the reader into thinking that every quote about the "nose" of the aircraft penetrating the pentagon refers to the tiny fragile nose cover protecting electronic equipment rather than the front part of the aircraft, which is also referred to as the nose of the aircraft.

What Griffin is implying is that a missile hitting the Pentagon is a more probable explanation than a American Airlines Boeing 757. This is not supported by any physical evidence, and is refuted by much physical evidence.

Most witnesses describe a commercial jet aircraft flying toward the Pentagon, only a few refer to a missile, and many of those that do mention a missile are using the term in a descriptive sense rather than claiming the object was an actual missile.
{Logical Fallacy}

. .
. . . .
.

Griffin: p. 38-39. Citing the work of Holmgren:

Holmgren: "What appeared at first reading to be 19 eyewitness accounts...actually turned out to be none." {Logical Fallacy}

Holmgren: "My conclusion is that there is no eyewitness evidence to support the theory that F77 hit the Pentagon, unless my search has missed something very significant." 

Griffin: "I now return to the list of reasons for believing that the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was not Flight 77. The first two reasons, to recall, were that the identification was based on dubious sources and that the physical evidence was incompatible with this identification." 

Griffin relies heavily on Holmgren for his claims about a lack of credible witnesses. How credible is the research work of Holmgren? It is easy to demonstrate that Holmgren's research is inadequate and unreliable. 

Not all relevant research data can be located by a superficial internet search. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of witnesses that saw a commercial jet aircraft hit the Pentagon. Many additional statements [not counted by Holmgren] can be located using fee-based searches of newspaper and magazine archives.

Holmgen even dismisses quotes he found on the web in a way that demonstrates his flawed logic and methodology. Here, for example, is Holmgren: discussing the eyewitness account of AP Radio reporter Dave Winslow (with typos corrected as a courtesy):

Holmgren: "Obviously, once this enigmatic quote was out there, other media just picked it up and repeated it, without question. It multiplied itself throughout the media like a computer virus, without anybody actually tracking down Winslow and asking him to verify, or elaborate. If Winslow actually saw the collision, surely there must be more to his account than this."

"A search for 'Dave Winslow' found 13 newspaper reports, all for Sept 11 or 12 and all with the identical quote, similarly unverified and unquestioned, with no elaboration, although some omitted 'there is billowing black smoke.' No-one claims to have interviewed Winslow and I couldn't find any transcript of a broadcast by him. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I did a search with unrestricted dates for every possible type of media, for anything to do with Dave Winslow at any time."

"I found 36 matches, 16 of them repeating identically the aforementioned quote. None of these made any reference whatsoever to Winslow apart from the quote. The rest were nothing to do with Dave Winslow, the AP reporter. They concerned Dave Winslow the musician, Dave Winslow the police officer, Dave Winslow the airforce pilot, Dave Winslow the insurance spokesman etc. Not a single match for AP reporter Dave Winslow in any context except his alleged quote. In any kind of media at any time."

"I searched over 100 Yahoo matches with the Keywords "Dave Winslow AP " with the same result. Has Dave Winslow ever filed a radio report? Has he ever interviewed anyone? Does he exist? I have found no evidence that he does. If anyone (including Mr. Winslow himself) can come forward with evidence other than that quote, that an AP radio reporter named Dave Winslow exists, I will willingly retract the statement, but up until then, I am treating this account as a fabrication. At very best, it is almost certainly second hand, and in it's present form is too enigmatic to have much meaning. It definitely does not qualify as a verifiable eyewitness account of a large jet hitting the Pentagon."
{Logical Fallacy}

It took me about ten minutes to verify the employment of Dave Winslow as a reporter for AP Radio.  I used reference books, the telephone, and fee-based online archival searches.

However, even a thorough online search on the Web can locate Dave Winslow, the AP radio reporter. 

