911 Debate: Government Derelection, Coverups, Conspiracy Theories

This blog and a Yahoo group, The911Debate, complement each other. Both focus on 9/11 exploitation, culpability, cover-ups, conspiracy theories, and manipulation of public opinion by both the Government and hoax peddlers (a surprising number of whom are former Government officials.) Fantastic theories, such as controlled demolitions destroying the World Trade Center and a guided missile rather than Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, are drawing attention away from very real Government malfeasance.

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Location: Seaside, California, United States

Born in 1925, US Navy 1942-1946, retired mathematician (Ph.D. MIT 1958), former Member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), of TECNICA (Technical Assistance to Nicaruaga), and of Food Not Bombs.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Who Needs 9/11 Conspiracy Hoaxes?


First we need to define some terms. A hoax is a false claim designed to anger or frighten or fool people. A conspiracy theory is a theory that certain people conspire(d) to do something bad. A conspiracy hoax is a conspiracy theory that is a hoax.


The theory that our leaders conspired to invade Iraq to promote our oil ambitions and our plan for the New World Order. The theory that 9/11 Commission members conspired to cover up criminal dereliction of duty by Bush for not reacting properly to FBI warnings that a major Al Qaeda strike in the US seemed imminent.


Hoax-1. The Government’s claim that Muslim terrorists conspire to attack us because they hate us for our democratic freedoms and liberal values.
Hoax-2. The claim that our Government planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks and destroyed the WTC buildings with planted explosives.
Who needs the first? Of course the Government and nobody else.
Who needs the second? Again the Government and nobody else. But this assertion needs some explaining.

A crucial election is coming up. The public is getting wise to Bush’s lies about why we invaded Iraq and why so many Arabs and Muslims hate us. Bush is taking the heat for his 9/11 negligence and Hurricane Katrina bumbling. A Carl Rove type trick is needed. The 9/11 hoax claim that the Government planned and staged the attack and destroyed the WTC buildings using planted explosives is just the thing. So preposterous that it will bring out the Republican vote in November and weaken the Democrat turnout, since few Republicans will believe the hoax and the Democrats will be split. Attention will be drawn away from Bush lies and failures. Attention will be drawn away from the fact that Muslim terrorists are not going to stop attacking us until we stop harming them and supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing.

The Republicans are not the only ones who don’t believe the claim that our Government staged the 9/11 attack. The principal architects of this hoax don’t believe it either.

Take Jim Hoffman, for example. He is the leading 9/11 "Truth" theorist and architect of this hoax. In my Internet postings I have shown that he does not believe his own claim that planted explosives destroyed the WTC buildings.

For example, in a July 22, 2005 posting titled "Critique of Jim Hoffman's Analyses--Part I" on my blog, http://the911debate.blogspot.com, I show that in a KPFA interview Hoffman claimed that 16 tons of high explosives would account for his analysis of the collapse of the WTC North Tower. While later in the very same interview he claimed the energy required would be 1.5 million kilowatt-hours. Even if you round this down to 1 million kilowatt-hours it would have required 800 tons of TNT for each WTC tower. It is impossible for Hoffman to believe both of his claims: that he calculates that 1.5 million kilowatt-hours (800 tons of TNT) would have been necessary, and also that he calculates that 16 tons of high explosives would have been sufficient. It is logically impossible for Hoffman to believe both of his claims. Furthermore, I show in the same blog posting that Hoffman never calculated 16 tons at all but that he plagiarized this figure from an anonymous critic of his analyses.

Later in the KPFA interview Hoffman said that he no longer believed that planted explosives caused the WTC tower collapses. But instead he had come to believe that giant masers (very-long wave Lasers) provided the huge energy that he calculated to have been needed to bring the twin towers down. But besides being a brazen plagiarist, Hoffman is a chameleon who changes his color depending on who his audience is. After first claiming explosives were used he later said he no longer believed the explosives theory. But he had come to believe that giant masers were employed instead of explosives. Later he goes back to explosives, as in his critique of a Popular Mechanics Article debunking the 911 conspiracy hoaxes.

Hoffman, who is a Defense Department employee working at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory, is by far the most gifted of the 911 "truth researchers". He is a prolific writer and has a brilliant website, but he makes no attempt to be internally consistent in his own arguments: just snow the audience with a flood of dazzling claims, no single one of the claims by itself having any plausibility. He has set the tone for the flood of 911 "truth researchers", such as David Ray Griffin and Dylan Avery who have followed him: just cherry pick. That is, just focus on those snippets of evidence that support what you’re trying to "prove" and ignore all contrary evidence. Cherry picking is not research, which consists of searching out all the available pieces of evidence and evaluating it and weighing it to come to whatever conclusion the preponderance of evidence leads to. No, cherry picking is not research: it is the essence of propaganda.

Later I will post on my blog arguments showing that none of the most prominent ten 9/11 "truth researchers" believe all that they claim to believe.


Dylan Avery’s Internet Blockbuster video Loose Change is the current rage among 9/11 "truth seekers." It is the most extreme of the hoax versions: No airliners hit any buildings or crashed, no passenger lives were lost, no Arab terrorists were involved or lost their lives, and on and on. Below are some links to very easy refutation of the whole range of 9/11 hoaxes, both the false claims by the government and the false claims by the 9/11 "truth researchers":

http://www.loosechangeguide.com/LooseChangeGuide.html--Very thorough refutation of Loose Change.

http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm--What the forensic professionals say.

http://implosionworld.com/Article-WTC9-6-06.pdf--Convincing disproof of planted-explosives theory.

http://www.911myths.com/index.html--Best site for refutation of all the 9/11 "truth researchers" claims.

http://www.representativepress.org/--Best exposure of both Government and 9/11 "truth researcher" hoaxes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy Theories and Hoax Rebuttals


By John Kimber, owner of this blog.

Going to the URL http://tinyurl.com/o4j57 brings up a valuable 911research.wtc.net page that has an excellent review of the expose book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, and also provides a powerful 3 minute video refuting claims that planted explosives brought down the WTC buildings. To play the video click on the second button from the left side of the screen, the one that says, "Facts the `9/11 Skeptics' don't want you to see."
The book reviewed by 911RESEARCH is an extraordinary expose of what went on inside the 9/11 Commission and was written by its Co-Chairs, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton.
The excellent video 9/11: Press for Truth, being premiered September 6, is on the same topic.

Another link, http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/green/loose_change.html , brings up a poignant review of the conspiracy-theory thriller, LOOSE CHANGE. An excerpt from the review by Michael Green follows:

"The DVD `Loose Change' by rising media artist Dylan Avery has been touted by some members of the 911-truth community as the best presentation yet, as the `best evidence' (a reference to David Lifton's book, `Best Evidence' on the JFK assassination). This review will show that the DVD is anything but that; if it is not naive, foolish, uninformed and ignorant, then it is the work of a calculating mole or at best a naпf who has been used by such."

Green's reference to "a calculating mole" refers to the value LOOSE CHANGE has to the Government in directing attention away from real Government crimes and ineptness onto a wild hypno-hoax pseudo-documentary purporting to show that no commercial airliners hit any buildings on 9/11, there were no suicide terrorists involved, the Government staged the attacks, the passengers of the airliners are alive and being held in some safe location, and so on. The same effect could be achieved by peddling claims that George W Bush regularly molested his daughters when children and visits his ranch in Texas to bugger some of his calves, with Cheyney , Rumsfield, Rove and Condi sometimes holding the frightened animals. The point is, if the left buys into such hoaxes and peddles them then the Democratic Party is hurt at the polls.

