What is the Goal in the 9/11 Truth Community? Debates, or Justice?

Steven E. Jones
December 22, 2006 (updated Jan. 9, 2007)

Consider this statement made a few weeks ago by Dr. Frank Legge, Kevin Ryan, Victoria Ashley and other (previous) members of Scholars for 9/11 Truth:

"Further, on the Scholars' web site, positions are being promoted which are disputed by the scientists specializing in physical sciences from Scholars For 9/11 Truth. Attempts to correct this situation have failed. As of this date the web site continues to promote assertions which are unsupported by the evidence (ray-beams from space caused the demolitions, mini-nukes were used in the WTC towers, real commercial jets did not hit the WTC towers, etc.). We feel that the promotion of these ideas functions to distract from and discredit much of the other basic strong material challenging the official story of 9/11 which already exists - the stand down, the war games, the insider trading, the many strong points of evidence on the demolitions, etc."

How do we determine if ray-beams from space or mini-nuclear bombs were responsible for bringing down the WTC Towers? How do we know whether jets actually hit the Towers?

While it is admittedly exciting to come up with fascinating new theories about 9/11, if we wish to bring the perpetrators of the horrific 9/11 crimes to justice, we have to exert discretion and discipline by ferreting out those ideas repudiated by the physical evidence. We should consider these ideas, yes, but we do not need to endlessly debate all such issues. We can move on and focus on the solid forensic evidence which lends a hope of attracting the involvement of a criminal prosecutor and of holding up in court or before Congress.

As scientists, we look at the evidence, perform experiments, and apply the Scientific Method. The Greek method was to look at the evidence (superficially) and then try to explain things through logic and debate. The Greeks came up with various ideas in this way -- such as the geocentric theory in which the Earth was at the center of the universe, and all the stars and planets revolved around the earth. There were problems with this geocentric explanation, but Plato insisted that they must "save the hypothesis," and plausible explanations were found to account for anomalies -- I such as the retrograde motion of Mars. The philosophical debates and discussions were seemingly endless; the Dark Ages ensued.

Along came Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and others with their experiments and observations, and the centuries-old Greek philosophy-based notions began to crumble. Galileo observed through a telescope that Jupiter had moons -- which revolved around Jupiter (not the Earth). He was threatened with torture if he did not recant his explanation (that the Earth was not at the center). He suffered house arrest but not torture as he quietly continued his experiments.

In the lifetime of Newton, another experimenter who challenged the Greek approach, the scientific community worked out a system whereby scientific studies would be published after review by peers -- qualified experts who could judge the quality of the research. Peer-reviewed technical journals arose and the peer-review process brought order to the relative chaos of work up to that time. Now experiments could be done and written up, then peer-reviewed and published. Peer-reviewed papers would draw the attention of others. To give an example of using the modern scientific method, a few colleagues and I are doing experiments and making observations in a scientific approach to what really happened at the World Trade Center. It is NOT merely a plausible explanation or debates about "possibilities" that we seek. Rather, having seen strong indications of foul play (see journalof911studies.org/Intersecting_facts_and_Theories_on_911.pdf ) we are looking for hard evidence that would clearly verify an intentional crime beyond that of 19 hijackers. Ours is a forensic investigation, looking for a "smoking gun," which would then lead to a serious criminal investigation.

I do not plan to make a career out of 9/11 research, and I am not making money from my investigations anyway. We need a formal, solid investigation of the 9/11 crimes committed, not a long-term study which endlessly debates all alternatives. I seek such solid evidence of an insider crime (beyond a reasonable doubt) that some of us will successfully demand a criminal investigation to confront key individuals who may have insider information -- within one year, if possible-- not many.

So what evidence is likely to lead to such a criminal investigation?

As identified in my talk at the University of California at Berkeley, there are four areas of 9/11 research that are so compelling that they may quickly lead to the goal of a solid investigation of 9/11 as an un-solved crime scene. These four areas are:

  1. Fall time for WTC 7.
  2. Fall times for the Towers.
  3. Challenging the NIST report and Fact Sheet.
  4. Evidence for use of Thermate reactions: What the WTC dust and solidified metal reveal.

