George Monbiot on 9/11: A Reply
by Peter Meyer

There are some political commentators who have for years been widely respected by those who think of themselves as "on the left" (a term which is not useful due to its vagueness and ambiguity). Recently some of these writers have come out with denunciations of those seeking to discover what really happened on September 11th, 2001. These commentators apparently exhibit a curious kind of mental blindness. If we are not to attribute their comments to some weird kind of stupidity, then what can be said of them but that they have revealed that, far from opposing the military/financial/capitalist ruling class which seeks to impose slavery upon the majority of mankind, they are really supporters of this class (because they are supported by it?), whatever they may have written before.

This is a reply to one of those commentators, specifically to an article by George Monbiot which appeared on the UK Guardian's website on February 6, 2007, entitled "A 9/11 conspiracy virus is sweeping the world, but it has no basis in fact", an article which attempts to debunk the evidence, presented in the video Loose Change, that 9/11 was an inside job.

George Monbiot is a respected writer whose previous work has exposed the lies and deceptions of those waging the fraudulent "War on Terror" as a cover for their attempted economic imperialism and control of the planet. So it is very surprising to find that, with this article, he has jeopardised his reputation as an intelligent observer of contemporary geopolitical events. One has to wonder if he was persuaded to write this piece by others, and whether their motivation was in fact to discredit his earlier work.

One should distinguish two aspects of Monbiot's article: Firstly the denunciation of Loose Change, which Monbiot describes as "a sharp, slick film with an authoritative voiceover, but it drowns the truth in an ocean of nonsense". Secondly the attempt to deny any credibility to anyone presenting evidence contradicting the official story of 9/11.

This reply is not a defence of Loose Change, which, indeed, may have flaws. This reply is a refutation of George Monbiot's attempt to characterize all who disbelieve the U.S. Government's 9/11 story as "gibbering idiots". Accordingly I ignore Monbiot's comments on Loose Change as such, and I address only his criticism of the evidence presented in the video. The relevant parts of his article worth replying to are reproduced below (in the boxes) with my replies following.

There is a virus sweeping the world. It infects opponents of the Bush government, sucks their brains out through their eyes and turns them into gibbering idiots. ... The disease is called Loose Change. It is a film made by three young men that airs most of the standard conspiracy theories about the attacks of September 11 2001. ...

It is really tiresome to hear the term "conspiracy theories" trotted out again, as if the cry of "conspiracy theory!" were itself sufficient to excuse anyone from further consideration of what is being suggested. This may have worked at one time, but intelligent people now perceive that anyone accusing others of being "conspiracy theorists" is trying to hide something. As Gore Vidal remarked (already in 2002), " 'conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."

Anyone who uses the term "conspiracy theories" or "conspiracy theorists" in an attempt to suppress examination of whether the official story of 9/11 stands up to criticism in the light of the evidence reveals themselves as merely a shill for the official story, and in so doing they are actually complicit in the cover-up of the greatest crime of this century (so far). U.S. military aggression since 2001 (mainly in the war crime of the invasion of Iraq), and the trampling of civil rights, has been sold to the U.S. public mainly on the basis of the official story of 9/11 (which no intelligent person who has seriously studied the evidence can accept) and anyone who seeks to deflect attention away from the many glaring holes in the official story is providing aid and support to those whose policies and actions have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Pejorative use of the terms "conspiracy theories" and "conspiracy theorists" to suppress examination of whether the official story is true is itself a shameful act, and those doing this deserve nothing but contempt.

The Pentagon, the film maintains, was not hit by a commercial airliner. There was "no discernible trace" of a plane found in the wreckage, and the entrance and exit holes in the building were far too small. It was hit by a cruise missile.

Indeed, the Pentagon was not hit by a commercial airliner. This is one of the smoking guns of 9/11, and is seldom mentioned by those who post comments online, since the trolls prefer to draw attention away from this and toward the destruction of the Twin Towers, where endless debate can be waged about how exactly it occurred.

Some kind of plane may have hit the Pentagon, but if so it was not a Boeing 757, as the official story claims. (The official story is that American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757, took off from Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. at about 8:10 a.m. and, after flying around off course for over an hour without being intercepted by any USAF jet, flew back to Washington and hit the Pentagon at about 9:35 a.m.) The Pentagon may or may not have been hit by a cruise missile, but there is no need to prove that it was. In order to show that the official story is fiction it is sufficient to show that whatever caused the damaged to the Pentagon was not a Boeing 757.

