Kevin Ryan Debates Michael Shermer transcript


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Thom Hartmann Show, November 8, 2007
Kevin Ryan and Michael Shermer Debate
What Really Happened on 9/11

[The transcript below begins as Host Thom Hartmann is explaining some background relating to his research into the JFK assassination, about an hour an eight minutes into the unedited recording of the show at .]

TH: I’m very skeptical of anybody who says I know exactly what went on, or I know exactly what didn’t go on. So my position is very agnostic on this. I think it's going to take – I mean, here we are, with the JFK assassination, 40 years later, 44 years later – I think it's gonna take a long time to figure out. That said, a good healthy discussion, a good healthy debate and raising the questions and for that matter raising the answers to the questions, is a reasonable and healthy thing.

Michael Shermer is with us. He’s the founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine, the executive director of the Skeptics Society – their website, – Michael, welcome to the program.

MS: Welcome, thanks for having me.

TH: You're welcome, you're welcome. And Kevin Ryan is with us. He's the co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, the former site manager for Underwriters Laboratories in South Bend, and the website – . Kevin Ryan, welcome to the program.

KR: Hello, thanks for having me.

TH: Great to have you both with us. Michael is taking the position – well, I'm not even going to try to characterize you guys’ position [sic]. My goal here, my job here, is to moderate. One thing I’m going to ask is that each of you keep your questions or answers relatively short, and that nobody try to filibuster the other one, and if it happens I'll just jump in. So let's start first of all with you, Kevin, your opening statement.

KR: Okay, well, really what it looks like we have here, we have a couple of hypotheses, and it's different than JFK because it's not really a question of a conspiracy theory or not. That term actually is wrong for several reasons here because, unless you believe that the crimes of 9/11 were committed by one person acting alone, you believe in a conspiracy theory. Actually, you don't believe in it. All you believe is some sort of hypothesis, because the two major hypotheses are both not well accepted. The official hypothesis is that al Qaeda, with no help from any government agency, committed these irrational acts of violence, and we're not really sure why. It requires extreme negligence on the part of numerous government agencies. Multiple false stories have been told. And in the end it just gives us a reason to invade the strategically important lands.

And on the other hand, we've got this alternative hypothesis, that suggests that government agencies were involved, and either let it happen or made it happen. In other words, the crimes of 9/11 were committed by those with the means to accomplish them and those who benefit from the War on Terror.

So, along with that is, if you believe in – if you lean toward the alternative hypothesis, you also believe there has very likely been an intentional cover-up, which can be seen as a greater crime.

TH: Okay, so Michael Shermer – Kevin suggests – and both of you, if I reparaphrase [sic] something incorrectly, feel free to correct me and jump in, but just for the sake of brevity, I'll restate something shortly. My sense of what Kevin just said is that there definitely was a conspiracy – the question is was it a conspiracy by Al Qaeda, you know a small band of Muslim extremists, or was it a conspiracy by the federal government, or people within the government, or people within the United States, or was it a conspiracy by both? Your response?

MS: Well, al Qaeda, of course, is a conspiracy. You know, they say they did it, they say they were proud they did it, they would do it again if they could, and they have a long history of doing those sorts of things. Don't forget that the World Trade Center was already attacked in 1993. Over a thousand people were injured in that truck bomb attack. There were all these countless bombings of US embassies throughout the 90s, that Clinton had to deal with. [There were] thwarted attempts, as at LAX, by al Qaeda, and so it's obviously, you know, when you have that kind of evidence, and … And then we have to think about the economy of explanation, that is, is it possible for 19 people to do that, versus to say thousands of Bush operatives secretly running around planting demolition bombs in the World Trade Center buildings for months or years at a time without getting caught?

The reason we tend to favor conspiracy theories is that I think we have a cognitive dissonance between the size of the event and the size of the cause. We tend to think huge, massive events like 9/11 should have an equally massive, complex cause. But, in fact, it's just the opposite. It would be much easier for 19 people to hide in nooks and crannies of a free democratic society like the one in which we live and get away with these sorts of things, versus thousands of operatives that would have to be involved if the US government orchestrated [it] – not to mention the issue of Could the US government, which can hardly do anything with competence, manage to pull this off with great confidence, and nobody ever spilled the beans? I mean, look what happens to our US spies or former government agents, Bush operatives, Bush administration members – what happens when they leave office? They write books, they go on Larry King live, they have their – they spill the beans, they tell all kinds of national secrets and stories in order to sell their books and whatnot. Not one person has done that in relation to 9/11, if it was a government conspiracy, which is exactly what we would expect.

