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29 September 2006
The Top September 11 Conspiracy Theories
Numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks continue to circulate, especially on the Internet. Some of the most prevalent myths are:
1) The World Trade Center (WTC) twin towers were destroyed by controlled demolitions.
This is how the collapses may have appeared to non-experts, but demolition experts point out many differences:
- Demolition professionals always blow the bottom floors of a structure first, but the WTC tower collapses began at the upper levels, where the planes hit the buildings.
- Non-experts claim that debris seen blowing out of windows was evidence of explosive charges, but experts identify this as air and light office contents (paper, pulverized concrete, etc.) being forced out of windows as floors collapsed on each other.
- Demolition firms had very sensitive seismographs operating at other sites in Manhattan on September 11. None recorded any explosions during the tower collapses.
- Clean-up crews found none of the telltale signs of controlled demolitions that would have existed if explosive charges had been used.
- Cutting away walls, insulation, plumbing, and electrical conduits to place numerous charges on the towers’ structural columns in advance would not have gone unnoticed.
- For more information, see ImplosionWorld’s article (external - login to view) on the WTC collapses and Popular Mechanics, parts 4 (external - login to view) and 5 (external - login to view).
Conspiracy theorists making this claim ignore several facts:
- The remains of the bodies of the crew and passengers of American Airlines flight 77 were found at the Pentagon crash site, and positively identified by DNA.
- The flight’s black box was also recovered at the site.
- Numerous eyewitnesses saw the plane strike the Pentagon. Some saw passengers through the plane’s windows. Missiles don’t have windows or carry passengers.
- Numerous photographs show airplane debris at the crash site, as was also witnessed by survivors and rescue personnel. See sections 4:57 to 6:00 of the “911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77” video for pictures of airliner debris.
- For more information, see “Did a Plane Hit the Pentagon?” and Popular Mechanics, part 6 (external - login to view).
- Boeing, which manufactured the planes that struck the towers, stated that all its commercial jet transports are configured so that they cannot be controlled from anywhere except the flight deck of the aircraft.
- Passengers onboard the flights made several phone calls. All reported that hijackers had commandeered the planes.
- For more information, see “Did a Plane Hit the Pentagon?”
- The cockpit voice recorder of this flight was recovered and showed that the passenger revolt caused the hijackers to deliberately crash the plane. The hijackers controlled the plane until its impact. See full transcript (external - login to view).
- The U.S. military did not learn that flight 93 had been hijacked until four minutes after it crashed, as recently released tapes (external - login to view) demonstrate.
- The military never gave interceptor pilots authorization to shoot down United flight 93. See article (external - login to view) on tapes.
- Listen to the 45-second message left by flight attendant CeeCee Lyles on her home answering machine. Click on the “Lyles” file or the phone icon in the bottom left corner of the flight 93 page.
- For more information, see The 9/11 Commission Report chapter 1, “We Have Some Planes,”pages 13-14.
- This allegation was fueled by a comment by the WTC owner that, after WTC 7 was judged to be unstable, he recommended pulling a group of firefighters out of the building, using the phrase “pull it” in reference to the contingent of firefighters. For more details, see 9/11 Revealed?
- Conspiracy theorists have interpreted the “pull it” remark as slang for demolishing the building with explosives. But demolition experts say “pulling” a building means attaching long cables to a weakened structure and literally pulling it down with bulldozers and other powerful machinery – not using explosives.
- Seismographs recorded no telltale spikes or anomalies that would have indicated the use of explosives.
- For more information, see ImplosionWorld (external - login to view) article and Popular Mechanics, part 5 (external - login to view).
- The 9/11 Commission investigated this issue in detail, concluding, “Some unusual trading did in fact occur, but each such trade proved to have an innocuous explanation.”
- For example, it stated, “much of the seemingly suspicious trading in American [Airlines stock] on September 10 was traced to a specific U.S.-based options trading newsletter, faxed to its subscribers on Sunday, September 9, which recommended these trades.”
- For other examples, see The 9/11 Commission Report, “Notes” section, page 499, footnote 130.
- It appears from media reports that some 10-15% of WTC victims were Jewish, indicating there were no mass absences.
- The “4,000” figure apparently came from an early statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that some “4,000 Israelis” were believed to be in the New York and Washington areas, where the attacks occurred. This figure was apparently seized upon by conspiracy theorists, in an attempt to bolster the false rumor.
- For more information, see “The 4,000 Jews Rumor.”
- Al Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, have repeatedly confirmed that they planned and carried out the September 11 attacks.
- In an audiotape released on May 23, 2006, bin Laden stated, “I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers … with those raids ….”
- In a November 2001 tape, bin Laden said, “We calculated in advance the number of casualties … who would be killed …. I was the most optimistic of them all. … Due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only.”
- For more information, see “Al Qaeda and September 11th.”