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Editorial attacks 911 conspiracy theories { August 29 2006 }

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   http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion_columnists/article/0,2777,DRMN_23972_4951907,00.html

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion_columnists/article/0,2777,DRMN_23972_4951907,00.html

On Point: 9/11 theories burst
August 29, 2006

With the anniversary of 9/11 just a couple of weeks away, it's time to strike a blow for sanity and, yes, truth. If the polls are accurate, someone you know is flirting with 9/11 denial - or perhaps has succumbed already to the contagious delusion.
The symptoms are unmistakable. For starters, the victim uses the phrase "the official version" when referring to events of that day - or more likely, "the government version" - and utters the words with unconcealed contempt.

Maybe the skeptic has e-mailed you a video of a lecture by Brigham Young University physics professor Steven Jones, or a column by Morgan Reynolds or Paul Craig Roberts, accompanied by a note of wonder: "Have you seen this?"

Or perhaps your friend/relative has sent you a link to one of the dozens of Web sites dedicated to explaining why this or that critical aspect of the accepted version of 9/11 is allegedly full of holes.

There is no time to waste. You must purchase Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts, a paperback just released by Hearst Books, and get it to the afflicted person in time for the fifth anniversary of the terrorists' attack.

Debunking is the product of editors, writers and researchers at Popular Mechanics magazine, and is an expanded version of their March 2005 issue on the topic. Edited by David Dunbar, the magazine's executive editor, and Brad Reagan, a contributing editor, the book provides a sober, concise review of the major allegations and the consensus rebuttal of experts and eyewitnesses.

Let's dip our toes into a couple of the conspiracy buffs' favorite claims:

Claim No. 1: Before 9/11, no steel-framed high-rise had ever collapsed because of fire. Why did the twin towers? Jet fuel doesn't even burn hot enough to melt steel. The collapse must have been triggered by an engineered demolition.

Responds Debunking: "The Twin Tower fires were unlike previous high-rise fires. . . . the planes that struck the two towers involved multiple floors, slicing through floors 93 to 99 in the North Tower and 77 to 85 in the South Tower . . . The resulting conflagrations were immediate and widespread.

"As the fires blazed and the temperatures rose within the buildings, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) believes, the remaining core columns (those not severed by the planes during impact) softened and buckled, transferring most of the load to the building's outer structural columns. The floors . . . began to sag from the heat, pulling those columns inward and adding to the burden on the outer columns."

Important point: "The NIST report states that pockets of fire hit 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). Steel begins to lose strength at temperatures as low as about 400 degrees Celsius . . . At 980 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit), it retains less than 10 percent (of its strength) . . . "

Debunking goes into much greater detail regarding what it says are among "the most extensively studied structural failures in American history," but you get its flavor: It's fact based, with lots of quotations from expert testimony.

Claim No. 2: What about World Trade Center 7? This 47-story building also collapsed in the wake of the attacks, and it wasn't even hit by a plane. If it wasn't an inside job, what happened?

The collapse of building 7 was something of a puzzle to investigators at the outset. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency's preliminary report in 2002 may have missed the mark in several respects. However, Debunking notes, "with the benefit of more time and resources, NIST researchers now support the hypothesis that WTC 7 was far more compromised than the FEMA report indicated. 'The most important thing we found was that there was, in fact, physical damage to the south face of building 7,' NIST's (lead investigator Shyam) Sunder tells Popular Mechanics. 'On about a third of the face to the center and to the bottom - approximately 10 stories - about 25 percent of the depth of the building was scooped out.' "

FEMA didn't notice this in its early analysis, according to NIST, because "in the many photographs taken of the area following the attacks - a primary source in the FEMA report - the structure of WTC 7 is simply not visible" because of smoke.

Debunking deals with much more, of course, including many fraudulent claims involving the attack on the Pentagon as well as the demise of Flight 93. But among Debunking's most damning passages are those quoting numerous 9/11 witnesses, rescuers and others complaining about how conspiracy addicts have twisted and misused what they said to build their theories.

These guys are a disgrace: Buy this book and spare your loved ones the same fate.



Vincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes On Point several times a week. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.




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