Getting Real About Richard Clarke

President Obama’s 2013 advisory panel on NSA spying included some interesting people considering that the justification for such crimes against democracy always go back to 9/11. One member was Cass Sunstein, who had previously advised the president to “cognitively infiltrate” citizen groups that sought the truth about 9/11. Another panel member was Richard Clarke, the former “counterterrorism czar,” whose opinions on the subject continue to be widely publicized despite suspicions that Clarke might have been in league with the 9/11 terrorists.

Clarke MaherIn one of several “Real Time” interviews with TV host Bill Maher, a supporter of NSA spying, Clarke suggested that Osama bin Laden was never worried about being caught before he was killed because he “thought he’d get tipped.” Clarke meant that Bin Laden was helped by retired intelligence officials and would be tipped off to any operation. In the same interview, Clarke told Maher that Afghanis were pathetic and that Pakistanis were “pathological liars.”

However, there are good reasons to believe that it is Clarke who is a pathological liar. Those reasons include that it was Clarke who tipped off Bin Laden’s friends in the years before 911, effectively preventing the capture or killing of that alleged terrorist mastermind. Clarke later promoted lies about a man called Abu Zubaydah, whose torture testimony is behind much of the 9/11 Commission Report.

People need to know more about Richard Clarke before taking any more of his comments at face value.  The following excerpts from my book Another Nineteen might make that point a little more obvious.

Not Just Another COG

Clarke began his government career in the Ford Administration. He worked as a defense department nuclear weapons analyst and shared a Pentagon office with Wayne Downing, who later became a leader of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Clarke went on to become President Reagan’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In that role, Clarke negotiated for a U.S. military presence in Arab countries including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

In 1984, Clarke was selected to take part in one of the most highly classified projects of the Reagan Administration. This was the secret Continuity of Government (COG) program run by the National Program Office that continued up to and after the attacks of September 11. Other than Clarke, the members of the COG group included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George H.W. Bush, Kenneth Duberstein, and James Woolsey. If not a formal member of the group, Oliver North reported to it and acted on its behalf. Although Cheney and Rumsfeld were not government employees throughout the twenty years that Clarke participated in this official government program, they both continued to participate.

COG was developed to install a shadow “government in waiting” to replace the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Constitution in the event of a national emergency like a nuclear war. In 1998, Clarke revised the COG plan for use as a response to a terrorist attack on American soil. The first and only time that COG was put into action was when Richard Clarke activated it during the 9/11 attacks. As of 2002, that shadow government continued to be in effect as an “indefinite precaution.”

George H.W. Bush had appointed Clarke to be his Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, under James Baker. Clarke was in that position until 1992. According to his book, Clarke remembers that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney specifically asked him to coordinate relations with the UAE. Over the following decade, Clarke negotiated many deals with the Emirates, essentially becoming an agent of the UAE, and he was particularly close to the UAE royal family.

Not long after Clarke began going there, the royal family of Abu Dhabi took over full ownership of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI is significant relative to 9/11 because it was involved in funding terrorists and was in partnership with the Pakistani intelligence network from which several alleged 9/11 conspirators came, including KSM. In fact, TIME magazine reported in September 1991 that, relative to BCCI, “You can’t draw a line separating the bank’s black operatives and Pakistan’s intelligence services.”

More importantly, authors Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin noted in their historic book False Profits that the CIA was involved in the founding of BCCI. The CIA connection to the origins of the BCCI terrorist network is revealing because the royal family of the UAE was also said to have played a primary role in the creation of BCCI. As the official U.S. government report on the subject pointed out, that there was no relationship more central to BCCI’s existence than that between BCCI and the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

Clarke’s friends in the UAE royal family not only created the BCCI terrorist network, they took it over when the Bank of England shut it down. Soon after, Bush named Clarke to the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and he became chairman of the Interagency Counterterrorism Committee. One might think that Richard Clarke’s close relationship to the royal family of the UAE, and this new role as the NSC head of counterterrorism, might have posed a slight conflict of interest. But no one seemed to notice.

Likewise, few have noticed that the attacks attributed to al Qaeda began just after the UAE gained full control of BCCI, when the first Bush Administration left office. It was in December of 1992 that al Qaeda is said to have first committed an act of terrorism by bombing U.S. troops in Yemen. Attacks and plots in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and many others places located near the production and transport routes of fossil fuels have been attributed to al Qaeda since that time.

Continuing as “counterterrorism czar” in the Clinton Administration, Clarke was not interested in pursuing the remnants of the BCCI terrorist network. Instead, he had a different approach to combating terrorism. In 1993, the United States began a practice known as “rendition.” Throughout the rest of the world, rendition is known as torture. The policy behind this program was proposed by Clarke, who worked to get “snatch teams” in place to kidnap suspects for torture. The success of Clarke’s rendition proposal led to the post-9/11 U.S. program of secret kidnappings and torture around the world.

In the summer of 1994, Clarke played a leading role in the international failure to intervene in the Rwandan genocide. People who worked to stop the slaughter before it happened cite Clarke as a heartless, malicious man who was “scandalously oblivious” to the evidence of the looming genocide. Although the U.S. could have taken many steps to prevent the tragedy, it did not due to Clarke’s “structurally empowered skepticism and stonewalling.” Instead, over a period of 100 days, approximately 800,000 people were killed.

In September 1994, high-ranking UAE and Saudi government ministers, such as Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al-Faisal, began frequent bird hunting expeditions in Afghanistan. It was reported that, “They would go out and see Osama, spend some time with him, talk with him, you know, live out in the tents, eat the simple food, engage in falconing, some other pursuits, ride horses.” Two members of the UAE royal family that participated in these trips were Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE.

As these UAE meetings with OBL occurred, Clarke’s relationship with the UAE royals blossomed. At the same time, he engaged in preparations for terrorist events on U.S. soil. In 1998, he chaired a tabletop exercise in which a Learjet filled with explosives would be flown on a suicide mission into a target in Washington, DC. At a conference in October 1998, Clarke predicted that America’s enemies “will go after our Achilles’ heel” which is “in Washington. It is in New York.”

Clarke updated the COG plans, in early 1998, so that they could be utilized in the event of a terrorist attack like the one that he predicted that year (and that occurred in 2001). National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who was later caught stealing documents that had been requested by the 9/11 Commission, was the one to suggest that Clinton create the new Counterterrorism Czar position that Clarke would fill at the time of his prediction. Berger was also the one to introduce Clarke’s COG partner, James Woolsey, to Clinton. Woolsey went on to become Clinton’s CIA director.