When TWA Flight 800 was shot down (probably accidentally) by a U.S. Navy missile in 1996 the debris was recovered from the ocean floor and almost the entire airplane was reconstructed by the National Transportation Safety Board. But not one piece of debris from the Pentagon has been proven to have come from a Boeing 757, and in particular, not from any Boeing 757 (if one existed) which took off from Dulles Airport on the morning of 9/11.

The evidence provided by the damage to the Pentagon and the debris has been considered by Leonard Spencer in the Damage and Debris section of his article The Attack on the Pentagon. Spencer concludes that the evidence is not consistent with the claim that a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.

This photograph of the hole caused by the entry of whatever it was that hit the Pentagon is obviously too small for any commercial airliner, though it may well have been made by a cruise missile.

Hundreds of people saw a plane hit the Pentagon. Because it collided with one of the world's best-defended buildings at full speed, the plane was pulverised — even so, plane parts and body parts were in fact recovered. The wings and tail disintegrated when they hit the wall, which is why the holes weren't bigger.

The Pentagon is, presumably, "one of the world's best-defended buildings", so why wasn't the attacking object shot down before it reached its target?

As regards the claim that "Hundreds of people saw a plane hit the Pentagon", eye-witness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and is of little value in comparison with physical evidence. James Fetzner, founder and chairman of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has written:

I can't imagine how anyone can possibly take it [the so-called eye-witness testimony] at face value. The plane could only have been making its final closure on the building for a few seconds, at most; it had to have been a surprising psychological phenomenon; most of these witnesses were not experts at aircraft identification. How many of us under those circumstances, I wonder, could discriminate between, say, a Boeing 767, a Boeing 757, or a Boeing 737, much less a cruise missile or an A-3 Sky Warrior that was made up to look like an American Airlines aircraft? Moreover, I suspect that a lot of the eyewitness evidence was manufactured. I can assure you that, as a former Marine Corps officer, any DI I supervised could have produced recruits by the gross who would have sworn on their mother's grave that they personally saw Bruce Wayne drive the Batmobile into the side of the building that morning!

If the plane was pulverized, why wasn't the damage to the Pentagon itself far more extensive? Here's a picture of the Pentagon before the outer wall collapsed (which occurred about half-an-hour after the attack):

Not only is there no sign of any wreckage of a Boeing 757 airliner, but the outer wall is still standing. If it had been hit by a 200-ton jetliner travelling at over 300 m.p.h. the outer wall would have been "blown into the next state", as the writer of this letter to The Nation said:

I am an airline pilot, retired after years of flying heavy jets on international routes. During my training I reviewed reports and photographs of thousands of aircraft accidents. I watched live news footage from the Pentagon on 9/11. I recognized immediately that what I saw could not possibly have been an aircraft crash scene.

Where did the energy of 200 tons of mass striking that building go? The roof fell downward when it should have been blown into the next state. It doesn't take a PhD to figure out what any high school physics student could. Nor does it take an airline pilot like myself to notice the minimal damage, lack of aircraft parts, bodies, cargo, baggage, etc. that should be spread out in a 360-degree pattern.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this scene is the U-shaped burn pattern, viewed from above, that extends through all five Pentagon segments and has two 90-degree turns. As a Vietnam Special Forces vet I'd suggest the possibility of faulty explosives that fizzled and burned rather than exploding.


As regards Monbiot's claim that "The wings and tail disintegrated when they hit the wall, which is why the holes weren't bigger", this is ludicrous. The engines of a Boeing 757 are attached to the wings, and are huge and are made of steel and titanium. If the wings sheared off, why were no engines found on the Pentagon lawn? Oh, of course, they vaporized. But somehow "body parts" did not. Sure.

It is one of the signs of a disinfo artist that they seek to draw attention away from any consideration of what hit the Pentagon (and toward the destruction of the Twin Towers), because it is not at all clear how WTC 1 and WTC 2 were brought down (so endless debate is possible) but it is quite clear that no Boeing 757 airliner hit the Pentagon. From which it follows that the official story is a blatant lie.