TH: Okay, so Kevin Ryan, it sounds like what Michael is saying is Occam's Razor – the simplest explanation is probably the right one.

KR: Yeah, you know, I personally believe also it's very likely that the truth is simple, but it's not obvious. I've heard Michael use the complexity argument on both sides of this issue, but again we have two hypotheses, what we've got. Really, what separates them is the question of, Were government agencies involved? So, if we can agree that there is such a thing as al Qaeda, the one important question is, What historical facts about al Qaeda and these alleged hijackers should make people skeptical of the official hypothesis? I think it's clear that, if you look through the history, al Qaeda is a product of the CIA's Afghanistan program of the 1980s, when the mujahedin was fighting the Soviets. Al Qaeda has deep connections to the Saudis, and to [the] ISI in Pakistan, and a lot of the hijackers have connections to the ISI as well. You know Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, the “mastermind,” is known to have worked for the ISI. Saeed Sheikh, the 9/11 paymaster, was an ISI agent, and the President Musharraf has a book that says Saeed Sheikh was also an MI6 agent, according to the president. I don't know [about that]. But in any case, Saeed Sheikh reportedly wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta just before the 9/11 attacks and at the direction of the ISI Chief General Ahmed. So it looks very much like Pakistan's ISI was involved—

TH: But that doesn't mean that the US government was.

KR: Not necessarily, no.

TH: OK, so Michael Shermer, your response.

MS: Yeah, this is interesting, this is not quite the direction I thought we were going to go, but that's okay. I mean, let's be realistic here, American foreign policy since Kissinger has always been this realpolitik, where we get into bed with dictators all the time. It's a question of, as Lyndon Johnson said, he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch. You know, we [sic] do these things, and it's one of the reasons that presidents that want to hold by strict moral principles are criticized. You know, you have to live in the real world, and we have to fund this dictator, because he's better than that communist guy, or whatever it is. So, yeah, no doubt, there's been a lot of government underhanding [sic] things in the Middle East, because it's such a complex mess. But that's still different than saying that they intended to bring down the World Trade Center.

TH: So, let's get into why people should be skeptical of the 9/11 Commission Report – or not – alternatively, why people should think that this is the last word on it. And what really happened, what really happened on that day? In the second half hour of our report, we'll drop in a few calls from our listeners.

[1:17:35 - BREAK]

TH: What happened on 9/11? Kevin Ryan is with us from the Journal of 9/11 Studies ( ) co-editor of that journal, and Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, executive director of the Skeptics Society ( ). I want to get into the real, the inflammatory, “meat-and-potatoes” stuff here:

“The 9/11 Commission got it all wrong.”

“Building 7 was controlled demolition.”

“What about these things that hit the Pentagon, what happened to all the videotapes, why did they smuggle away all the evidence?”

“Why did Rudy Giuliani suspend the rescue operations as soon as he had the gold out of the bottom of the World Trade Center?”

Probably that's more, you know, self-evident – anyhow, let's start with you, Kevin. Why should we be skeptical of the 9/11 Commission Report?

KR: Well, for a couple of very important reasons. They left so many of the important facts out of their report, and they had a lot of conflicts of interest, and also they just uncritically accepted accounts from government officials. So they left out, just a gigantic number of facts, all the conflicts of interest – Philip Zelikow, the executive director, for example, was a Bush insider, and really controlled the investigation. Any mention of World Trade Center Seven, the third skyscraper that supposedly collapsed, despite not being hit by a plane [was also omitted]. The fact that President Bush's relatives were in charge of the security company for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles Airport –

TH: Now, that was, that was, that was in the past, though, wasn't it?

KR: No, actually it was in 1999 through 2000 for Marvin Bush, but Wirt Walker, his cousin, was CEO at the time that the attacks occurred. So, yeah, and there are a lot of FBI agents who reportedly claim to have known the dates and targets of the attacks well in advance, and their testimony was not included. There were news stories suggesting, after 9/11, that the US military allowed Osama bin Laden to escape. Just the fact that the Bush and bin Laden families are old business partners might have been something you could put in that report –

TH: George [Bush] Sr. was having breakfast with Osama bin Laden's brother on the morning of 9/11, I believe that was in the New York Times –

KR: Yeah.

