April '09 Thermite Paper Not Peer-reviewed; Published in Journal with Questionable Reputation

Hat tip to Ryan Mackey for directing my attention to the Bentham Online paper

In April of this year, there was a paper titled “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, Vol. 2, also known as BenthamOnline. The authors, Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen- as well as “truthers” in general-claim it was peer-reviewed.  However, this could not be farther from the truth.

Generally, speaking, a properly peer-reviewed paper goes through following process:

  1. The authors send the manuscript to the editor,
  2. The editor sends it out to knowledgeable people in that area of expertise, for comment- and those experts are supposed to remain anonymous,
  3. The paper gets sent back to the editor with any comments, and
  4. If the paper is considered acceptable, it goes back to the original author or authors for revision before being published.

Bentham Online is known for being very careless with its peer-review process. As we see ere, in the case of the Bentham paper, it was obviously NOT peer-reviewed.  In point of fact, the peer-review process in this case did NOT include the editor, Professor Marie-Paule Pilenii as it’s supposed to- which is she resigned. Oh, and Professor Pilenii specializes in NANOMATERIALS (source). Hmm, the authors of the above paper are claiming nanothermite, yet they went around the editor in chief, who happens to specialize in nanomaterials.  I wonder why?            

Screwloosechange also provides this quote from professor Pilenii:

“I cannot accept that this topic is published in my journal. The article has nothing to do with physical chemistry or chemical physics, and I could well believe that there is a political viewpoint behind its publication. If anyone had asked me, I would say that the article should never have been published in this journal. Period.”

Oh, and one other thing – Neils Harrit, one of the authors, knows the names of the two people who reviewed the article, which is a clear violation of the peer-review process as he’s NOT supposed to know that information (source ).

As we see here, although Jones had two articles, Fourteen Points…[Bentham] and Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for energetic materials [SpringerLink] published in supposedly mainstream journals, those journal’s are about as mainstream as the New York Times is conservative- and Jones has been criticized for using Bentham.

This quote from here  is rather interesting, to say the least:

“Mr. Ryan Mackey has contacted the editors of both of these journals, noting that the papers offer no hypothesis, no new data, and no new analysis; that they ignore previously published and reviewed works that would readily clear up their confusion, were they aware of and competent in understanding them; that their papers lack proper citations and references, and are inherently unrepeatable.

The responses he has received from these publications are very revealing. Here is a summary from Mr. Mackey: 

“Officials at both publications have suggested I submit a response paper. At any other journal, this suggestion would be total madness — one does not ordinarily submit a journal paper entitled something along the lines of ‘Fourteen Editorial Anomalies of the Recent Paper by Jones et al.’ — yet that is exactly what these publications have suggested. However, since that also would involve my paying $700 cash (Bentham) or $3000 cash (The Environmentalist) to do so, I am not particularly surprised at their recommendation.”

Hmm, these journals sound more like tabloids to me- except that tabloids at least are honest about what they are.

Oh, and it may interest you to know that Bentham Online also accepted a computer-generated nonsense paper (reference). Clearly, Bentham Online’s peer-review process leaves much to be desired.

As I pointed out in one of my earliest articles, the thermite claim leaves much to be desired.

For one thing, Jones has been caught in a lie here. He states that a metal with low chromium and high manganese means it can’t be structural steel, when it was actually the other way around when the WTC was built (source).

Jones uses the presence of sulfur to “prove” thermite,” but there is another source for sulfur- the drywall for one. (source).

As we see here,  the chemical formula for drywall is CaSO4 • 2H2O, also known as calcium sulfate dehydrate.  Hint: Sulfate has sulfur in it- and it seems to me that two 110-story buildings and one 47-story building would contain a LOT of drywall.

There are other problems with the thermite claim too:

  1. He got the sample from another “truther,” which is suspect right there,
  2. the dust was sitting there for 9 days, giving it plenty of time to get contaminated,
  3. it came from the home of a sculptor who might use welding equipment for his work (reference ).

This quote from here makes a rather good point:

“In his 2008 ‘Microspheres and Temperatures‘ paper Jones presented three different spectra of spherical particles (he has found even more spectra not mentioned in the paper). Jones’s thermite/thermate theory is effectively debunked by the great variety of spectra of iron-rich microspheres in the WTC dust. This proves the spheres came from many different sources. If some of these sources were present before 9/11, e.g. in construction debris from welding and cutting operations, Jones needs to show us how he can distinguish between such particles and particles produced in the WTC fires.”

And this quote from the same site:

“Steven Jones also continues to ignore all the other, natural explanations for his findings, including:

  • Pigments and fillers used in plastics
  • Fly ash from the combustion of cellulose-based materials: wood, cardboard and paper
  • Welding fume left in the towers from construction activities
  • Wear particles from grinding and cutting during construction of the towers
  • Iron powder cores from electronics (e.g. transformer cores)
  • NYC background levels of particulate from general environmental sources 

Instead of considering any of these natural alternatives, he keeps insisting that he has found traces of thermite.”

One other problem as well – where are the unfired devices, remains of fired devices, large “pigs” of formerly molten iron, etc. – not to mention the fact that thermite burns COMPLETELY (reference).  Hint: That means it would NOT still be there even 24 hours later.

Finally, while I was unable to find anything about Daniel Farnsworth, or Bradley R. Larsen, here are the facts about the remaining authors of titled “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe:” 

Steven Jones is a PHYSICIST, Neils Harrit is a CHEMIST (source ), Jeffrey Farrer – lab manager at physics and astronomy lab at BYU, specifically electron microscopy (reference) who recently quit the 9/11 “Truth” Movement as he was, in his own words, disturbed that it appeared to have a political viewpoint  (source ), Kevin R. Ryan, who was caught lying – he said Underwriter Labs certified steel when they do NOT do so – they certify the ASSEMBLY AFTER it has been put together. Oh, and Mr. Ryan was a WATER tester and was FIRED from UL (source ), and Frank M Legge works for Logical Systems Consulting in Perth, Australia (source), which is an Information Technology company, as I found out when Googling it, Gregg Roberts is a technical writer and business analyst (source), and James R. Gourley works for EPA (reference ).

In short, not a SINGLE one of the authors is credentialed in the field of structural or civil engineering.


Clearly, these particular “scientists” must have gotten their degree as the prize in a box of Crackerjacks.


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