Monthly Archives: August 2014

Yep, I’m “going there”

Because “truth” isn’t a four-letter word.

Here is a C-SPAN interview from this month with Richard Gage, talking about his group of 2,224 architects and engineers around the world, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which believes that the World Trade Center was probably brought down by explosive demolition on September 11, 2001, using something called thermite, which burns at 2200° C and can melt through metal, which is the only way they think it’s physically possible for a steel structure to collapse at free fall speed into its own footprint. The group was founded in 2006 and said its mission is to use science to “expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 in a way that inspires the people to overcome denial and understand the truth.” Mr. Gage spoke via video link from San Francisco, California.

What I think is key here is that Richard Gage and his group are interested in the science, in answering the question “How could jet fuel alone cause these massive steel structures to fall into their own footprints and disintegrate instantaneously like that, especially Building 7, which was never hit by a plane?” They also rely on samples taken from the scene of the crime which tested positive for thermite, and on oral histories from that day, people who heard explosions and first responders who saw what looked like molten lava running among the wreckage for weeks afterwards.

As someone who worked directly across the street from the World Trade Center in 2001 and was in lower Manhattan that day, I recall my disbelief at what I was seeing. First, I was in the subway when the first tower collapsed, headed north. So I didn’t see it happen. When I met my roommate at her office in Union Square, she said, “What do you know? Do you know that the first tower fell?” I said, “What do you mean it fell?” It was impossible to imagine those things falling. If they had “fallen,” I imagined all of downtown Manhattan being wiped out. I pictured a Jenga tower falling, when one of the blocks that supports the tower is removed (or gives way), and the whole thing spills everywhere.  It makes a terrible mess on your living room floor.

A tower falling.

A tower falling.

That is what I thought had happened. In my mind, that is what I was picturing. And I thought that if my coworkers had stayed in our building, they would be dead. If the deli owners had stayed in their delis, they were probably dead. If my friend from high school who worked in the World Financial Center next door had stayed in his building, it probably crashed to the ground and he was dead. I thought Wall Street had probably been destroyed, Trinity Church was gone, everything — those buildings were so massive, so massive. For them to “fall” would wipe out everything within a very large circumference.

As I was walking West, I was crossing an avenue and saw the second tower fall. Straight down. It basically just turned to dust. Then I got to someone’s apartment and we watched the coverage on television, and I saw the way they fell straight down, something I’d never seen a Jenga tower do. But after you’d seen it, over and over and over and over, it started to look normal. And you think, maybe a Jenga tower would fall that way too if you lit some of the blocks on fire? Maybe? But it wasn’t making sense, and the dust, that gray dust. Within an hour of our arrival at the apartment in Chelsea, there were photographs of Osama bin Laden being shown on the television. They had their conspiracy theory. Though no evidence was ever offered to prove his involvement, and though he initially denied responsibility, this became the story and it never changed. I remembered wondering why he would initially deny it if he had pulled off something of that magnitude, the worst ever attack in history against “The Great Satan.” Wouldn’t he be proud of it? Needless to say, I had a lot of questions at the time.

Like when they found the terrorist’s passport in the dust a few blocks away. Even the news anchor says in the clip, “If you can believe that.” And I couldn’t. Entire buildings can turn into dust, but this piece of paper, which was in the heart of the fire, could somehow survive? At that point I laughed. What — did he throw it out the window right before the plane hit the building? Can you roll down the window of a plane? Who can believe this stuff, I wondered? How few of my questions were ever answered. The government and the media did not seem interested in asking questions. They seemed to be in the business of “repeat something enough times and people will start to believe it,” “show the footage enough times and it will start to look natural.” Most importantly: “call anyone who asks questions crazy.”

For weeks afterwards there were two columns of smoke rising where the towers had been, like ghost towers. The ruins continued to smoke for weeks, maybe even two months, it’s hard to recall exactly. They continued to smoke after rain, more rain, more rain, as the weather got colder, and I remember standing on the elevated subway platform in Queens each morning, where I always had a view of the trade center, and seeing the smoke still rising from Ground Zero. I thought it was the oddest thing. Why hadn’t the rain put out the fires? I know planes carry a lot of fuel but…come on. I was also training for a marathon, and the dust in the air was making it very hard to breathe. It lingered for months.