TH: So a lot of questions here, Kevin. You're asserting that all of these questions point to conspiracy?

KR: Well, no, I'm saying we have a conspiracy, no matter what, but of the two hypotheses, the one that the evidence supports the most strongly is that there were government agencies involved in the attacks. We can't prove either one, one way or the other –

TH: What about rogue agents, rogues within the government –

KR: Absolutely.

TH: Like with the Kennedy assassination. I mean, you know, E. Howard Hunt was part of the CIA, but that doesn't mean the CIA had anything to do with it.

KR: Sure, and maybe just ask a simple question, like Who was responsible for, and in charge of, defending the country when it was under attack? What did those people do on 9/11? We find out that everybody in the chain of command was either mysteriously absent or completely incompetent during just that period of the attacks. I mean, Bush was reading My Pet Goat, right? The next person was Donald Rumsfeld, and the Commission says he did not enter the chain of command until the morning's events were over. And then the Joint Chiefs of Staff Henry Shelton was flying to London, and his replacement was in a meeting, and General Montague Winfield of the NMCC, believe it or not, asked his deputy to take over for just the two hours of the day – of the attack. This poor Captain Leidig, who replaced him for just those two hours, turned out to be incompetent. And then NORAD's General Eberhart was indisposed because he was driving around on Cheyenne Mountain.

TH: Now, is all of this or is none of this in the 9/11 report, Kevin?

KR: Really, none of this is clarified – obviously, the President was indisposed, he was in this elementary school, and why—

TH: But most of this stuff that you're raising, that really raises eyebrows, you're suggesting is not in the 9/11 report. I’ve skimmed the thing, but I haven’t read every word. Michael Shermer, your response, Michael Shermer of

MS: Yeah. Well, just for fun here while we were talking, I typed in to Google Video "building demolition", and there are no less than 2200 videos of buildings that collapsed due to intentional demolition. And every one of them – I haven't found one exception, yet – collapses from the bottom up. And yet the World Trade Center buildings collapsed from the top down – not quite the top, but right where the airplanes impacted. So are we to believe that the Bush administration orchestrated the attacks, the intentional demolition of the World Trade Center buildings, planted all those bombs without anybody – demolition devices without anybody catching them, and then managed to place the bombs in just such a way that they would start exploding right where the plane happened to hit (so they’d have to know where the planes are going to hit) – and timed all that –

TH: (Laughs)

MS: – Are we really supposed to believe all that?

TH: Kevin, is that possible?

KR: Well, there’s [sic] a great deal of assumptions here. Michael's already worked out how many people, he said thousands of operatives would be needed – let's not get away from ourselves here, we've got a couple of hypotheses, we've got evidence. We don't need to speculate to the point of distraction. Let's consider where the towers first failed, though. We know the North Tower –

TH: We have to take a break in about 10 seconds, 15 seconds – first of all, collapsing from the top down versus the bottom up—

KR: No, there are examples of buildings being demolished from the top down. I’d go to 911, you can find an example there.

TH: OK. We'll continue this conversation between Michael Shermer of and Kevin Ryan, JournalOf9/, maybe drop a few calls in here as we go through.

[1:28:19 - BREAK]

TH: And here we are on the radio. Who did 9/11, how and why? We’re talking with Kevin Ryan, co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Magazine, executive director of the Skeptics Society. Kevin, you just gone through a long list of some very serious questions. Michael, your response.

MS: Well, I guess the other thing I was going to add about, you know, in terms of how the buildings collapsed and all that, and the assumptions we make – there's also a cognitive problem here, it's called the hindsight bias. After a big event like this, people start combing through the details of the event, the records of what happened, in the months leading up to it. Pearl Harbor’s a perfect example. There were, for many years, lots of conspiracy theories about how Roosevelt knew about it, or –

TH: Still is.

MS: – orchestrated it, or Churchill and Roosevelt together –

TH: And there’s still people who believe it.

