Canadian Professor Disputes Official Representation On 9/11
No way World Trade Center Towers were brought down simply from planes, jet fuel and fire
by Graeme MacQueen
World Trade Center Towers.
Sometime in late 2005 I had a conversation -- quite a heated one, actually -- with an American dissident who said
that 9/11 was obviously carried out by the U.S. government. I expressed some scepticism about this and he said that I obviously
hadn’t done my homework and didn’t know the first thing about the issue. I realized after that conversation that
he was actually right. I’d tinkered with the issue by reading long pieces on the internet late at night but I hadn’t
really done my homework. Being, I guess, a scholarly sort of guy, and having by this time taken early retirement so that I
could work for peace and justice in whatever way I wished, I ordered some the leading books, downloaded key articles, and
set to work.
I was very surprised when I began to realize how weak the official story was. I can remember the exact moment when
I felt -- my god, there’s no way those 3 towers were brought down by planes, jet fuel and fire. One tower, maybe.
A structural flaw in the tower, a set of coincidences. Two towers -- we’re getting into a highly unlikely situation,
even though their construction was similar, because the planes hit in different ways. Three towers (including WTC 7 now, which
wasn’t hit by a plane), the odds against this are astronomical. So then I began taking a much closer look and
spending more and more time looking into all this. As for the things I was reading, I found out about Scholars for 9/11
Truth and stayed largely glued to that website. Joined the organization, read all the now standard works by Griffin, Jones
Now we get to the part about why I wrote a 9/11 article. When I read David Ray Griffin’s piece, "Explosive Testimony"
I was staggered. By two things. First, by the fact that these 10,000-12,000 pages of interviews with the FDNY existed. What
a resource! How come nobody told me about it before? Why hadn’t I learned about it in the mass media? I was like: Hello,
doesn’t everybody realize how important this is? I mean, if I were a prosecutor in a homicide trial and I suddenly
realized I had 10,000 pages of testimony by eyewitnesses, collected shortly after the crime! Secondly, I was staggered by
the stuff he quoted. Clear, in some cases detailed, and as far as I could see very credible - coming from people with no axe
to grind and with tons of experience with high-rises and fires and collapses and so on.
As soon as I read that article I knew I had to read those 10,000 pages for myself, even if it was just to feel grounded
in primary sources. As a scholar (I haven’t talked about the part of me that is a text scholar working in Buddhist texts
- later) I’ve always wanted to work in primary sources. After reading the results of other people’s research,
after reading secondary literature, I start to get antsy. Give me the primary sources and let me make my own conclusions.
And by now I realized we actually have all sorts of primary source material on 9/11 - the idea that we can never know what
happened is silly. We’ve got material evidence, photographic evidence, seismic evidence and eyewitness evidence - not
to mention certain principles to guide us, such as: we won’t accept anything that violates the laws of logic or the
laws of physics. So, this was a case of eyewitness evidence.
Let me pause on this for a moment. There’s a lot of talk - on the internet, in the media, etc. -- about how unreliable
witnesses are. This sort of evidence is often called "soft" and a lot of people tend to dismiss it. This is bizarre.
The whole of the social sciences and humanities depends on the use of human subjects - studying what they do, but also
talking to them, exploring what they think, reading what they’ve said. Now, any good social scientist, philosopher
or literary critic can tell you how many fences have to be crossed before you get from human perception to facts about the
external world-testimony from human subjects does not give us a transparent window -- but this does not mean eyewitness evidence
cannot be used or isn’t important. You don’t just refuse to look at it, you work out principles of interpretation.
I recently read a paper by Charles Regini, an FBI agent, talking about the establishment of Cold Case Homicide Squads in
the U.S. These are groups of investigators who try to solve homicide cases that have gone unsolved for at least a year. He
concludes, "resolution of nearly all CCS cases still comes from eyewitness identification." To ignore or dismiss eyewitness
testimony is absurd.
If we wish to prove the towers were brought down through controlled demolition we have to do the hard work of interlinking
all the types of evidence. In a broad sense this has been done; but I think there's a lot of work yet to be done.
Examination of photographs and videos strongly suggests explosions: we have squibs (smoke or fire shooting forth
suddenly) appearing at different floors in advance of the collapse; we have a great shaking of the earth preceding the collapse,
visible in the quaking of cameras on tripods; we have the trajectory of the matter in the plumes of powdered building that
make no sense in a gravity-driven collapse; we have the pulverization of the buildings and the pyroclastic cloud; we have
apparent flashes-small but visible in some videos-and so on. We also have seismic evidence, but I'm not qualified to assess
it so I direct you to the St911 website, LINK. We have physical evidence, despite the fact that most of the steel was shipped off before forensic examination could take
As the FEMA report indicated quite a while ago, some of the remaining steel shows corrosion and the presence of sulphur,
which Dr. Jones has argued indicates thermate (used to cut steel--contains sulphur to lower the melting point of steel). We
have samples of the actual powder to which most of the building was reduced. And so on.
