September 11th and the Academy

The following article was recently published in a new
underground newspaper in Plattsburgh, NY, called

The original can be accessed at

September 11th and the Academy
By Kurtis Hagen                          

According to the website, hundreds of professors
have publicly questioned the official story
of September 11, 2001. (Disclosure: I’m on that
list.) Also, two thousand architects and engineers
have signed a petition calling for a new investigation
into the destruction of the Twin Towers and
Building 7. Further, David Ray Griffin, a very
accomplished scholar, has written ten books challenging
the official 9/11 account. His books, full
of extensive and rigorous argumentation and clear
presentation of evidence, have been endorsed by
a long list of significant people, including Howard
Zinn. In addition, Peter Dale Scott’s Road to
9/11, published by the University of California
Press, is a meticulously documented analysis of
the “deep state” aspect of 9/11. And, technical
scientific papers challenging key elements of the
official story have appeared in peer-reviewed scientific
journals. (For a list of select academic articles see:

Nevertheless, on campus, it is as if none of this
has happened. Textbooks that address issues of war,
torture, international relations, or any other subject to
which the events of 9/11 are relevant, treat the official
story as an unquestioned fact. And the great majority
of academics, likewise, simply assume the standard
account is true, and reason on that basis. They make
no effort to deal with critiques of the official story in
any serious way. This is not because they are armed
with robust evidence against such critiques. On the
contrary, they are largely ignorant of the pertinent
details. And they don’t seem at all troubled by that.

It’s strange. After all, academics seem to enjoy
engaging with other subjects, even when they are of
relatively little practical significance. But, when it
comes to the defining event of this century, the justification
for war abroad and the continuing degradation
of rights at home, there is no curiosity.

Perhaps academics think there is no need for them
to discuss 9/11, or to think too hard about it.
Presumably they trust that others have already
objectively and exhaustively considered these issues,
and have judiciously concluded that the evidence
overwhelmingly supports the official story.

Unfortunately, in fact, there has never been a rigorous,
independent academic validation of the official
story. As mentioned above, there have been substantial
academic critiques. But where are the authoritative
academic responses to these critiques? One book that
is often cited is Debunking 9/11 Myths, produced
by Popular Mechanics. But is that it? It hardly even
counts. (See David Ray Griffin’s Debunking 9/11 Debunking
for a rebuttal to Popular Mechanics.)

Perhaps the reason academics shun critical study
of 9/11 is that they fear, no matter how reasonably
they conduct themselves, they will be stigmatized as a
“conspiracy theorist”. If so, that is unfortunate, because
all serious attempts to justify a dismissive attitude toward
conspiracy theories have failed. (See the work of
David Coady, Charles Pigden, and Lance DeHaven-

Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule’s article,
“Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”, provides a
good example of a failed attempt to justify marginalizing
so-called “conspiracy theorists”. The work was so
shoddy that when Sunstein was asked if he stood by it,
he simply claimed not to remember it very well. (My
review of David Ray Griffin’s book-length refutation
of the article in question can be found at:

For more on the relevant academic climate, see the
following documentaries: Hypothesis, by Brett Smith,
and 9/11 in the Academic Community, by Adnan Zuberi.
For the best evidence against the official story, see
The Toronto Hearings, available in book form and as a
5-hour set of video presentations (accessible online).

Military/Educational Complex?

What is interesting is that it was in 2006 that peer-reviewed papers critical of the official accounts of 9/11 first began showing up. I suspect that this is related to the creation of Youtube in 2005 and videos of the collapse of WTC7 going viral, causing scientists to rethink 9/11.

Anyway, I found a paper that documents a dramatic increase in DoD funds to colleges and universities from $9.6 billion in 2005 to $47.6 billion in 2006.

I suspect that this was in reaction to the increased interest among academics to thinking critically about 9/11, and was done as a way of "buying them off." If I'm correct, then I would think that the funding from the DoD has remained at least this high since then. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any additional data supporting or weakening my hypothesis.

Anybody else have additional information?


This is very interesting, thanks for mentioning it. I also became interested in critiques of 9/11 in 2006, and YouTube played a significant role in alerting me to the issues. And I certainly agree that the funding of academics, in general, is a serious and troubling issue.

How to confirm hypothesis?

Hi Dr. Hagen,

I haven't found any information of DoD funding to colleges and universities for subsequent years, so I don't know if it has remained at that high level, gone higher, or lower. If the purpose of the funding was to stifle academic research into 9/11, then I would expect the funding has remained at least as high or even increased. Not sure how to research something like that. But I imagine it might make for a good academic paper or two.

Intellectual Integrity vs Career Advancement

I'm tempted to joke, "It would make a great project, if you wanted it to be your last." But that isn't funny at all. So, I'll try to be more serious.

I do agree that it would be a worthwhile project, thought it might indeed have some negative career implications, cutting off or diminishing potential future funding opportunities. Or it might not. And, even if it does, depending on your field, that might well be manageable. These funding issues have a greater and more direct affect on those who need funding to carry out research, for equipment, or to buy data, for instance. In some fields, such as philosophy, funding isn't strictly necessary. However, we may have to forgo opportunities to get funding for time off to dedicate to research if we want to venture into taboo areas. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. We can't expect the situation to get better if we don't expose its problems. Just be sure to do a very careful job, so you can defend yourself against criticism. Defenders of the status quo can be as sloppy as they want (a la Sunstein), but we can't afford to be. (Sorry I can't be of any help on the specific question of where to find the relevant data.)

