A kind of hysteria regarding 9/11 research has surfaced in multiple forms, the most blatant of which has been an assault by FOX host Glenn Beck, who has characterized students of 9/11 as “anarchists”, “terrorists” and “Holocaust deniers”. The comparison with Holocaust deniers is patently false, of course, because Holocaust deniers deny that the (German) government committed atrocities, while 9/11 investigators affirm that the (American) government committed them. They could not be more opposite. The use of the phrase can be politically potent, nonetheless, because it subtly conveys the prospect that anti-Semitism may be involved, no matter how faulty the analogy.
This is hardly the first time that students of 9/11 have been accused of that offense. At the “Accountability Conference” held in Chandler, AZ, February 2007, for example, the issue arose repeatedly during a press conference, parts of which are included in a 4:33 minute YouTube piece entitled, “Truthers Defend Holocaust Denier”, but none of us was defending Holocaust denial. Some of us, including me, were defending a scholar’s research on 9/11, even though he is very critical of Israel and may even be anti-Semitic, which is not the same thing. Suppose that is the case. If he were anti-Semitic, which I personally deplore, would that render his 9/11 research, which is principally focused on the physical destruction of the World Trade Center, of no value? Should it therefore be discounted, discarded, or ignored?
That is a rather ironic claim to make, because “anti-Semitism” commits the same offense of discounting, discarding, or ignoring a person, their work or other attainments on the ground of their ethnicity, religion, or race. To contend that a person’s research on 9/11, for example, cannot be taken seriously because they are anti-Semitic is parallel to discounting a person’s opinions because they are Jewish. Either way, the conclusion (of dismissing their argument) because of other of their personal traits commits the ad hominem fallacy or, more broadly, the genetic fallacy. An argument can be well-founded regardless of its source, including the characteristics of the individuals who advanced it, who may be lacking in virtue in other respects. Arguments have to be assessed on the basis of logic and evidence, not the personal virtues of those who advance them.
We all have our own intellectual strengths and weaknesses, where we may not be as good in mathematics, for example, as we are in history. Our shortcomings with respect to mathematics do not diminish our excellence in history! Interestingly, a 9/11 researcher, Gregg Hoover, is filing a lawsuit against Glenn Beck for defamation, which appears to be entirely appropriate. Notice that Beck is not simply attacking specific research on 9/11 but the very idea of research on 9/11. Some of the most prominent students of 9/11 are widely admired scholars, such as David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott. Do their efforts to bring the truth about 9/11 to the American people make them racists?
The issue of anti-Semitism has to be addressed on its own merits. It has been used as a political club to attack research on 9/11 whenever consideration has been given to the possibility of Israeli involvement in the crime. That is hardly a stretch, since Israel has probably benefited from 9/11 more than any other political entity. 9/11 has been used to justify wars of aggression abroad against Iraq and Afghanistan—which President Obama, alas, seems to be expanding—and to constrain civil liberties at home in the form of the so-called PATRIOT Act, The Military Commissions Act, and the massive illegal surveillance of the American people, which, alas, he has yet to repeal.
I addressed some of these issues during the Ron Paul "Freedom Rally"" held on the grass in front of the United States Capitol Building on 15 April 2008. The article I published that laid out what I had said there, “9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda”, OpEdNews (April 22, 2008), was even featured on the front page of The Daily Paul the same day, 22 April 2008, it appeared here. During the course of my analysis of who might have been responsible for 9/11, I explicitly addressed the possibility of Israeli complicity in the crime. I wrote:
What about Israel?
But could Israel have been involved? There are disturbing indications. The five “dancing Israels” were observed on a roof across the Hudson in New Jersey drinking and celebrating as they filmed the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Complaints by neighbors led to their apprehension in a van. The driver told the arresting officer, “We are not your problem. The Palestinians are your problem!” They would be incarcerated for 71 days until an assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft directed their release.
