The Destruction of the World Trade Center:
Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
David Ray Griffin
Authorized Version (with references &
New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004), I summarized dozens of facts and reports that
cast doubt on the official story about 9/11. Then in The 9/11 Commission
Report: Omissions and Distortions
(2005a), I discussed the way these various facts and reports were treated by
the 9/11 Commission, namely, by distorting or simply omitting them. I have also
taken this big-picture approach, with its cumulative argument, in my previous
essays and lectures on 9/11 (Griffin, 2005b and 2005d).
This approach, which shows every aspect of the official story to be
problematic, provides the most effective challenge to the official story.
this way of presenting the evidence has one great limitation, especially when
used in lectures and essays: It means that the treatment of every particular
issue must be quite brief, hence superficial. People can thereby be led to
suspect that a more thorough treatment of any particular issue might show the
official story to be plausible after all.
In the present essay, I
focus on one question: why the Twin Towers and building 7 of the World Trade
Center collapsed. One advantage of this focus, besides the fact that it allows
us to go into considerable detail, is that the destruction of the World Trade
Center provides one of the best windows into the truth about 9/11. Another
advantage of this focus is that it will allow us to look at revelations
contained in the 9/11 oral histories, which were recorded by the New York Fire
Department shortly after 9/11 but released to the public only in August of
I will begin with the question of why the Twin Towers
collapsed, then raise the same question about building 7.
The Collapse of the Twin Towers
after 9/11, President Bush advised people not to tolerate “outrageous
conspiracy theories about the attacks of 11 September” (Bush, 2001).
Philip Zelikow, who directed the work of the 9/11 Commission, has likewise
warned against “outrageous conspiracy theories” (Hansen, 2005). What do these
men mean by this expression? They cannot mean that we should reject all conspiracy theories about 9/11, because the
government’s own account is a conspiracy theory, with the conspirators all
being members of al-Qaeda. They mean only that we should reject outrageous theories.
But what distinguishes an outrageous theory from a
non-outrageous one? This is one of the central questions in the philosophy of
science. When confronted by rival theories---let’s say Neo-Darwinian Evolution
and Intelligent Design---scientists and philosophers of science ask which
theory is better and why. The mark of a good theory is that it can explain, in
a coherent way, all or at least most of the relevant facts and is not
contradicted by any of them. A bad theory is one that is contradicted by some
of the relevant facts. An outrageous
theory would be one that is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts.
this definition in mind, let us look at the official theory about the Twin
Towers, which says that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the
impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires. The report put out by FEMA
said: “The structural damage sustained by each tower from the impact, combined
with the ensuing fires, resulted in the total collapse of each building” (FEMA,
This theory clearly belongs in the category of outrageous theories, because is
it is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts. Although this statement
may seem extreme, I will explain why it is not.
No Prior Collapse Induced by
The official theory is rendered
implausible by two major problems. The first is the simple fact that fire has
9/11---caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse. Defenders of the
official story seldom if ever mention this simple fact. Indeed, the supposedly
definitive report put out by NIST---the National Institute for Standards and
Technology (2005)---even implies that fire-induced collapses of large
steel-frame buildings are normal events (Hoffman, 2005).
Far from being normal, however, such collapses have never occurred, except for
the alleged cases of 9/11.
of the official theory, of course, say that the collapses were caused not
simply by the fire but the fire combined with the damage caused by the
airliners. The towers, however, were designed to withstand the impact of
airliners about the same size as Boeing 767s.
Hyman Brown, the construction manager of the Twin Towers, said: “They were
over-designed to withstand almost anything, including hurricanes, . . .
bombings and an airplane hitting [them]” (Bollyn, 2001). And even Thomas Eagar,
an MIT professor of materials engineering who supports the official theory,
says that the impact of the airplanes would not have been significant, because
“the number of columns lost on the initial impact was not large and the loads
were shifted to remaining columns in this highly redundant structure” (Eagar
and Musso, 2001, pp. 8-11). Likewise, the NIST Report, in discussing how the
impact of the planes contributed to the collapse, focuses primarily on the
claim that the planes dislodged a lot of the fire-proofing from the steel.
official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it
cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings
to collapse---never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York
say, of course, that there is a first time for everything, and that a truly
extraordinary fire might induce a collapse. Let us examine this idea. What
would count as an extraordinary fire? Given the properties of steel, a fire
would need to be very hot, very big, and very long-lasting. But the fires in
the towers did not have even one of these characteristics, let alone all
have been claims, to be sure, that the fires were very hot. Some television
specials claimed that the towers collapsed because the fire was hot enough to
melt the steel. For example, an early BBC News special quoted Hyman Brown as
saying: “steel melts, and 24,000 gallons of aviation fluid melted the steel.”
Another man, presented as a structural engineer, said: “It was the fire that
killed the buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those
temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. . . . The columns would have
melted” (Barter, 2001).
claims, however, are absurd. Steel does not even begin to melt until it reaches
almost 2800° Fahrenheit.
And yet open fires fueled by hydrocarbons, such as kerosene---which is what jet
fuel is---can at most rise to 1700°F, which is almost 1100 degrees below the
melting point of steel.
We can, accordingly, dismiss the claim that the towers collapsed because their
steel columns melted.
defenders of the official theory, in fact, do not make this absurd claim. They
say merely that the fire heated the steel up to the point where it lost so much
of its strength that it buckled.
For example, Thomas Eagar, saying that steel loses 80 percent of its strength
when it is heated to 1,300˚F, argues that this is what happened. But for
even this claim to plausible, the fires would have still had to be pretty hot.
they were not. Claims have been made, as we have seen, about the jet fuel. But
much of it burned up very quickly in the enormous fireballs produced when the
planes hit the buildings, and rest was gone within 10 minutes,
after which the flames died down. Photographs of the towers 15 minutes after
they were struck show few flames and lots of black smoke, a sign that the fires
were oxygen-starved. Thomas Eagar, recognizing this fact, says that the fires
were “probably only about 1,200 or 1,300˚F” (Eagar, 2002).
are reasons to believe, moreover, that the fires were not even that hot. As
photographs show, the fires did not break windows or even spread much beyond
their points of origin (Hufschmid, 2002, p. 40). This photographic evidence is
supported by scientific studies carried out by NIST, which found that of the 16
perimeter columns examined, “only three columns had evidence that the steel
reached temperatures above 250˚C [482˚F],” and no evidence that any
of the core columns had reached even those temperatures (2005, p. 88).
says that it “did not generalize these results, since the examined columns
represented only 3 percent of the perimeter columns and 1 percent of the core
columns from the fire floors”. That only such a tiny percent of the columns was
available was due, of course, to the fact that government officials had most of
the steel immediately sold and shipped off. In any case, NIST’s findings on the
basis of this tiny percent of the columns are not irrelevant: They mean that
any speculations that some of the core columns reached much higher temperatures
would be just that---pure speculation not backed up by any empirical evidence.
even if the fire had reached 1,300˚F, as Eagar supposes, that does not
mean that any of the steel would have reached that temperature. Steel is an
excellent conductor of heat. Put a fire to one part of a long bar of steel and
the heat will quickly diffuse to the other parts and to any other pieces of
steel to which that bar is connected.
to have heated up some of the steel columns to anywhere close to their own
temperature, they would have needed to be very big, relative to the size of the
buildings and the amount of steel in them. The towers, of course, were huge and
had an enormous amount of steel. A small, localized fire of 1,300˚F would
never have heated any of the steel columns even close to that temperature,
because the heat would have been quickly dispersed throughout the building.
defenders of the official story have claimed that the fires were indeed very
big, turning the buildings into “towering infernos.” But all the evidence
counts against this claim, especially with regard to the south tower, which
collapsed first. This tower was struck between floors 78 and 84, so that region
is where the fire would have been the biggest. And yet Brian Clark, a survivor,
said that when he got down to the 80th floor: "You could see
through the wall and the cracks and see flames . . . just licking up, not a
roaring inferno, just quiet flames licking up and smoke sort of eking through
the wall." Likewise,
one of the fire chiefs who had reached the 78th floor found only “two isolated
pockets of fire.”
tower, to be sure, did have fires that were big enough and hot enough to cause
many people to jump to their deaths. But as anyone with a fireplace grate or a
pot-belly stove knows, fire that will not harm steel or even iron will burn
human flesh. Also in many cases it may have been more the smoke than the heat
that led people to jump.
In any case, the fires,
to weaken the steel columns, would have needed to be not only very big and very
hot but also very long-lasting.
The public was told that the towers had such fires, with CNN saying that “very
intense” fires “burned for a long time.”
But they did not. The north tower collapsed an hour and 42 minutes after it was
struck; the south tower collapsed after only 56 minutes.
see how ludicrous is the claim that the short-lived fires in the towers could
have induced structural collapse, we can compare them with some other fires. In
1988, a fire in the First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles raged for 3.5
hours and gutted 5 of this building’s 62 floors, but there was no significant
structural damage (FEMA, 1988). In 1991, a huge fire in Philadelphia’s One
Meridian Plaza lasted for 18 hours and gutted 8 of the building’s 38 floors,
but, said the FEMA report, although “[b]eams and girders sagged and twisted . .
. under severe fire exposures. . . , the columns continued to support their
loads without obvious damage” (FEMA, 1991). In Caracas in 2004, a fire in a
50-story building raged for 17 hours, completely gutting the building’s top 20
floors, and yet it did not collapse (Nieto, 2004). And yet we are supposed to
believe that a 56-minute fire caused the south tower to collapse.
fires in the towers, moreover, the fires in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and
Caracas were hot enough to break windows.
important comparison is afforded by a series of experiments run in Great
Britain in the mid-1990s to see what kind of damage could be done to
steel-frame buildings by subjecting them to extremely hot, all-consuming fires
that lasted for many hours. FEMA, having reviewed those experiments, said:
“Despite the temperature of the steel beams reaching 800-900°C (1,500-1,700°F)
in three of the tests. . . , no collapse was observed in any of the six
experiments” (1988, Appendix A).
comparisons bring out the absurdity of NIST’s claim that the towers collapsed
because the planes knocked the fireproofing off the steel columns. Fireproofing
provides protection for only a few hours, so the steel in the buildings in
Philadelphia and Caracas would have been directly exposed to raging fires for
14 or more hours, and yet this steel did not buckle. NIST claims, nevertheless,
that the steel in the south tower buckled because it was directly exposed to
flames for 56 minutes.
claim made by some defenders of the official theory is to speculate that there
was something about the Twin Towers that made them uniquely vulnerable to fire.
But these speculations are not backed up by any evidence. And, as Norman
Glover, has pointed out: “[A]lmost all large buildings will be the location for
a major fire in their useful life. No major high-rise building has ever
collapsed from fire. The WTC was the location for such a fire in 1975; however,
the building survived with minor damage and was repaired and returned to
service” (Glover, 2002).
Multiple Evidence of Controlled
There is a reverse truth to the
fact that, aside from the alleged cases of 9/11, fire has never caused large
steel-frame buildings to collapse. This reverse truth is that every previous
total collapse has been caused by the procedure known as “controlled
demolition,” in which explosives capable of cutting steel have been placed in
crucial places throughout the building and then set off in a particular order.
Just from knowing that the towers collapsed, therefore, the natural assumption
would be that they were brought down by explosives.
is, moreover, supported by an empirical examination of the particular nature of the collapses. Here we come to
the second major problem with the official theory, namely, that the collapses
had at least eleven features that would be expected if, and only if, explosives
were used. I will briefly describe these eleven features.