I'm not part of academia.

I'm not part of academia, so I wouldn't have to worry about losing my position. But I'm lost as to where to start. Maybe this conversation will inspire somebody else to do it.

Patriots Question 9/11

Does anyone know if Alan Miller plans to add more names to Patriots Question 9/11 ?

Although people voiced legitimate criticisms of some of the people Alan included in his list, Patriots Question 9/11 remains a treasure trove of quotes and information about individuals who have publicly criticized the official 9/11 story.

PS I've communicated with Alan Miller in the past, but after a certain point in time, I was not able to get any more emails through to him.

Patriots Question 9/11

I think I read somewhere that he has stopped updating the site (though with a brief check I was not able to confirm this). In any case, it is still an excellent reference (despite some arguable faults--it is hard to please everybody).


The effort re: Alan Miller is appreciated.

BTW I like your review (which you linked to above) of David Griffin's book, and I like what you say on your website:

Please keep fighting the good fight.

Someone Would Have Talked......

In Hagen's paper he quotes Sunstein as going after conspiracy theories that are “demonstrably false.” This "demonstrably false" construction is a specious false premise on face. Everyone who has read this board must know that these, so called, conspiracy theories are never deconstructed but attacked and bludgeoned. One of the glib verbal cudgels used is the old "someone would have talked" argument. Below, from his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is William L. Shirer putting that one to bed.

"It is quite remarkable how little those of us who were stationed in Germany during the Nazi time, journalists and diplomats, really knew of what was going on behind the façade of the Third Reich. A totalitarian dictatorship, by its very nature, works in great secrecy and knows how to preserve that secrecy from the prying eyes of outsiders. It was easy enough to record and describe the bare, exciting and often revolting events in the Third Reich: Hitler’s accession to power, the Reichstag fire, the Roehm Blood Purge, the Anschluss with Austria, the surrender of Chamberlain at Munich, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the attacks on Poland, Scandinavia, the West, the Balkans and Russia, the horrors of the Nazi occupation and of the concentration camps and the liquidation of the Jews. But the fateful decisions secretly made, the intrigues, the treachery, the motives and the aberrations which led up to them, the parts played by the principal actors behind the scenes, the extent of the terror they exercised and their technique of organizing it—all this and much more remained largely hidden from us until the secret German papers turned up."

The predictable rebuttal

The predictable rebuttal to this would be, 'But, but--we don't live in a totalitarian dictatorship. We live in a democracy! We have a freeeeeee press! And a two-party system! It's impossible to keep secrets in this society--Everyone knows that!!'

Such claims are, of course, 'demonstrably false.' But for that, you'll have to look elsewhere than Shirer. How western governments have managed to maintain the outer forms of democratic, representative government while a lawless, gangsterish 'state-within-the-state' has been built up simultaneously has truly been remarkable. I doubt Shirer would have even considered it possible.

America is basically an oligarchy

The US is not a democracy, it is an oligarchy. See the Princeton study here:

Recently, former president Carter said that the US democracy (or what passes for it) is non functional and corrupt.

Well, of course

As I said, claims that it is a democracy are 'demonstrably false.'


You are right but the point is less about what form of government we have than a rebuttal to the absolutism of the old saw that someone would talk: secrets can be kept. Shirer, by the way, was a remarkable guy though, yes somewhat limited in his scope. Andre Segovia altered his guitar practices so as not to bother Shirer, his neighbor.

A Hitler Youth Perspective

Sometimes people claim that the atrocities of Nazi Germany were not conspiracies, because they were, supposedly, done openly. Shirer's quotation gives a good explanation of why that is wrong. (I'm copying it to my files, thanks!)

Here is further confirmation: I have a friend, an older woman, who, when she was a child in Nazi Germany, was a member of the Hitler Youth. She audited my Moral Problems class for a while, not so long ago, and one day I asked her if she would talk a little about her experiences, since I knew she had a riveting tale. At one point I asked, in front of the class, "Did you know what was going on?" (Or something like that, referring obliquely to the holocaust and related atrocities.)

I remember her emphatic answer, "We did not know."

"Of course," I said, "If you had known, you would never have supported it."

"Of course not," she said.

I know from a different conversation with her that her father had seen something at a train station that had troubled him. And, one day, she caught him with his ear to the radio, and she noticed that he blushed when he saw her looking at him. At the time she was perplexed by this, but she came to understand that he was probably worried that she would turn him in for listening to a forbidden broadcast.

My point in mentioning this is that not everyone was completely in the dark. The assumption that a conspiracy is either revealed or it is not is simplistic and false. There are shades of gray. And, I think it is useful in this context to wonder whether people like this woman's father might count as "conspiracy theorists."

