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Sunday, July 16, 2006

911Myths... Reading between the lies: a partial review

911Myths... Reading between the lies: a partial review

First, a few quotes from the homepage of 911Myths:
The web is full of sites covering various conspiracy theories. Many seem well-researched, and appear to have plenty of detailed documentation to prove their claims. But are they really true?

We don’t know, but one good way to start is by checking a few claims for yourself. We tried that with a number of 9/11 sites, with surprising results. Many of the “facts” we read were distorted, or simply wrong. Quotes were routinely taken out of context. Relevant information was often ignored. And much of this could be discovered with a minimum of online research.
We’re not about debunking entire conspiracies, then, but will use this site to zoom in on what we think are the more dubious stories, revealing the misquotes, the distortions, the inaccuracies that are so common online.

But does this make us an authority? No. If we’ve an overall message here, it’s check things for yourself. Don’t trust a site just because it’s telling you what you want to believe. Don’t believe us without evaluating our arguments and checking the references we provide, either (we’re as likely to make mistakes as anyone else). Look into the claims yourself, discover both sides of the argument, and make your own mind up. The truth deserves nothing less.


Fair enough. Looking over the site a bit, I would guess that it falls into the general category of: shows little to no evidence which would make one question the official story unless it can debunk that evidence to its satisfaction.

With over 100 pages in currently about 13 different categories it has obviously taken a lot of time and effort. A complete review and/or point by point addressing/rebuttal is clearly beyond my ability, so I will just point out a few potential inaccuracies, incompletenesses, etc. But, as they say, "look into the claims yourself" and "discover both sides of the argument" (keeping in mind that there may be more than two sides).

Progressive Collapse As much effort as has gone into this site, mightn't they have added a few pictures from the WTC collapses for comparison purposes? What I notice here is quite a few chunks of concrete (I also notice that in images from the Ronan Point collapse in May of 1968, but those are not included here, more shots of rather large pieces of concrete linked to here also). So far, I've been able to find only minimal pictoral evidence of chunks of concrete rubble at the WTC (as opposed to significant pictoral evidence for pulverized concrete) for comparison purposes. Perhaps you can find more either here or somewhere else?
What I also notice is this quote: "The entire structure collapsed, first the west tower and then the east tower, in 5 seconds, only 2.5 seconds longer than it would have taken an object to free fall from that height." So, if that is accurate, then in that particular progressive collapse the structure took about twice as long to fall as an object in free fall would have from the same height. Comparing this to one report on the time it took WTC 7 to fall-
The collapse was complete in 6.5 seconds.
Free-fall time from Building 7's roof is 5.96 seconds
I notice that in that report the collapse happened in roughly 110% of freefall time rather than 200% of frefall time. The site also has a pages called Freefall and Pulverized Concrete, and several pages devoted to WTC 7 so those topics would seem to be of interest. The page also mentions a recent paper by Zdenek P. Bazant and Mathieu Verdure on progressive collapse featuring the WTC collapses. Unfortunately, the paper doesn't appear to mention the WTC 7 collapse (but then, neither does the 9/11 Commission report), so I can't tell you how Bazant explains that one. Though since the paper appears pretty technical, I probably couldn't tell you how he explains it if he had done so. Tentative conclusion- the site seems to be incomplete in the presentation of some evidence on some pages. Further checking, verifying (or refuting) and adding and/or crosslinking the relevant information to the pages in question would make them more complete.

Page: WTC Molten Steel This page appears to have at least 2 objectives- to show that molten doesn't necessarily mean liquid and that metal doesn't necessarily mean steel. To balance this page, I would recommend reading, verifying (or refuting) the relevant portions of Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? (the page also has a great deal of material which pertains to other pages on the 911Myths site. Tentative conclusion: the site author apparently has not yet successfully attempted to rebut all claims made by 9/11 official story skeptics. The site author may have been aware of the page at some point in time in the past (at least judging from 911PHYSICS.CO.NR - Debunking 911Myths transcript of a prior version of the Progressive collapse page), though that might be falsified, since there is no way I can confirm that it was on his site at one point via the Internet Archives, so the best evidence I have that is was indeed there at one point is probably this. I would suggest that that particular page would be a very good place to concentrate substantial effort, since it appears to be a pretty strong argument which I haven't yet seen rebutted convincingly.

Another page- Hijack Assistance Approval mentions 2 pdf files: AIRCRAFT PIRACY (HIJACKING) AND DESTRUCTION OF DERELICT AIRBORNE OBJECTS (dated 31 July 1997) and an updated version of the same (dated 1 June 2001). The provenance of neither of these documents can be established as dating prior to 9/11/2001 by means of the Internet Archive (see Wayback Machine results for http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/cjcsd/cjcsi/3610_01.pdf (dated 31 July 1997, only current archived result: Jul 13, 2004) Wayback Machine results for http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/cjcsd/cjcsi/3610_01a.pdf (dated 1 June 2001, earliest archive: Nov 27, 2001) tentative conclusion- without further verification, nothing can be authoratively stated on this issue, due to the possibility that one or both of these documents may not have existed at the quoted date of publication (since this review and the site being reviewed exist on the web, web standards of proof are the highest which can be attempted in terms of verification of information; failing the ability to verify something by web standards does not mean that it is not legitimate, but it does imply at minimum a weaker argument)

At least several of the pictures on the page seem to be claiming to be showing smoke from WTC 7 fires but have WTC 6 (or smoke from its fires) in the picture foreground. I've gone into this issue further in the section of this essay called Misrepresenting photographic evidence

Tentative conclusion from these examples: this site is not as strong a rebuttal of 9/11 official story skeptics as it may at first appear; despite the apparent thoroughness and comprehensiveness of the website, there appear to be some official story skeptic's arguments which have not been rebutted, some examples of incompleteness and some weak arguments on the site. Potentially it may include some straw man arguments, irrelevant arguments, cherry picking of claims to rebut, arguments debunked on 9/11 official story skeptic sites and other things as well, though I have not attempted to look further to give potential examples of those things. The site Debunking 9/11 Myths DRAFT appears to have done a critique as well, so you might want to check that out for a bit more on 911myths. Also, a bit more here
The site would perhaps gain more credibility if it also included more links to and information about things which it had not yet debunked to its satisfaction. Since it doesn't appear to me to debunk anything in the official "conspiracy theory story" or as far as I could tell mention much of anything questioning the official theory that it was not either dismissing or debunking it appears one sided in its efforts. That is in spite of its exhortation to the reader to "discover both sides of the argument". I guess if a reader wants to discover other sides, she is on her own.
Remember, "much of this could be discovered with a minimum of online research." Probably, they just have an easier time with research than I do, since there is a lot more to the site than I could manage to put together with minimal research. Following along with their site does tend to help speed my research a bit, though.

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