Smoke from the remains of New York’s World Trade Center shrouds Lower Manhattan as a lone seagull flies overhead in a photograph taken across New York Harbor from Jersey City, New Jersey, in this September 12, 2001 picture. Photograph by: RAY STUBBLEBINE, Reuters
By Megan O’Toole
TORONTO Sept. 9, 2011 — As people across Canada and the United States publicly remember the tragedy of 9/11 in the lead-up to its tenth anniversary this weekend, a small group in Toronto began a series of hearings Thursday to examine another angle altogether: the “myth” of 9/11.
Dubbed the Toronto Hearings, the four-day event at Ryerson University — which wraps up Sunday — will hear from a variety of experts and academics on why the official narrative of 9/11 is flawed.
Speakers broached a variety of controversial topics on the conference’s first day, including the now-familiar theory that New York’s Twin Towers were destroyed by controlled demolition, and that the alleged terrorist attack was, in actuality, a high-level plot orchestrated by the U.S. government.
Lance deHaven-Smith, a public policy professor at Florida State University, called 9/11 a “state crime against democracy,” suggesting the destruction of the Twin Towers was staged to advance a war agenda.
“What is more disconcerting in some ways is that this was not investigated,” he told the mostly older crowd of about 100 people. “The evidence of controlled demolition is pretty close to a smoking gun.”
Even the use of the term “9/11” to reference the tragic event is suspicious, deHaven-Smith said, noting the emotionally charged term, reminiscent of the emergency telephone number, deviates from traditional naming conventions.
“It elevates the historical significance of the event,” he said.
Speaker David Ray Griffin, who authored the book 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed, focused on alleged anomalies in the official report from the 9/11 Commission. The report, which he called a product of “the White House investigating itself,” failed to include relevant information about the alleged hijackers, including the discovery that some were still alive after the attacks.
Kevin Ryan, co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, was similarly critical of a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology into how and why the Twin Towers collapsed in the fashion they did.
“A steel structure does not collapse suddenly when attacked by fire,” Ryan said, noting the institute’s report “distorted many important facts.” The fires raging in either tower were not hot enough to melt the steel structure, he said, nor would the plane crash have created sufficient force to pull the building’s exterior columns inward, as the institute’s report suggested had occurred.
A four-person panel, consisting of three academics and an Italian judge, who each peppered the speakers with questions Thursday, will issue a series of conclusions after the hearings wrap up.
The panellists also may weigh in on whether there should be a state-sponsored inquiry to get to the bottom of all the lingering questions about 9/11, organizer Graeme MacQueen said.
“We know that the official story does not fly,” he said, noting the timing of the controversial hearings on the landmark anniversary was not meant to delegitimize the larger tragedy of 9/11, but rather to encourage critical thinking. “The legitimate mourning is mixed together with myth and deception.”
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