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The Ultimate 9/11 'Truth' Showdown: David Ray Griffin vs. Matt Taibbi -- Part II

The two writers lock horns over the accuracy of Griffin's recent book, <i>9/11 Contradictions</i>.
 
 
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This is Part II of the "The Ultimate 9/11 'Truth' Showdown: David Ray Griffin vs. Matt Taibbi" Read Part I here.

[The following is Matt Taibbi's five follow-up questions to Griffin's responses, which follow in order of the questions). ]

August 7, 2008 -- Professor:

As you've noticed, I struggled for quite some time with the question of how to answer your responses. Mainly this was because I was unsure of whether to treat this exercise like a comedy (because it's certainly hard to take seriously any "debate" with a person who believes that Rudy Giuliani would conspire to blow up the densest slice of taxpaying real estate in the world, the New York City financial district, in order to save his city the cost of an asbestos cleanup) or whether to aim higher and treat it like a serious political argument. I tried it both ways and neither way seemed to fit. Treating this like an absurdist comedy, I realized, I'm making it hard for readers to see how monstrous and offensive your arguments are -- but then again, when I take you seriously, spending paragraph after crazed paragraph grandstanding against you and your book, suddenly I'm the one who looks ridiculous.

Then it hit me, and probably far too late: the correct play here is to ignore you and your arguments entirely. There are many things about your work that are outrageous and offensive, but the very worst thing about you and other 9/11 conspiracists -- and, I guess, lately anyway, me -- is that you're/we're a distraction from the real problem.

After all, the thing that was always the most unrealistic aspect of 9/11 Truther theory was this notion that anyone in power in this country would need to pull off a stunt like this in order to further its nebulous imperialist agenda. For the only conceivable motive for planning and executing a caper on this level would be to try to sway public opinion -- but public opinion has, for decades, already been more or less whatever the powers that be have wanted it to be.

Most often, in fact, public opinion was simply not wanted at all: what was most desirable was that public attention be elsewhere when industries were deregulated, bailouts distributed, OPIC loans handed out, contracts funneled to insiders. In March, for instance, the federal government quietly agreed to subsidize JP Morgan's acquisition of troubled Bear Stearns, shelling out $29 billion in taxpayer money to prop up a hornet's nest of bad mortgage-backed securities and other investments. Forget about a public outcry over this move to bail out the irresponsible wealthy using yours and my tax money -- the public didn't even know about this deal. And even if it had known about it, it wouldn't have understood it. And even if it had understood it -- extremely unlikely -- it wouldn't have been organized enough to do anything about it. And even if it had been organized enough to do anything about it, and this is really once chance in a million, our government could have just ignored them anyway, the same way it did when it pressed ahead with its insane invasion of Iraq even as 400,000 people marched on Washington. But there weren't four people marching against the Bear Stearns deal.

This same public -- the same public that stood meekly by when its manufacturing economy was exported overseas, that cheered when our government pledged to "get tough" with China by demanding that it allow us to weaken our currency vis a vis the Yuan, that twiddled its thumbs when Wall Street played Keno with the nation's homeowner savings, that has consistently voted overwhelmingly to deprive itself of its right to litigate against powerful companies -- this is the public you think George Bush and Dick Cheney needed to blow up downtown Manhattan for, in order to get them on board with a war against Iraq, the Patriot Act, and whatever else.

The recent financial crisis shows most graphically that the financial powers that run this country have had a completely free hand to do as they pleased for decades, and certainly long before 9/11. These same people are about to bend the public over again, as whoever wins the next election will be called upon to fork over a series of gigantic bailouts to rescue the speculators who ran amok for the last dozen years or so. It's business as usual. And yet, you actually think that the same public that didn't even notice when so much of its money was pissed into the wind by Wall Street -- you think they scared the Department of Defense so much with their jealous stewarding of public treasure that the DOD actually blew up the records office of its own building to hide "evidence" of embezzlement and fraud. Like the public had EVER given a shit (at least, given a shit enough to do something about it!) about defense department waste before! Like there was anyone to hide that evidence from!

All of this 9/11 Truther stuff, it's a silly distraction. A country whose economy is about to go down the shitter, to the brink of depression, thanks to three-plus decades of routinely-ignored Wall Street deregulation just can't afford to be wasting its time arguing about thermite reactions and "morphing technology." Captivated by the comic possibilities of Truther literature, I realized this too late. As you'll see below, I even spent a lot of time pulling what's left of my hair out over your answers to questions that even I admit now go beyond inane. I admit in advance to looking silly for doing so, and hereby make a promise to God that I won't do it again, at least not as long as we have other things to worry about. All the same, some of the stuff you came up with, Professor sheesh! And I thought I was loony! To wit:

1. Your response to the general criticism that 9/11 Truther rhetoric never attempts to make a case for what, specifically, it thinks actually took place on 9/11 is to reduce the argument to a parable -- you compare the issue to a court case. And in order to make your argument that what I was asking is illogical, you essentially cast yourself and the Truth movement in the role of a beleaguered defense attorney. And what a case you have!

In the hilarious story you invent, my best friend (seemingly) cheats at a contest to beat me for a large prize, and is brutally killed by an arrow the next day. Cue dramatic music: Dunh dunh dunh! The cops have a recording of me threatening my friend, a video of me entering a building carrying a case large enough to hold a crossbow, and a water bottle found on the roof (whence the crossbow bolt was fired!) with my fingerprints on it.

But alas, I'm not guilty! The bottle was planted, and the video and audio evidence was faked using "morphing" technology! Morphing technology ? Absurd, an ordinary person would say. But fortunately for me, my attorney -- a sharp fellow whose instincts are remarkably like those of a California professor named David Ray Griffin -- is able to introduce as evidence the internet link to an authoritative article on the efficacy of said morphing technology, published in no less prestigious a publication than The Washington Post .

As for motive, it appears the government has cleverly waited for the opportune circumstance of my friend cheating to beat me out of a large cash contest to frame me, a dangerous dissident with a history of writing critically about the White House, for his murder.