Actually, viewed as a work of art, LOOSE CHANGE is a must-see for anyone interested in exciting sci-fi films. The dramatic effectiveness of it comes from the superb narration of boy-wonder Dylan Avery, who does in video what Orson Wells did with his "invasion from mars" radio show in the late thirties. Avery started out intending to create a fiction video but later changed it to the "documentary" format. It is still fiction. But no matter. See the video. It is the initial work of a youth who could become another Spielberg. To view the video GOOGLE on the expression "Loose Change" video, and several video.google.com links come up. Or you can go to the URL http://www.loosechange911.com/ to view the film or download a compressed version for viewing or for burning your own free copy on a DVD.

The link http://911research.wtc7.net/reviews/loose_change/pentagon.html brings up a devastating expose of the hoax nature of Loose Change: The 9-11Research Companion to LOOSE CHANGE 2ND EDITION, -which is detailed point-by-point critique of the film using an illustrated transcript.
The most thorough and compelling rebuttal of the planted-explosives theory can be viewed at http://wtc.nist.gov/ . Click on the button, Details on NIST WTC Investigation on the lower right column of the screen.

An 11 page rebuttal, by a prominent demolition expert, of the planted-explosives theory can be found at

http://implosionworld.com/WTC%20COLLAPSE%20STUDY%20BBlanchard%208-8-06.pdf#search=%22%22brent%20blanchard%22%20wtc%22 .

Left click on the above link to view, right click to download.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

NIST Answers to Frequent Questions

The website for all Government analyses of the 9/11 building collapses and damage is:


Of particular interest is an eight page paper, "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions", debunking conspiracy theories published in late August, 2006, at:


This paper is reprinted below, minus one picture on floor construction:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

(NIST NCSTAR throughout this document refers to one of the 43 volumes that comprise NIST’s final report on the WTC Towers issued in October 2005. All sections of the report listed in this document are available at http://wtc.nist.gov.)

1. If the World Trade Center (WTC) towers were designed to withstand multiple impacts by Boeing 707 aircraft, why did the impact of individual 767s cause so much damage?

As stated in Section 5.3.2 of NIST NCSTAR 1, a document from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) indicated that the impact of a [single, not multiple] Boeing 707 aircraft was analyzed during the design stage of the WTC towers. However, NIST investigators were unable to locate any documentation of the criteria and method used in the impact analysis and, therefore, were unable to verify the assertion that "… such collision would result in only local damage which could not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building.…"

The capability to conduct rigorous simulations of the aircraft impact, the growth and spread of the ensuing fires, and the effects of fires on the structure is a recent development. Since the approach to structural modeling was developed for the NIST WTC investigation, the technical capability available to the PANYNJ and its consultants and contactors to perform such analyses in the 1960s would have been quite limited in comparison to the capabilities brought to bear in the NIST investigation.The damage from the impact of a Boeing 767 aircraft (which is about 20 percent bigger than a Boeing 707) into each tower is well documented in NCSTAR 1-2. The massive damage was caused by the large mass of the aircraft, their high speed and momentum, which severed the relatively light steel of the exterior columns on the impact floors. The results of the NIST impact analyses matched well with observations (from photos and videos and analysis of recovered WTC steel) of exterior damage and of the amount and location of debris exiting from the buildings. This agreement supports the premise that the structural damage to the towers was due to the aircraft impact and not to any alternative forces.

2. Why did NIST not consider a "controlled demolition" hypothesis with matching computer modeling and explanation as it did for the "pancake theory" hypothesis? A key critique of NIST’s work lies in the complete lack of analysis supporting a "progressive collapse" after the point of collapse initiation and the lack of consideration given to a controlled demolition hypothesis.

NIST conducted an extremely thorough three-year investigation into what caused the WTC towers to collapse, as explained in NIST’s dedicated Web site, http://wtc.nist.gov. This included consideration of a number of hypotheses for the collapses of the towers.

Some 200 technical experts—including about 85 career NIST experts and 125 leading experts from the private sector and academia—reviewed tens of thousands of documents, interviewed more than 1,000 people, reviewed 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs, analyzed 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage, performed laboratory tests and sophisticated computer simulations of the sequence of events that occurred from the moment the aircraft struck the towers until they began to collapse.

Based on this comprehensive investigation, NIST concluded that the WTC towers collapsed because: (1) the impact of the planes severed and damaged support columns, dislodged fireproofing insulation coating the steel floor trusses and steel columns, and widely dispersed jet fuel over multiple floors; and (2) the subsequent unusually large jet-fuel ignited multi-floor fires (which reached temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius) significantly weakened the floors and columns with dislodged fireproofing to the point where floors sagged and pulled inward on the perimeter columns. This led to the inward bowing of the perimeter columns and failure of the south face of WTC 1 and the east face of WTC 2, initiating the collapse of each of the towers. Both photographic and video evidence—as well as accounts from the New York Police Department aviation unit during a half-hour period prior to collapse—support this sequence for each tower.

NIST’s findings do not support the "pancake theory" of collapse, which is premised on a progressive failure of the floor systems in the WTC towers (the composite floor system—that connected the core columns and the perimeter columns—consisted of a grid of steel "trusses" integrated with a concrete slab; see diagram below). Instead, the NIST investigation showed conclusively that the failure of the inwardly bowed perimeter columns initiated collapse and that the occurrence of this inward bowing required the sagging floors to remain connected to the columns and pull the columns inwards. Thus, the floors did not fail progressively to cause a pancaking phenomenon.

[IMPORTANT PICTURE OMITTED--Diagram of Composite WTC Floor System]

NIST’s findings also do not support the "controlled demolition" theory since there is conclusive evidence that:

the collapse was initiated in the impact and fire floors of the WTC towers and nowhere else, and;

the time it took for the collapse to initiate (56 minutes for WTC 2 and 102 minutes for WTC 1) was dictated by (1) the extent of damage caused by the aircraft impact, and (2) the time it took for the fires to reach critical locations and weaken the structure to the point that the towers could not resist the tremendous energy released by the downward movement of the massive top section of the building at and above the fire and impact floors.
Video evidence also showed unambiguously that the collapse progressed from the top to the bottom, and there was no evidence (collected by NIST, or by the New York Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department or the Fire Department of New York) of any blast or explosions in the region below the impact and fire floors as the top building sections (including and above the 98th floor in WTC 1 and the 82nd floor in WTC 2) began their downward movement upon collapse initiation. In 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 Sept. 11, 2001. NIST also did not find any evidence that missiles were fired at or hit the towers. Instead, photographs and videos from several angles clearly show that the collapse initiated at the fire and impact floors and that the collapse progressed from the initiating floors downward until the dust clouds obscured the view.

3. How could the WTC towers have collapsed without a controlled demolition since no steel-frame, high-rise buildings have ever before or since been brought down due to fires? Temperatures due to fire don't get hot enough for buildings to collapse.

The collapse of the WTC towers was not caused either by a conventional building fire or even solely by the concurrent multi-floor fires that day. Instead, NIST concluded that the WTC towers collapsed because: (1) the impact of the planes severed and damaged support columns, dislodged fireproofing insulation coating the steel floor trusses and steel columns, and widely dispersed jet fuel over multiple floors; and (2) the subsequent unusually large, jet-fuel ignited multi-floor fires weakened the now susceptible structural steel. No building in the United States has ever been subjected to the massive structural damage and concurrent multi-floor fires that the towers experienced on Sept. 11, 2001.

4. Weren't the puffs of smoke that were seen, as the collapse of each WTC tower starts, evidence of controlled demolition explosions?

No. As stated in Section 6.14.4 of NIST NCSTAR 1, the falling mass of the building compressed the air ahead of it—much like the action of a piston—forcing smoke and debris out the windows as the stories below failed sequentially.

These puffs were observed at many locations as the towers collapsed. In all cases, they had the appearance of jets of gas being pushed from the building through windows or between columns on the mechanical floors. Such jets are expected since the air inside the building is compressed as the tower falls and must flow somewhere as the pressure builds. It is significant that similar "puffs" were observed numerous times on the fire floors in both towers prior to their collapses, perhaps due to falling walls or portions of a floor. Puffs from WTC 1 were even observed when WTC 2 was struck by the aircraft. These observations confirm that even minor overpressures were transmitted through the towers and forced smoke and debris from the building.