Try searching using Google(tm) with the phrase:
" Dave Winslow" "AP correspondent" 
to turn up audio reports by Winslow. For example, you can listen to a radio report by Winslow by playing the audio report mentioned in the small box on the right at the URL below:
Winslow Audio Report

Holmgren appears to be completely ignorant of how news services function. Newspapers routinely pick up information from news services and use quotes. The quotes might be the same as they appear in different publications, or they can be truncated with ellipses, or otherwise cut (although sometimes typos and editing errors can cause problems). The multiple appearances and variations in the Winslow quote are unremarkable.

Since Winslow is an AP Radio reporter, it is unusual for him to be quoted by a print news service or quoted on another broadcast news outlet..

AP radio news bulletins and features -- both audio feed and print feed -- are generally not posted on the web. They cannot be found with a simple web search. 

AP has a policy that their reporters should not grant interviews to other reporters without permission from above, but there are exceptions made, as in the interview Dave Winslow gave the Washingtonian Magazine a year after the attacks: "'Remembering 9/11' One year later, Washingtonians talk about that day and how their lives—and the city—have changed. By Bill Heavey." Washingtonian Magazine, September 2002.

"Summary: Maybe you heard the news on the radio. Or someone called yelling, 'Turn on the television!' Wherever you were on September 11, you got information about the attacks from the media. Remarkably few mistakes were made on a day when chaos ruled. Here are two stories on how Washington journalists brought you the news, according to AP Radio's Dave Winslow and AP Television's Eugenio Hernandez…"
AP Press Blurb about Winslow Interview

. Griffin: "...the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was not Flight 77....the identification was based on dubious sources. Witnesses - 1
Witnesses - 2

Snopes Website Refutation

Sequence of photos showing Pentagon explosion:

Photos

GUILTY FOR 9-11: BUSH, RUMSFELD, MYERS 

Introduction & Section 1 
by Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel 

" On 11 September there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready fighter 
jets at Andrews. Their job was to protect the skies over Washington D.C. 
They failed to do their job. Despite over one hour's advance warning of a 
terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews fighter tried to protect 
the city." 

Griffin: 

Griffin cites the Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel article along with others that make similar claims in a section discussing the Pentagon attack on pages 42 to 45. 

"Combat Ready" is a term used by the U.S. military to describe a unit with a sufficient number of properly trained troops; and a full inventory of equipment and ordinance that is functional and with the proper maintenance, so as to be able to be deployed into combat. It does not mean the people in the unit are sitting around on benches ready to leap into tanks and jets in ten minutes. 

Many "combat ready" units are Reserve units or National Guard units and most of the people in those units hold full-time jobs outside of their military commitment. Some "combat ready" units are part of the full-time military and live on or near their bases, but even in these units some people are on leave or off duty.

None of these people are automatically on duty for anything unless they are assigned through the chain of command to a specific task.

We can agree that it would have been a good idea to have several jet pilots and several jet airplanes assigned to alert duty and on call for a scramble (5-10 minutes to be airborne) at Andrews field near Washington, D.C. There were not. It is certainly appropriate to ask why not. Nonetheless, the duty assignments on 9/11/01 for scramble alert jet aircraft on the east coast were Langley in coastal Virginia to cover Washington, D.C. and Otis on the coast on Cape Cod in Massachusetts to cover New York City (and Boston). 

How do I know this? Because the pilots have given interviews describing their duty assignment and how the were scrambled on 9/11. Were their other bases with scramble-ready jets? Quite probably there were. My argument is that the Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel article claiming that there were actually jets ready to scramble and take off at Andrews (because some web page described some of the jet units stationed there as "combat ready") is flat out wrong and based on total ignorance of the meaning of the term "combat ready." 

There are plenty of DOD documents explaining the term "combat ready." And "combat ready 24/7" is just a slogan to keep units on their toes as a goal, because in actual practice, when a "combat ready" unit is called up from the Reserves or National Guard, the DOD goal is 24-72 hours before embarkation. Even an active duty full time military unit can take many hours to get assembled for transport. There is no evidence that has been produced so far that demonstrates that there were jets ready to scramble at Andrews. 