Humorous aside: Even in this fictional example, the logic is hilarious: the government is willing to wantonly murder my innocent friend, but not me, the actual "threat" to the state; their method of dealing with me is instead to cook up an elaborate scheme to frame me, a scheme that would depend upon them knowing in advance that my best friend would cheat to win a contest, and would rely upon the use of dozens of confederates to plant phony evidence crafted by super-advanced technology. When, of course, they could have just skipped all that complex stuff, and hit me in the head with a brick in an alley. Strongly reminiscent of Dr. Evil of Austin Powers fame waving off of his son Seth Green's suggestion that he just shoot Austin Powers in the head ("I'll get my gun right now!"), opting instead for the "sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads" method of pointlessly-elaborate execution.

Anyway, despite all this evidence of innocence, the judge -- a grumpy sort tending toward the unfair who seems to resemble me in this story -- insists that the defendant can only be cleared if the attorney offers a clear and plausible alternative theory of the crime.

Which sucks, because the attorney has another bombshell: a lab has found that the arrow that killed the friend could not possibly have originated from the purported scene of the murder.

(Again, why would the bolt -- that's what you call the thing fired from a crossbow, by the way -- not match the location? If this is a frame-up from the beginning, why wouldn't the framers make sure to make the purported kill-spot and the bolt matched? I realize this is a fictional story, but even these inconsistencies are hilarious).

But the judge, a real jerk, refuses to dismiss the charges still, again grumpily insisting on proof of the alternative theory of the crime. In a wonderfully witty twist, he even quotes me, Matt Taibbi, in justifying his decision! The irony is overwhelming! It hits you like a dozen freight trains! Game over -- jeu, Griffin!

Two things about this example of yours:

Firstly: the reason it's so funny that you chose this particular example -- the handcuffing of a fictional defense attorney -- is because what defense attorneys do, and what you're doing, is exactly the opposite of investigation, the opposite of a sincere quest for truth. I'm not knocking the profession at all; I believe in the system and greatly esteem defense lawyers who do their jobs well.

But defense attorneys have absolutely no responsibility to get at the truth of any court case. That's not what they do. Their job is to annihilate the prosecutor's arguments piece by piece. It doesn't matter -- never matters -- if the sum of their arguments adds up to a coherent narrative. If the prosecutor's case is based upon a witness, a confession, a hair, and a deposit slip, the defender attacks each piece using whatever weapon applies: the witness is a drunk, the confession was coerced, the hair is inconclusive, the deposit slip explained by a win at Vegas blackjack tables. He crushes those four items, he wins his case.

He doesn't have to know what happened in reality. His client may even be guilty, in fact often is. In your circles, you call this "raising questions." It's a great characteristic for a defense attorney. For an investigator, someone interested in learning the truth, it sucks ass. Even many defense attorneys (and I know this because I know a few) feel shitty about using this bomb-tossing intellectual technique to make a living. But at least they're doing it within the framework of a system designed for that activity. You're doing it as a substitute for actual inquiry, which is pretty sad.

Secondly: what the fuck? What kind of lunatic comes up with this as his "illustrative example"? Your simplifying parable is more fantastic and complicated than the actual story! At first I thought you were kidding, then I had to go back and read it to believe it -- astounding! It should tell the readers of this debate quite a bit that this is your idea of a good way to start an argument: "Say for example that your best friend is killed in broad daylight with a crossbow, and the government frames you for the crime using advanced morphing technology"

Uh, okay. I can say it, sure. It's stupid, but I can say it. Does the story end with my wife in bed with a cow in a spacesuit? I mean really. I don't mean to take a gratuitous swipe here, but your fictional example says a lot about how your mind works.

Lastly, with regard to the actual question -- why would Bush sit there like a dunce if he knew the attacks were coming -- your answer is another doozy. Apparently, George Bush is incompetent! Oh, he's competent enough, one guesses, to pull off the greatest and vastest criminal conspiracy in the history of the human race not only without getting caught, but without any of his presumably countless accomplices faltering or leaking the truth -- but his competence level apparently doesn't extend to not looking like a paralyzed dipshit for nine whole minutes at the actual moment of crisis. I'm shocked that even you can take an answer like this seriously.

Incidentally, "The people who support the official story are conspiracy theorists too!" has got to be the most tired and boring movement truism since "It's a child, not a choice." Always amazed to see Truthers still cheering its cleverness after hearing it for the 500th or 600th time. But feel free to keep using it, I guess.

Griffin responds August 24, 2008 : I was surprised by the length and nature of your response. When the interview was being set up, I was told by AlterNet editor Jan Frel that, after I gave my answers to the questions, "Taibbi has indicated he might ask you a few followup questions." That did not lead me to expect, some months later, an almost 6,000-word essay. I have, in any case, replied to your new comments as briefly as possible. But because it takes longer to answer charges than to make them, my reply, unfortunately, is even longer. In your introductory comments, after calling my arguments "monstrous and offensive," you say: "the correct play here is to ignore you and your arguments entirely." But you do not ignore all of them, only some of them. How do you expect readers to avoid the suspicion that you simply ignored the ones that you knew you could not answer? In any case, the main reason you give for saying you should ignore my arguments is that my position, according to which 9/11 was an inside job, is "a distraction from the real problem."

Because you are here simply repeating a charge made by Alexander Cockburn, I will refer you to my response to him, in which I pointed out that "The Truly Distracting 9/11 Conspiracy Theory" is the government's account of 9/11, which has been used to justify the so-called war on terror, because it has distracted us from the overarching problem of our time: the threat that global climate change may bring civilization to an end. (Hopefully you do not, like Cockburn, accept the oil companies' claim that fossil fuels are causing any such threat.) Another problem with your claim that my position is a distraction is that, in making it, you seem to be presupposing, circularly, that the inside-job position is false. I say this because I suspect that if you believed this position to be true, you would consider it anything but a distraction from our real problems.

The official account of 9/11 has been used to justify a new doctrine of preemption, according to which we can attack a country without any evidence that it is ready to attack us; to launch pre-planned wars against Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed millions of people and cost hundreds of billions of dollars; to ram the (already-written) PATRIOT Act through Congress; and to justify torture, extraordinary rendition, military tribunals, spying on US citizens, an imperial presidency, and other practices that violate our Constitution. If the official account of 9/11 is false, the effort to expose this fact, in order to put an end to the policies that have been justified by this account, cannot reasonably be called a distraction from real problems. It is instead an attempt to strike at the root of most of our new problems. Your characterization of the 9/11 truth movement as a distraction, based on your assumption that the official account is not false, simply begs the question.

