Why I’m still not convinced by 9/11 conspiracy theories

On 11 September 2019, I wrote an article for a UK-based online publication called The Canary titled On the anniversary of 9/11, let’s remember that conspiracy theories are counterproductive. The article sparked an unexpectedly large amount of debate and, sadly, an even larger amount of abuse from followers of the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement.

In the two years since, I have learned more about both the attacks themselves and those who believe that they were some kind of “inside job.” For those of you reading who are expecting a full-blown recantation, I am afraid you will be disappointed. I still am not persuaded by the major pillars of the 9/11 Truth movement. But I am willing to offer some nuance as well as an appeal to those who still are.

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12 responses to “Why I’m still not convinced by 9/11 conspiracy theories

  1. Steve Shields

    Anybody who can watch 7 go down and decide not believe their own eyes is never going to get it. You are in that category. Bad detective work, thin story line. If you are really willing to investigate this, which you obviously haven’t, you will find all roads lead to Rome. The Empire must continue, and they need people like you to keep that rolling. Did you believe the Gulf of Tonkin ruse? How many others are you willing to believe? Keep those eyes closed……

    • Honest question: Have you actually read this article? Because at the end I pose some questions to people of your mindset that leave aside the matter of what actually happened. I restate: What is your goal at this point? Do you want another inquiry? If so, then does that mean you’re not certain what happened? Above all: What political purpose does this exercise serve at this point?

      If you don’t want to thoughtfully consider these questions, then frankly I see no reason to continue engaging with you people.

  2. Like Alex Cockburn, you are a journalist and not a scientist. Most people with a modicum of physics training will know the buildings did not collapse because two planes flew into them. What did happen I have no idea, but the official version is simply not correct.
    As to your point about another inquiry, I generally agree, but the doubts should remain written within the historical context just as they do with JFK and MLK and RFK.

    • “Most people with a modicum of physics training will know the buildings did not collapse because two planes flew into them.”

      Then how come no organization representing physicists has endorsed these theories? How come no physicist has had a peer-reviewed paper published in a reputable academic journal that has endorsed them?

      Just the insolence of thinking that you, a 9/11 Truther, can sweep to one side people with much more expertise and intellectual authority is really quite shocking, but sadly typical in 9/11 Truth spheres.

      • CH Wallace

        If you can pull your head out of the sand (or somewhere else) for a moment, visit https://www.ae911truth.org/
        3,499 architects and engineers have done just that.
        The only positive thing you contribute to is their safety from rendition or disappearance.

      • Try this:


        Am I a 9/11 truther? Am I insolent?: “More expertise and intellectual authority”? You mean like George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld?

        Your presentations are all red-herrings – ad hominem attacks and do nothing to support your arguments.

        Your main argument is – why keep on pressing for an inquiry? The political purpose it serves not to have an inquiry is to allow those that have some culpability somewhere along the line the ability to avoid justice.

        It was a criminal act, an international criminal law crime wherein all the evidence was destroyed and removed to eliminate accountability for the 3 000 people who were murdered.

        As far as saying “I see no reason to continue engaging with you people.” is simply a rather holier than thou evasion of critical reasoning and synthesizing information.

  3. CH Wallace

    Apparently, you have never heard of Christopher Bollyn. As far back as 2003 he explained in detail the who and why of 9/11, although it would have been nice to know the how which he does not address at all.
    I won’t go into detail about the ludicrousness of aluminum (non-explosive laden) jets bringing down steel and concrete buildings, however anyone with eyes could see 1 & 2 not ‘collapsing’ but exploding as they fell. One with such force that pieces of said building weighing hundreds of tonnes were embedded in an adjacent building.
    I do agree the absurdity of thinking Bush had any inkling or knowledge but he didn’t need to, he’s just a puppet anyway.
    What’s the goal? Not an inquiry, but an actual criminal investigation which never did happen. If the people knew the real culprits, US could actually stop spending 1/2 the discretionary budget on the MIC because Israel would cease to exist.

  4. lookagain

    All one needs to be convinced of, is that the towers couldn’t have fallen in the way they are claimed to have. The pancake theory makes no physical sense.

    What do you see when you watch the towers fall? When you see the incredible energy of destruction, of steel beams flying hundreds of feet, the towers disintegrating into dust? Do you believe the top portion of the building actually pile-drove through the lower, larger section of the building? How could there have been such explosive power to demolish those towers like that? Just how in the hell does that happen?

    What do you make of the testimony of Barry Jennings, who claimed there were bombs going off in WTC7 while he was still inside? Is he really confused or lying?

    There are endless examples of unbelievable happenings that day. You’ve wasted your time writing this, when clearly the mysteries are more interesting to readers, than this weak propagandizing. This convinces no one.