Sudden Onset: In controlled demolition, the
onset of the collapse is sudden. One moment, the building is perfectly
motionless; the next moment, it suddenly begins to collapse. But steel, when
heated, does not suddenly buckle or break. So in fire-induced collapses---if we
had any examples of such---the onset would be gradual. Horizontal beams and
trusses would begin to sag; vertical columns, if subjected to strong forces,
would begin to bend. But as videos of the towers show,
there were no signs of bending or sagging, even on the floors just above the
damage caused by the impact of the planes. The buildings were perfectly
motionless up to the moment they began their collapse.
Straight Down: The most important thing in a
controlled demolition of a tall building close to other buildings is that it
come straight down, into, or at least close to, its own footprint, so that it
does not harm the other buildings. The whole art or science of controlled
demolition is oriented primarily around this goal. As Mark Loizeaux, the
president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has explained, “to bring [a building]
down as we want, so . . . no other structure is harmed,” the demolition must be
“completely planned,” using “the right explosive [and] the right pattern of
laying the charges” (Else, 2004).
If the 110-story Twin Towers had fallen over, they would have caused an enormous
amount of damage to buildings covering many city blocks. But the towers came
straight down. Accordingly, the official theory, by implying that fire produced
collapses that perfectly mimicked the collapses that have otherwise been
produced only by precisely placed explosives, requires a miracle.
Almost Free-Fall Speed: Buildings brought down by
controlled demolition collapse at almost free-fall speed. This can occur
because the supports for the lower floors are destroyed, so that when the upper
floors come down, they encounter no resistance. The fact that the collapses of
the towers mimicked this feature of controlled demolition was mentioned
indirectly by The 9/11 Commission Report, which said that the “South Tower collapsed in 10
seconds” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, p. 305).
The authors of the report evidently thought that the rapidity of this collapse
did not conflict with the official theory, known as the “pancake” theory.
According to this theory, the floors above the floors that were weakened by the
impact of the airliner fell on the floor below, which started a chain reaction,
so that the floors “pancaked” all the way down.
But if that
is what happened, the lower floors, with all their steel and concrete, would
have provided resistance. The upper floors could not have fallen through them
at the same speed as they would fall through air. However, the videos of the
collapses show that the rubble falling inside the building’s profile falls at
the same speed as the rubble outside
(Jones, 2006). As Dave Heller, a builder with degrees in physics and
could not have been pancaking. The buildings fell too quickly. The floors must
all have been falling simultaneously to reach the ground in such a short amount
of time. But how?. . . In [the method known as controlled demolition], each
floor of a building is destroyed at just the moment the floor above is about to
strike it. Thus, the floors fall simultaneously, and in virtual freefall. (Garlic
and Glass 6)
Collapse: The official theory is even
more decisively ruled out by the fact that the collapses were total: These 110-story buildings collapsed into piles of
rubble only a few stories high. How was that possible? The core of each tower
contained 47 massive steel box columns.
According to the pancake theory, the horizontal steel supports broke free from
the vertical columns. But if that is what had happened, the 47 core columns
would have still been standing. The 9/11 Commission came up with a bold
solution to this problem. It simply denied the existence of the 47 core
columns, saying: “The interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft,
in which elevators and stairwells were grouped” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, 541
note 1). Voila! With no 47 core columns, the main problem is removed.
NIST Report handled this most difficult problem by claiming that when the
floors collapsed, they pulled on the columns, causing the perimeter columns to
become unstable. This instability then increased the gravity load on the core
columns, which had been weakened by tremendously hot fires in the core, which,
NIST claims, reached 1832°F, and this combination of factors somehow produced
“global collapse” (NIST, 2005, pp. 28, 143).
This theory faces two problems. First, NIST’s claim
about tremendously hot fires in the core is completely unsupported by evidence.
As we saw earlier, its own studies found no evidence that any of the core
columns had reached temperatures of even 482°F (250˚C), so its theory
involves a purely speculative addition of over 1350°F.
Second, even if this sequence of events had occurred, NIST provides no
explanation as to why it would have produced global—-that is, total--collapse.
The NIST Report asserts that “column failure” occurred in the core as well as
the perimeter columns. But this remains a bare assertion. There is no plausible
explanation of why the columns would have broken or even buckled, so as to
produce global collapse at virtually free-fall speed, even if they had reached
Steel: In controlled demolitions of
steel-frame buildings, explosives are used to slice the steel columns and beams
into pieces. A representative from Controlled Demolition, Inc., has said of
RDX, one of the commonly used high explosives, that it slices
steel like a "razor blade through a tomato." The steel is,
moreover, not merely sliced; it is sliced into manageable lengths. As
Controlled Demolition, Inc., says in its publicity: “Our DREXSTM systems . . . segment steel components
into pieces matching the lifting capacity of the available equipment.”
The collapses of the
Twin Towers, it seems, somehow managed to mimic this feature of controlled
demolitions as well. Jim Hoffman (2004), after studying various photos of the
collapse site, said that much of the steel seemed to be “chopped up into . . .
sections that could be easily loaded onto the equipment that was cleaning up
Pulverization of Concrete and
Another feature of controlled demolition is the production of a lot of dust,
because explosives powerful enough to slice steel will pulverize concrete and
most other non-metallic substances into tiny particles. And, Hoffman (2003)
reports, “nearly all of the non-metallic constituents of the towers were
pulverized into fine power.”
That observation was also made by Colonel John O’Dowd of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. “At the World Trade Center sites,” he told the History Channel, “it
seemed like everything was pulverized” (History Channel, 2002).
fact creates a problem for the official theory, according to which the only
energy available was the gravitational energy. This energy would have been
sufficient to break most of the concrete into fairly small pieces. But it would
not have been anywhere close to the amount of energy needed to turn the
concrete and virtually all the non-metallic contents of the buildings into tiny
particles of dust.
Dust Clouds: Yet another common feature of
controlled demolitions is the production of dust clouds, which result when
explosions eject the dust from the building with great energy. And, as one can
see by comparing videos on the Web, the collapses of the towers produced clouds
that are very similar to those produced by controlled demolitions of other
structures, such as Seattle’s Kingdome. The only difference is that the clouds
produced during the collapses of the towers were proportionally much bigger.
question of the source of the needed energy again arises. Hoffman (2003),
focusing on the expansion of the North Tower’s dust cloud, calculates that the
energy required simply for this expansion---ignoring the energy needed to slice
the steel and pulverize the concrete and other materials---exceeded by at least
10 times the gravitational energy available.
official account, therefore, involves a huge violation of the laws of
physics---a violation that becomes even more enormous once we factor in the
energy required to pulverize the concrete (let alone the energy required to
break the steel).
the sheer quantity of energy needed, another problem with the official theory
is that gravitational energy is wholly unsuited to explain the production of
these dust clouds. This is most obviously the case in the first few seconds. In
Hoffman’s words: “You can see thick clouds of pulverized concrete being ejected
within the first two seconds. That’s when the relative motion of the top of the
tower to the intact portion was only a few feet per second.”
Jeff King (2003), in the same vein, says: “[A great amount of] very fine
concrete dust is ejected from the top of the building very early in the
collapse. . . [when] concrete slabs [would have been] bumping into each other
at [only] 20 or 30 mph.”
importance of King’s point can be appreciated by juxtaposing it with the claim
by Shyam Sunder, NIST’s lead investigator, that although the clouds of dust
created during the collapses of the Twin Towers may create the impression of a
controlled demolition, “it is the floor pancaking that leads to that
perception" (Popular Mechanics,
2005). The pancaking, according to the official theory being defended by
Sunder, began at the floor beneath the holes created by the impact of the
airliners. As King points out, this theory cannot handle the fact, as revealed
by the photographs and videos, that dust clouds were created far above the
Horizontal Ejections: Another common feature of
controlled demolition is the horizontal ejection of other materials, besides
dust, from those areas of the building in which explosives are set off. In the
case of the Twin Towers, photos and videos reveal that “[h]eavy pieces of steel
were ejected in all directions for distances up to 500 feet, while aluminum
cladding was blown up to 700 feet away from the towers” (Paul and Hoffman,
2004, p. 7). But gravitational energy is, of course, vertical, so it cannot
even begin to explain these horizontal ejections.
Rings: Still another common feature
of collapses induced by explosions are demolition rings, in which series of
small explosions run rapidly around a building. This feature was also
manifested by the collapses of the towers.
Sounds Produced by Explosions: The use of explosives to induce
collapses produces, of course, sounds caused by the explosions. Like all the
previous features except the slicing of the steel columns inside the building,
this one could be observed by witnesses. And, as we will see below, there is
abundant testimony to the existence of such sounds before and during the
collapses of the towers.
Steel: An eleventh feature that would
be expected only if explosives were used to slice the steel columns would be
molten steel, and its existence at the WTC site was indeed reported by several
witnesses, including the two main figures involved in the clean up, Peter
Tully, president of Tully Construction, and Mark Loizeaux, president of
Controlled Demolition, Incorporated. Tully said that he saw pools of “literally
molten steel” at the site. Loizeaux said that several weeks after 9/11, when
the rubble was being removed, “hot spots of molten steel” were found “at the
bottoms of the elevator shafts of the main towers, down seven [basement]
levels” (both statements quoted in Bollyn, 2004).
a member of the engineering firm that designed the Twin Towers,
said: “As of 21 days after the attack, the fires were
still burning and molten steel was still running” (Williams, 2001).
Knight-Ridder journalist Jennifer Lin, discussing Joe "Toolie"
O'Toole, a Bronx firefighter who worked for many months on the rescue
and clean-up efforts, wrote:
"Underground fires raged for months. O'Toole remembers in February seeing
a crane lift a steel beam vertically from deep within the catacombs of Ground
Zero. 'It was dripping from the molten steel," he said'" (Lin, 2002).
Greg Fuchek, vice president of sales for LinksPoint, Inc., which supplied some
of the computer equipment used to identify human remains at the site, described
the working conditions as "hellish," partly because for six months,
the ground temperature varied between 600 degrees Fahrenheit and 1,500 degrees
or higher. Fuchek added that "sometimes when a worker would pull a steel
beam from the wreckage, the end of the beam would be dripping molten
steel" (Walsh, 2002). And still more witnesses spoke of molten
This testimony is of great significance, since it
would be hard to imagine what, other than high explosives, could have caused
some of the steel to melt.
importance of the nature of the collapses, as summarized in these 11 features,
is shown by the fact that attempts to defend the official theory typically
ignore most of them. For example, an article in Popular Mechanics (2005), seeking to debunk what it calls some of the
most prevalent myths about 9/11 fabricated by “conspiracy theorists,”
completely ignores the suddenness, verticality, rapidity, and totality of the
collapses and also fails to mention the testimonies about molten steel,
demolition rings, and the sounds of explosions.
Testimonies about Explosions and Related Phenomena
the 9/11 Oral Histories
Most of these 11 features---all but
the slicing of the core columns and the molten steel in the basements---are
features that, if they occurred before or during the collapses of the towers,
could have been observed by people in the area. And, in fact, testimonies about
some of these phenomena have been available, since shortly after 9/11, from
officers, people who
worked in the towers,
and one prominent explosives expert, Van Romero,
who said on that very day after viewing
the videotapes, that the collapses not only resembled those produced by
controlled implosions but must, in fact, have been caused by “some explosive
devices inside the buildings” because they were “too methodical” to have been
chance results of the airplane strikes (Uyttebrouck, 2001).
Some of these testimonies were very impressive. There were, however, only a few
of them and they were scattered here and there. No big body of testimony was
situation has dramatically changed. Shortly after 9/11, the New York Fire
Department recorded over 500 oral histories, in which firefighters and
emergency medical workers recounted their experiences of that day. [Emergency Medical Services had become a division within
the Fire Department(Dwyer, 2005a).]
Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, however, refused to release them. But then the New York Times,
joined by several families of 9/11 victims, filed suit and, after a long
process, the New York Court of Appeals ordered the city to release the bulk of
these oral histories, which it did in August 2005
(Dwyer, 2005b). The Times then made them publicly available (NYT, 2005).
oral histories contain many dozens of testimonies that speak of explosions and
related phenomena characteristic of controlled demolition. I will give some
individuals reported that they witnessed an explosion just before one of the
towers collapsed. Battalion Chief John Sudnik said: “we heard . . . what
sounded like a loud explosion and looked up and I saw tower two start coming
down” (NYT, Sudnick, p. 4).
Several people reported multiple explosions. Paramedic Kevin
Darnowski said: "I heard three explosions, and then . . . tower two
started to come down” (NYT, Darnowski, p. 8).
Firefighter Thomas Turilli said, “it almost sounded
like bombs going off, like boom, boom, boom, like seven or eight" (NYT, Turilli, p. 4).
Craig Carlsen said that he and other firefighters
“heard explosions coming from . . . the south tower. . . . There were about ten
explosions. . . . We then realized the building started to come down” (NYT, Carlsen, pp. 5-6).
Firefighter Joseph Meola said, “it looked like the
building was blowing out on all four sides. We actually heard the pops" (NYT, Meola, p. 5).
Paramedic Daniel Rivera also mentioned “pops.” Asked
how he knew that the south tower was coming down, he said:
It was a frigging noise. At first I thought it
was---do you ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on
certain floors and then you hear 'Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop'? . . . I thought it
was that. (NYT, Rivera, p. 9)
below the Strike Zone and Fire
to the official account, the “pancaking” began when the floors above the hole
caused by the airplane fell on the floors below. Some witnesses reported,
however, that the collapse of the south tower began somewhat lower.
Timothy Burke said that “the building popped, lower
than the fire. . . . I was going oh, my god, there is a secondary device
because the way the building popped. I thought it was an explosion” (NYT, Burke, pp. 8-9).
Cachia said: “It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane
hit. . . . [W]e originally had thought there was like an internal detonation,
explosives, because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the
tower came down” (NYT, Cachia, p.
The importance of these
observations is reinforced by the fact that the authors of the NIST Report,
after having released a draft to the public, felt the need to add the following
statement to the Executive Summary:
NIST found no corroborating evidence for alternative
hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled
demolition using explosives planted prior to September 11, 2001. . . . Instead,
photos and videos from several angles clearly showed that the collapse
initiated at the fire and impact floors and that the collapse progressed from
the initiating floors downward.
Burke and Cachia presumably now need to ask themselves: What are you going to
believe, your own eyes or an official government report?
and Demolition Rings
of the witnesses spoke of flashes and of phenomena suggestive of demolition
rings. Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought . . . before . .
. No. 2 came down, that I saw low-level flashes. . . . I . . . saw a flash
flash flash . . . [at] the lower level of the building. You know like when they
demolish a building?” (NYT,
Gregory, pp. 14-16).
Captain Karin Deshore said: “Somewhere around the
middle . . . there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was
just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the
building and that building had started to explode. . . . [W]ith each popping
sound it was initially an orange and then a red flash came out of the building
and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I
could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going
both up and down and then all around the building" (NYT, Deshore, p. 15).
Firefighter Richard Banaciski said: “[T]here was just
an explosion. It seemed like on television [when] they blow up these buildings.
It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these
explosions” (NYT, Banaciski, pp.
Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick said: “It
looked like sparkling around one specific layer of the building. . . . My
initial reaction was that this was exactly the way it looks when they show you
those implosions on TV" (NYT,
Fitzpatrick, pp. 13-14).
A few witnesses spoke of horizontal ejections. Chief Frank
Cruthers said: “There was what appeared to be . . . an explosion. It appeared
at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally.
And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the
beginning of the collapse” (NYT, Cruthers, p. 4).
This testimony is important, because
the official theory holds that the ejections were produced by the floors
collapsing. So listen to firefighter James Curran, who said: “I looked back and
. . . I heard like every floor went chu-chu-chu. I looked back and from the
pressure everything was getting blown out of the floors before it actually
collapsed" (NYT, Curran, pp. 10-11).
Battalion Chief Brian Dixon said, “the lowest floor of
fire in the south tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives
around it because . . . everything blew out on the one floor" (NYT, Dixon, p. 15).
witnesses said that the explosions seemed to be synchronized. For example,
firefighter Kenneth Rogers said, “there was an explosion in the south tower. .
. . I kept watching. Floor after floor after floor. One floor under another
after another . . . [I]t looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of
thing" (NYT, Rogers, pp.
Why Does the Public Not Know of These
all these firefighters and medical workers witnessed all these phenomena
suggestive of controlled demolition, it might be wondered why the public does
not know this. Part of the answer is provided by Auxiliary Lieutenant Fireman
Paul Isaac. Having said that “there were definitely bombs in those buildings,”
Isaac added that “many other firemen know there were bombs in the buildings,
but they’re afraid for their jobs to admit it because the ‘higher-ups’ forbid
discussion of this fact” (Lavello, n.d.). Another part of the answer is that
when a few people, like Isaac and William Rodriguez, have spoken out, the
mainstream press has failed to report their statements.
The official theory about the
collapse of the towers, I have suggested, is rendered extremely implausible by
two main facts. First, aside from the alleged exception of 9/11, steel-frame
high-rise buildings have never been caused to collapse by fire; all such
collapses have all been produced by carefully placed explosives. Second, the
collapses of the Twin Towers manifested at least 11 characteristic features of
controlled demolitions. The probability that any of these features would occur
in the absence of explosives is extremely low. The probability that all 11 of
them would occur is essentially zero.
can say, therefore, that the official theory about the towers is disproved
about as thoroughly as such a theory possibly could be, whereas all the
evidence can be explained by the alternative theory, according to which the
towers were brought down by explosives. The official theory is, accordingly, an
outrageous theory, whereas the alternative theory is, from a scientific point
of view, the only reasonable theory available.
Other Suspicious Facts
although we have already considered sufficient evidence for the theory that the
towers were brought down by explosives, there is still more.
of the Steel: For one thing, the
steel from the buildings was quickly removed before it could be properly
virtually all of it being sold to scrap dealers, who put most of it on ships to
Generally, removing any evidence from the scene of a crime is a federal
offense. But in this case, federal officials facilitated the removal.
This removal evoked protest. On Christmas day, 2001,
the New York Times said: “The
decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and trusses from the WTC
in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be
The next week, Fire Engineering magazine
said: “We are literally treating the
steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence
(Brannigan, Corbett, and Dunn, 2002). . . . The destruction and removal of
evidence must stop immediately” (Manning, 2002).
However, Mayor Bloomberg,
defending the decision to dispose of the steel, said: "If you want to take
a look at the construction methods and the design, that's in this day and age
what computers do.
Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn't tell you anything."
But that is not true. An examination of the steel could have revealed whether
it had been cut by explosives.
removal of an unprecedented amount of material from a crime scene suggests that
an unprecedented crime was being covered up.
that this cover-up was continued by NIST is provided by its treatment of a
provocative finding reported by FEMA, which was that some of the specimens of
steel were “rapidly corroded by sulfidation” (FEMA 2002, Appendix C). This
report is significant, because sulfidation is an effect of explosives. FEMA
appropriately called for further investigation of this finding, which the New
York Times called
“perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation” (Killough-Miller,
2002). A closely related problem, expressed shortly after 9/11 by Dr. Jonathan
Barnett, Professor of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic
Institute, is that “[f]ire and the structural damage . . . would not explain steel members in the
debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated” (Glanz, 2001). But the
NIST report, in its section headed “Learning from the Recovered Steel,” fails
even to mention either evaporation or sulfidation.
Why would the NIST scientists apparently share Mayor Bloomberg’s disdain for
empirical studies of recovered steel?
North Tower Antenna Drop: Another problem noted by FEMA is
that videos show that, in the words of the FEMA Report, “the transmission tower
on top of the [north tower] began to move downward and laterally slightly
before movement was evident at the exterior wall. This suggests that collapse
began with one or more failures in the central core area of the building”
(FEMA 2002, ch. 2). This drop
was also mentioned in a New York Times story by James Glanz and Eric Lipton, which said:
“Videos of the north tower's collapse appear to show that its television
antenna began to drop a fraction of a second before the rest of the building.
The observations suggest that the building's steel core somehow gave way first”
(Glanz and Lipton, 2002). In the supposedly definitive NIST Report, however, we
find no mention of this fact. This is another convenient omission, since the
most plausible, and perhaps only possible, explanation would be that the core
columns were cut by explosives---an explanation that would fit with the
testimony of several witnesses.
South Tower Tipping and
the north tower’s antenna drop was anomalous (from the perspective of the
official theory), the south tower’s collapse contained an even stranger
anomaly. The uppermost floors---above the level struck by the airplane---began
tipping toward the corner most damaged by the impact. According to
conservation-of-momentum laws, this block of approximately 34 floors should
have fallen to the ground far outside the building’s footprint. “However,”
observe Paul and Hoffman, “as the top then began to fall, the rotation
decelerated. Then it reversed direction [even though the] law of conservation
of angular momentum states that a solid object in rotation will continue to
rotate at the same speed unless acted on by a torque” (Paul and Hoffman, 2004,
in the words of Steven Jones, a physics professor at BYU, “this block turned
mostly to powder in mid-air!” This disintegration stopped the tipping and allowed the
uppermost floors to fall straight down into, or at least close to, the
building’s footprint. As Jones notes, this extremely strange behavior was one
of many things that NIST was able to ignore by virtue of the fact that its
analysis, in its own words, “does not actually include the
structural behavior of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation
were reached” (NIST 2005, p. 80, n. 12). This is convenient because it means
that NIST did not have to answer Jones’s question: “How can we understand this
strange behavior, without explosives?” (Jones, 2006).
behavior is, however, not strange to experts in controlled demolition. Mark
Loizeaux, the head of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has said:
differentially controlling the velocity of failure in different parts of the
structure, you can make it walk, you can make it spin, you can make it dance .
. . . We'll have structures start facing north and end up going to the
north-west. (Else, 2004)
Once again, something that is
inexplicable in terms of the official theory becomes a matter of course if the
theory of controlled demolition is adopted.
WTC Security: The suggestion that explosives
might have been used raises the question of how anyone wanting to place
explosives in the towers could have gotten through the security checks. This
question brings us to a possibly relevant fact about a company---now called
Stratesec but then called Securacom---that was in charge of security for the
World Trade Center. From 1993 to 2000, during which Securacom installed a new
security system, Marvin Bush, the president’s brother, was one of the company’s
directors. And from 1999 until January of 2002, their cousin Wirt Walker III
was the CEO (Burns, 2003).
One would think these facts should have made the evening news---or at least The
9/11 Commission Report.
facts, in any case, may be relevant to some reports given by people who had worked
in the World Trade Center. Some of them reportedly said that although in the
weeks before 9/11 there had been a security alert that mandated the use of
bomb-sniffing dogs, that alert was lifted five days before 9/11 (Taylor and
Also, a man named Scott Forbes, who worked for
Fiduciary Trust---the company for which Kristen Breitweiser’s husband
On the weekend of [September 8-9, 2001], there was a
“power down” condition in . . . the south tower. This power down condition
meant there was no electrical supply for approximately 36 hours from floor 50
up. . . . The reason given by the WTC for the power down was that cabling in
the tower was being upgraded . . . . Of course without power there were no
security cameras, no security locks on doors [while] many, many “engineers”
[were] coming in and out of the tower.
a man named Ben Fountain, who was a financial analyst with Fireman’s Fund in
the south tower, was quoted in People Magazine as saying that during the weeks before 9/11, the
towers were evacuated “a number of times” (People Magazine, 2001).