Insofar as you do argue against the inside-job view, you rest your case primarily on a priori arguments. The main one in your new essay is that "[no one] in power in this country would need to pull off a stunt like this in order to further its . . . imperialist agenda." No one would need to "to sway public opinion," you say, because "public opinion has, for decades, already been more or less whatever the powers that be have wanted it to be." Indeed it has been, but this is precisely because the powers that be have used various methods, including propaganda, lies, and false-flag operations, to sway public opinion. Given your view, according to which "the powers that be" have for many decades been doing what they want without worrying about public opinion, I wonder about your explanation for the fact that in 1962 the joint chiefs of staff came up with Operation Northwoods, which consisted of various "pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba," some of which would have involved killing Americans and then blaming Cubans. One of these was a "Remember the Maine" incident: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba."

Likewise, how do you explain the fact that when the powers that be wanted to attack North Vietnam, they engineered the Tonkin Gulf hoax? Why didn't they just tell the American people, "Look, we want to control Vietnam, so we are going to attack North Vietnam, even though this will likely cost over 50,000 American lives"? And if the Bush-Cheney administration in particular just does what it wants without bothering to marshal public opinion, why did it, before it attacked Iraq, fabricate lies about weapons of mass destruction and ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda? And why did it work to convince the public that Iraq was behind the anthrax scare when it knew otherwise? Given the fact that your a priori argument for why the government would not have orchestrated 9/11 has no historical support, your excuse for ignoring the empirical evidence for the inside-job view collapses. Having shown this, I turn now to your retorts to my responses.

Answer to follow-up question 1. I was surprised that you spent so much time arguing that my made-up story is "fantastic." Is it not obvious that it was intended to be? It's sole purpose was to demonstrate the absurdity of your claim that, to disprove a criminal charge, it would insufficient to prove that one could not have committed the crime; one would also have to provide a "concrete theory of what happened, who ordered what and when they ordered it, and why." And, given your characterization of the judge as a "real jerk" -- because, after being given scientific proof that you could not have committed the crime, he "refuses to dismiss the charges still, again grumpily insisting on proof of the alternative theory of the crime" -- I take it that you have conceded the point. However, rather than simply conceding, you use the story's reference to attorneys to go on the attack. Pointing out that defense attorneys are typically less concerned to discover the truth than simply "to annihilate the prosecutor's arguments piece by piece," you accuse me of taking the same approach -- of engaging in "the opposite of investigation, the opposite of a sincere quest for truth."

But you provide no evidence to support this charge, even though I had published six books about 9/11 from which you surely, if your charge were true, could have found many illustrations. You ignore, moreover, the fact that this is precisely the charge that I have leveled, at great length and with multiple examples, against the 9/11 Commission and NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), which put out the official report on the destruction of the Twin Towers. I believe that most people who read Chapters 2 and 3 of my Debunking 9/11 Debunking , in which I make and document this charge, will agree that the charge you have made applies to these bodies, not to me. Another problem with your charge -- that I am engaged in "the opposite of a sincere quest for truth" -- is that it implies that you are engaged in such a quest, rather than simply trying to annihilate the claims of the 9/11 truth community.

I find it difficult, however, to reconcile this self-evaluation with your practice. You evidently accept the government's account as stating, at least roughly, what really happened on 9/11. And you presumably agree that a theory is unacceptable if it is contradicted by some of the relevant facts. And yet you seem untroubled by all the facts I have pointed out that do contradict the government's account of 9/11. Indeed, you seem to take pride in ignoring such facts. As I pointed out in my answer to the first of your original questions, you have cheerfully agreed that you are "ignoring the mountains of scientific evidence proving that the Towers could not have collapsed as a result of the plane crashes alone," saying that even if such proffered evidence were sound, it would prove nothing.

In your new essay, you say that America "can't afford to be wasting its time arguing about thermite reactions and 'morphing technology.'" But if there is scientific evidence that "the Towers could not have collapsed as a result of the plane crashes [and ensuing fires] alone," and that they were instead brought down by explosives, then the government's story, supported by the 9/11 Commission and NIST, is false. If dust from Ground Zero shows signs of thermite reactions (which physicist Steven Jones has shown to be the case ), this provides additional physical evidence -- on top of the evidence that steel melted and all the testimonial evidence of explosions going off in the buildings -- that explosives were used. And if the reported cell phone calls were faked by means of voice morphing, this means that there is no evidence of Arab-Muslim hijackers on the planes. I am puzzled how you can reconcile your contempt for all such evidence with your claim to being engaged in a "sincere quest for truth." While you continue to complain that I am "telephone-averse" (although I explained that I correspond frequently with experts by email, which is superior to telephone conversations by virtue of providing written statements), you seem to be evidence-averse.

In any case, turning next to what you call "the actual question," you summarize it as: "why would Bush sit there like a dunce if he knew the attacks were coming?" But this was not "the actual question" you had raised. It was, instead: "[If the Secret Service] knew about this whole thing in advance, why didn't they plan to make Bush look a little less like a paralyzed yutz." This is very different from saying that Bush himself knew, which we have no basis for saying.

What we can safely infer, given the failure of the Secret Service to whisk Bush from the school, is that at least the lead Secret Service agent -- who overruled a subordinate, who had planned to whisk Bush away -- knew who was responsible for the attacks and thereby knew that hijackers were not going to crash a plane into the school. Next, having changed the question to why, if Bush himself knew about the attacks in advance, he simply sat there, you say that my answer, apparently, is that Bush is incompetent. You then seek to show my position to be self-contradictory by saying, as if my position implied this: "Oh, he's competent enough, one guesses, to pull off the greatest and vastest criminal conspiracy in the history of the human race without getting caught." But neither I nor anyone else in the 9/11 truth community, to my knowledge, has suggested that Bush planned the 9/11 attacks. Dick Cheney, who was formerly the secretary of defense, yes, but not Bush himself. Instead of changing the question so that you could attack a straw-man position, I wish you had responded to my suggestion that "you should be concerned about why, if the attacks were a surprise, the Secret Service left Bush at the school." But perhaps you are content with what seems to be your answer to all such problems: They just screwed up .

