The Collapse of World Trade Center 1, 2, & 7
Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Explosive Charges
From Webster Tarpley
Feb. 7, 2005
This is the html version of the file http://www.reopen911.org/Tarpley_ch_6.pdf.
THE COLLAPSE OF WORLD TRADE CENTER 1, 2, AND 7
We now reach the center of the tragedy, the hecatomb of innocent airline passengers and office workers occasioned by the unprecedented and inexplicable collapse of the two World Trade Center towers. Here is where vast numbers of ordinary persons were immolated by the terrorist controllers for the sake of their insane geopolitical plans. Coming from a family which lived in New York for six decades after about 1910, having lived in New York City (Flushing, Queens) from the age of 4 to the age of 16, having attended New York City public schools from the first grade through the twelfth (PS 23, PS 20, JHS 185, Flushing High School), having worked in the city for a year as an adult living in Brooklyn, and having had an uncle who was a New York City policeman, the author is as much of a New Yorker as anyone. 9/11 has marked a decisive new step downward in the city’s decline, and the bitter recognition of this tragic situation can only spur on the exposure of the actual process involved in 9/11.
THE KEY: SECONDARY EXPLOSIONS
According to the official version, which the 9/11 commission hardly comments on, the twin towers fell because of the impact of the planes and of the effects of the subsequent fires. The problem is that this is physically impossible, as we will show. The fall of the towers thus depends on some other cause: controlled demolition of some kind is the only possible hypothesis. The key to seeing beyond the official version is to chronicle the presence of secondary explosions, since these are the tell-tale signs of controlled demolition. When we examine the literature, we find a multitude of references to such secondary explosions. Louie Cacchioli, aged 51, was a firefighter attached to Engine Company 47, based uptown in Harlem. “We were the first ones in the second tower after the plane struck,” Cacchioli recounted later. “I was taking firefighters up in the elevator to the twenty- fourth floor to get in a position to evacuate workers. On the last trip up a bomb went off. We think there were bombs set in the building.”
Cacchioli was trapped in an elevator but was able to escape with the help of some fireman’s tools. (People Weekly, September 24, 2001) Auxiliary Fireman Lt. Paul Isaac Jr. also spoke of bombs in an interview with internet reporter Randy Lavello. Isaac had served with Engine Company 10 in lower Manhattan during the late 1990s, so he knew the area around the WTC. Isaac said that many New York firemen were very concerned about the ongoing cover-up of why the World Trade Center collapsed. “Many other firemen know there were bombs in the buildings,” he revealed, “but they are afraid for their jobs to admit it because the higher-ups forbid discussion of this fact. There were definitely bombs in those buildings.” Among those suppressing real discussion about what had happened, Isaac cited the neocon heavy
James Woolsey, who had been CIA Director under Clinton, who had become the New York Fire Department’s antiterrorism consultant. (Marrs 34) Teresa Veliz was a manager for a software development firm. She was on the 47th floor of the North Tower when American 11 struck. Veliz was able to reach the ground level at about the same time that the South Tower collapsed. Flung to the ground in total darkness, Veliz and a colleague followed another person who happened to have a flashlight. As she narrated later: “The flashlight led us into Borders bookstore, up an escalator, and out to Church Street. The explosions were 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. I was afraid to go down Church Street towards Broadway, but I had to do it. I ended up on Vesey Street. There was another explosion. And another. I didn’t know which way to run.” (Murphy; Marrs 34) Ross Milanytch viewed the scene from the 22nd floor of a nearby building. He reported seeing “small explosions on each floor.
And after it all cleared, all that was left of the buildings, you could just see the steel girders in like a triangular sail shape. The structure was just completely gone.” (America at War; Marrs 34) Steve Evans, a reporter for the BBC, happened to be in the South Tower that morning. “I was at the base of the second tower, the second tower that was hit,” he reported. “There was an explosion – I didn’t think it was an explosion – but the base of the building shook. I felt it shake … then we were outside, the second explosion happened and then there was a series of explosions….We can only wonder at the kind of damage – the kind of human damage – which was caused by those explosions, those series of explosions.” (Christopher Bollyn, American Free Press; http://www.zeitenschrift.com/news/wtc/_wahrheit.ihtml)
Fox 5 News, a New York television channel, was able to catch on videotape a large white cloud billowing out near the base of the South Tower. The newsman commented: “There is an explosion at the base of the building….white smoke from the bottom …something has happened at the base of the building… then, another explosion. Another building in the World Trade Center complex….” (Marrs 35) Tom Elliott was at work at his desk in the offices of Aon Corp. on the 10 rd floor of the South Tower just before 9 AM. When the North Tower was hit, he decided to leave the building and began walking down the stairs with a small group of people. At the 7th floor, Elliott was encouraged by a woman to disregard the announcement on the public address system that there was no need to evacuate. When Elliott had reached the 67th floor, United 175 struck the South Tower, above where he was. Elliott later told a reporter what he was able to observe after that: “Although its spectacularly televised impact was above Elliott, at first he and those around him thought an explosion had come from below. An incredible sound – he calls it an ‘exploding sound’ – shook the building and a tornado of hot air and smoke and ceiling tiles and bits of drywall came flying up the stairwell. “In front of me, the wall split from the bottom up,” Elliott recounted. Elliott was able to get out of the South Tower by 9:40. (Christian Science Monitor, September 17, 2001)
At 11:56 AM, NBC News broadcast a segment in which reporter Pat Dawson summarized a conversation he had just had with Albert Terry of the FDNY. Terry had told the reporter that he had about 200 firefighters in the WTC buildings at around 9 AM. Then, Terry said, he had heard a kind of secondary explosion. Dawson: Just moments ago I spoke to the Chief of Safety for the New York City Fire Department, who was obviously one of the first people here after the two planes were crashed into the side, we assume, of the World Trade Center towers, which used to be behind me over there. Chief Albert Terry told me that he was here just literally five or ten minutes after the events that took place this morning, that is the first crash. The Chief of Safety of the Fire Department of New York City told me that shortly after 9:00 he had roughly ten alarms, roughly 200 men, trying to effect rescues of some of those civilians who were in there, and that basically he received word of a secondary device, that is another bomb, going off. He tried to get his men out as quickly as he could, but he said that there was another explosion which took place. And then an hour after the first hit here, the first crash, that took place, he said there was another explosion that took place in one of the towers here. So obviously, according to his theory, he thinks that there were actually devices that were planted in the building. One of the secondary devices, he thinks, that [detonated] after the initial impact he thinks may have been on the plane that crashed into one of the towers.
The second device, he thinks, he speculates, was probably planted in the building. So that’s what we have been told by Albert Terry, who is the Chief of Safety for the New York City Fire Department. He told me that just moments ago. (Wisnewski 135-136) Proponents of the official version have attempted to explain some of these explosions as having been caused by gas escaping from leaks in gas mains, but this cannot account for the phenomena described by Terry. Nor can such other explanations as exploding transformers, etc. Ann Thompson of NBC reported at 12:42 PM that she had reached the corner of Broadway and Fulton on her way to the World Trade center that morning when she heard an explosion and a wall of debris came toward her. She took refuge in a building. When she came out again about 10:30, she heard a second explosion. Firemen warned her about another explosion. (Wisnewski 136; Trinkhaus, 4 ff.) The eyewitness Michael Benfante told a German TV camera team: “As I was leaving, I heard it.