MS: – Just like one specific example, where we see like with the memo that Condi Rice got in August about al Qaeda attacking the United States on United States soil. And why didn't we heed that warning? Well, there was [sic] actually lots of memos about al Qaeda doing all sorts of things all over the world, and of course after the event it’s easy to go back in hindsight and figure out the one that mattered. The same thing with the Pearl Harbor attack – there were definitely memos that the US government had about the Japanese possibly attacking Pearl Harbor. It's easy to pick those out and ignore the hundreds of others about the Japanese attacking in other places, because after the event, after the fact, you go through and you reconstruct a causal chain that points right to that event and then hold those accountable who should've seen that chain coming. When in fact at the time, you don't know what’s going to happen.

TH: Okay, Kevin Ryan from the Talk to us about Building 7.

KR: All-right, well, Building Seven was a 47-story building that was not hit by a plane, and yet it collapsed in 6.5 seconds – essentially free-fall speed – and pretty much into its own footprint, and here we are six years later still waiting for an official explanation about it. In 2002 FEMA gave us a really low probability suggestion, they said, and NIST has continued to push their report out. But it's important to know that no building has ever collapsed from fire before or after 9/11. And no building exhibiting all the features of demolition has ever not been a demolition. So speaking of probabilities, the chances of the first three examples of fire-induced collapse of a tall building happening all on the same day is infinitesimal. So I think it's a good point for us to be skeptical about, especially considering the 9/11 Commission didn't mention it in their supposedly comprehensive report.

TH: Here’s the question that I can’t get my head around, Kevin. And let me – and Michael, if I may – I suspect this is something you might say so I'll say it. The flying of the planes into these two buildings was plenty. Why would anybody have to go in and put in explosives on top of that? I mean, you know, that was enough to give George Bush everything he needed to declare – that's his Reichstag fire.

KR: You know, I'm not sure Thom, but you have to consider what the alternative hypothesis means. And I think David Ray Griffin put it well when he said, whoever controls the world's oil controls the world.

TH: He said on this program two years ago.

KR: This is not just another government-sponsored false-flag event, like the Gulf of Tonkin or many others. But it's more of a psychological operation aimed at a large audience.

TH: But again, why bring down the buildings? The planes were enough to horrify us.

KR: They needed people to be in front of the TV, is what it looks like. So, if the buildings are rigged for demolition, it doesn't matter – there’s a demolition team there, it doesn't matter where the buildings are hit – they’re rigged for demolition. And if you wait an hour or so until everybody’s in front of the TV, then the psychological effect is there. And that's what drives the emotionally driven 9/11 wars. You know, if something just happened to a building – something had happened to a building before. The embassies in Africa that were blown up, right?

TH: The World Trade Center was blown up, it just didn't –

KR: The World Trade Center was blown up. The Oklahoma City building was blown up. Lots of buildings have been blown up, but they didn't result in generating endless wars that are supposed to protect us from terrorism, which is an oxymoron to begin with. You know, it just doesn't make any sense. So, what makes sense is that those people with the power to make this happen, to allow an effective stand down of our air defenses, to allow these hijackers to get lucky at every single turn, to essentially have access to, and the means to, bring those buildings down – those are the people who are much more likely to have effected the crimes.

TH: Michael Shermer.

MS: Well, Thom, I think your point is well taken. It wouldn't have mattered really what happened to the full extent on 9/11, we'd be in a war (laughs). I mean, I think you can legitimately criticize the Bush administration for all of its steps along the way, and even its motives, without any of this 9/11 conspiracy stuff going on, because that's just sort of the way politics works.

TH: But what about the security standing down, what about ignoring the warnings?

MS: OK, well, let's look at the specific points. If you watch the videos of the World Trade Center buildings collapsing, they both collapse right at the point of the planes hit.

KR: No, actually that's—

MS: That's where they begin.

KR: No, that’s not—

MS: We can all watch it. Let's all go online and watch it right now.

KR: Sure. Let's do it.

MS: That’s the point where they collapse!

TH: Well, hold on Michael, Kevin wants to contest that.

KR: That’s actually not true at all. If we look at the North Tower, the first thing that happens is that the antenna on the top drops first. That means the core of the building failed first. And additionally in the South Tower, the first thing that happened is this large upper section starts to tilt over, and it's got kinks all along the top of it, so it fails in multiple spots, even away from the fire. But again, even if, even if the collapse or the destruction was to start right at the point of impact, if the buildings are rigged for demolition, what does it matter?

TH: Allright, Michael, I’m sorry I interrupted you in mid-sentence, but I wanted that point to get resolved.

