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My Painful Questions book

Here are some details on how and why Painful Questions came to be. The PDF files of the book are here.

Update: I originally wrote this perhaps in 2002 or 2003 to answer people's questions about why I put a lot of time, effort, and money into creating my book about the 9/11 attack. At that time I was expecting to post only a couple of documents, so I didn't bother putting dates on my documents.)

Part 1; My Ignorance. September 2001 to January 2002

My initial reaction to the 9-11 attack was "What do you expect?" America has been meddling in other nations' affairs, especially the Mideast, for decades. I was not surprised that the Arabs decided to retaliate.

On September 14th I posted an article on the Internet essentially complaining about our Mideast policy and how we are fools for letting ourselves get dragged into Israel's fight with the Arabs.

On Sunday, September 16th, I was at somebody's house who has a TV (I don't have a TV). I finally saw the titillating television reports about the event; specifically, the brief video segments of the airplanes crashing into the towers. Newscasters were repeating them every few minutes, intermingled with remarks about the Evil Arabs. I was told that there had been no interruptions in the broadcasts since September 11th. Apparently, the reporters were determined to permanently burn the information into the memories of the American people, and the American people were apparently happy to let them do so.

From September to the beginning of January I occasionally posted messages on some newsgroups in which I complained about our Mideast policy. I got the impression that I was in a very small minority for believing that our policies were causing trouble for us.

By October or November (I don't remember when) I discovered the Google news groups. One person posting messages had the screen name of “Geeman”. He often complained that we should not trust our government; that something was suspicious about the September 11 attack. What was suspicious about Arabs retaliating? I didn't see anything strange about their desire to attack us; rather, it seemed like a normal human reaction.

Geeman often provided a link to his website and other Web sites. Occasionally I would look at some of the sites he was directing us to.

One of the sites Geeman pointed us to was an article by Jim McMichael with the title “Muslims Suspend The Laws Of Physics”. The title suggested to me that it was an article about a magic act. An image appeared in my mind; an image of a group of Arabic magicians in colorful costumes who were performing such anti-gravity tricks as levitating a woman. However, the photos showed the World Trade Center, not a magic act. I failed to grasp the connection.

As I read the article I quickly realized it was a rebuttal to an article about the World Trade Center attack, but I did not know which article it was a rebuttal to. Then I came to remarks about the floors of the World Trade Center not appearing to fall like a stack of pancakes. Apparently he was responding to somebody who claimed the floors fell like pancakes. Visions of pancakes appeared in my mind, and I wondered what pancakes had to do with our meddling in the Middle East and our bombing of Afghanistan. Why was he discussing pancakes and the laws of physics when we should be discussing a new government and a new foreign policy? The article seemed silly, and I started skipping through it quickly, rather than carefully reading each word.

Conclusion; the Internet is lousy for dispensing news

None of us enjoy reading text on a computer monitor; rather, we resist reading Internet documents. If a Web site does not immediately make sense to me, I tend to quickly skim through it. Some people are worse than I am. I know a person who, when I told him to read something on the computer, would usually respond "print it." He didn't even want to print it himself.

McMichael could have put the answers to life on his Web site, but since the images of a levitating woman and a stack of pancakes did not make sense to me, I probably would not have noticed.

Also, the Internet is lousy for dispensing photos

Geeman's web site had a picture of something he referred to as “Global Hawk”. I never heard of “Global Hawk” before. The phrase gave me visions of a large bird that flies all over the planet. He posted a small photograph of it, but it was of such low quality that I could not figure out what it was a photograph of. It looked like a toy airplane with a big plastic nose. The nose reminded me of those fake noses that are attached to glasses that people wear as a joke. I glanced at the photo and skimmed through a few of his remarks about it, but since the photo did not make sense to me, I did not pay much attention to his text description.

Now that I know what a Global Hawk is I can clearly see it in Geeman's photo, but at the time I had no idea what it was. This brings up another problem with the Internet. If a photograph is of such low quality that we cannot immediately understand it, many of us will dismiss it. Unfortunately, many objects are so complex that we need to see large, high resolution photographs. Unfortunately, it is not practical to post large photographs on the Internet. (See Figure 9-15 on page 105 of Painful Questions, and then compare it to the Internet versions to see what I mean.)

Conclusion: The 9-11 info is ignored

The Internet has been promoted as a replacement to paper, radio, and television, but it is a terrible method of providing information to people because we do not enjoy reading text on a computer, and because photos and video are terrible quality. The Internet is useful for research, because in those cases a person will force himself to search through documents. However, the vast majority of people will never use the Internet as a news source. Therefore, most people will never realize that the Internet is full of information about the 9-11 attack.

If a person wants to provide information about the 9-11 attack to the public, he will fail miserably if all he does is post documents on the Internet. I am proof of that statement; I saw some of the sites that had information about the 9-11 attack, and I dismissed them.