I looked back, and the top of the North Tower was exploding. And even then I did not believe that the whole tower could fall. I thought, only the top exploded and is now going to fall on me. I turned around again and ran away. I felt the rumble of the explosions, the thunder of the collapsing building.” (German ARD network, “Tag des Terrors – Anschlag aus heiterem Himmel,” August 30, 2002, Wisnewski 136) A reporter tried to film a standup with the WTC in the background, but was interrupted by the sound of an explosion: “We can’t get any closer to the World Trade Center. Here you can see the firemen who are on the scene, the police and FBI officers, and you see the two towers – A huge explosion! Debris is coming down on all of us!” (“Verbrechen gegen die Menschheit,” West German Television, Cologne, July 24, 2002; Wisnewski 136)
Yet another eyewitness reported: “We heard a huge explosion, and everything got black. Glass was falling down, people were getting hurt when the glass hit them. It was a big explosion, everything got dark, this here is not snow, it’s all from the building, a horrible nightmare.” “I was on Sixth Avenue and I had just tried to call somebody when I heard an explosion and saw how the people were throwing themselves on the ground, screaming and crying, I looked up and saw all that smoke, as the tower came down, and all that smoke in one tower.” (Segment by Oliver Voegtlin and Matthias Fernandes, NTV, September 11, 2001) Another European documentary showed a man with glasses recovering in a hospital bed who recalled: “All of a sudden it went bang, bang, bang, like shots, and then three unbelievable explosions.” (“Terror gegen Amerika,” RTL, September 13, 2001) An eyewitness who worked in an office near the WTC described his experiences to a reporter for the American Free Press.
He was standing in a crowd on Church Street, about two and a half blocks from the South Tower. Just before the South Tower collapsed, he saw “a number of brief light sources being emitted from inside the building between floors 10 and 15.” He saw about six of these flashes and at the same time heard a “a crackling sound” just before the tower collapsed.” (Christopher Bollyn, American Free Press, December 2, 2001; Wisnewksi 137) Kim White, 32, who worked on the 80th floor of the South Tower, was another eyewitness who reported hearing an explosion. “All of a sudden the building shook, then it started to sway. We didn't know what was going on,” she told People magazine. “We got all our people on the floor into the stairwell . . . at that time we all thought it was a fire . . .We got down as far as the 74th floor . . . then there was another explosion.” (Christopher Bollyn, American Free Press, December 2, 2001) A black office worker wearing a business suit that was covered with dust and ashes told the Danish television network DR-TV1: “On the eighth floor we were thrown back by a huge explosion.” (Wisnewski 138) The German network SAT 1 broadcast a report featuring survivors who also were talking about explosions. One of these eyewitnesses, by the name of Tom Canavan, was cut off in mid-sentence by two FBI agents who barged in, grabbed him as he was speaking, and hustled him away; this scene was captured on tape. (Wisnewski 138)
NBC TAPES SHOW CONTROLLED DEMOLITION EXPLOSIONS
In his best-selling study and also in his prime-time special broadcast on German television in August 2003, Gerhard Wisnewski employed out-takes from NBC News cameras near the World Trade Center to provide actual examples of what are almost certainly controlled demolition charges being detonated. On the NBC tape, we see the two towers burning and emitting clouds of black smoke. Then, at about frame 131 of the tape, there emerges a cloud of white-grey smoke along about two thirds of the 79th floor of the South Tower. Two thirds of the southeast façade correspond to the dimensions of the central core column complex, which would be where controlled demolition charges would have to be placed. This line of white-grey smoke billows up, contrasting sharply with the black smoke from the fire. At about frame 203, another line of white-grey smoke emerges several floors below the first, and billows up in its turn. This represents decisive photographic evidence of controlled demolition charges being triggered in the World Trade Center. (Wisnewski 216) Andreas von Bülow, the former Social Democratic Technology Minister of Germany under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, noted in his study of 9/11 that news tapes show smoke being forced out of the hermetically sealed windows of both towers in the minute or so just before they fell. (Von Buelow 146-147) This is very likely also evidence of controlled demolition charges or other artificial processes going on inside the buildings.
FIREMEN WERE CONFIDENT OF EXTINGUISHING THE FIRE
The Guiliani administration in New York City, and its successor, the Bloomberg administration, refused for a long time to allow the public to hear tapes of the radio conversations among the FDNY firemen on the scene at the WTC. In the summer of 2002, press accounts surfaced which indicated that firemen had been able to climb to the Sky Lobby on the 78nd floor and been able to survey the extent of the fire from there. The fuselage of United 175 had struck the 80th floor, and one of its wings had clipped the 78th floor itself. The FDNY officers describe a situation with only two pockets of fire, and they express confidence that they will be able to fight the fire successfully with two hose lines. Two officials who are mentioned by name on the tape are Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald P. Bucca, both of whom died when the South Tower collapsed. “Once they got there,” the Times says, “they had a coherent plan for putting out the fires they could see and helping victims who survived.”
According to the New York Times summary, the two officers “showed no panic, no sense that events were racing beyond their control…. At that point, the building would be standing for just a few more minutes, as the fire was weakening the structure on the floors above him. Even so, Chief Palmer could see only two pockets of fire and called for a pair of engine companies to fight them…. The limited transcripts made available on the internet were as follows: Battalion Seven…Ladder Fifteen, we’ve got two isolated pockets of fire. We should be able to knock it down with two lines. Radio that, 78th floor numerous Code Ones. The audio tape has never been released to the public. The Justice Department claims that it is evidence in the trial of Zacarias Moussawi in Alexandria, Virginia. (New York Times, August 4, 2002) Christopher Bollyn, already cited, commented: “The fact that veteran firefighters had ‘a coherent plan’ for putting out the ‘two pockets of fire’ indicates they judged the blazes to be manageable. These reports from the scene of the crash provide crucial evidence debunking the government’s claim that a raging steel-melting inferno led to the tower’s collapse.” (Marr 38-39) Earlier in the morning, Pete Ganci, the Chief of the Department, and thus the highest- ranking uniformed firefighter in the city, had told Giuliani: “We can save everybody below the fire. Our guys are in the building, about halfway up the first tower.” (Giuliani 8) Ganci was killed in action later in the day.
THE CASE OF WTC 6
CNN broadcast the image of smoke rising up from street level near the base of Building 6, the Customs House. This video footage had originated at 9:04, about one minute after United 175 struck the South Tower. Remember that WTC 6 was on the north side of the north tower, so any explosions there cannot be regarded as having been generated by the impact to the South Tower. A powerful explosion inside WTC 6 had hurled a cloud of gas and debris 170 meters high. A CNN archivist commented, “We can’t figure it out.” (Marrs 36) This incident was soon eclipsed by the collapse of the South Tower, and has tended to be forgotten. The various official reports have had precious little to say about WTC 6. Overhead views of the ruins later showed a large crater in the steel structure of WTC 6; it was clear that this crater could not have been caused by fire. (Von Bülow 163- 164)
THE AGONY OF THE FDNY
FDNY lost 343 firefighters that day, more than their casualties in the previous hundred years. It is worth asking why this came about. In the case of fires in high-rise skyscrapers, outside ladders cannot be used above a certain level. Therefore, the firemen are trained to use staircases to climb up to the fire and fight it within the building. They could do this with a certain degree of confidence because no modern, steel-framed, fireproof building had ever collapsed as a result of fire. On 9/11, three of them – WTC 1, WTC 2, and WTC 7, all collapsed. Veteran firefighters knew what they were doing. Their losses are not attributable to any mistake on their part, but, in all probability, to the fact that the twin towers and WTC 7 were brought down by some form of controlled demolition. The 1 Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia had burned lustily for many hours in 1991, but came nowhere near collapsing. The 1 Meridian fire burned for 19 hours, leaping from floor to floor and burning out as combustible materials were used up. On May 4-5, 1988, the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles – a structure that was more or less comparable to the twin towers – burned for more than three hours, with bright, intense flames licking up the sides of the building. In a post-blaze assessment, Iklim Ltd., a company that specializes in building inspections and structural analyses after fires, concluded: “In spite of the total burnout of four and a half floors, there was no damage to the main structural members and only minor damage to one secondary beam and a small number of floor pans.”