GUILTY FOR 9-11: BUSH, RUMSFELD, MYERS 

by Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel 

“U.S. air safety and air defense emergency systems are activated in response to problems every day. On 9-11 they failed despite, not because of, the extreme nature of the emergency. This could only happen if individuals in high positions worked in a coordinated way to make them fail."

"Such operatives would almost surely have failed if they tried to disrupt and abort routine protection systems without top-level support. The failure of the emergency systems would be noticed immediately. Moreover, given the catastrophic nature of the attacks, the highest military authorities would be alerted. Acting on their own, the operatives could expect that their orders would be countermanded and that they themselves would be arrested."

"The sabotage of routine protective systems, controlled by strict hierarchies, would never have been contemplated let alone attempted absent the involvement of the supreme U.S. military command. This includes at least U.S. President George Bush, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers." 

Griffin: 

"After NORAD received word of the hijacking, according to this account, it did not give the scramble order until 8:46, six minutes after it had been notified. Furthermore, NORAD inexplicable gave this order NOT to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, which is only 70 miles from NYC, but to Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, which is over 180 miles away." p. 9

Griffin states: “…the two f-15s [from Otis] that were given the scramble order at 8:46 were sent after this flight….But, inexplicably, the f-15s are said not to have taken off until 6 minutes later, at 8:52.” Griffin also suggests that the jet interceptors were not flying at their full speed despite statements by the pilots that they had flown at “full blower.”
 
 

The implication is that there is something “inexplicable” about jets flying from a base that is not the closest to an airborne target. Others have questioned why the mission was assigned to National Guard pilots rather than regular Air Force pilots. The issue is not whether or not an airfield is an Air Force Base or an Air National Guard Base. These are designations that are unrelated to whether or not an airfield is tasked by military authorities to scramble a jet interceptor in between five to ten minutes, which is the goal. Whether or not the scrambled jets are piloted by regular Air Force or the Air National Guard is also not important. At any given moment, the base tasked with scrambling jets may not be the closest base to a particular target. 

Active fighter and interceptor jet bases are often located near the ocean, to allow for sonic booms during numerous training missions to happen over the ocean, thus reducing complaints from encroaching suburbs near other bases. This is the case with Otis and Langely.

Pilots are not sitting in their aircraft prior to a scramble order; they are sitting near their jets in what is called a “ready room.” They need to get to their jets, go through at least a basic systems check, power up the jet engines, taxi to the proper place on the runway depending on the winds, and then take-off. There is nothing “inexplicable” about this process taking six minutes. 

Unlike Star Trek and Star Wars, the U.S. military does not have craft that can take off and reach maximum speed instantaneously. Jets cannot immediately hit their top speed if the pilots wish to survive the G-forces from rapid acceleration.

Any researcher can make a mistake, but in this case Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel refuse to admit they made a mistake, and have come up with more and more tortured explanations for their theory. At Political Research Associates our policy is to post our mistakes and corrections on our website, including a correction for a mistake I made on a Pacifica Radio interview concerning 9/11.

Among those who have challenged the Bykov / Israel article is progressive activist and military expert Stan Goff, (who is a frequently a critic of my work). Here is part of Goff’s critique from an online discussion list: 

Bykov / Israel:
“ Andrews Air Force Base is a huge military installation just 10 miles from the Pentagon. On 11 September there were two entire squadrons of combat-ready fighter jets at Andrews.” 

Goff:
“ Saying they were combat ready does not mean there was a stand-by status in effect. In other words, what was the status of the crews. How many were on stand-by, and what was their spin-up time? Ten minutes? Thirty minutes? One hours? Two hours? Is anyone actually suited up and ready to fly? If so, how many, and what are their standing orders? What is their primary mission?”

Bykov / Israel:
“ Their job was to protect the skies over Washington D.C.”

Goff:
“ Do you have documentation that states this is their mission?”

Bykov / Israel:
“ They failed to do their job. Despite over one hour's advance warning of a terrorist attack in progress, not a single Andrews fighter tried to protect the city.”