The best method to reach the public is television, but producing television programs is beyond the ability of a single individual. An individual citizen working by himself can only produce a paper book.

Part 2; My awakening, January 2002

At the beginning of January Geeman posted a remark on the newsgroup that finally got through to me. I do not remember exactly what he wrote, but he was complaining that there was something suspicious about the manner in which the towers collapsed.

Up until January 2002, whenever I saw a photograph of the World Trade Center attack I could not see the steel or concrete. Rather, visions appeared in my mind of the fighting that has been going on in the Mideast for decades, and I saw Americans rushing to Afghanistan to toss bombs on mud shacks. In other words, when I looked at the World Trade Center attack, my mind saw only angry people, war, and violence.

Something Geeman posted in January caused me to look at the attack from the point of view of what actually happened to the towers, and how it happened, and how the towers collapsed. I began searching the Internet for photographs and descriptions of the attack and collapse. Since I was now doing research, I was paying more attention to the Internet sites.

I quickly understood what people were complaining about. The 9-11 attack had a lot of suspicious aspects to it, and it appeared as if somebody knew it was going to occur. Sometime in the second week of January I posted a document at my website that discussed some of these suspicious aspects.

Part 3; My attempts to help; January and February, 2002

I began sending e-mail messages once in awhile to people, informing them that those towers collapsed in a strange manner. I sent messages to people who appeared to have some interest in this attack, or who should have some interest in this attack, such as Harry Brown of the Libertarian Party, a couple of talk radio stations in my area, David Duke, and even Matt Drudge. I also sent a message to Tim Wilkinson of the University of Sydney in Australia, one of the "experts" who claims that a fire destroyed the towers. I also posted remarks on various newsgroups.

My e-mail messages never seemed to have any effect on anybody, so I continually rewrote the message under the assumption that perhaps it was just poorly written.

On the 18th of January I was looking through some of Geeman's links and I came across an article that seemed familiar. This article suggested that explosives were used to destroy the towers. The explosives did not seem to be the familiar aspect of this site, however. Rather, the remarks about pancakes and Muslim magicians seemed familiar. It was that article by Jim McMichael with the title “Muslims Suspend The Laws Of Physics”. Now, in mid-January, I understood what he was complaining about, although I still had not figured out what the pancakes had to do with the collapse.

In February I discovered that the editor of Fire Engineering Magazine was calling the investigation of the World Trade Center “a half baked farce,” and another article was asking people to send e-mail to their government officials to demand an investigation. I responded by sending e-mail messages to various government officials, and other people.

Fire Engineering Magazine had been complaining for one month by the time I noticed them. How can anybody say news travels fast on the Internet when such important news takes a month to get to me, and it still hasn't reached the majority of people?

Also in February I began looking through the lists of professors and graduate students at some universities in an attempt to find professors and students who seem interested in steel buildings, concrete, and physics. I then sent e-mail messages to them pointing out that there is something strange about the collapse of the World Trade Center, and they ought to look into it, possibly even making it a project for the students. I sent about 100 of those e-mail messages in February. I also sent a couple messages to a few people at NASA, and to somebody named Wallace who did a seismology analysis of the plane hitting the Pentagon.

There are sites on the Internet that post problems for physicists to solve for fun, so I turned the World Trade Center collapse into a physics problem. (Page 80 of the Painful Questions book shows it) Specifically, I challenged them to determine whether or not it is possible for the concrete in the World Trade Center to become pulverized without an additional energy source. However, of all the sites I told of this puzzle, only one in Europe found it interesting enough to post on their site.

Part 4; The Pentagon Crash; March, 2002

On the 27th of February a Canadian in Montreal who is fluent in both English and French sent me an e-mail message about a site in France that claims a truck bomb exploded at the Pentagon. About one hour later he sent me an e-mail message that contained the English translation of that site.

I cannot read French, but I looked at that French site anyway since it may have had pictures I could make sense of. I saw a photo, but it did not seem to have any value, and the page did not scroll down, so I dismissed the site of no value. I did not bother trying to figure out what the English translation said because I was busy at the time, and it would have required some effort on my part. I dismissed the site as unimportant.

On March 4 I received an e-mail message from an American news group (the APFN) that Flight 77 never hit the pentagon. They provided a link to a site that had photos and descriptions. The site asked readers to “Hunt the Boeing”. This site had an unusual trick of scrolling (actually, bouncing) to the left when I clicked the mouse on a certain part of it.

I considered this site to be very interesting. I emailed the link to a few people, including that Canadian I just mentioned. He responded by telling me that he was certain that he told me about that site the previous week. I looked through my e-mail to see if he had indeed sent me the link, and I found that he had sent me a site in France with a slightly different address. I compared his French site to the English version, and I discovered they were identical. I then realized that my inability to read French was the reason I never noticed that the pages scrolled left and right instead of up and down.