These comparisons were noted with some discomfort by the New York Times, which commented that “High-rise buildings are designed to be able to survive a fire, even if the fire has to burn itself out. The strategy is to ensure that the steel support structures are strong enough or protected well enough from fire that they do not give way in the time it takes for everything inside an office building, like furniture, to burn. In major high-rise fires elsewhere in the country, such as the 1 Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia in 1991 and the First Interstate Bank fire in Los Angeles in 1988, this approach has worked. But the fires at 7 World Trade Center raged mainly on lower floors and never burned out, and in the chaos of Sept. 11, the Fire Department eventually decided to stop fighting the blazes.” One can sense the acute embarrassment of the mythographs; this is all just absurd. “What the hell would burn so fiercely for seven hours that the Fire Department would be afraid to fight it?” said one member of the investigation team quoted in this same article. (New York Times, March 2, 2002)
THE ROMERO ANALYSIS
An important early contribution to the discrediting of the official version regarding the WTC came in an interview with a New Mexico expert in mining technology which appeared a few days after 9/11. This highly realistic analysis appeared in the Albuquerque Journal of September 14, 2001 under the headline “Explosives Planted in Towers, New Mexico Tech Expert Says,” the byline belonged to Olivier Uyttebrouck. Televised images of the attacks on the World Trade Center suggest that explosive devices caused the collapse of both towers, a New Mexico Tech explosion expert said Tuesday. The collapse of the buildings appears "too methodical" to be a chance result of airplanes colliding with the structures, said Van Romero, vice president for research at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. “My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse,” Romero said. Romero is a former director of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at Tech, which studies explosive materials and the effects of explosions on buildings, aircraft and other structures.
Romero said he based his opinion on video aired on national television broadcasts.
Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures. “It would be difficult for something from the plane to trigger an event like that,” Romero said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. Romero said he and another Tech administrator were on a Washington- area subway when an airplane struck the Pentagon. He said he and Denny Peterson, vice president for administration and finance, were en route to an office building near the Pentagon to discuss defense-funded research programs at Tech. If explosions did cause the towers to collapse, the detonations could have been caused by a small amount of explosive, he said. “It could have been a relatively small amount of explosives placed in strategic points,” Romero said. The explosives likely would have been put in more than two points in each of the towers, he said. Romero said that if his scenario is correct, the diversionary attack would have been the collision of the planes into the towers. The detonation of bombs within the towers is consistent with a common terrorist strategy, Romero said. “One of the things terrorist events are noted for is a diversionary attack and secondary device,” Romero said. Attackers detonate an initial, diversionary explosion that attracts emergency personnel to the scene, then detonate a second explosion, he said. Romero said that if his scenario is correct, the diversionary attack would have been the collision of the planes into the towers. (http://www.abqjournal.com/aqvan09-11-01.htm -removed from archive; see http://emperors-clothes.com/news/albu.htm)
Here was an honest appraisal from a qualified expert. Romero successfully identified some of the main anomalies presented by the spectacle of collapse, and proceeded from there to the only tenable hypothesis: controlled demolition. He was also acutely perceptive in seeing that the aircraft impacts could not in themselves have been the cause of the fall of the twin towers; they rather had to be regarded as a diversion or cover story to make the fall of the buildings plausible to public opinion. However, the America of late September 2001 was marked by a climate of neo-McCarthyite hysteria wholly antithetical to public truth; Van Romero later retracted his highly insightful remarks, and is rumored to have since found preferment from the federal government. But numerous foreign experts arrived independently at similar conclusions. Steffen Kretz, the news anchor of the Danish television channel DR-1, reported that “the World Trade Center Tower collapsed after two more explosions.”
In a commentary of this same network, it was stated that the World Trade Center collapsed after an additional explosion. (Wisnewski 138) On 9/11, Denmark’s DR-1 broadcast an interview with Jens Claus Hansen, a high-ranking officer of the Danish Military Academy. His view was: “Additional bombs must have been placed inside the WTC towers – otherwise they would not have collapsed as they actually did.” Another guest was the former NATO General Keld Hillingsøe, who commented: “Additional bombs must have been installed in the buildings.” (Wisnewski 138) The Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, the leading conservative paper in the country, published an interview with the explosives expert Bent Lund, who pointed out that fire alone could not have caused the collapse of the twin towers. He estimated that about a ton of explosives must have exploded inside the buildings in order to bring them down in this way. (Berlingske Tidende, September 12, 2001; Wisnewski 138)
THE VIEW OF A SWISS ENGINEER
Another leading authority who raised the issue of sabotage from within the towers was Hugo Bachmann, professor emeritus of building dynamics and earthquake engineering at the world-famous Swiss Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich – where Einstein had taught. As Bachmann told the Neue Züricher Zeitung Online on September 13, 2001, at first glance there seemed to be two possibilities in the fall of the towers. The first was the fire and its effect on the steel supports. But Bachmann had an alternative: “In the second scenario, an additional terrorist action would have caused the collapse of the buildings. In this way, according to Bachmann, buildings like the World Trade center can be destroyed without great logistical exertion.” The article went on to say that “Bachmann could imagine that the perpetrators had installed explosives on key supports in a lower floor before the attack.” If the perpetrators had rented office space, then these “explosive tenants” could have calmly placed explosive charges on the vulnerable parts of the building “without having anyone notice.”
Bachmann thought that it was less likely that explosives in the below ground parts of the building could have caused the collapse. Here the logistic problems would be harder to solve in order to put the charges in the right places, and the foundations were probably of more stable construction than the steel towers. Bachmann commented that “the question of whether in fact one of these two scenarios is applicable cannot be answered at this time.” But he felt it was a central issue that the second scenario should get more attention, whether or not it applied to the WTC. Bachmann observed that anyone who had enough knowledge of static structures and explosives technology could in principle destroy any building, since every structure has its Achilles heel. An attack aimed at that weak point would be relatively easy to carry out, but would require careful and time-consuming planning. Not all buildings were equally vulnerable, but the twin towers of the World Trade Center were in Bachmann’s opinion probably among the more sensitive targets. (Wisnewski 141-143)
OPPORTUNITIES FOR TAMPERING
There are numerous pieces of unconfirmed anecdotal evidence suggesting strange and unusual activities in the World Trade Towers in the days and weeks before their destruction. One New York businessman told me in an interview three years after the fact that he had visited a client in one of the towers numerous times during the months preceding the attack, and had always found that certain elevators were out of service. Another report came from Scott Forbes, an employee of Fiduciary Trust, a firm which was located on floors 90 and 94-97 of the South Tower. Eighty-seven employees of Fiduciary Trust were killed on 9/11. In an email account, Forbes reported that over the weekend of September 8-9, 2001, floors 50 and above of the South Tower experienced a “power down,” meaning that all electrical current was cut off for about 36 hours.
The reason officially cited was that the electrical cables in the building were being upgraded. Forbes was an information technology officer in charge of Fiduciary Trust’s computer network; his attention was engaged by the power down because it fell to him to shut down all the company’s computers and related systems before the power went out. After the power down, he had to turn the computers back on again, and restore service on the network. Because there was no electric power above the fiftieth floor, there were also no security cameras and no security locks. There were however many outside engineering personnel coming in and out of the tower at all hours during the weekend. Forbes lived in Jersey City and could see the WTC towers from his home; when he saw the conflagration on the morning of 9/11, he immediately related it to the events of the previous weekend. (www.serendipity.li/wot/forbes01.htm)
The seismic effects of the collapse of the towers were observed and measured by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory just up the Hudson River in Palisades, New York. Here seismographs recorded two spikes reflecting two shock waves in the earth on the morning of 9/11. The crucial fact is that these two spikes came just before the collapse of the towers began. Specifically, Columbia scientists at the facility registered a tremor of 2.1 on the Richter scale at 9:59:04 EDT, just before the beginning of the collapse of the South Tower, and a 2.3 shock just as the North Tower began to come down at 10:28:31 EDT. Both tremors were recorded before the vast majority of the mass of the buildings hit the ground. Although they were not of earthquake proportions, these were considerable shocks, about twenty times more potent than any previously measured shock wave generated by a falling building. The 1993 WTC truck bomb had produced no seismic effects at all – it had failed to register. At 5:20 local time on the afternoon of 9/11, there was also a 0.6 tremor from the collapse of WTC 7, also at the beginning, rather than the end, of this building’s collapse.