5. Why were two distinct spikes—one for each tower—seen in seismic records before the towers collapsed? Isn't this indicative of an explosion occurring in each tower?

The seismic spikes for the collapse of the WTC Towers are the result of debris from the collapsing towers impacting the ground. The spikes began approximately 10 seconds after the times for the start of each building’s collapse and continued for approximately 15 seconds. There were no seismic signals that occurred prior to the initiation of the collapse of either tower. The seismic record contains no evidence that would indicate explosions occurring prior to the collapse of the towers.

6. How could the WTC towers collapse in only 11 seconds (WTC 1) and 9 seconds (WTC 2)—speeds that approximate that of a ball dropped from similar height in a vacuum (with no air resistance)?

NIST estimated the elapsed times for the first exterior panels to strike the ground after the collapse initiated in each of the towers to be approximately 11 seconds for WTC 1 and approximately 9 seconds for WTC 2. These elapsed times were based on: (1) precise timing of the initiation of collapse from video evidence, and (2) ground motion (seismic) signals recorded at Palisades, N.Y., that also were precisely time-calibrated for wave transmission times from lower Manhattan (see NCSTAR 1-5A).
As documented in Section 6.14.4 of NIST NCSTAR 1, these collapse times show that:

"… the structure below the level of collapse initiation offered minimal resistance to the falling building mass at and above the impact zone. The potential energy released by the downward movement of the large building mass far exceeded the capacity of the intact structure below to absorb that energy through energy of deformation.

Since the stories below the level of collapse initiation provided little resistance to the tremendous energy released by the falling building mass, the building section above came down essentially in free fall, as seen in videos. As the stories below sequentially failed, the falling mass increased, further increasing the demand on the floors below, which were unable to arrest the moving mass."
In other words, the momentum (which equals mass times velocity) of the 12 to 28 stories (WTC 1 and WTC 2, respectively) falling on the supporting structure below (which was designed to support only the static weight of the floors above and not any dynamic effects due to the downward momentum) so greatly exceeded the strength capacity of the structure below that it (the structure below) was unable to stop or even to slow the falling mass. The downward momentum felt by each successive lower floor was even larger due to the increasing mass.

From video evidence, significant portions of the cores of both buildings (roughly 60 stories of WTC 1 and 40 stories of WTC 2) are known to have stood 15 to 25 seconds after collapse initiation before they, too, began to collapse. Neither the duration of the seismic records nor video evidence (due to obstruction of view caused by debris clouds) are reliable indicators of the total time it took for each building to collapse completely.

7a. How could the steel have melted if the fires in the WTC towers weren’t hot enough to do so? OR7b. Since the melting point of steel is about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of jet fuel fires does not exceed 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified the steel in the WTC towers to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for six hours, how could fires have impacted the steel enough to bring down the WTC towers?
In no instance did NIST report that steel in the WTC towers melted due to the fires. The melting point of steel is about 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,800 degrees Fahrenheit). Normal building fires and hydrocarbon (e.g., jet fuel) fires generate temperatures up to about 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,000 degrees Fahrenheit). NIST reported maximum upper layer air temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) in the WTC towers (for example, see NCSTAR 1, Figure 6-36).

However, when bare steel reaches temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius, it softens and its strength reduces to roughly 10 percent of its room temperature value. Steel that is unprotected (e.g., if the fireproofing is dislodged) can reach the air temperature within the time period that the fires burned within the towers. Thus, yielding and buckling of the steel members (floor trusses, beams, and both core and exterior columns) with missing fireproofing were expected under the fire intensity and duration determined by NIST for the WTC towers.

UL did not certify any steel as suggested. In fact, in U.S. practice, steel is not certified at all; rather structural assemblies are tested for their fire resistance rating in accordance with a standard procedure such as ASTM E 119 (see NCSTAR 1-6B). That the steel was "certified ... to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for six hours" is simply not true.8. We know that the sprinkler systems were activated because survivors reported water in the stairwells. If the sprinklers were working, how could there be a 'raging inferno' in the WTC towers?

Both the NIST calculations and interviews with survivors and firefighters indicated that the aircraft impacts severed the water pipes that carried the water to the sprinkler systems. The sprinklers were not operating on the principal fire floors.

However, there were ample sources of the water in the stairwells. The water pipes ran vertically within the stairwells. Moreover, there would have been copious water from the broken restroom supply lines and from the water tanks that supplied the initial water for the sprinklers. Thus, it is not surprising that evacuating occupants encountered a lot of water.
Even if the automatic sprinklers had been operational, the sprinkler systems—which were installed in accordance with the prevailing fire safety code—were designed to suppress a fire that covered as much as 1,500 square feet on a given floor. This amount of coverage is capable of controlling almost all fires that are likely to occur in an office building. On Sept. 11, 2001, the jet-fuel ignited fires quickly spread over most of the 40,000 square feet on several floors in each tower. This created infernos that could not have been suppressed even by an undamaged sprinkler system, much less one that had been appreciably degraded.

9. If thick black smoke is characteristic of an oxygen-starved, lower temperature, less intense fire, why was thick black smoke exiting the WTC towers when the fires inside were supposed to be extremely hot?
Nearly all indoor large fires, including those of the principal combustibles in the WTC towers, produce large quantities of optically thick, dark smoke. This is because, at the locations where the actual burning is taking place, the oxygen is severely depleted and the combustibles are not completely oxidized to colorless carbon dioxide and water.

The visible part of fire smoke consists of small soot particles whose formation is favored by the incomplete combustion associated with oxygen-depleted burning. Once formed, the soot from the tower fires was rapidly pushed away from the fires into less hot regions of the building or directly to broken windows and breaks in the building exterior. At these lower temperatures, the soot could no longer burn away. Thus, people saw the thick dark smoke characteristic of burning under oxygen-depleted conditions.

10. Why were people seen in the gaps left by the plane impacts if the heat from the fires behind them was so excessive?

NIST believes that the persons seen were away from any strong heat source and most likely in an area that at the time was a point where the air for combustion was being drawn into the building to support the fires. Note that people were observed only in the openings in WTC 1.

According to the International Standard ISO/TS 13571, people will be in severe pain within seconds if they are near the radiant heat level generated by a large fire. Thus, it is not surprising that none of the photographs show a person standing in those gaps where there also was a sizable fire.

The fire behavior following the aircraft impacts is described in NIST NCSTAR 1-5A. In general, there was little sustained fire near the area where the aircraft hit the towers. Immediately upon impact of the aircraft, large fireballs from the atomized jet fuel consumed all the local oxygen. (This in itself would have made those locations rapidly unlivable.) The fireballs receded quickly and were followed by fires that grew inside the tower where there was a combination of combustible material, air and an ignition source. Little combustible material remained near the aircraft entry gashes since the aircraft "bulldozed" much of it toward the interior of the building. Also, some of the contents fell through the breaks in the floor to the stories below.
Therefore, the people observed in these openings must have survived the aircraft impact and moved—once the fireballs had dissipated—to the openings where the temperatures were cooler and the air was clearer than in the building interior.

11. Why do some photographs show a yellow stream of molten metal pouring down the side of WTC2 that NIST claims was aluminum from the crashed plane although aluminum burns with a white glow?

NIST reported (NCSTAR 1-5A) that just before 9:52 a.m., a bright spot appeared at the top of a window on the 80th floor of WTC 2, four windows removed from the east edge on the north face, followed by the flow of a glowing liquid. This flow lasted approximately four seconds before subsiding. Many such liquid flows were observed from near this location in the seven minutes leading up to the collapse of this tower. There is no evidence of similar molten liquid pouring out from another location in WTC 2 or from anywhere within WTC 1.

