Recently I was interviewed by conspiracy debunker Mick West on his show Tales from the Rabbit Hole, to discuss my years of activism and eventual retirement from the Truth Movement. Video of the interview has now been posted. Thank you to Mick West for doing the interview and having me on.
(One correction: Around the 39 minute mark I discuss the collapse of Building 7 and mention that it fell in free fall for a hundred stories. I misspoke, and meant to say 100 feet.)
Today marks the 16 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. But I've recently had my own personal anniversary this past August. It has been officially 10 years since I first began my research into the events of 9/11/2001. I've told parts of this story elsewhere, but I need to tell it again here.
I was only 10 years old when 9/11 happened. I knew next to nothing about politics, and I certainly had no idea that the kind of evil perpetrated that day could be a reality. Fear was everywhere that day, and would be in the years that followed. For the most part, I had no doubt that Islamic extremists were the sole cause of what happened, and as much as I was dismayed at the ensuing wars that resulted, I knew a truly evil crime had been committed, someone had to be punished, and justice needed to be served. But throughout the years, I also heard from time to time talk about a "conspiracy" behind 9/11: that the attacks were in fact caused by people within the US government, staging a so-called false-flag attack to blame on Muslims as a pretext to go to war.
I didn't give this much thought whenever I'd hear this, because I figured there was no way that could happen. Sure, the government might know more about the attacks than what they were telling the public, but would they really do that? And how could they have done it? But my knowledge of such conspiracy theories at the time was extremely limited, and I didn't feel the need to take them seriously.
Then on August 20th, 2007, I had (as cliched as it sounds) a life changing experience. I was randomly flipping through the channels on TV, when I came across a documentary on the History Channel titled "9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction?" The aim of the film was obviously to debunk the conspiracy theories people had proposed over the years. And it peaked my interest. After all, I had only superficial knowledge about these ideas up to that point, and I had never really taken the time to listen to them. So I figured, why not? Lets listen to what these people were actually saying. And what the documentary showed really surprised me.
For starters, I was surprised at how many people were convinced by these ideas. I had no idea that there was a real "movement" behind this conspiracy theory, and the images of people protesting and marching for what they believed really showed me just had far these ideas had spread. I was surprised at how much time and effort was being spent by these people to promote these ideas. Things like banners, entire websites and full-length films were produced, all with the intention of promoting the idea that the official story of 9/11 was a lie. But perhaps what I was most surprised at was just how many anomalies these researchers had found in regards to the attacks. Regardless of what you think of the documentary, it was an excellent summary of all the different problems people had found with the official narrative, most of which I had never heard. And, I was also surprised at how the answers debunkers had to these theories were unsatisfactory.
For example, the question of the Twin Towers' collapse rates was brought up, how they seemed to collapse far to quickly due to just gravity alone. This suggested that the Towers were actually destroyed by controlled demolition with explosives. The film's answer to this? That controlled demolitions generally start from the bottom of a building, not the top, so they could not be demolitions. Setting aside the fact that not all demolitions start at the bottom, my reaction to this answer was essentially "Wait, what? That doesn't explain how they collapsed so quickly. If anything, the fact that the collapse started at the top instead of the bottom makes the problem worse, not better." Another example was their discussion of how the hijacker pilot Hani Hanjour wasn't experienced enough to fly the plane into the Pentagon as he supposedly did. The film's answer? That Hanjour had a pilot's licence and had trained in simulators, so he probably could have done it. This was despite the fact (and brought up in the film) that even experienced pilots said they couldn't have done what Hanjour supposedly did.
All of this was so strange to me. I had no bias on this issue one way of the other, but I couldn't help shake this feeling that something was really wrong here. Why, if the official narrative was true, did the debunkers' answers seem so insufficient? I later learned how much more the film had gotten wrong, and what a deceptive hit-piece it really was.
After the film was over, I was unsure what to think. I wasn't convinced 9/11 was an inside job, but I was convinced that these ideas were worth looking into. So the next question for me was, what do I do now? After all, I was completely new to all this. How was I going to go about researching this? What do I start with? After watching the film, the only thing I had to go off of was another documentary, discussed at length by the filmmakers: Loose Change. So once I had access to a computer, I sat down one afternoon and watched the 2nd Edition (the 3rd Edition hadn't been released yet). It was an extremely eye-opening film, to say the least. Much of what it brought up wasn't even discussed by the History Channel piece, and even subjects that were discussed were explained in much more detail than what the History Channel showed. I was shown evidence I hadn't seen before, and it compelled me to want to keep researching this.
(The irony, of course, is that today I would never recommend anyone watch Loose Change 2nd Edition. Because of everything I've learned over the years, I've found the film contains far too many errors and dubious claims for me to possibly consider recommending it to people. The 3rd and 4th editions are far superior, and I've recommended them frequently. Still, I appreciate that the film gave me further insight into all the different theories about 9/11 out there, and helped me to distinguish between good evidence and bad evidence).
