"...Michael Newman, a spokesman for NIST, reportedly said during a recent interview that "none of the NIST scientists would participate in any public debate" with scientists who reject their report. When Newman was asked why NIST would avoid public debate if it had confidence in its report, Newman replied: "Because there is no winning in such debates." "
"...The definitive explanation was supposed to be the third one, issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, often simply called NIST. The NIST Report claimed that when the floors collapsed, they, rather than breaking free from the columns, pulled on them, 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 resulted in "global collapse."63
But, as physicists Jim Hoffman and Steven Jones have shown, this account is riddled with problems. One of these is that NIST's claim about tremendously hot fires in the core is completely unsupported by evidence. NIST's own studies found no evidence that any of the core columns had reached temperatures of even 482°F (250°C).64 A second problem is that, even if this sequence of events had occurred, NIST provided 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 core columns would have broken, or even buckled, so as to produce global collapse.65
And this is only to begin to enumerate the problems in NIST's theory, all of which follow from the fact that it, like the previous two theories, is essentially a fire theory, according to which the buildings were brought down primarily by fire. In the case of the Twin Towers, of course, the impact of the airplanes is said to have played a role. But most experts who support the official theory attribute the collapses primarily to the fires. NIST, for example, says that the main contribution of the airplanes, aside from providing jet fuel, was to dislodge a lot of the fire-proofing from the steel, thereby making it vulnerable to the fires.66 But these fire-theories face several formidable problems.
First, the fires in these three buildings were not very hot, very big, or very long-lasting, compared with fires in some steel-frame high-rises that did not collapse. A 1991 fire in Philadelphia burned 18 hours, and a 2004 fire in Caracas burned 17 hours, without causing even a partial collapse.67 By contrast, the fires in the north and south towers burned only 102 and 56 minutes, respectively, before they collapsed, and neither fire, unlike the Philadelphia and Caracas fires, was hot enough to break windows.
Second, total collapses of steel-frame high-rise buildings have never—either before or after 9/11—been brought about by fire alone, or fire combined with externally produced structural damage. The collapse of Building 7 has been recognized as especially difficult to explain. It was not hit by a plane, so the explanation has to rely on fire alone, and yet, because there was no jet fuel to get a big fire started, this building had fires on only two or three floors, according to several witnesses68 and all the photographic evidence.69 FEMA admitted that the best explanation it could come up with it had "only a low probability of occurrence."70 The 9/11 Commission Report implicitly admitted that it could not explain the collapse of Building 7 by not even mentioning it. The NIST Report, which could not claim that the fire-proofing had gotten knocked off the steel of this building, has yet to offer an explanation as to why it collapsed.
And NIST, like the 9/11 Commission, evidently did not want citizens asking why Building 7 collapsed even though it was not hit by a plane. On its Website, it says that one of its objectives is to determine "why and how World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, and 7 collapsed after the initial impact of the aircraft"—thereby implying that building 7, like the Twin Towers, was hit by a plane.71
In any case, a third problem with the official account of the collapse of these three buildings is that all prior and subsequent total collapses of steel-frame high-rises have been caused by explosives in the procedure known as "controlled demolition." This problem is made even more severe by the fact that the collapses of these three buildings manifested many standard features of the most difficult type of controlled demolition, known as implosion. I will mention seven such features.
First, the collapses began suddenly. Steel, if weakened by fire, would gradually begin to sag. But as one can see from videos available on the Web,72 all three buildings are completely motionless up to the moment they begin to collapse.
Second, if these huge buildings had toppled over, they would have caused enormous death and destruction. But they came straight down. This straight-down collapse is the whole point of the type of controlled demolition called implosion, which only a few companies in the world can perform.73
Third, these buildings collapsed at virtually free-fall speed, which means that the lower floors, with all their steel and concrete, were offering no resistance to the upper floors.
Fourth, as mentioned earlier, the collapses were total collapses, resulting in piles of rubble only a few stories high. This means that the enormous steel columns in the core of each building had to be broken into rather short segments—which is what explosives do.