Foreknowledge of the Collapse: One more possibly relevant fact is
that then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, talking on ABC News about his temporary
emergency command center at 75 Barkley Street, said:
operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna
collapse, and it did collapse before we could get out of the building.
This is an amazing statement. Prior
to 9/11, fire had never brought down a steel-frame high-rise. The firemen who
reached the 78th floor of the south tower certainly did not believe
it was going to collapse. Even the 9/11 Commission reported that to its
knowledge, “none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of
either tower was possible” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, p. 302). So why would
anyone have told Giuliani that at least one of the towers was about to
most reasonable answer, especially in light of the new evidence, is that
someone knew that explosives had been set in the south tower and were about to
be discharged. It is even possible that the explosives were going to be
discharged earlier than originally planned because the fires in the south tower
were dying down more quickly than expected, because so much of the plane’s jet
fuel had burned up in the fireball outside the building.
This could explain why although the south tower was struck second, suffered
less structural damage, and had smaller fires, it collapsed first---after only
56 minutes. That is, if the official story was going to be that the fire caused
the collapse, the building had to be brought down before the fire went
now learn from the oral histories, moreover, that Giuliani is not the only one
who was told that a collapse was coming. At least four of the testimonies
indicate that shortly before the collapse of the south tower, the Office of
Emergency Management (OEM) had predicted the collapse of at least one tower.
The director of OEM reported directly to Giuliani.
So although Giuliani said that he and others “were told” that the towers were
going to collapse, it was his own people who were doing the telling.
reporter Jim Dwyer has pointed out, the 9/11 Commission had access to the oral
It should have discussed these facts, but it did not.
neglect of most of the relevant facts about the collapses, manifested by The
9/11 Commission Report, was continued by the NIST Report, which said, amazingly:
of the Investigation was on the sequence of events from the instant of aircraft
impact to the initiation of collapse for each tower. For brevity in this
report, this sequence is referred to as the "probable collapse
sequence," although it does not actually include the structural behavior
of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation were reached. . . .
[Our simulation treats only] the structural deterioration of each tower from
the time of aircraft impact to the time at which the building . . . was poised
for collapse (80n, 140).
Steven Jones comments,
the subsequent complete, rapid and symmetrical collapse of the buildings? . . .
What about the antenna dropping first in the North Tower? What about the molten
metal observed in the basement areas . . . ? Never mind all that: NIST did not
discuss at all any data after the buildings were “poised for collapse.” Well, some of us want to look at all the data, without computer
simulations that are “adjusted” to make them fit the desired outcome. (Jones,
Summary: When we add these five additional
suspicious facts to the eleven features that that the collapses of the Twin
Towers had in common with controlled demolitions, we have a total of sixteen
facts about the collapses of these buildings that, while being inexplicable in
terms of the official theory, are fully understandable on the theory that the
destruction of the towers was an inside job.
The Collapse of Building 7
As we have seen, the 9/11
Commission simply ignored the facts discussed above. Still another matter not
discussed by the Commission was the collapse of building 7. And yet the
official story about it is, if anything, even more problematic than the
official story about the towers—as suggested by the title of a New York
Times story, “Engineers Are Baffled over the Collapse of 7 WTC” (Glanz, 2001).
Even More Difficult to
The collapse of building 7 is even
more difficult to explain than the collapse of the towers in part because it
was not struck by an airliner, so none of the theories about how the impacts of
the airliners contributed to the collapses of the towers can be employed in
relation to it.
the photographic evidence suggests that the fires in this building were small,
not very hot, and limited to a few floors. Photographs of the north side of the
building show fires only on the 7th and 12th floors of
this 47-floor building. So if the south side, which faced the towers, had fires
on many other floors, as defenders of the official account claim, they were not
big enough to be seen from the other side of the building.
not be surprising, of course, if the fires in this building were even smaller
than those in the towers, because there was no jet fuel to get a big fire
started. Some defenders of the official story have claimed, to be sure, that
the diesel fuel stored in this building somehow caught fire and created a
towering inferno. But if building 7 had become engulfed in flames, why did none
of the many photographers and TV camera crews on the scene capture this sight?
difficulty of explaining the collapse of building 7—-assuming that it is not
permissible to mention controlled demolition---has been recognized by the
official bodies. The report prepared under FEMA’s supervision came up with a
scenario employing the diesel fuel, then admitted that this scenario had “only
a low probability of occurrence.”
Even that statement is generous, because the probability that some version of
the official story of building 7 is true is the same as it is for the towers,
essentially zero, because it would violate several laws of physics. In any
case, the 9/11 Commission, perhaps because of this admission by FEMA, avoided
the problem by simply not even mentioning the fact that this building
one of the Commission’s most amazing omissions. According to the official
theory, building 7 demonstrated, contrary to the universal conviction prior to
9/11, that large steel-frame buildings could collapse from fire alone, even
without having been hit by an airplane. This demonstration should have meant
that building codes and insurance premiums for all steel-frame buildings in the
world needed to be changed. And yet the 9/11 Commission, in preparing its
571-page report, did not devote a single sentence to this historic event.
Even More Similar to Controlled
Yet another reason why the collapse
of building 7 is especially problematic is that it was even more like the
best-known type of conventional demolition—-namely, an implosion, which begins
at the bottom (whereas the collapse of each tower originated high up, near the
region struck by the plane). As Eric Hufschmid has written:
Building 7 collapsed at its bottom. . . . [T]he
interior fell first. . . . The result
was a very tiny pile of rubble, with the outside of the building collapsing on
top of the pile.
Implosion World.com, a website
about the demolition industry, states that an implosion is “by far the
trickiest type of explosive project, and there are only a handful of blasting
companies in the world that possess enough experience . . . to perform these
true building implosions."
Can anyone really believe that fire would have just happened to produce the
kind of collapse that can be reliably produced by only a few demolition
companies in the world? The building had 24 core columns and 57 perimeter
columns. To hold that fire caused this building to collapse straight down would
mean believing that the fire caused all 81 columns to fail at exactly the same
time. To accept the official story is, in other words, to accept a miracle.
Physicist Steven Jones agrees, saying:
likelihood of near-symmetrical collapse of WTC7 due to random fires (the
"official" theory)---requiring as it does near-simultaneous failure
of many support columns---is infinitesimal. I conclude that the evidence for
the 9/11 use of pre-positioned explosives in WTC 7 (also in Towers 1 and 2) is
Much More Extensive
Another reason why the collapse of
building 7 creates special problems involves foreknowledge of its collapse. We
know of only a few people with advance knowledge that the Twin Towers were
going to collapse, and the information we have would be consistent with the
supposition that this knowledge was acquired only a few minutes before the
south tower collapsed. People can imagine, therefore, that someone saw
something suggesting that the building was going to collapse. But the
foreknowledge of building 7’s collapse was more widespread and of longer
duration. This has been known for a long time, at least by people who read
But now the oral histories have provided a fuller picture.
Notification: At least 25 of the
firefighters and medical workers reported that, at some time that day, they
learned that building 7 was going to collapse. Firefighters who had been
fighting the fires in the building said they were ordered to leave the
building, after which a collapse zone was established. As medical worker
Decosta Wright put it: “they measured out how far the building was going to
come, so we knew exactly where we could stand,” which was “5 blocks away” (NYT, Wright, pp. 11-12).
Warning: As to exactly when the
expectation of the collapse began circulating, the testimonies differ. But most
of the evidence suggests that the expectation of collapse was communicated 4 or
5 hours in advance.
Alleged Reason for the Expectation: But
why would this expectation have arisen? The fires in building 7 were, according
to all the photographic evidence, few and small. So why would the
decision-makers in the department have decided to pull firefighters out of
building 7 and have them simply stand around waiting for it to collapse?
The chiefs gave a
twofold explanation: damage plus fire. Chief Frank Fellini said: “When [the
north tower] fell, it ripped steel out from between the third and sixth floors
across the facade on Vesey Street. We were concerned that the fires on several
floors and the missing steel would result in the building collapsing” (NYT, Fellini, p. 3).
There are at least two
problems with each part of this explanation. One problem with the accounts of
the structural damage is that they vary greatly. According to Fellini’s
testimony, there was a four-floor hole between the third and sixth floors. In
the telling of Captain Chris Boyle, however, the hole was “20 stories tall”
(2002). It would appear that Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator for NIST,
settled on somewhat of a compromise between these two views, telling Popular
Mechanics that, “On about a third of
the face to the center and to the bottom--approximately 10 stories--about 25
percent of the depth of the building was scooped out” (Popular Mechanics, March 2005).
The different accounts of the problem on the
building’s south side are not, moreover, limited to the issue of the size of
the hole. According to Deputy Chief Peter Hayden, the problem was not a hole at
all but a “bulge,” and it was “between floors 10 and 13" (Hayden, 2002).
The second problem with these accounts of the damage
is if there was a hole that was 10 or 20 floors high, or even a hole (or a
budge) that was 4 floors high, why was this fact not captured on film by any of
the photographers or videographers in the area that day?
With regard to the claims about the fire, the accounts
again vary greatly. Chief Daniel Nigro spoke of “very heavy fire on many
floors” (NYT, Nigro, p. 10).
According to Harry Meyers, an assistant chief, "When the building came
down it was completely involved in fire, all forty-seven stories" (quoted
in Smith, 2002, p. 160). That obvious exaggeration was also stated by a
firefighter who said: “[Building 7] was fully engulfed. . . . [Y]ou could see
the flames going straight through from one side of the building to the other” (NYT, Cassidy, p. 22).
of the testimonies, however, did not support the official line. For example, medical technician
Decosta Wright said: “I think the fourth floor was on fire. . . . [W]e were
like, are you guys going to put that fire out?” (NYT, Wright, p. 11). Chief Thomas
McCarthy said: “[T]hey were waiting for 7 World Trade to come down. . . . They
had . . . fire on three separate floors . . . , just burning merrily. It was
pretty amazing, you know, it's the afternoon in lower Manhattan, a major
high-rise is burning, and they said ‘we know’” (NYT, McCarthy, pp. 10-11).
second problem with the official account here is that if there was “very
heavy fire on many floors,” why is this fact not captured on any film? The
photograph that we have of the north side of the building supports Chief
McCarthy’s view that there was fire on three floors. Even if there were fires
on additional floors on the south side of the building, there is no
photographic support for the claim that “the flames [on these additional floors
went] straight through from one side of the building to the other.”
even if the department’s official story about the collapse of building 7 were
not contradicted by physical evidence and some of the oral histories, it would
not explain why the building collapsed, because no amount of fire and
structural damage, unless caused by explosives, had ever caused the total
collapse of a large steel-frame building.
And it certainly would not explain the particular nature of the collapse---that
the building imploded and fell straight down rather than falling over in some
direction, as purportedly expected by those who gave the order to create a
large collapse zone. Battalion Chief John Norman, for example, said: “We
expected it to fall to the south” (Norman 2002). Nor would the damage-plus-fire
theory explain this building’s collapse at virtually free-fall speed or the
creation of an enormous amount of dust—additional features of the collapses
that are typically ignored by defenders of the official account.
great difficulty presented to the official theory about the WTC by the collapse
of building 7 is illustrated by a recent book, 102 Minutes: The Untold Story
of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, one of the authors of which is New
York Times reporter
Jim Dwyer, who wrote the stories in the Times about the release of the 9/11 oral
histories. With regard to the Twin Towers, Dwyer and his co-author, Kevin
Flynn, support the theory put out by NIST, according to which the towers
collapsed because the airplanes knocked the fire-proofing off the steel
columns, making them vulnerable to the “intense heat” of the ensuing fires.