Dr. Arthur Lerner-Lam, the director of the Columbia Center for Hazards and Risk Research, commented that “duringthe collapse, most of the energy of the falling debris was absorbed by the towers and neighboring structures, converting them into rubble and dust or causing other damage – but not causing significant ground shaking.” But Lerner-Lam declined to draw any conclusions from the glaring anomaly represented by his data, which the 9/11 commission has also avoided. (Marrs 39 ff.) After most of the pile was removed, experts found that there were pools of what appeared to have been molten metal which had congealed on foundations of the buildings many levels underground. Some steel appeared to have partially melted, other steel had undergone alternations to its crystalline structure, and still other steel was full of holes, like a Swiss cheese.
GIULIANI OBLITERATES THE WTC CRIME SCENE
Mayor Giuliani, by pedigree, was a creature of the highly repressive bureaucratic- authoritarian apparatus which had consolidated itself in the Justice Department during the Reagan years. He now performed yeoman service in defense of the 9/11 myth, a myth which had its most obvious vulnerability in its most spectacular point: the unprecedented and physically inexplicable collapse of the twin towers. Giuliani used the pretext that his term was ending on December 31, 2001 to organize the massive obliteration of the WTC as a crime scene. Parallel to this, Giuliani engineered a confrontation with the New York firemen, both to divert public attention from his tampering with the evidence, and also to neutralize the potential of the firemen, the one group which might have denounced the presence of controlled demolition charges in WTC 1, 2, and 7, of which, as we have seen, they were well aware. During the crisis, Giuliani had been eager to exploit for his own political image the immense admiration and gratitude which had been expressed around the nation and the world for the epic feats of the New York firefighters.
The firemen were now the most revered symbols in the country: typical was the cover of Newsweek’s post-9/11 issue, which showed some firemen raising a flag over the ruins, with an evident allusion to the flag raising on Iwo Jima. Giuliani made a practice of appearing in public wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the letters “FDNY.” The police he relegated to his windbreaker, which bore the legend “NYPD.” Giuliani proved to be treacherous in practice to both, and he did this by playing the firefighters against the police, and vice versa – all in the service of the 9/11 coverup. The firemen, once revered, would soon be “inexcusable,” according to Giuliani.
CONTROLLED DEMOLITION AGAIN
Giuliani brought in Controlled Demolition, the same highly suspect firm which had finished the demolition of the Murragh Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and which had disposed of the evidence there in the process. This contract was let surreptitiously just eleven days after 9/11, and empowered Controlled Demolition to recycle the steel of the World Trade Center. Giuliani has not a word to say about this in his memoirs. The city accepted rock-bottom prices for the steel; the priority was to make it disappear fast. Trucks hauling the steel away were equipped with $1,000 Global Positioning System locators to ensure that none of them went astray, and that no suspect steel ended up in the back yard of a maverick 9/11 researcher. All investigators, in fact, were banned from ground zero. Now Controlled Demolition would eradicate any chance of using the abundant physical evidence present in “the pile,” as the mass of twisted rubble of the WTC quickly came to be called. It was a scene out of Kafka – it was impossible to find out which officials were superintending the destruction of the evidence, to save a myth that was being used to set in motion a world war. Giuliani, along with ghostwriter Ken Kurson, has produced a relentlessly self-laudatory and self-promoting autobiography entitled Leadership. This work constitutes a monument of hypocrisy.
During one of his visits to the WTC site, the Mayor noticed that many visitors were taking pictures of the site. Because there was so much to hide, he found this troubling: “I noticed a disturbing phenomenon – hundreds of people carrying disposable cameras and handheld video cameras. I understood the impulse – this was a historic event, and experiencing it up close had a tremendous impact. At the same time, this was a crime scene, and a dangerous one. I did not want anyone to get hurt, or to damage evidence as they scouted out the best angle for their snapshots. If we didn’t do something about it immediately, it would soon be out of control, a voyeur’s paradise, and we risked the site developing a distasteful freak show aspect.” (Giuliani 49) An independent photographic documentation of the crime scene, one the FBI would not be able to confiscate? Horrors! Giuliani promulgated his infamous order that all photos were illegal in the area around the WTC complex.
Those who risked a snapshot also risked going to jail. When it was a question of preventing public scrutiny, Giuliani considered the WTC pile a crime scene where there was evidence that had to be preserved. But when it was a question of sending the crucial evidence to the other end of the world, Giuliani’s motto became “scoop and dump” – with the help of Controlled Demolition. As Thomas Van Essen, Giuliani’s fawning appointee as Fire Commissioner, described the scene: “…a full-blown recovery operation was under way, and the site had become an enormous construction zone. Trucks and plows rolled around everywhere. Giant cranes lofted massive steel beams over the heads of the men below.” (Van Essen 263) The steel was being sent to a city land fill at Fresh Kills, Staten Island.
According to Van Essen, by the end of October Giuliani was filled with humanitarian concern about the danger of accidents to those working on the pile. One of the main groups present there were firefighters who were seeking the bodies or other remains of their hundreds of fallen comrades. According to the literary provocateur Langewiesche, “there were some among the construction workers and the police who grew unreasonably impatient with the firemen, and became overeager to repeat the obvious – in polite terms, that these so-called heroes were just ordinary men. On the other hand, the firemen seemed to become steadily more self-absorbed and isolated from the larger cleanup efforts underway. “ (Langewiesche 158) “Firemen were said to prefer watches from the Tourneau store, policemen to opt for kitchen appliances, and construction workers (who were at a disadvantage here) to enjoy picking through whatever leftovers they came upon – for instance, wine under the ruins of the Marriott hotel, and cases of contraband cigarettes that spilled from the US Customs vault in the Building Six debris.” (Langewiesche 159)
Langewiesche reported with great gusto the discovery of evidence that the firemen had been looting even before the towers came down. “Fifty feet below the level of the street they began to uncover the hulk of a fire truck that had been driven deep by the collapse.” According to Langewiesche, the field superintendent who only wanted to get on with the job at hand felt “delight, then, after the hulk of the fire truck appeared, that rather than containing bodies (which would have required decorum), its crew cab was filled with dozens of new pairs of jeans from The Gap, a Trade Center store.
When a grappler pulled off the roof, the jeans were strewn about for all to see. It was exactly the sort of evidence the field superintendent had been waiting for. While a group of initially bewildered firemen looked on, the construction workers went wild.” (Langewiesche 161) The firemen, we must remember, were those who knew most about the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, and they were also the group most likely to tell what they knew. In this sense, the firemen posed perhaps the greatest immediate threat to the 9/11 myth upon which the oligarchy had staked so much. The obvious campaign of psychological warfare against the firemen, therefore, was of world- historical importance.
Given the stakes, it would be impossible to exclude that the dungaree incident which Langewiesche found so delightful had been cynically staged as a means of keeping the angry and rebellious firemen off-balance, distracted and confused. The jeans could easily have been planted at a quiet moment during the graveyard shift. Langewiesche’s reporting came out during the fall in the Atlantic Monthly, and rankled deeply among the angry firemen and the bereaved families. On October 31, Halloween, Giuliani decreed without any meaningful consultation that there would be an upper limit of 25 firefighters on each shift at the WTC pile, along with 25 New York City policemen and 25 Port Authority patrolmen. Soon “the rescue workers were up in arms. Stories went around that we had simply given up on finding bodies; that the mayor wanted to speed the cleanup so it would be finished before he left office; that we had recovered gold from the trade center and didn’t care about anything else….