And yet, although this screw-up could have cost the president his life -- because if the planes had really been under the control of al-Qaeda pilots, one of them might have been bearing down on the school at the very moment the Secret Service should have been whisking Bush away -- no one, evidently, was fired. I would think this might give you pause. In any case, before moving on to the next question, you say, in response to my comment that people who support the official story are also conspiracy theorists, that this is a "tired and boring movement truism," which you have heard 500 times. I made the comment, however, because you were using the term as if it applied only to people who affirm the alternative conspiracy theory. You said, for example: "9/11 conspiracy is so shamefully stupid."

I would agree with that judgment, of course, if you meant the original 9/11 conspiracy theory. But you clearly meant only the alternative theory, according to which 9/11 was an inside job. So I could only assume that you had never heard anyone point out that the official theory is itself a conspiracy theory. The failure to acknowledge this point is virtually universal among critics of the alternative conspiracy theory. For example, New York Times journalist Jim Dwyer wrote an article entitled "2 U.S. Reports Seek to Counter Conspiracy Theories About 9/11." Although a more accurate title would have been, "2 U.S. Reports Say Government's Conspiracy Theory Is Better than Alternative Conspiracy Theories," you would look in vain for a story in the Times, or any other mainstream publication, with such a title. Likewise, a Popular Mechanics book defending the government's conspiracy theory is subtitled: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts. Why is this one-sided use of the term so prevalent? Paul Krugman recently wrote:

"[M]any of the people who throw around terms like 'loopy conspiracy theories' are lazy bullies who [as one observer put it] want to 'confer instant illegitimacy on any argument with which they disagree.' Instead of facing up to hard questions, they try to suggest that anyone who asks those questions is crazy."

We in the 9/11 truth community will cease pointing out that the official theory is a conspiracy theory when defenders of the official story begin treating this fact like what you rightly say it is, a truism, rather than continuing to use "conspiracy theory" in a one-sided way to exploit the negative connotations the term has accrued -- as you yourself continue to do.

2. Matt Taibbi I figured this would be your answer -- that the high-level people in both agencies could have been in on it, while the lower-level people were not. On the surface, I suppose that makes sense. Except that the complicity of scores of lower-level government employees from agencies throughout the federal apparatus would have been necessary to cover up the crime. Who was cleaning up the "non-plane" plane parts at the Pentagon? I'm assuming it wasn't Richard Myers. Who cleaned up the "phony" crash site in Pennsylvania, hid the bomb "evidence" in the rubble at the Trade Center? I'm assuming it wasn't Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani. But whatever, I'm not going to dwell on this one. Your subsequent answers were much more interesting.

David Ray Griffin responds: Yes, many more people were certainly complicit in the cover-up than in the operation itself, as in most such operations.

3. Matt Taibbi: Again, your answer here to the question of why a plotter would go blabbing his secrets on TV is basically well, er, maybe he wasn't that smart. Which is basically no answer at all. Make no mistake about it -- if Rudy Giuliani knew ahead of time that hundreds of New York firefighters were about to be murdered via bombs planted in the World Trade Center, there is no fucking way in hell he is going to start blabbing on television about the buildings coming down.

Nobody is that stupid -- and especially not a man who, whatever you might think of him as a politician or as a person, has been one of the most accomplished criminal prosecutors of his time.

But an even larger point here isn't that you believe that Rudy Giuliani is that stupid; it's that you believe he is that evil. No one in the press, and I mean no one, has been harsher critic of Rudy Giuliani than me (well, okay, Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice has. But no one else). I believe Rudy to be almost limitlessly greedy and power-hungry, a man who will say and do almost anything to get elected. But here's the thing. Regardless of what I think of his politics, I also believe that Rudy Giuliani believes that he is a patriotic, decent, law-abiding citizen.

And he's able to believe that because he does, in fact, have a record of sorts. Rudy has put away dangerous mobsters, broken extortion rings, uncovered government corruption, and wiped out an insider-trading network, taking on the likes of the Gambinos and the Boesky-Milken axis. I don't like what he's become, sure, and he certainly hasn't been shy about grandstanding over his achievements -- but he does have real, civically-valuable achievements. Bigger achievements than you or I have on our records, by far, as embarrassing as that is to admit.

And this is what makes it so crazy that you're so willing to believe that Rudy Giuliani was complicit in the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of people, including team after team of New York city firemen. You don't have any evidence at all; you're just a telephone-averse academic in the California suburbs indicting people left and right on the basis of what? Of nothing at all. One ambiguous statement in the media. Even worse, when pressed, you come up with a real whopper -- that Rudy okayed the wanton murder of thousands of Americans in order save the money his city would have had to pay out for asbestos removal!

Are you fucking kidding me? I'd harp on the fact that this doesn't even make sense (he murders New Yorkers in order to save them money? Not his personal money, but their -- our -- public money?), except that the obscenity of this accusation so totally outweighs its lack of sense.

And also, by the way, you might have picked up the telephone here, too. It took me five minutes to blow up that particular assertion, just by calling the New York City comptroller's office and asking the very obvious question of how much the city stood to gain financially by having its entire downtown district covered in toxic dust and incurring millions of dollars in overtime for its emergency personnel for the better part of three months.

According to that office, they spent $365 million extra in overtime costs in FY 2002 alone. They estimated the total cleanup costs -- from the initial year or so of cleanup -- at about $659 million. "We lost about $2 billion in taxes in 2002 and about $928 billion in 2003 alone," a spokesman for the comptroller's office told me when I called. When I mentioned that someone had a theory that the WTC was blown up to get New York out of an asbestos cleanup, the guy laughed. "Yeah, that makes sense," he says. "This way we had to clean it up anyway. Except it was spread all the way up to Canal Street now, on mountains of rubble and dead bodies."

If Rudy Giuliani green-lighted the 9/11 attacks in order to save the city money, he sure picked a bizarre strategy -- gutting his tax base, straining his services appropriations to the breaking point, and physically destroying some of his city's most valuable infrastructure. Doing all that to avoid a mandated asbestos cleanup makes about as much sense as hijacking a plane full of passengers, secretly disposing of them somewhere, and then faking its crash into the Pentagon while actually launching a missile, all in order to avoid an audit of the Department of Defense. I mean really, where do you get these ideas? Are you completely insane?

As for the charge that Rudy maybe did this to launch a run for president again, this would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting. You don't appear cowed at all by the act of accusing another man of murder, be it Rudy Giuliani, Richard Myers, Ted Olson, or whomever. In the real world, i.e. in the world where we can't publish things unless they're true, we don't make such accusations unless we have very compelling evidence. Not only do we not want to get sued, we actually don't want to be wrong. Because, you know, it's a little bit monstrous to call someone a murderer without proof. This is an intellectual flaw on your part, a rhetorical flaw, but more than that it's a moral flaw. And it pervades a great deal of your work.

