John Kiriakou Original

John Kiriakou: America Plea Bargains for Its Crimes of Torture

The CIA agent who captured top al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah traces the Guantanamo prisoner's 20 years of torture, ending with the government's failure to put him and four others on trial.
“Abu Zubaydah Redacted.” [Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t]

By John Kiriakou / Original to ScheerPost

The Guardian reported last week that a recently-declassified CIA Inspector General’s report from 2008 found that CIA officers at a covert detention site in Afghanistan used a prisoner, Ammar al-Baluch, as a “training prop,” taking turns smashing his head against a plywood wall and leaving him with permanent brain damage.  Baluch is currently one of five defendants before a military tribunal at the US military prison at Guantanamo charged with participating in the planning for the September 11 attacks.  The case has been stuck in the pre-trial phase for 10 years, in part because much of the information that the government wants to use against the defendants was collected using torture.

The article comes amid reporting from the New York Times that lawyers for the five are in talks with military prosecutors on a plea deal that would have them plead guilty to terrorism in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table, agreeing to sentences of either 30 years to life or to life without parole, and promising to keep them in Guantanamo, rather than to transfer them to the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

This all sounds great on the surface of things.  But in fact, it represents a failure, perhaps of historic proportions, for the CIA.  More than 20 years after the September 11 attacks, these cases are still pending for the sole reason that the CIA carried out a brutal and patently illegal torture program that resulted in confessions that cannot be used against the defendants in a court of law, military or otherwise.

The CIA’s torture program was born out of failure, frustration, and hubris.  The September 11 attacks were arguably the worst intelligence failure in American history.  Three thousand Americans died because the CIA hadn’t done its job.  CIA leaders were humiliated.  They wanted revenge.  And so when they decided to “take off the gloves,” in the words of former CIA Counterterrorism Director Cofer Black, the rule of law went out the window.  What also went out the window was any hope of cooperation with the FBI on terrorism-related legal matters.  

The CIA knew that the FBI was the organization with expertise in interrogations.  The CIA didn’t even offer a training class in interrogations at the time.  The FBI, though, had been doing interrogations successfully since the Nuremberg trials in 1946.  Their process was actually quite simple: Establish a rapport with the subject.  Speak to him respectfully.  Perhaps offer him a cigarette or an apple or some paper to write a letter to his parents.  Once the rapport is established, the prisoner opens up and starts talking.  That’s how to collect intelligence.  But that’s not at all what the CIA did.  They went directly to the use of force.  The case of Abu Zubaydah—one of the five currently engaged in plea negotiations—is the clearest example of what the CIA did and how it went wrong so quickly.

I was an officer in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time.  In January 2002, I became the chief of CIA counterterrorism operations in Pakistan.  Under my leadership, our team captured Abu Zubaydah who, at the time, we believed was the third-ranking official in al-Qaeda.  He wasn’t.  But he was still a bad man, and we wanted him for questioning.  During the course of his capture in Faisalabad, Pakistan, a Pakistani policeman shot Abu Zubaydah in the thigh, the groin, and the stomach, with an AK-47.  We rushed him to a local hospital and he underwent emergency surgery.  Hours later, we flew him to a Pakistani military base, where I sat with him for the next 56 hours.  

Abu Zubaydah was in a coma when we first arrived at the military hospital.  I had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t know exactly where we were, I didn’t know the doctors or nurses, and I didn’t think that I could trust anybody.  I was also exhausted, already having been awake for nearly 24 hours.  So I tore a sheet into strips and tied Abu Zubaydah by the wrists and ankles to the bed, thinking that if I fell asleep and somebody tried to free him, I could wake up and react in time.  Abu Zubaydah finally stirred about 20 hours later. 