Even odder was the fact that my office building was still there and perfectly fine, my little tiny office building that was directly across the street from the WTC, nestled right there under its shadow: unaffected. We were no longer working from there, but after a week or so it had been pronounced structurally sound and we could be let back in. I could go on the roof and look over at Ground Zero. And everything in in the neighborhood of the WTC  was still there and standing. It was just a lot dirtier. (In fact, I’ll never forget how disorienting it was going down there the first couple of times. I couldn’t figure out where I was and I had a hard time identifying the street for my building. The WTC was so massive that it created this dwarfing effect; everything around it seemed like a tiny village in comparison. The street my office was on seemed like a tiny little alley. When I went back, without those towers looming over everything, the buildings all looked like normal skyscrapers. The streets felt like streets. I had to use landmarks to get my bearings.I saw my deli on the corner with the same sign I had seen every day, and thought, “I can’t be in the same place. There must be two delis with that same name. Where am I?” Then I saw the street sign that confirmed I was on the right street, but I couldn’t figure out which direction to go in. Normally, I would walk away from the deli and towards the WTC. But it looked so different. I was so disoriented.)

There was some worry about a hotel directly across the street from the WTC, and its structural integrity, but I think they ended up fixing it up and it still stands to this day. Buildings 30-40 feet away from these massive structures still stood! There was just this neat, precise little “hole” in the city where the towers had been. It seemed unbelievable, how surgical the destruction had been, with one exception: Building 7. It was literally unbelievable to stand up there and look out. And, yes, there was a lot of wreckage, but not nearly enough to account for those two buildings. Where did everything go? It disappeared, disintegrated, most of it.

As callers try to lure him into concocting conspiracy theories about who did it, why, and how they pulled it off, Richard Gage says in the C-SPAN clip that it is not his mission to answer those questions. Those are questions for investigative journalists (who, for the past ten years, won’t “go there.”) His mission is to expose the shoddy “science” of the 9/11 Commission, offer a theory that makes sense from a scientific and engineering perspective, and offer evidence that supports his theory. The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth make a compelling case.

Below, actor Ed Asner helps narrates this documentary that traces the unfolding story that decimates the official account (“collapse due to normal office fires”) of the collapse of Building 7 on the afternoon of 9/11.

Of course if the demolition theory about Building 7 is true, that means it was planned. Some people can’t handle that thought, what Thomas Merton called evil that is so evil it is “unspeakable.” It must not be spoken of. And I admit that this would open up so many more questions, like: How in the world could demolition crews secretly rig these towers, which would take months, without anyone noticing, the janitors, the maintenance people, the office workers? It would require the work of many men, one would think, and how could it be that none of them would ever speak up and spill the beans? Who did and why?

I admit, there would be a lot of questions. None of the answers are easy and none of it is easy to believe. It is all very hard to believe, in my opinion, no matter which way you look at it, no matter which conspiracy theory you choose to believe. (Even the government’s official story is itself a conspiracy theory. To establish something as fact requires evidence and proof.) To be honest, I don’t have any theories about who did it, why, and how. I don’t know what I believe. All I know is what I don’t believe. I don’t believe the official story makes sense; I don’t believe it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It’s all so hard to believe, but I guess in the end, as a Catholic, I find it easier to believe in man’s capacity for greed, evil, murder, and deception, yes even in “unspeakable” proportions, than I do to believe in things that are impossibilities according to scientific principles and the laws of physics.

The important thing, I think, is that we continue to ask questions and search for the truth when the answers provided are not satisfactory. We should not demonize or disparage those who have a genuine interest in the truth. Those who are still very interested in this topic are most likely to be those who were affected by it, those who lost loved ones on that day or in the years following, in the “War on Terror” that was started supposedly in response to 9/11 and continues to this day and will continue, indefinitely, because there is no possible victory.

“The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”


War on Terror - > War is Terror

War on Terror. War is Terror.

End Just War

Here is an email being circulated by Pax Christi – Baltimore.


Greetings of peace from Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore!  We hope you’ve all had a great summer and are looking forward to a spiritually bountiful fall.

We’re excited that Pax Christi regions from around the country are uniting to launch a campaign to move the Catholic Church away from 1600 years of just war teaching, and to embrace Gospel nonviolence and the growing just peace tradition.

As a first step in this campaign, we are sponsoring an ad to run in the National Catholic Reporter this October(prior to the annual U.S. bishops’ meeting in November), saying that it’s time for the Church to reject “just war” as inconsistent with the teaching and example of Jesus.  Attached is the text of the ad, along with a short paper that we’ll post on our website providing more information for NCR readers who see the ad.