Photographs, and NIST simulations of the aircraft impact, show large piles of debris in the 80th and 81st floors of WTC 2 near the site where the glowing liquid eventually appeared. Much of this debris came from the aircraft itself and from the office furnishings that the aircraft pushed forward as it tunneled to this far end of the building. Large fires developed on these piles shortly after the aircraft impact and continued to burn in the area until the tower collapsed.

NIST concluded that the source of the molten material was aluminum alloys from the aircraft, since these are known to melt between 475 degrees Celsius and 640 degrees Celsius (depending on the particular alloy), well below the expected temperatures (about 1,000 degrees Celsius) in the vicinity of the fires. Aluminum is not expected to ignite at normal fire temperatures and there is no visual indication that the material flowing from the tower was burning.

Pure liquid aluminum would be expected to appear silvery. However, the molten metal was very likely mixed with large amounts of hot, partially burned, solid organic materials (e.g., furniture, carpets, partitions and computers) which can display an orange glow, much like logs burning in a fireplace. The apparent color also would have been affected by slag formation on the surface.

12. Did the NIST investigation look for evidence of the WTC towers being brought down by controlled demolition? Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? The combination of thermite and sulfur (called thermate) "slices through steel like a hot knife through butter."
NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel.

The responses to questions number 2, 4, 5 and 11 demonstrate why NIST concluded that there were no explosives or controlled demolition involved in the collapses of the WTC towers.

Furthermore, a very large quantity of thermite (a mixture of powdered or granular aluminum metal and powdered iron oxide that burns at extremely high temperatures when ignited) or another incendiary compound would have had to be placed on at least the number of columns damaged by the aircraft impact and weakened by the subsequent fires to bring down a tower. Thermite burns slowly relative to explosive materials and can require several minutes in contact with a massive steel section to heat it to a temperature that would result in substantial weakening. Separate from the WTC towers investigation, NIST researchers estimated that at least 0.13 pounds of thermite would be required to heat each pound of a steel section to approximately 700 degrees Celsius (the temperature at which steel weakens substantially). Therefore, while a thermite reaction can cut through large steel columns, many thousands of pounds of thermite would need to have been placed inconspicuously ahead of time, remotely ignited, and somehow held in direct contact with the surface of hundreds of massive structural components to weaken the building. This makes it an unlikely substance for achieving a controlled demolition.

Analysis of the WTC steel for the elements in thermite/thermate would not necessarily have been conclusive. The metal compounds also would have been present in the construction materials making up the WTC towers, and sulfur is present in the gypsum wallboard that was prevalent in the interior partitions.

13. Why did the NIST investigation not consider reports of molten steel in the wreckagefrom the WTC towers?

NIST investigators and experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEONY)—who inspected the WTC steel at the WTC site and the salvage yards—found no evidence that would support the melting of steel in a jet-fuel ignited fire in the towers prior to collapse. The condition of the steel in the wreckage of the WTC towers (i.e., whether it was in a molten state or not) was irrelevant to the investigation of the collapse since it does not provide any conclusive information on the condition of the steel when the WTC towers were standing.

NIST considered the damage to the steel structure and its fireproofing caused by the aircraft impact and the subsequent fires when the buildings were still standing since that damage was responsible for initiating the collapse of the WTC towers.

Under certain circumstances it is conceivable for some of the steel in the wreckage to have melted after the buildings collapsed. Any molten steel in the wreckage was more likely due to the high temperature resulting from long exposure to combustion within the pile than to short exposure to fires or explosions while the buildings were standing.

14. Why is the NIST investigation of the collapse of WTC 7 (the 47-story office building that collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, hours after the towers) taking so long to complete? Is a controlled demolition hypothesis being considered to explain the collapse?

When NIST initiated the WTC investigation, it made a decision not to hire new staff to support the investigation. After the June 2004 progress report on the WTC investigation was issued, the NIST investigation team stopped working on WTC 7 and was assigned full-time through the fall of 2005 to complete the investigation of the WTC towers. With the release and dissemination of the report on the WTC towers in October 2005, the investigation of the WTC 7 collapse resumed. Considerable progress has been made since that time, including the review of nearly 80 boxes of new documents related to WTC 7, the development of detailed technical approaches for modeling and analyzing various collapse hypotheses, and the selection of a contractor to assist NIST staff in carrying out the analyses. It is anticipated that a draft report will be released by early 2007.
The current NIST working collapse hypothesis for WTC 7 is described in the June 2004 Progress Report on the Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (Volume 1, page 17, as well as Appendix L), as follows:

An initial local failure occurred at the lower floors (below floor 13) of the building due to fire and/or debris-induced structural damage of a critical column (the initiating event) which supported a large-span floor bay with an area of about 2,000 square feet;

Vertical progression of the initial local failure occurred up to the east penthouse, and as the large floor bays became unable to redistribute the loads, it brought down the interior structure below the east penthouse; and
Triggered by damage due to the vertical failure, horizontal progression of the failure across the lower floors (in the region of floors 5 and 7 that were much thicker and more heavily reinforced than the rest of the floors) resulted in a disproportionate collapse of the entire structure.

This hypothesis may be supported or modified, or new hypotheses may be developed, through the course of the continuing investigation. NIST also is considering whether hypothetical blast events could have played a role in initiating the collapse. While NIST has found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event, NIST would like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more critical elements.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Critique of Jim Hoffman's Analyses--Part I