In early February 1999, Clarke met with Al-Maktoum, one of the UAE royals known to hunt with Bin Laden, in the UAE. Al-Maktoum was a big supporter of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And although people often forget, two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the UAE and the funding that supported the attacks flowed through the UAE, according to the official account.

Just a few months after Clarke’s UAE visit, in July 1999, the CIA claimed that Bin Laden had “been allowed to funnel money through the Dubai Islamic Bank in Dubai, which the United Arab Emirates Government effectively controls.” Apparently Bin Laden “had a relationship with the bank, which they believed had been arranged with the approval of the officials who control the bank.”

Bin Laden was not the only al Qaeda link to Clarke’s friends in the UAE. Reportedly, KSM was living in the city of Sharjah, UAE at the time of Clarke’s trip. Sharjah was reportedly a major center of al Qaeda activity then. The plot’s alleged money man Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi was also based in Sharjah. Saeed Sheikh, known as the 9/11 paymaster, was said to have established an al Qaeda base in the UAE while openly working with the Pakistani ISI. Some have suggested that Hawsawi and Sheikh were the same man.

Al-Maktoum, whom Clarke met with in 1999, later tried to take over the management of six major U.S. ports. George W. Bush lobbied on his behalf but the deal fell through.

The 9/11 Commission Report has six references to the UAE, most of which can be found on page 138. One of these suggests that “but for the cooperation of the UAE, we would have killed Bin Ladin two years in advance of September 11.”

Therefore it is difficult to understand why the leading authority on counterterrorism in the U.S. would be meeting, and maintaining close personal relationships, with the UAE friends of Bin Laden just two years before 9/11. This was three years after Bin Laden had first declared holy war against the United States, and one year after his more recent such proclamation.

Clarke’s Tips Helped Bin Laden And Misled Americans

It is far more difficult to understand why Clarke was personally behind the failure of two CIA attempts to kill or capture Bin Laden in 1999. The first of these occurred just a few days after Clarke’s visit to the UAE. The CIA obtained information that OBL was hunting with UAE royals in Afghanistan at the time, and President Clinton was asked for permission to attack the camp. According to author Steve Coll in his book Ghost Wars, Clarke voted down that plan and others within the U.S. government speculated that his ties to the UAE were behind his decision.

The next month, when the CIA had tracked Bin Laden’s location again and was prepared to take him out during another of the Afghanistan hunting trips, Clarke took it upon himself to alert his UAE friends about the CIA monitoring their meetings with Bin Laden. Of course, the UAE royals tipped off Bin Laden and the U.S. lost another opportunity to kill or capture its number one enemy. Considering that CIA plans are top secret national security priorities, and that OBL was wanted for the bombings in East Africa, Clarke’s action should have been seen as treason.

When questioned by Congressman Richard Burr as part of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, Clarke was evasive about his actions to protect his UAE friends and bin Laden. The fact that Clarke was allowed to testify without being under oath, in a special agreement in which his comments were considered only a “briefing,” was itself telling.

Regarding the second attempt that Clarke had foiled, Burr asked, “Did the CIA, in fact, brief you that the camp was an ideal situation, that they did have real time intelligence, that the collateral damage would be extremely limited, involving only the camp facility? And as a follow-up [to] my last question, Mr. Clarke, did, in fact, you call the royal family and inform them of the information we had about the intelligence of that camp and that exercise?” Clarke replied, “I think those facts are slightly wrong,” clarifying that the information the CIA had was not exactly real-time yet essentially admitting that he tipped off the UAE royals.

Somehow, Clarke’s two efforts to keep OBL from being captured or killed in 1999 slipped his mind when he testified to the 9/11 Commission. Apparently, those events were also not important enough to mention to Bill Maher when suggesting that Bin Laden relied on such tips from rogue, retired intelligence officials.

Whether he was protecting his UAE friends or not, Clarke failed to act on information about al Qaeda operatives living in the United States. After an al Qaeda “millennium plot” was said to be broken up in Jordan, Clarke authorized an investigation of one of the plotters, Khalil Deek, who lived in Anaheim, California for most of the 1990s. The investigative team reported to Clarke and the NSC directly in December, 1999, stating that Deek’s next door neighbor was operating an al Qaeda sleeper cell in Anaheim. No action was taken by Clarke or the NSC.

A few months later, in April 2000, Clarke was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that terrorists “will come after our weakness, our Achilles Heel, which is largely here in the United States.” Although this was a bold statement, it was unfortunate that Clarke did not have time to arrest the terrorists that he knew were living and plotting in the United States.

In late May 2001, Clarke wrote a memorandum to Condoleezza Rice and her assistant, Stephen Hadley. The title of the memo was “Stopping Abu Zubaydah’s Attacks.” Cited as part of the evidence that the “System was Blinking Red,” the 9/11 Commission said the memo claimed that Zubaydah was preparing to launch “a series of major terrorist attacks” and, when they occurred, “we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them.”

Clarke went on to write in his 2004 book Against All Enemies that Zubaydah, whose torture testimony presumably led to the capture of KSM and others, was one of “al Qaeda’s top operational managers.”

Apparently, all of those claims were false as the U.S. government said in 2009 that Zubaydah was never associated with al Qaeda in any way.  Clarke has not said a word about Zubaydah since that time.

Some might wonder why Clarke never thought of his good friends within the UAE royal family, who met with OBL regularly, as sources on al Qaeda. Surely people who met with OBL personally in the two years before 9/11, and were big supporters of al Qaeda like Clarke’s friend Al-Maktoum, might have had some information to provide. Another reason to suspect such knowledge is that, although only two of the alleged 9/11 terrorists were said to be citizens of the UAE, nearly all of the alleged hijackers arrived in the United States by traveling through the UAE.

These days Clarke works with his COG partner, former CIA Director James Woolsey, at Paladin Capital, which has offices in New York and the UAE. Clarke is also the chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, where he is in partnership with many people who are making a fortune off the War on Terror.  Good Harbor Consulting has an office in Abu Dhabi as well, and Clarke is known to have a “big footprint” in the UAE.

