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Boulder Weekly Trots Out Morgan Reynolds' Trojan Horse

by Jim Hoffman and Gregg Roberts

Version 1.1, November 15, 2005
previously, Version 1.0, October 17, 2005

Morgan Reynolds rocketed to prominence on websites purporting to expose the truth behind the 9/11 attack with his essay Why Did the Trade Center Skyscrapers Collapse? critiqued here. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, Reynolds employed a classic propaganda technique used to discredit challenges to government policy: mixing scandalous revelations with nonsensical claims.

Even more than Reynolds' earlier essay, the article critiqued here emphasizes long-debunked arguments against jetliners being used in the attack. We don't know whether this article accurately reflects the material Reynolds provided the magazine, nor do we profess to know Reynolds' motivations. Our position is that the article functions as a Trojan Horse weapon to discredit challenges to the official story by advancing specious claims in the voice of a skeptic with widespread notoriety as a turncoat against the Bush administration.


CoverStory

9/11: Cold Case
A former Bush-appointed official is calling for a new, independent, scientific investigation into 9/11

By Daniel Boniface (editorial@boulderweekly.com)

With the advancements in forensics, many crimes that would otherwise go unsolved are being cracked in laboratories across the country, bringing justice and closure to victims who have suffered great atrocities. DNA and other forensic evidence is the smoking gun that ties murderers and rapists to crimes they thought they'd gotten away with.

Mainstream television is making a killing off the recent breakthroughs in police work, with shows featuring this expertise bringing in high ratings. From documentaries like Cold Case Files, to fictional programs like CSI: Miami, Americans are gripped by the drama associated with this technology.

A recent documentary featured local authorities in Seattle who studied tiny paint particles found on murder victims, eventually discovering they were from a high-grade paint used at a lone automobile paint shop in the area. The composition of the particles eventually led to the capture of serial killer Gary Ridgeway, the notorious Green River Killer.

Doubtless, scientific investigation has become the best option for solving unsolvable crimes.

And now a former Bush appointee is asking why this forensic science has not been used to its fullest in solving what was arguably the greatest crime in American history.

Morgan Reynolds, Bush's chief economist for the Department of Labor from 2001-02, is an outspoken leader in a movement calling for a full-scale, unbiased, independent scientific study into the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He claims the story the government wants Americans to believe is riddled with inconsistencies and untruths, and he recently penned a comprehensive paper detailing those oversights. He thinks the collapse of the World Trade Center, the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Penn., and the attack on the Pentagon were all weaved together as an elaborate inside job, a claim that only forensics can prove.

The lead up

Reynolds began working for the Bush administration on Sept. 4, 2001.

"A week later," he says, "the gates of hell opened."

He was sitting in his office and first heard that something was happening from an e-mail he received from his son in Kansas City. He wandered down the hall and started watching CNN's coverage on a TV in a co-worker's office.

"I looked at this tower on fire, black smoke, and I said, 'That tower will not fall,'" Reynolds says.

Of course, both towers later collapsed, which he says shocked experts and amateurs alike. But at the time, he says he didn't assume it was an inside job. He continued to work under the Bush administration for 16 months—which he says was four months too long—and was far too busy with his duties to give 9/11 a more inquisitive look.

As time went on, he began to get increasingly unhappy with Bush's policies.

"They didn't listen to me, except to respect my technical knowledge," Reynolds says.

He stepped down three months prior to the invasion of Iraq, a war he opposed from the start.

"I knew that all of this was a lie," he says. "And it's all been confirmed. This is beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bush/Cheney administration lied us into Iraq, and now it's not going well and more and more people are unhappy."

The Downing Street Memo, which states that intelligence was being fixed around the policy to invade Iraq, supports this claim. His realization that Bush hadn't been truthful about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq led him to doubt Bush on other issues.

"I said, 'What else would they lie about?' Well the obvious thing is 9/11. This gave them the wherewithal to do their big global domination preeminence project," he says.

The other thing that sparked his interest was the 2004 book New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin. He concluded that Griffin made a very compelling case that the government was complicit, if not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The term "New Pearl Harbor" was taken directly from the declaration of principles in the neo-con "Project for the New American Century." The document said, in order to succeed in their project, a significant amount of money needed to be funneled to the military annually, and this would be a slow process, save a "catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor."