Union officials started telling the workers we were haphazardly trucking everything to Fresh Kills – a ‘scoop and dump’ operation.” (Van Essen 265) Langewiesche defends the Mayor’s justification of cutting the firemen’s representation on the pile: “when Giuliani gave ‘safety’ as the reason for reducing their presence on the pile, he was completely sincere.” (Langewiesche 161) In his view, the big problem on the pile was “firemen running wild.” (Langewiesche 162) In mid-October, an audience of firemen, policeman, widows, and orphans loudly booed several members of the Giuliani administration, but also Senator Hillary Clinton and a local Democratic politician. (Van Essen 258) On Friday, November 2, Giuliani was able to harvest the results of his provocations. In the morning, more than 1,000 firemen came together at the WTC. Their chants included: “Bring the brothers home! Bring the brothers home!”, “Do the right thing!”, “Rudy must go!”, and “Tom must go!”, a reference to Fire Commissioner Thomas Van Essen, a Giuliani appointee. Their signs read, “Mayor Giuliani, let us bring our brothers home.”
Speakers denounced Giuliani’s hasty carting off of wreckage and remains to Fresh Kills as a “scoop and dump” operation. One well-respected former captain appealed to the crowd: “My son Tommy of Squad 1 is not home yet! Don’t abandon him!” This was met with a cry of “Bring Tommy home!” from the assembled throng. This scene soon degenerated into an altercation between the firefighters and the police guarding the site, and then into a full-scale riot. Twelve firefighters were taken to jail, while five policemen were injured. Giuliani had gladly sacrificed the 9/11 myth of national solidarity to the needs of his campaign of psychological warfare and provocations against the firemen. It was All Souls Day, the day of the dead, November 2, 2001. At a press conference that same day, Giuliani hypocritically condemned the actions of the firemen as inexcusable.
The police wanted to make more arrests, and were scanning videotapes of the riot to identify firefighters. The city was appalled by what had happened; many newspapers were anti-Giuliani this time. One trade union leader, Gorman, called Giuliani a “fascist,” and referred to the Police Commissioner and the Fire Commissioner as Giuliani’s “goons.” On Monday, November 11, Giuliani and his officials were again confronted by 200 angry firefighters and bereaved families at a meeting. Giuliani was accused again and again of running a “scoop and dump” operation. One widow protested: “Last week my husband was memorialized as a hero, and this week he’s thought of as landfill?” When Van Essen stammered that the department had been overwhelmed, a widow replied, “Stop saying you are overwhelmed! I am overwhelmed!
I have three children and my husband is dead!” Dr. Hirsch of the “biological stain” theory discussed below tried to defend Giuliani by arguing that nothing resembling an intact body was being found any longer, but he was shouted down by firemen who knew from their experience on the pile that this was not so. Van Essen was forced to concede that, based on photographic evidence he personally examined, remains were indeed still be found that had to be “considered intact bodies.” (Van Essen 270-271) Giuliani’s rush to eradicate the crime scene without regard to the preservation of human remains thus served two important goals. He was able to destroy much pertinent evidence, and he succeeded in throwing the firefighters on the defensive and playing them off against the police, the construction workers, and other groups. He was able to split the firefighters themselves.
The firefighters were tied into knots emotionally, and were left with no time or energy to pursue the issue of justice for their heroic fallen comrades, which could only have been served by directly raising the issue of the indications of controlled demolition in numerous points of the World Trade Center complex. Nor was the cynical oligarchical strategy limited to Giuliani: at the 9/11 commission’s last set of hearings in New York City, the FDNY, NYPD, and other line departments of the city were mercilessly baited by the likes of former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who told them that their operational coordination was inferior to that of a Boy Scout troop. So far the firefighters have not been able to mount a challenge to the 9/11 myth, which necessarily portrays them as incompetent, in spite of their heroism and huge losses.
Only by demolishing the myth, only by unearthing the story of controlled demolition, can the immense historical merits of the firefighters be duly recognized. Giuliani’s memoir is mainly for self-aggrandizement, but it also attempts to shore up the official version at certain key vulnerable points, since the Giuliani legend and the 9/11 myth are now inextricably intertwined. The following remarks are attributed to Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, the Medical Examiner of New York City in the late afternoon of 9/11: “Most of the bodies will be vaporized. We’re going to end up with biological stains, where the tissue has become shapeless, amorphous masses of matter.” According to Giuliani, Hirsch estimated that the temperature inside the building had reached 2,000 degrees (presumably Fahrenheit). Such a temperature is impossible in the physical universe as we otherwise know it to be constituted. (Giuliani 22)
CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS: “BORDERLINE CRIMINAL”
The scandalous eradication of the WTC crime scene was one of the main themes of hearings held by the House Science Committee on March 2, 2002. Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, a New York Democrat, led off by contrasting the businesslike handling of the crash scene of Flight 186 on November 12, 2001 with the chaos and disdain for the integrity of evidence that had prevailed on the WTC pile under Giuliani’s management: “Within literally moments of that plane crash, the National Transportation Safety Board was on the ground sequestering evidence, interviewing witnesses, subpoenaing information, if necessary, and since then, they have offered periodic reports. One month and a day earlier, when the World Trade Center collapsed, nothing could have been further from the truth.
According to reports that we have heard since, there has been no comprehensive investigation. One expert in fire engineering concluded that there was virtually a nonexistent investigation. We haven’t examined any aspects of the collapse that might have impacted rescue worker procedures even in this last month. Second, reports have emerged that crucial evidence has been mishandled. Over 80 percent of the steel from the World Trade Center site has already been sold for recycling, much of it, if not all of it, before investigators and scientists could analyze the information.” Weiner pointed out that at the flight 186 Rockaway crash scene on November 11, he had been able to “watch the National Transportation Safety Board point to pieces of evidence, [and] say to local law enforcement, don’t touch this or it is going to be a felony if you do.” (House March 104)
That had been the procedure before 9/11, and it had become procedure once again after 9/11; only in regard to the 9/11 events did these methods, mandated by federal law, go out the window. It was a massive breakdown of the rule of law, and all in the service of the coverup. Weiner pointed out that there was also plenty of blame to go around for the federal government as well. This centered on inter-agency turf wars, always a favorite means used by moles to disguise the scope and motivation of what they are really doing: “…we have allowed this investigation to become woefully bogged down and in fighting and lack of cooperation among agencies. Researchers from FEMA did not get timely access to the designs of the building. News accounts have said there has been friction between engineers in FEMA because of concerns about where the information would wind up. Even the National Science Foundation, which has awarded grants to several scientists to study the collapse, but didn’t coordinate these efforts with FEMA or the American Society of Civil Engineers.”
The reality was even worse. FEMA’s Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) was carried out not by full-time government officials, but rather by a group of volunteer investigators, with a budget of just $600,000. (Ken Starr’s budget for hounding Clinton: more than $40 million.) FEMA volunteers had no subpoena power, and could not stay the hand of steel recyclers or confiscate evidence if they required it. They were denied the blueprints of the buildings. They generally could not enter ground zero, apart from an early walking tour. They never saw a piece of steel wreckage until October. Out of millions of fragments, the FEMA BPAT was able to save only 156 from the recyclers. Weiner also deplored the parsimonious budget that had been granted to the investigation: “…finally, we have seen and noted the painfully that the financial commitment to this investigation simply is not there. It is not uncommon to spend tens of millions of dollars investigating why a plane crashed. But we have yet to spend even a million dollars on this investigation, and the Bush Administration has refused to commit to release the full funding necessary.” (House March 48)
In a later hearing, Weiner elaborated that “thousands of tons of steel were carted away and recycled before any expert could examine what could have been telltale clues. Support trusses, fireproofing fragments, and even burned-out electrical switches that might have given scientists and engineers insight were lost forever even before an investigation was underway. (House May 20-21) Weiner was also well aware that the Giuliani administration, just like the Bush regime in Washington, was behaving with implacable hostility towards any and all investigations. “We just heard testimony that the city was the opposite of cooperative. That they had refused to provide basic information,” said Congressman Weiner at the March hearings. He told the government witnesses from FEMA and other agencies: “The idea that there was some level of cooperation, I have to tell you, the anecdotal record is replete with stories of people having cameras confiscated from them, being stopped at checkpoints.
