Over the weekend i watched a 9/11 conspiracy video called “9/11 Revisited: Scientific and Ethical Questions”, which was a presentation given by former BYU Professor Steven E. Jones on February 1, 2006 at Utah State Valley College (sponsored by The Center for the Study of Ethics).
As much as you’d think i love conspiracies … well, i do … but i don’t always go along with them. I don’t believe the “grassy knoll” bit, i don’t believe the “9/11 was an inside job” bit, etc. I do, however, believe in giving an equal chunk of my ear and consideration to alternate viewpoints, so I watched the DVD with my wife and took notes.
Professor Jones was a physicist, and the first portion of his presentation was scientific and provided a lot of specific data that called into question the fall of the World Trade Center buildings, specifically that of WTC 7, which was not hit by a plane. All other fluff aside … just looking at the scientific evidence and numerous video of buildings that had fallen over (earthquake), those purposefully demolished, and those that burned, it is actually a far stretch to suggest they imploded, falling pretty much in place, solely as a result of the planes hitting them. This isn’t saying – nor does he say – that this indicates that the jets didn’t really hit, or that the entire thing was orchestrated by our own government (that “inside job” bit). It is simply saying the odds and the science are greatly stacked against the entire collapse being the result of the impact and subsequent fire in each of the two buildings.
After watching video of WTC 7 – the smaller skyscraper that was not hit by a jet – falling, my first reaction was “i need to find out what was in that building, because it looks like a controlled demolition and was probably used to destroy something important that could have been discovered in the chaos and destruction of the other two towers”. This was probably due to our recent X-files marathon … but it was really the first thing that crossed my mind. Lo and behold … ten minutes later he reveals that WTC 7 was a CIA/FBI and DoD building. Makes sense, and when we consider no one died in that building and the public wasn’t injured (as far as we know) in its destruction, i almost want to say “who cares, then?” It’s probably one of those “government cover-ups” that is good for the country.
Halfway into his presentation, however, i began to see signs of strong bias. I don’t recall whether it started at the off-hand remark about “Fox News” or just before, but as Prof. Jones deviated from his area of expertise, he began relying more and more on 3rd-hand script and agenda. He’d laid the groundwork for “something else” being involved in the destruction of the buildings, and used that to begin inserting the seeds of conspiracy. First, FEMA was in town for a training exercise (on Bio-Terror) scheduled for 9/12. They were stationed down the street from the WTC’s. Then there was this military budget thing going on with Rumsfeld, and this cancellation of a pentagon flight. Someone also said that WTC2 had a 36-hour “power down” issue oveer the weekend of 9/8-9/9, and there had been numerous evacuation drills in the weeks prior.
This is all good and great, and supports the idea that someone may have suspected the WTC buildings would be a target, and that we needed to be as prepared as possible. The WTC buildings were, afterall, the scene of a prior terrorist bombing only a few years before. given the intelligence that was reported shortly afterward … the whole Mohammed Atta thing … including the “match is about to begin” intercept, it’s likely they had a rough estimate of the time of a possible attack. It does not, however, support the idea that some sinister group of individuals in our government planned and carried out the attacks.
[another theory] If they did suspect an attack, and for some reason suspected a bio-terror attack on the WTC, suddenly – especially in the interest of public safety – having FEMA bioterrorism “drills” scheduled got equipment into the area (without frightening the public OR alerting the terrorists), and planting intense-heat thermite explosives in the buildings ahead of time (should the buildings need to be burned to the ground with intense heat, since decontamination of two of the largest buildings in the country may have been difficult, if not impossible) … when planes hit, instead of some sort of bio-agent, perhaps the decision was made to use the explosives to cause a controlled fall of the towers rather than allow the possibility (no matter how miniscule) of the buildings toppling over uncontrolled, causing more damage. Maybe the smaller fires generated by the impact actually triggered the pre-existing explosives … i mean … there’s a reason you don’t store flammables near an open flame, right?