This raised more red flags for Reynolds. He began investigating 9/11 and found very illuminating evidence that he says contradicts the government's account of what happened. And while he is still uncertain of exactly what took place, he says he can at the very least prove the government's tale incorrect.

He began writing an article to this effect and published it on June 9, 2005, at lewrockwell.com.

In his article, he writes, "The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms, but its blinkered narrowness and lack of breadth is the paramount defect unshared by its principle scientific rival—controlled demolition."

Reynolds says a controlled demolition theory leaves fewer scientific questions into how the towers toppled, explains why there were so many unexplained breaches of standard operating procedure by major organizations, and explains why Bush and company were too quick to visit the site and pass major legislation in its wake.

The Twin Towers didn't topple -- they went straight down, exploding out in all directions. Even the collapse of the South Tower, whose top started to topple, became symmetric within five seconds. Reynolds' first description of the collapses conceals their symmetry -- that characteristic which is one of the most difficult to reconcile with the official dogma that they were natural, gravity-driven processes.

"They knew they were in no danger, because it was an inside job," he says. "They broke every SOP, just like if you believe the 9/11 Commission report history, then everybody from the FAA to NORAD broke standard operating rules."

The planes and the impact

Reynolds acknowledges there are lots of theories surrounding events on 9/11, ranging from mild to wild. One of the more extreme notions circulating among conspiracy theorists is the idea that there were no planes—or at least not the types of planes the government claims were involved.

"That's one hypothesis you have to entertain," he says with a chuckle. "There's no wreckage from all four crashes."

Reynolds chuckles while he supplies the cover-up with ammunition: ridiculous and offensive ideas with which to ridicule 9/11 Truth. His assertion of no wreckage flies in the face of:

And while some of the theories in circulation might seem extreme or ridiculous, he says he can prove that no Boeing 767 collided with the towers.

Yeah, right.

"The holes are too small," he says. "You can't disappear these things that way."

See North Tower hole size and South Tower hole size.

In his article, Reynolds writes that the Boeing 767's wingspan was 40 feet larger than the holes made by the impact into the Twin Towers, and the strength of the steel would have been too great even to allow the plane to penetrate the outer wall.

The impact impressions matched the profiles of 767s, down to their 155-foot wingspans. However, the outermost portions of the wings did not sever the much stronger columns of the Towers' curtain walls, but were diced by them. The heavier portions of the plane were able to punch through the wall because of their momentum. Reynolds' simplistic assertion that the planes shouldn't have punctured the walls because of the planes' lesser strength ignores the physics of high-speed impacts. A lead bullet fired from a rifle will puncture a 1/8th-inch-thick steel sign despite the fact that lead is much weaker than steel.

"If you run an aluminum plane into that thing, the plane is just going to get ripped," he says.

It gets shredded, which is what we observed, and exactly what we expect would happen in such high-speed crashes based on documented experiments.

He says the mass of the plane was only three one-hundredths of 1 percent of the mass of the building.
What does this have to do with anything? The impacts obviously didn't knock the buildings over. No one claims they did. What MIGHT be relevant for evaluating the impacts is the mass of the steel and floors at the precise impact points compared to that of a 767. The jetliners would be much closer in mass to the steel components and concrete they impacted than three one-hundredths of 1 percent.
The collision would have been like a mosquito running into a mosquito net. Beyond that, he says the plane never would have been able to "park" inside the building in the way it did. A Boeing 767 would take up three-quarters of the length of the building and would have certainly been stopped by the thick steel core, which took up 28 percent of the floor space in the center of the tower, he says.

Who says the planes "parked," intact, inside the buildings? Flight 11 was stopped by the steel core, but was first probably largely liquified by the over 400-mph collision with the curtain wall. Reynolds seems to be appealing to the cartoon-physics idea that the plane would have remained intact.

"Planes don't fold up like accordions do. They smash. They disintegrate. They break apart. The whole thing is stupid when reason is applied to the evidence," he says.