Meanwhile many Americans remain blissfully ignorant of real threats to civil rights and national security, like having terrorism suspects advise the president on protecting us from terrorism. But here’s some advice for the rest of us. Before we accept any more “Real Time” wisdom about terrorism and NSA spying from Bill Maher’s guests, maybe we should take a closer look at those guests, starting with Clarke and his colleagues.

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Greenwald Responds to Critics, Rejects Conspiracism

The story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has dominated the mainstream news for the last seven months. During that time, questions about Snowden and his disclosures have framed the national discussion about domestic surveillance. Those disclosures have not resulted in any changes to U.S. domestic surveillance practices to date. Instead, the U.S. Justice Department has re-certified the programs in question as Americans discuss media talking points like—Is Snowden a traitor or a hero? A growing number of people are looking behind that media-generated framework, however, and are beginning to wonder if the right questions are even being asked.

What we know about Edward Snowden is that he was a Special Forces recruit in the U.S. Army, an NSA employee, an NSA contractor for at least two different companies, and a CIA employee under cover. All of this occurred in a span of only a few years and he was able to command six-figure salaries despite having no education beyond a high school equivalency certification. Of the many positions he held in a period of approximately six years, the most long-lived appears to have been his work with the CIA where this 20-something spy was, in his own words, a “senior advisor.”

When asked about his background and motivations, Snowden said, “I’m just another guy.” He went on to say that his leaking of NSA secrets was what we needed to know, implying that it was all we needed to know, about NSA spying. “This is the truth… This is what’s happening,” he said. Oddly enough, Snowden was strongly against whistle blowing just a few years ago, writing that leakers “should be shot” before becoming one himself.

The remainder of the story has been presented in articles like those by The New York Times, which paint Snowden in an increasingly favorable light. The Times, which was called a mouthpiece for the Obama Administration by Glenn Greenwald, the reporter chosen by Snowden to reveal his story, has come out calling for clemency for Snowden.

However, the questions about the evolving Snowden story have grown rapidly and continue to present challenges to citizens who are alert to the prevalence of corporate media propaganda. How many stolen documents are there and who has access to them? Why have only a tiny fraction of the documents been released seven months after they were first disclosed by Snowden? Why has Glenn Greenwald made a deal with the owner of Paypal Corporation—the company whose former executives now produce the technologies used for domestic spying?

Emotions and Responses

The biggest hurdle to understanding the Snowden story has been the emotional reaction to asking questions about it. Those who have dared to question the story have been met with ridicule and misplaced condemnation.

Author Naomi Wolf made some straightforward observations about Snowden’s slick introduction in comparison to other whistleblower stories. Her questions elicited derision from pundits, some even suggesting that if Wolf didn’t buy into Snowden then she must be an NSA operative.

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ questions were met with ad hominem attacks from Greenwald. Writing that Edmonds was “too stupid and/or crazy to know,“ Greenwald summarily excused the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition from further dialogue on the issue.

My recent article resulted in mild hysteria from a few who believe that no aspect of the Snowden story should ever be questioned, regardless of how that story evolves in the mainstream media. One such reaction resulted in a hit piece based on the false premise that I was calling Snowden a liar. The author called for a public apology until he realized that it was his own error that required an apology (cue crickets).

GreenwaldThankfully, Greenwald has offered a few answers at his blog. Unfortunately, the emotional nature of those responses raises more questions. What’s more, the growing rancor and distrust regarding this story is resulting in citizens losing sight of the actual NSA crimes being committed and our decreasing ability to stop or prosecute them.

Greenwald’s answers appeared at his blog in two installments, one in December and another in January. In those posts he goes on at length about the fact that reporters work for money. Although Edmonds has made the point that whistleblowing should not be a profit-making venture for anyone, in general no one denies that reporters work for money. And if Greenwald gets fabulously rich from all of it, that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that Greenwald still hasn’t answered some of the more important questions. For example, has he made any kind of deal with government or corporate representatives with regard to this story or the release of material from Snowden? What are his views on the coincidence that several of Pierre Omidyar’s former Paypal colleagues are strong supporters of NSA spying and are the people developing the technologies for that spying?

Another unanswered question is a simple one. How many documents are there? Estimates have ranged from thousands to nearly two million. Only Greenwald and Laura Poitras have the entire cache, according to Greenwald. But portions of the stolen documents have been distributed to many mainstream news organizations and “tens of thousands of these documents are in the possession of The New York Times, The Guardian, ProPublica, and The Washington Post.” A subset of more than 50,000 of them, focused specifically on the GCHQ (the British version of the NSA), were shared by The Guardian with The Times and ProPublica. Therefore we’re talking about a very large, but still very uncertain, number of documents. Since Greenwald has reported that Snowden “read and very carefully processed every document that he gave us,” curious citizens might wonder how that was possible.

That being said, Greenwald has offered answers to a few of the questions and we can discuss them.

Why are the documents being released so slowly?  Greenwald provided the following answers in his blog posts.

  1. Releasing the documents all at once would “violently breach … our agreement with our source.”
  2. “Large media institutions, even the ones with the best journalistic intentions, have all sorts of constraints – financial, legal, cultural – that produce fear and timidity, and that has sometimes slowed down or diluted our ability to publish the way we wanted to.”
  3. There exist “very real legal risks for everyone involved in this process, beginning with Snowden, who already faces 30 years in prison and is currently protected only by 9 more months of temporary asylum in Russia. Everyone involved in the publication of these materials has already undertaken substantial legal risk.”
  4. “These documents are complex. Sometimes they take a good deal of reporting to fill in some of the gaps.”
  5. The documents might contain the names of people who are surfing for pornography or are suspected of being terrorists, or they might contain “raw chats” or other specific internet activity, and these things might threaten the reputations or lives of those people. The documents might also help teach (less ethical?) states how to spy on their own citizens.

The first of these answers is the strongest. The public does not have access to the agreement and the implication is that future whistleblowers might be dissuaded from coming forward if they thought that they could not trust the people to whom they reveal information.

The second answer points more to the problem than the answer. Large media institutions are often vehicles for propaganda (remember the aluminum tubes) and that is why these kinds of questions arise in the first place.

The third answer is understandable but weak. Nobody should expect whistleblowing to be safe.

