by (Guest Contributor) Pink Panther
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September 11th, 2015, marked the 14th Anniversary of the Twin Towers/Pentagon terrorist attacks. Unfortunately from very early on, conspiracy stories began circulating that the attacks were a kind of false flag effort by the CIA or other US government agency to raise a fake pretext for war. As Anarchists we are no friends of either the US government nor religious fundamentalists of any kind. However, to be effective in opposing these organisations, we have to begin by dealing with reality and not succumb to fantasies and wild speculation. As materialists, we base ourselves on concrete facts, on scientific method and rationality, not political metaphysics. Unfortunately there are elements who we might otherwise work with, who do subscribe to irrational conspiracies. We need to draw a line between ourselves and these people.
While the 9/11 Commission’s reports into the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, had some serious shortcomings the basic facts are not disputed. On that day four airliners were hijacked. Two were flown into the Twin Towers, one was flown into the Pentagon and one was brought down by the passengers somewhere over Pennsylvania.

In answer to those who ironically call themselves 9/11 Truthers, here are some of the common claims and my response to them in a question and answer format:

Was it a missile that hit the buildings?

No. The United States had no missile in its arsenal that resembles a jet airliner. Also, the United States does not operate drones designed to resemble airliners. Also, landing gear can be seen on the grounds of the Pentagon.

Explain the fact firefighters heard explosions in the Twin Towers?

The firefighters were right. They did hear explosions. But they were not bombs. There were two causes. One was caused by the explosive nature of aluminium, which all commercial airliners are made out of, when subjected to intense heat. Steel doesn’t melt or explode around 1500°C but aluminium does. The other was caused by the sudden expulsion of air as the towers collapsed. It’s the same principle as blowing up a paper bag then stomp on it with the foot. Big bang, major expulsion of air.

Skyscrapers don’t collapse when they catch fire so why did the Twin Towers collapse?

A former firefighter explained to me that even when an identically built dwelling catches fire they don’t burn the same way because there are so many variables like the layout and composition of contents like furniture, window furnishings, how clean or dirty a property is, the cause(s) of the fire and other things. A jet airliner that is full of fuel hitting a building are going to create a very different result from a World War Two bomber that is almost empty crashing into a building.

Also, building collapses during fires do happen.

Why didn’t the hole created by the Pentagon did not resemble an aircraft?

When the plane hit the building the momentum propelled the aircraft forward. The wings and the other parts of the aircraft, being much lighter than the fuselage, were torn off.

Why did the World Trade Centre 7 tower collapse?

Most of the video and film footage of the building does not show the extensive amount of damage caused to the side of the building that faced the Twin Towers. Fires caused by burning debris had been burning in the building for several hours before it collapsed.

Why did news crews refer to the collapse of World Trade Centre 7 an hour before it actually collapsed?

That was most likely the result of confusion rather than reading from a script. Confusion caused by disrupted communications, the lack of any real idea of what was happening (due to many of the firefighters and other emergency crews being killed, injured or cleared from the area) and the state of many of the World Trade Plaza buildings made it difficult to work out what was going on.

Weren’t the Jews told not to go to work on that day?

That is untrue. Jews were also killed on 9/11 – as well as Muslims who weren’t terrorists.

But the 9/11 attacks were a false flag operation to justify Afghanistan and Iraq for their oil!

The United States didn’t need the 9/11 attacks to justify either invasion. Also, oil had little to do with it. So obsessed have some become with oil being the root of all evil, they fail to realise that Afghanistan has no oil reserves and Iraq’s oil supplies were (and are) insufficient to meet the needs of the United States and its allies. At best it may have played some part in the long term thinking of certain factions of the leadership, but was hardly the major explanatory factor it has been made out to be.

American government agencies are notorious for leaks and whistleblowing, as proven by the Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden cases. They are also somewhat incompetent and obsessive about their jurisdictions. An attack in which thousands of American civilians would be killed would’ve involved a degree of planning and co-operation across many agencies and a level of secrecy that would’ve been impossible to achieve. It would’ve also involved large numbers of people. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission highlighted the lack of co-operation between many agencies as being a key reason as to why the hijackers were able to enter the United States despite being on terrorist watch lists.

Aren’t the 9/11 Truthers backed by scholars?

It’s not relevant whether scholars back the Truthers or not. What is relevant is that virtually no structural engineer, architect, construction engineer, building demolition expert, surviving first responders, nearly all those who survived the attacks and other people with relevant expertise and qualifications support them.

In fact, no leading 9/11 Truther or supporter within academic circles have an engineering, construction, architectural or scientific background.

We are supposed to be heirs to the Enlightenment, not conspiracies and paranoia more likely to have their roots in religious fundamentalism or extreme right-wing quackery.

It is worth noting that the 9/11 ‘Truthers’ who made the widely disseminated Loose Change DVDs and videos had most of their material lifted from the American Free Press. That is, a virulently anti-Semitic media network with connections to the American National Socialist Movements, among others.

Some 9/11 Truthers are, at best, naive but many are firmly entrenched extreme right-wing and religious fundamentalist bigots cynically exploiting natural scepticism towards the United States government and the mainstream media to gain credibility among those who should know better.
Sometimes those who are aligned with us on certain political or economic issues and can be politically progressive overall, can get it wrong on other things. In the case of 9/11 those who believe in conspiracies have got it majorly wrong and we are under no obligation to follow them down that path.

NOTES ON SOURCES

If you want more information that debunks the 9/11 conspiracies, Rolling Stone magazine has some excellent articles on the matter, in particular their 26th September 2006 edition, as well as Popular Mechanics magazine.