There is constant dialogue about how the fate of China and the US are tied to each other, with butterfly effects of major events in each country felt in its counterpart, and the attacks, if you believe they were attacks, on the World Trade Center in September 2001 are no exception.
But what had never been seen before this week, were the “truthers,” those that speak against the official version of events 9/11, despite the fact that the Mandarin Oriental hotel has been jokingly touted as an example of how a building does not fall down after a blaze, in reference to World Trade Center building 7 (WTC7). All that changed when a Beijing-based truth member invited Dr Niels Harrit to give a talk on his theories for 9/11.
“I’m a scientist and I provide evidence. I do not know who took down the World Trade Center, but I know who did not take down World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden did not take down three skyscrapers with two aircraft! ” says Harrit to an enraptured, if small, crowd.
Science is the crux of Harrit’s argument. Starting with models of building collapse, he examines WTC7, and suggests that the free fall collapse of the building can only be equated to a controlled demolition, using explosives. The end game of his theories are to encourage a re-investigation of the event.
“I am opposed to crime. I am in favor of crimes being investigated; this crime has never been investigated as a crime,” said Harrit, speaking after the talk. “It’s my duty as a scientist to research the evidence and present the facts.”
He goes on to combine that with video evidence of what they suggest is molten iron leaking from the World Trade towers, and a scientific study they conducted on samples of material which they claim indicates the presence of nano-thermite, a ferric-aluminium incendiary compound which burns hot enough to melt steel. Each point is normally presented in response to official reports released by the National Institute of standards and Technology in the US.
It was difficult to drag the occupants of the room into arguments or opinion. Everyone was reluctant to give and opinion. Words like “sensitive” were thrown around, and it was pretty obvious that the media, particularly a state run paper, was not going to be welcomed with open arms.
“I was just curious about 9/11, and I came with one simple question: there were only two planes, how can three buildings collapse?” said one member of the audience, who had a healthy enough distaste for the media to not give his name. “There are political issues, which get very complicated. I don’t believe in the official story. From every account you have to ask who benefits from this event. Who benefits?”
The talk had 40 odd confirmed participants, but when it came to the crunch just 10 managed to show up. Perhaps that’s strange given a general trend of public revelry and interest in misfortunate events that happen to China’s biggest rival, but with the anniversary just around the corner, who knows what will happen.
The organizer of the evening, Mike McNulty, lost his nephew on the day, and for him this has been the work of many years, work which will continue until he gets the answers he seeks. The investigation might not be happening in the US, so starting abroad seems to be the way forward, and perhaps raising awareness here in China and abroad will contribute more, he thinks.
“Since that day started, the event hasn’t made sense,” he says. “The people who did this are psychopaths, and psychopaths don’t stop. The only way is if they are investigated and we find out who is responsible.”
Sitting mostly around one table, sipping from bulbous Erdinger glasses, the participants were not what you might call lunatics, conspiracy nuts, or extremists waving banners, but rather international affairs and politics students, family types, and amateur science enthusiasts who’d turned out to seek questions, answers and information.
“I was just interested, we found this forum on Douban. It’s very interesting, and as this professor said, there are many unknowns to this. We as ordinary Chinese have just a few sources of information and not so many explanations,” said another anonymous participant, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to believe everything just yet. “It’s an important event. I believe in scientific research, I have doubts about the official reports but this is my first time to really hear about this aspect of 9/11 and I’d like to know more about the science afterwards.”
Their personal research tends to get overshadowed by the “who benefits” motive-based approach that goes hand in hand with any theory. Oddments in speech and fact add weight to the finger pointing. Larry Silverstein, the owner of the World Trade Center and its anti-terror insurance policy, made comments about deciding to “pull WTC7” which could have been a veiled reference to emergency services in the area, or the demolition of the building. The anomaly in the BBC which caused them to report that WTC7 had fallen 20 minutes before it happened, or strange stories of a team of dancing Israeli moving staff/Mossad agents (depending on who you believe) in front of the towers on the morning it happened.
If you were to take everything at face value, there would have to be several thousand people from several hundred different industries, organizations and offices in on the act, working efficiently, without conscience or mistake. It seems a little too far fetched, no matter how compelling the evidence, but that didn’t stop the crowd from retiring to the pub downstairs to debate that into the early hours of the morning.
Matthew Jukes, Global Times, Beijing, China