It's possible that the Pentagon attack was not part of the original plan, but was added later, perhaps without the agreement of the original planners. If the destruction of the Twin Towers (and WTC 7 at the same time, see below) was all that had happened then it would be a little more difficult to establish that this was an inside job. But the attack on the Pentagon is the Achilles Heel of the official story, since the damage done to the Pentagon, and the lack of evidence of the presence of a Boeing 757, is inconsistent with the claim that an American Airlines passenger jet slammed into the Pentagon.

[According to Loose Change:] The twin towers were brought down by means of "a carefully planned controlled demolition". You can see the small puffs of smoke caused by explosives just below the cascading sections. All other hypotheses are implausible: the fire was not hot enough to melt steel and the towers fell too quickly. ...

Where are the structural engineers, the materials scientists, the specialists in ballistics, explosives or fire?

Well, George, glad you asked. Judy Wood, who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University, and has degrees in civil engineering, engineering mechanics and materials engineering science, has written A Refutation of the Official Collapse Theory. Perhaps you should have read it before you wrote your article. Didn't know about it? There's a link to it from the website of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

As to how the destruction of the Twin Towers was actually accomplished, it's true that "the small puffs of smoke caused by explosives just below the cascading sections" did suggest a controlled demolition in the usual sense (using conventional explosives). That is possible, but within the last two years a more radical explanation has emerged, that the Twin Towers were destroyed by state-of-the-art thermonuclear devices, or in other words, small hydrogen bombs. The evidence for this may be read in two articles on this website:

Think this idea is too outrageous? So outrageous that you will not even look at the evidence? If so, can you honestly still think of yourself as a rational, intelligent person? What do you think the billions of dollars in the Pentagon's black budget have been spent on during the last ten or twenty years, if not in creating state-of-the-art hydrogen bombs and other technical achievements of which we know almost nothing?

We tend to think of nuke explosions in the images that we've all seen of them, spreading destruction in all directions. We don't know what kind of nukes the Pentagon has developed in recent years, but one kind might be "directed energy" devices, in which case perhaps the energy of nukes exploded in the basement could have been directed mainly up through the towers rather than laterally.

Perhaps directed heat energy, at sun-like temperatures, vaporized the massive steel core columns (which, contrary to some claims, provided the primary support for the buildings) as well as the concrete (producing the huge 'dust' clouds) without doing more damage to the outer walls than what we see in the photographic evidence. With no central support the outer walls would then have collapsed more-or-less from the top down.

The video evidence shows the collapses originating at a level about twenty floors below the top. This could have been accomplished by conventional explosives placed at that level. Then a few seconds after that explosion the basement nukes would have been detonated to destroy the central columns. This would also explain the complete disappearance of the upper twenty floors.

The failure of the twin towers has been exhaustively documented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Far from being impossible, the collapse turns out to have been inevitable. The planes cut some of the support columns and ignited fires sufficient to weaken (but not melt) the remaining steel structures. As the perimeter columns buckled, the weight of the collapsing top stories generated a momentum the rest of the building could not arrest.

This is just an uncritical repetition of the official story, and describes the Twin Towers inaccurately. The main load-bearing structures were the massive central core columns, not the perimeter columns. If the floors "pancaked", falling like platters on a spindle, there is no reason to believe that the most part of these massive central columns would not have remained standing, unless they toppled over into the streets below. But no such columns were found in the rubble; rather those massive core columns were turned into hot dust clouds. What could have vaporized those steel columns if not the heat from small thermonuclear devices?

Despite Monbiot's use of the term "exhaustively documented", NIST has not provided an explanation of the collapse of the Twin Towers. Monbiot's words are misleading to the point of deception. The NIST report talks a lot about "collapse initiation" but then just repeats the official "pancake" story (that the upper floors collapsed onto the lower floors like a stack of pancakes). Already in November 2001 this story had been refuted in an article by J. McMichael published on this website. For an examination of the flaws in the NIST report see Mark Gaffney's Dead On Arrival: The NIST 9/11 Report on the WTC Collapse.

[According to Loose Change:] Building 7 was destroyed by the same means a few hours later.

Along with the fact that the Twin Towers fell in almost freefall time, the collapse of Building 7 is another of the 9/11 smoking guns. As to why WTC 7 did not come down until shortly after 5 p.m. on 9/11 see Jeremy Baker's Was WTC 7 a Dud?

Monbiot claims that articles in Popular Mechanics and in Counterpunch support the official story. These articles are really shoddy pieces of journalism and have been refuted, the first in my Reply to Popular Mechanics re 9/11 and the second in Michael Keefer's Into the Ring with Counterpunch on 9/11: How Alexander Cockburn, Otherwise So Bright, Blanks Out on 9/11 Evidence.