Again and again we find that the nature of these things cannot be explained through the official narrative,
such as that is. In my opinion, there actually isn't any official explanation of the collapses at the moment, since NIST has
rejected the pancake theory but hasn't given us any proper theory of total collapse to replace it. I’m afraid I don't
think "global collapse ensued" is a theory.
But, on the other hand, as far as I know there's been no attempt yet to take all these different pieces of evidence and
put them together to produce a detailed, definitive narrative of the collapse.
By detailed, I mean: suppose a firefighter says, then there was a huge explosion and a big piece of metal flew out of the
tower and hit the Financial Center. Now, I want us to look and see if he might be talking about a particular piece of metal
in the Financial Center known from photographs. If a firefighter says, I saw a puff of smoke twenty floors below where the
planes hit, I want to ask: can we find this puff on the video? That's the kind of detailed matching I'd like to see. It's
not that I think we need this level of detail to have a strong hypothesis (we've already got a strong hypothesis); it's just
that the more detail we have the stronger the hypothesis is. It's a lot of work and we have no funding. But we have more and
more people doing research and coordinating it through the internet.
Terrorists (in the broad sense, including state terrorists) sometimes conduct an initial attack on a target, and
then when first-responders or caregivers arrive they make a second attack, sometimes through an explosive device or "secondary
device" that explodes and injures those who have come to help the victims of the first attack. Basically, you cleverly cause
an enormous strain on the social fabric by injuring more people, by injuring those who help the injured, by discouraging people
from following their natural altruistic tendencies to help each other, and so on. Many of the firefighters, when they heard
the explosions going off in the towers, thought they might be "secondary devices" in this sense-meant to directly injure first-responders.
I don't think it initially occurred to any of them that these explosions were actually meant to bring down the towers, though
they learned that quickly enough.
So let me just interpret your question to mean, why are explosions in the Towers important and what does their presence
tell us? First of all, any major fire may include explosions of various kinds-could be gas utilities, for example, or fine
air-borne particles or hot gases under pressure-but the kind of explosions we're interested in are explosions that were causally
related to the collapses. That is, they contributed in a major way to the catastrophic collapse of two massive, 110-storey
buildings. Normal explosions accompanying fires would not do this.
Now, although there are various collapse theories that utilize explosions, I think by far the strongest are those that
say the buildings were carefully wired with explosives in advance of 9/11.
Suppose the explosions were from bombs on the planes. This is a natural enough idea, since early reports said that 3 out
of 4 of the sets of “terrorists” on board the planes allegedly claimed they had a bomb on board. (Interesting...
sounds to me as if someone was deliberately setting up a scenario where there’d be an explanation for explosions
in the towers). But this doesn’t really get us anywhere, because there's no way these could bring down the buildings
in the way they actually fell-symmetrically, with rapid and even pulverization, etc. So at this point we're inclined to
conclude that we've got the buildings pre-wired with explosives. Now the question comes: who could have done this? Could al
Qaeda have gotten into 3 WTC buildings, past all the security, to do this job? Remember, they can't just sneak a suitcase
or two in-or even a few dozen. They've got to position these perfectly and make sure all the columns are taken out in just
the right order.
They'll probably have to get right to the core columns and wrap charges around them. There'll be drilling and all sorts
of things. Now, if we say al Qaeda could do this, OK, but in this case we're going to have to say they had major, major
inside help. So this becomes a collaboration theory with al Qaeda working directly with people somewhere in the US security
system. Alternatively, we could just say: it was an inside job and the Arab guys involved, such as the guys going to flight
school, were "patsies," unwitting dupes set up to take the blame. Well, take your pick between these two unattractive scenarios.
Both of them involve more than the so-called LIHOP theory, the theory that the Bush administration "Let It Happen On Purpose."
If there was a controlled demolition, then somebody (not necessarily Bush-I have no idea who) did a lot more than just let
There is evidence of a great deal of coordination in the events of 9/11 -- the absence of air defence,
the numerous simulations taking place on the day, and so on. Again, this can't be explained by outside agents, in my view.
Someone inside was pretty firmly in control.
As to who, specifically, was in charge, I haven't a clue. We may speak of a "rogue group" within the U.S.
government, but I don't really know what this means. Were they "rogue" or were they mainstream, blue-blooded prep school insiders
with flawless credentials? I don't know. Were they a long-lived faction firmly embedded in government and determined to prevent
American plutocracy from becoming democracy, as Webster Tarpley maintains? I don't know. I do not have any expert knowledge
of US government such as would qualify me to make guesses about this.
I did come to gloomy conclusions during the early 1980s as I studied the imperial systems then in place in the world,
especially those of the U.S. and Soviet Union. I concluded at that time that there were no moral barriers at all that the
people in charge of these empires would not transgress. Massacres, killing and even torture of children... you name it,
it was done.