The last two answers are not believable considering what we know about answers Greenwald has given to other questions, and the distribution of the documents. For example, Greenwald knows enough about all the documents that he can definitely say that Paypal and its past and present executives are not implicated. And someone knew enough about the documents that they could be distributed to different major media corporations, presumably without carelessness, so these documents are not total unknowns. Can Greenwald tell us how the documents were categorized or sorted before distribution to the media outlets and how that was done to avoid the risks he emphasizes on his blog now?

Ultimately, the answer to why the documents have not been released boils down to that it is part of the agreement with Edward Snowden. Will Greenwald release his agreement with Snowden to verify that? Does the agreement apply to all the media outlets to which documents have been distributed? Who decided that these establishment mouthpiece media outlets were suddenly so honorable and would not report the information haphazardly or for the benefit of the powers that control them?

Conspiracy Theories

Greenwald’s December response indicated that he felt the questions about why the documents were not being released right away were good questions. He wrote, “I respect that critique” and even stated that he would ask the same questions. As an attorney, Greenwald might have wondered if withholding documents about ongoing crimes is a crime in itself.

Now, however, Greenwald labels those who question why the documents are being held back as “conspiracy theorists.” In Greenwald’s response, he rants about “people who cook up conspiracy theories” and how  “deranged those theories are.” These comments reflect the position of Greenwald’s new media partner Jeremy Scahill with regard to questions about the official account for the 9/11 attacks. Scahill has publicly said that he believes questions about 9/11 are “insulting to the people who died on 9/11.” Scahill claims to be educated on such questions but apparently still doesn’t know that it was the 9/11 victims’ families who initiated such questioning and who continue to lead the search for answers.

The irony is that Greenwald was, just prior to becoming the voice of our New York Times-supported whistleblower hero, a major conspiracy theorist with regard to terrorism. In fact, Greenwald has espoused some of the most interesting conspiracy theories regarding U.S. government involvement in the manufacture of false terrorism.

In a series of articles at Salon, Greenwald went into great detail on the FBI’s ongoing efforts to manufacture terrorism. In one case, he wrote that the FBI “created a plot [and] it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped [a hapless loner] to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a ‘Terrorist plot’ which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.”

If that’s not a conspiracy theory, I don’t know what is.

Greenwald went on to write that, “Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out—only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.”

According to Greenwald this vast FBI plot is intended “to justify this Endless War on civil liberties (and Terror).” At the time, in 2010 and 2011, Greenwald was astounded by the lack of skepticism about the completely uncritical reporting on terrorist stories that were used to justify the War on Terror. Today he is astounded by the growing skepticism about the completely uncritical reporting on the Snowden story. Apparently the difference, and his newfound reliance on the Conspiracy Theorists™ slur, has to do with him being a central character in this story.

Overall, the government’s handling of questions about domestic surveillance has been very similar to its handling of questions about 9/11. It’s all about The Terrorists and things that would never be allowed in other circumstances, like lying to Congress and withholding documents, are perfectly OK. The Anglo-American establishment media control the flow of information and questions are not allowed. Those daring to question are met with ridicule. Heroes and demons are offered up to focus the story on personalities instead of facts. What’s different here?

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The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

Last June, Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian revealed that Edward Snowden was the NSA insider behind “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” Snowden explained his motivations through Greenwald by saying, “There are more important things than money…. harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” Such altruistic motivations were welcome news at the time but have come into question recently given that only a tiny fraction of the documents have been released nearly a year after Snowden started working with Greenwald. Perhaps more importantly, billionaire Pierre Omidyar is funding Greenwald’s slow release of those documents and Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues have highly suspicious links to NSA spying and other dangers to civil rights.

It was originally reported that the number of documents Snowden had stolen was in the thousands. Today, however, that number is said to be nearly two million. This calls into question Snowden’s early statement, as reported by Greenwald, that he “carefully evaluated every single document… to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” The huge, new number also reveals that less than one tenth of one percent of the documents (only about 900) have actually been released to the public.

How could Snowden have “carefully evaluated every single” one of what is now being said to be nearly two million documents? He only worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for a few months. According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, Snowden also worked directly for NSA for twelve months prior to that, which is interesting. But still, that would require carefully evaluating thousands of documents a day during that entire time. Didn’t he have a job apart from that?

Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the 29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities, all in just a few, short years. Burns asked “How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially in high-level clearance positions?”

Five months later, journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine investigated some of the businesses in which Greenwald’s benefactor Omidyar had invested. They found that the actual practices of those businesses were considerably less humanitarian than the outward appearance of Omidyar’s ventures often portray. The result was that Omidyar took down references to at least one of those businesses from his website.

sauron eyeIn December, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds wrote that Omidyar‘s Paypal Corporation was implicated in the as-yet-unreleased NSA documents from Snowden. Moreover, Edmonds had been contacted by an NSA official who alleged that “a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved.”

Omidyar, the son of Iranian exiles, certainly has had some highly suspicious business associates at Paypal. Here are a few of the most influential of Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues.

These facts about Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues should raise the level of skepticism about his new media venture with Greenwald and the slow release of the documents stolen by Snowden. It’s clear that Snowden’s whistleblowing has been co-opted by private corporate interests. Are those involved with privatization of the stolen documents also colluding with government agencies to frame and direct national discussions on domestic spying and other serious matters?

The possibilities are endless, it seems. Presenting documents at a measured rate could be a way to acclimate citizens to painful realities without stirring the public into a panic or a unified response that might actually threaten the status quo. And considering that the number of documents has somehow grown from only thousands to nearly two million, the few insiders could release practically anything, thereby controlling national dialogue on many topics.

We live in an age of information war. It does not serve the public interest well to ignore that fact at any time based on pre-conceived notions of what corporations, governments or journalists are capable of. Let’s hope that Greenwald, who has done some good work revealing government misconduct, will immediately release all of the stolen documents, speak to the claims of an alleged deal made with government officials, and admit the risks with regard to Omidyar and his Paypal colleagues.

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Terrorism: It Could Be Anyone Now

This weekend I ran across a random copy of The Wall Street Journal and decided to see what passes for mainstream news these days. Reading it reminded me of the striking amount of terrorism propaganda being foisted upon the U.S. public. The numerous terrorism-related stories painted a confused and contradictory picture that reflects the difficulty in keeping the American public focused on terrorist threats and increasingly suspicious of their fellow citizens.