When they come to building 7, however, Dwyer and Flynn do not ask why it
collapsed, given the fact that it was not hit by a plane. They simply say: “The firefighters
had decided to let the fire there burn itself out” (Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, p.
258). But that, of course, is not what happened. Rather, shortly after 5:20
that day, building 7 suddenly collapsed, in essentially the same way as did the
fact not have led Dryer and Flynn to question NIST’s theory that the Twin
Towers collapsed because their fireproofing had been knocked loose? I would
especially think that Dwyer, who reported on the release of the 9/11 oral
histories, should re-assess NIST’s theory in light of the abundant evidence of
explosions in the towers provided in those testimonies.
Another Explanation: There is, in any case, only one
theory that explains both the nature and the expectation of the collapse of
building 7: Explosives had been set, and someone who knew this spread the word
to the fire chiefs.
Amazingly enough, a
version of this theory was publicly stated by an insider, Larry Silverstein,
who owned building 7. In a PBS documentary aired in September of 2002,
Silverstein, discussing building 7, said:
getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they
were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, “We've
had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.”
And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse. (PBS,
It is very
puzzling, to be sure, that Silverstein, who was ready to receive billions of
dollars in insurance payments for building 7 and the rest of the World Trade
Center complex, on the assumption that they had been destroyed by acts of
terrorism, would have made such a statement in public, especially with TV
cameras running. But his assertion that building 7 was brought down by
explosives, whatever the motive behind it, explains why and how it collapsed.
however, have the question of why the fire department came to expect the
building to collapse. It would be interesting, of course, if that information
came from the same agency, the Office of Emergency Management, that had earlier
informed the department that one of the towers was going to collapse. And we
have it on good authority that it did. Captain Michael Currid, the president of
the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said that some time after the collapse
of the Twin Towers, “Someone from the city's Office of Emergency Management”
told him that building 7 was “basically a lost cause and we should not lose
anyone else trying to save it," after which the firefighters in the
building were told to get out (Murphy, 2002, pp. 175-76).
that answer, assuming it to be correct, leaves us with more questions,
beginning with: Who in the Office of Emergency Management knew in advance that
the towers and building 7 were going to collapse? How did they know this? And
so on. These questions could be answered only by a real investigation, which
has yet to begin.
It is, in any case, already
possible to know, beyond a reasonable doubt, one very important thing: the
destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by
domestic terrorists. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to the
buildings to plant the explosives. They probably would not have had the
courtesy to make sure that the buildings collapsed straight down, rather than
falling over onto surrounding buildings. And they could not have orchestrated a
cover-up, from the quick disposal of the steel to the FEMA Report to The
9/11 Commission Report to the NIST Report. All of these things could have been orchestrated
only by forces within our own government.
evidence for this conclusion has thus far been largely ignored by the
mainstream press, perhaps under the guise of obeying President Bush’s advice
not to tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories.” We have seen, however, that
it is the Bush administration’s conspiracy theory that is the outrageous one,
because it is violently contradicted by numerous facts, including some basic
laws of physics.
is, of course, another reason why the mainstream press has not pointed out
these contradictions. As a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times said:
of contradictions in the official version of . . . 9/11 is so overwhelming that
. . . it simply cannot be believed. Yet . . . the official version cannot be
abandoned because the implication of rejecting it is far too disturbing: that
we are subject to a government conspiracy of ‘X-Files’ proportions and insidiousness.
implications are indeed disturbing. Many people who know or at least suspect
the truth about 9/11 probably believe that revealing it would be so disturbing
to the American psyche, the American form of government, and global stability
that it is better to pretend to believe the official version. I would suggest,
however, that any merit this argument may have had earlier has been overcome by
more recent events and realizations. Far more devastating to the American
psyche, the American form of government, and the world as a whole will be the
continued rule of those who brought us 9/11, because the values reflected in
that horrendous event have been reflected in the Bush administration’s lies to
justify the attack on Iraq, its disregard for environmental science and the
Bill of Rights, its criminal negligence both before and after Katrina, and now
its apparent plan not only to weaponize space but also to authorize the use of
nuclear weapons in a preemptive strike.
light of this situation and the facts discussed in this essay---as well as
dozens of more problems in the official account of 9/11 discussed in my
books---I call on the New York Times to take the lead in finally exposing to the American
people and the world the truth about 9/11. Taking the lead on such a story
will, of course, involve enormous risks. But if there is any news organization
with the power, the prestige, and the credibility to break this story, it is
the Times. It
performed yeoman service in getting the 9/11 oral histories released. But now
the welfare of our republic and perhaps even the survival of our civilization
depend on getting the truth about 9/11 exposed. I am calling on the Times to rise to the occasion.
 Both lectures are also available on DVDs edited by
Ken Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org). See also Griffin, 2005c.
 Bush’s more complete statement was: “We must speak
the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories
concerning the attacks of 11 September---malicious lies that attempt to shift
the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty.” Excellent
 This report was carried out by the American Society
of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA). The public was exposed to this theory early on, with CNN saying shortly
after 9/11: “The collapse, when it came, was caused by fire. . . . The fire
weakened that portion of the structure which remained after the impact. . . to
the point where it could no longer sustain the load” (CNN, September 24, 2001).
 NIST describes the collapses of the towers as
instances of “progressive collapse,” which happens when "a building or
portion of a building collapses due to disproportionate spread of an initial
local failure" (NIST Report, p. 200). NIST thereby falsely implies that
the total collapses of the three WTC buildings were specific instances of a
general category with other instances. NIST even claims that the collapses were
 Leslie Robertson,
who was a member of the firm (Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson)
that was responsible for the structural design of the Twin Towers, said
that the Twin Towers were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707, at
that time (1966) the largest airliner. See “The Fall of the World Trade
Center,” BBC 2, March 7, 2002 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/worldtradecentertrans.shtml).
For a comparison of the 707 and the 767, see “Boeing 707-767 Comparison,” What
Really Happened (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/boeing_707_767.html).
Also relevant is the fact that in 1945, a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State
Building at the 79th floor, creating a hole 20 feet high. But there
was never the slightest indication that this accident would cause the building
to collapse (see Glover, 2002).
 The NIST Report (2005, pp. xliii and 171) says: “the
towers withstood the impacts and would have remained standing were it not for
the dislodged insulation (fireproofing) and the subsequent multifloor fires.”
 Supported by these authorities,
the show went on to claim that “as fires raged in the towers, driven by
aviation fuel, the steel cores in each building would have eventually reached
800˚C [1472˚F]---hot enough to start buckling and collapsing.”
In Griffin, 2004, pp. 12-13, I cite Professor Thomas
Eagar’s acknowledgment of this fact.
 Given the fact that the claim that
the fires in the towers melted its steel is about as absurd, from a scientific
point of view, as a claim could be, it is amazing to see that some scientific
journals seemed eager to rush into print with this claim. On the day after
9/11, for example, New Scientist published an article that said: “Each tower [after it was
struck] remained upright for nearly an hour. Eventually raging fires melted the
supporting steel struts” (Samuel and Carrington, 2001). The article’s title,
“Design Choice for Towers Saved Lives”, reflects the equally absurd
claim---attributed to “John Hooper, principal engineer in the company that
provided engineering advice when the World Trade Center was designed”---that
“[m]ost buildings would have come down immediately.”
 Stating this obvious point could, however, be costly
to employees of companies with close ties to the government. On November 11,
2004, Kevin Ryan, the Site Manager of the Environmental Health Laboratories,
which is a division of Underwriters Laboratories, wrote an e-mail letter to Dr.
Frank Gayle, Deputy Chief of the Metallurgy Division, Material Science and
Engineering Laboratory, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST). In this letter, Ryan stated: “We know that the steel components were
certified to ASTM E119. The time temperature curves for this standard require
the samples to be exposed to temperatures around 2000˚F for several hours. And as we all agree, the steel
applied met those specifications. Additionally, I think we can all agree that
even un-fireproofed steel will not melt until reaching red-hot temperatures of
nearly 3000˚F. Why Dr. Brown
would imply that 2000˚F would
melt the high-grade steel used in those buildings makes no sense at all.” After
Ryan allowed his letter to become public, he was fired. His letter is available
 One well-known attempt to defend the official account
has tried to use the absurdity of the steel-melting claim against those who reject the official account. In its March
issue of 2005, Popular Mechanics
magazine published a piece entitled “9/11: Debunking the Myths” (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html?page=1&c=y).
This article sets out to debunk what it alleges to be “16 of the most prevalent
claims made by conspiracy theorists.” One of these “poisonous claims,”
according to Popular Mechanics,
results from the fact that that these “conspiracy theorists”
have created a straw-man argument---pretending
that the official theory claims that the buildings came down because their
steel melted---which the conspiracy theorists could then knock down. Popular
Mechanics “refutes” this straw-man
argument by instructing us that “[j]et fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F, not hot
enough to melt steel (2750°F). However, experts agree that for the towers to
collapse, their steel frames didn't need to melt, they just had to lose some of
their structural strength.” As we have seen, however, the idea that the towers
collapsed because their steel melted was put into the public consciousness by
some early defenders of the official theory. For critics of this theory to show
the absurdity of this claim is not, therefore, to attack a straw man. The idea
that the official theory is based on this absurd claim is, in any case, not one of “the most prevalent claims” of those who
reject the official theory.
 Even Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator for the NIST
study, said: “The jet fuel probably burned out in less than 10 minutes” (Field,
2004). The NIST Report itself says (p. 179): “The initial jet fuel fires
themselves lasted at most a few minutes.”
 The NIST Report (2005, p. 68), trying to argue that
steel is very vulnerable unless it is protected by insulation, says: “Bare structural
steel components can heat quickly when exposed to a fire of even moderate
intensity. Therefore, some sort of thermal protection, or insulation, is
necessary”. As Hoffman (2005) points out, however: “These statements are
meaningless, because they ignore the effect of steel’s thermal conductivity,
which draws away heat, and the considerable thermal mass of the 90,000 tons of
steel in each Tower.” Also, I can only wonder if the authors of the NIST Report
reflected on the implications of their theory for the iron or steel grating in
their fireplaces. Do they spray on new fireproofing after enjoying a blazing
hot fire for a few hours?
 As Eric Hufschmid (2002, p. 33) says: “A fire will
not affect steel unless the steel is exposed to it for a long . . . period of
 CNN, September 24, 2001.
 Kevin Ryan, in his letter to Frank Gayle (see note
10, above), wrote in criticism of NIST’s preliminary report: “This story just
does not add up. If steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we
can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind,
let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers. . . . Please do what you
can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires
to soften or melt structural steel.”
 Incredibly, after explaining how precisely explosives
must be set to ensure that a building comes straight down, Loizeaux said that
upon seeing the fires in the Twin Towers, he knew that the towers were “going
to pancake down, almost vertically. It was the only way they could fail. It was
inevitable.” Given the fact that fire had never before caused steel-frame
buildings to collapse, let alone in a way that perfectly mimicked controlled
demolition, Loizeaux’s statement is a cause for wonder. His company,
incidentally, was hired to remove the steel from the WTC site after 9/11.
 The fire theory is rendered even more unlikely if the
first two characteristics are taken together. For fire to have induced a
collapse that began suddenly and was entirely symmetrical, so that it went
straight down, the fires would have needed to cause all the crucial parts of
the building to fail simultaneously, even though the fires were not spread
evenly throughout the buildings. As Jim Hoffman has written: “All 287 columns
would have to have weakened to the point of collapse at the same instant” (“The Twin Towers Demolition,” 9-11
Research.wtc7.net, n.d., http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/towers/slides.html).
