Conspiracy Thumping


It was a meeting over lunch, and the topic of discussion was books. I’m a recent fan of e-books, having reviewed a number of titles in Kindle from Amazon. And somebody brought up this book and suggested it highly. The description left me scratching and no little amazed. There was this feeling I had been down this road before. And I had, almost:

Forget about the hapless “tourist guy” of 9/11, the rigged photo of a parka-clad sightseer atop the World Trade Center, with his back toward the oncoming airliner. Forget about the four thousand Jews who didn’t show up for work that day. French author Thierry Meyssan spins a yarn that shades both these tall tales. According to Meyssan’s book L’Effroyable Imposture (The Frightening Fraud), American Airlines flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon building. Instead, a crafty plot by the U.S. government employed a truck bomb or a missile strike to further the pretense of the Twin Towers attack.


Yes, it’s going to be that kind of book. The recommended book was The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin. But I don’t have that book. I could not get it in Kindle, but I was able to obtain The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé. Griffin came out with Revisited in 2008 after having apparent success with the original. As Griffin points out:

The idea of writing The New Pearl Harbor Revisited arose because of a two-fold fact about NPH. On the one hand, besides containing some errors, it had become increasingly out of date. On the other hand, it continued to be, in spite of these flaws, widely regarded as the best and most readable introduction to the issues. During the past few years, therefore, many people had urged me to write an updated edition.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 170-172). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Also, a new edition would result in additional sales. I purchased a copy.

As I said, I learned of this book by way of having it described to me over lunch. My initial impression was this was going to be another one of those tales of nefarious dealings by people in power, a tale of misinformation and cover-up, a classic work of conspiracy theory, much like Thierry Meyssan’s book. A close read bore this out.

Griffin is quick and early to dispel such notions. The conspiracy, he says, is not in his tale but in the official version, which he says embodies the real conspiracy. A more comprehensive and diligently-researched conspiracy theory work I have seldom seen. My Kindle edition does not provide page numbers, but the narrative ends at the 62% point, and the remainder comprises notes plus an index, said index taking the final 8%. In total this is a magnificent work, heroically enshrining selective credulity. I will illustrate a bit later.

First, here is an overview. The table of contents gives a notion of what is to be told:


In total, what we are told is:

  • Airplanes did crash into the World Trade Center buildings.
  • The buildings, including World Trade Center 7, were brought down by planted demolition explosives.
  • American Airlines Flight 77 did not strike the Pentagon. The bulk of the destruction was caused by planted explosive charges.
  • United Airlines Flight 93 did not crash at the claimed spot near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • Passengers aboard the doomed flights did not make phone calls from the planes. The calls were faked.
  • President Bush’s actions at the Sarasota school demonstrate the attacks were known in advance and were, in fact, planned and executed by the administration.
  • Muslim terrorists did not pilot the doomed flights.
  • People in positions of power falsely accused Muslim terrorists of the attacks in order to draw attention away from the true facts.
  • The attacks were orchestrated by the government as a means of rallying the population behind a strengthening of the United States military, just as happened with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The 9/11 attacks were to be A New Pearl Harbor.

As I have said, in producing this work Griffin has been very meticulous, obviously conducting a vast body of research. A point-by-point review would consume more space than the original. While reading, I marked numerous sections of interest, and I am going to touch on just a few of these. Here is the first:

Given this faith, which is usually known as the belief in “American exceptionalism,” the idea that the Bush administration could have orchestrated, or even consciously allowed, the 9/11 attacks can be ruled out a priori, so that no examination of relevant evidence is necessary. Insofar as the mainstream press serves to maintain this nationalist faith in the public sphere, no public examination of relevant evidence is even permitted. When the 9/11 truth community is not simply ignored, it is defamed.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 260-263). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

That gets us off to a good start. People casting doubts about the official story of the 9/11 attacks are ignored and even defamed. In the first instance, this is not one of those times. In the second it is.

Griffin likens the 9/11 attacks to the classic false flag attack.