We are trying to get at least 300 signatories and are reaching out to Pax Christi members and groups and others around the country.  Will you please help us by signing on to the ad and helping defray the cost of publication?

The suggested donation is $20 for each person or couple signing on to the ad, and $25 for each organization.  If you can donate a little extra, that will help us even more.  Donations can be made either by check or online at the PCMDCB website.

If paying by check, please let us know exactly how you would like your name(s) to appear in the ad when you mail us your check.  Please send your check, made paybale to Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore (with “JWT Ad” in the memo line) to PCMDCB, PO Box 29030, Washington, DC 20017-9030.  All donations by check must be received no later than September 12, 2014.

If paying online, please go to and click on the “Donate” button on the left.  On the next screen, enter the dollar amount of your donation, and log in to PayPal if you have an account.  (If you don’t have a PayPal account, click on “Continue” to the left of the login box, enter the requested information, and click on “Review Donation and Continue.”)  On the next screen, click on the “Add special instructions to the seller” link; and in the box that opens, type “JWT Ad.”  Also please let us know exactly how you would like your name(s) to appear in the ad.  Then click on the “Donate” button at the bottom of the screen.  All online donations must be received no later than September 15, 2014.

If we’re fortunate enough to receive more in donations than the cost of the ad, we’ll use any remaining amount for other expenses of our campaign to move the Church from “just war” to just peace.

In addition to signing on to the ad yourself, please forward this message to other individuals and groups who you think may be interested in signing on.

Thank you for all you do for the cause of peace!

Bob More
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore

August 25, 2012

Today, August 25th, marks the anniversary of the death of past-Catholic Peace Fellowship ambassador and St. Marcellus Award recipient, Joshua Casteel. Below is a video of Joshua’s testimony at the CPF-co-sponsored Truth Commission on Conscience in War in 2010.

Today CFP posted on Facebook:

The Catholic Peace Fellowship continues to give thanks for his life and tremendous witness and continues to prayer for the consolation of the Casteel family and all of Joshua’s friends.

For more on Joshua’s life and writings please see and CPF’s website, particularly:

A Soldier’s Magnificat” and Testimony by Joshua Casteel at CPF Conscientious Objector Panel Part 1 and Testimony by Joshua Casteel at CPF Conscientious Objector Panel Part 2

Nearer, My God, To Thee

1.	Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 
	E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me, 
	still all my song shall be, 
	nearer, my God, to thee; 
	nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 

2.	Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, 
	darkness be over me, my rest a stone; 
	yet in my dreams I'd be 
	nearer, my God, to thee; 
	nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 

3.	There let the way appear, steps unto heaven; 
	all that thou sendest me, in mercy given; 
	angels to beckon me 
	nearer, my God, to thee; 
	nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 

4.	Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise, 
	out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise; 
	so by my woes to be 
	nearer, my God, to thee; 
	nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 

5.	Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky, 
	sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly, 
	still all my song shall be, 
	nearer, my God, to thee; 
	nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Is Fr. Barron going hippie?

Is Fr. Barron going all hippie nonviolent on us? Has he always been this way or is this a new turn? I have to admit, I haven’t listened to too much of his stuff. But this is refreshing to hear.

From Word on Fire: It is easy to think the Church’s great Marian feasts are sentimental or quaint. But really just the opposite is true. Here are Father Robert Barron’s reflections on today’s Feast of the Queenship of Mary, a dramatic celebration which demands that we acknowledge that:

“There is one decision that you have to make: which army are you in? Every other decision will follow from that one.For whom are your fighting? There is Satan’s army and there is Christ’s army... Satan – in a million ways – in a will try to lead you into his army which means you will try to walk the way of hatred, violence, egotism and cruelty.That is the decision that you have to make:Am I in that army or am I in Christ’s army? Am I going to fight the good battle of love, compassion and nonviolence?”

The Future

I’ve been enjoying the recycling of stories from the 70s over at Commonweal. So many Catholics of my generation (Millenials and Xers and Yers) know too little about the rich peace tradition of the Catholic Church right here in the United States and its legacy. Here is Gordon Zahn on The Future of the Catholic Peace Movement from 1973.

Gordon Zahn (1918-2007)

Gordon Zahn (1918-2007)