Fifth, great quantities of molten steel were produced, which means that the steel had been heated up to several thousand degrees. Witnesses during the clean-up reported, moreover, that sometimes when a piece of steel was lifted out of the rubble, molten metal would be dripping from the end.74
Sixth, according to many fire fighters, medical workers, journalists, and World Trade Center employees, many explosions went off before and after the collapses. For example, Fire Captain Dennis Tardio, speaking of the south tower, said: "I hear an explosion and I look up. It is as if the building is being imploded, from the top floor down, one after another, boom, boom, boom."75Firefighter Richard Banaciski said: "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."76 Thanks to the release in August of 2005 of the oral histories recorded by the Fire Department of New York shortly after 9/11, dozens of testimonies of this type are now available. I have published an essay on them, which will be included—along with an essay on "The Destruction of the World Trade Center," which I am here summarizing—in a forthcoming book on 9/11 and Christian faith.77
A seventh feature of controlled implosions is the production of large quantities of dust. In the case of the Twin Towers, virtually everything except the steel—all the concrete, desks, computers—was pulverized into very tiny dust particles.78
The official theory cannot explain one, let alone all seven, of these features—at least, as Jim Hoffman and Steven Jones have pointed out, without violating several basic laws of physics.79 But the theory of controlled demolition easily explains all these features.
These facts are inconsistent with the idea that al-Qaeda terrorists were responsible. Foreign terrorists could not have obtained access to the buildings for the hours needed to plant the explosives. Terrorists working for the Bush-Cheney administration, by contrast, could have gotten such access, given the fact that Marvin Bush and Wirt Walker III—the president's brother and cousin, respectively—were principals of the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center.80 Al-Qaeda terrorists would also probably not have had the courtesy to ensure that these huge buildings came straight down, rather than falling over onto other buildings. They also would not have had the necessary expertise.
Another relevant fact is that evidence was destroyed. An examination of the buildings' steel beams and columns could have shown whether explosives had been used to slice them. But virtually all of the steel was removed before it could be properly examined,81 then put on ships to Asia to be melted down.82 It is usually a federal offense to remove anything from a crime scene. But here the removal of over 100 tons of steel, the biggest destruction of evidence in history, was carried out under the supervision of federal officials.83
Evidence was also apparently planted. The passport of one of the hijackers on Flight 11 was allegedly found in the rubble, having survived the fire caused by the crash into the north tower and also whatever caused everything else in this building except the steel to be pulverized.84 As a story in theGuardian said, "the idea that [this] passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged would [test] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on terrorism."85
To sum up: The idea that US officials have given a satisfactory, or even close to satisfactory, explanation of the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings is a myth. And they have implicitly admitted this by refusing to engage in rational debate about it. For example, Michael Newman, a spokesman for NIST, reportedly said during a recent interview that "none of the NIST scientists would participate in any public debate" with scientists who reject their report. When Newman was asked why NIST would avoid public debate if it had confidence in its report, Newman replied: "Because there is no winning in such debates."85 In that same interview, Newman had compared people who reject the government's account of the collapses with people who believe in Bigfoot and a flat earth.86 And yet he fears that his scientists would not be able to show up these fools in a public debate!
63. Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft), June, 2005, usually called the NIST Report, 28, 143.
64. And, as Jim Hoffman 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 reached the temperatures of some of the perimeter columns ("Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century," 911 Research, Dec. 8, 2005 (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html).
65. See Hoffman, ibid., and Stephen E. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" in David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Northampton: Interlink, 2006); also available at www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html.
66. The NIST Report (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."
67. "High-Rise Office Building Fire One Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," FEMA (http://usfa.fema.gov/fire-service/techreports/tr049.shtm); "Fire Practically Destroys Venezuela's Tallest Building" (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/venezuela_fire.html).
68. Chief Thomas McCarthy of the FDNY said that while the firefighters "were waiting for 7 World Trade to come down," there was "fire on three separate floors" (Oral History of Thomas McCarthy, 10-11). Emergency 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?" (Oral History of Decosta Wright, 11). These quotations are from the 9/11 oral histories recorded by the New York Fire Department at the end of 2001 but released to the public (after a court battle) only in August 2005, at which time they were made available on aNew York Times website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html).