Imperial powers have regularly staged such attacks as pretexts for consolidating power or going to war. When Japan’s army in 1931 decided to take over Manchuria, it blew up the tracks of its own railway near the Chinese military base in Mukden, then blamed Chinese solders. This “Mukden incident,” which occurred on September 18 and is still known in China as “9/18,” began the Pacific part of World War II. In 1933, after the Nazis took power, they started a fire in the Reichstag (the German parliament building), blamed the Communist Party, then used the event as a pretext to imprison enemies, to annul civil liberties, and to consolidate power. In 1939, when Hitler wanted a pretext to attack Poland, he had Germans dressed as Poles stage raids on German outposts on the Polish–German border, in some cases leaving dead German convicts dressed as Polish soldiers at the scene. The next day, referring to these “border incidents,” Hitler attacked Poland in “self-defense,” thereby starting the European part of World War II.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 328-336). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The 9/11 attacks are characterized as staged events to lay blame on another party and thus to create an enemy where none existed before.

As promised, Griffin makes great use of selective credulity:

Accordingly, the conclusion of my discussion of American Flight 11 stands: If standard operating procedures had been followed, it would have been intercepted before the North Tower was struck.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 449-451). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Griffin is incredulous that “standard operating procedures” were not followed, with the result the airplanes were not intercepted and shot down. He would prefer to accept that a grand conspiracy was involved.

The original official story about United Flight 175, as we saw in NPH, was even more problematic. The chief question was why, if the military learned about its hijacking at 8:43, this plane was not intercepted prior to 9:03. Twenty minutes was more than enough time. The Otis fighter jets should not have been 71 miles from Manhattan when the South Tower was struck at 9:03.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 478-481). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Griffin burns a lot of ink playing off time-line contradictions. The fact that time-lines from different sources often do not line up, and some sources later changed their stories means to Griffin that people are not being fallible, they are flat out lying:

How did the 9/11 Commission deal with the fact that all these reports contradicted its explanation as to why the military did not intercept United Flight 175? By simply failing to mention them, thereby implicitly admitting that it could not explain why, if its new story were true, all those reports existed. This is a serious problem. To believe the Commission’s tapes-based account, one would need to assume that Captain Jellinek, General Winfield, and the authors of the NORAD’s timeline as well as the authors of the FAA memo had lied. We can understand that the authors of the FAA memo might have lied to make their personnel look better. But what possible motivation would the military people have had for lying?

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 577-582). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Griffin, who finds the story about a massive conspiracy and cover-up believable, is less accepting of much else that does not support this story. A word search shows the word “implausible” occurring 20 times:

To believe the 9/11 Commission’s account, we must not only believe that the controllers at the FAA’s New York Center could have acted so irresponsibly. We must also believe that they could have done so without being fired or even reprimanded.

The basis for this wholly implausible account was a set of tape recordings of telephone conversations in NORAD’s air traffic monitoring stations on 9/11. These NORAD tapes, which were obtained by the Commission in late 2003, were said by it to contain the “true story of the military’s response on September 11.” In D9D, however, I argued that the more plausible view, for various reasons, is that the tapes were doctored before they were turned over to the Commission, so that they presented a falsified history. Although my full argument for this conclusion can be found only in D9D, some reasons for this conclusion will be mentioned here and in subsequent chapters.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 525-532). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

Variations of “absurd” occur ten times, “lying” maybe ten times, and “unbelievable” four times. There is a load of doubt cast in Griffin’s narrative, but hardly a squint worth at his own conspiracy theory.

What is most absurd is Griffin’s denial of eye witness testimony:

The 9/11 Commission’s Claim about a C-130 Pilot: According to the 9/11 Commission, the fact that the Pentagon was struck by a Boeing 757 was confirmed by a pilot. “At 9:32, . . . [s]everal of the Dulles controllers observed a ‘primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed.’” However, “[t]he aircraft’s identity or type was unknown.” Accordingly, said The 9/11 Commission Report: “Reagan National controllers then vectored an unarmed National Guard C-130 H cargo aircraft. . . to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft. The C-130H pilot spotted it [and] identified it as a Boeing 757.”