Goff:
“ I myself have questioned this, but the question remains, what was their actual status? Did they actually maintain ‘hot’ crews and craft? If the answer is no, it could concievably take well over an hour to get a bird aloft.”

According to the Bykov / Israel article, the failure to stop the attacks was evidence of an order to “stand down” from persons high up the chain of command:

Bykov / Israel:
“ This could only happen if individuals in high positions worked in a coordinated way to make them fail.”

Goff criticized the claim by Bykov / Israel that the events of 9/11 proved complicity by government officials in the attacks:

Goff:
“ Wild generalization. You haven’t yet established what the procedures are. Yet you conclude they 'failed.' Whereupon you conclude it was done on purpose. Raising the question is one thing. But answering your own question without all the facts is another. The question of the actual alert status at Andrews, and the question of the FAA-USAF-NORAD procedures, and the question of whether anyone might have fucked up any of those procedures, are all open.”

 


Note: In a preliminary exchange of e-mails, David Ray Griffin pointed out that one of my criticisms of logic was listed incorrectly, and another was convoluted. Corrections have been made, and I am very grateful to Dr. Griffin for his gracious forbearance. Read his full response here.

Fallacies of Logic

When an argument employs one of the many Fallacies of Logic, it is not valid on its face.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

Logical fallacy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A logical fallacy is an error in logical argument or reasoning which is independent of the truth of the premises. It is a mistake in the way that the propositions or statements in an argument are logically related. When there is a fallacy in an argument it is said to be invalid. That is, the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises provided to support it. This sort of mistake does not mean that the statements made or the conclusion reached are necessarily true or false. Both conclusion and premises may actually be true, but the argument is still invalid because the conclusion does not follow from the premises presented.

Arguments intended to persuade may be convincing to many listeners despite fallacious reasoning. The truth of the premises may even significantly increase the probability of the truth of the conclusion. But such arguments are nonetheless flawed. Recognizing fallacies is often difficult, but it is important to be able to do so. A tempting conclusion is not more likely to be true because it is supported by a fallacious argument. Detecting and avoiding fallacious reasoning will at least prevent adoption of some erroneous conclusions.

= = = = = = =

The following are a few of the fallacies of logic employed by Griffin and Meyssan, with initial descriptions of each fallacy provided by Stephen Downes (Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies - http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/).

Fallacies of Distraction:


False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are three options.

Example in Griffin: it is asserted that the evidence suggests Bush either caused the attacks on 09/11/01 or knew about them in advance and did nothing to stop them. One option not given (or repeatedly dismissed) is that Bush should have known that an attack was imminent, but failed to take the proper measures to stop them.

[Clarification: Some readers have written to suggest my meaning here was not clear. This language is better:

False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are three options.

Example in Griffin: it is asserted that the evidence suggests:

1) Bush ordered the attacks on 09/11/01.

or

2) Bush had been given specific solid information, knew that the attacks were set to take place on or around 09/11/01, and deliberately did nothing to stop the attacks in order to gain political advantages.

One option not given (or repeatedly dismissed) is:

3) Various government agencies had enough pieces of information that (if they had been properly collected, analyzed, and acted upon) it should have been obvious that an attack was imminent; but for a variety of reasons this information was not provided to or taken seriously by top Bush Administration officials, and Bush therefore failed to take the proper measures to prevent the attacks.]


From Ignorance: because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false.

Example in Griffin: A superficial search of the web by Griffin source Holmgren fails to discover evidence that AP Radio reporter Dave Winslow exists, therefore Holmgren asserts that Winslow's quotes are false, and that Winslow may not exist at all.

Inductive Fallacies:


Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population.

Example in Griffin: Finding only 19 witnesses quoted on the web who claim they saw a commercial jet hit the Pentagon, and then finding reasons to dismiss their claims, and then concluding the witness evidence does not support the claim that a commercial jet hit the Pentagon. In fact, there are many more than 19 persons who claim they saw a commercial jet hit the Pentagon, but since they were not found in a superficial web search, they are not counted as part of the sample.


Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a whole.

Example in Griffin: Highlighting the handful of people who say they saw or heard a missile heading toward or striking the Pentagon, when most people describe a commercial passenger jet.


Fallacy of Exclusion: evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration.

Example in Griffin: Meyssan and Griffin claim that the explosion at the Pentagon cannot be explained by the burning of Jet aviation fuel, therefore a missile strike is a likely explanation. There is abundant evidence (not mentioned) that Jet aviation fuel actually can explode when vaporized and create an extremely high temperature.

Example in Griffin: The World Trade Center towers would only have collapsed if bombs had been placed inside the buildings. This claim is refuted by numerous structural engineers and forensic engineers.   [Read example 1]  [Read example 2]  [Read example 3]

Non Sequitur:


Affirming the Consequent: any argument of the form: If A then B, B, therefore A

Example in Griffin: If a heat-seeking missile hit United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania, it would have knocked off the jet engine. A jet engine from the aircraft was found miles from the main crash wreckage, therefore this is evidence that a heat-seeking missile hit United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.

Example in Griffin: If Bush knew about the 09/11/01 attacks in advance, he would remain in a classroom talking with children, (and the Secret Service would not whisk him away to safety). Bush stayed talking with children, therefore this is evidence that Bush knew about the 09/11/01 attacks in advance.

Causal Fallacies:

Post Hoc: because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.

Example in Griffin: Bush wanted to pass legislation expanding the powers of intelligence agencies; invade Afghanistan, and invade Iraq. The passage of the Patriot Act, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq are evidence that Bush caused the attacks on 09/11/01 or allowed them to happen.

Fallacies of Explanation:

Non-support: Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is biased:

Example in Meyssan and Griffin: The fireballs of the commercial jets that struck the World Trade Center towers are different from the fireball at the Pentagon, therefore the fireball at the Pentagon was not caused by a commercial jet airliner. The fireballs are indeed different. The fireballs at the World Trade Center towers are in mid-air and can attain a rounded shape against the walls of the building and the holes in the walls. The fireball at the Pentagon is shaped by the wall of the building, the hole in the wall of the building, and the ground, therefore the blast is shaped differently and is forced upwards in a distinctive shape.

Changing the Subject:

Appeal to Authority: the authority is not an expert in the field.

Example in Griffin: Meyssan is cited by Griffin where Meyssan is making conclusions about scientific, military, and engineering matters when he has no expertise in any of these fields, much less expertise in the forensic analysis of phenomena related to these fields.

Example in Griffin: "the most obvious problem is that since the aircraft penetrated only the first three rings of the Pentagon, only the nose of a Boeing 757 would have gone inside.... The rest of the airplane would have remained outside." p. 29.

Fallacies of Ambiguity:

Equivocation: the same term is used with two different meanings.

Example in Griffin and Meyssan: Throughout their discussion of the "nose" of flight 77, and the attack on the Pentagon, they and the people they quote refer to the "nose" of the airplane, but it is clear that sometimes people are describing the small fragile nose cover that protects electronic equipment at the tip of the aircraft, and sometimes they are talking about the entire front part of the aircraft.



Occum's Razor

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_Razor

Occam's Razor
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Occam's Razor is nowadays usually stated as follows:

"Of two competing theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simpler one is to be preferred."

When that is ambiguous, Isaac Newton's version may be better:

"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."

In modern usage, "true" may best be taken to mean "well established", and "simple" or "simplicity" is used to mean "fits in best with available facts and possibilities, with the least needed assumptions".

Science and Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor has become a basic perspective for those who follow the scientific method. It is important to note that it is a heuristic argument that does not necessarily give correct answers; it is a loose guide to choosing the scientific hypothesis which (currently) contains the least number of unproven assumptions and is the most likely to be fruitful. Often, several hypotheses are equally "simple" and Occam's Razor does not express any preference in such cases.

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