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Debunking 9/11 Myths
Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts
By David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, forward by John McCain
PB, 192 pg. US$12.95
ISBN: 1-5881-6635-X

The truth behind the conspiracy theories

By Damian Penny
web posted October 9, 2006

Debunking 9/11 MythsA recent article for the British magazine New Statesman profiled David Shayler and Annie Machon, former MI5 agents who went public with details of their service, who have since joined the growing "9/11 truth movement."  Much to Machon's chagrin, Shayler outed himself as a "no-planer" who believes the airliners we saw strike the World Trade Center towers were actually cruise missiles disguised as planes using sophisticated hologram technology.  "The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes…I know it sounds weird, but this is what I believe," Shayler told journalist Brendan O'Neill.

Not all 9/11 conspiracy theorists (who I've taken to calling "blackshirts," because of their penchant for showing up at Ground Zero in identical black "Investigate 9/11" T-shirts) are "no-planers," of course.  Some argue that "no-planers" like Shayler, or people who claim a missile struck the Pentagon instead of an jet, are actually government disinformation specialists trying to discredit the "9/11 truth movement" by drawing attention away from the real truth: that the World Trade Center towers were destroyed by controlled demolitions, for example.  No theory is so outrageous that at least some cranks won't swallow it, and that's why Debunking 9/11 Myths, a new book by the editors of Popular Mechanics, is unlikely to convince those who really, really want to believe Chimpy McHitlerBurton and his Jewish masters cooked up the 9/11 attacks themselves.

That is not the book's fault.  Debunking 9/11 Myths is an absolutely devastating, comprehensive and fully documented refutation of conspiracy theories which argue that the World Trade Center towers were brought down by controlled demolition, that something other than a Boeing 757 smashed into the Pentagon, and that United Airlines Flight 93 was either shot down by the American military or never crashed at all.

How could the World Trade Center have collapsed because of fire, when jet fuel does not burn at a temperature high enough to melt steel?  The steel with which the towers were built didn't have to melt - it just had to be heated to a point at which it would lose most of its strength, and the fires burned hot enough to do just that.  Why did World Trade Center Building 7 collapse even though it was not struck by any planes?  Falling debris significantly damaged the building's structure – itself an unusual design meant to accommodate an electrical substation – and emergency generators' diesel fuel tanks spread devastating fires throughout the building.

What about the hijackers, who hit three-quarters of their targets despite minimal flying experience?  Since they didn't have to take off, land or fly in poor weather, notes one expert consulted by Popular Mechanics, they had to do no more than "point and go."  How could the passengers on Flight 93 talk to loved ones on cell phones, which don't work at cruising altitude?  It turns out that even in 2001, mobile phones could indeed be used to make calls from a plane traveling as high as the doomed 757, albeit not without difficulty.  The record does indeed show that most of the calls were made from seat-back phones, and that nearly all of the cellular calls were dropped after a few minutes.  The "missing" plane wreckage at the Pentagon?  The "missile pod" which supposedly appears in photographs of planes just before they struck the World Trade Center?  The alleged failure of NORAD to follow "established procedure" when civilian airliners are hijacked?  The book takes ‘em all on, and smacks down every one.

There is no way anyone with an open mind can read Debunking 9/11 Myths and still believe that the assertions of the "9/11 truth movement" have any validity whatsoever.  The key phrase, unfortunately, is "open mind."  For all their rhetoric about "asking questions" and "seeking the truth," most blackshirts are as stubborn as the most fanatical religious believer.

In an epilogue, Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief James B. Meigs describes the controversy which embroiled his magazine when its February, 2005 cover story on 9/11 conspiracy theories - from which Debunking 9/11 Myths was derived – hit the stands.  In no time at all, the magazine and its writers were accused of being government agents, shills for the military-industrial complex or – as usual with this kind of thing – in the employ of the Mossad and the omnipotent "Zionists."  (Not all 9/11 conspiracy theorists are anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers, of course, but nearly all anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers are also 9/11 conspiracy theorists.  Curious, that.)
One enterprising blackshirt noted that a Popular Mechanics writer who contributed to the story was named Benjamin Chertoff, and contacted his mother to find out whether he was related to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.  She conceded that they may be distantly related – and before you can say "New World Order," conspiracy-friendly websites were plastered with stories describing how Chertoff was a "cousin," "nephew" and even "son" of a top Bush Administration official.

Several polls have shown a disturbingly large portion of the U.S. population open to theories about their own government's complicity in the 9/11 attacks, but I suspect – and hope - that most of them have not yet become full-fledged conspiracy theorists.  Slick websites and movies like Loose Change throw around more than enough "facts" to make the casual viewer think, "well, there must be something to it."

If Debunking 9/11 Myths steers some of these people away from the dark road of 9/11 conspiracy theorizing, it will have performed a valuable public service.  But if you're the kind of person who believes the phone calls from Flight 93 were created with sophisticated voice-morphing technology, little things like "facts" aren't going to change your mind. ESR

Damian Penny is the author of the widely popular blog Daimnation!. This review is expanded and adapted from the author's review of the same book for blogcritics.org.

Buy Debunking 9/11 Myths at Amazon.com for only $12.98


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