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September 8, 2009

The Sacred Mysteries of 9/11

Dr. Graeme MacQueen

Graeme MacQueen"Today, our nation saw evil." George W. Bush, September 11, 2001

September 11, 2009 will not be a simple anniversary of an extraordinary day but the mythic return of a day that is now in the calendar of American civil religion.

American citizens will be urged to re-achieve the levels of patriotic fervour stimulated by the original event by flying the nation’s flag.[1]

Pilgrimage to “Ground Zero” will thrive.

No one familiar with war and nationalism will be surprised by the religious aspects of these memorials and revisitings.[2]

The homeland was violated. Blood sacrifice and murder were accomplished. The nation, after reeling from the blow, found a sense of meaning and direction only by setting off on its own path of blood sacrifice.

I will not discuss here the well known aspects of the path chosen--the illegal invasions and torture abroad, the degrading of civil rights at home, and the parallel developments in other states, including Canada.

My concerns in this essay are different. I am troubled by something else. I am troubled by the role the political parties, the corporate media and the universities have played, and are still playing, in the construction of the cult of 9/11.

I am bothered by the way they continue to set this day aside as if some sacredness protects it from all rational scrutiny and examination of evidence. Those of us who want to treat 9/11 like a historically important but otherwise ordinary day--who want to examine the crime scene and found out who did it and how—are treated like heretics.

We profane the elements of the cult. We must be “conspiracy nuts.” Or perhaps we hate Jews? Political parties, especially, rush to rid themselves of such scum as we obviously are.[3]

Even the political left has, to a great degree, closed its eyes and muttered prayers and incantations. While rejecting the imperialistic response of the United States to the events of 9/11, it has refused to look seriously at the events themselves. Is it afraid to put at risk the fragments of social legitimacy it has acquired through the years? Or is it afraid it will find itself looking into an abyss of deception that goes beyond its own imagining?

In this context, we Canadians will be expected on this coming September 11 to maintain a respectful silence before the most bizarre, irrational and even absurd episodes in the official narrative of 9/11.

Our government, especially, will be angry if we are bold enough to ask questions. This is not surprising: the stakes are high for the government of Canada. If the myth of 9/11 is meddled with, who knows what questions we may end up asking about our own killing and dying in Afghanistan, our compliance with unlawful detention, our rising military budget, restriction of civil rights and failure to protect our own citizens abroad?

Dissident intellectuals, beware. On this September 11 none of the following six forms of sacred mystery is to be scrutinized. None is to be discussed.

Miraculous skill acquisition

Hani Hanjour, a month before 9/11, was judged by flight instructors to be incapable of competently handling a Cessna 172, yet on 9/11 he sat down in the cockpit of a Boeing 757--a type of plane he had never flown--and piloted it like an ace.

His descent into the Pentagon was so skillful that flight controllers could not believe the plane on their radar screens was a commercial jet: they thought they were dealing with a military plane. (“The speed, the maneuverability ...”)[4]

And this was accomplished under duress by a man of whom a former flight school employee said: “he could not fly at all.”[5]

Many former pilots, including extremely experienced U.S. military pilots, have protested the absurdity of this chapter of the official story.[6]

But Canadian leaders and intellectuals, doggedly faithful to Washington’s script, appear untroubled. Why? Is Hanjour indispensable? Is there a fear that if the American Airlines 77 episode unravels the whole story will unravel?

Fearful symmetries

Three buildings at the World Trade Centre came down dramatically on 9/11: World Trade 1 and 2 (the Twin Towers) and World Trade 7.

The Twin Towers were struck in quite different places, with corresponding differences in the numbers and types of steel columns severed, yet they collapsed in extremely similar ways through the path of greatest resistance--suddenly, rapidly and symmetrically.

How the structure of the buildings, including their 283 vertical steel columns, could have given up the ghost symmetrically due to asymmetrical plane and fire damage remains a mystery.