The planes WERE shredded by their impacts with the Towers. One sentence earlier, Reynolds was implying that the planes should have remained intact. He is imagining problems with the account of the crashes where none exist, while failing to provide a coherent view of what he thinks should have happened. Most readers will throw out the baby with his bathwater, as if his bonehead errors imply there are no valid criticisms of the official story. Could this be his intention? One of the authors (Hoffman) has clearly pointed out the problems with Reynolds' position in private correspondence with him. Reynolds declined to defend his points, citing a busy schedule.

Reynolds questions why there has not been an open scientific debate or investigation into these problems with the mainstream explanation.

Actually there has. NIST simulated the aircraft impact with astounding precision. It was the "collapses" that they avoided examining. We have to wonder, is Reynolds attempting to draw attention away from the explosive demolition of the Towers by asserting that there was something peculiar about the crashes? See Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century.

"There are all kinds of problems with the conventional story. And the Pentagon hole—everybody that's looked into it knows that the 757 Boeing didn't crash into the Pentagon," he says.

Here Morgan disingenuously asserts that there is a consensus by observers that a 757 didn't crash into the Pentagon, when in fact there is a virtual consensus among the eyewitnesses that a large jetliner such as a 757 did crash there, and there is nothing like a consensus among researchers -- even those looking only at the photographic evidence. There is abundant evidence that the no-Pentagon-jetliner theory is an elaborate hoax.

In referencing the Pentagon attack, he reads a line from a book he's currently studying called Synthetic Terror by Webster Tarpley:

"This question of physical impossibility is often the most obvious weak point of the official explanations of terrorist action."

That may be, but Reynolds asserts the physical impossibility of phenomena that are verified by experiments.

This is the approach Reynolds takes when examining the evidence. If something is physically impossible, it could not have happened and some other explanation must be found. Among the events he believes could not have happened is the total vaporization of the plane that allegedly struck the Pentagon.

The claim by some people that the jetliner that crashed into the Pentagon vaporized might well have been introduced as bait for no-plane theorists.

He also questions the ability of the alleged hijackers to manually crash the widebody Boeing 767s into the Twin Towers at breakneck speeds.

Here Reynolds mixes a valid point -- that the alleged hijackers lacked the piloting skills to crash the planes into their targets -- with his nonsense that no jetliners were involved in the attack, hiding the fact that they are entirely distinct points. There is nothing loony about the first point, since the jetliners' autopilots were easily up to the task of the precision crashes.

This is the hallmark of Reynolds' misdirection: seamlessly shifting gears between bogus claims, asserted with specious authority, and unassailable observations.

"I defy anybody to fly a 767 at sea level at 550 mph. Sea level? Bull shit. Pardon my French," he says. "And then Mohammed Ata at the stick—he's going to hit a tower 200 feet wide. Wow!"

The speed of sound at sea level is about 761 mph. 767s are designed to fly at mach 0.80 at cruise speed (not their maximum speed). 761 times 0.80 is 608.8, so 550 at sea level is well within the capabilities of a 767.

Reynolds says all of the mainstream theory falls into the category of synthetic terror—where the poison and the antidote are brewed in the same batch. He claims the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies are responsible for fabricating the idea of hijacked planes, which would account for why the planes' transponders were shut off for a brief period of time and why there are varying reports, including reports from the BBC, that five to eight of the alleged hijackers are still alive today.

"It's like this ragtag bunch of patsies that they pinned it on, the 19 Arab hijackers," he says, "it was physically impossible for them to perform these feats of flying."

He also questions why the black cockpit flight recorder boxes were not located.

"The perps arranged a two-hour show for America. That's what it comes down to," he says. "I don't believe these were conventional flights at all."

The implied syllogism here is that the suppression of flight recorder evidence means that the planes were not jetliners -- a non sequitur like most of Reynold's arguments.

Reynolds says amateur investigators like himself might not be able to find all the answers, but they can show where the government's explanations are false.

"You show me another aircraft crash vaporization in history," Reynolds says. "It's never happened. It will never happen."

No reasonable person claims that the jetliners were vaporized. This is an example of a straw-man attack.