They returned to Israel where three of them appeared on Israeli TV and explained they were there to document the destruction of the Twin Towers. Obviously, they could not have done that without knowing the Twin Towers were going to be destroyed.
The man who directed their release was Michael Chertoff, now our Director of Homeland Security, who is a joint US/Israeli citizen.
The Controller of the Pentagon at the time $2.3 trillion went missing was Dov Zokheim, another joint US/Israeli citizen.
Others in the administration with dual citizenship include Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Richard Pearle, Douglas Feith, “Scooter” Libby, Eliot Cohen, and John Bolton. Do any of these names sound familiar?
An especially interesting case is Michael Mukasey, our new Attorney General, who was also the judge on litigation between Larry Silverstein and insurance companies over the events of 9/11.
Who runs this country? About two weeks after 9/11, Ariel Sharon said, “We own America, and the Americans know it”.
If Israel was involved in 9/11, the American people are entitled to know.
I was confident that I would be attacked for being "anti-Semitic" for making such observations, no matter how factual, so I addressed the issue head-on:
I will be accused of anti-Semitism for telling you facts in the public domain. But it is not “anti-Semitic” to criticize the state of Israel, the government of the state of Israel, or the policies and actions of the state of Israel.
Anti-Semitism involves discounting or belittling persons on the basis of their religious orientation or their ethnic origins.
It is not anti-Semitic to object to the expansion of illegal settlements, the starvation and killing of the Palestinian people, or the butchering of a peace activist with a bulldozer! For these gross violations of human rights, we have the government of Israel to thank.
We need laws to keep dual citizens from decision-making and policy-shaping position in the US government. Who knows whose loyalty they respect?
I call upon those with joint citizenship to resign their positions in the interests of the nation—the United States of America!
It was my belief that I had been successful in clarifying the difference between anti-Semitism and research on possible Israeli complicity in the events of 9/11, but I was soon to discover that conveying this to the American people might pose a even greater challenge than I had supposed and that another distinction would require clarification, in particular, the difference between “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Zionism”.
The principal problem encountered with 9/11 research is not a lack of data, where disproofs of the official account are virtually boundless—see, for example, more than fifteen key findings in “Why doubt 9/11?”—but reaching the American people with what we have discovered. Thus, when Michael Morrissey, a linguist living in Germany, created a new forum at 911aletheia.ning.com, therefore, I was delighted, since it offered the promise of interactive research among students of the case and an additional opportunity to convey our findings to the American people through a public (or quasi-public) forum. With Michael’s encouragement, therefore, I began posting many of my studies, including “9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda”.
As the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, whose web site I maintain at 911scholars.org, I have posted links to two version of that article and a clip of my presentation at the Capitol. Both include their own links in turn to supporting documents. One is a simple text version, while the other is an illustrated version at americanfirstbooks.com. I was therefore taken aback when Michael objected to my posting the illustrated version because, he told me, it appears at americafirstbooks.com, which he said is an “anti-Semitic” site. He thought there should be no association with such a site and insisted I remove it from 911aletheia, even though it only appeared in my own blog. In deference to his preferences, I posted a link instead.
Americafirstbooks.com is maintained by Major William Fox, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer. In collaboration with Capt. Eric May and SFC Donald Buswell, both of whom are former Army intelligence, I, a former Marine Corps officer, had co-authored several “false flag” warnings. Because we are familiar with the evidence that 9/11 was “an inside job”, we have been acutely concerned that Bush/Cheney administration, elements of which—including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and even General Richard Myers—appear to have been profoundly involved in might want to create another pretext for further “false flag” attacks and have issued warnings about them when there were causes for concern. The warnings, principally the product of research by Capt. May and Major Fox, are archived many places. More importantly, while I do not believe that either Capt. May or Major Fox is anti-Semitic, I have no doubt that they are “anti-Zionist”.