David Ray Griffin responds: With regard to Rudy Giuliani, you have evidently given up your claim that it was "absolutely impossible" that he had foreknowledge. But you again state that Giuliani "blabbed" on television, although I had explained that this term is misleading because he "merely said something that was recognized to imply foreknowledge by the few people who knew the relevant facts." You believe, however, that he would not even have done this. " Nobody is that stupid -- and especially not a man who has been one of the most accomplished criminal prosecutors of his time."

I would think that a moment's reflection on the names "Elliott Spitzer" and "John Edwards" might cause you to reconsider that claim. (Edwards was not a criminal prosecutor, but a plaintiff's attorney, but I assume your point was about accomplished trial lawyers in general, that they would all be too smart to do something really stupid.) In any case, your main claim is that Giuliani would not have been complicit in the murder of thousands of people because "he is [not] that evil." Your faith in him is touching. But it is no different from the faith of Germans that their leaders could not have possibly been running death camps, or the faith of Japanese that their soldiers could not be butchering hundreds of thousands of Chinese in Manchuria on the basis of a false-flag operation (the Mukden Incident). The question must be settled on the basis of evidence, not faith. On this issue, you say to me: "You don't have any evidence at all."

Since you have evidently made this statement without reading any of the evidence I have presented (in, say, Debunking 9/11 Debunking ), let me summarize a few points. First, the conclusion that the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down by explosives is now beyond reasonable doubt. Besides the fact that total collapse has never been induced in steel-frame high-rise buildings from any cause other than pre-placed explosives in the process known as controlled demolition, there are at least a dozen features of the collapses that can be explained, and only explained, on the supposition that such explosives were used (such as the fact that the buildings came straight down and at virtually free-fall speed; that there were horizontal ejections over 500 feet of steel columns weighing thousands of tons; that steel was melted and even oxidized, processes that required temperatures far greater than the fires could have been; that hundreds of witnesses, including firefighters, police officers, reporters, and WTC employees, reported massive explosions going off in the Twin Towers long after all the jet fuel would have burned up; and that several people, including two city officials who were in the building, reported explosions in WTC 7 [as I discuss in my new book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited ]).

This conclusion is now publicly endorsed by many hundreds of professionals in the relevant disciplines, including physicists, chemists, architects, engineers, pilots, intelligence officers, and philosophers of science (see Patriots Question 9/11). The second point is that, if explosives had not been planted in the buildings, there would have been no basis for expecting them to collapse, and yet it was known in advance that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 were going to come down. That is relevant to the present point because in both cases the message that the buildings were coming down can be traced back to Giuliani's Office of Emergency Management -- as I document in both of the aforementioned books. Next, in seeking a reductio ad absurdum , you characterize me as holding that "Rudy okayed the wanton murder of thousands of Americans in order save the money his city would have had to pay out for asbestos removal!"

But this is like McCain's claim that Obama's energy program consisted of recommending that Americans inflate their tires. Obama made this recommendation when, after he had laid out what an Obama administration would do, a member of the audience asked what ordinary citizens could do. Likewise, I made the point about asbestos after you said that any reason Giuliani might have had for participating in the conspiracy would have been "some completely insane reason." I see now that, in order to avoid being McCained, I should have made a more complete statement of his possible motives. First, as I already mentioned, he could have expected that, by being ready to appear to act heroically that day, he could exploit this image to become president -- a strategy that almost worked, as he was leading in the polls when the contest for the Republican nomination began. Second, he as a Republican and a patriot likely supported the Bush-Cheney drive to use 9/11 as a pretext to gain control of the lion's share of the world's oil reserves in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Like you, I believe Giuliani sees himself as a patriot and, given our competitive world order, patriots often regard it as their duty to work for the good of their own countries, even when this means sacrificing thousands of their own citizens and also devastating other countries. The Italian statesman Camillo Cavour once said: "If we did for ourselves what we do for our country, what scoundrels we would be." Third, the dramatic footage of the Twin Towers being hit by "hijacked airliners," then exploding at the top, with dust clouds that reminded people of a nuclear explosion, then suffering total collapse, killing thousands of people, was an essential part of the psy-war directed at the American people that day, getting them ready to give carte blanche to a war on Islamic nations packaged as a "war on terror." You claim that the first of these possible motives -- that Giuliani's perceived heroism on 9/11 might help him become president -- is "laughable."

What is really laughable, however, is your statement, "In the real world, we can't publish things unless they're true." That is so obviously false that I will not bother to elaborate. I do agree, however, with your statement that "we don't [i.e., we shouldn't] make such accusations unless we have very compelling evidence." But I do believe that the 9/11 truth community has compiled and published compelling evidence that 9/11 was an inside job and that Giuliani was one of the insiders. You have certainly done nothing to undermine this belief. I would challenge you, in fact, to provide anything close to comparable evidence for the government's conspiracy theory. Popular Mechanics tried this and, as I showed in Chapter 4 of Debunking 9/11 Debunking , failed miserably. It would be interesting to see if you could do better. But thus far you have acted like the defense attorneys you describe, simply trying to annihilate the 9/11 truth community's arguments while ignoring all the problems in the government's theory.

4. Matt Taibbi: Okay, again, this is defense-lawyer thinking at its best. In a murder case usually two eyewitnesses make for a slam-dunk, but you're dismissive of 152 witnesses for a variety of hilarious reasons. A side note: the supposition that an eyewitness is not to be trusted because he works for the mainstream media I find especially funny -- as if a TV reporter, or for instance someone like me, who saw a missile hitting the Pentagon would keep such a sensational fact secret to protect the conspiracy! This from a person ready to toss out every single account of a cell phone call from a hijacked plane on the basis of a Washington Post story about "morphing technology." In fact, exactly how much of your theories would even be left, if you took out the information you got from "mainstream news reports"? And yet mainstream news reporters can't be counted on to tell the truth about seeing an airplane fly into the Pentagon. Hilarious!

