Authorized Version (with references & notes)
In The 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.
But 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 2005.
I will begin with the question of why the Twin Towers collapsed, then raise
the same question about building 7.
1. The Collapse of the Twin Towers
Shortly 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.
With 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, 2002). 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 Fire
The official theory is rendered implausible by two major problems. The first
is the simple fact that fire has never---prior to or after 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.
Defenders 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.
The 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 City---never.
One might 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
There 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).
These 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.
Most 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.
But 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).
There 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).
NIST (2005) 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.
Moreover, 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.
For fires 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.
Some 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.”
The north 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.
To 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
Unlike the fires in the towers, moreover, the fires in Los Angeles, Philadelphia,
and Caracas were hot enough to break windows.
Another 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).
These 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.
A 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”
Multiple Evidence of Controlled Demolition
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.
This a priori assumption 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
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 architect and physicist Dave Heller (2005) explains:
the floors 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)
Total 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.
The 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 such temperatures.
Sliced 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 Ground Zero.”
Pulverization of Concrete and Other Materials: 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
This 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
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.
The 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.
The 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).
Besides 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.”
The 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 impact zones.
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
Demolition 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.
Molten 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).
Also, Leslie Robertson, the chief structural engineer for 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 steel.
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.
The 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.
2. Testimonies about Explosions and Related Phenomena in the 9/11 Oral
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 reporters, fire fighters,
police 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 readily accessible.
But this 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).
These oral histories contain many dozens of testimonies that speak of explosions
and related phenomena characteristic of controlled demolition. I will give some
Several 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)
Collapse Beginning below the Strike Zone and Fire According 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).
Firefighter Edward 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. 5).
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.
Firefighters Burke and Cachia presumably now need to ask themselves: What are
you going to believe, your own eyes or an official government report?
Flashes and Demolition Rings
Some 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. 3-4).
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).
Some 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. 3-4).
Why Does the Public Not Know of These Reports? If 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.
We 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.
4. Other Suspicious Facts
Moreover, although we have already considered sufficient evidence for the theory
that the towers were brought down by explosives, there is still more.
Removal of the Steel: For one thing, the steel from the buildings was quickly
removed before it could be properly examined, with virtually
all of it being sold to scrap dealers, who put most of it on ships to Asia.
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 known.” 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”
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.
This removal of an unprecedented amount of material from a crime scene suggests
that an unprecedented crime was being covered up.
Evidence 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
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
South Tower Tipping and Disintegration: If 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, p. 34).
And then, 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).
This behavior is, however, not strange to experts in controlled demolition.
Mark Loizeaux, the head of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has said:
[B]y 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.
These 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 worked---has written:
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.
Also, 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:
We were 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 collapse?
The 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 completely
We 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.
As New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer has pointed out, the 9/11 Commission had
access to the oral histories. It should have discussed
these facts, but it did not.
The 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:
The focus 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, appropriately:
What about 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.
5. 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 Explain
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.
Also, all 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.
It would 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
The extreme 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 collapsed.
This was 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 Implosions
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
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:
The 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 truly compelling.
Much More Extensive Foreknowledge
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 firefighters’ magazines. But now the oral histories
have provided a fuller picture.
Widespread 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).
Early 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.
The 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
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).
Several 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).
The 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.”
Moreover, 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.
The 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 Twin Towers.
Should this 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:
I remember 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, 2002) 
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.
We still, 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).
But 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.
The 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.
There 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:
The number 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
The 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.
In 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 (email@example.com). 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.”
 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
 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
 The chief structural engineer, Leslie Robertson, 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 at http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2004-11-11-ryan.php
 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?
Quoted in “WTC 2: There Was No Inferno,” What
Really Happened (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc2_fire.html).
 Quoted in “Tape Sheds Light on WTC Rescuers,”
CNN, August 4, 2002 (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/08/04/wtc.firefighters/
). The voices of the firefighters reportedly “showed no panic, no sense
that events were racing beyond their control.” (Dwyer and Fessenden, 2002)
 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.”
