Saturday, January 28, 2006

BYU Professor Heads A 9/11 Conspiracy Group

Today's Deseret News reports on a groupd headed by BYU Physics professor, Steven E. Jones that gives me some pause. According to the News:

Last fall, Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones made headlines when he charged that the World Trade Center collapsed because of "pre-positioned explosives." Now, along with a group that calls itself "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," he's upping the ante.

"We believe that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11," the group says in a statement released Friday announcing its formation. "We believe these events may have been orchestrated by the administration in order to manipulate the American people into supporting policies at home and abroad.

Headed by Jones and Jim Fetzer, University of Minnesota Duluth distinguished McKnight professor of philosophy, the group is made up of 50 academicians and others.
I'm not much of a conspiracy believer. I've always felt the Kennedy conspiracy theorists were on the fringe of reality. So, to have a BYU professor such an intregal part of a group that thinks the United States Government played a major role in the events of 9/11 is troubling to me. Some of the group's contentions include:

• Members of the Bush administration knew in advance that the 9/11 attacks would happen but did nothing to stop them.

• No Air Force or Air National Guard jets were sent to "scramble" the hijacked planes, which were clearly deviating from their flight plans, although jet fighters had been deployed for scramblings 67 times in the year prior to 9/11. The procedure for issuing orders for scrambling was changed in June 2001, requiring that approval could only come from the Secretary of Defense, but Donald Rumsfeld was not alerted soon enough on 9/11, according to Scholars group.

• The video of Osama bin Laden found by American troops in Afghanistan in December 2001, in which bin Laden says he orchestrated the attacks, is not bin Laden. The Scholars for 9/11 Truth compared the video with a photo of the "real" bin Laden and argue that there are discrepancies in the ratio of nose-length to nose-width, as well as distance from tip-of-nose to ear lobe.

The Scholars group hopes that media outlets around the world will ask experts in their areas to examine the group's findings and assertions. If this were done, they argue, "one of the great hoaxes of history would stand naked before the eyes of the world."

The group also asks for an investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, following up on points made in Jones's paper, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" That paper, recently updated, has been posted on Jones's BYU Web site since last November.

Jones argues that the WTC buildings did not collapse due to impact or fires caused by the jets hitting the towers but collapsed as a result of pre-positioned "cutter charges." Proof, he says, includes:

• Molten metal was found in the subbasements of WTC sites weeks after 9/11; the melting point of structural steel is 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature of jet fuel does not exceed 1,800 degrees. Molten metal was also found in the building known as WTC7, although no plane had struck it. Jones's paper also includes a photo of a slag of the metal being extracted from ground zero. The slag, Jones argues, could not be aluminum from the planes because in photographs the metal was salmon-to-yellow-hot temperature (approximately 1,550 to 1,900 degrees F) "well above the melting temperatures of lead and aluminum," which would be a liquid at that temperature.

• Building WTC7 collapsed in 6.6 seconds, which means, Jones says, that the steel and concrete support had to be simply knocked out of the way. "Explosive demolitions are like that," he said. "It doesn't fit the model of the fire-induced pancake collapse."

• No steel-frame, high-rise buildings have ever before or since been brought down due to fires. Temperatures due to fire don't get hot enough for buildings to collapse, he says.

• Jones points to a recent article in the journal New Civil Engineering that says WTC disaster investigators at NIST (the National Institutes of Standards and Technology) "are refusing to show computer visualizations of the collapse of the Twin Towers despite calls from leading structural and fire engineers."

Some of these statements border on the radical, from a lay person's perspective. For me the most difficult is the claim the buildings were actually brought down by pre-positioned explosives, implying some elements of the government knew about 9/11 before the fact, allowed it to happen, or even exacerbated its outcome.

That said, the group is comprised of some pretty impressive scholars, including one BYU professor, an instructor, and others educated at BYU:

Headed by Jones and Jim Fetzer, University of Minnesota Duluth distinguished McKnight professor of philosophy, the group is made up of 50 academicians and others.