You are officials of the United States Government. The idea that this should have to be a subject of a long negotiation over what information would be at your disposal, to me is most troubling.” (House March 133) Indeed, the FEMA’s Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) was not even allowed on the scene until October. Weiner’s concerns were shared by Virginia Republican J. Randy Forbes, who complained that he was “disappointed to learn that investigators were unable to examine recovered pieces of steel from the Twin Towers before they were recycled. I am also troubled that investigators had difficulty in obtaining blueprints, design drawings, and maintenance records because of liability concerns from the buildings’ owners. (House March 55)
It even turned out that, despite repeated urgent requests, the investigators were being denied the out-takes of the video tapes shot by the various television networks operating around the WTC on 9-11. This is a reminder that moles are sometimes just as necessary in the private sector as they are in government. Glenn P. Corbett, Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, reminded the committee that “handling the collapse study as an assessment has allowed valuable evidence—the steel building components—to be destroyed. The steel holds the primary key to understanding the chronology of events and causal factors resulting in the collapse. The collapse of the world Trade Center towers were the largest structural collapses in world history. A disaster of such epic proportions demands that we fully resource a comprehensive, detailed investigation. Instead, we are staffing the BPAT with part-time engineers and scientists on a shoestring budget.” (House March 78)
Corbett called for a World Trade Center Disaster Commission, but the Bush administration was not interested. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a Berkeley professor of civil engineering, related his own shock in discovering that the structural steel was simply being shipped out: “I believe I was the first one to find out that the steel was being recycled. New York Times reporter Jim Glanz told me two weeks after the quake—after the collapse. And I tried to contact the city and also the New York Times reporters tried to make sure we could have access to the steel to do the research. It was not happening. And I went myself—directly contacted the recycling plant and made the arrangement.” (House March 128) Even so, most of the steel was soon gone. Congressman Crowley of New York correctly suggested that the flagrant illegalities and abuses of the crime scene would permanently undercut whatever explanation the government was seeking to purvey: “I do believe that conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with this. They are going to make the Warren Commission look like a walk in the park.
And that is unfortunate not only for the Members of Congress who are trying to work on this issue, but for all the families out there that are listening very carefully to what we are talking about today, what these experts are saying. And I just think there is so much that has been lost in these last six months that we can never go back and retrieve. And that is not only unfortunate, it is borderline criminal.” (House March 129) Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut, a liberal Republican like Giuliani, ran interference for the Mayor. He rejected the idea that the WTC was a crime scene where there was still something to be discovered, something to be proven: Shays said he had “a particular bias that the actions against us weren’t criminal acts, they were acts of war, acts of terror. And I kind of bristle when I think of our treating this as a criminal act in which we have to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that someone did it and they were at the scene or whatever you need to deal with in a crime.” (House May 115) This chauvinistic rhetoric was a cover for the urgent need of annihilating the evidence. For this school of thought, there was no need for evidence because there was nothing to prove and nothing to learn; they thought they knew what happened a priori thanks to CNN and Bush. The supposed government of laws was in eclipse.
Small wonder, all in all, that the august, 125-year old fireman’s trade paper Fire Engineering blasted the entire inadequate investigation process in January 2002 editorial. Editor Bill Manning wrote that “for more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on a slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car.” Manning charged that “Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the ‘official investigation’ blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 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.” “The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately,” Manning demanded. Elsewhere in the same issue, a fire official deplored that “we are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence.” (Fire Engineering, January 2002)
An extremely serious aspect of the botched investigation of the World Trade Center events involved the issue of the four black boxes from the two planes (American 11 and United 175) – a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data reporter from each plane. The official version, as codified by the 9/11 commission, claims that not one of these black boxes was ever found. But a New York City firefighter named Nicholas De Masi claimed that he escorted FBI agents into the WTC ruins and helped them to find and recover three of the four missing black boxes. DeMasi’s account is supported by the WTC volunteer Mike Bellone, who said that he had seen at least one black box being taken from the wreckage. The three black boxes were removed from the wreckage with the help of DeMasi’s all terrain vehicle, according to this account.
Then the three black boxes were taken away by the FBI, and have never been heard of again. The black boxes of the two planes that apparently hit the WTC are the only cases in which black boxes from jetliners have not been recovered. DeMasi wrote about this experience in his book Ground Zero: Behind the Scenes, which was published by Trauma Recovery and Assistance for Children (TRAC Team) in 2003. Here DeMasi recalls: “There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.” DeMasi’s story has been denied by the FBI and the FDNY. It has been largely ignored by the controlled corporate media, except for an article in the neocon New York Post which alleged that TRAC team was heavily in debt. (Philadelphia News, October 28, 2004)
THE FEMA BPAT REPORT OF MAY 2002: “A HALF-BAKED FARCE”
The worthy culmination of this “half-baked farce” was the FEMA BPAT report issued in May 2002. A key section is the one entitled “Structural Response to Fire Loading,” where the central tenets are developed in all their intimate poverty. According to the FEMA/ASCE experts:
• As fire spread and raised the temperature of structural members, the structure was further stressed and weakened, until it eventually was unable to support its immense weight. Although the specific chain of events that led to the eventual collapse will probably never be identified, the following effects of fire on structures may each have contributed to the collapse in some way. Appendix A presents a more detailed discussion of the structural effects of fire
. • As floor framing and supported slabs above and in a fire arm are heated, they expand. As a structure expands, it can develop additional, potentially large, stresses in some elements. If the resulting stress state exceeds the capacity of some members or their connections, this can initiate a series of failures.
• As the temperature of floor slabs and support framing increases, these elements can lose rigidity and sag into catenary action. As catenary action progresses, horizontal framing elements and floor slabs become tensile elements, which can cause failure of end connections and allow supported floors to collapse onto the floors below. The presence of large amounts of debris on some floors of WTC 1 would have made them even more susceptible to this behavior. In addition to overloading the floors below, and potentially resulting in a pancake-type collapse of successive floors, local floor collapse would also immediately increase the laterally unsupported length of columns, permitting buckling to begin. As indicated in Appendix B, the propensity of exterior columns to buckle would have been governed by the relatively weak bolted column splices between the vertically stacked prefabricated exterior wall units. This effect would be even more likely to occur in a fire that involves several adjacent floor levels simultaneously, because the columns could effectively lose lateral support over several stories.
• As the temperature of column steel increases, the yield strength and modulus of elasticity degrade and the critical buckling strength of the columns will decrease, potentially initiating buckling, even if lateral support is maintained. This effect is most likely to have been significant in the failure of the interior core columns. Concerning the twin towers FEMA, had only agnostic conclusions to offer: “With the information and time available, the sequence of events leading to the collapse of each tower could not be definitively determined.” Concerning WTC 7: “The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.” (911research.wtc7.net) The World Trade Center disaster was the centerpiece of an event which the Bush administration had seized on to start what may well turn out to be a world war, but that main event could not be explained, many months after the fact. The FEMA report is redolent of conscious distortion and of fraud. The illustrations in the spring 2002 FEMA report do everything possible to make the twin towers look like flimsy, unstable structures. In one cross-section (Figure 2-1), the core columns are depicted in about one third of their actual dimensions.