    You can fool some people sometimes…

  5. CH Wallace

    19 hijackers that couldn’t even fly a Cessna, commanded from a cave in Afghanistan, armed only with box cutters, pull off the most intricate, well-timed and sophisticated series of attacks in human history all while evading the world’s most advanced defense systems? With no inside help?
    The only conspiracy theory that’s more insane than the ‘official’ version is that aliens did it.
    I remember an anti-muslim/anti-Arab email that went around a few days later talking about how backwards ‘they’ are, especially compared to our ‘ally’ the israelis. Then Christopher Bollyn comes along and reveals the who and why behind the event. No wonder the truth remains buried.

  6. Unlike some fellow truthers, let me commend you for this article. It prompted me to re-think some things I thought I knew about the World Trade Center Atrocity, and while not being sufficiently detailed or cogent to change my mind (made up–indeed altered 180 degrees–after reading a series of books on the subject), it is always helpful to be encouraged to revisit seemingly inexplicable things. Your point about the continuing relevance of the Truth movement is well-taken in light of the long string of more recent atrocities, but they all seem to go back to orchestrated events which began with the JFK assassination and continued straight through to the World Trade Center Atrocity and the resulting forever wars. Despite our reaching different conclusions about what happened on September 11, 2001, I respect what you have done here and would love to see substantive engagement between you (and others who accept something like the official narrative) and the 3600 or so architects and engineers (along with many thousands of informed laypeople including a group of family members of victims) who simply can’t begin to buy the official narrative. Maybe your piece will help to open such an overdue dialogue.

  7. All structural engineers take several courses in physics – and while they are not physicists per se (most of who dwell in the strange world of string theory and particle theory) they do have a good physics base.

    • Richard Gabrio

      Interesting piece. And not difficult to understand why most journalists and critics on the “credentialed” left — including well known figures like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald and even intellectuals like Chomsky — remain skeptical about govt responsibility for 9/11: the established media have succeeded in creating such a stigma around critique of the “official explanation” that their careers (many are already pariahs from an “establishment” perspective) would be ended if they seriously researched 9/11 and criticized the “official explanation.” So why go there as a critic of the evils of predatory capitalism, corporatism, political corruption, aggressive warring, “Empire,” etc. since there’s already a surfeit of evil to deal with already? It’s a reasonable position, I suppose.

      As a “lefty,” not a professional journalist, I don’t have career threatening worries about digging into events like the JFK assassination and 9/11. With advanced degrees in international politics, economics and political philosophy, a curious bent and many years of experience doing professional level research, questioning — among other things — the extraordinary events of 9/11 – used by U.S. elites, their Brit and Euro NATO toadies to propel us into and to “justify” 20 years of expanded criminal warring in several countries in the MEast proving to be utterly disastrous — has been and still is challenging.

      If you had the data bases I’m used to working with, you would not be surprised by the gullibility and ignorance of those who believe the “official” explanation of 9/11. Sadly, (because what actually happened insofar as it can be confirmed matters) many otherwise intelligent folks “stop at the water’s edge” for “career” reasons, because they fear what they might discover would end a convenient fantasy, or because they’re simply closed minded.

      Explosive events like the JFK assassination and 9/11 always – like a bright light in the darkness – draw “flies” (wackos, emotional types, uneducated “space” cases, what you label “truthers,” etc.), but the initial researches into 9/11 mostly came from highly intelligent and well educated people – professors, engineers, physicists, chemists, steel building architects, etc. And it’s important to remember that 9/11 took place as the “internet” was taking off when lots of people thought they were “instant experts” after reading a few news articles and there were proliferating message boards claiming all sorts of crazy un-researched stuff, much of which “poisoned” the atmosphere and still does, etc.

      Your breakdown of 9/11 theories 1, 2 and 3 has some “popular” relevance as understood by mainstream media but they are parsed with no understanding of confirmed events or motives. Scenario 1 presupposes that no interceptions would be made to stop an “attack” by planes hijacked by alleged “terrorists” in which case the govt would be committing treason. Scenario 2 has the “perpetrators” confused with “agents” (the so called terrorists) manipulated by those who arranged and others who helped carry out the attacks, and Scenario 3 is not necessarily the most “extreme” scenario, but it is the most likely considering the evidence available.

      Really, the reason that significant numbers of the architectural/engineering community initially came together to examine the extraordinary claims by the govt regarding the 3 building collapses was to determine whether or not there was a reason to further question all the other elements of the “official explanation” of 9/11. If it could be shown that there was no way that the plane crashes and fires alone could have resulted in 3 buildings collapsing (literally exploding in the case of WTC I and 2) into their footprints with no resistance from the vertical columns, then there was reason to conclude that the “hijackers” had help from somebody else to bring the buildings down, throwing open to question all of the rest of the claims about the events of 9/11, etc.

      If you’ve made it to this final paragraph (hopefully), an extraordinary quick way to decide whether or not 9/11 was significantly planned is to read professor David Ray Griffin’s solid piece that puts all else aside (all of the many entry points into the 9/11 controversy) and just focuses on the issue of Controlled Demoltion vs. the “official” explanation of the demise of WTC 1, 2 and 7 outlining 11 indicators of controlled demoltion. Here’s the link: http://911review.com/articles/griffin/nyc1.html

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