However, the pilot of the C-130, Steve O’Brien, has recently said that he was about a minute away from the Pentagon, so he could not see whether the plane that approached it actually hit it. If he was too far away to see that, he was too far away to identify the kind of plane it was.

Griffin, David Ray (2012-12-30). The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Kindle Locations 1531-1538). Interlink Publishing. Kindle Edition.


The “official story” that Griffin seeks to demolish is The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, authorized edition. [New York: W. W. Norton, 2004.] That report relates eye-witness accounts

Reagan National controllers then vectored an unarmed National Guard C-130H cargo aircraft, which had just taken off en route to Minnesota, to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft. The C-130H pilot spotted it, identified it as a Boeing 757, attempted to follow its path, and at 9.38, seconds after impact, reported to the control tower: “looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon sir.”

[Pages 25-26]

Assumed Flight 77 approach path

Assumed Flight 77 approach path

Griffin offers no credibility to the many who saw AA Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon. The Wikipedia entry for this item lists several first hand accounts:

On the side where the plane hit, the Pentagon is bordered by Interstate 395 and Washington Boulevard. Motorist Mary Lyman, who was on I-395, saw the airplane pass over at a “steep angle toward the ground and going fast” and then saw the cloud of smoke from the Pentagon. Omar Campo, another witness, was cutting the grass on the other side of the road when the airplane flew over his head, and later recalled:

I was cutting the grass and it came in screaming over my head. I felt the impact. The whole ground shook and the whole area was full of fire. I could never imagine I would see anything like that here.

Afework Hagos, a computer programmer, was on his way to work and stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon when the airplane flew over. “There was a huge screaming noise and I got out of the car as the plane came over. Everybody was running away in different directions. It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in.” Daryl Donley witnessed the crash and took some of the first photographs of the site.

USA Today reporter Mike Walter was driving on Washington Boulevard when he witnessed the crash, which he recounted,

I looked out my window and I saw this plane, this jet, an American Airlines jet, coming. And I thought, ‘This doesn’t add up, it’s really low.’ And I saw it. I mean it was like a cruise missile with wings. It went right there and slammed right into the Pentagon.

Terrance Kean, who lived in a nearby apartment building, heard the noise of loud jet engines, glanced out his window, and saw a “very, very large passenger jet”. He watched “it just plow right into the side of the Pentagon. The nose penetrated into the portico. And then it sort of disappeared, and there was fire and smoke everywhere.” Tim Timmerman, who is a pilot himself, noticed American Airlines markings on the aircraft as he saw it hit the Pentagon. Other drivers on Washington Boulevard, Interstate 395, and Columbia Pike witnessed the crash, as did people in Pentagon City, Crystal City, and other nearby locations.

Griffin goes further to say the remains of the Flight 77 passengers and debris from the aircraft were not evident following the crash. Again this despite finding the cockpit voice recorder (unusable) and the flight data recorder from that flight, along with identifiable parts of the aircraft.

This has been a snapshot of Griffin’s immense argument for denial. Additional examples on request are available.

People may call me skeptical, but there is evidence I would accept, and this is evidence Griffin, Meyssan, and the host of others, should be required to provide. Only a partial subset would suffice. On the list would be the following:

  • Bring forward alive one of the passengers claimed not to have been killed.
  • Bring forward multiple (they must be legion) participants—the people who planted the demolition charges, the people who purchased the explosives, the people who sold the explosives, the people who planted the explosives, and the people who participated in the fabrication of phony telephone messages from the stricken planes.
  • Exhibit one of the planes that was supposed not to have crashed.

Any one of these would put the lie to the official report of the 9/11 attacks. Multiple uses of implausible will not.

Some may want to defend this book. There is a host of Griffin’s points I have not addressed here. Any reader wanting to challenge on one or more of these is welcome to engage in a dialog. Bring it on.

At multiple points in the book Griffin cites Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century by Project for the New American Century

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

[Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, September 2000. p 51]

Which is likely the source for the title.

One thought on “Conspiracy Thumping

  1. Pingback: Bad Moon Rising | Skeptical Analysis

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