FEMA gives short shrift or no shrift at all to the cross-bracing core beams and the core columns. One picture (D-13) shows what is purportedly a core column with a construction hard hat on it to convey its dimensions, but this column is about half the size of the real core columns. FEMA’s illustrations offered in support of their theory of truss failure (2-20, 21, 22) show no steel columns in the core of the building at all. These fake diagrams duly impressed the radical empiricists at the New York Times, who quickly reported that the interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft, not 47 massive steel box columns. The heart of the FEMA argument is that the astronomical temperatures allegedly reached by the fires weakened the floor trusses, leading to each floor pancaking onto the one below. As the floors fell away, the columns in the façade as well as the core columns remained standing, but they then quickly buckled at the points where they were bolted together, and came crashing down.
This theory is not based on observation, but on pure speculation. It is a purely cinematic explanation of what happened – it tries to account for the phenomenon of collapse, but takes no notice of whether such a process could occur in the real world. In fact, the floor truss/pancake theory cannot function in the real world. Even if the floors failed, the strong structure of the 47 central columns, minus a very few which might have been severed by the impact of the airlines (even fewer in the South Tower) would have remained standing. That would have left a 110-floor steel spine intact, and this is not what was observed. Many of the deceptive drawings contained in the FEMA report then became the inspiration for the graphics used in the NOVA documentary program on this subject which was aired on PBS. Because of the difficulties of the pancake theory, busy academics have whipped up new theories to try to meet obvious objections. Apologists for the official version start with the notion of killer fires – fires which, even though they are fed by carpets, paper, and office furniture, are able to melt steel. From here they develop the notion of progressive total collapse – the buildings do not fall to one side, but simply collapse in place upon their own foundations.
Since no modern steel framed skyscraper had ever succumbed to fire, the attempted coverup then required new pseudo-theoretical constructs. One of these was the column failure, or wet noodle, theory. This suggested that fires melted the core columns, and that was that. Of course, even the coverup cannot change the fact that the fires were not hot enough to melt the core columns. Steel is a very effective conductor of heat, meaning that a serious hot spot on one floor is likely to be dissipated up and down the columns that pass through that hot spot. The internal and external columns, that is to say, act as cooling ribs. According to a study by Corus Construction cited at www.911research.wtc7.net, the highest temperature reached by steel in the presence of hydrocarbon fires was logged at about 360 degrees Fahrenheit – far below what is needed to weaken steel. Given the disadvantages of the column failure theory, the truss failure theory was advanced. The trusses were relatively lightweight metal structures which attached the metal decks bearing the concrete slabs of each floor to the core columns and the columns in the façade.
The trusses offered the added advantage of being invisible from the outside, so that it was possible to assert without fear of being refuted that they had gotten extremely hot. MIT Professor Thomas Eagar is one who has rushed into the many breaches of the FEMA report in an attempt to shore up its credibility. Not content with trusses and pancakes, Eagar has propounded the zipper theory, which he has judiciously combined with the domino effect. Eagar’s argument is that if the angle on one side of the building had given way, then the unbearable load on the other angle clips would have caused the entire floor to become totally unzipped in just a few seconds. According to Eagar, “If it had only occurred in one little corner, such as a trash can caught on fire, you might have had to repair that corner, but the whole building wouldn’t have come crashing down. The problem was, it was such a widely distributed fire, and then you got this domino effect.” (www.911research.wtc7.net/talks/wtc/trusseseagar.html) In reality, the buildings had been designed to resist a Boeing 707, not just a trash can fire.
The melting point of steel is 1,538 degrees Celsius, equal to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, although it will weaken and buckle at somewhat lower temperatures. But the absolute maximum that can be achieved with hydrocarbons, such as the kerosene-like mixture used for jet fuel is 825 degrees Celsius or 1517 Fahrenheit – unless the mixture is pressurized or pre-heated through the admixture of fuel and air, which in this case it could not be. Diffuse flames burn at a lower temperature, and fires fed by inadequate oxygen are cooler still. The best estimate is that the fires in the towers were burning at a temperature substantially less than 800 Celsius. The collapse of the towers through the effects of the fires is thus a physical impossibility.
LOIZEAUX PREDICTED THE COLLAPSE
In the March hearings of the House Science Committee, Robert F. Shea, the Acting Administrator of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration noted that “the World Trade Center was a tragedy. And, frankly, it was an anomaly. No one who viewed it that day, including myself, believed that those tower would fall. Our collective thought process for laymen and engineers and firefighters changed that day forever.” (House March 60) At those same hearings, a leaflet was distributed by the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, an organization which included many members of the victims’ families. Here the Congressmen were reminded: “The collapse of the Twin towers caused the biggest loss of life in a single incident on U.S. soil since the Civil War. Their collapse constituted the first failures of high-rise protected steel structures in history. Not a single structural engineer, including those working for the firm that built the Twin Towers and those working in the Fire Department of New York, seems to have anticipated their collapse, even when those individuals saw the extent of the fires raging in the buildings.
The Twin Towers were designed to withstand the impact of the largest passenger jets of their day, a Boeing 707….” (House March 167) However, it turned out that there was at least one expert who claimed that he had immediately intuited that the towers could collapse. As John Seabrook wrote in the New Yorker, “among the dozens of people I have spoken to recently who are experts in the construction of tall buildings (and many of whom witnessed the events of September 11th as they unfolded), only one said that he knew immediately, upon learning, from TV, of the planes hitting the buildings, that the towers were going to fall. This was Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition Incorporated, a Maryland-based family business that specializes in reducing tall buildings to manageable pieces of rubble. ‘Within a nanosecond,’ he told me. ‘I said, “It’s coming down.” And the second tower will fall first, because it was hit lower down.’” Loizeaux was billed as a “structural Page 22 undertaker” whose job was to destroy old buildings.
Here is Loizeaux’ version of how he foresaw the disaster: I thought, “Somebody’s got to tell the Fire Department to get out of there….I picked up the phone, dialed 411, got the number, and tried it – busy. So I called the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management” – which was in 7 World Trade. “All circuits were busy. I couldn’t get through.” But how could Loizeaux know what no other expert claimed to know, and which went against a hundred years accumulated by civil engineers in building skyscrapers? If suspects are those who had the means, the motive and the opportunity, then Loizeaux may well have had the means. According to the demolitions man: First of all, you’ve got the obvious damage to the exterior frame from the airplane – if you count the number of external columns missing from the sides the planes hit, there are about two-thirds of the total. And the buildings are still standing, which is amazing – even with all those columns missing, the gravity loads have found alternate pathways. O.K., but you’ve got fires – jet-fueled fires, which the building is not designed for, and you’ve also got lots of paper in there. Now, paper cooks.