He was terrified, having realized that he had been captured by Americans.  I hovered over him and said in Arabic, “Shou ismak?”  “What is your name?”  He shook his head and responded to me in English.  “I will not speak to you in God’s language.”  “That’s ok, Abu Zubaydah,” I said.  We know who you are.”  He started to cry and said, “Kill me, brother.  Take the pillow and kill me.”  I told him that nobody was going to kill him, we had been looking for him for a long time and he was valuable to us.  He was terrified and asked me repeatedly what was going to happen to him.  I was honest.  I said that I had no idea.  “But let me give you one piece of advice,” I said.  “I’m the nicest guy you’re going to meet in this experience.  My colleagues aren’t as nice as I am.  If you do only one thing, it should be that you cooperate.”  His response was quick.  “You seem like a nice man.  But you’re the enemy.  I’ll never cooperate.”

We spent the next 30 hours or so talking about our families.  Abu Zubaydah cried a lot.  He said that he would never know the touch of a woman.  He would never know the joy of fatherhood.  It was the only time that I raised my voice with him.  “You’re not the victim here,” I said.  “There were 50,000 people in those towers.  What did you think we would do?  Did you think we wouldn’t try to find bin Laden?  Did you think we wouldn’t try to find you?”  He responded, perhaps disingenuously: “I didn’t want to attack the United States, I wanted to attack Israel.  I just wanted to kill Jews.”  

When we caught Abu Zubaydah, we also recovered what has become known in the media as his “diary.”  It wasn’t really a diary, so much as it was a doodle book.  He sketched in it, wrote lots of poetry, and did this odd thing where he wrote himself letters as a young man, meaning the 2002 Abu Zubaydah was writing to the 1985 Abu Zubaydah, telling him not to make certain mistakes in life, documenting where he went wrong, and trying to teach his younger self how to be a better man.  It was strange, and CIA and FBI psychiatrists debated for years what it meant.  Abu Zubaydah recited a lot of his poetry to me.  He talked about the mistakes he made as a younger man.  We talked about beliefs common among both Muslims and Christians.  We talked about his family.  He was worried about how his mother would react to his capture.  But he was especially worried about where we would send him and what would happen to him.

I had never taken an interrogation class at the CIA, the FBI, or anywhere else.  I had no expertise in interrogations.  But I’m a human being.  I understood then, as I understand now, that you capture more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Playing good cop/bad cop is one thing.  But torturing somebody to within an inch of his life is something entirely different.  Abu Zubaydah spoke freely with me, freely enough that I was able to write an extensive classified report back to CIA Headquarters with the information he had provided.

After 56 hours together, a CIA plane flew to the military base.  Three FBI agents and I carried Abu Zubaydah on a gurney out to the runway, which abutted the small clinic where he was being treated.  He asked me to hold his hand, which I did.  We maneuvered him onto the small jet and tied his gurney down onto the luggage rack at the back of the plane.  I leaned in and whispered, “Remember, you have to cooperate.”  He squeezed my hand and I wished him luck.  I never saw him again.

CIA officers then flew Abu Zubaydah to the first of a half-dozen secret prisons.  The location has been reported extensively in the media, but the CIA has never declassified it, so I’m not allowed to disclose its location.  Abu Zubaydah was allowed to recover from his wounds for about six weeks and then his FBI interrogation began.  He was interviewed daily by FBI agent Ali Soufan, who, in that well-known FBI style, established a rapport, built trust, and got Abu Zubaydah talking.  And talk he did.  There were two critical pieces of intelligence that he gave us.  

The first was al-Qaeda’s wiring diagram.  We knew, of course, that Osama bin Laden had created the terrorist group with his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, formerly the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.  The head of al-Qaeda’s “military wing” was Muhammad Atef, who was killed in a US bombing raid in Afghanistan in October 2001.  We also knew that there was a very bad character out there using the nom de guerre “Mukhtar” who likely had planned the September 11 attacks.  But that’s all we knew.  We had no idea where around the world al-Qaeda was located, how it operated, how it came up with attack plans, and how it communicated with its leadership.  We also didn’t know anything about Mukhtar.