Monbiot refers disdainfully to philosopher and theologian David Ray Griffin as "the high priest of the 9/11 conspiracists." Perhaps readers would care to form their own view of the worth of Prof. Griffin's contributions toward demonstrating the falsity of the official story by actually reading what he has written. He has several books concerning 9/11, including:

On this website you can read his The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie and here are two of his articles on other websites:

Monbiot mentions "the hijacker Hani Hanjour". Read what Carol Valentine wrote about Hanjour, way back in October 2001: Meet Ace Suicide Pilot Hani Hanjour

The next evident flaw [in the video] is that the plot they propose [What plot, exactly, would that be, George?] must have involved tens of thousands of people. It could not have been executed without the help of demolition experts, the security firms guarding the World Trade Centre, Mayor Giuliani (who hastily disposed of the remains), much of the US air force, the Federal Aviation Administration and the North American Aerospace Defence Command, the relatives of the people "killed" in the plane crashes, the rest of the Pentagon's staff, the Los Alamos laboratories, the FBI, the CIA, and the investigators who picked through the rubble

Monbiot is, of course, not the first person to claim that, if 9/11 was an inside job, thousands of people must have been involved and that surely one of them would have gone public. I have previously replied to this objection in my Reply to a 9/11 Skeptic.

In the above passage Monbiot allows his imagination to get the better of his reason, but to reply to specific points:

The US government carried out this great crime for four reasons: to help Larry Silverstein, who leased the towers, to collect his insurance money; to assist insider traders betting on falling airline stocks; to steal the gold in the basement; and to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination.

It's not likely that the perpetrators of 9/11 were much concerned with enriching Larry Silverstein, though Mr Silverstein probably found the prospect of picking up a $1.4 billion profit on an investment of $3.2 billion quite attractive. It is also unlikely that the perps were much concerned with the money to be made by selling the airline stocks short, though the gold might have been of greater interest. (Actually those who profitted from the insider trading may well have been members of a foreign intelligence agency who knew in advance what was, so to speak, coming down.) No, the real reason for 9/11 was exactly as Monbiot tells us: "to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination."

The attacks of 9/11 were used to "justify" the "War on Terror" to the American public. Under the guise of this "war" draconian "anti-terror" legislation, in the form of the Patriot Act (which was prepared well in advance of 9/11) was rushed through the U.S. Congress (without it having been read by any of the legislators who voted for it). This legislation was used to deprive the American citizenry of their civil rights and to institute a totalitarian police state (which has now come to the point where habeas corpus has been abrogated). Simultaneously the Bush Administration embarked upon a campaign of military aggression against Muslim countries designed to achieve control of oil and other economic resources, the better to prevent any challenge arising to American imperialist world hegemony. In addition the class warfare of the wealthy global elite against the rest of the Earth's people has been greatly assisted by those who have used 9/11 as the rationale for their "War on Terror".

So actually George Monbiot may not be the idiot he seems at first sight. His attack on Loose Change may actually be intended to encourage people to get this video and, viewing it, to wake up to the fact that they have been deceived all these years by those whose aim is not to protect them but to exploit them, like cattle. And he even manages to slip in the true explanation of 9/11:  "to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination."  Good for you, George Monbiot!

Alas, it seems that George was serious, as we learn from his article in The Guardian of 2007-02-20: 9/11 fantasists pose a mortal danger to popular oppositional campaigns

Curious that a previously intelligent writer can turn into a gibbering idiot so suddenly. Maybe it's just a symptom of the mass insanity now afflicting the whole human species.

As an antidote to George's idiocy try this: No George Monbiot, These Are The Facts of September 11th 2001

Curiously also, George has changed his mind since he expressed skepticism in his article in The Guardian of 2001-09-24: Collateral repair  At that time, four days after 9/11, he wrote:

Like almost everyone, I want to believe that the attack on New York was the work of a single despot and his obedient commando. But the more evidence United States intelligence presents to this effect, the less credible the story becomes.

Further reading:

A copy of the Serendipity website is available on CD-ROM.  Details here.

The World Trade Center Demolition and the So-Called War on Terrorism
Reply to Popular Mechanics re 9/11 Serendipity Home Page