MS: When you say “they” did it, who in the world are we talking about here? Where are all these people? Why have they not come forward? Are they murdered, are they kept silent? Again, back to my first point, look what happens to all these people. Like, Plame, what's her name –

TH: Valerie.

MS: Yeah, Valerie Plame. Look, you got a book contract out there. This is what people do once they leave government. I mean, there's—

TH: But Valerie Plame is not running around bragging that she helped murder 3000 people.

MS: Yeah, well, right.

TH: I mean, who’s gonna do that?

MS: Well, no, you wouldn’t be somebody who actually did it, just imagine all the people who would have to be running around – it's now been estimated that it would be 60 tons of explosives to bring down the World Trade Center—

KR: Oh, not at all, not at all.

MS: Where, where are those – and where are the explosives? How come all the people combing through the wreckage didn't find anything, not one little piece of evidence for that? Where is all that?

KR: You’ve got really a lot of false speculation going on there. The Landmark Hotel was brought down with about 450 pounds of explosives. It was 30 stories tall, and so the World Trade Center. If you extrapolate that would've required about 1300 pounds of explosives. That's about 30 trips, you know, 10 people in three trips. It's not that difficult to believe at all, and of course the idea that —

MS: But speculating is one thing, but where is the evidence that that's actually what happened?

KR: Well, see the evidence that demolition happened is about the effects, right – the sudden onset, the symmetrical and vertical fall, the near-free-fall speed – these are things that just can't happen in a fire-induced collapse. And we've really tried to prove – I mean, if the government has done anything, they’ve really tried to prove this fire-induced collapse hypothesis, and they’ve failed. In fact, they've proved wrong through contradiction. They've tried so many things, and we've found that the only thing we have left, which they never looked at, is the demolition hypothesis. And so, really, I think it’s time—

MS: I’d say that World Trade Center Building 7 does not collapse in, straight down into its footprint. It collapses where the debris hit on the south side. If you look at the photos of the north side, it looks clean and fairly pristine and you can't believe it would have collapsed from that, but if you look on [sic] the photos on the south side, it burned extensively, for many hours.

KR: Oh, Michael, if you have photos on [sic] the south side of the World Trade Center Seven, you need to get those to the government. I don't believe they have anything, and so far I don't believe they've been published. So what really happened, if you look at the movie clip, this building collapses more perfectly than even a perfect demolition. It comes down straight down, and uniformly down. It doesn't lean towards any damage – and really the only damage – again that’s speculation on the part of those supporting the official story, is –

TH: Kevin, let me just

KR: Sure.

TH: Kevin, let me just toss, uh – I got it – if you really wanted to create psychological chaos and mass mayhem, why not have the buildings fall over sideways, take out ten other buildings with them and kill 20-30,000 people rather than 3000? Then you really have a 9/11, or a Pearl Harbor.

KR: I tell you what, let's possible. I don't know why, the reasoning for whoever did it, why they did it in the exact way, but again, the hypotheses don't need to be proven. We need to look at the evidence and pick which one of them is best suited to be accepted, or rejected. And so, you know, to speculate on all the different things that would've had to happen, as Michael has done, as though he knows exactly how many people would be needed, he knows exactly how many explosives (and that turns out to be wrong), it's very unskeptical.

MS: Let me give you an analogy. Last April, there was a crash in an underpass under a bridge in Oakland. A tanker truck crashed into a bridge; it caused this huge gasoline fire, and the bridge collapsed. Now, why is nobody getting all excited about somebody intentionally demolishing this bridge? Well, because things collapse if they burn long enough. You don't have to completely melt steel, you only have to weaken it, and that's what happened with the World Trade Center buildings.

TH: OK, I think we've hashed this one out. I'd like to move, as we have very little time here, we’re gonna have to take a break in about a minute and then we’ll only have six or seven minutes when we resolve [sic] this. I apologize to people waiting on hold, but I just want to get as much as I can out of you guys. Let’s talk to how, how it came to be that these planes hit these buildings and the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania [sic]. Kevin, your best thought on how this came about?

KR: That is a great question, you know, because the airspace over Washington is restricted and is considered the most heavily defended on the planet. It even has a name, it’s called P-56-B, a three-mile inner restricted zone over the White House, Capitol and the Pentagon. So we’ve got, also, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta telling us that the Vice President was warned, every ten or 20 miles, that this plane was coming in, that it was coming in, and he said that the orders should still stand. He had this young man telling him that. So it's interesting that Norman Mineta’s testimony didn't get into the 9/11 Commission Report. But it is clear that we had notice that the Pentagon was going to be struck.