From there, I found several useful 9/11 websites, including Jim Hoffman's encyclopedic 911research site, and sites such as 911truth and 911blogger. As I looked through the evidence over the next year, I became more and more convinced that the official narrative was wrong, and that the attacks were very likely carried out by insiders within the US government. But I was also interested in what the debunkers had to say as well. To be sure, they raised good points from time to time, but overall I did not find their arguments convincing.
The next several years was the prime of my 911 research, answering debunker claims while doing further research into the attacks. I was so convinced that we would eventually have a new investigation, that we would bring the real perpetrators to justice, and justice would be served for 9/11 victims and their family members.
With all of that said, I have to make it clear from the get-go what this post is not. This is not me selling out, declaring that I now believe the official story. Let me make this clear: I still believe we have not been told the full truth about 9/11. I still fully support a new investigation into the attacks. And yes, I still believe there is substantial evidence suggesting that the Twin Towers and Building 7 were destroyed with controlled demolition. I've laid out my reasons for thinking so in my response to Chris Mohr, to date still my most comprehensive presentation of the evidence. As I said when I first posted it, there are some things in it that I would tweak, but for the most part I still stand by it. The events of 9/11 should be re- investigated, and the includes the destruction of those buildings.
But now to what this post is. I guess you could call it my official statement of retirement from the Truth Movement. It's been something I've planned to do for a long time now, and today of all days seems like the right time to do it. For whatever successes the movement has had, it seems as though its failures have overtaken them, hence why we still have yet to get a new investigation. From 2008 to 2011, the movement still had energy to it, still that hope of accomplishing our goal of getting an investigation. But for the last several years, I've felt next to no energy from it, no hope, and no motivation. Ironically, I felt the first signs of this at another 10-year anniversary; the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
That one was especially important for me, because it was the first time I was ever in New York for 9/11. Me, John-Michael and his wife had gone out to join our fellow truthers to
|Me in New York, 9/11/2011.|
For starters, the turn-out was vastly smaller than what I had seen before. It's been said that the Truth Movement's strength peaked in 2006, and indeed that may very well be true. The 2006 rally literally had thousands of truthers in attendance. In 2011, I'd estimate maybe only a couple hundred (if that). Moreover, I listened to what they were saying there, and so much of it was the poor and unsubstantiated ideas reminiscent of Loose Change 2nd edition. It was now 10 years after the attacks, and if there was ever a time to stop discussing the bad evidence and just focus on the good, it was now. A specific highlight for me was that as I was talking with a critic about the evidence for controlled demolition, I mentioned that I did not believe in no-planer theories, and stated that I firmly believed a plane did strike the Pentagon. A truther nearby heard me, and actually interrupted me to say "wait, what do you mean a plane hit the building?" Sigh.
It was the first warning sign I'd seen, but it was a big one. I can't say for sure that the movement peaked in 2006, but one thing was for sure: it peaked for me in 2011.
After the 10-year anniversary came and went, the next several years showed me more signs that the movement was coming to a close. Despite the fact that we had finally gotten numerous papers published in peer-reviewed journals, we didn't seem to be getting any closer to our goal. Even the paper from Steven Jones that showed actual evidence of explosives in the debris wasn't enough to do it, and I thought if any paper could do it, it'd be that one. But not only did it not pave the way for a new investigation, a counter-study had been published by James Millette, casting doubt on the validity of it all. Sure enough, responses were posted, and there was promise of a third study of the WTC dust meant to finally answer the question of whether or not we had actual evidence of explosives being used. But this study, undertaken by Mark Basile, has now taken longer than Steven Jones' and James Millette's studies combined. The last thing I've seen posted about it isn't promising, and I honestly doubt any such study is going to be completed. If it does get done, great. But until I see results, I see no reason to get my hopes up.
I've also been extremely dismayed by the activities of AE911Truth. As much as I have appreciated their work, I've seen no indication that they are any closer to getting us a new investigation. Specifically, I have been incredibly frustrated at the lack of work from them published in peer-reviewed journals. The Journal of 911 Studies is all well and good, but the way to get the message out there to the scientific community is to get your beliefs and assertions in a venue that can be reviewed by other outside experts. Granted, I know there has been concern that journals won't publish such material, and indeed there have been several cases where journals have rejected work from the movement for the strangest reasons (example, example, example). So I understand that getting these ideas in established journals wouldn't be easy. But it's not impossible, as shown by other engineers and scientists in the movement. Think about it. AE911Truth currently has nearly 3000 qualified experts signed on to their petition demanding a new investigation. If just, say, 100 of them each published a paper in engineering journals, don't you think that at least a few of them would get published? (The closest thing I've seen is the study currently underway from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.) While I doubt I'm qualified to do so, the fact is that if I were running AE911Truth, I'd be doing things differently. But I'm just one guy. I'm not going to convince them to do things differently, and they have an audience I don't have. Again, if they do have further success, great. But with as many experts as they have now, and how much time has passed, I'm done waiting around.