 That statement is probably a slight exaggeration, as
the videos, according to most students, seem to suggest that the collapses took
somewhere between 11 and 16 seconds. But this would still be close to free-fall
speed through the air.
 As physicist Steven Jones puts it, “the Towers fall
very rapidly to the ground, with the upper part falling nearly as rapidly as
ejected debris which provide free-fall references . . . . Where is the delay
that must be expected due to conservation of momentum---one of the foundational
Laws of Physics? That is, as
upper-falling floors strike lower floors---and intact steel support
columns---the fall must be significantly impeded by the impacted mass. . . .
[B]ut this is not the case. . . . How do the upper floors fall so quickly,
then, and still conserve momentum in the collapsing buildings? The
contradiction is ignored by FEMA, NIST and 9/11 Commission reports where
conservation of momentum and the fall times were not analyzed” (Jones, 2006;
until then available at http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html).
 Each box column, besides being at least 36 by 16
inches, had walls that were at least 4 inches thick at the base, then tapered
off in the upper floors, which had less weight to support. Pictures of columns
can be seen on page 23 of Hufschmid, 2002. The reason for the qualification “at
least” in these statements is that Jim Hoffman has recently concluded that some
of them were even bigger. With reference to his article “The Core Structures:
The Structural System of the Twin Towers,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, n.d. [http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/arch/core.html],
he has written (e-mail letter of October 26, 2005): “Previously I've been
saying that the core columns had outside dimensions of 36" X 16", but
I now think that at least 1/3 of them had dimensions of 54" X 22",
based on early articles in the Engineering News Record and photographs I took of close-up construction
photos on display at the Skyscraper Museum in Manhattan. . . . Also, according
to the illustration in the Engineering News Record, the thickness of the steel at the bases was 5",
 And, as Hoffman (2005) says, NIST’s claim about these
tremendously hot fires in the core is especially absurd given the fact that the
core “had very little fuel; was far from any source of fresh air; had huge
steel columns to wick away the heat; [and] does not show evidence of fires in
any of the photographs or videos.” All the evidence, in other words, suggests
that none of the core columns would have (from the fire) reached the highest
temperatures reached by some of the perimeter columns.
 NIST rests its theory largely on the idea that collapse began with the
failure of the trusses. Being much smaller and also less interconnected,
trusses would have been much easier to heat up, so it is not surprising that
the NIST Report focuses on them. To try to make its theory work, however, NIST
claims that the trusses became hotter than their own evidence supports. That
is, although NIST found no evidence that any of the steel had gotten hotter
than 1112˚F (600°C), it claims that some of the steel trusses were heated
up to 1,292˚F (700˚C) (2005, pp. 96, 176-77). A supposedly scientific
argument cannot arbitrarily add 180˚F just because it happens to need it.
In any case, besides the fact that this figure is entirely unsupported by any
evidence, NIST’s theory finally depends on the claim that the core columns
failed as “a result of both splice connection failures and fracture of the
columns themselves,” because they were “weakened significantly by . . . thermal
effects” (2005, pp. 88, 180). But there is no explanation of how these massive
columns would have been caused to “fracture,” even if the temperatures had
gotten to those heights. As a study issued in the UK put it: “Thermal expansion
and the response of the whole frame to this effect has not been described [by NIST] as yet”
(Lane and Lamont, 2005).
 In that statement, Hoffman said that most of the
sections seemed to be no more than 30-feet long. He later revised this, saying
that, judging from an aerial image taken 12 days after the attacks, most of the
pieces seemed to be between 24 and 48 feet long, with only a few over 50 feet.
He also noted that “the lengths of the pieces bears little resemblance to the
lengths of the steel parts known to have gone into the construction,” which
means that one could not reasonably infer that the pieces simply broke at their
joints (e-mail letter, September 27, 2005).
 The available evidence, says Hoffman (2003),
suggests that the dust particles were very small indeed---on the order of 10
Jim Hoffman, “The Twin Towers
 Bollyn says (e-mail letter of October 27, 2005) that
these statements were made to him personally during telephone interviews with
Tully and Loizeaux, probably in the summer of 2002. Bollyn added that although
he is not positive about the date of the telephone interviews, he is always
“very precise about quotes”
Professor Allison Geyh (2001) of Johns Hopkins, who
was part of a team of public health investigators who visited the site shortly
after 9/11, wrote: "In some pockets now being uncovered they are finding
molten steel”. Dr. Keith Eaton, who somewhat later toured the site with an
engineer, said that he was shown slides of “molten metal, which was still red
hot weeks after the event” (Structural Engineer, 2002, p. 6). Herb Trimpe
(2002), an Episcopalian deacon who served as a chaplain at Ground Zero, said:
"[I]t was actually warmer on site. The fires
burned, up to 2,000 degrees, underground for quite a while. . . . I talked to
many contractors and they said . . . beams had just totally had been melted
because of the heat."
 This article in Popular Mechanics is, to be blunt, spectacularly bad. Besides the
problems pointed out here and in note 11, above, and note 39, below, the
article makes this amazing claim: “In the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted
only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet, in
October 1999.” In reality, as genuine 9/11 researchers know, the FAA reported
in a news release on Aug. 9, 2002, that it had scrambled fighters 67 times between
September 2000 and June 2001, and the Calgary Herald (Oct. 13, 2001) reported that NORAD scrambled fighters 129 times in 2000. By
extrapolation, we can infer that NORAD had scrambled fighters over 1000 times
in the decade prior to 9/11. The claim by Popular Mechanics could be true only if in all of these cases, except
for the Payne Stewart incident, the fighters were called back to base before
they actually intercepted the aircraft in question. This is a most unlikely
possibility, especially in light of the fact that Major Mike Snyder, a NORAD
spokesperson, reportedly told the Boston
Globe a few days after 9/11 that
“[NORAD’S] fighters routinely intercept aircraft” (Johnson, 2001).
to why Popular Mechanics would
have published such a bad article, one clue is perhaps provided by the fact
that the article’s “senior researcher” was 25-year old Benjamin Chertoff,
cousin of Michael Chertoff, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security
(see Bollyn, 2005a). Another relevant fact is that this article was published
shortly after a coup at this Hearst-owned magazine, in which the
editor-in-chief was replaced (see Bollyn, 2005b). Young Chertoff’s debunking
article has itself been effectively debunked by many genuine 9/11 researchers,
such as Jim Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics' Assault on 9/11 Truth,” Global
Outlook 10 (Spring-Summer 2005),
21-42 (which was based on Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics’ Deceptive Smear Against 9/11 Truth,” 911Review.com,
February 15, 2005 [http://911review.com/pm/markup/index.html]),
and Peter Meyer, “Reply to Popular Mechanics re 9/11,” http://www.serendipity.li/wot/pop_mech/reply_to_popular_mechanics.htm.
To be sure, these articles by Hoffman and Meyer, while agreeing on many points,
take different approaches in response to some of the issues raised. But both
articles demonstrate that Popular Mechanics owes its readers an apology for publishing such a
massively flawed article on such an important subject.
 NBC’s Pat Dawson reported from the WTC on the morning
of 9/11 that he had been told by Albert Turi, the Fire Department’s Deputy
Assistant Chief of Safety, that “another explosion . . . took place . . . an
hour after the first crash . . . in one of the towers here. So obviously . . .
he thinks that there were actually devices that were planted in the building”
(Watson and Perez, 2004). A Wall Street Journal reporter said: “I heard this metallic roar, looked up
and saw what I thought was just a peculiar site of individual floors, one after
the other exploding outward. I thought to myself, “My God, they’re going to
bring the building down.” And they, whoever they are, HAD SET CHARGES . . . . I
saw the explosions” (Shepard and Trost, 2002). BBC reporter Steve Evans said: “I was at the base of
the second tower . . . that was hit. . . . There was an explosion. . . . [T]he
base of the building shook. . . . [T]hen when we were outside, the second
explosion happened and then there was a series of explosions” (BBC, Sept. 11,
2001; quoted in Bollyn, 2002).
 In June of 2002, NBC television played a segment from
tapes recorded on 9/11 that contained the following exchange involving
firefighters in the south tower:
Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we've just had another
Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we've had additional
Dispatcher: Received battalion command. Additional explosion
(“911 Tapes Tell Horror Of 9/11,” Part 2, "Tapes Released For First
Time", NBC, June 17, 2002 [www.wnbc.com/news/1315651/detail.html]).
Cacchioli reported that upon entering the north tower’s lobby, he saw elevator
doors completely blown out and people being hit with debris. “I remember thinking
. . . how could this be happening so quickly if a plane hit way above?” When he
reached the 24th floor, he encountered heavy dust and smoke, which
he found puzzling in light of the fact that the plane had struck the building
over 50 stories higher. Shortly thereafter, he and another fireman “heard this
huge explosion that sounded like a bomb. It was such a loud noise, it knocked
off the lights and stalled the elevator.” After they pried themselves out of
the elevator, he reported, “another huge explosion like the first one hits.
This one hits about two minutes later . . . [and] I’m thinking, ‘Oh. My God,
these bastards put bombs in here like they did in 1993!’ . . . Then as soon as
we get in the stairwell, I hear another huge explosion like the other two. Then
I heard bang, bang, bang---huge bangs” (Szymanski, 2005a). A briefer account of
Cacchioli’s testimony was made available in the Sept. 24, 2001, issue of People magazine, some of which is quoted in Griffin, 2004,
Ch. 1, note 74.
 Terri Tobin, a lieutenant with the NYPD public
information office, said that during or just after the collapse of the south
tower, "all I heard were extremely loud explosions. I thought we were
being bombed” (Fink and Mathias, 2002, p. 82). A story in the Guardian said: “In New York, police and fire officials were
carrying out the first wave of evacuations when the first of the World Trade
Centre towers collapsed. Some eyewitnesses reported hearing another explosion
just before the structure crumbled. Police said that it looked almost like a
‘planned implosion’” (Borger, Campbell, Porter, and Millar, 2001).
 Teresa Veliz, who worked for a software development
company, was on the 47th floor of the north tower when suddenly “the whole
building shook. . . . [Shortly thereafter] the building shook again, this time
even more violently." Veliz then made it downstairs and outside. During
this period, she says: “There were explosions going off everywhere. I was
convinced that there were bombs planted all over the place and someone was
sitting at a control panel pushing detonator buttons” (Murphy, 2002).
Rodriguez worked as a janitor in the north tower. While he was checking in for
work in the office on sub-level 1 at 9:00 AM, he reports, he and the other 14
people in the office heard and felt a massive explosion below them. "When
I heard the sound of the explosion,” he says, “the floor beneath my feet
vibrated, the walls started cracking and everything started shaking. . . .
Seconds [later], I hear another explosion from way above. . . .
Although I was unaware at the time, this was the airplane hitting the tower.”
Then co-worker Felipe David, who had been in front of a nearby freight
elevator, came into the office with severe burns on his face and arms yelling
"explosion! explosion! explosion!" According to Rodriguez: “He was
burned terribly. The skin was hanging off his hands and arms. His injuries
couldn’t have come from the airplane above, but only from a massive explosion
below” (Szymanski, 2005b).
engineer Mike Pecoraro, who was working in the north tower’s sixth
sub-basement, stated that after his co-worker reported seeing lights flicker,
they called upstairs to find out what happened. They were told that there had
been a loud explosion and the whole building seemed to shake. Pecoraro and
Chino then went up to the C level, where there was a small machine shop, but it
was gone. "There was nothing there but rubble,” said Pecoraro. "We're
talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press--gone!” They then went to the parking
garage, but found that it, too, was gone. "There were no walls.” Then on
the B Level, they found that a steel-and-concrete fire door, which weighed
about 300 pounds, was wrinkled up "like a piece of aluminum foil."