The fire

According to the accepted story of 9/11, the towers collapsed because the jet fuel fire burned so hot that it melted the steel.

While a number of experts claimed that the the fires melted structural steel in articles published in the wake of the attack, no serious representative of the official story makes this claim anymore. Both of the official government investigations -- FEMA's and NIST's -- blame a combination of jet impact damage and office-contents-fueled fires for the collapses. By mischaracterizing the official explanations, Reynolds invites straw-man attacks on the 9/11 Truth Movement such as Popular Mechanics'.

"But the number one fact is, never in the history of steel skyscrapers has one collapsed because of the intensity of the fire. Never—we've had over a century of experience—but for three in one day, 9/11. So that's awfully suspicious," says Reynolds.

According to a special feature in the journal JOM, titled "Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering and Speculation," by Thomas W. Eagar and Christopher Musso, the World Trade Center fire was a diffuse flame. Of the three types of fires—jet burner, pre-mixed, and diffuse—the latter, in which fuel and oxidants mix in an uncontrolled manner such as in fireplaces and at the World Trade Center, generates the lowest heat intensities.

The report also states that if jet fuel were mixed with pure oxygen, its top temperature would reach 3,000 degrees Celsius. However, when mixed with air, as it was at the World Trade Center, the temperature drops to at most one-third the maximum temperature because air includes water molecules. This temperature—1,000 degrees Celsius at most—would not be sufficient to melt steel.

Again, by falsely implying that the official explanation blames the melting of steel for the collapses, Reynolds bolsters attacks such as those by Popular Mechanics and Scientific American.

"We've had skyscraper fires go 19 hours, very intense, very widespread and still not bring down a steel skyscraper," Reynolds says, referring to the Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia in 1991.

Reynolds cites Eagar's work in his June 9 article. Eagar is a professor of materials engineering and engineering systems at MIT. His report also refutes the idea that the aluminum in the aircraft ignited, saying extremely rare conditions are needed to ignite aluminum. Had the aluminum caught fire, the flame created would have been white hot and visible through the smoke and soot, he states.

The collapse and cover-up

Reynolds cites many problems with the government's theory of the collapse and the subsequent reports that back up the theory. He feels the reports that support the government theory have been created so that the intelligence fits the findings. According to that theory, the steel melted near the floors where the jet fuel ignited, causing those floors to crash into the ones beneath them, bringing the buildings down.

Absolutely false. Not a single official investigation or scientific paper blames the collapses on the fires melting the steel.
  • Both Bazant and Zhou's paper published in JOM, and the Weidlinger Associates study commissioned by Silverstein Properties blamed the weakening of columns by their elevation to 800 ºC.
  • FEMA's World Trade Center Building Performance Study blames the collapse of floor diaphragms due to the weakening of the truss-to-column connections, and subsequent failure of columns due to lack of lateral support from the floors.
  • NIST's Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft) blames "structural deterioration" due to impact damage and fire-induced "thermal weakening" leading to "column instability" and the "initiation" of "global collapse"

"They don't have the breadth of the controlled demolition theory, which can account for all of the properties that went on," he says. "The pancake theory is preposterous. It doesn't even pass the laugh test. It's just stupid."

True enough, but now that Reynolds has thoroughly misrepresented the official theories, who will take seriously his allegation of controlled demolition?

He writes that when viewing the collapse in real time, the towers both fall at 9.8 meters per second squared—or a free-fall state. The only way he sees this being possible is if the resistance was blown away from beneath it. In the pancake theory, he claims the building would have taken longer to fall and would have stalled briefly at each floor.

Another patently false claim: Videos clearly show that the collapse took about 15 seconds, not the 9.2 seconds that they would have taken had they fallen at 9.8 meters per second squared. See this timing analysis of the North Tower collapse.

The other important piece of evidence was the white dust that coated the city following the collapse. Reynolds says only an explosive force could turn reinforced concrete into dust. Subsequently, he says, the dust and debris should have been subjected to extensive forensic testing in an attempt to locate explosives residue.

The Twin Towers did not contain reinforced concrete, only regular and lightweight concrete poured onto corrugated steel floor pans.

