By Craig McKee
David Ray Griffin’s newest book is receiving criticism not so much from believers in the government’s official story as from his usual supporters within the 9/11 Truth movement.
In a new essay, Paul Zarembka – an economics professor, 9/11 researcher, and editor of The Hidden History of 9-11 – offers a critique of Griffin’s analysis of the subject of whether phone calls from the four allegedly hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001 were faked. Zarembka challenges the conclusions reached in chapter five of Griffin’s new book, 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed.
“The internal logic of Griffin’s chapter rather surprised me for its weakness,” Zarembka writes in the conclusion of “Critique of David Ray Griffin regarding Calls from 9-11 Planes” (http://ithp.org/articles/davidraygriffincritique.html.
“It isn’t that a case cannot be made. It isn’t that certain elements of a good case aren’t mentioned. Rather, problems in the argumentation are significant and supporters of the official story are offered a target. Trying to defend such work reduces our credibility.”
Zarembka says Griffin is too willing to see lies in virtually all aspects of the official story. This can be problematic, he argues, because it can make it easier for critics to undermine the credibility of the movement.
“A population can be manipulated not only by lies but also by sprinklings of truths, half truths, and distortions,” Zarembka writes. “Indeed, offering some truths is an effective means of undermining critics who argue for lies everywhere.
“A self-confident movement does not need to be exposing just lies and only lies. It can examine evidence and draw disparate conclusions about differing accuracies of the huge amount of material to work with. I have felt that the work of David Ray Griffin, a leading commentator on September 11, is an example of turning up stones everywhere with the word “lie” written on them. He seems called upon to write about everything having to do with September 11 in order to turn over stones everywhere. Why?”
Griffin’s book has already received criticism on this blog and elsewhere for the chapter that urges the Truth movement to adopt a “consensus approach” to the Pentagon 9/11 evidence. Griffin feels that the “divisive” issue of what did or did not hit the Pentagon is relatively unimportant in comparison to the certainty that a plane piloted by al-Qaeda did not crash there.
In his essay, Zarembka leaves the Pentagon question aside and concentrates on Griffin’s contention that phone calls that are supposed to have come from the four allegedly hijacked planes were faked. Griffin offers voice-morphing technology as a possible explanation for how relatives could have been fooled into thinking that their loved ones had called from the planes.
But Zarembka sees problems with this explanation. He says that a number of those whose voices Griffin believes were morphed were actually late arrivals to their flights, were on stand-by, or had switched to the flight they were on at the last minute. How could the voice morphing have been done in advance, Zarembka argues, when it was unknown that all those who made calls would even be on the flight?
Zarembka refers to evidence in the 2002 book Among the Heroes by Jere Longman that Tom Burnett, Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, Lauren Grandcolas, and Elizabeth Wainio (all of whom are alleged to have made calls) were latecomers to Flight 93. This means that there could not have been any certainty in advance that those people would be on the flights in question. He says that Griffin is aware of this fact (the two discussed it, Zarembka says) but ignores it.
Zarembka singles out the call from Flight 93 flight attendant CeeCee Lyles to her husband Lorne at 9:47 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. At the end of the call, a woman’s voice in the background can be heard saying, “You did great.” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUrxsrTKHN4) Griffin sees this as proof that Lyles was coerced into making the call or that voice morphing technology was used to fake the call.
But Zarembka feels there is an obvious possibility that Griffin is ignoring – that a supportive passenger or crew member was telling Lyles she had “done great” in making this very difficult call to her husband. The tape was offered by the government at the Moussaoui trial in 2006 with this mysterious comment not edited out.
Zarembka looks at the issue of voice morphing in some detail in his essay. He says that Griffin relies on this to explain how calls could have been faked when no other explanations present themselves, but he ignores evidence that contradicts this.
Zarembka also challenges Griffin’s claims that those who are alleged to have called loved ones were calmer than would have been the case if the calls had been real. He says that Griffin only uses pieces of information – and incomplete quotes – that support this contention and ignores points that contradict it. And, some of these are the same passengers whose presence on the flights wasn’t assured until the last minute.
Zarembka points out that to fake calls using voice morphing or other methods would require significant information in advance, including personal details of the person who was supposedly calling, recordings of the “callers’” voices, access to phone billing systems, and knowledge of which planes the passengers were to be on.
My criticism of Griffin’s consensus approach from his chapter seven is that the consensus position he proposes leaves out so much of the most damning evidence that a plane crash was faked at the Pentagon (including any mention of Citizen Investigation Team) because it may be in dispute. In the chapter, Griffin effectively presents the evidence that a plane did not crash, but then undermines the strength of his own case by stating that the question is relatively unimportant.
Zarembka’s criticism of chapter five is different but not unrelated. When it comes to alleged phone calls from the planes, he feels that Griffin is ignoring (in a sense you could say treating as unimportant) any evidence that doesn’t support the position he already holds.