The weekend edition of The Journal included five major stories about terrorism, including a shooting at a Colorado high school, the release of video from a hospital massacre in Yemen, and a review of how the Sandy Hook victims’ families are coping. In the most prominent spot, at the top left of the front page, readers found an alert for a major expose covering the Boston bombers. The fifth story was about the arrest of a Wichita man for plotting to blow up aircraft with a homemade bomb at the airport.

The new, Wichita story provides a good example of the challenges facing the FBI and corporate media in ongoing efforts to stoke the public fear. The suspect, like others in the last few years, had no previous history of terrorist activity and the FBI did everything for him.

LaneTerry Lee Loewen was an avionics specialist at a private company working at the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. Allegedly, he tried to drive his car, loaded with explosives that the FBI had helped him make, onto the tarmac to cause “maximum carnage and death.” This man, who neighbors called quiet and normal, was supposedly working for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The emerging story of Loewen includes a significant number of contradictory reports and unbelievable aspects. The official account is that Loewen decided to become a Muslim about six months ago and he immediately began devoting all his time to preparations for becoming a “lone wolf” suicide bomber. FBI-produced documents allegedly provide this 58-year old white man’s reasoning for his radical change of life course—“My only explanation is that I believe in jihad for the sake of Allah + for the sake of my Muslim brothers + sisters.”

Although Loewen did not enter a plea and his public defender and current wife would not comment, his ex-wife and son were contacted for interviews and neither of them had any idea about his new commitment to jihad and martyrdom. The son had spoken to his father in the last month yet, according to The Journal, “didn’t detect anything amiss” and “didn’t know about any turn toward Islam by his father.”

Although Loewen is being portrayed as a serious, jihadist Muslim, he had no known connection to any Muslim organization in Wichita or elsewhere. Apparently he was only an online Muslim and the FBI caught him making comments about his desire to wage jihad against his own country on behalf of the members of his new faith.

His neighbors couldn’t believe it and never saw anything suspicious about him or his current wife. And although his own son had no idea about it, and his ex-wife would never have predicted it, in his last six months he must have devoted every spare moment to his new mission. One might think that a new convert would take time to learn about his new religion and interact with at least one or two Muslims in his community. After all, doesn’t becoming a Muslim require more than just making a few online comments?

Not for Loewen, according to the FBI. Instead, one day he was just a solitary, radical Muslim and he immediately began spending all his free time “studying subjects like jihad, martyrdom operations, and Sharia law.” He also “studied the airport layout and took photos of access points, researched flight schedules and acquired components to make car bombs.” He was obviously very busy and totally committed.

FOX News reported that Loewen was inspired by Usama bin Laden. Investigators from the Wichita Joint Terrorism Task Force further claimed that Loewen “frequently expressed admiration for Anwar Al-Awlaki.” Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas said that Loewen’s action reminded us that we must “reaffirm our commitment” to the War on Terror.

There are certainly suspicious things about Loewen. For one thing, he had another name—Terry L. Lane. How many readers of The Wall Street Journal just happen to have other names?  And Loewen was cited in 2009 for “a concealed-carry violation at the airport.”

Nonetheless, according to his ex-wife of 10-years, Loewen/Lane was a “peaceful, easy-going, quiet man” who “didn’t like confrontation; he was never one to start a fight.” She said he had left his job at Hawker Beechcraft Air Services for a time, to work at Learjet across town. She didn’t know when he returned to Beechcraft. “He was happy. He was a normal human being,” she said. And although The Journal reported that the son had no idea about Loewen’s conversion to Islam, The Wichita Eagle reported that the son told his mother that Loewen had recently become a Muslim.

Other news sources report that the son said his dad was “always really calm and a loving man” and that he “had no idea how his father came to be the main suspect in a foiled terror plot.”

Therefore the news about Loewen/Lane and this alleged new terrorist plot includes many confusing reports and makes little or no sense. A 58-year old man with no connection to any Muslim organization just decided on his own to give up his entire life to become a jihadist. He forsook all other commitments to make a martyr of himself for the benefit of “brothers and sisters” whom he had never met. His family and neighbors apparently knew nothing about it.

If we can learn anything from the incident it is that the next terrorist could be anybody—you, your father, your neighbor—anyone at all. And there won’t necessarily be any signs other than what the FBI provides about internet activity.

This brings us to the big expose that The Journal published on the Boston bombers. Readers might wonder about the coincidence of the reporter from The Journal just happening to be a relatively close friend of the Tsarnaev family, whose two sons were accused of the marathon attack. Ostensibly, that relationship was initiated because both the reporter and the family spoke Russian and the reporter was doing research on Chechens and the “Russia’s Islamist insurgency.”  But the friendship was clearly much more than that. Who could have predicted that chance relationship would come in so handy for a terrorism reporter from a major U.S. news source?

Anyway, the story about the Tsarnaevs presents more contradictions. For instance, the mother of the accused bombers is portrayed quite differently than we have seen before. The woman who suddenly became a terrorist suspect herself a week after she began claiming that her sons were controlled by the FBI has most often been seen as a strict Muslim woman dressed in very traditional garb. In The Journal’s new story, however, she is “a wide-eyed rapid talker with a low-cut dress and high heels who waved her arms and teased her black hair like the pop singer Cyndi Lauper.” And she ran a business on the side giving facials.

In this new light, mother Tsarnaev could be an office girl from Jersey, or the girl next door.

But those who read the whole story realize that there is a bigger purpose behind this spread on the Tsarnaevs and it is not to describe their dress habits. It is, in fact, to reveal that the Boston bombers were conspiracy theorists. Specifically, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother were “filled with thoughts of conspiracy” including that “the Sept.11 attacks were organized by shadowy financial elites.”

We have seen this tactic before with other terrorism stories but never this blatantly. We are being told that not only can anyone be a terrorist, but it is more likely that anyone who questions the official accounts of terrorism is a terrorist. How convenient for the military-terrorism-industrial complex. If such an approach takes hold in the minds of fearful citizens, there would be no stopping the architects of the War on Terror and no shortage of suspects to keep the whole thing rolling along.

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How to Debunk WTC Thermite

wtc_thermite_2The evidence for the presence of thermite at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11 is extensive and compelling. This evidence has accumulated to the point at which we can say that WTC thermite is no longer a hypothesis, it is a tested and proven theory. Therefore it is not easy to debunk it. But the way to do so is not difficult to understand.

To debunk the thermite theory, one must first understand the evidence for it and then show how all of that evidence is either mistaken or explained by other phenomena. Here are the top ten categories of evidence for thermite at the WTC.