How Building 7, which had relatively minor fire damage, could have experienced its own wonderfully symmetrical collapse (achieving free fall acceleration for 2.5 seconds) through its suddenly compliant 82 steel columns is likewise best passed over in pious silence.[7]

Contagious failure

The first two buildings had at least been hit by planes, but what of the third?

Building 7 was, says the National Institute of Standards and Technology in its 2008 study, the first tall building in history to collapse from fire.

Not only did it collapse from fire, we might add, but from fire that was on the wane. At the time of collapse, significant levels of fire were visible in only two or three out of 47 stories. No matter: at 5:20 in the afternoon, down went WTC 7 into its own footprint in about seven seconds.[8]

I recently asked a retired professor of civil engineering for his opinion of WTC 7’s collapse. After studying the evidence he replied wryly: “I guess the little one just fainted when it saw that its mom and dad had fallen.”

Flippant? Perhaps there is a good explanation that he is ignoring? I can only urge the reader to study the NIST report on WTC 7 and to study critiques of the report such as that recently written by David Ray Griffin.[9]

Pervasive precognition

Despite the historical uniqueness of WTC 7’s collapse, many people knew well before its demise that the building was coming down.

The BBC erroneously reported the collapse over 20 minutes before the event and CNN did even better, reporting the collapse over an hour before it happened.[10]

There is no obvious reason for these odd reports: video footage shows the building standing straight and tall, apparently unchanged. Yet dozens of firefighters were told in advance that the building was coming down. Some were told over four hours before the fact. Some were told quite precisely where the debris would land. Some were told the building might be deliberately brought down during the day through controlled demolition.[11]

No doubt the 9/11 Commission adopted the wisest strategy in relation to all this: it chose not to mention this building collapse at all.[12] Too many embarrassing possibilities.

The option of silence may not be possible much longer. There has been a gradual erosion of the united front of complicity. Hundreds of architects and engineers have now gone public: this collapse can only be a controlled demolition.[13]

We can expect strenuous efforts to combat these heretical scientists. Their patriotism and their devotion to the cult of 9/11 will be questioned. After all, if they are right a second look at the collapse of the Twin Towers will be necessary. Then a second look at the events of the entire day.

Demonic force

Since America saw evil on 9/11 we will not be surprised to find evidence of demonic force. Extreme and rapid pulverization of the Twin Towers, the hurling of debris and steel columns great distances horizontally, the blowing out of windows in neighboring buildings—all of this must have been done by the Evil One.

Perhaps it was also the Evil One who created the forceful and focused ejections from the building that are clearly visible in the video record of the collapse? Since they are supernatural occurrences there is no need to take measurements or compare them with the ejections familiar in controlled demolitions.[14]

Temperatures in excess of 2000 degrees Celsius, reached during the destruction of the Towers—far higher than could be achieved through jet fuel and office fires—may, perhaps, be a taste of hellfire?[15]

Evidence that the earth shook several seconds before the buildings began their descent will not surprise us. It was an earth shaking day.[16]

If 9/11 had been an ordinary day, continuous with profane history, we might reasonably connect all this evidence of great force to the large amount of explosive recently discovered in the remains of the Towers.[17] But, of course, it was not an ordinary day and must be protected from such logic.

Mass hallucination

There seems to be no explanation but hallucination for the claims of more than 150 witnesses that they perceived explosions in the Twin Towers at or near the time of the collapses.[18] Or were these false visions and auditions conjured up by satanic powers?

One thing is clear: ordinary people standing at the scene of the manifestation cannot be trusted. We must, instead, rely on authorities who were not at the scene. Perhaps we should officially adopt a social epistemology for Canada that assigns all accurate perception to our holy authorities?

Yes. Enough of this tiring and time-consuming dissent!