Jim Hoffman’s Faulty Analyses of WTC Dust Clouds Clouds Understanding
One of the most widely quoted 9/11 "truth researchers" is Jim Hoffman, a prominent computer graphics programmer. David Ray Griffin, Dean of America's 9/11 conspiracy theory popularizers, quotes him extensively, and Hoffman's critiques of the conventional wisdom on how the WTC buildings collapsed are widely accepted in the 9/11 "truth" movment.
A timeline on Hoffman's 9/11 calculations and speculations follows:
On June 13, 2003 Hoffman published his first article on energy analysis of the collapse of the North Tower. ("The North Tower’s Dust Cloud, Version 1" which can be viewed at
Attempting to apply Boyle’s Ideal Gas Law to the dust cloud which arose from the WTC 1 collapse, he "calculates" that more than 60,000,000 kilowatt hours of energy had to have been dissipated in order to produce what the visual evidence demonstrated. Hoffman erroneously assumed that the available potential energy of WTC 1 was 400,000 KWH, and his conclusion was:
"The amount of energy required to expand the North Tower's dust cloud was many times the entire potential energy of the tower's elevated mass due to gravity. The over 100-fold disparity between this estimate and the gravitational energy is not easily dismissed as reflecting uncertainties in quantitative assessments. The official explanation that the Twin Tower collapses were gravity-driven events appears insufficient to account for the documented energy flows."
It can easily be found in energy tables that 1 KWH of energy is produced by 0.78 Kg of TNT, so the 60,000,000 KWH Hoffman "calculates" were dissipated has the TNT equivalent of 60,000,000 X 0.78 = 46,800,000 Kg or 46,800 tonnes (metric tons) of TNT. This is a lot of shiploads of TNT—a lot more power than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs produced. Apparently Hoffman never gave any consideration to who would be carrying 46,800 tonnes of TNT to the various floors of a 1,386 foot building.
Apparently also, in his critique of the May, 2002 FEMA report on WTC 1 and 2, Hoffman didn’t even read the first sentence of the second chapter:
"Chapter 2: WTC1 & WTC2
" Progression of Collapses
"Construction of WTC 1 resulted in the storage of more than [400,000,000,000] joules of potential energy over the 1,368-foot height of the structure."
This potential energy converted to KWH equals 111,111 KWH, whereas Hoffman estimated the potential energy of WTC 1 to be 400,000 KWH—almost four times the FEMA estimate.
The reason this observation is important is that the common practice of Hoffman and Griffin and most other proponents of the planted-explosive WTC theory is to ignore the work done by both FEMA in its hurried preliminary study and by NIST in its ongoing study. (The FEMA reports on the 9/11 attacks were meant only as quick tentative analyses because the definitive analyses are the responsibility of NIST. FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology.)
On July 23, 2003 Hoffman published his first revision of his June 13 energy analysis of the collapse of the North Tower. ("The North Tower’s Dust Cloud, Version 2" which can be viewed at
This time he accepted the FEMA estimate of the available WTC 1 potential energy, 111,000 KWH, he and re-did his earlier calculations, coming up with 11,835,000 KWH dissipated during the collapse. The TNT equivalent of this is 9,231 tonnes of TNT. This is a lot less than the 46,000 tonnes of TNT in his June 13 calculations, and now down to less than the Hiroshima magnitude, but still too much for humans to carry up to the various floors of WTC 1. The wording of Hoffman’s concluding summary remains unchanged from his June 13 summary:
"The amount of energy required to expand the North Tower's dust cloud was many times the entire potential energy of the tower's elevated mass due to gravity. The over 100-fold disparity between this estimate and the gravitational energy is not easily dismissed as reflecting uncertainties in quantitative assessments. The official explanation that the Twin Tower collapses were gravity-driven events appears insufficient to account for the documented energy flows."
On October 16, 2003 Hoffman published his second revision of his energy analysis of the collapse of the North Tower. ("The North Tower’s Dust Cloud, Version 3" which can be viewed at
This time he makes a different assumption of how the energy was dissipated, bringing in the change-of-state of water in the building, including water in the concrete. Again he accepts the FEMA estimate of 111,000 KWH of available potential energy, and calculates that the total amount of energy dissipated had to be approximately 2,817,000 KWH, which is 25.38 times the available potential energy. This time in his conclusions he conservatively reduces this 25 times to 10 times available potential energy in his concluding summary:
"The amount of energy required to expand the North Tower's dust cloud was many times the entire potential energy of the tower's elevated mass due to gravity. The over 10-fold disparity between the most conservative estimate and the gravitational energy is not easily dismissed as reflecting uncertainties in quantitative assessments. The official explanation that the Twin Tower collapses were gravity-driven events appears insufficient to account for the documented energy flows."
Ten times the 111,000 KWH of available potential energy, minus the 111,000, comes out to be 999,000 KWH, or 799 tonnes of TNT the minimum amount of explosive power needed to fit the observed evidence. But 799 tonnes of TNT is still more than could be expected of human beings to covertly carry up to the various floors of WTC 1. Considering that this 799 tonnes of explosives would all have to have been wired up carefully so that the explosives on the various floors are detonated by a computer in a manner coordinated with the building collapse, it remains, even after his drastic reduction in energy calculations, that Hoffman’s theory of controlled demolition of WTC 1 and 2 is not at all plausible.
On an undisclosed date a person going by the pseudonym "TRUTH" tried to rescue Hoffman’s controlled-demolition theory, with a fourth version (third revision) of the June 13 analysis. This is given version 3.0 (as opposed to version 3 above), and is posted on various websites, including on the forum:
In this version the complete title has been changed and for the first time 14 tons of explosives is claimed to be sufficient to fit the observed evidence, but this tonnage is mentioned only in a new section inserted by TRUTH, who indicates that his revision was made in two steps, the last editing being on April 17, 2005. The complete heading and title in the globalresearch forum are:
"Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 3:54 am Post subject: CALCULATIONS SAY 14 TONS OF EXPLOSIVE TO BRING DOWN EACH WTC.
"The North Towers Dust Cloud: Analysis of Energy Requirements for the Expansion of the Dust Cloud following the Collapse of 1 World Trade Center by Jim Hoffman, October 16th, 2003 (Version 3.0)" [Note the 3.0 instead of 3 as the version number of the third revision (fourth version).]
At the end of his posting, TRUTH states that "The comment in red has been added to the original article." Since there is much text in TRUTH’s posting in red font (color)—some commentary and one whole new section, all of which is in addition to Hoffman’s Version 3 of October 16—it seems evident that TRUTH meant to say "commentary" instead of "comment".
In TRUTH’s commentary as well as in the whole new section, he refers to Hoffman by name, indicating that Hoffman did not participate in the revision which got the tonnage of explosives down to 14 from the 799 in Hoffman’s Version 3. TRUTH suggests that: "This article by J. Hoffman is a deliberate attempt to divert your attention from the fact that explosives were used to bring down the WTC towers. By presenting a possible explanation for the debris cloud without considering explosives, he is implicitly stating that he, as an expert in the field, does not consider explosives an option, so why should you? He is deliberately pointing you in the wrong direction."
The whole new section apparently written and inserted into Hoffman’s Version 3 of October 16, 2003 begins with:
"The Unexplored Option -- Explosives."
[For some reason TRUTH prefers to use the explosive amatol (80:20)—80% ammonium nitrate and 20 % TNT—instead of the more standard TNT when discussing energy equivalents of explosive tonnage and kilowatt hours. He goes through a lot of chemical calculations which are totally unnecessary because energy conversion between Kg of TNT and KWH are easily found on the Internet, as is the approximation that amatol is 26% more powerful than TNT by weight.] (TRUTH’s relating "hot gasses" to a 200,000,000 liter air expansion seems to me to be lacking validity, but that is not important in this current critique.) TRUTH’s conclusion is that
"Hence the 200,000,000 liter expansion calculated by Hoffman can be explained by the detonation of 200,000,000/16,068 = 12,447 kg = 12.5 tonnes (14 tons) of the high explosive amatol. "Summary "The 200,000,000 liter expansion calculated by Hoffman can be explained by the detonation of 12.5 tonnes (14 tons) of the high explosive amatol." [This ends TRUTH’s inserted section which began with the heading, "The Unexplored Option -- Explosives."]
[Then following this long inserted section, the text of Hoffman’s October 16, 2003 Version 3 resumes with:]
"The dominant energy source assumed to be in play during the leveling of each of the Twin Towers was the gravitational energy due to its elevated mass, whereas the energy sinks included the pulverization of it's concrete, the vaporization of water, and the heating of the concrete and air in the ensuing dust cloud. . . . "Conclusion "The amount of energy required to expand the North Towers dust cloud was many times the entire potential energy of the towers elevated mass due to gravity. The over 10-fold disparity between the most conservative estimate and the gravitational energy is not easily dismissed as reflecting uncertainties in quantitative assessments. The official explanation that the Twin Tower collapses were gravity-driven events appears insufficient to account for the documented energy flows." [The following was in red color—one of TRUTH’s many short inserted comments:] "However, the use of explosives explains all the observed facts, and is thus probably the correct explanation."
where the text in red color is clearly set off from the earlier text by Hoffman.]
Jim Hoffman on "Guns and Butter", KPFA, 1/24/04 and 1/28/04
The transcript of these two interviews is found on:
Edited Transcript of Your Eyes Don't Lie: Common Sense, Physics, and the World Trade Center Collapses
Originally broadcast on KPFA in two parts:Part 1: 1/21/04, 2-3PMPart 2: 1/28/04, 2-3PM
Due to time and space considerations, in this posting it only will be mentioned that Hoffman, perhaps for the first time, referred to a low tonnage of explosives—he used 16 tons instead of TRUTH’s 14 tons above. But in Part 2 of the interview Hoffman states that he doesn’t believe any explosives were used because of the visible evidence, He expounds instead on his new theory that giant masers created the energy which collapsed WTC 1 and 2.
Popular Mechanics Attacks Its"9/11 LIES" Straw Man by Jim Hoffman Version 1.2, February 9, 2005
Is on
Here Hoffman returns to defend the planted explosives and controlled demolition theory, following his abandonment of that theory in his Guns and Butter KPFA interviews above.
Future postings to groups.yahoo.com/group/the911debate and the911debate.blogspot.com will develop further Hoffman’s current views and examine his critique of the Popular Mechanics article debunking major 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Excerpts From Popular Mechanics 9/11 Myth Debunking Article

911 Debate: Government Derelection, Coverups, Conspiracy Theories


Below is an annotated collection of excerpts from the widely disseminated Popular Magazine article debunking some of the major conspiracy theory myths on 9/11. Graphics are omitted and some of what I consider to be relatively unimportant details are trimmed or excised. The original March 2005 PM article can be found at

The major conspiracy theory myths not included in the PM article pertain to those put out by the US Government which try to show that the 9/11 and other Islamic terrorist attacks are motivated by hatred which radical Muslims have for democracy, women’s liberation, women’s rights, and so on, or by the goal of radical Muslims to forcefully convert us to Islam, etc, etc. These are very important conspiracy theories and will be addressed later on in the building up of both my blog, http://the911debate.blogspot.com and its companion Yahoo group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/the911debate.