Moreover, your only counter-supposition to the hijacked-airplane story is that, well, who knows, maybe it was a remote-controlled plane that hit the Pentagon. But of course! Again the same pattern: extraordinary diligence in attacking links in the "official story" chain, similarly extraordinary indifference to the issue of what actually happened, what actually happened being irrelevant to your enterprise.

I specifically asked you to tell me what your theory was, if it wasn't Hani Hanjour piloting a plane into the Pentagon, and you specifically avoided answering the question, instead retreating once again to the same old long-winded conspiratorial oatmeal about how bad a pilot he was, how he couldn't have pulled it off, yada yada yada.

But here's the thing: if it was not Hani Hanjour flying that plane, it follows that something truly fantastic happened, a confluence of several absurdly unlikely sets of circumstances.

Now, maybe this is just me, but there is nothing at all unbelievable about a radical Sunni terrorist committing an act of suicidal terrorism with American citizens as the target.

But I need to see some actual evidence before I'll buy the U.S. Air Force a) shooting a missile or a remote-controlled drone into the Pentagon, intentionally refusing to warn other military personnel, while also b) somehow effecting the magical disappearance/execution of a whole planeload of genuinely missing civilian jet passengers and c) coaxing all the on-the-ground personnel in the Pentagon, who've just suffered a deadly attack at the conspirators' hands, to go along with the cover-up of the missile/drone wreckage, and d) cleverly arranging false witness testimony from (at minimum) 152 willing confederates, or however many non "mainstream media members" you're willing to admit. Among other silly things.

You're talking about an unbelievably complicated narrative laced up and down with spy-novel sensationalisms that would have made Ian Fleming blush: secret kidnappings of jet passengers, super-advanced remote-controlled aircraft, branches of the military attacking each other in secret, a media deception of unprecedented scope, "morphing technology" effecting astonishingly effective fake phone calls and for what, exactly? This part makes the least sense of all.

We know why al-Qaeda would want to attack the Pentagon. But why your conspirators would want to fake a plane hijacking/crash and then shoot a missile or a drone into the Pentagon -- unless they're just murderous lunatics acting in unprecedentedly harmonious psychotic concert, not folie a deux even but folie a deux cent -- this is beyond the ability of even a person such as yourself to come up with even a distantly plausible explanation.

The best thing you can come up with is this idiotic remote-controlled jet theory, and the most generous thing one can say about that is that it takes perhaps five or ten seconds longer than some of your other ideas to inspire uncontrollable laughter -- specifically, until one gets to the part where one imagines a planeload of passengers, copies of The Wall Street Journal in hand, cheerfully stepping aboard a plane with no flight personnel and smiling all the way through the vessel's eerie Dracula-ship takeoff to oblivion.

I don't know, it's just me -- but if I had doubts about it having been a plane that hit the Pentagon, I'd be re-interviewing those witnesses that said they saw one. That you haven't done this tells me an awful lot about your motives. Do you just not want to hear it, or are you more comfortable with internet links, who don't talk back?

David Ray Griffin responds: With regard to the number of witnesses who reported seeing an airliner strike the Pentagon, I am glad you reduced your claim down from "thousands" to merely 152. But that is still much too high. The list to which I referred, which was compiled by Eric Bart, contains 152 people who were regarded as "witnesses" in some sense or another to what happened at the Pentagon. But in a statement that you simply ignored, I pointed out that "only some of them claim to have seen an airliner hit the Pentagon." Some of the other people gave quite different reports, with six of them speaking of a small or mid-sized aircraft, perhaps a commuter jet or even a missile.

Still others believed that the damage had been caused by one or more bombs. Only 66 of the 152 claimed to have seen an airliner headed toward the Pentagon, and only 31 of those claimed to have observed this airliner actually strike the Pentagon. An examination of those 31, moreover, raises doubts about their authenticity. In pointing to the causes for such doubts, I quoted Jerry Russell's summary statement that 24 of these "worked for either the Federal Government or the mainstream media," which led you to say that eyewitnesses should not be mistrusted simply because they work for the mainstream media. That is true, because there are other criteria that must be used when deciding whether to accept testimony of such people.

One such criterion involves a principle commonly used by historians in evaluating conflicting testimonies of people who belong to some movement or institution. Let's say that two strong supporters of John McCain's bid for the presidency give different accounts of some event in his life. One account makes him seem noble and heroic, the other account reflects poorly on him. All other things being equal, we would give more credence to the critical account, because such an account from a McCain supporter would be surprising, suggesting that party spirit has been trumped by honesty. Another commonly used criterion is that we should be suspicious of testimony of a member of some organization when that testimony supports that organization's official position but is contradicted by physical evidence.

Applying these principles to the testimony of reporters for the corporate press, which has been completely supportive of the official account of 9/11, we would be suspicious of statements that support this account whenever such statements conflict with testimony from other mainstream reporters and/or the relevant physical evidence. An example of conflict with physical evidence is provided by the testimony of Steve Anderson of USA Today , who said that he watched as a plane "banked slightly to the left, drug its wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon." Given the fact that photographs of the Pentagon lawn immediately after that attack showed so sign of the enormous scar that would have been caused by a wing dragging along the ground, Anderson's testimony must be considered untrustworthy. For conflict between various reporters within the mainstream media, we can take the seven reporters in Eric Bart's list who claimed to have seen an airliner hit the Pentagon. I should not, incidentally, have simply used Russell's summary statement, which refers to them as working for the "mainstream media."

I should have been more specific, to wit: five of these seven worked for Gannett (primarily USA Today ), and another for the Armed Forces Information Service. In any case, what these reporters said is at odds with what other reporters have said. For example, CNN's Jamie McIntyre, having inspected the area near the strike zone shortly after the attack, said that all he saw were "very small pieces of the plane , small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around." The conflict becomes even stronger when we combine McIntyre's observation, which dealt with the area outside the building, with that of ABC's John McWethy, whom I quoted before about what he observed inside the building, namely: "I got in very close, got a look early on at the bad stuff. I could not, however, see any plane wreckage."

