9/11: The Roots of Paranoia” by Christopher Hayes (Dec. 25) drew more mail than almost any Nation article in memory, except perhaps on the JFK assassination. Letters ran the gamut from the enraged (canceled subscriptions, charges of Nation stonewalling, anger at the use of the term “paranoia”) to the complimentary (“My thanks to Mr. Hayes for trying to chart a middle road between credulity and paranoia”). But almost all agree that we don’t know the whole story of what happened on September 11, 2001.

Laguna Hills, Calif.

Most 9/11 Truthers are like me: We don’t know what the heck happened, but we know the government is hiding something from us. We know they lie, and if we were to ask cui bono? the answer is obvious. The bottom line is that we want a real study. We need proof from this government, for it stepped outside our circle of trust long ago.


Sarasota, Fla.

As articles debunking the various 9/11 truth movements go, Christopher Hayes’s was refreshingly devoid of the snarky condescension that typifies such pieces. It nevertheless gravitated to the most extreme claims, such as those in the video Loose Change, while strategically ignoring the trenchant and as yet unanswered questions propounded by others whose credibility is not so easily impugned.

I invite Nation readers to view to the inquiries by the Family Steering Committee, formed by the “Jersey Girls,” whose loved ones died that day and without whose heroic efforts there never would have been a 9/11 Commission. A compendium of Unanswered Questions appears on their website: www.911independentcommission.org. And for anyone who wonders just how dissatisfied, no, angry they have become about the whitewash that was performed by that commission, there is an excellent DVD about these remarkable women titled 9/11 Press for Truth.



I am an airline pilot, retired after years of flying heavy jets on international routes. During my training I reviewed reports and photographs of thousands of aircraft accidents. I watched live news footage from the Pentagon on 9/11. I recognized immediately that what I saw could not possibly have been an aircraft crash scene.

Where did the energy of 200 tons of mass striking that building go? The roof fell downward when it should have been blown into the next state. It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out what any high school physics student could. Nor does it take an airline pilot like myself to notice the minimal damage, lack of aircraft parts, bodies, cargo, baggage, etc. that should be spread out in a 360-degree pattern.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this scene is the U-shaped burn pattern, viewed from above, that extends through all five Pentagon segments and has two 90-degree turns. As a Vietnam Special Forces vet I’d suggest the possibility of faulty explosives that fizzled and burned rather than exploding.


Eugene, Ore.

On 9/11, I was a senior pilot for a major airline. Prior to that time, I spent six years as a captain on the B-767/757. I watched the second airplane hit the World Trade Center on television. All my instincts told me something was wrong with the official explanation. I still read everything I can find about the events of that day in an attempt to find some truth that satisfies my misgivings. I have found many authors who seem legitimate and who raise questions that need to be answered. Others are so outlandish as to appear to be spreading disinformation. Until there is a very open investigation with the world as its witness, nothing will be resolved. The implications of 9/11 are huge. As it is, our society may never recover from all the lies and disinformation and structural changes to our governance that have been made in its name.


Putnam Valley, NY

Christopher Hayes’s point that the antidote to the Truth Movement is “a press that refuses to allow the government to continue to lie” is valid. However the March 2005 Popular Mechanics article cited by Hayes to debunk the most prevalent conspiracy theories has itself been debunked. I refer readers to the following websites:


Ann Arbor, Mich.

As a boy growing up in New York City, I observed the Twin Towers being constructed from my perch on Staten Island. A bank of steel support columns in the center held it all up. The architects anticipated that aircraft could accidentally strike the buildings, so they built them to withstand a hit from a Boeing 707. I am incredulous that those buildings collapsed, and the explanations I have seen do not convince me, including those in Popular Mechanics. The fact is that no steel frame skyscrapers on fire have collapsed before or since the collapse of the WTC buildings. Please join the demand for a real investigation into 911.


Oregon, Wisc.

As the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, I read “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia” with great interest. Its author cites a few of the questions that have troubled students of 9/11, but neglects most of the answers that we have established based upon objective, scientific investigation. In the name of fair play, here is a summary of our findings, substantiation for which may be found at our website, www.st911.org.

One preliminary point. If belief in conspiracies is enough to qualify one as “paranoid,” then our highest government officials should be escorted to homes for the mentally bewildered, since they had been propounding a conspiracy theory even prior to investigation. Consider:

The impact of the planes cannot have caused enough damage to bring the buildings down, since the buildings were designed to withstand them (as Frank DeMartini, the project manager, observed), the planes that hit were similar to those they were designed to withstand, and the buildings continued to stand after those impacts with negligible effects.