The word “Zionism” was not in my functional vocabulary, I must say, until very recently. It has always been a vague term to me, which led me to feature several guests on my interview program, “The Real Deal”, including Steven Lendman (on March 13, 2009) and Barry Chamish (on March 30, 2009), where our interviews are archived at radiofetzer.blogspot.com. I formed the opinion that the concept of Zionism combines a belief in Jewish superiority with the presumption of entitlement to the lands that Jews (presumably) once occupied in Palestine, regardless of the consequences for Palestinians. This is an issue I would subsequently discuss with David Ray Griffin, who is also a professor of religion emeritus and expert in this area.
The differences between Michael Morrissey and me came to a head over a paper by a high-school physics teacher, Charles Boldwynn, in which he uses vector addition to demonstrate that it would have been physically impossible for the Twin Towers to have collapsed from the force of its top floors falling down on the floors beneath them. Chuck fashioned his calculations around the North Tower, assuming that the top 16 floors were falling onto the bottom 94 as a consequence of the damage from the plane and the fires that followed, which ostensibly weakened the steel and caused the upper floors to fall on the lower. This is a fantasy, since neither the damage from the planes nor the subsequent fires could have brought this about (as I explain in “Why doubt 9/11?”), since the fires burned neither hot enough nor long enough to bring this effect about.
Michael, rather to my astonishment, objected to Boldwynn’s study on the ground that he personally could not follow his calculations. I have archived it several places, including at Scholars site, 911scholars.org, under “Articles” as the first appeariing under the subheading “General Articles”, where anyone can download it to study for themselves. He took a different approach by asking how much energy would have be required for that 16-floor section to have caused the bottom 96 floors to collapse and discovered that it would have been enormous, as I’m going to explain. (The very idea is even more preposterous in the case of the South Tower, where the top 30 floors pivot and start to fall from the structure, but then turns into very fine dust in mid-air, which has to be the most stunning and anomalous feature of the destruction of the towers—apart from the fact that they are both turned into very fine dust at the rate of free fall!)
Michael had more than one reason for objecting to Boldwynn’s work, since it also appeared—or a summary of his findings—on a web site called “Real Zionist News” that is clearly anti-Semitic. I tried to explain that the exclusion of his study on the basis of its origins is an example of the genetic fallacy, which is especially egregious in this instance because mathematics is not amenable to evaluation on the basis of the political orientation of its author. Like deductive arguments generally, if the inference from the premises to the conclusion is valid and the premises are true, it is not possible for the conclusion to be false. And those considerations apply no matter who might have advanced the argument, even if it were Adolf Hitler himself!
Mathematics and Truth
Because Michael insisted that he would not countenance studied he personally could not understand, I responded by offering a translation of Boldwynn’s argument in ordinary language that he might be better positioned to appreciate its significance. Here is the content of the post which I advanced, which I subsequently submitted to Bodlwynn for confirmation. I asked him if I had understood him properly, to which he replied, “yes your synthesis of my thesis is correct and very [well] put and clearly [expressed]”, in the vernacular of Skype “chats”. Here is what I wrote translating the argument for Michael’s benefit:
About Boldwynn's paper, his thesis is very clear: that it would have taken the equivalent of 48,000 tons of explosives to equal the kinetic energy (energy of motion) that the top 16 floors of the North Tower (taking the plane to have hit at the 94 floor and subtracting 94 from 110 = 16) would have had to exert upon the bottom 94 floors for their "collapse" to have initiated the collapse of those 94 floors. John Skilling, one of the senior engineers of the firm that built the towers, had observed that they could carry 20 times the expected "live load" (that is, physical steel and concrete structure plus office furniture and human beings) that they would ever be expected to carry.
Charles believes it was actually much greater than that, but even using Skilling's more conservative figures, he has calculated that the force required to collapse the lower 94 floors (using vector addition and subtraction of forces) which would have required the combined weight of some 588 16-floor equivalents (taking into account that those uppermost 16 floors were not as heavy as lower 16 floor units because the steel was not as thick) before collapse would ensue; or, using the thought of those 16 floors falling through space downward onto the lower 94, that that 16-floor unit would have to be elevated to a height of 120 miles above the remaining 94 for it to possess enough energy of motion to collapse the remaining 94; or, alternatively, that the energy required would be equivalent to that of 2.4 (Hiroshima sized) atomic bombs, which clearly was not available from the miniscule potential energy that was allegedly released by the fires weakening the steel and causing the top 16 floors to collapse on the bottom 94.