Let us stand up on 9/11, light our candles, sing our anthem, and mumble phrases about Islamic extremism and its threat to our freedoms. Let us stop up our ears so that we do not hear the voices of the New York firefighters:[19]

“all the way around like a belt, all these explosions”

“a tremendous explosion and tremendous shaking of our building”

“you saw the one floor explode”

“like on television they blow up these buildings…”

“flash flash flash”

“boom, boom, boom, boom”

“shook my bones”

“sucked all the oxygen out of the air”

“like someone had planted explosives”

“like a million firecrackers”

“every floor went chu-chu-chu”

“like it was a timed explosion”

“boom, a massive explosion”

“whole top came off like a volcano”

“a very, very tremendous explosion”

“the way it looks when they show you those implosions on TV”

“a giant, giant explosion”

“in my mind it was a bomb”

“a synchronized deliberate kind of thing”

“I just went flying, maybe 30, 40 feet”

“ like shrapnel”

“everything shook”

“ever see professional demolition?”

“pop, pop, pop, pop, pop”

“like bombs going off, like boom, boom, boom”

“and then just a huge wind”

“the sound was deafening”

“the street was bouncing like a trampoline”

“huge mushroom cloud”

“horrendous noise”

“what the hell blew up?”

“my ears were like deaf…”

“they sounded like bombs”

Dr. Graeme MacQueen taught in the Department of Religious Studies and the Centre for Peace at McMaster for many years.


1.  An American friend recently sent me the following email, which, it seems, is being forwarded widely:

“We have less than one month to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America.

If you forward this email to least 11 people and each of those people do the same ... you get the idea.


On Friday, September 11th, 2009, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this eighth anniversary of one of our country's worst tragedies. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friend's and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.”

2.  I have written about National Religion and its relation to war in Johan Galtung and Graeme MacQueen, Globalizing God: Religion, Spirituality and Peace. Transcend University Press, 2008.

3.  The 2008 treatment of candidate Leslie Hughes by the Liberal Party is an example of this purging.

4.  “The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane.”

ABC News:

5.  Mark Gaffney’s essay, “How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77” gives a good summary of Hanjour’s experience and flying skills:

6.  See the Pilots and Aviation Professionals section of the Patriots Question 9/11 website, and especially the statements of Wittenberg and Kolstad.

7.  The reports by the National Institute of Standards and Technology on the Twin Towers and on World Trade 7 can be found here:

Discussion and criticism of these reports are found on many websites and in many publications. See especially the Journal of 9/11 Studies:

and the website of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth:

8.  Several views of WTC 7’s collapse can be found here:

NIST’s final report on WTC 7 is here:

9-11 Research is a good website for those wishing to study WTC 7’s collapse:

9.  For NIST’s report, see note 8.

David Ray Griffin’s book is, The Mysterious Collapse of the World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (Interlink Publishing, 2009).

10.  Basic information about the BBC error can be found here:

The CNN error is described here:

and, in more detail, here:

11. See my article, “Waiting for Seven.”

See also this MSNBC video clip:

12.  The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004)


14.  See Kevin Ryan’s article, “High Velocity Bursts of Debris from Point-Like Sources in the WTC Towers.”

15.  Steven Jones, et al, “Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction.”

16.  See my article, “Did the Earth Shake before the South Tower Hit the Ground?”

17.  Niels Harrit, et al, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.”

18.  The number 150 is used here as a symbolic minimum figure: the numbers of explosion witnesses is certainly much greater than this. I began the count by using the Fire Department of New York witnesses discussed in my article, “118 Witnesses:”

To this body of witnesses I added several from the reports of the Port Authority Police Department, which can be found here:

I then added further accounts from David Ray Griffin’s 2006 article, “Explosive Testimony:”

and from Webster Tarpley’s book, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA (Progressive Press, 2006).

Finally, I took several accounts from the same-day coverage (September 11, 2001) of CNN and other television networks. Feeling 150 was a good symbolic number, I stopped counting when I reached it.

19.  These quotations are mostly taken from the statements of members of the Fire Department of New York and can be found in the Appendix to “118 Witnesses,” referred to in note 18. I have added a couple of quotations from members of the Port Authority Police. See also note 18.

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