Monday, November 14, 2005

9/11 video shown on campus

Several of you asked if you could get some extra credit (1-5 points added to your midterm is what I have decided) for reporting on conspiracy-related events on campus. Here Melissa Boerema reviews a 9/11 conspiracy roadshow that came to Columbia last week. (I marked a classic bit of "negative subjunctive reasoning," on the part of the presenters, in bold type.) Others who saw this presentation can submit their own reviews and questions in the comments.
On November 9, 2005, the SIJAC organization presented two videos which were designed to present the truth about the tragedy of September 11th. The first video, which featured an engineer named Jeff King, focused on the structural features of the World Trade Center buildings and examined their falling patterns. When investigating the structure of the buildings, King found that each building had 47 hermetically sealed, core steel beams whose main purpose was to withstand building trauma. King states that even with extreme trauma, such as a plane hitting a building, that at least some of the 47 core steel beams should have been left standing. He goes on to state that only with the use of explosives, could the complete destruction of these beams occurred, as was the case on September 11th. Along with the complete destruction of the beams, King contends that explosives must have been used because of the smoke patterns, the complete disintegration of the concrete & office supplies, and the way the buildings collapsed onto themselves.

In the second video, author David Ray Griffen presented two theories of what may have occurred on September 11th. Griffen’s reasoning behind each of these conspiracy theories is based on the United States’ greed for foreign oil and the United States’ need to continue imperialism & world domination. The first theory that Griffen presents, argues that the federal government knew of the terrorist attacks beforehand and did nothing to prevent them. Griffen supports this theory, by presenting the statistic that half of New York Residents believe that the U.S. government knew of the attacks beforehand, the example of attorney David Schipper who contends that FBI agents told him of the attacks in advance, and the example of reporter William Grigg who interviewed FBI agents which supposedly confessed that they knew of the attacks beforehand. The second theory, which Griffen presented, stated that the United States government performed the September 11th attacks itself. He contends that the U.S. government showed its guilt by having all of the steel beams immediately melted down and by having all of the building remains, except for 200 pieces, destroyed to prevent investigation. Griffen also supports the second theory by examining the Pentagon attacks. When looking at the Pentagon attacks, Griffen argues that we were given three different stories about the military response to the attacks. Griffen also argues, that the Pentagon should not have been hit because it has a radar system, it has an anti-aircraft defense system which is designed to launch missiles at any unauthorized aircrafts, and it has Andrews military base located close by for protection. Lastly, Griffen upheld this second theory by questioning why the pilot would hit the renovated west wing, which contained no important political officials at the time.

When examining these September 11th conspiracy theories, I felt that King and Griffen’s ideas were clearly articulated but relied much too heavily on information provided by other conspiracy theorists. I also felt that they played too much on the listener’s emotions because they made you feel as though it was your duty to believe these theories and spread this information to others, so that tragedies like this would not occur again. I also thought that like the JFK conspiracy theories, these September 11th conspiracy theories were much too complex and required too much planning & time to be truthful.

Melissa Boerema