Finally, when they went up to the ground floor: “The whole lobby was soot and
black, elevator doors were missing. The marble was missing off some of the
walls” (Chief Engineer, 2002).
of the “prevalent claims” of 9/11 skeptics that Popular Mechanics tries to debunk (see note 11, above) is the claim
that explosives were detonated in the lower levels of the tower. The magazine,
however, conveniently ignores the testimonies of Veliz, Rodriguez, and
This expert is Van Romero, vice president for
research at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Romero had
previously been the director of this institute’s Energetic Materials Research
and Testing Center, which studies the effects of explosions on buildings.
Romero, it is true, changed his public stance 10 days later, as announced in Fleck,
2001. But this is not a convincing retraction. “Subsequent conversations with
structural engineers and more detailed looks at the tape,” according to this
article, led Romero to conclude that “the intense heat of the jet fuel fires
weakened the skyscrapers' steel structural beams to the point that they gave
way under the weight of the floors above.” But there is no indication as to
what any structural engineer said, or what Romero saw in his “more detailed
looks at the tape,” that led him to change his earlier view that the collapses
were “too methodical” to have been produced by anything except explosives.
There is no suggestion as to how weakened beams would have led to a total
collapse that began suddenly and occurred at virtually free-fall speed. Romero
has subsequently claimed that he did not change his stance. Rather, he claimed
that he had been misquoted in the first story. “I was misquoted in saying that
I thought it was explosives that brought down the building. I only said that
that's what it looked like”
(Popular Mechanics, 2005).
But if that is the
truth, it is strange that the second story, written by Fleck, did not say this
but instead said that Romero had changed his mind. Romero clearly did change
his mind---or, to be more precise, his public stance.
clue to the reason for this change may be provided by another statement in the
original article, which said that when the Pentagon was struck, “[Romero] and
Denny Peterson, vice president for administration and finance [at New Mexico
Tech], were en route to an office building near the Pentagon to discuss
defense-funded research programs at Tech” (Uyttebrouck, 2001). Indeed, as
pointed out in a later story on the New Mexico Tech website (“Tech Receives $15
M for Anti-Terrorism Program” [http://infohost.nmt.edu/mainpage/news/2002/25sept03.html]),
the December 2003 issue of Influence
magazine named Romero one of “six lobbyists who made an impact in 2003,” adding
that “[a] major chunk of [Romero’s] job involves lobbying for federal
government funding, and if the 2003 fiscal year was any indication, Romero was
a superstar,” having obtained about $56 million for New Mexico Tech in that
year alone. In light of the fact that Romero gave no scientific reasons for his
change of stance, it does not seem unwarranted to infer that the real reason
was his realization, perhaps forced upon him by government officials, that
unless he publicly retracted his initial statements, his effectiveness in
lobbying the federal government for funds would be greatly reduced. Romero, to
be sure, denies this, saying: “Conspiracy theorists came out saying that the
government got to me. That is the farthest thing from the truth” (Popular
Mechanics, 2005). But that, of
course, is what we would expect Romero to say in either case. He could have
avoided the charge only by giving a persuasive account of how the buildings
could have come down, in the manner they did, without explosives.
 As Dwyer explained, the oral histories “were
originally gathered on the order of Thomas Von Essen, who was the city fire
commissioner on Sept. 11, who said he wanted to preserve those accounts before
they became reshaped by a collective memory.”
 Like many others, Dixon indicated that he later came
to accept the official interpretation, adding: “Then I guess in some sense of
time we looked at it and realized, no, actually it just collapsed. That's what
blew out the windows, not that there was an explosion there but that windows
blew out.” I have here, however, focused on what the witnesses said they first
experienced and thought, as distinct from any interpretation they may have
 Some of the testimonies also
mentioned the creation of a dust cloud after the explosions. One firefighter
said: “You heard like loud booms . . . and then we got covered with rubble and
dust” (NYT, Viola, p. 3). Another said: “That's when hell came
down. It was like a huge, enormous explosion. . . . The wind rushed. . . , all the dust.
. . and everything went dark” (NYT, Rivera, p. 7). Lieutenant William
Wall said: “[W]e heard an explosion. We looked up and the building was coming
down . . . . We ran a little bit and then we were overtaken by the cloud” (NYT, Wall, p. 9). Paramedic Louis Cook, having said that there was “an
incredible amount of dust and smoke,” added that there was, “without
exaggerating, a foot and a half of dust on my car” (NYT, Cook, pp. 8, 35).
 Even if we were generous to a fault and allowed that
there might be as high as a 1-in-10 chance (a chance much higher than 1-in-100,
or 1-in-500) that any one of the 11 features could occur without explosives,
the chance that all 11 of them would occur together would be one in 100
billion. (This calculation with its very generous assumption of 1-in-10 does
assume the 11 are independent of each other. For more completeness, if only 6 were independent while 5
were correlated to others, we would still have one chance in a million. Yet, if
the chance were 1-in-100 and each is independent, we would have one chance in
Were we to also add in the
probability that all these features would occur in three buildings on the same
day, the probability would become so vanishingly small that it would be hardly
distinguishable from zero.
On the other hand, if explosives
were used in the buildings, there would be a high probability that all 11
features would have occurred in all three buildings.
For this argument, I am indebted to James Fetzer, who---through his essay
"'Conspiracy Theories': The Case of 9/11"---inspired it,
and to Paul Zarembka, who helped with the final formulation.
 A nice summary of the argument for this conclusion
has been provided by Nila Sagadevan (e-mail communication of November 8, 2005)
in response to a person who asked: “Are
you saying all the floors simply fell down as though there were nothing
supporting them?” Stating that this is precisely what he was saying, he then
suggested the following thought-experiment:
Imagine a massive
steel cable, lowered from a tall crane, firmly secured to the middle of the
uppermost (110th) floor of one of the towers.
Now, imagine that
this floor were somehow decoupled from the rest of the structure beneath it.
Summon your personal genie
and have him make all 109 floors and supporting structures beneath this
now-supported slab magically disappear.
What we now have is our
concrete floor slab dangling 1,350 feet up in the sky, suspended by a cable
from our imaginary crane.
Now, have your genie cut the cable.
Your 110th floor would now freefall
through the air and impact the ground
in about 9 seconds (which is about how long it took for the top floors of both
towers to reach the ground).
Now, imagine a variation of
this scenario: We will not
decouple the top floor nor dabble with a crane.
Instead, we shall ask our
genial genie to magically “soften” all the supporting columns of the lower 109
Wouldn’t every one of these
floors and their now-softened supporting structures immediately begin to buckle
under the weight of the 110th floor?
Wouldn’t this buckling
significantly slow down the descent of the top floor by continuing to offer a
degree of resistance to its descent?
Wouldn’t these progressive
viscous “arrests”—-the sagging steel aided by ripping rivets, shearing bolts
and tearing welds—-slow down the top floor’s fall significantly?
Wouldn’t this cause the top
floor to take a lot longer than 9 seconds to eventually reach the end of its
descent and come to rest atop the crushed pile of floors beneath it?
But on September 11, 2001, every
floor, of every tower, fell as though nothing existed below it but air.
For that to happen, every
supporting (i.e., resisting) column beneath every collapsing floor would have
had to have been taken out of the way.
Only well-placed explosives can do that.
This is what happens in a controlled demolition.
Sagadevan’s point is not
significantly affected if we say that the collapse time was closer to 15
seconds, since that is still very close to free-fall speed through the air.
The official investigators found that they had less
authority than the clean-up crews, a fact that led the Science Committee of the
House of Representatives to report that “the lack of authority of investigators
to impound pieces of steel for examination before they were recycled led to the
loss of important pieces of evidence”
 This removal was, moreover, carried out with the
utmost care, because “the loads consisted of highly sensitive material.” Each
truck was equipped with a Vehicle Location Device, connected to GPS. “The
software recorded every trip and location, sending out alerts if the vehicle
traveled off course, arrived late at its destination, or deviated from
expectations in any other way. . . . One driver . . . took an extended lunch
break of an hour and a half. . . . [H]e was dismissed” (Emigh, 2002).
 New York Times, December 25, 2001. This protest was echoed by Professor Abolhassan
Astaneh-Asl, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California at
Berkeley, who said: “Where there is a car accident and two people are killed,
you keep the car until the trial is over. If a plane crashes, not only do you
keep the plane, but you assemble all the pieces, take it to a hangar, and put
it together. That’s only for 200, 300 people, when they die. In this case, you
had 3,000 people dead. You had a major . . . manmade structure. My wish was
that we had spent whatever it takes. . . . Get all this steel, carry it to a
lot. Instead of recycling it. . . . After all, this is a crime scene and you
have to figure out exactly what happened“ (CBS News, March 12, 2002).
 Bloomberg was thereby recommending precisely what
Bill Manning, the editor of Fire Engineering, had warned against when he wrote: "As things now stand . . . , the
investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to
paper-and computer-generated hypotheticals” (Manning, 2002). What Bloomberg
desired and Manning feared is exactly what we got with the NIST Report. It is,
in fact, even worse. Physicist Steven Jones, after pointing out that there are
“zero examples of fire-caused high-rise collapses” and that even NIST’s “actual
[computer] models fail to collapse,” asks: “So how does the NIST team justify
the WTC collapses?” He answers: “Easy, NIST concocted computer-generated
hypotheticals for very ‘severe’ cases,” and then these cases were further
modified to get the desired result. The NIST Report, Jones adds, admits this,
saying on page 142: “The more severe case . . . was used for the global
analysis of each tower. Complete sets of simulations were then performed for
[these cases]. To the extent that the simulations deviated from the
photographic evidence or eyewitness reports [e.g., complete collapse occurred],
the investigators adjusted the input” (Jones, 2006).
 “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris.”
 Bill Manning wrote: “The structural damage from the
planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to
bring down the towers. Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the ‘official investigation’ blessed
by FEMA . . . is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by
political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of
full disclosure. Except for the marginal benefit obtained from a three-day,
visual walk-through of evidence sites conducted by ASCE investigation committee
members---described by one close source as a ‘tourist trip’---no one's checking
the evidence for anything” (Manning, 2002).
 See the section headed “The ASCE’s Disclosures of
Steel Sulfidation” in Hoffman, 2005.
 Marvin Bush’s role in the company is mentioned in
Craig Unger, 2004, p. 249.
Forbes’ statement is posted at
 As Hufschmid points out, “photos show the spectacular
flames vanished quickly, and then the fire . . . slowly diminished” (2002, p.
 “If the . . . intention was to blame the collapse on
the fires,” Peter Meyer has written, “then the latest time at which the towers
could be collapsed would be just as the fires were dying down. Since the fire
in the South Tower resulted from the combustion of less fuel. . . , the fire in
the South Tower began to go out earlier. . . . Those controlling the demolition
thus had to collapse the South Tower before they collapsed the North Tower”
(Peter Meyer, n.d.).
 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division Chief John
Peruggia said that he was told that the “north tower was in danger of a near
imminent collapse.” Medical technician Richard Zarrillo, evidently a liaison
between the OEM and EMS, said that he was told that “the buildings are going to
collapse.” Fire Marshal Stephen Mosiello and Deputy Assistant Chief of Safety
Albert Turi also used the plural (“buildings”) in reporting what they heard
from Zarrillo. Turi reported that when Zarrillo was asked “where are we getting
these reports?”, his reply was: “you know, we’re not sure, OEM is just
reporting this” (NYT, Oral
Histories of Peruggia, Zarrillo, Mosiello, and Turi).