but leaping to this idea that Bush/Cheney orchestrated this attack on our nation’s own soil, with our own people as the victims requires an unwavering belief that the government is completely corrupt – corrupt enough to cause great harm to itself to reach an end goal of … what? Still, many people are more willing to go on this kind of dark faith rather than use common sense … so Jones continues …
He first builds his case against rational thought and trust of the government by displaying some of the more ignorant comments by a handful of his students (unless we are to believe he only has ten students). He selects those which represent the ideal liberal stereotype of a ‘neo-conservative’, and then begins seeding the presentation with trigger words (‘neo-con’, ‘conservative’, ‘fox news’). Playing up his affiliation with BYU, he abuses a quote by Joseph Smith to imply some sort of docrtinal basis for his attack on elected officials.
Jones then begins to quote alleged documents “proving” Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/others had discussed “another Pearl Harbor” ahead of time. Making the best of circumstantial evidence, since this attack was another “Pearl Harbor” to the younder generation, Jones makes the simple and obvious jump that because that phrase (may have been) used in a prior document, when Bush calls the attacks “a new Pearl Harbor” he is is making the solid bridge between the discussion of attacks and these particular attacks being carried out, and that bridge “can only be” Bush’s involvement in the attacks.
I wanted to throw my shoe at the television as this was happening, but i didn’t.
Next up, he shows quotes of what Bin Laden said immediately following the attacks on 9/11. Specifically, Jones quotes the following:
“I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam.”
Shocking! What? We were told Bin Laden admitted he did it! Actually, we were initially denied the video of bin laden because the government feared some coded messages were in it.
Jones then rushes into the video of “bin Laden” that looks nothing like him, and tosses out a couple other denials by bin laden and then the ‘admissions’ on the video.
seems like a pretty clear picture, now, doesn’t it? bin laden peacefully denied being behind the attacks, and then ‘we’ must have fabricated a video of him claiming to be behind it.
true to liberal propagandaic form, we were dropped a couple bytes and rushed through to other things before our thought process could identify any errors or ask any clarifying questions.
Had he been giving a fair and unbiased speech, we would have learned that Bin Laden’s very next sentence attempts to implicate Israel (Islams other enemies – Jews!), and throughout the remainder of his speech, he stops very short of rallying Islamic radicals, and instead lays blame for the attacks on other countries who “also refuse to be slaves of the USA”, and pridefully exclaims that, according to his sources, “the death toll is much higher than American officials are claiming.”
Does that sound like a guy who doesn’t consider the killing of “innocent women, children and other humans an appreciable act”? No. It sounds like a guy trying to manipulate what is going on to his advantage, deflecting the blame toward his other enemies and rivals, and using gang-psychology (there’s a lot of other guys that don’t like you too, and look – they are mostly countries sympathetic to my cause!)
Jones ends the presentation attacking Bush for not jumping up, frantic, when told that “America is under attack” …
I was disgusted at how the Center for the Study of Ethics and whoever else made the DVD played up his affiliation with BYU. The announcer at the beginning even stated their reason for drawing so much attention to Professor Jones’ affiliation: the (assumed) credibility of Jones as a ‘conservative’ made his anti-Bush presentation seem more valid.
Based on the things Jones said, I doubt he was as “conservative” as they tried to make him out to be. Though he twice mentions his respect for Reagan, shortly after this presentation was filmed, Jones’ presentation had further devolved into a more anti-Bush weighted rantfest, culminating in his push for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. While I agree in the founder’s concern that we have the right to free speech, I am also not in the least bit surprised that Jones was dismissed by BYU (or ‘retired while under paid leave’) for his inflammatory accusations against the President of the United States (at the time), for not following the normal process of ‘peer review’ (his papers were found to be – unsurprisingly – biased). I don’t know if it played a part in the disciplinary action, but certainly the abuse of scripture would have probably been unacceptable by his private ecclesiastical university.
BYU PROFESSOR STEVEN E. JONES: 9/11 REVISITED – Scientific and Ethical Questions, Untah State Valley College, Feb 1, 2006