  1. Molten metal: There are numerous photographs and eyewitness testimonies to the presence of molten metal at the WTC, both in the buildings and in the rubble. No legitimate explanation has been provided for this evidence other than the exothermic reaction of thermite, which generates the temperatures required and molten iron as a product.
  2. The fires at Ground Zero could not be put out for several months. Despite the application of millions of gallons of water to the pile, several rainfall events at the site, and the use of a chemical fire suppressant, the fires would not subside. Thermal images made by satellite showed that the temperatures in the pile were far above that expected in the debris from a typical structure fire. Only thermite, which contains its own oxidant and therefore cannot be extinguished by smothering it, can explain this evidence.
  3. Numerous eyewitnesses who were fleeing the area described the air mass as a hot wind filled with burning particles.[1] This evidence agrees with the presence of large quantities of thermite byproducts in the air, including hot metallic microspheres and still-reacting agglomerates of thermite.
  4. Numerous vehicles were scorched or set on fire in the area. Photographic evidence shows that cars parked within the lower-level garage areas of the WTC complex burned as if impacted by a super-hot wind like that described by the eyewitnesses. All non-metallic parts of the cars, including the plastic, rubber, and glass, were completely burned off by a hot blast.
  5. There was a distinct “white smoke” present—clearly different from smoke caused by a normal structural fire—as indicated by eyewitnesses and photographic evidence.[2] The second major product of the thermite reaction is aluminum oxide, which is emitted as a white solid shortly after reaction.
  6. Peer-reviewed, scientific research confirmed the presence of extremely high temperatures at the WTC. The high temperatures were evidenced by metallic and other microspheres, along with evaporated metals and silicates. These findings were confirmed by 9/11 investigators and by scientists at an independent company and at the United States Geologic Survey.
  7. The elemental composition of the metallic microspheres from the WTC dust matches that of metallic microspheres produced by the thermite reaction.
  8. The environmental data collected at Ground Zero in the months following 9/11 indicate that violent incendiary fires, like those produced by thermite, occurred on specific dates. Peer-reviewed scientific analysis of these data show that the components of thermite spiked to extraordinary levels on specific dates in both the air and aerosol emissions at Ground Zero.
  9. Carbon nanotubes have been found in the WTC dust and in the lungs of 9/11 first responders. Formation of carbon nanotubes requires extremely high temperatures, specific metal catalysts, and carbon compounds exactly like those found in nanothermite formulations. Researchers have discovered that nanothermite produces the same kinds of carbon nanotubes. That finding has been confirmed by independent analysis in a commercial contract laboratory.
  10. A peer-reviewed scientific publication has identified the presence of nanothermite in the WTC dust. One of the critical aspects of that paper has been confirmed by an independent scientist. A visual comparison between nanothermite residues and particles found in the WTC dust is remarkable.

There is also a great deal of indirect evidence for the thermite theory. This includes the attempts by NIST to downplay the evidence for thermite. It also includes things like a weak effort by Rupert Murdoch’s National Geographic Channel to discredit the ability of thermite to cut structural steel, which was itself roundly discredited by one independent investigator. It is now unquestionable that thermite can cut structural steel as needed for a demolition.

Therefore, debunking the WTC thermite theory is not easy but is very straightforward. Doing so simply requires addressing the evidence listed above point by point, and showing in each case how an alternative hypothesis can explain that evidence better. Given the scientific grounding of the thermite theory, use of the scientific method, including experiments and peer-reviewed publications, would be essential to any such debunking effort.

That is almost certainly why we have seen no such debunking. Instead, the people working to refute the WTC thermite theory have resorted to what might be called a case study in how NOT to respond to scientific evidence.

The failed thermite theory debunkers have produced:

  • Thousands of chat room comments and other posts yet not one peer-reviewed scientific article.
  • Alternate hypotheses that have little or no evidence to support them. For example, the mini-nuke hypothesis and the “Star Wars Beam” hypothesis.
  • Government scientists declaring that the evidence simply doesn’t exist.
  • Attempts to exaggerate the meaning of the evidence, for example by saying that thermite or nanothermite could not have caused all of the effects seen at the WTC.
  • Deceptive efforts to introduce the government contractors who created the official accounts as independent scientists.

The last of these methods has been the most popular. Trying to debunk the tenth piece of evidence for WTC thermite, NIST contractor James Millette produced an unreviewed paper that purports to replicate the finding of nanothermite in the WTC dust. This was apparently organized in the hope that doing so would discredit all of the evidence for thermite at the WTC.

Millette is well known for having helped create the official reports on the analysis of WTC dust. He was responsible for creating the form that was used to pre-screen all materials found in the dust prior to any analysis by official investigators. Those official reports did not mention any of the evidence listed above, in particular failing to report the abundant iron microspheres scattered throughout the WTC dust. Additionally, Millette’s official report team did not find any red-gray chips, let alone nanothermite.

As he worked to debunk the WTC thermite research, Millette was still unable to find any iron microspheres. But he did claim to have finally found the red-gray chips. Curiously, he did not attempt to replicate the testing that would determine if those chips were thermitic.

Claiming to have found the chips, Millette perfomed an XEDS analysis for elemental composition but failed to do any of the other tests including BSE, DSC, the flame test, the MEK test, or measurement of the chip resistivity. Having inexplicably “ashed” the chips at 400 °C in a muffle furnace, thereby proving that they were not the materials of interest (which ignite at 430 °C), Millette ignored the remainder of the study he had set out to replicate.  Because he did not do the DSC test, he could not do XEDS of the spheres formed from the chips. Since he had still not found spheres in the dust, he could not test those and this allowed him to ignore the testing of spheres from the thermite reaction.

ftir911Millette rested his case on FTIR, which I have also performed on chips from WTC dust but with a much different result. Like Millette’s paper, my FTIR work is not yet part of a peer-reviewed publication and therefore should not be taken as authoritative evidence. There has been less urgency to this supplemental work because what has been done to date has received no legitimate response from the government or from much of the scientific community. That sad fact should be the central point of discussion today.

In any case, Millette attempted only one tenth of the tests in his struggle to replicate (or refute) one tenth of the evidence for thermite at the WTC. His un-reviewed “one percent approach” was nonetheless very convincing to many people, including some of the people who produced the official reports for 9/11. But it is obvious to others that Millette’s work was not a replication in any sense of the word.