69. A photograph taken by Terry Schmidt can be seen on page 63 of Eric Hufschmid's Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (Goleta, Calif.: Endpoint Software, 2002) or on Schmidt's website (http://www.nycwireless.net/Images/wtc2/). According to Schmidt, this photo was taken between 3:09 and 3:16 PM, hence only a little over two hours before Building 7 collapsed. It shows that on the north side of the building, fires were visible only on floors 7 and 12. Therefore, if there were more fires on the south side, which faced the Twin Towers, they were not big enough to be seen from the north side.
70. FEMA Report #403, World Trade Center Building Performance Study, May 2002 (www.fema.gov/library/wtcstudy.shtm), Ch. 5, Sect. 6.2, "Probable Collapse Sequence."
71. Reported in Ed Haas, "Government spokesman says, ‘I Don't Understand the Public's Fascination with World Trade Center Building Seven,'" Muckraker Report, March 21, 200 (http://www.teamliberty.net/id235.html), referring to NIST's "Investigation of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center Disaster" (http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs.htm), as accessed on March 20, 2006.
72. See 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?"
73. Implosion World (http://www.implosionworld.com/dyk2.html).
74. Professor Allison Geyh 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," Magazine of Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall, 2001. 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" (The Structural Engineer, Sept. 3, 2002: 6). On the dripping steel, see Trudy Walsh, "Handheld APP Eased Recovery Tasks," Government Computer News, 21/27a, Sept 11, 2002 (http://www.gcn.com/21_27a/news/19930-1.html) and Jennifer Lin, "Recovery Worker Reflects on Months Spent at Ground Zero," Knight Ridder, May 29, 2002 (http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/news/attacks/4522011.htm).
75. Quoted in Dennis Smith, Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center (New York: Penguin, 2002), 18.
76. Oral History of Richard Banaciski, 3-4. See next note.
"Explosive Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories," in Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11. It is also available at 911Truth.org (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060118104223192). The oral histories of 9/11 recorded by the Fire Department of New York are available at a NYT website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html).
78. Jim Hoffman, "The North Tower's Dust Cloud: Analysis of Energy Requirements for the Expansion of the Dust Cloud Following the Collapse of 1 World Trade Center," Version 3, 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, Oct. 16, 2003 (http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volume.html). The available evidence, Hoffman says, suggests that the dust particles were very small indeed—on the order of 10 microns. Also Colonel John O'Dowd of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said: "At the World Trade Center sites, it seemed like everything was pulverized" ("The World Trade Center: Rise and Fall of an American Icon," The History Channel, September 8, 2002).
79. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" See also David Ray Griffin, "The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True," in Paul Zarembka, ed., The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 (Amsterdam: Elsevier, March, 2006), and in Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11. This essay is also available at 911Review.com, December 9, 2005 [http://911review.com/articles/griffin/nyc1.html]). For Hoffman's analyses, see http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html. For videos of the WTC collapses, see in particular "9/11/01 WTC Videos" (http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/index.html).
80. See Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, 31-32.
81. 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" (see the report athttp://www.house.gov/science/hot/wtc/charter.htm).
82. "Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris," Eastday.com, January 24, 2002 (http://www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm).
83. This removal was, moreover, carried out with the utmost care. 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" (Jacqueline Emigh, "GPS on the Job in Massive World Trade Center Clean-Up," July 1, 2002 [http://securitysolutions.com/ar/security_gps_job_massive]).
84. Another problem with this story is that there were at least two versions of it. One said that the passport was found in the rubble the day after 9/11, the other that it was found minutes after the attack (see Morgan and Henshall, 9/11 Revealed, 68).
85. Anne Karpf, "Uncle Sam's Lucky Finds," Guardian, March 19, 2002 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,669961,00.html).
86. Haas, "Government spokesman says, ‘I Don't Understand the Public's Fascination with World Trade Center Building Seven.'"
87. New York Times, May 4, 2002, and CBS News, May 10, 2002, quoted under "Was Hani Hanjour Even on Flight 77 and Could He Have Really Flown It to Its Doom?" in Killtown's "Did Flight 77 Really Crash into the Pentagon?" (thewebfairy.com/killtown/flight77), Oct. 19, 2003. Even The 9/11 Report acknowledge that Hanjour was "a terrible pilot" in some passages (225-26, 242, 520n56).