Abu Zubaydah explained to Ali Soufan in great detail just how al-Qaeda was constructed.  He explained the concept of “cells” and he told us how targets were chosen.  He gave us the names and locations of al-Qaeda sleepers around the world, which enabled the CIA to inform its liaison partners overseas, resulting in the arrest of dozens of al-Qaeda operatives and the disruption of countless attacks.  Even more important, Abu Zubaydah told Ali Soufan that Mukhtar was Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11 and the planner of an earlier, disrupted, attack called Bojinka.  Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef had planned in 1995 a series of terrorist attacks, whereby they would first assassinate Pope John Paul II, then they would blow up 11 airliners in flight between Asia and the United States, killing approximately 4,000 people and, finally, they would crash a plane into CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.  The plot was disrupted in Manila after apparently being compromised to the Filipino police.  But the CIA didn’t know who Mukhtar was until Abu Zubaydah told Ali Soufan.

By July 2002, though, the CIA was frustrated.  It was frustrated that the FBI had primacy in the Abu Zubaydah interrogations and it was frustrated that it had spent millions of dollars coming up with an “enhanced interrogation program” and hadn’t been able to put it into practice.  In late July, CIA Director George Tenet went to President George W. Bush and asked him to remove the FBI from the case and to allow the CIA to take over.  For reasons that have never been fully explained, Bush did exactly that.  And on August 1, the CIA took over and immediately began torturing Abu Zubaydah.

The original torture plan called for CIA officers to begin with the least harsh method that had been approved by the Justice Department.  That was called the “attention grab.”  It was where a CIA officer would grab Abu Zubaydah by the shirt or the lapels, give him a shake, and yell “Answer my questions!”  The interrogator was then supposed to graduate to more severe  techniques by their degree of harshness.  The attention grab was supposed to be followed by the “insult slap,” a quick whack across the face, and then by the “belly slap,” which is an open-handed smack on the belly that makes a loud sound, leaves a red mark, and is supposed to be humiliating.  This would be followed by stress positions, where the prisoner would be forced to stand chained to an eye bolt in the ceiling so that he could not get into a comfortable position, couldn’t sit, and couldn’t lay down.  This leads to extreme pain and then to muscle failure.  The “cold cell” was then supposed to follow.  The prisoner would be stripped naked, chained to the eye bolt in the ceiling again, and his cell would be chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then every hour, a CIA officer would throw a bucket of ice water on him.  The CIA murdered people using this technique.  

The final technique, the one that was supposed to be so awful that it was reserved for last, was waterboarding.  That is where the prisoner is tied to a board, his feet are elevated above the level of  his head, his face is wrapped with fabric, like a towel, and water is poured on his face.  It causes a feeling of drowning. And in truth, a great deal of water gets down the throat.  Abu Zubaydah did indeed drown during this technique, and he had to be revived by a CIA doctor, according to the Senate Torture Report.  The CIA interrogators were supposed to begin with the most basic technique and slowly work their way up to waterboarding.  Instead, they decided to start with waterboarding.

All of the enhanced interrogation techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah.  He was slapped, punched, beaten, subjected to mock executions, and kept locked in a coffin and in a dog cage for weeks at a time.  When his interrogators learned that he had an irrational fear of insects, they made sure to throw a box of cockroaches in the coffin with him, just so that he would go mad.  He had his head slammed repeatedly against both plywood and concrete block walls.  He was chained to eye bolts and kept awake for more than nine days, long enough for most people to go insane.  He was subjected to hypothermia.  And he was waterboarded 83 times.