I’m looking forward to the peer-reviewed scientific article that finally does replicate the nanothermite paper or any of the other peer-reviewed scientific papers that document the evidence for thermite at the WTC. Hopefully, we can approach those efforts without concerns about the sources and without recalling all the deception and manipulation that preceded them.

Until then, it is important to recognize the difference between the superficial appearance of science and the actual practice of science. Ignoring 90 percent of the evidence is not scientific. And replication of the 10 percent means actually repeating the work. If thermite debunkers and alternate hypothesis supporters can find the courage and focus to step through that challenge, maybe they can begin to add to the discussion.


[1] Here are only a few examples of the hot wind:
“Then the dust cloud hits us. Then it got real hot. It felt like it was going to light up almost.” -Thomas Spinard, FDNY Engine 7
“A wave — a hot, solid, black wave of heat threw me down the block.” – David Handschuh, New York’s Daily News
“When I was running, some hot stuff went down by back, because I didn’t have time to put my coat back on, and I had some — well, I guess between first and second degree burns on my back.” -Marcel Claes, FDNY Firefighter
“And then we’re engulfed in the smoke, which was horrendous. One thing I remember, it was hot. The smoke was hot and that scared me” -Paramedic Manuel Delgado
“I remember making it into the tunnel and it was this incredible amount of wind, debris, heat….” -Brian Fitzpatrick FDNY Firefighter
“A huge, huge blast of hot wind gusting and smoke and dust and all kinds of debris hit me” -Firefighter Louis Giaconelli
“This super-hot wind blew and it just got dark as night and you couldn’t breathe” -Firefighter Todd Heaney

[2] For example, see Joel Meyerowitz, Aftermath: World Trade Center archive. Phaldon Publishing, London, p 178. See photograph of the event on 11/08/01 that shows a stunning and immediate change of cloud-like emissions from the pile, from dark smoke to white cloud.

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Noam Chomsky and the Willful Ignorance of 9/11

In response to a question at the University of Florida recently, Noam Chomsky claimed that there were only “a miniscule number of architects and engineers” who felt that the official account of WTC Building 7 should be treated with skepticism.  Chomsky followed-up by saying, “a tiny number—a couple of them—are perfectly serious.”

If signing your name and credentials to a public petition on the subject means being serious, then Noam Chomsky’s tiny number begins at 2,100, not counting scientists and other professionals. Why would Chomsky make such an obvious exaggeration when he has been presented with contradictory facts many times?

ChomskyI’ve personally had over thirty email exchanges with Chomsky. In those exchanges, he has agreed that it is “conceivable” that explosives might have been used at the WTC. But, he wrote, if that were the case it would have had to be Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden who had made it so.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how many professionals or intellectuals are willing to admit it. The facts remain that the U.S. government’s account for the destruction of the WTC on 9/11 is purely false.  There is no science behind the government’s explanation for WTC7 or for the Twin Towers and everyone, including the government, admits that WTC Building 7 experienced free fall on 9/11. There is no explanation for that other than the use of explosives.

The obviously bogus “tiny number” statement from Chomsky is only one of several such absurdities the man uttered in his lecture response. Here are a few of the others.

“[Scientists seeking the truth about 9/11] are not doing what scientists and engineers do when they think they’ve discovered something. What you do, when you think you have discovered something, is you write articles in scientific journals [he admits to “one or two minor articles”], give talks at the professional societies, and go to the Civil Engineering Department at MIT, or Florida or wherever you are, and present your results.”

I’ve copied Chomsky on more than two peer-reviewed scientific articles in mainstream journals that describe evidence for demolition at the WTC. Therefore he knows that this statement is not true. And I’ve given dozens of talks around the U.S. and Canada that focused on the WTC demolition theory, many of which were at universities.

I’ve also pointed out that MIT’s civil engineering professor Eduardo Kausel made elementary mistakes in his public comments about the WTC disaster. Kausel claimed in Scientific American that the WTC towers were “never designed for the the intense jet fuel fires—a key design omission.”  Kausel also claimed that jet fuel from the aircraft “softened or melted the structural elements—floor trusses and columns—so that they became like chewing gum.”  At the risk of making a Chomsky-like exaggeration, I’ll venture that nearly everyone today knows that these statements are false.

Chomsky went on in an attempt to belittle, and downplay the sacrifices of, people seeking the truth.

“There happen to be a lot of people around who spent an hour on the internet who think they know a lot of physics but it doesn’t work like that.”

“Anyone who has any record of, any familiarity, with political activism knows that this is one of the safest things you can do. It’s almost riskless. People take risks far beyond this constantly, including scientists and engineers. I could, have run through, and can run through many examples. Maybe people will laugh at you but that’s about it. It’s almost a riskless position.”

Chomsky knows that I was fired from my job as Site Manager at Underwriters Laboratories for publicly challenging the government’s investigation into the WTC tragedy.  He knows that many others have suffered similar responses as well, including Brigham Young University physicist Steven Jones and University of Copenhagen chemist Niels Harrit, who were forced into retirement for speaking out. And although everyone knows that researchers and universities today depend on billions of grant dollars from the government, Chomsky implies that such funding could never be impacted in any way by questioning of the government’s most sensitive political positions.

The “hour on the internet” nonsense is ludicrous, of course, and Chomsky knows it well. Jones and Harrit have better scientific credentials than some MIT professors and we have all spent many years studying the events of 9/11. I’ve spent over a decade, and have contributed to many books and scientific articles, on the subject.

Pandering to the hecklers in the crowd, Chomsky summarized his simplistic (public) position on the events of 9/11.

“However, there’s a much more deeper issue which has been brought up repeatedly and I have yet to hear a response to it. There is just overwhelming evidence that the Bush administration wasn’t involved—very elementary evidence. You don’t have to be a physicist to understand it, you just have to think for a minute. There’s a couple of facts which are uncontroversial:

#1—The Bush Administration desperately wanted to invade Iraq. (He goes on to say that there were good reasons, including that Iraq was “right in the middle if the world’s energy producing region.)

#2—They didn’t blame 9/11 on Iraqis, they blamed it on Saudis—that’s their major ally.

#3—Unless they’re total lunatics, they would have blamed it on Iraqis if they were involved in any way.” He continues to say that “there was no reason to invade Afghanistan” which “has been mostly a waste of time.”