"They got the evidence away as quickly as they could," he says of government authorities.

In his article, Reynolds writes that the debris was loaded into dump trucks that were outfitted with GPS units used to monitor that the scrap was delivered from point A to point B in the proper amount of time. One driver was fired for taking an unscheduled hour-and-a-half lunch break, he says. FEMA didn't want this debris to fall into the wrong hands, he claims.

"The wrong hands meaning scientists or engineers who could test it," he says.

Former editor in chief of Fire Engineering Magazine, Bill Manning, was one of the first to take issue with the scoop-and-dump. Although he says he's not a conspiracy theorist, he says there was a lot that could have been learned from the debris from an engineering standpoint. He says just like NASA and the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) learns valuable lessons from studying wreckage, engineers could have learned how to build better fire-resistant buildings from studying the debris.

However, now that the debris has been shipped off and sold as scrap, this investigation cannot take place.

Another piece of evidence that should be subjected to forensic scrutiny should be the very limited airplane wreckage found in New York, wreckage that Reynolds claims was planted because it doesn't appear to be burned.

"It doesn't look right," he says. "You can kind of argue whether or not this is United Airlines gray or not, or whether it's a dull silver. It doesn't look right. I'm satisfied with that, that we don't have any real parts from any of these four crashes."

Forensic investigation into the paint and other aspects of the wreckage could reveal telling evidence about the crashes, he claims.

Building 7 and security access

"Building 7 is arguably the most potent smoking gun refuting the government account and implicating the government as creating these terrorist attacks," Reynolds says.

It is the only steel-framed building in history to fall strictly because of fire damage, as it was not damaged by an alleged aircraft impact, he says. If one compares video of the fall of Building 7 with that of any other controlled demolition, the similarities are eerie, he says.

Reynolds claims Building 7 was a traditional building implosion, blowing out the base and letting the structure collapse into itself. He says the reason they had to implode Building 7 was to dispose of evidence that would have pointed to the controlled demolition of the Twin Towers.

Here Reynolds mis-describes the demolition sequence. The first part of the building to be destroyed was its core, which is essential to achieving an implosion.

"There are some reasonable doubts, but it's a plausible theory with some arguments in its favor," he says.

Reasonable doubts that the collapse of Building 7 was a controlled demolition? Such as .. ? How interesting that Reynolds casts doubt on this conclusion while promoting his no-jetliners claims with arrogant certainty.

The ramifications

Reynolds thinks the points he has made prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there should be a new forensic investigation into the matter, but he is disappointed with the response of the majority of Americans who dismiss him as a conspiracy theorist.

Which appears to be his intention. Mixing suggestions of the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center skyscrapers with the utter nonsense that no jetliners were involved in the attacks couldn't be more effective as a way of discrediting the idea of demolition.

"Overall, I think it's the head-in-the-sand approach to danger," he says. "This is too horrible a proposition to entertain, because if you go there, the consequences are going to be so tremendous, so let's avoid these consequences and kind of live normally. That's the idea. But it's not working. You can't live normally by believing the fairytale."

Reynolds refers back to the book Synthetic Terror, saying the government has orchestrated this farce as a way to gain the public's support and a way to keep pumping money into the military. He likens terrorism to the perceived communist threat during the Cold War.

"When you lose the Soviet Union as our big bogeyman enemy, then you have to cook up something else," he says. "And we have the Muslim world now. One in six in the world, isn't that great?"

This statement oversimplifies elites' motives for the "War on Terror" in a way that will put off many Americans. The targeting of a religious group is not a fundamental motivation for the attacks on Arab nations and individuals, but is rather a means to an end. The *perception* that Muslims are being targeted simply because they are Muslims will help trigger new, *genuine* terror attacks by frustrated disenfranchised Muslims, "justifying" further crackdowns on dissidents in Arab countries or even invasions of additional such countries that possess coveted petrochemical or geographic resources. Though it will ring true to a great many people, Reynolds' suggestion that Muslims *as such* are the target of the "War on Terror" will strike most Americans as unfounded, given the pains taken by the Bush administration to say, believably, that Muslims as a whole are not the enemy.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com



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