This is an impressive argument, which completely vitiates any claim to scientific significance of the claim that the Twin Towers “collapsed”. I also told Michael that I had featured Charles on my radio show on 10 June 2009, which should be posted at radiofetzer.blogspot.com in the next few days. I expressed regret that we are parting ways over this and (what I take to be) his excess of zeal as an anti-anti-Semite, because it functions as basis for excluding arguments from posting and discussion simply on the ground that they are “associated” with “anti-Semitism”, in the case of Boldwynn’s summary, or anti-Zionism, in the case of my “9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda” in its illustrated version by virtue of being posted on americafirstbooks.com. His unwavering attitudes have led me to create an alternative form at 911scholars.ning.com, where I have posted them and additional studies by Elias Davidsson, David Ray Griffin, and others serious students of 9/11.
The Search for Truth
Michael has expressed disappointment with me because, during a much earlier exchange on the forum for Scholars for 9/11 Truth, I had sided with him in objecting to discussions of Holocaust denial on that site. I was not thereby opposing research on Holocaust, however, but excluding it because it has nothing to do with 9/11 research. The possibility of Israeli complicity in the events of 9/11, however, is within the scope of 9/11 research, and yet Michael wants to exclude it, too. That's just a bit much. We have seen that “anti-Semitism” has been used as a club to thwart and discredit 9/11 research by many, but we have a moral and intellectual obligation to pursue it, nevertheless. If Israel was involved in 9/11, the American people are entitled to know.
I suggested that David Ray Griffin might be an appropriate arbiter of our differences. By sheerest coincidence, he called me a few days ago in relation to his appearance on my program. When I raised the question of whether anti-Zionism was equivalent to anti-Semitism, he told me that, before he became involved in 9/11 research, he had begun drafting an article on the nature of Zionism, where he said he had distinguished between some five different senses, ranging from a generalized desire for a Jewish homeland to the strongest and more commonly used sense of an amalgam of belief in Jewish superiority with an entitlement to the lands of Palestine. He indicated to me that Zionism has a political dimension that makes it distinct from Judaism and that "anti-Zionism" in that sense is distinct from and not a form of anti-Semitism. I dearly hope that he will complete the article that he had only begun.
No one should be afraid of research, even research on complex and controversial subjects, whether it is JFK, 9/11 or the Holocaust. I, like Michael, believe in the historical reality of the Holocaust. Neither he, nor I, nor anyone else, for that matter, should worry about someone wanting to do work in that domain because, if their research is sound they will inevitably be led to conclude that it was real! None of us, for example, would worry about someone doing research on whether or not the Earth is flat. Holocaust deniers are in a similar plight: if they do their homework properly—and, of course, if we are right in our belief in its reality—then they should arrive at the conclusion that it was real. And if we are wrong, we need to know that, too. Either way, there is no moral or intellectual warrant for censoring inquiry.
Research, even on complex and controversial subjects, should be open and unfettered, regardless. There is certainly no good reason to fear research on subjects like these, especially by resorting to the use of elementary fallacies—such as the ad hominem, the genetic fallacy, and guilt by association—that I spent 35-years teaching freshmen to avoid. I believe that every thoughtful person, especially professional scholars, will side with me about these things. Indeed, it would like to think that every American would recognize that politics should not be put ahead of the search for truth. We have seen too much of that from the last administration, which has been doing everything it can to place obstacles in the search for truth about 9/11, especially. It is the highest form of respect for those who died that day to know how and why they died, which, alas, we have certainly not yet been told by our own government.
James H. Fetzer is McKnight Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth; Editor, Assassination Research.
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