Of course, as soon as the CIA began torturing Abu Zubaydah, he stopped talking.  He gave the CIA literally nothing.  But at CIA Headquarters, people were none the wiser.  The FBI and CIA computer systems at the time were incompatible.  The information that Ali Soufan had received from Abu Zubaydah and had reported back to the FBI remained at the FBI.  What the two contract CIA psychologists who were torturing Abu Zubaydah did was to take Ali Soufan’s information, retype it in the CIA system, and say, “We waterboarded him and he gave us this incredible information!  The enhanced interrogation techniques work!”  But it was a lie.  They nearly killed Abu Zubaydah and he went silent.  (The CIA Inspector General wrote a classified report saying exactly this in 2005.  That report was not declassified and made public until 2009.)

Once the psychologists had reported all of Ali Soufan’s information back to the CIA, the FBI began agitating to take over the case again.  Ali Soufan returned to the secret site and started building a relationship with Abu Zubaydah from scratch again.  Abu Zubaydah was furious.  He believed that Soufan had sold him out and it was more than a month before he would even agree to a conversation.  But, finally, he did.  And he began answering Soufan’s questions again.  The intelligence flow began anew.  The CIA was not sated, though.  They had to prove that the torture program worked and that it was worth the $81 million they had charged the American taxpayers for it.  Yet again, Soufan and the FBI were thrown out of the country.  Yet again, the contract psychologists took over.  And yet again, Abu Zubaydah and others were tortured.

By the end, Abu Zubaydah was utterly broken.  But that had been the CIA’s goal all along.  They called it “learned helplessness.”  Abu Zubaydah had gotten to the point where his interrogator merely walking into the room was enough to make him cry.  He would tell his interrogators literally anything he thought they wanted to hear just to make them stop torturing him, whether the information was true or not. 

Abu Zubaydah is now one of the five Guantanamo defendants who apparently are negotiating plea deals.  But does it really matter?  The CIA told US Senate investigators that Abu Zubaydah will never go free.  Never.  He’ll die at Guantanamo someday.  And when he does, they said, they would cremate him and throw his ashes into the Caribbean.  It’ll be as though he never existed.  

This doesn’t make America stronger.  It makes us weaker.  Besides ceding the moral high ground by exhibiting behavior as reprehensible as what the terrorists have done to Americans and others over the years, the CIA’s torture program forced countless analysts to waste countless hours poring through false and worthless information collected through torture.  How many Americans were endangered because of that?  How many terrorist attacks went forward because of the way the CIA tried to “collect” information?  

And now, worst of all, our government is unable to prosecute its most dangerous prisoners because the CIA violated their constitutional rights.  The torture program was wrong and ineffective from the very beginning.  There was no upside. The CIA, in fact, was not gathering intelligence. It was committing a crime against humanity. 

35 comments

  1. Not sure what they are looking for. So 20planes can bring down 3 towers in a free fall! with WT7 coming down with exact collapse like 1 ,2-8 hours later. Ive got a bridge I can sell to you,

  2. But, of course, we are not the ones who are guilty of “crimes against humanity” …

  3. Not to mention the fact that 9/11 was controlled demolition orchestrated by the Bush administration as a false flag. Watch Engineers and Architects Talk About 9/11 on YouTube, if it hasn’t been scrubbed. You didn’t say one word about that.
    So all of the torture, that should have been done to the members of the Bush administration who designed the plan, was done to innocent people who were the wrong nationality or color.

  4. Evil is not a word to be used lightly. But the C.I.A.’s entire history has been riddled with horrors such as those described by John Kiriakou. By bringing down fledgling democracies in Iran, Guatamala, Indonesia, Chile, and throughout Central America – installing brutal dictatorships – untold numbers of individuals were tortured, murdered, and displaced. Not to mention the agency’s use of torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Program), support of the Contra death squads in Nicaragua, or their nefarious, illegal domestic activities and on and on. Individuals such as Mr. Kiriakou only serve to highlight the deep moral rot that has been at the core of this institution since it employed Nazi war criminals such as Klaus Barbi for anti-communist intelligence purposes. The C.I.A., it can be said without hyperbole, is an evil institution.