Basically, these three “overwhelming” reasons boil down to one reason—Chomsky assumes that if the Bush Administration was involved it would have immediately blamed Iraq for 9/11. Of course, Bush Administration leaders did immediately blame Iraq for 9/11 and they did so repeatedly. That was one of the two original justifications given by the Bush Administration for invading Iraq.

Moreover, Chomsky most definitely received a response to his “deeper issue” when he received a copy of my new book Another Nineteen several months before his comments.  The book gives ample reasons—meaning actual overwhelming evidence—to suspect that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and nineteen of their colleagues were behind the 9/11 attacks. After writing that he was “glad to learn about the new book,” he sent his mailing address for a free copy. Chomsky acknowledged receiving the book in August and wrote to me that he was “pleased to have a copy of the book, and hope to be able to get to it before too long.”

Therefore, Chomsky has either ignored the response to his one major concern for several months or he knows that his concern is no longer valid. What would make him feign ignorance in such a way?  Perhaps it is the fact that he would lose a great deal of face if he were to finally admit that there is much more to the story of 9/11.

Regardless, when a tiny number begins at 2,100 and “just overwhelming evidence” to exonerate the Bush Administration boils down to one bad assumption, we are again reminded of the power that 9/11 holds. When presented with substantial evidence for complicity on the part of corporate and government leaders, the obvious becomes either undeniable or an emotional cue to dissemble.

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Jet Fuel Caused the Incendiary Explosions in The WTC Lobby?

Incendiary explosions in the lobby and in the basement levels accompanied the destruction of the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC). The evidence for these incendiary explosions is significant and includes numerous eyewitness testimonies and photographic evidence. The official, government investigation conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did not address these phenomena in any meaningful way and offered only a weak suggestion that is demonstrably false.

NIST admitted to the presence of an incendiary explosion at the concourse level and to the deaths and injuries caused by it, stating, a “fireball killed or injured several occupants in the Concourse Level lobby (NIST NCSTAR 1-7, p 73).” However, a scientific explanation was never provided. Instead, an untested hypothesis was given as fact.

“There are numerous media reports of building occupants being burned in the ground-floor lobby of WTC 1 following the aircraft impact. Numerous eyewitness accounts describe a large flash fire on the concourse floor lobby at the time of aircraft impact, that came from one or more of the elevator shafts that ran from the concourse floor of the tower past the floors where the aircraft impact took place. This observation suggests that sufficient burning liquid aviation fuel entered at least one of these elevator shafts to continue burning, while it fell roughly 1,175 feet. Even after falling this distance, sufficient unburned fuel was available to create the overpressure that opened the elevator shaft at the concourse level and forced additional unburned fuel into the lobby area, creating the extensive flash fire observed.” NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, p 80

It would have been easy to test this “jet fuel bolus” hypothesis but, as with the other features of the official account, no testing was done. That’s probably because the scientists at NIST knew that this hypothesis was very improbable to begin with.

The plane hit the center of the north face of WTC1 and all of the approximately 10,000 gallons of jet fuel was located in the wing tanks (i.e. none in the center tank according to NIST). There were 22 elevators that served the impact zone and only three of them ran all the way down to the concourse level. Given those initial conditions, a scientific approach must be used to determine what happened.

For the jet fuel bolus hypothesis to be even remotely reasonable, the following five challenges would have to be overcome.

1)  The jet fuel that was available to flow down and away via openings, after accounting for the external fireballs and impact zone fires, was estimated by FEMA to be about 3,500 gallons. And NIST stated that, “No evidence or analysis emerged that significantly altered the FEMA estimate” (NCSTAR 1-5F, p 56). The 3,500 gallons would need to flow evenly across the entire, acre-wide area of the impact floors.

2)  The impact damage would have had to fully open, and leave exposed, the 22 elevator shafts in the core area of the impact zone (or the 30+ in the WTC2 impact zone). The shafts that were most important would be for cars #6, #7, and #50, the express elevators traveling the entire distance from top to bottom. In WTC1, these were located at the opposite side of the core from the impact zone.

3)  We must assume that no more than a proportionate amount of jet fuel flowed into the express elevator shafts on the opposite side, after traveling through more than half of floor space of the tower. This would be one-22nd of the total available, or 159 gallons. There were also 12 in x 18 in telephone cable openings between floors, however, and holes in the floors made by the impacting aircraft, through which fuel would have been lost. A realistic maximum therefore might be 120 gallons in each shaft, assuming an equal amount of the spilling jet fuel made it all the way across to the express elevator side.

IMG_13044)  The jet fuel would have adhered to the surface of the elevator shaft as it traveled downward. The elevator shafts were lined with 2-inch thick gypsum planking and the low surface tension jet fuel would have wetted this thoroughly. An estimate of the surface area in an express shaft is 60,000 square feet. A quick experiment shows that gypsum board soaks up approximately 0.03 gallons of kerosene per square foot.  All the available jet fuel (120 gallons) would have been lost in this process before the jet fuel bolus reached the mid-point of its fall.

Therefore the jet fuel that was available to flow down and away from the floors of impact could not have reached the concourse level of the WTC towers.

5)  However, a lot of damage was attributed to this impossible jet fuel bolus. Eyewitnesses stated that there were intense elevator area fires in the lower half of the building. There were fires on the 40th floor, and the 22nd floor, and witnesses said that the elevator doors on the 22nd floor had been blown out from fires or explosions in the elevator shafts. Even if a highly disproportionate quantity of jet fuel from the aircraft had somehow caused these fires and the related damage, there certainly would not have have been any left to reach the lobby.

All of this ignores the questions of how unburned jet fuel could make its way around the elevator cabs in the shafts, how it could re-accumulate at the lower level, and how the supposed fuel/air mix could become optimum and then ignite. It also ignores how much jet fuel would be required to produce the explosive energy needed to destroy so much of the lobby, including the huge windows and the massive granite wall coverings, and kill people in that area.

The jet fuel bolus hypothesis also ignores the eyewitness testimonies of massive explosions within the lobby.

If NIST had done a minimal amount of physical testing to support its weak fuel bolus suggestion, the hypothesis would have been easily disproven. But that would have left people to wonder what actually did cause these incendiary fires and the ones in the basement levels. The answers to those questions would almost certainly add to the other, extensive evidence for the presence of energetic, incendiary materials at the WTC.

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