If an airliner really hit the Pentagon, why did these reporters find no evidence of a crashed airliner either inside or outside? As you can see, it is not simply a matter of accepting or rejecting testimony from the mainstream press. One has to choose which testimonies to accept. According to the criterion discussed above, testimonies that are in tension with the story endorsed by the corporate press have greater credibility (all other things being equal) than those that support this story. The same principle can be applied with regard to Pentagon personnel. They provided nine of the most graphic accounts of an airliner hitting the Pentagon. But other Pentagon personnel gave testimonies suggesting that nothing of that nature occurred. Having quoted Army officer April Gallop before, I will here quote some other witnesses. Dean Eckmann, who flew an Air Force F-16 over the Pentagon after it was damaged, said he suspected that the damage had been caused by "a big fuel tanker truck because of the amount of smoke and flames coming up and . . . there was no airplane wreckage off to the side." Sgt. Reginald Powell said: "I was . . . impressed with how the building stood up, after they told me the size of the plane. And then I was in awe that I saw no plane, nothing left from the plane.

It was like it disintegrated as it went into the building." Karen Kwiatkowski, an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, spoke of "a dearth of visible debris on the lawn, where I stood only minutes after the impact." Registered Nurse Eileen Murphy said: "I expected to see the airplane, so I guess my initial impression was, 'Where's the plane? How come there's not a plane? I would have thought we would have seen something like part of, or half of the plane, or the lower part, or the back of the plane. So it was just a real surprise that the plane wasn't there." Research analyst Will Jarvis, having hoped to see the plane, said: "There was just nothing left. It was incinerated. We couldn't see a tail or a wing or anything." When you add these testimonies to those of fire captains Dennis Gilroy and John Durrer, which I quoted before, you can see that the testimony that an airliner hit the building is in strong tension with testimony from many people who were at the Pentagon. And, again, the set of testimonies that goes against the Pentagon's official story must be accorded greater credibility.

In explaining grounds for doubting the testimonies that an airliner hit the Pentagon, I also quoted Russell's point that many of these testimonies contain "substantial errors or contradictions." Since that summary statement did not impress you, I will give some examples. In addition to USA Today 's Steve Anderson, quoted earlier, three other people claiming to have seen a plane hitting the Pentagon said that it hit the ground first. Mary Ann Owens, who like Anderson worked for Gannett, said "the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area." David Marra reportedly said that after the wing touched the helicopter pad, the plane "cartwheeled" into the Pentagon. Self-described pilot Tim Timmerman, who told CNN that the Pentagon was hit by an American Airlines Boeing 757, "no question," said that "it hit right in front of the building; most of the energy was dissipated in hitting the ground."

All of these testimonies, besides being disproved by the available photographic evidence, are contrary to the official story. Other sets of testimonies are discredited by being mutually contradictory. For example, two people said they could see in the windows of the plane, whereas others said the plane was dark, perhaps because the blinds were pulled down. Also, Major Lincoln Leibner, saying that the plane "completely entered the building," added: "The plane went into the building like a toy into a birthday cake." USA Today reporter Narayanan Vin, by contrast, said: "The hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon at a ferocious speed. But the Pentagon's wall held up like a champ. It barely budged."

As such problems in many of the testimonies show, the question of what damaged the Pentagon cannot be responsibly settled by cherry-picking a few testimonies. We must weigh the testimony that supports the official story against that which does not. We must also evaluate this testimony in relation to physical facts, including these: (a) photographs showing the absence of a plane and the absence of the kind of damage that would be expected from a Boeing 757 going several hundred miles per hour; (b) the failure of the alleged crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon to create a seismic signal strong enough to register on any nearby seismograph; and (c) the failure of Pentagon officials to produce any of the physical evidence that, if Flight 77 had hit the Pentagon, would have proved this: the flight data recorder; any of the other airplane parts with unique serial numbers; and the 85 videos, admittedly possessed by the Department of Justice, from cameras trained on the Pentagon. In sum: Weighed against contrary testimony and the relevant physical evidence, the evidence provided for the airliner theory by alleged eyewitness testimonies is very weak, especially given the problems inherent in the testimonies and the affiliations of many of the witnesses.

I turn now to another of your lines of attack, in which you say that I am "ready to toss out every single account of a cell phone call from a hijacked plane on the basis of a Washington Post story about "morphing technology." However, if you would read my accounts, you would see that this is no more accurate than McCain's reduction of Obama's energy program to his recommendation to inflate our tires. Other elements in my argument are: (1) Cell phone calls from high-altitude airliners were technologically impossible in 2001, yet many people received calls that they believed to be from cell phones, either because they were told this or because they recognized their spouse's cell phone number on their Caller ID. (2) After the impossibility of such cell phones calls became widely known, the FBI simply changed the story, saying that all those reported cell phone calls -- except two that occurred when Flight 93 was down to 5,000 feet -- were really made from passenger-seat phones. (3) In some cases, the FBI's new story involved rejecting the statements made in FBI documents, such as affidavits, from 9/11 itself. (4) Some of the calls contained internal evidence of not being authentic. The possibility of voice morphing is not the reason for rejecting the calls; it is a way to explain the reported calls, given the fact that high-altitude cell phone calls could not have been made -- a fact with which the FBI evidently came to agree.

In still another line of attack, you say: "[Y]our only counter-supposition to the hijacked-airplane story is that, well, who knows, maybe it was a remote-controlled plane that hit the Pentagon." But my reference to the possibility of remote control was made after I had spent some paragraphs explaining why I did not think that the Pentagon had been hit by an airliner of any sort, whether remote-controlled or not, adding that I had laid out such evidence more fully in Debunking 9/11 Debunking . In concluding this line of thought, which was directed against your claim to know that someone had piloted a plane into the Pentagon, I added: "Even if an airliner had hit the Pentagon, moreover, it might have been controlled remotely." For you to say that this is my "only counter-supposition to the hijacked-airplane story" is no different from McCain's saying that Obama's only solution to the energy problem is to encourage people to inflate their tires. Continuing to caricature what you call my "idiotic remote-controlled jet theory," you say you were sent into uncontrollable laughter by my scenario, which involves a "planeload of passengers, copies of The Wall Street Journal in hand, cheerfully stepping aboard a plane with no flight personnel and smiling all the way through the vessel's eerie Dracula-ship takeoff to oblivion."