TH: OK, we'll continue with this conversation right after the break. Kevin Ryan,; Michael Shermer,

[1:47:10 - BREAK]

TH: 51 minutes past the hour. Our quote from the day from Winston Churchill: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” So what is the truth regarding 9/11? Michael Shermer, Skeptic magazine, why is it that Osama bin Laden isn't on the FBI's Most Wanted list, has never been charged with 9/11?

MS: I have no idea, you'd have to ask the government that. I mean, why are we spending billions of dollars trying to find him if we don't want him? What difference does it make whether he is on the list or not? Don't think the FBI's going to find him, because they're not in Afghanistan, they're here.

TH: Yeah.

MS: That would be my guess. I mean, otherwise, I mean, you can argue we're in Iraq for oil, but why would we be in Afghanistan other than just trying to dismantle al Qaeda?

TH: Well, you could argue that Hamid Karzai used to be a consultant for Unocal, and Unocal wanted to build a gas pipeline across Afghanistan, etc. but that's getting a little away – well, maybe it's not, I don’t know.

MS: Well, I wouldn't try to connect too many dots there. Again, back to the economy of causality, I think, Occam's Razor, you know, the simpler explanation. Nineteen guys can get away with it. Hundreds would most likely be caught, or eventually, something would come out. We really have nothing. All of these arguments are, like in creationist circles, we call these the dot of the gaps: Wherever you guys can't explain X, that must be where the supernatural entity came in to do something.

TH: So here, Kevin –

MS: here, wherever the government can't explain something, that must mean there is a conspiracy. Well, it's possible that maybe we just can't explain it yet.

TH: Right, and sometimes there actually is a conspiracy. So, Kevin Ryan, here again, I'm trying to play independent broker. Kevin, how small a conspiracy, at the very least, to allow this to happen, could there be, and you know, ‘cause I hear conspiracy theories that, you know, Bush didn't really know when they were going to hit, he knew it was going to happen probably in August or September, and he knew it was going to happen in New York or Washington, DC, and he wanted it to happen, so they stood down – all the way up to, you know, right down to, they had control systems in Building 7 that flew the planes into the towers, but why they had to – you know, there's this whole spectrum of – but how small a group could it have been?

KR: Well, I think it could've been a relatively small group, based on a military sort of operation, a compartmentalized operation. I'm not an expert on those sorts of things. But as far as whistleblowers go, we do know there's been a lot of whistleblowers related to 9/11. I mean, there were FBI agents trying to contact John Ashcroft for six weeks before 9/11 to give him exact details, and he wouldn't return their calls. We got Sibel Edmonds, the FBI whistleblower who told us, they haven't even mentioned anybody who's actually connected to al Qaeda at a mid- or higher level. So the 9/11 Commission isn't even addressing the issue of Al Qaeda. We got Jersey Girl Patty Casazza, who recently said that whistleblowers told her [that] before 9/11, the government knew the day, the type of attack, and the targets. So there's a lot of whistleblowers out there. That's not the question. The question is, why aren't people finding out about this? For example, World Trade Center 7 is a great example. A lot of people still don't know about that, it's no secret, you know, it's no secret that that building collapsed. So, I think that there are plenty of whistleblowers. There's plenty of – a chance for the truth to yet come out one way or another.

TH: So, Michael Shermer,, why – what about the stock options, these puts that were made before 9/11, you know, betting on the collapse of United and American Airlines? You’ve got that, you've got all these whistleblowers, you got over 50 specific warnings to the Bush administration –

MS: Well again, with the hindsight bias we pick out anomalies, we connect the dots in some particular way –

TH: But that's what you do in criminal investigations.

MS: But if there was so much activity ahead of time, why didn't we know about it, why didn't somebody do something about this? Because, surely, not everybody would be in on the conspiracy.

TH: Well, it certainly seems to have worked out pretty well for the Bush administration.

MS: Well, Has it? I mean, they’re at their all-time—

TH: Yeah, I mean, Cheney’s—

MS: — lowest rating as a president—

TH: I don't think he expected the war in Iraq to go south like that. But you know, Halliburton's stock is four times what it was, Dick Cheney has made millions and millions of dollars off this, the Bush family and Bechtel have made billions of dollars off this thing, and continue to [do so].