Conclusion: Email is worse than paper mail

It is easy to scan through a stack of paper mail. If you are busy, it is easy to lay aside the mail and look through it on another day. However, scanning e-mail messages is annoying on our eyes, and it is more time-consuming because we see only a small piece of one message at a time.

The worse aspect of email is that if we are busy and decide to put a message aside for some other day, we can easily forgot about it.

That person in Canada could have E-mailed me a link to a site that had the answers to life, and he could have sent me the English translation in a separate message. But because I was busy that day, I would have glanced at the French site and then dismissed it.

Part 5; Is anybody listening to us? March, 2002

In March I added a document to my site about the Pentagon attack. By this time I had about 10 different pages on different suspicious aspects of the 9-11 attack.

I never mentioned my documents to any of my neighbors, friends, or relatives, nor did I discuss the 9-11 attack with any of them. Part of the reason was that I was curious to find out how long it would take before they found out about my documents on their own. But nobody ever asked me; nobody noticed.

Near the end of March I decided to talk to some neighbors, friends, and relatives about the 9-11 attack. I discovered that not one person that I personally knew had seen any of the Internet sites that discussed the 9-11 attack. Some of these sites supposedly received millions of visitors every month, but I do not know even one person who has seen even one of them.

By the end of March I decided I was wasting my time with my Internet documents; that I will never have an effect on the general public. I was also coming to the conclusion that I am wasting my time sending e-mail messages to university professors. Nobody with a technical background in fires, steel buildings, or seismology seemed to have any interest in analyzing the collapse of the buildings or the seismic data.

Conclusion: the Internet is mainly entertainment

The Internet is primarily an entertainment system. Millions of people use e-mail to past jokes to their friends, for example. A joke can reach so many people on the Internet so quickly that it creates the impression that the Internet is an incredible method to spread information to the population. However, only jokes spread to large numbers of people; not serious information. People resist reading lengthy e-mail messages, and they resist messages that require seriously thought. The end result is that entertainment material reaches the entire world within days, but one year after the 9-11 attack only a tiny fraction of the population has received email about it. Therefore, anybody who tries to spread information about 9-11 via e-mail is going to fail.

The thousands of Americans who discuss 9-11 on the Internet make up perhaps 0.0002% of the American population. The information never gets to the “common person”.

I had posted a lot of documents on the Internet, contacted a lot of people, but what good did I do? Jim McMichael posted his document before I posted mine, but has it changed the world for the better?

I felt as if I was in a neighborhood where a fire was burning, but the firemen were playing poker and most other people were watching television. I felt as if I, McMichael, Geeman, and a few other people were trying to extinguish the fires by ourselves, but unless we get more assistance, the fires will destroy the neighborhood. Somehow the people who were spending an hour each evening with Tom Brokaw must be convinced to leave their TV for a few minutes to help us.

I decided that the only way to reach the general public is with a paper book. We can give books as birthday and Christmas presents, and we can show books to our friends and relatives. This should expose the general public to the suspicious aspects of the 9-11 attack.

The 9-11 attack is one year old already, but not much has happened yet. Will my book change the situation? Or will I have to add another entry to this document about my failure to reach people via books? Will I soon be wondering if the only way to get the attention of the "general public" is to hire Hollywood stars? Perhaps if Britney Spears or Liz Taylor would say something about 9-11....

Misc. observation

At the beginning of February, 2002, I was thinking that perhaps the groups of people who had been complaining for many years about our Mideast policies would be interested in demanding an investigation of the World Trade Center attack. David Duke and the "World Church of the Creator" are two examples. I posted a few messages at the newsgroup of the World Church of the Creator. To my amazement I discovered that some of the members dismissed the possibility that the attack was a scam. They responded that such an event was not important to them. How could an attack of this magnitude not be important to a group of people who claim to be opposed to our meddling in the Middle East? I came to the conclusion that the World Church of the Creator has been infiltrated with Mossad, CIA, and/or FBI agents.

The odd behavior of the members of the World Church of the Creator made me wonder how many other groups have been infiltrated. Perhaps Tim McVeigh belonged to such a group, and perhaps the FBI infiltrators convinced McVeigh to blow up the building in Oklahoma City. In such a case the FBI would have supplied the explosives and technical assistance, and McVeigh was the patsy.

Update: After I wrote this page I was informed that General Partin, an explosives expert for the US military, explained years ago that Tim McVeigh was a patsy; that the fertilizer bomb could not have done the damage. The truck bomb was just for show; the building had explosives in it.

Have you heard of General Partin? If not, search for info on the Internet about his report. There are videos and books about this and other issues that will likely shock you. Who is telling the truth about these issues? Should we trust the FBI? Or people such as General Partin?