The melting point of steel at 2,800 degrees F is about 1,000 degrees higher than the maximum burning temperature of jet-fuel-based fires, which do not exceed 1,800 degrees under optimal conditions, so the fires cannot have caused the steel to melt, which means that melting steel did not bring the buildings down.

UL certified the steel in the buildings up to 2,000 degrees F for three or four hours before it would significantly weaken, whereas these fires burned too low and too briefly at an average temperature of around 500 degrees–about one hour in the South Tower and one and a half in the North–to have even caused the steel to weaken, much less melt.

If the steel had melted or weakened, the affected floors would have displayed completely different behavior, with some asymmetrical sagging and tilting, which would have been gradual and slow, not the complete, abrupt and total demolition that was observed.

William Rodriguez, the senior custodian in the North Tower and the last man to leave the building, has reported massive explosions in the sub-basements that effected extensive destruction, including the demolition of a fifty-ton hydraulic press and the ripping of the skin off a fellow worker, a report corroborated by the testimony of many other custodians.

Rodriguez has reported that the explosion occurred prior to the airplane’s impact, a claim that has now been substantiated in a new study by Craig Furlong and Gordon Ross, “Seismic Proof: 9/11 Was an Inside Job,” which demonstrates that these explosions actually took place as much as fourteen and seventeen seconds prior to the airplanes’ impacts.

Heavy-steel-construction buildings like the Twin Towers are not generally capable of “pancake collapse,” which normally occurs only with concrete structures of “lift slab” construction and could not occur in redundant welded-steel buildings, such as the towers, unless every supporting column were removed at the same time, as Charles Pegelow has pointed out to me.

The destruction of the South Tower in about ten seconds and of the North Tower in nine is even faster than free fall with only air resistance, which would have taken at least twelve seconds, which, as Judy Wood has emphasized, is an astounding result that would have been impossible without extremely powerful explosives.

The towers are exploding from the top, not collapsing to the ground, where their floors do not move, a phenomenon that Wood has likened to two gigantic trees turning to sawdust from the top down, which, like the pulverization of the concrete, the official account cannot possibly explain.

Pools of molten metal were found at the subbasement levels three, four and five weeks later, an effect that could not have been produced by the plane-impact/jet-fuel-fire/pancake collapse scenario, which, of course, implies that it was not produced by such a cause.

WTC-7 came down in a classic controlled demolition at 5:20 pm after Larry Silverstein suggested the best thing to do might be to “pull it,” displaying all the characteristics of classic controlled demolitions: a complete, abrupt and total collapse into its own footprint, where the floors are all falling at the same time, and so forth, an event so embarrassing to the official account that it is not even mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report.

The hit point at the Pentagon was too small to accommodate a 100-ton airliner with a 125-foot wingspan and a tail that stands forty-four feet above the ground; the debris was wrong for a Boeing 757: no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage, no tail! Which means the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

The Pentagon’s own videotape does not show a Boeing 757 hitting the building, as even Bill O’Reilly admitted when it was shown on The O’Reilly Factor; at 155 feet, the plane was more than twice as long as the seventy-one-foot Pentagon is high and should have been present and visible; it was not, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

The aerodynamics of flight would have made the official trajectory–flying at high speed barely above ground level–physically impossible; and if it had come in at an angle instead, it would have created a massive crater; but there is no crater and the government has no way out, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

If Flight 93 had come down as advertised, there should have been a debris field about the size of a city block, but the debris is distributed over an area of about eight square miles, which would be explainable if the plane had been shot down in the air but not if it had crashed, as required by the government’s official scenario.

There is more, especially about the alleged hijackers, including that they were not competent to fly the planes and their names were not on any passenger manifest. Several have turned up alive and well and living in the Middle East. The government has not even produced their tickets as evidence that they actually could have boarded the aircraft they are alleged to have hijacked. Did Osama call from a cave in Afghanistan and charge them to his MasterCard?

President Bush recently acknowledged that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The Senate Intelligence Committee has reported that Saddam was not in cahoots with Al Qaeda. And the FBI has acknowledged that it has “no hard evidence” to tie Osama to 9/11. If Saddam did not do it and Osama did not do it, then who is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans that day? We believe the nation is entitled to the truth.



Re Alexander Cockburn’s January 22 “Beat the Devil” column: The 1976 Republican National Convention was indeed held in Kansas City, but it was Kansas City, Missouri, not across the river in Kansas City, Kansas.

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