MS: Yes, well, [but] you don’t need a conspiracy for that, that, that's just good old American politics and business, right?

TH: You think that's opportunism.

MS: That happens, that happened in the Vietnam War.

TH: Yes, Lady Bird Johnson made out well—

MS: That doesn't mean there was a huge conspiracy, to—

KR: Well, again, we’ve got a conspiracy no matter how you look at it. So the “conspiracy theory” term is just a derogatory term to try and turn people's minds away from looking at the evidence. But I think that there's plenty of opportunity for the government, certain elements within the government, to have not only accomplished the attacks of 9/11 much more easily than 19 fellas, from –

MS: How about the suicide boat bombing against the USS Cole in 2000?

KR: How about it?

MS: Yeah, I mean, do you think the US government did that to its own ship?

KR: Well, we have—

TH: Let me just pause this, we have 30 seconds to wrap it up. So, Kevin Ryan, 15 seconds.

KR: Well, I think the evidence that we have on hand points to the need to accept the alternative hypothesis. You know, skeptics, natural skeptics, would be looking at that official hypothesis very closely and also at the evidence for the alternative.

TH: And Michael Shermer?

MS: Well, because I think it's legitimate to criticize the Bush administration for this whole business, this [alternative conspiracy theory] is only a distraction away from that because it’s so far out there. Al Qaeda said they did it, they’d do it again, they were proud that they did it, and I think we should take them at their word for it [sic].

TH: OK, Michael Shermer,, Kevin Ryan, Gentlemen, both of you, thank you so much for coming on the program and talking with each other and with me.

MS: Oh, you’re welcome.

KR: Thank you, thank you.

TH: Much appreciated.

[1:58:06 - end of guest portion]

[2:07:57 – start of listener calls]

TH: …Please be very brief. Robert, Daly City, CA.

Robert: Thom , thanks so much for having Kevin Ryan on. He's very intelligent, moral, and even-minded.

TH: I agree with you, they're both great people, Rob. Make your point, please, as I need to move on to other people as quickly as possible.

Robert: Yeah – well, Richard B. Cheney was running a US Air Force training exercise on 9/11, and he's the guy that hijacked the U.S. Air Force training exercises and an investigation will prove that.

TH: Yeah, okay, great – I've heard that before, and I would love to see an investigation. Thank you. Mike in Eugene, Oregon – hey, Mike.

Mike: Hi, how are you doing, Thom? Thanks for having me.

TH: Hmm, good point. [sic]

Mike: People who put down “Truthers” – I think, specifically, if you focus on the missing Pentagon videos, we're very video-oriented society. If a car ran into a mini mart, their surveillance footage would be across the nation that night.

TH: Where are the Pentagon surveillance videos? Good point, Mike, thank you very much. Josh in Charlottesville Virginia? Hey Josh.

Josh: Hey Thom. Thanks for having me. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy into this grand conspiracy theory that Bush was behind 9/11.

TH: Now, see, that’s – there's dozens of different possibilities, and one of them is that he had nothing to do with it, and it's still there was a conspiracy here in United States. Or, it could be that the level of his conspiracy was simply “OK, I've been warned that these guys are going to hit, and I can make political hay out of this, so I'm going to go to sleep for six months.” I mean, he took the longest vacation in the history of the United States presidency. And even at the end of that – of his vacation, he was afraid to go back to DC, he went to Florida instead, where his brother put the whole state on a state of emergency.

Josh: I agree with you, it does seem like that. But if there was a conspiracy by the Bush administration, it was that they took advantage of 9/11. I don't think that they—

TH: You don't think that they caused it. Josh, good – thank you very much, and excellent point. As I said, my mind is not made up, but I – I'm trying to keep an open mind here. We need a real investigation. Josephine in Brooklyn New York. Hey Josephine.

Josephine: Hey, thank you, Thom, it's so good to be on your show. Listen, we just had something recently that happened, we had, on August 29 we had six nuclear bombs fly across this—

TH: Right, down to Barksdale Air Force Base.