Nuremberg and 'conspiracy'

When the American prosecutorial team at the Nuremberg trials provided documentation of their case to the reading public, it appeared in a series of volumes under the title 'Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression.' That wasn't because of some 'kooky conspiracy theorist' at the US Government Printing Office (though that's what the drivel from today's conspiracy-phobic pundits would have us think). The prosecutors went on the understanding that the Nazis' actions did not just simply occur randomly and out of the blue, but were the result of prior planning, which they had been careful to keep concealed.

Compartmentalization is key to maintaining secrecy.

Secrets are also kept and maintained by the use of the compartmentalization technique - ie "need to know", as championed by the military during the Manhattan Project , and J. Edgar Hoover in later years in the FBI, and s now commonplace throughout any institution, government or private, concerned with information security . It is unwise or risky trying to blow the whistle within government unless you know pretty much the whole story - all the facts and people involved - re. any particular illegal activity or event. Get just one part wrong, or out of context, or completely omit, and our potential whistleblower will get discredited, perhaps even fired or worse.

Defenders of the official version of 9/11 often trot out the "government is too incompetent to keep secrets" line - which of course is total nonsense - and then claim that thousands of people must have known and would have come forward. Well, it is quite possible that thousands of people did know *an* aspect of the plot, perhaps several degrees of separation from the core group, but not enough to blow the whistle. And according to the official version, only 19 'hijackers' plus a handful of funders and organizers overseas were involved - say 25 people at the most. I think 9/11 Truth could quite easily make a similar claim - it is most likely that it was an inner circle of no more than 25 who planned and executed the attack - i.e. "who knew everything". And even though many whistleblowers have come forward (Sibel Edmonds, Susan Lindauer etc), they have been roundly ignored in the corporate media, or had gag orders placed on them.

Yes, governments keep secrets very effectively these days, and rogue elements within government are especially skilled at doing such.

Idiots vs Professionals

When people say that secrets can't be kept, I suppose they are thinking of examples like this (which apparently happen): Some idiot robbed a bank and then was caught after he bragged about it in a bar a few days later.

Yet, at the same time, everybody knows that the CIA conducts all kinds of "black ops." These are kept secret, mostly. We know that we don't know. What is the difference between these two cases? CIA operatives are professionals. (It is more complicated than just this, of course, but the point is that this distinction has to be kept in mind.)

Fletcher Prouty made a point along these lines, and he knew many of these professionals personally. He said the reason that he never asked anyone whether they had a hand in the JFK assassination was that it would have been "amateurish." And besides, he said, they would never have told him. They were professionals.

These people also know that if they do talk, they won't be talking very long. There are a fair number of cases where it looks like an operative got whacked after a verbal indiscretion. Frank Olsen, George de Mohrenschildt, and Chip Tatum come to mind.

There are also ambiguous cases, such as David Morales's reported comment about JFK, "Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn't we?" And there are also reports of individuals answering accusatory questions with a silent smile, and the like. The situation is more complex than, "Somebody would have talked. And nobody did."

GHWB's 'tell'

Speaking of odd, revealing reactions to questions about the JFK assassination, are you familiar with this clip of George HW Bush speaking at Gerald Ford's funeral, in late 2006? When describing Ford's 'service' on the Warren Commission, he pauses after referring to the assassination as the work of a 'deluded gunman,' then looks off to one side, and smiles:

He literally can't say 'deluded gunman' with a straight face!

Nice RM....

We have Jerry's word for it and Jerry's word was always good...... Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, in catechism class: "the Bible is the true word of God because it was written by God and we have God's word for it."


Or Rumsfeld when he was confronted with the deception of Iraqi WMD sold as 'a mistake':

"Colin Powell wouldn't lie."

The neocons used Powell's credibility with the American people to get and then excuse their war.


And when Bush talks about "explosives in the Twin Towers" (!). I can imagine the look on his handlers' faces when he dropped that one!

Advice to lay people?

Dr. Hagen,

I noticed that you had a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and were able to do some independent calculations that convinced you that 9/11 needed further investigation. I'm wondering what advice you would give to a layperson as to how to decide for themselves whether to trust or doubt the official story.

Also, I hope you and 911blogger don't mind, but I though your article was so good that I posted the whole thing at my blog, with appropriate credits.

Who has the best case?

At this stage, with so much good work available, it is probably best for lay people to consult any of a number of high quality critiques, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel themselves. Regarding the WTC, I find the work of David Chandler to be particularly powerful and concise--to name just one place to start.

Though it can be time consuming, I think it is useful to do the following: Identify the most convincing pieces of evidence in the critique, and then go look for responses to these points among the debunkers. Then, see if there are responses to these responses. And so forth. At some point one gets a sense of who has the better case, and who is being biased, sloppy, or intellectually dishonest.

Along these lines, you could consult a correspondence with NIST that I was a party to which reveals that NIST is either unwilling or unable to adequately answer questions that really ought to be answered.

(I certainly have no objection to the repost. On the contrary, thanks for doing it.)


Thanks for your advice (which I happen to try to follow already), and for the link to the correspondence. I agree with your assessment "that NIST is either unwilling or unable to adequately answer questions that really ought to be answered," though I think you should have sent a fourth letter letting NIST know your assessment as well.