Furthermore, as with the truthers I interacted with in New York, there are still far too many spreading outright falsehoods and disinformation. I've been utterly disgusted by the activities of these people, including (just to name a few): Judy Wood, Jim Fetzer, Ace Baker, Craig Ranke, Craig McKee, and others. I have no sympathy for these people, and as far as I'm concerned, they did more harm to the Truth Movement than any debunker ever could.
That gets me to the debunkers. Or, more specifically, one debunker; Ryan Mackey. A few years ago I read his paper analyzing the Truth Movement, and while there's plenty in it I would disagree with, I found several of his points worth considering. One of those being a simple suggestion he had for truthers:
To those still interested in the Truth Movement, I make only one suggestion: Take a break. Give yourself a full month away from the Truth Movement. Don’t argue on-line, don’t watch videos. For that matter, don’t read responses from skeptics, either. I don’t want you to be concerned about being “brainwashed” by debunkers – stay away from them as well. After this time has passed, feel free to get involved again and see if your perspective has changed. However, if you cannot set it aside for a month, and I do mean to set it aside completely, this should be a warning sign to you. After all, September 11th was over ten years ago. Nothing bad will happen if you leave it alone for a month. Give it a try. (p. 63)Again, there's plenty I think Mackey's gotten wrong. But in this case, I thought he had something here. So I decided to take his advice. Or rather, I should say I've been taking his advice. For the past couple of years, I've had periods where I've literally gone months without interacting with any 9/11-related material. And I honestly didn't feel bad about it. Sure, I've gone back to looking into from time to time, but I never felt as though I were missing anything, that anything had been lost from taking a break. It was actually pretty easy. And I think the reason for that is largely due to the state I've seen the movement currently in. With the way things are going, I can't see how we're going to accomplish our goals. I can't say it any plainer or any clearer: We are not going to get a new investigation. I know that's a hard pill for many of my fellow truthers to swallow, but I can't see any way around it.
And so, with this post I announce my official departure from the movement. This means I will not be taking part in any more Truth Movement activities. No more videos. No more blog posts. No more 9/11 activism of any kind. For me, 10 years is enough.
It also means I will be discontinuing my personal blog. I will still leave it up and mostly intact, but I will not be writing there any more. Seriously, I'm done.
But in saying that, I would like to also say that much of my time in the movement was extremely rewarding. I met several amazing people, whose passion to find the truth about that terrible day was inspiring to the extreme. As such, there are many within this movement I want to thank and show my sincerest gratitude.
First, I would like to thank AE911Truth. Despite my frustrations with them, I'm extremely grateful to them for publishing several of my articles at their website, and for the invaluable advice and assistance I received from several of their members.
I would also like to thank Jeff Hill, Bernie Suarez and Andy Steele, all who had me on their radio programs, and allowed me to speak to a wider audience than I would have been able to otherwise.
Thank you to the moderators at scientificmethod911.org for publishing an article of mine. That I could contribute a scientific understanding of 9/11 at your site was extremely appreciative.
Thank you to the blog contributors at 911debunkers. I learned an enormous amount from all of you, and your insight into the attacks was more helpful than you'll ever know.
I would also like to thank the debunkers. Yes, that's right. Granted, this doesn't apply to all of them. Over the years, several of them were just complete dicks to me, and I honestly couldn't care less about them. But several of them provided civil, constructive criticisms that I always tried to take into account. Many of their arguments bettered me and my understanding of the attacks, and I'm grateful for that. And of course of all of them, I'm most grateful to Chris Mohr, whose video series gave me the chance to present a full, comprehensive demon-stration of the evidence. So to the debunkers, please know that I never considered you "enemies" of the Truth Movement. For me, the only enemies in this situation are those who carried out the attacks, whoever they may be.
Last but not least, my sincerest gratitude goes to John-Michael Talboo, one of my best friends, and the person who allowed me to do more in the movement that I ever thought I could. Allowing me to contribute to your site gave me the chance to be a part of something amazing, something that was making a real difference in the world. Not everyone would have given me that kind of chance, and there are no words to describe how grateful I am for that. Thank you brother.
It does sadden me immensely to know we won't get a new investigation. For me, none of this was about fame or making a name for myself, or believing the worst of the government just because I could. I started this because of my sympathy for the 9/11 victims' family members, many of whom I know are still hurting and want justice to be served for their loved ones. That this won't happen is my deepest regret. In many ways researching 9/11 took a heavy toll on me. I've watched countless videos of the destruction of that day, seen thousands of lives wiped out in an instant, and listened to and read the accounts of the people most seriously affected by the attacks. Even after all this time, it's never gotten any easier.
So to my fellow truthers, all I have left to say is that, we gave it a good try, but I think it's time to call it a day. Move on to other causes. Work hard to better this country, and for that matter, the world. Let's work to prevent the next 9/11s from happening. Even though the movement is over, its creed should still go strong: ASK QUESTIONS. DEMAND ANSWERS.