    1. Of even greater importance is the very simple fact, that by permitting a rogue, completely lawless government institution to exist, meant that others within government became aware of the potential to follow suit, “they can ignore the rule of the law; so shall we”. Which in turn, led to the concept of, at and beyond a certain level of leadership . . . “all we need to do is deny any crime”. But that would not have worked; except that someone had the seeming great idea of changing the rule of the law to suit; bringing into existence the concept of allowing the United States Department of Justice to apply monetary fines to such higher level criminality; to the point where today; all any senior corporate executive faces is that their corporation has to pay a fine . . . that as such, “They” never; ever; face the prospect of . . . Jail! The most egregious now paying billions of dollars to . . . guess who? The United States Department of Justice!

      Eventually, history will show that permitting the CIA to continue from 1945 onward, funded by their seizure of the buried gold and other valuables, so well described in the book; Gold Warriors, America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold, by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave; has, very effectively, destroyed the original Founding Concept of the United States of America. In the process, they must be seen as responsible for the complete destruction of the concept of the rule of the law applying to everyone within their nation. Very sad state of affairs; there are some very fine people within their nation, though, not in any position to bring about the necessary changes.

      1. “…the entity that actually threatened the rights and freedoms of the American people was the U.S. government, given the totalitarian-like powers that it assumed as part of its effort to keep us safe from the enemies its interventionist policies were producing. Coming to mind are the totalitarian-like power to assassinate Americans, secret mass surveillance, and the incarceration and torture of American citizens as suspected terrorists — all without due process of law and without trial by jury. This is what a national-security state does to people — it warps, damages, or destroys their conscience, principles, and values; induces them to subscribe to false bromides; and nurtures all sorts of mental contortions to enable people to avoid confronting reality.,,,, Jacob G. Hornberger

      2. To USA,
        Well what do you expect from a gov’t that has been controlled by 2 corp parties for decades … time, way past time to throw these bums out and replace them with non-corp pols .

    2. @Adam Gorelick
      Like NATO, the CIA should be disbanded. And like NATO, it won’t be unless we can force the ruling class to do so.

  5. Could American exceptionalism really make a country so immune from all the laws of nature for centuries as it continues with the assurance and a straight face that none of the mountains of crimes committed will ever be accounted for.

    And yet we have its standard bearer, the criminal Joseph Biden, waxing lyrical that such a country should lead the world. Even at a time when he and his son, according to the New York Times, are implicated in forms of corruption in Ukraine as evidenced by the laptop Trump cited.

    All these actors are central the a highly corrupt imperial culture. The NYT dismissed Trumps claims on the basis that it was Russian propaganda. Both Bidens denied the charges and made similar statements. And Donald Trump, like all politicians, had told so many lies that the few times when he spoke the truth nobody listened.

    After torturing hundreds of Muslims men and boys, on an industrial scale, against both the laws of war and human rights conventions the punishment of America, as a criminal state, should be the impossibility of its repeat.

    1. If I emember correctly, the only truth that Donald Trump told was that the MSM was full of “fake news”

      1. He also, at least somewhat, told the truth about international trade and U.S. militarism. His objections to those things were for the wrong reasons, but at least he told the truth about them. The problem is that he doesn’t care about anything except for his money and his ego, and he let pro-trade people and the military/intelligence/industrial complex walk all over him on those issues.

  6. It’s always seemed strange to me that no one among the almost 3,000 people who died was famous, or even was well known enough to feature in an article. As far as I know, not one of the the dead was even related to a public figure. Could that suggest a prior warning?

  7. Was just going to look at Political Misfits, but it is kaput.

    Unbelievable !

  8. There are a few comments here supporting the 9/11 revisionist theory that the US government planned the attacks. I think that’s far fetched, if true, it would have been exposed by now. No way to keep something this scandalous secret for so long. But there is evidence that once the attacks were underway, the response was half-hearted at best, on purpose, the ruling war mongers immediately understood the value these attacks would have for their perpetual war making policies.