There are other lines that may compel a criminal investigation even before one of the above "hard science" research lines bears fruit:

  1. Whistleblower statements -- including some individuals yet to emerge.
  2. Who made the stock-market "put-option" trades on American and United Air Lines in the week before 9/11, indicating clear foreknowledge of the attacks coupled with greed?
  3. The fact that the WTC dust was declared quite safe by the EPA/National Security Council when in fact scientists had proven it to be toxic, and the many people now clamoring for justice after being hurt and misled.
  4. Calls for impeachment for war issues, e.g., from a state legislature or Congress, which scrutinizes the "Bush Doctrine," then opens the 9/11 question.
  5. Pressure from 9/11 Family members, firemen and others for answers.
  6. Direct appeals to Senators and Congresspersons -- who are charged with an oversight role. I initiated a Petition to this effect, demanding release of government-held information related to 9/11, which has since been signed by over 10,000 people. And I am in contact now with the Congressman from my state, seeking information and remedy.

We have found evidence for thermates in the molten metal seen pouring from the South Tower minutes before its collapse, in the sulfidation and high-temperature corrosion of WTC steel, and in the residues found in the WTC dust. (Our sample originated from an apartment at 113 Cedar Street across from the WTC; chain of custody direct from the collector J. MacKinlay to Dr. Steven Jones). Many other details are given in the peer-reviewed paper here: journalof911studies.org/volume/200609/ WhyIndeedDidtheWorldTradeCenterBuildingsCompletelyCollapse.pdf . Other cutter-charges such as HMX and RDX may have also been used; but again, solid evidence for just one type of incendiary or explosive would be sufficient to compel a criminal investigation.

Experiments continue, as shown in the photos below, and the results are consistent with thermate having been used in on 9/11/2001. We have a series of experiments planned, along with analyses. This research takes time.

Above: In a fraction of a second, thermate cuts horizontally through a steel cup. Notice the high-temperature corrosion which occurred.

Right: 1999: "Invention offers a thermite based apparatus and method for cutting target material [eg, steel] of a substantial thickness ... linear.. cutting action ..." A prototype has been used to cut through a steel I-beam.

Below: Proof of Concept. The photograph below shows the one-hole proto-type device I built to produce a thermate-jet. Thermate is the red powder in the steel base. The prototype worked well, and the thermate-jet cut through a piece of structural steel in a fraction of a second.

My colleagues and I are pursuing the thermate data as strong evidence for foul-play, and I encourage researchers to pursue all worthwhile areas of inquiry. One person can hardly pursue every line of inquiry, but I'm confident that one of these lines (above) will bear fruit in getting us to a serious, evidence-based investigation that leaves no stone unturned.

In contrast the theory that no planes hit the towers does not stand up to scrutiny, as published in a peer-reviewed paper by Eric Salter, here: http://www.journalof911studies.org/volume/200610/Salter.pdf . Salter shows that evidence for real planes hitting the Towers is compelling.

Papers regarding the following notions have been or are being prepared for the new Letters section of the Journal of 9/11 Studies: Mini-nukes exploding in the Towers on 9/11; Ray-beams used to bring the Towers down; comments/questions regarding papers by Reynolds and Wood. I anticipate and welcome questions regarding my published papers also. The editors of the Journal of 9/11 Studies invite questions and answers in the Letters section, as a means to bring the debate to a civilized, scientific forum. In Newton's day, there were various verbal attacks and debates among scientists, including attacks against Newton by Gottfried Leibniz and Robert Hooke. Considerable order was brought to the scientific community by requiring that articles and letters be published in peer-reviewed journals, so that the world would have a public record of the debates. This procedure also encouraged careful thought and respectful questioning and responding, and the use of scientific venues continues today. If questions are brought to me in this spirit of collegiality in this publication or another peer-reviewed Journal, I will be most happy to respond. Again, endless debates of a verbal or on-line-equivalent nature are not appropriate scientific venues and I do not intend to participate in those.

