illustration: Lloyd Miller
The ABC's of 9-11:
What Really Happened: A Beginner's Guide to the 'Truth' Movement
by Jarrett Murphy
The ABC's of 9-11
The birth and life of the '9-11 Truth movement'
The Usual Suspects
What it takes to make a conspiracy theory
Your Turn: Ground Zero Stories?
Experts want to interview the 2,000 who made it out of WTC 1 & 2
Power Plays by Jarrett Murphy
JFK assassination had its "magic bullet," Watergate the "18-minute
gap," and Oklahoma City that mysterious "John Doe No. 2." All
conspiracy theories�whether accurate or fantasy� revolve around key
clues, real or otherwise. Here are the essential elements of some
alternative theories of 9-11:
Operation Northwoods This 1962 white paper from the U.S.
Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested possible justifications for a war
against Cuba, including a never executed idea in which the CIA would
detonate a drone aircraft to make it look like Fidel Castro had shot
down an American passenger plane. Theorists see the proposal as
evidence that the U.S. government had contemplated faking air disasters
as a pretext for military action.
Project for the New American Century As evidence of
the motives behind a government-planned 9-11, theorists point to one
28-word passage in a September 2000 PANC report written with help from
the likes of Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfo-witz: "The process of
transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be
a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new
Pearl Harbor." Bush and his cronies, the argument goes, were looking
for that event, and they got it on 9-11.
Forewarning Theorists point to Attorney General John Ashcroft's
decision to stop flying commercial in the summer of 2001, as well as
a San Francisco Chronicle
report that Mayor Willie Brown received a warning of 9-11, as evidence
that some people had foreknowledge of the attack. (It seems the alert
Brown was passed was a public warning from the State Department, and he
planned to fly anyway.)
Murphy falsely implies that all the numerous indications of foreknowledge
and forewarnings amount to the one warning received by Willie Brown.
War games Truth movement members who believe the
military was "neutralized" or told to "stand down" on 9-11 find it very
suspicious that U.S. air defense units that day were supposed to play
the war game Vigilant Guardian, a simulation of a Russian bomber
attack, while simultaneously monitoring Russian exercises in the
Here, Murphy mentions only one war game, concealing the evidence of
five or more.
The Pentagon Some -- not all -- alternative theorists say
the hole in the Pentagon was too small to have been made by a 757, and
too deep to have been made by anything but a cruise missile. They also
cite the lack of significant wreckage or skid marks near the building.
The dearth of surveillance footage of the attack arouses further
suspicion. Among the alternate explanations: a truck bomb, a missile,
or a drone.
While Murphy admits that "not all alternative theorists" accept
the premise that the damage to the Pentagon was inconsistent with a 757,
he fails to admint that many think the no-plane argument theory
is a hoax crafted to discredit the movement.
The twin towers Early on, skeptics raised questions
about how two 110-story steel-framed skyscrapers built to withstand
airplane impacts not only collapsed, but did so suddenly, totally, and
apparently straight down, possibly for the first time in history. The
skeptics suggested that the buildings collapsed in a controlled
demolition, a theory that has only gained strength in the past four
years. The official explanation shifted -- first blaming pancaking floor
trusses, then warped steel columns transferring weight where it
couldn't be held -- and never detailed the exact sequence of the entire
collapse. Alternative theorists point to sounds and witnesses' reports
of explosions, little puffs of smoke, steel beams ejected outward, the
rapid crumbling of the superstructure, and even the pyroclastic flow of
dust as evidence that the buildings had to have been destroyed by
explosives. Some theorists also believe the aircraft that hit the
buildings were carrying pods on their underbellies and may have fired
missiles that account for a bright flash that occurs before the
collisions. Others claim the planes were remote controlled, were
military aircraft, or did not exist at all.
World Trade Center 7
This building -- the last to fall on 9-11 -- is key to all
controlled-demolition theories. Its sudden fall onto its own footprint,
and developer Larry Silverstein's reference on TV to telling the FDNY
to "pull it," are seen as evidence that WTC7 was rigged to fall.
Meanwhile, a convincing official explanation hasn't exactly been
forthcoming: FEMA punted on figuring out why building seven, which was
not struck by an airplane, collapsed; NIST has postponed its verdict
several times. While it might seem odd that the government would
destroy a building most people had never heard of, theorists cite the
tenants of WTC7 (the SEC, Secret Service, CIA, and Mayor Giuliani's
emergency bunker) as hints of a motive for its demolition. The
speculation is that the building was taken out to cover up financial
crimes or to destroy the mechanisms of the twin towers' demise: control
boards for the supposed demolition charges or remote-control consoles
to guide the airliners to their targets.
Murphy's description of the case for Building 7's demolition looks
However, his assertion that it
"is key to all controlled-demolition theories"
the case for the demolition of the Twin Towers is not dependent
on what happened to Building 7.
Flight 93 The mystery over exactly what happened
during the passenger revolt on United Airlines Flight 93 has puzzled
even mainstream researchers. Alternative theorists ask different
questions. Pointing to press reports filed on 9-11, many suspect that
the plane actually landed in Cleveland. Others believe the aircraft was
shot down by U.S. military aircraft.
Not to miss a trick, Murphy inserts the so-called Cleveland Airport Mystery
to discredit the credible case for the shoot-down of Flight 93.