Not all conspiracy theories are false: e.g., clearly a group of Muslims conspired to mount the 9/11 attacks, and most experts believe that members of the US Government conspired to exploit the 9/11 attacks in order to invade Iraq for oil and bases in the Middle East.

Annotated excerpts of the March 2005 PM article follow, with all annotations in square brackets:

9/11: Debunking The Myths

PM examines the evidence and consults the experts to refute the most persistent conspiracy theories of September 11. [Published originally in the March,2005 issue.]

FROM THE MOMENT the first airplane crashed into the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, the world has asked one simple and compelling question: How could it happen?

Three and a half years later, not everyone is convinced we know the truth. Go to Google.com, type in the search phrase "World Trade Center conspiracy" and you'll get links to an estimated 628,000 Web sites. More than 3000 books on 9/11 have been published; many of them reject the official consensus that hijackers associated with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda flew passenger planes into U.S. landmarks.

Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia. Wild conspiracy tales are peddled daily on the Internet, talk radio and in other media. Blurry photos, quotes taken out of context and sketchy eyewitness accounts have inspired a slew of elaborate theories: The Pentagon was struck by a missile; the World Trade Center was razed by demolition-style bombs; Flight 93 was shot down by a mysterious white jet. As outlandish as these claims may sound, they are increasingly accepted abroad and among extremists here in the United States.

To investigate 16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists, POPULAR MECHANICS assembled a team of nine researchers and reporters who, together with PM editors, consulted more than 70 professionals in fields that form the core content of this magazine, including aviation, engineering and the military.

In the end, we were able to debunk each of these assertions with hard evidence and a healthy dose of common sense. We learned that a few theories are based on something as innocent as a reporting error on that chaotic day. Others are the byproducts of cynical imaginations that aim to inject suspicion and animosity into public debate. Only by confronting such poisonous claims with irrefutable facts can we understand what really happened on a day that is forever seared into world history.--THE EDITORS

The widely accepted account that hijackers commandeered and crashed the four 9/11 planes is supported by reams of evidence, from cockpit recordings to forensics to the fact that crews and passengers never returned home. Nonetheless, conspiracy theorists seize on a handful of "facts" to argue a very different scenario: The jets that struck New York and Washington, D.C., weren't commercial planes, they say, but something else, perhaps refueling tankers or guided missiles. And the lack of military intervention? Theorists claim it proves the U.S. government instigated the assault or allowed it to occur in order to advance oil interests or a war agenda.

[“Where’s the Pod” section omitted in these excerpts.]

No Stand-Down Order
CLAIM: No fighter jets were scrambled from any of the 28 Air Force bases within close range of the four hijacked flights. "On 11 September Andrews had two squadrons of fighter jets with the job of protecting the skies over Washington D.C.," says the Web site emperors-clothes.com. "They failed to do their job." "There is only one explanation for this," writes Mark R. Elsis of StandDown.net. "Our Air Force was ordered to Stand Down on 9/11."

FACT: On 9/11 there were only 14 fighter jets on alert in the contiguous 48 states. No computer network or alarm automatically alerted the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) of missing planes. "They [civilian Air Traffic Control, or ATC] had to pick up the phone and literally dial us," says Maj. Douglas Martin, public affairs officer for NORAD. Boston Center, one of 22 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regional ATC facilities, called NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) three times: at 8:37 am EST to inform NEADS that Flight 11 was hijacked; at 9:21 am to inform the agency, mistakenly, that Flight 11 was headed for Washington (the plane had hit the North Tower 35 minutes earlier); and at 9:41 am to (erroneously) identify Delta Air Lines Flight 1989 from Boston as a possible hijacking. The New York ATC called NEADS at 9:03 am to report that United Flight 175 had been hijacked--the same time the plane slammed into the South Tower. Within minutes of that first call from Boston Center, NEADS scrambled two F-15s from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Mass., and three F-16s from Langley Air National Guard Base in Hampton, Va. None of the fighters got anywhere near the pirated planes.

Why couldn't ATC find the hijacked flights? When the hijackers turned off the planes' transponders, which broadcast identifying signals, ATC had to search 4500 identical radar blips crisscrossing some of the country's busiest air corridors. And NORAD's sophisticated radar? It ringed the continent, looking outward for threats, not inward. "It was like a doughnut," Martin says. "There was no coverage in the middle." Pre-9/11, flights originating in the States were not seen as threats and NORAD wasn't prepared to track them.

[“Flight 175’s Windows” claim and debunking omitted here.]

Intercepts Not Routine
CLAIM:"It has been standard operating procedures for decades to immediately intercept off-course planes that do not respond to communications from air traffic controllers," says the Web site oilempire.us. "When the Air Force 'scrambles' a fighter plane to intercept, they usually reach the plane in question in minutes."

FACT: In the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet, in October 1999. With passengers and crew unconscious from cabin decompression, the plane lost radio contact but remained in transponder contact until it crashed. Even so, it took an F-16 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the stricken jet. Rules in effect back then, and on 9/11, prohibited supersonic flight on intercepts. Prior to 9/11, all other NORAD interceptions were limited to offshore Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ). "Until 9/11 there was no domestic ADIZ," FAA spokesman Bill Schumann tells PM. After 9/11, NORAD and the FAA increased cooperation, setting up hotlines between ATCs and NORAD command centers, according to officials from both agencies. NORAD has also increased its fighter coverage and has installed radar to monitor airspace over the continent.

The collapse of both World Trade Center towers--and the smaller WTC 7 a few hours later--initially surprised even some experts. But subsequent studies have shown that the WTC's structural integrity was destroyed by intense fire as well as the severe damage inflicted by the planes. That explanation hasn't swayed conspiracy theorists, who contend that all three buildings were wired with explosives in advance and razed in a series of controlled demolitions.

Widespread Damage
CLAIM:The first hijacked plane crashed through the 94th to the 98th floors of the World Trade Center's 110-story North Tower; the second jet slammed into the 78th to the 84th floors of the 110-story South Tower. The impact and ensuing fires disrupted elevator service in both buildings. Plus, the lobbies of both buildings were visibly damaged before the towers collapsed. "There is NO WAY the impact of the jet caused such widespread damage 80 stories below," claims a posting on the San Diego Independent Media Center Web site (sandiego.indymedia.org). "It is OBVIOUS and irrefutable that OTHER EXPLOSIVES (... such as concussion bombs) HAD ALREADY BEEN DETONATED in the lower levels of tower one at the same time as the plane crash."

FACT: Following up on a May 2002 preliminary report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a major study will be released in spring 2005 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST shared its initial findings with PM and made its lead researcher available to our team of reporters.

The NIST investigation revealed that plane debris sliced through the utility shafts at the North Tower's core, creating a conduit for burning jet fuel--and fiery destruction throughout the building. "It's very hard to document where the fuel went," says Forman Williams, a NIST adviser and a combustion expert, "but if it's atomized and combustible and gets to an ignition source, it'll go off."