The editors of the Journal of 9/11 Studies will allow response Letters to be published in the Journal without formal peer-review, on a trial basis, to encourage public publication of various views. The requirements for publication will be: relevance, respectful civility, posing specific questions, answering all questions existing in the relevant Letter before posing new ones, and avoiding "straw-man" and ad hominem arguments. The scientific method (including publishing in Journals) includes evidence-based challenges to hypotheses, and rejection of hypotheses which fail to conform to the empirical data. Without this, we might still be debating whether the earth was flat, or at the center of the universe!

I have been asked, regarding the thermite-in-WTC hypothesis in my paper, "Exactly where did it need to be placed? ... How thick would it have to be against various steel columns, beams, concrete, etc.? How many hours of labor would it take to cover every surface of the building, carefully avoiding detection by WTC office workers? Exactly who placed all the alleged thermite there? Please give us their names, ages, and social security numbers for validation." (M. Reynolds and J. Wood, "The Scientific Method Applied to the Thermite Hypothesis," Dec. 2006)

Clearly, the answers to most of these questions will require a criminal investigation and cannot be determined from scientific analysis of the physical evidence. We cannot realistically be expected to answer all the "whodunit" and "exactly where" questions before a criminal investigation and trial begin! But that does not mean that scientific analysis is unimportant. For example, although various cutter-charges could have been used, if we can once establish that thermate-class residues are found in the WTC rubble and dust, then a criminal investigation will indeed be necessitated -- to determine who was responsible. Do you see the difference in focus, from unrealistically requiring all the answers up front, to seeking sufficient evidence to motivate a criminal investigation and trial to get at more answers? The NFPA 921Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations states:

  • "Unusual residues might remain from the initial fuel. Those residues could arise from thermite, magnesium, or other pyrotechnic materials."
  • This is standard for fire and explosion investigations -- Why was the standard not applied to the WTC "crime scene"? I'm saying it should be. And as with other crime-scene investigations, once a pyrotechnic material's presence has been established, then the next step is a criminal investigation to determine who planted the pyrotechnic (such as thermate). It is not correct that I as a scientist in the laboratory have to answer the questions of names, ages, social security numbers, etc. anymore than an arson investigator, once he has demonstrated that accelerant residues were present so that a crime has been established, must himself provide the names and addresses of the arsonists who committed the crime. The identities will emerge from the criminal investigation that follows.

I encourage all serious researchers to join now the research effort to pin down hard evidences and work towards a criminal investigation -- perhaps by a Congressional committee, perhaps by a special prosecutor. Whatever body conducts the investigation, they will need hard evidences AND public support.

In conclusion, it is proposed that we:

  1. Get very solid evidence that a crime was committed -- focusing on the best evidence, enough to "prove" the case.
  2. Then, use that evidence to demand and support an investigation;
  3. Get as much public support as possible to help encourage the investigation;
  4. Have a goal of organizing such an investigation in 2007.

Anything that takes resources or distracts from these goals should be ignored.

So, we have some action items:

  1. Continue good scientific research;
  2. Work on getting the right contacts for starting an investigation;
  3. Continue to inform the public. Keep that information campaign to the most convincing ideas and NOT muddy the waters with exotic theories. These can, however, be discussed via published Letters as explained above, so that we can sort out the wheat from the chaff scientifically.

Let's roll up our sleeves and focus, all of us who agree that the goal is to GET A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION rather than engaging in endless debates.

It is time to unite and seek an end to the 9/11 wars by bringing out the truth of what happened on 9/11. We seek truth, justice -- and peace.

Acknowledgments: Thanks for valuable input from Frank Legge, Shaun Taulbee, Victoria Ashley, Carl Weis, and Lon Waters.