 See, for example, Eric Hufschmid’s “Painful
Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net); Jim Hoffman’s
and Jeff King’s website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html
), especially “The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence
for a Controlled Demolition?”
 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,
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", not 4".”
 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).
 The RDX quotation is in Tom Held, 'Hoan Bridge Blast
Set Back to Friday,' www.jsonline.com (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Updated
Dec. 19, 2000 (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/dec00/hoan20121900a.asp
). The DREXS quotation is in Hufschmid’s video, “Painful Deceptions”
 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 microns.
 Hoffman (“The Twin Towers Demolition”) says
that the clouds expanded to five times the diameter of the towers in the first
ten seconds. The Demolition of the Kingdome can be viewed at the website of
Controlled Demolition, Inc. (http://www.controlled-demolition.com/default.asp?reqLocId=7&reqItemId=20030317140323).
The demolition of the Reading Grain Facility can be seen at ImplosionWorld.com
Jim Hoffman, “The Twin Towers Demolition.”
For visual evidence of this and the preceding characteristics
(except sliced steel), see Hufschmid’s Painful Questions; Hufschmid’s
video “Painful Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net);
Jim Hoffman’s website (http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html);
and Jeff King’s website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html),
especially “The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence
for a Controlled Demolition?”
 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” (http://www.americanfreepress.net/09_03_02/NEW_SEISMIC_/new_seismic_.html).
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”
As 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 explosion.
Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we've had additional explosion.
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 ]).
Firefighter Louie 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).
William 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”
Stationary 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).
One 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 Pecoraro.
 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.
A 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.”
 The 9/11 oral histories are available at a New York Times
met_WTC_histories_full_01.html). I am heavily indebted to Matthew Everett,
who located and passed on to me virtually all the statements I have quoted from
these oral histories.
 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 later accepted.
 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 ten-to-the-22nd-power.)
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
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 floors.
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” (http://www.house.gov/science/hot/wtc/wtc-report/WTC_ch5.pdf).
 “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris,”
Eastday.com, January 24, 2002 (http://www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm
 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”
 See the section headed “The ASCE’s Disclosures
of Steel Sulfidation” in Hoffman, 2005.
 For visual evidence, see Hoffman, “North Tower
Collapse Video Frames: Video Evidence of the North Tower Collapse,” 9-11
Research.wtc7.net, n.d. (http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/wtc1_close_frames.html).
 Marvin Bush’s role in the company is mentioned
in Craig Unger, 2004, p. 249.
Forbes’ statement is posted at www.apfn.org/apfn/patriotic.htm.
 For Giuliani’s complete statement, see “Who
told Giuliani the WTC Was Going to Collapse on 9/11?”, What Really Happened,
it can be heard at www.wireonfire.com/donpaul
 As Hufschmid points out, “photos show the spectacular
flames vanished quickly, and then the fire . . . slowly diminished” (2002,
 “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 uncontrolled fire.”
For photographs and discussion, see Hufschmid, 2002, pp.
62-65, and the section entitled “The ‘Raging’ Fires at WTC
Tower Seven” in “The World Trade Center Fires (Not So Hot Eh?),”
Global Research, September 27, 2004 (http://globalresearch.ca.myforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=523
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
Particularly good for this purpose is Eric Hufschmid’s DVD, “Painful
Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net).
 Implosion World.com ( http://www.implosionworld.com/dyk2.html
 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,
 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.”
 Dwyer, in fact, wrote an article entitled “Vast
Archive Yields New View of 9/11,” New York Times, August 13, 2005 ( http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/nyregion/nyregionspecial3/13records.html
?ex=1131339600&en=e619ef623287178f&ei=5070 ). But he did not mention
the “new view” that would be suggested by the testimonies about
 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
 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.
 Currid, incidentally, was re-elected president in 2002
 Letter to the LA Times Magazine, September 18, 2005,
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with me in that magazine, conducted by Mark Ehrman, entitled “Getting
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__________, 2002. “New York Firefighters’ Final Words Fuel Burning
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_____, 2004. “New Seismic Data Refutes Official Explanation,” American
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