Josephine: That’s right, and nobody knows what happened, nobody taking any responsibility—

TH: Well, actually, I think about 60 people lost their jobs over that, and people got busted down in rank. There was a news story about that. Assuming that that's, you know, that that's true – I mean, one never knows with the Pentagon, you know, whether there's a CYA going on inside, or whether it's public publicity. Yeah, good point, Josephine, and frankly, I can give you a long list of historical conspiracies, going all the way back to the Civil War that were kept secret for more than 40 years. Lisa in South Carolina.

Lisa: Hello, I would like to know why they all limit it to two hypotheses. And, why not look at the physical evidence?

TH: Well, I think that's what we were trying to do, what to say that there is more than just two possibilities, two hypotheses here.

Lisa: And, where did the material go? There's no material there. The guys they rescued down in Stairwell B, when they came out they said it was like walking onto an empty football field. That's not like any controlled demolition I've ever seen.

TH: That's interesting one. Thank you, Lisa. Yeah, and all the steel got shipped off, as I recall, to Korea to be melted down, strangely enough. Abby in San Diego, California, Abby.

Abby: Hi, thank you. Well, one thing Kevin didn't mention was the plethora of evidence for controlled demolition, including the molten metal. We see thermate dripping out of the tower before it collapses. Thermate, Steven Jones, he’s a physics professor from BYU, he did forensics testing on the steel, found thermate, which is an explosive incendiary in the military. Hundreds of eyewitness accounts of explosives [by] firefighters, emergency responders, William Rodriguez, a janitor in the World Trade Center for 20 years. Now he spends his life dedicated to spreading the truth, spreading information that there were explosives, he heard explosions in the subbasement before the towers were even hit. The freefall speed of both towers. The pulverization of concrete. Wake up, guys. Visit – hundreds of architects and engineers who are signing on for a new investigation because they've looked at this evidence.

TH: Yeah, I've seen their video. Thank you, Abby, and it's a fascinating site. Bernard in Los Angeles. A Bernard.

Bruno: Hi, this is Bruno. Yeah, I agree with Abby, I mean, just the videos of the buildings themselves coming down is the evidence, and both towers came down the exact same way –

TH: Couldn't that just have been incompetent design, or intentional design so that it would –

Bruno: Oh, yeah, right –

TH: – if the buildings were ever compromised, they would hurt as few people as possible?

Bruno: No. All that steel? There’s a massive steel grid wrapped around each tower, and there's 47 massive steel columns in the core of the tower, and you think all that steel snapped simultaneously, floor by floor, 110 floors in 10 seconds. That's preposterous.


Bruno: And Michael from Skeptic magazine offered no evidence to support anything about the official story. I mean –

TH: I got it, I got it, Bernard, thank you very much – and I don't disagree. Katie in Los Angeles, just a very quick one, Katie, and then we’ve got to go to Tony Parsons.

Katie: OK, I'm from, we did the Bill Maher infiltration. We have a Truth March street action this Sunday, November 11, at 11 a.m. in Santa Monica. Go to It’s at Colorado and Ocean Ave, at the top of the Santa Monica Pier.

TH: Got it, got it, thank you very much, Katie, and thanks for coming on and sharing that. And good luck with your demonstration.

[2:13:46 – End of 9/11 segment]

We need less debating and more interviewing

In pretty much any other scenario you do not see the requirement or demand for debate instead of simple interviewing of someone who writes a book or creates a documentary. (or has a website....)

They even interview Michael Moore about his documentaries and books for the most part and do not require him to only appear to debate his issues. (he's done a couple of debate appearances)

If Thom Hartmann had been forced to appear on radio or TV shows and ONLY debate his book on the JFK assassination against some lone gunman official story theorist instead of being interviewed, he would have screamed to high heaven.

Thom Hartmann and others need to get their act together.

The person who sees absolutes and exhibits certitude, where a thoughtful person sees nuanced shades of meaning
and exhibits open-minded objectivity, should be questioned as to agenda and state of mind.


we have to hurry....we have to go to a break.....Here's the point !.....Do you think all these questions need to be answered?
Then they deserve to be answered in detail by the experts. With unlimited major media coverage.
I find it hard to believe in today's money driven way's (based on ratings) that the major media would'nt be drooling at the chance to air a three to four night (well advertized in advance) special on these questions.
I also find it odd that those who support the official side would'nt jump at the chance to try and prove us wrong , and end this once and for all.
And let's not count the biased PM, and History channel SH*T Let's bring them all in under oath. From the top down.
So to all the supporters of the official fairy tale i ask you this. What if we are right?