 In “A Brief History of New York City’s Office of
Emergency Management,” we read: “1996: By executive order, the Mayor's Office
of Emergency Management is created. The Director reports directly to the Mayor,
and serves as the local Director of Civil Defense” (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/other/oem_history.html).
 “The city . . . initially refused access to the
records to investigators from . . . the 9/11 Commission” but “relented when
legal action was threatened” (Dwyer, 2005b).
 Glanz (2001) wrote that “[e]xperts said no building
like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an
FEMA, 2002, Ch. 5, Sect. 6.2, “Probable Collapse
Sequence,” discussed in Griffin, 2004, p. 22.
 Hufschmid, 2002, p. 64. The collapse of building 7
also had all the other features of conventional demolitions, such as beginning
suddenly and then going down at virtually free-fall speed---which in this case
meant under 7 seconds. This similarity to conventional implosions was commented
on by Dan Rather. Showing a video of the collapse of building 7 on CBS that
very evening, Rather said that it was “reminiscent of those pictures we've all
seen too much on television before when a building was deliberately destroyed
by well-placed dynamite to knock it down” (CBS News, September 11, 2001).
Videos of the collapse of building 7, which have seldom appeared on mainstream
television, can be viewed at various websites, including
www.geocities.com/killtown/wtc7.html and www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc7.html.
Particularly good for this purpose is Eric Hufschmid’s DVD, “Painful
Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net).
 Steven Jones, e-mail letter, October 10, 2005.
 See Norman, 2002, and Firehouse Magazine, 2002a and 2002b.
 Chief Frank Fellini said that the collapse zone was
established “five or six hours” before the building came down, which would have
been around noon (NYT, Fellini, p.
3). This time fits with the testimony of a firefighter who said he “heard
reports all day long of 7 World Trade possibly coming down” and of another who
said: “We hung out for hours waiting for seven to come down” (NYT, Murray, p. 12, and Massa, pp. 17-18).
 Even earthquakes, which have produced some partial
collapses, have never produced total collapses.
 “[F]ederal investigators concluded that it had been
primarily the impact of the planes and, more specifically, the extreme fires
that spread in their wake, that had caused the buildings to fall. . . . After
the planes hit, . . . [m]uch of the spray-on fireproofing in the impact zone
was dislodged, leaving the structural steel exposed and mortally vulnerable to
the intense heat” (Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, p. 252). These co-authors (p. 253)
even endorse NIST’s claim—-which is totally unsupported (Hoffman, 2005)--that
the collapses became “inevitable.”
 Silverstein’s statement has been quoted in many
places, including Morgan and Henshall (2005). A critique of this
book entitled “9/11 Revealed? New Book Repeats False Conspiracy Theories,” put
out by the U.S. State Department (http://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive/2005/Sep/16-241966.html),
claims that “[t]he property owner was referring to pulling a contingent of
firefighters out of the building in order to save lives because it appeared
unstable.” But that is hardly a plausible interpretation, especially given the
following sentence and the fact that elsewhere during the documentary (PBS,
2002), we hear the expression clearly used to mean “bring the building down.”
 Silverstein’s statement can be viewed
(http://www.infowars.com/Video/911/wtc7_pbs.WMV) or heard on audio file (http://VestigialConscience.com/PullIt.mp3).
For a discussion, see Baker, n.d.
 Letter to the LA Times Magazine, September 18, 2005, by William Yarchin of Huntington
Beach, California, in response to an interview with me in that magazine,
conducted by Mark Ehrman, entitled “Getting Agnostic about 9/11,” published
August 28, 2005.
Baker, Jeremy, n.d. “PBS Documentary:
Silverstein, FDNY Razed WTC 7,” Infowars.com
Barter, Sheila, 2001. “How the World Trade Center
Fell,” BBC News, September 13 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1540044.stm).
_____, 2005b. “The Hidden Hand of the C.I.A. and the
9/11 Propaganda of Popular Mechanics,”
American Free Press, March 19 (http://www.rense.com/general63/brutalpurgeofPMstaff.htm).
Bush, George W., 2001. Address to the General Assembly
of the United Nations, November 10.
Chief Engineer, The, 2002. “We will Not Forget: A Day of Terror” (http://www.chiefengineer.org/article.cfm?seqnum1=1029)
Dwyer, Jim, 2005a. “Vast Archive Yields New View of
9/11,” New York Times, August 13 (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/nyregion/nyregionspecial3/13records.html
_____, 2005b. “City to Release Thousands of Oral
Histories of 9/11 Today,” New York Times, August 12.
Dwyer, Jim, and Ford Fessenden, 2002. “Lost Voices of
Firefighters, Some on 78th Floor,” New York Times, August 4 (http://www.mishalov.com/wtc_lostvoicesfiredept.html).
Dwyer, Jim, and Kevin Flynn, 2005. 102 Minutes: The
Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, New York: Times Books.
Eagar, Thomas, and Christopher Musso, 2001. “Why Did
the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation,” JOM:
Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 53/12, pp. 8-11.
Else, Liz, 2004. “Baltimore Blasters,” New
Scientist 183/2457 (July 24): p. 48 (http://archive.newscientist.com/secure/article/article.jsp ?rp=1&id=mg18324575.700). The
reason for the title is that the office of Controlled Demolition, Inc., is near
Emigh, Jacqueline, 2002. “GPS on the Job in Massive
World Trade Center Clean-Up,” July 1 (http://securitysolutions.com/ar/security_gps_job_massive).
FEMA, 1991. “High-Rise Office Building Fire One
Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania” (http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:CHrKDNvrjsEJ:www.interfire.org/res_file/pdf/
FEMA, 2002. World Trade Center Building Performance
Field, Andy, 2004. “A Look Inside a Radical New Theory
of the WTC Collapse,” Firehouse.com, February 7 (http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=25807).
Fink, Mitchell, and Lois Mathias, 2002. Never
Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001. New York: Harper Collins.
Fleck, John, 2001. “Fire, Not Extra Explosives, Doomed
Buildings, Expert Says,” Albuquerque Journal, September 21 (http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/anniversary/pmvan09-21-01.htm).
Fink, Mitchell, and Lois Mathias, 2002. Never
Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001. New York: Harper Collins.
Geyh, Allison, 2001. Magazine of Johns Hopkins
Public Health, Late Fall.
Glanz, James. 2001. “Engineers Are Baffled over the
Collapse of 7 WTC; Steel Members Have Been Partly Evaporated,” New York
Times, November 29.
Glanz, James, and Eric Lipton, 2002. “Towers Withstood
Impact, but Fell to Fire, Report Says,” New York Times, March 29.
Norman, 2002. “Collapse Lessons,” Fire Engineering, October (http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm
Griffin, David Ray, 2004. The New Pearl Harbor:
Disturbing Questions about 9/11 and the Bush Administration. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).
___________, 2005a. The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions.
Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).
_________, 2005b. “9/11 and the American Empire: How
Should Religious People Respond?” 9/11 CitizensWatch, May 7 (http://www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?
_____________, 2005c. “9/11 and the Mainstream Press,”
9/11 Visibility Project, July 29 (http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2005-07-29-pressclub.php).
_____, 2005d. "Truth and Politics of 9/11:
Omissions and Distortions of The 9/11 Commission Report,” Global Outlook, Issue
10 (Spring-Summer), pp. 45-56. Available at www.GlobalOutlook.ca.
Griffin, David Ray, and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 2006. 9/11
and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).
Hansen, Thomas, 2005. "Outrageous Conspiracy
Theories: Report on a Conversation with Philip Zelikow," 9/11 Visibility
Project, June 7 (http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2005-06-07-outrageous.php).
David, 2005. "Taking a Closer Look: Hard Science and the Collapse of the
World Trade Center," Garlic and Grass, Issue 6, November 24
_____, 2004. “Your Eyes Don’t Lie: Common Sense,
Physics, and the World Trade Center Collapses,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net (http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/radio/youreyesdontlie/index.html).
_____, 2005. “Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year
$20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century,” 911 Research, August 21 (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html).
Johnson, Glen, 2001. “Otis Fighter Jets Scrambled Too
Late to Halt the Attacks,” Boston Globe, September 15 (http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=print).
Jones, Steven E., 2006. "Why Indeed Did the WTC
Buildings Collapse?" In Griffin and Scott, eds., 2006.
Kean, Thomas H., and Lee H. Hamilton, 2004. The
9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks upon the United States,
Authorized Edition, New York: W. W. Norton. (For the sake of convenience, Kean
and Hamilton, who as chair and vice-chair of the Commission, respectively,
signed the Preface, are listed as the Report’s authors.)
Killough-Miller, Joan, 2002. “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of
Melted Steel,” WPI Transformations, Spring (http://www.wpi.edu/News/Transformations/2002Spring/steel.html).
King, Jeff, 2003. “The WTC Collapse: What the Videos Show,” Indymedia
Webcast News, November 12
Lane, B., and S. Lamont, 2005. “ARUP Fire’s
Presentation regarding Tall Buildings and the Events of 9/11,” ARUP Fire, April
Lavello, Randy, n.d. “Bombs in the Building,” Prison
Lin, Jennifer, 2002. "Recovery Worker Reflects on
Months Spent at Ground Zero," Knight Ridder, May 29
Manning, Bill, 2002. “Selling Out the Investigation”, Fire
Engineering, January (http://fe.pennet.com/Articles/ArticleDisplay.cfm
Meyer, Peter, n.d. “Did the Twin Towers Collapse on
Demand?”, Section 3 of “The World Trade Center Demolition and the so-Called War
on Terrorism,” Serendipity (www.serendipity.li/wtc.html).
Morgan, Rowland, and Ian Henshall, 2005. 9/11
Revealed: The Unanswered Questions.
New York: Carroll and Graf.
Murphy, Dean E., 2002. September 11: An Oral
History. New York: Doubleday.
Nieto, Robin, 2004. “Fire Practically
Destroys Venezuela’s Tallest Building,” Venezuelanalysis.com, October 18.
Shepard, Alicia, and Cathy Trost of Newseum, 2002.
Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11, Foreword by Tom Brokaw. Lanham, MD.: Rowman &
Smith, Dennis, 2002. Report From Ground Zero: The
Heroic Story of the Rescuers at the World Trade Center. New York: Penguin Putnam.
Structural Engineer, The, 2002. September 3.
Szymanski, Greg, 2005a. “NY Fireman Lou Cacchioli
Upset that 9/11 Commission 'Tried to Twist My Words,’” Arctic Beacon, July 19 (http://www.arcticbeacon.com/articles/article/1518131/29548.htm).
_____, 2005b. “WTC Basement Blast and Injured Burn
Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High,” Arctic Beacon, June 24 (http://www.arcticbeacon.com/articles/article/1518131/28031.htm).
Taylor, Curtis L., and Sean Gardiner, 2001.
“Heightened Security Alert Had Just Been Lifted,” New York Newsday, September 12 (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/wtc/
Trimpe, Herb, 2002. "The Chaplain's Tale," Times-Herald Record (http://www.recordonline.com/adayinseptember/trimpe.htm).
Unger, Craig, 2004. House of Bush, House of Saud:
The Secret Relationship between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties. New York & London: Scribner.
Uyttebrouck, Olivier, 2001. “Explosives Planted In
Towers, N.M. Tech Expert Says,” Albuquerque Journal, September 11 (http://www.public-action.com/911/jmcm/ABQjournal).
Walsh, Trudy, 2002. "Handheld APP
Eased Recovery Tasks," Government
Computer News, Vol. 21, No. 27a, September 11
Watson, Paul Joseph, and Dan Perez, 2004. Prison
Planet.TV, May 5
Williams, James, 2001. “WTC a Structural Success,”
SEAU NEWS: The Newsletter of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah, October.