    1. A welcome voice of sanity. Controlled demolition 911 “Truth” nonsense as several assert above is a great example of the power of Big Lies. Convince people to believe gibberish and not what their own eyes saw: Planes hit towers, initiated events that caused the collapses – duh. And unlike the lunatics, fakers and senile fossils of AE911, real scientists, physicists and engineers understand how it happened in detail: which is summed up by – believe your eyes.

      The more years go by, the more the theory that 911 Truth is the coverup, a psyop planned to distract attention from the real POLITICAL history of the event, hide the sort of investigations that Senator Bob Graham did – seems more likely. But, no, it is probably just a testament to human folly and escapism.

      1. @Calgacus
        Really? Then how do you explain the tower that WASN’T hit by the planes also collapsing?

        Furthermore, I’ve heard engineers on both sides of this debate discuss whether the planes crashing into the buildings could have caused them to collapse. Both sides have legitimate arguments, and lay people like us can only stay neutral. We can choose a side if we like, but that’s not based on anything rational, just wanting to choose a side.

      2. Jeff, if the overwhelming majority of people with credentials are on one side – that the planes caused the collapses – and they are – I think it is clear what side rational people should be on. Computers and structural engineering modeling programs have advanced to the point that modeling it is a textbook exercise – in at least one textbook I’ve seen. Have it on my hard drive, but don’t recall the author.

        Anyone with a smattering of physical science can see which side is a fraud. One way to spot pseudoscience is that it claims too much – truthers make claims like the official story violates the “conservation of momentum” or somesuch. What does that have to do with WHY they collapsed? If such arguments proved anything, they would prove that the towers did not collapse. To believe that, one has to be truly far gone.

        And again, why is there such a prominent “Truth” movement saying “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”. Again, a seriously possible answer is – to hide the real political facts by absurdly crazy conspiracy theories. The more and the crazier the theories, the better they hide the obvious.

        Just since I wrote that, new facts have come out – and been ignored. See Branko Marcetic- We Have New Evidence of Saudi Involvement in 9/11 & Barely Anyone Cares- Jacobin (March 2022) As the article says [Aside from Jacobin]: “In the world we live in, the story has been covered by NorthJersey.com, by Democracy Now!, and . . . that’s it” 911 Truth works very well to hide real political skullduggery.

      3. @Calgacus
        You didn’t answer my question: How do you explain the tower that was NOT HIT collapsing? Too much funny business here, too many unexplained things, and a totally corrupt government that, along with the establishment media, uses massive & sophisticated propaganda and works on behalf of the rich & powerful instead of the bulk of the population.

      4. I’m glad you posted that, but it’s wasted effort. When have the conspiracy people ever responded, “you have a point I may need to rethink my claim?” In one such discussion, after laying out all manner of building facts (my experience) and other documented proofs, a 9/11 truther’s final response to me was, “so you believe Dick Cheney? You’re on Dick Cheney’s side?” She, an electronics sales rep, had “done the research.”

    2. @Bob
      I’ve been convinced since shortly after 911 that the U.S. government knew about it ahead of time and did nothing to stop it on purpose. There are too many coincidences, too many lies, and too many things they’re not telling us for me to believe otherwise. In a coverup of the scale that would be needed here (similar to the JFK assassination), it’s almost certainly going to be impossible to ever know what really happened here. If nothing else, we know that 911 gave the establishment an excuse for even more of the police state and even more wars, both of which it wanted well before 911.

  9. When the courts start doing their job and demand NIST answer legitimate questions on the bringing down of 3 modern, giant NY buildings into their own footwell, a complete impossibility in the way it was described, or issue a revised report in line with actual evidence, we may be able to move forward in this sick and horrifically sad saga.

    Many will be hoping to obfuscate the the work of the highly respectable AE9/11Truth (look them up if you don’t know about this collective of architects and engineers) to keep that day at bay until after they die.

