Friday, December 04, 2009


By Robert Halfhill

The documented evidence simply does not support the arguments of Peter Robson, Mary
Katherine Ham, and Ben Cohen against the 9/11 Truth movement's charge that 9/11 was an
inside job.

To get Ham's cheapest ad hominem argument out of the way at the very beginning, that the
9/11 truthers are "disrespectful" and "soiling the memories of those
lost," she assumes what she needs to prove. If the 9/11 victims really had been
killed by their own government in a false flag attack designed to set off a wave of super
patriotic hysteria and win public support for the Bush-Cheney administration's invasion
of the oil fields of the Middle East and suppression of civil liberties and dissent at
home, it would not be "disrespectful" or "soiling the memories" of
the 3000 people murdered on 9/11 to expose and bring their actual murderers to justice.

Ham alleged that jet fuel from the hijacked planes striking the World Trade Center Towers
"ignited everything inside the buildings." However, those of us who saw the TV
coverage on 9/11 remember that the thick black smoke was pouring from only a few floors
of the buildings.

But more importantly, Ham claims that jet fuel burns at 2,190 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, jet fuel is just kerosene and WIKIPEDIA states that kerosene burns in the open
air at 287.5 degrees Centigrade, which is 549.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The open air burning
temperature is what is relevant to the burning temperature of kerosene spilled on the
floors of the World Trade Center. She may have confused the open air burning temperature
with the temperature at which kerosene burns in a jet engine after compressed air has
been forced into the ignition chamber. Humans have known for thousands of years that we
can smelt metals by using bellows to force compressed air into the chamber where a
hydrocarbon fire is enclosed.

Ham claimed that steel weakens as low as 400 degrees. However, the 17th edition of the
FIRE PROTECTION HANDBOOK, published by the National Fire Protection Association in 1992,
states that steel only begins to weaken at 837 degrees Fahrenheit.(1) This is
considerably higher than the 400 degrees Fahrenheit at which Ham claims to be the
temperature at which steel begins to weaken. The HANDBOOK states that steel loses half
its strength at 650 degrees Centigrade or 1202 degrees Fahrenheit. This again is above
the 980 Fahrenheit at which Ham alleged steel has only ten percent of its strength.(1)
And even more important, W.T. Edgar and C. Muse state in "Why Did the World Trade
Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation" that the World Trade Center
was designed with a considerable margin or error and that even with its strength halved,
the steel could still support two or three times the stresses imposed by a 650 degrees
Centigrade, or a 1202 degrees Fahrenheit, fire. (2)

Ben Cohen charges that the 9/11 Truth movement drained so much energy from the movements
trying to expose Bush and Cheney's other crimes, such as lying to get us involved in the
war against Iraq, that if it were not for us, Bush would have been impeached and Cheney
would be in jail by now. I participated in both the 9/11 Truth movement and the antiwar
movement and I can testify that the anti Iraq war movement had for more participants and
was far less blacked out by the press than the 9/11 Truth movement. Neither was
satisfied by their treatment by the press but the press's treatment of the 9/11 Truth
movement was far worse since our blackout by the media was and is near total. In short,
the 9/11 Truth movement is too small and too ignored by the media to drain any
significant amount of energy, people, and press coverage from either the anti Iraq war
movement or the movements against Bush-Cheney's other crimes.

Cohen also tries to argue that no one could have predicted what would happen to the World
Trade Center because -- apparently never before had a plane so big flown into a building
so big. But the melting point of steel or the temperature at which steel loses half its
strength does not change because of the size of the building that it is a part of. If
that were true, architects would never dare to design larger buildings.

Other than flinging emotionally charged words around, such as asserting that any
alternative to the official account of 9/11 is "absurd," Cohen has nothing more
to contribute to the discussion about 9/11. And this last assertion of Cohen is not even
a contribution at all since it is not even an argument at all.

Then Peter Robson asserts that "there is something inherently racist about the 9/11
Truth myths" since we "argue, perhaps unconsciously. that the 3000 largely
white people who died on September 11 are more important than the million, largely brown
people...who died as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Notice that Mr. Robson offers no
evidence that we think, either consciously or unconsciously, that the 3000 largely white
people are more important than the million largely brown people. He simply assumes it
without proof!

This is a prevalent cheap tactic among both liberals and people further to the left.
Charges of racism serve the same function as charges of being a witch during the Middle
Ages or charges of being a communist during the McCarthy witch hunt in the United States
during the 1950's. What better way to discredit someone than to accuse them of being the
very thing which was the most detested at the time the charges were made!

Robson's argument is like saying that if I condemn the actions of Adolf Hitler, that must
mean I have no objection to the actions of Pol Pot. It is possible, as I do, to condemn

I do not need Mr. Robson to remind me that Iraqi lives are just as important as American
lives. In fact decades before Robson and I interacted on the internet, and before he was
even born for all know, I recognized that the number of people who lost their lives in
the Vietnam War was 3,000.000, not 58,000, since each Vietnamese life has as much value
as each American life.

Lastly, I must comment on Peter Robson setting himself up as a censor when he said that
"I won't allow this list to be used as a forum for such damaging theories."
Why not let your readers decide for themselves whether 9/11 "theories" are
damaging. Whenever you, or anyone else, sets themself up as a censor, they are saying,
"I am intelligent enough to see what is wrong with this material, but my readers are
not intelligent enough to see what is wrong with it. So I in my greater intelligence
will protect them from being exposed to it."

I will cite the arguments of John Stuart Mill in ON LIBERTY in the same spirit as you
cite the arguments of Mary Katherine Ham. You considered Ham's arguments on 9/11 to be
valuable even though you point out that she is a conservative. In the same spirit,
although Mill was an apologist for European colonialism and imperialism, I consider his
arguments against censorship and for freedom of speech to be valid.

Mill had many arguments but the most important is that the way to ensure that our
opinions on a given subject have the highest probability of being true is to know and
understand all the opinions on a given subject and to understand all the arguments for
each opinion as the arguments would be expounded by a sincere adherent of each opinion.
Resorting to the equivalent of a College of Jesuits to inform you about the opinions of
people in groups other than your own, and "why they are wrong," won't do, since
people educating you about opinions they don't agree with often trivialize the opinions,
presenting superficial features while totally misunderstanding the essentials.

Only after you have this thorough understanding of all the alternative positions on a
given question will you have the greatest probability of your own position on the
particular question being true. And if you shield your readers from even knowing the
arguments of the 9/11 Truth movement, how will they have any assurance that their views
on this subject have any likelihood of being true.

And finally and most importantly, if Bush-Cheney and the neo cons actually did murder
3000 of their own citizens, and I have given reasons why I think they did, then by
censoring 9/11 Truth, you will be serving as a gatekeeper, protecting the actual
murderers of 9/11 from exposure for as long as possible. Are you absolutely certain you
have the right position on 9/11? Have you studied and considered all the evidence and
arguments? How will you feel if the charges of the 9/11 Truth movement turn out to
actually be true?

1. Cote, A.E., editor, Fire Protection Handbook, 17th edition, Quincy, Maine: National
Fire Protection Association, 1992
2. Edgar, W.T. and Musse, C., (2001). "Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?
Science, Engineering, and Speculation," Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and
Materials Society, 53/12:8-11, (2001) (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)
*Write AOL to complain, here:, or call 1-888-212-5537.