I visited women in the women's prison in San Salvador in the late 1980s and they described their torture to me. ("They
blindfolded me. They tied something... I think it was nylon around my breasts. I could feel the blood, I thought they had
cut them off. I wanted to die. And then they hung me by my breasts.") These women knew who had trained many of the military
commanders in charge and they knew who was propping up the government. The School of the Americas...Washington. This is when
I lost my political and moral innocence.
A couple of years ago a few of us published an article (in the journal, Medicine, Conflict and Survival) showing
how the U.S. government knowingly destroyed, and kept in a state of ruin for years, the Iraqi water and sewage system,
despite their knowledge that this would result in epidemics. As the deaths of Iraqi children were documented, and as they
mounted into the hundreds of thousands, these controls were kept in place. It's simply wrong to say this was not known-it
was known from an early stage.
If these people were capable of killing about 500,000 Iraqi children in cold blood, why should we be surprised to find
they would kill 3000 Americans? There's no reason to be surprised.
What is surprising is why we let these people keep doing this. What are we thinking?
My guess is that some of the perpetrators are working for what they see as a "higher purpose" and some are just "doing
The higher purpose is likely patriotism -- that's probably been the most deadly of higher purposes in the last couple of
hundred years. A person feels enveloped in the collective. For example: "I'm not doing this for myself, I'm doing it for the
nation, for America. The American people are too dim to realize they're squandering the biggest and maybe the last opportunity
for this nation. They're going to let other peoples-the Chinese, the Russians... the Arabs -- take what should belong to America.
The oil, the military leadership, the prestige. Pretty soon we'll be a second rate nation that can't even run cars let alone
tanks. Our freedom, our glory, even our basic safety, will all be at risk. It's sad but true that we have to shock the
American people into action. We have to stir them up a bit. It's too bad, but sometimes you have to do it. The tree of
Liberty, the blood of martyrs, all that..."
Or possibly the "higher purpose" is religious. In the recent Left Behind series (a dozen or so novels about the Rapture
and the End Times) there's a Tribulation Force that has to hunker down and be ready to take action in the end times. There's
a fascination with planes and technology in the series; there's a tolerance of violence-in fact, God is very violent here.
(One reviewer summed up the series by saying, "God so loved the world that He sent World War III"). The "antichrist" is
the Secretary-General of the UN in these novels. I find this literature very unsavoury, frankly.
It worries me that there are apparently (I haven't researched this myself) fundamentalist Christian connections to Florida
flight schools where some of the "Arab hijackers" received training...
I'm not making accusations here, I'm just speculating.
As for the others, the ones who are just "doing their jobs": in an operation of this complexity there would probably
be a lot of these sorts. They're told what to do and that it's important they keep quiet about it. There's a "need to know"
regime in place so that most people don't know very much - they see the bit they have to do but they don't see the complete
picture. Maybe they're told it's a simulation.
The thing that bothers me most is the sense of privilege or entitlement that the senior people in this kind of operation
must have. They must really have contempt for the rest of us. I'm not sure how you successfully reach someone who's encased
in this entitlement. It's the same entitlement that allows people to invade other nations, putting the lives and welfare of
millions of people at risk. They just think they know best, I guess. "It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it."
I have no solutions to the problem of how we reach such people and convince them to come clean. They're in deep now, and
it's going to be very costly to confess.
Are American elites in pursuit of a greed-driven Authoritarian agenda?
By the way, if you read Rebuilding America's Defenses, the famous report of the Project for the New American
Century, you won't find that these elites (many of whom have had great power in the Bush administration) are worried about
being annihilated by Iraq, Iran, and the like. They say quite clearly that they're worried about these countries acquiring
WMD because then they would be able to DETER the U.S. [elites] from doing whatever it likes to them. In other words, we
don't want countries to get these weapons because then we might not be able to mess with them, steal their oil, etc. These
guys are pretty frank about all this.
About the author:
Graeme MacQueen has recently retired from the Religious Studies Department at McMaster University
in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he taught for 30 years. His academic specialization is Buddhist Studies, in which he received
his doctorate from Harvard University.
In 1989 Graeme helped found McMaster's Centre for Peace Studies, of which he became director from 1989 until 1996.
He was also a founder and co director of the Centre's War and Health programme committee, which has carried out research and
activities on behalf of victims of war in several zones of armed conflict (Croatia, Gaza, Sri Lanka, north India, Afghanistan).
He remains committed to developing the fruitful connections between health and peace, on the one hand, and spirituality and
peace, on the other hand.
Graeme has been a social activist for years. He was a member of the Alliance for Nonviolent Action and he has at various
times chaired the Hamilton Disarmament Coalition, the Board of Directors of Peace Magazine, and the National Coordinating
Committee of Peace Brigades International (Canada).