    Meanwhile, the US keep their boot on the throat of Julian Assange in London’s Prison Belmarsh, continuing to insist on his extradition on charges of espionage for helping bring to light the damning evidence of war crimes committed by the CIA and US military among others. It’s infuriating!

    1. Julian is being crucified to send a warning to anyone else who would dare expose the hypocrisy and blatant criminal behaviour of America.

  10. I would love to know Mr. Kiriakou’s take on Gerald Posner’s version of Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation in “While America Slept.” Is there a way to email him?

  11. We must easily know those who gave the commands for torture/crimes against humanity yet they walk free.

  12. U.S. officials, including those in the CIA, are the ones who should be on trial here.

  13. Truthers just need to get a life and half a brain. You clowns make the Left look silly.

  14. I think most of us know now that 9/11 was orchestrated and executed by the Bush administration to create a state of permanent war “against terror” to support the weapons industry which is a open faucet spewing billions into American coffers and let’s be brutally honest, who doesn’t know that the “oligarchs” who own the and run the business of war also own the American government regardless of which clown sits in the oval office.

  15. One (of very many) interesting aspect of denials like Bob’s, above, is that they are often based upon vague statements of belief, faith in government, and the like and rarely on hard facts or scientific analysis. Bob apparently BELIEVES that the government’s fantasy story must be true because, ” . . . I think that’s far fetched, if true, it would have been exposed by now. No way to keep something this scandalous secret for so long.” Notice that there are no hard facts cited by Bob. (Bob, I hope I am not putting thoughts in your head that are not there.)

    Conversely, much of the evidence presented by “Truthers” and “Conspiracy Theorists” (both pejorative terms meant to dismiss critics with a wave of the hand without bothering to address the facts and analysis presented), is based on very detailed scientific and engineering analysis and hard evidence ignored or dismissed by creators of the official myth.

    Another notable fact is that most, not all, “Truthers” do not present a specific theory of what exactly led up to the events of 9-11 or who was responsible, but rather demand a new investigation fully funded by taxpayers but not controlled by the government in the manner of the original investigations (a very difficult, possibly impossible task).

    Calgacus uses derisive terms (Big Lies . . . gibberish . . . lunatics . . . senile fakers . . .” to describe “Truthers” in an effort to dismiss them without addressing their arguments.

    He states, ” Computers and structural engineering modeling programs have advanced to the point that modeling it is a textbook exercise – . . .” Well, Professor Hulsey supervised an extremely detailed finite element analysis of building 7 leading up to the conclusion that it could not have collapsed in the manner claimed by NIST. He presented the entire analysis details and procedures to the engineering world for review and criticism. Conversely, NIST performed its analysis of buildings 1 and 2 in secret, made many “adjustments” such as assuming the absence of bolts that were actually present to get the analysis to lead up to collapse, and then kept its analysis secret for “national security” reasons. As far as I know their analysis is still (utterly preposterously) a national secret in contravention of universal engineering and scientific practice which is predicated on peer review.

    Calgacus says, “One way to spot pseudoscience is that it claims too much – truthers make claims like the official story violates the “conservation of momentum” or somesuch. What does that have to do with WHY they collapsed?” He thus dismisses engineering analysis and a fundamental physical principle (as “somesuch”) with a wave of his hand.

    Calgacus than goes on to say, ” If such arguments (conservation of momentum – Armin) proved anything, they would prove that the towers did not collapse. To believe that, one has to be truly far gone.” No, Calgacus, that is not what an engineering analysis would prove and no “Truther” ever said that. It would prove that the towers could not have collapsed IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED BY NIST. Thus you must state that anyone bringing up conservation of momentum ” . . . must be far gone.” hoping to send the non-technical reader scurrying away from the engineering analysis to show he is not “. . .far gone.”

    I must say, Calgacus’ entire discussion is a prime example of my observation that critics of “Truthers” do not base their arguments on analysis of evidence but rather on belief and derision of anyone who does not take the official myth as gospel.

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