Burning fuel traveling down the elevator shafts would have disrupted the elevator systems and caused extensive damage to the lobbies. NIST heard first-person testimony that "some elevators slammed right down" to the ground floor. "The doors cracked open on the lobby floor and flames came out and people died," says James Quintiere, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland and a NIST adviser. A similar observation was made in the French documentary "9/11," by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. As Jules Naudet entered the North Tower lobby, minutes after the first aircraft struck, he saw victims on fire, a scene he found too horrific to film.

"Melted" Steel
CLAIM: "We have been lied to," announces the Web site AttackOnAmerica.net. "The first lie was that the load of fuel from the aircraft was the cause of structural failure. No kerosene fire can burn hot enough to melt steel." The posting is entitled "Proof Of Controlled Demolition At The WTC."

FACT: Jet 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--and that required exposure to much less heat. "I have never seen melted steel in a building fire," says retired New York deputy fire chief Vincent Dunn, author of The Collapse Of Burning Buildings: A Guide To Fireground Safety. "But I've seen a lot of twisted, warped, bent and sagging steel. What happens is that the steel tries to expand at both ends, but when it can no longer expand, it sags and the surrounding concrete cracks."

"Steel loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F," notes senior engineer Farid Alfawak-hiri of the American Institute of Steel Construction. "And at 1800° it is probably at less than 10 percent." NIST also believes that a great deal of the spray-on fireproofing insulation was likely knocked off the steel beams that were in the path of the crashing jets, leaving the metal more vulnerable to the heat.

But jet fuel wasn't the only thing burning, notes Forman Williams, a professor of engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and one of seven structural engineers and fire experts that PM consulted. He says that while the jet fuel was the catalyst for the WTC fires, the resulting inferno was intensified by the combustible material inside the buildings, including rugs, curtains, furniture and paper. NIST reports that pockets of fire hit 1832°F.

"The jet fuel was the ignition source," Williams tells PM. "It burned for maybe 10 minutes, and [the towers] were still standing in 10 minutes. It was the rest of the stuff burning afterward that was responsible for the heat transfer that eventually brought them down."

Puffs Of Dust
CLAIM:As each tower collapsed, clearly visible puffs of dust and debris were ejected from the sides of the buildings. An advertisement in The New York Times for the book Painful Questions: An Analysis Of The September 11th Attack made this claim: "The concrete clouds shooting out of the buildings are not possible from a mere collapse. They do occur from explosions." Numerous conspiracy theorists cite Van Romero, an explosives expert and vice president of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, who was quoted on 9/11 by the Albuquerque Journal as saying "there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse." The article continues, "Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures."

FACT: Once each tower began to collapse, the weight of all the floors above the collapsed zone bore down with pulverizing force on the highest intact floor. Unable to absorb the massive energy, that floor would fail, transmitting the forces to the floor below, allowing the collapse to progress downward through the building in a chain reaction. Engineers call the process "pancaking," and it does not require an explosion to begin, according to David Biggs, a structural engineer at Ryan-Biggs Associates and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) team that worked on the FEMA report.

Like all office buildings, the WTC towers contained a huge volume of air. As they pancaked, all that air--along with the concrete and other debris pulverized by the force of the collapse--was ejected with enormous energy. "When you have a significant portion of a floor collapsing, it's going to shoot air and concrete dust out the window," NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder tells PM. Those clouds of dust may create the impression of a controlled demolition, Sunder adds, "but it is the floor pancaking that leads to that perception."

Demolition expert Romero regrets that his comments to the Albuquerque Journal became fodder for conspiracy theorists. "I was misquoted in saying that I thought it was explosives that brought down the building," he tells PM. "I only said that that's what it looked like."

Romero, who agrees with the scientific conclusion that fire triggered the collapses, demanded a retraction from the Journal. It was printed Sept. 22, 2001. "I felt like my scientific reputation was on the line." But emperors-clothes.com saw something else: "The paymaster of Romero's research institute is the Pentagon. Directly or indirectly, pressure was brought to bear, forcing Romero to retract his original statement." Romero responds: "Conspiracy theorists came out saying that the government got to me. That is the farthest thing from the truth. This has been an albatross around my neck for three years."

Seismic Spikes
CLAIM:Seismographs at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., 21 miles north of the WTC, recorded the events of 9/11. "The strongest jolts were all registered at the beginning of the collapses, well before falling debris struck the earth," reports the Web site WhatReallyHappened.com.

A columnist on Prisonplanet.com, a Web site run by radio talk show host Alex Jones, claims the seismic spikes (boxed area on Graph 1) are "indisputable proof that massive explosions brought down" the towers. The Web site says its findings are supported by two seismologists at the observatory, Won-Young Kim and Arthur Lerner-Lam. Each "sharp spike of short duration," says Prisonplanet.com, was consistent with a "demolition-style implosion."

FACT:"There is no scientific basis for the conclusion that explosions brought down the towers," Lerner-Lam tells PM. "That representation of our work is categorically incorrect and not in context."

The report issued by Lamont-Doherty includes various graphs showing the seismic readings produced by the planes crashing into the two towers as well as the later collapse of both buildings. WhatReallyHappened.com chooses to display only one graph (Graph 1), which shows the readings over a 30-minute time span.

On that graph, the 8- and 10-second collapses appear--misleadingly--as a pair of sudden spikes. Lamont-Doherty's 40-second plot of the same data (Graph 2) gives a much more detailed picture: The seismic waves--blue for the South Tower, red for the North Tower--start small and then escalate as the buildings rumble to the ground. Translation: no bombs.

WTC 7 Collapse
CLAIM:Seven hours after the two towers fell, the 47-story WTC 7 collapsed. According to 911review.org: "The video clearly shows that it was not a collapse subsequent to a fire, but rather a controlled demolition: amongst the Internet investigators, the jury is in on this one."

FACT: Many conspiracy theorists point to FEMA's preliminary report, which said there was relatively light damage to WTC 7 prior to its collapse. With the benefit of more time and resources, NIST researchers now support the working hypothesis that WTC 7 was far more compromised by falling debris than the FEMA report indicated. "The most important thing we found was that there was, in fact, physical damage to the south face of building 7," NIST's Sunder tells PM. "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." NIST also discovered previously undocumented damage to WTC 7's upper stories and its southwest corner.

NIST investigators believe a combination of intense fire and severe structural damage contributed to the collapse, though assigning the exact proportion requires more research. But NIST's analysis suggests the fall of WTC 7 was an example of "progressive collapse," a process in which the failure of parts of a structure ultimately creates strains that cause the entire building to come down. Videos of the fall of WTC 7 show cracks, or "kinks," in the building's facade just before the two penthouses disappeared into the structure, one after the other. The entire building fell in on itself, with the slumping east side of the structure pulling down the west side in a diagonal collapse.

According to NIST, there was one primary reason for the building's failure: In an unusual design, the columns near the visible kinks were carrying exceptionally large loads, roughly 2000 sq. ft. of floor area for each floor. "What our preliminary analysis has shown is that if you take out just one column on one of the lower floors," Sunder notes, "it could cause a vertical progression of collapse so that the entire section comes down."

There are two other possible contributing factors still under investigation: First, trusses on the fifth and seventh floors were designed to transfer loads from one set of columns to another. With columns on the south face apparently damaged, high stresses would likely have been communicated to columns on the building's other faces, thereby exceeding their load-bearing capacities.

Second, a fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. "There was no firefighting in WTC 7," Sunder says. Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators. Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. Says Sunder: "Our current working hypothesis is that this pressurized line was supplying fuel [to the fire] for a long period of time."

WTC 7 might have withstood the physical damage it received, or the fire that burned for hours, but those combined factors--along with the building's unusual construction--were enough to set off the chain-reaction collapse.