That would indeed be a hilarious suggestion if anyone had made it. Those who believe that the planes were remotely controlled, however, have suggested either a switch, as proposed in Operation Northwoods, in which the plane containing crew and passengers was to be replaced with a remotely controlled drone, or else a technological override, in which the power to steer the airliner was taken out of the pilot's hands. With regard to Hani Hanjour, you continue to insist that, if I think he didn't pilot Flight 77 into the Pentagon, I must tell you what really happened. But you had seemingly accepted my point that, to disprove the government's theory, I need not provide a full-fledged alternative theory: It's sufficient to show that the government's theory cannot be true, and clearly Hani Hanjour could not have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon. You say that "there is nothing at all unbelievable about a radical Sunni terrorist committing an act of suicidal terrorism with American citizens as the target." But that is to divert attention from the issue at hand, which is that there is something very unbelievable about a man who could not safely fly a tiny single-engine plane piloting a Boeing 757 into the Pentagon, especially given the trajectory it reportedly took in order to strike Wedge 1 at ground level.

You complain that I retreat into "long-winded conspiratorial oatmeal about how bad a pilot he was, how he couldn't have pulled it off, yada yada yada." Why call this "conspiratorial oatmeal," as if it were something the 9/11 truth community made up? It was your trusted mainstream press that pointed out Hanjour's incompetence, with the New York Times , in an article called "A Trainee Noted for Incompetence," quoting one of his instructors as saying that Hanjour "could not fly at all." And the report that shortly before 9/11, a flight instructor "declined a second request [from Hanjour for a lesson] because of what he considered Hanjour's poor piloting skills," was made by the 9/11 Commission. Why don't you, instead of continuing to use the term "conspiracy" in a one-sided way, complain about the government's "conspiratorial oatmeal" about Hanjour's flying a giant airliner like an ace? I am truly puzzled about your attitude towards impossibilities. Just as you dismiss scientific evidence that the official story of the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings is physically impossible, you dismiss evidence that the official story about Flight 77 being flown into the Pentagon by Hani Hanjour was impossible. You seem to be an extreme fideist when it comes to official story about the 9/11, saying, in effect: "So what if it's impossible? I believe it anyway."

5. Matt Taibbi: I was greatly saddened when I read this answer, because it forced me to rewrite the entire first chapter of my next book, The 10 Most Retarded Things I Have Read This Year . The notion that Pentagon officials blew up a section of their building, and then crashed something (a missile, a drone, whatever) into that same section of the Pentagon in order to hide evidence of financial malfeasance, and kill the relevant auditors, is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it almost belies comment.

In exactly what form do you think this "evidence" was kept? Do you think it was hammered into granite slabs and mounted, hieroglyph-style, on the building's walls? Why else would it be necessary to blow the area up? It should be noted that even U.S. Senators have for decades failed in their attempts to extract meaningful financial data from the Department of Defense, which has failed to comply with the Chief Financial Officer's Act since at least 1990 and is, in the words of former Senate aide and defense budget analyst Winslow Wheeler, "unauditable."

Despite its appalling accounting practices the DOD has never come close to changing its ways, mainly because there is absolutely nothing like political momentum in congress for starting an investigation into its spending habits. In fact, in the years after Rumsfeld's "shocking" announcement, a succession of both Republican and Democratic congresses were so horrified by the bad accounting that they increased defense spending every year by an average of $50 billion dollars a year!

The closest thing to a "threat" to the DOD's spending habits that it has experienced in recent years was a call by Dennis Kucinich for an investigation into the unaccounted-for defense funds. A call that was, like almost everything else Dennis Kucinich has asked for, completely ignored. You really think John Murtha's Democrats are going to start demanding an investigation into Pentagon spending? Or Ted Stevens's Republicans? There will never, ever be a serious movement to pry those books open -- and there certainly wasn't even a hint of one on the horizon back in 2001. You might have noticed that Democrats have since taken over both houses of congress, and there hasn't been so much as a whiff of interest in investigating defense spending. So exactly whom were they hiding the evidence from? Exactly whose easy access to Pentagon records did they fear? Yours? Or did your thinking not even go that far?

So the notion that Don Rumsfeld would a) announce a major accounting problem and then b) blow up a section of his own building the next day, murdering over a hundred people, in order to save the bureaucratically impregnable Department of Defense from the investigative ravages of Dennis Kucinich, or someone like him -- that is high, high comedy. I defy you to call any budget analyst in Washington, lay that theory on him, and not have your ears laughed off on the telephone. Oh, I forgot, you don't make phone calls.

Beyond that, even I mean, come on! Even if you wanted to kill someone possessing dangerous information, even if you wanted to hide evidence, do you honestly think the best way to accomplish this would be to fake an elaborate terrorist attack that would focus the eyes of the entire world on the "attack site," aiming a missile or a drone or, let's say, a passenger jet liner, at the office in question? Subtle! Now there's a plan with a very high probability of success! "I know -- we'll herd a bunch of innocent civilian passengers onto a remote-controlled plane, a flight which we've cleverly appropriated from American airlines, and crash it into the very spot in the Pentagon where we'll be exploding bombs at the moment of impact! And everyone will buy it because, as it happens, we'll also be conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center and blame it on Saudi religious radicals in order to advance an imperialist agenda that involves invading the secular dictatorship of Iraq in response!"

It's all so simple! Why didn't I think of that?

Don't you ever wonder about the curious coincidence of criminal interests extant in your muddled thinking? Department of Defense embezzlers just happening to develop a sudden need to commit mass murder to cover up financial malfeasance at the very moment when Rudy Giuliani decides he's on board with leveling the World Trade Center, in order to save New York from having to pay for an expensive asbestos cleanup -- right at the time Dick Cheney and George Bush happened to be plotting to seize Iraq's oil reserves using a violent "false flag" attack involving the murder to untold thousands of Americans? How fortunate that these criminally needy bodies found each other at just the same moment. And I thought Strangers on a Train was unrealistic.

Come on, you can't possibly believe this bullshit! Even the phrasing of your answer -- "that does not mean that a plausible theory cannot be provided" -- betrays the near-total absence of interest on your part in getting your theories to make any kind of sense. The "theory" you provide isn't even your own, just something you scared up while digging through the steadily-expanding mega-landfill of Truther lore -- and recently, it seems to me, perhaps even in response to my questions. This is the very definition of half-assed thinking, half-assed research. Part III continues here. [Ed. AlterNet's CMS has a maximum number of characters allowed per article -- this is why the piece has been divided in three parts.]

Matt Taibbi is a writer for Rolling Stone . He is the author of The Great Derangement (Spiegel and Grau, 2008).

David Ray Griffin is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University (California). His 34 books include seven about 9/11, the most recent of which is The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Expos " (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008).

 
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