They include Robert M. Bowman, former director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program, and Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the Department of Labor in President George W. Bush's first term. Most of the members are less well-known.

The group is called Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Their website is here. The qualifications of the scholars reflect some pretty educated folks. Still I have a very difficult time believing some of their contentions. And, troubling for me is the involvment of a well educated BYU professor, which brings a Church tie whether meant or not.

It will be interesting to follow their progress.

9 Comments:

Blogger Harlan Felt said...

Guy:
The WTC video clips show the upper floors fell as fast as the free falling debris. So in elementary terms, the structures below the affected floors offered no more resistance than air resistance on the debris. Its like the first 90 floors suddenly disintegrated as if on a signal. Quite a trick for Osama, (and from a cave?). The official nonsense about pancaking floors, melting beams etc makes absolutely no sense to me or the professors. This story wont go away until the truth finally shakes out. My hat goes off to Professor Jones et. al.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Harlan,

Nice to hear from you. You and the professor may be right. As a lay person I certainly have no background that would enable me to hold any informed opinion on this conspiracy theory. My concern is whether it's as wacky as the idea the CIA or some other conspiracy killed President Kennedy. Since a BYU professor is in a leading role, if it is a bunch of wackos then the Church tie in is unfortunate. I'm not suggesting they are a bunch of wackos. In fact, some of the full time members are way more educated than I am, and certainly more informed on the physics and engineering principles involved. You also are much more knowlegable about the engineering than I ever will be.

I'm going to check back on their website from time to time to see what is "shaking" so to speak. Thanks for the comment--it does give one pause. So, do you agree with all the points of contention as outlined in my post that are attributable to this group?

Sunday, January 29, 2006 6:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guy,

You seriously think Oswald acted alone? Have you investigated this at all? There's NO WAY he acted alone. I recommend reading "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs. He details all the problems with the investigation and all of the "coincidences" that happened surrounding the events that day.

I also applaud Prof. Jones and the rest of these men. I'm not sure what happened, but I don't like the answers we've been given, and there have always been things about 9/11 that have troubled me. For instance, how can these guys fly these planes into targets hundreds of miles away with only minimal training. I could be wrong, but it can't be that easy to fly a plane, can it?

Tim Jacob

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Tim: I think the Warren Commission has more credibility than Oliver Stone. I don't know for sure who killed Kennedy, or who all might be involved. I do know there are a host of lone nuts out there who "make reason stare."

My points are these:

1. I don't know for certain what happened on 9/11, other than the official version.

2. It's difficult to conceive of a government consparicy as large as the one described by Prof. Jones' group.

3. I hope the Church is not tainted by any "lone" nut publicity if in fact that is what this group turns out to be.

I don't have the physics or engineering training to express a very knowledgable opinion on the mechanics of the twin towers fall. I'm open to hear what others, including Prof. Jones has to say.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 1:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Naiah Earhart said...

I believe that the BYU physics dept at least, and a couple others as well, if I'm not mistaken, have issued public statements (viewable on their websites)that distance them from Jones's theories. I don't have time just now to dig it up, but I saw a post about it a while back...somewhere in the bloggernacle...

Monday, January 30, 2006 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

naiah: Thanks for this update. I'll see if I can find such a disclaimer. I'd certainly be interested to see it if it exists.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 4:55:00 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

Yes, BYU has not embraced Bro Jones' assertations. They think he's a nutjob and are probably sorry they ever hired him. However, when you actually read his, and his colleagues, findings it does make sense. I think there is a lot more to their theories than the layman may want to know. I think we have a tendancy to call these types of people kiiks because of our fear that they might actually be correct.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This needs investigation.

Serious investigation.

You know, if you google Marvin Bush and WTC, you will learn something very very very very disturbing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google Marvin Bush + WTC.

Very very very very disturbing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:30:00 PM  

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