A paper fire is like a coal-mine fire, it keeps burning as long as oxygen gets to it. And you’re high in the building, up in the wind, plenty of oxygen. So you’ve got a hot fire. And you’ve got these floor trusses, made of fairly thin metal, and fire protection has been knocked off most of them by the impact. And you have all this open space – clear span from perimeter to core – with no columns or partition walls, so the airplane is going to skid right through that space to the core, which doesn’t have any reinforced concrete in it, just sheetrock covering steel, and the fire is going to spread everywhere immediately, and no fire-protection systems are working – the sprinkler heads shorn off by the airplanes, the water pipes in the core are likely cut. So what’s going to happen? Floor A is going to fall onto floor B, which falls onto floor C; the unsupported columns will buckle; and the weight of everything above the crash site falls onto what remains below – bringing loads of two thousand pounds per square foot, plus the force of impact, onto floors designed to bear one hundred pounds per square foot. It has to fall.” (The New Yorker, November 19, 2001)
Naturally, the pancake theory was original neither to Loizeaux nor to FEMA. The pancake theory had been advanced by “Osama Bin Laden” in the remarks attributed to him, allegedly made in mid-November 2001, and widely publicized by the US government in December 2001. Here Bin Laden is alleged to have commented: “We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (Inaudible) Due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.” But there are indications that the stocky figure shown on the tape may not be the supposedly ascetic Bin Laden at all, but a double or ham actor. (Meyssan 2002 192)
REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM: WTC 7
In the May House Science Committee W. Gene Corley, the American Society of Civil Engineers representative on the BPAT, conceded that “Building 7, which was across the street from the main towers, also collapsed and provided us with the first example that we recognized of a building collapsing as a result of fire.” (House May 30) WTC 7 presents the image of a classical controlled demolition. Whereas the twin towers are seen to explode, WTC 7 implodes – it falls in upon itself with none of the spectacular mushroom plumes of smoke and powder which had marked the demise of the larger twin towers. The foundations collapse before the façade, the middle of the building collapses before the outer walls, and streamers of smoke are emitted from the façade. WTC 7 did imitate the twin towers by collapsing almost exclusively upon its own foundations.
WTC 7 contained electrical generators and a supply for diesel fuel to operate these, and apologists of the official version like Gerald Posner have seized on this circumstance to make the collapse of this building plausible. But there has been no sign of raging diesel fuel fires, as can be seen from the photos of the fall of WTC 7, so the apologists are grasping at straws. The owner of the WTC complex was Larry Silverstein, who recounted the fall of WTC 7 in the September 2002 PBS documentary, America Rebuilds, complete with this astounding revelation: “I remember getting a call from the…fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were going to be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘we’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing is to pull it. And they made the decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.” “To pull” would appear to be the jargon term in controlled demolition circles for the deliberate detonation of charges leading to the destruction of a building. And if WTC 7 was pulled, why not WTC 1 and 2? (Marrs 43)
ANOMALIES OF THE WTC COLLAPSE
The twin towers did not simply collapse as a result of gravity; they were violently pulverized in mid-air in an explosive process which hurled debris hundreds of meters in all directions – they were vaporized by an explosive force. Anomalies abound. The North Tower was hit first, was hit hardest in its core columns, and had more jet fuel burn inside its structure than the South Tower – but the North Tower exploded later. The South Tower was hit later, with a more glancing blow which had less impact on its core columns, and which also caused more jet fuel to be consumed outside of the building in a spectacular plume; the South Tower’s fires were less severe – but the South Tower fell first. WTC 7 was never hit by anything, and had fires only on two floors (there are no photos of WTC 7 enveloped in flames and smoke) – but WTC 7 fell anyway. WTC 6 witnessed an explosion and fire which has never been explained or even addressed. Finally, we have the embarrassing fact that steel frame skyscrapers are virtually indestructible by fire.
The official version of events argues that, at least as far as the towers are concerned, it was the combined effect of crash impact plus fire which caused the collapses. But even the South Tower collapsed well after most of the jet fuel had burned away, and a fire based on paper, rugs, and furniture melts steel even less than one based on jet fuel. By all indications, the South Tower began the collapse sequence precisely at the moment when, well after the impact had been absorbed, the fires too were subsiding. The hole made in the North Tower by American 11 had cooled so much that, just before the collapse of the North Tower, survivors were observed looking out through the gash in the side of the building. (Marr 41) The upper floors of both towers, after showing symptoms of high pressure which forced smoke out through the widows, exploded into spectacular mushroom clouds. Debris and other ejecta were thrown at speeds of 200 feet per second to distances of up to 500 feet in all directions. The clouds then descended, always emanating from the towers as these fell. The mushroom clouds had expanded to two or three times the diameter of the towers after five seconds, and had expanded to five times the diameter of the towers after 15 seconds. Blast waves broke windows in buildings over 400 feet away. In the thick mushroom clouds, solid objects were hurled out ahead of the dust, another telltale sign of explosive demolition.
One might have expected the buildings to tip over at an angle starting at the points where they had been hit like a tree which leaves a stump as it falls towards the side where it has been most chopped, but instead they did not topple and there were no stumps; apart from some initial asymmetry in the top of the South Tower, the two towers both collapsed down on themselves in a perfectly symmetrical way – a suspicious sign, since this is one of the prime goals and hallmarks of controlled demolition. The fall of the twin towers took place at breathtaking speed. The tops of the buildings reached the ground as rubble no more than 16 seconds after the collapse process had begun. A weight in a vacuum would have taken 9.2 seconds to cover the same distance. This meant that air resistance and little else had slowed the fall of the upper stories.
This indicates that the lower floors must have been demolished and pulverized before the upper stories fell on them. The building, in other words, had been pulverized, and in many areas vaporized, in mid-air. No gravity collapse could have created this phenomenon. The non-metallic elements of the twin towers, especially the cement slabs which formed the horizontal surface of each floor, were pulverized into a fine dust, with particles of less than 100 microns in diameter. This was the dust which pervaded lower Manhattan as the explosive clouds spread from hundreds of yards in all directions. This dust took a long time to settle, but the Giuliani administration tried to convince office workers in the area that there was no danger. All the steel in the building superstructures was simply shredded. The exceptionally strong central core columns were neatly diced into 10 or 20 floor segments – something which has never been explained.
According to Jim Hoffman, the leading expert on the collapse of the World Trade Center and the source heavily relied on here, the energy necessary to create the mushroom clouds and expand them to the extraordinary dimensions actually observed to pulverize virtually all the concrete in the towers, and to chop the steel into segments is far greater than the gravitational energy represented by the buildings in the first place. According to Hoffman, there must have been powerful additional energy sources at work. When prodded to do so at recent conferences, Hoffman has been willing to speculate that these energy sources might have been unconventional ones. High energy microwave interferometry using coaxial beams for constructive and destructive interference might be a possibility, but this would require so much energy that, if it had to be delivered as conventional electric current, it would necessitate a cable about half a meter in diameter – and there is no evidence of this. So the problem remains intractable.
THE TWIN TOWERS WERE ROBUST STRUCTURES
The twin towers were robust structures. The structure of the twin towers was represented first of all by an internal core of 47 steel box columns which measured 36 by 90 centimeters; the steel was thickest near the base, where it attained a thickness of 10 centimeters (about four inches), and tapered gradually down to 6 centimeters on the upper floors. There were 236 exterior columns in the buildings’ facades; these were 10 centimeters thick at the base, but only 6 millimeters thick in the highest floors. Each floor was a steel plate into which concrete had been poured. In the center of the building was a reinforced core featuring four steel columns encased in concrete. The structure is abundantly cross-braced, so that stress in one sector could be efficiently shifted to other parts of the structure. All steel columns rested directly on the bedrock under Manhattan. This structures had been designed to withstand 140 mile per hour winds, and had resisted them successfully for more than thirty years.
They had been designed by Lee Robertson, the structural engineer who built the towers to absorb the impact of a Boeing 707, an aircraft roughly comparable in size and fuel capacity to the aircraft that appear to have struck the towers on 9/11. In the case of the twin towers, the technical problem of how to account for the immense quantities of energy released would seem to point to an energy source beyond the capabilities of conventional controlled demolition. For a possible explanation of what kind of energy source could have been at work, we must turn our attention to the realm of new physical principles, and thus to the class of directed energy weapons which are probably most familiar to the general public in connection with President Reagan’s so- called star wars speech of March 23, 1983. We may be dealing here with high energy microwave interferometry using coaxial beams for constructive and destructive interference. The inherent problem with this conjecture, as engineer Ken Jenkins has pointed out, is that such a device would require a power cable half a meter in diameter, and the presence of such a power cable has not been demonstrated. The solution to this problem will indeed require more time and research.
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