At 9:37 am on 9/11, 51 minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon was similarly attacked. Though dozens of witnesses saw a Boeing 757 hit the building, conspiracy advocates insist there is evidence that a missile or a different type of plane smashed into the Pentagon.

Big Plane, Small Holes
CLAIM: Two holes were visible in the Pentagon immediately after the attack: a 75-ft.-wide entry hole in the building's exterior wall, and a 16-ft.-wide hole in Ring C, the Pentagon's middle ring. Conspiracy theorists claim both holes are far too small to have been made by a Boeing 757. "How does a plane 125 ft. wide and 155 ft. long fit into a hole which is only 16 ft. across?" asks reopen911.org, a Web site "dedicated to discovering the bottom line truth to what really occurred on September 11, 2001."

The truth is of even less importance to French author Thierry Meyssan, whose baseless assertions are fodder for even mainstream European and Middle Eastern media. In his book The Big Lie, Meyssan concludes that the Pentagon was struck by a satellite-guided missile--part of an elaborate U.S. military coup. "This attack," he writes, "could only be committed by United States military personnel against other U.S. military personnel."

FACT: When American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon's exterior wall, Ring E, it created a hole approximately 75 ft. wide, according to the ASCE Pentagon Building Performance Report. The exterior facade collapsed about 20 minutes after impact, but ASCE based its measurements of the original hole on the number of first-floor support columns that were destroyed or damaged. Computer simulations confirmed the findings.

Why wasn't the hole as wide as a 757's 124-ft.-10-in. wingspan? A crashing jet doesn't punch a cartoon-like outline of itself into a reinforced concrete building, says ASCE team member Mete Sozen, a professor of structural engineering at Purdue University. In this case, one wing hit the ground; the other was sheared off by the force of the impact with the Pentagon's load-bearing columns, explains Sozen, who specializes in the behavior of concrete buildings. What was left of the plane flowed into the structure in a state closer to a liquid than a solid mass. "If you expected the entire wing to cut into the building," Sozen tells PM, "it didn't happen."

The tidy hole in Ring C was 12 ft. wide--not 16 ft. ASCE concludes it was made by the jet's landing gear, not by the fuselage.

Intact Windows
CLAIM:Many Pentagon windows remained in one piece--even those just above the point of impact from the Boeing 757 passenger plane. Pentagonstrike.co.uk, an online animation widely circulated in the United States and Europe, claims that photographs showing "intact windows" directly above the crash site prove "a missile" or "a craft much smaller than a 757" struck the Pentagon.

FACT: Some windows near the impact area did indeed survive the crash. But that's what the windows were supposed to do--they're blast-resistant. [REMAINDER OF THIS SECTION OMITTED HERE.]

Flight 77 Debris
CLAIM:Conspiracy theorists insist there was no plane wreckage at the Pentagon. "In reality, a Boeing 757 was never found," claims pentagonstrike.co.uk, which asks the question, "What hit the Pentagon on 9/11?"

FACT:Blast expert Allyn E. Kilsheimer was the first structural engineer to arrive at the Pentagon after the crash and helped coordinate the emergency response. "It was absolutely a plane, and I'll tell you why," says Kilsheimer, CEO of KCE Structural Engineers PC, Washington, D.C. "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box." Kilsheimer's eyewitness account is backed up by photos of plane wreckage inside and outside the building. Kilsheimer adds: "I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"


REPORTING: Benjamin Chertoff, Davin Coburn, Michael Connery, David Enders, Kevin Haynes, Kristin Roth, Tracy Saelinger, Erik Sofge and the editors of POPULAR MECHANICS.
SOURCES: For a list of experts consulted during the preparation of this article, click here.

PM consulted more than 300 experts and organizations in its investigation into 9/11 conspiracy theories. The following were particularly helpful.

[List omitted here, but a partial list is displayed if you press the "here"button above in the SOURCES line. Alternatively, the list is displayed when you read the first comment to this posting. Consulted experts include Van Romero, Ph.D. vice president, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, whose views conspiracy hoaxers consistently misrepresent.]

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Links To 9/11 Conspiracy Theories and Rebuttals


List of Authorative 9/11 Studies and Reports

This National Institute of Standards and Technology report is the normal STARTING POINT for learning about the World Trade Center attack.

List of Conspiracy Theory Rebuttal Links

Possibly one of the best two 9/11 hoax rebuttal URLs.

Great on Pentagon

These are valuable for learning about hoax motivations.

Great on Pentagon

One of the best Pentagon hoax rebuttal URLs.

WTC7. Very important stuff about usage of PULL IT by NYFD. Also about the magnitude of the fire, good links. This a dialogue between true believers and skeptics.

Although this is a conspiracy-theory site, this page is very interesting on NYFD usage of the word PULL.

SOME GOOD DOWNLOAD SOURCES FOR DAVID RAY GRIFFIN’S MADISON SPEECH, his book The New Pearl Harbor, and The 9/11 Commission Report.

Left click above link for a choice of many downloads of Griffin's Madison speech.

Right click for 29 MB video of Griffin's speech, good for dial-up connection.

Right click for a high-quality 155 MB video of Griffin's speech.

Right click above link for an MP3 audio record of Griffin's speech.

http://www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=535&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0 Right click on above link to download transcript of Griffin's speach, including end-notes. Or left click to view it.

Right clicking on this will download a free copy of The New Pearl Harbor

For downloading or viewing 9/11 Commission Report/Summary


Scientific American on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

There are three types of theories about U.S. Government culpability on 9/11: (1) that our Government orchestrated the terrorist attacks and supported them by destroying buildings with planted explosives or guided missiles; (2) that our Government had adequate warning but deliberately failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the attacks; and (3) that our Government improperly exploited the attacks for political gain and to further ambitions to invade Iraq for oil and military bases.

(One could add to this a fourth speculation—that our Government has been lying to cover up its failure, given sufficient warning, to take adequate measures to prevent the 9/11 attacks. But no speculation is involved here: lying, even by our President before the 9/11 Commission Hearings—which compelled the Commission to hide the lying in its report—has been well documented (Harper’s October 2004 [http://summeroftruth.org/image/whitewash.pdf]).This lying-to-cover-up will be returned to in later postings, for it provides a motive for the Bush administration to covertly promote outlandish hoax theories of type 1 in order to draw attention away from the convincing evidence of its cover-up lying.The type 1 theories, implying that our Government orchestrated the attacks, have been effectively promoted by conspiracy theorists from both the extreme left and the extreme right. These theories have been well received by peace-and-justice groups and websites, causing confusion and dissension in the left. For this reason this blog, The911Debate, will focus mainly on the type 1 theories, implausible as they are, although the other two theories are plausible and type 3 theories have plenty of supporting evidence.

Recently Scientific American has spoken out on the type 1 theories. It’s short article in the "Skeptic" column, excerpts of which appear below, can be expected to become the most influential concise refutation of type 1 theories. It also points to a detailed refutation in the March 2005 Popular Mechanics.

The "SKEPTIC" column in the June 2005 issue of Scientific American[http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000DA0E2-1E15-128A-9E1583414B7F0000]
"Fahrenheit 2777: 9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy theories"
By Michael Shermer

Noted French left-wing activist Thierry Meyssan's 9/11 conspiracy book, L'Effroyable Imposture, became a best-seller in 2002. But I never imagined such an "appalling deception" would ever find a voice in America. At a recent public lecture I was buttonholed by a Michael Moore–wannabe filmmaker who breathlessly explained that 9/11 was orchestrated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Central Intelligence Agency as part of their plan for global domination and a New World Order. That goal was to be financed by G.O.D. (Gold, Oil, Drugs) and launched by a Pearl Harbor–like attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, thereby providing the justification for war. The evidence was there in the details, he explained, handing me a faux dollar bill (with "9-11" replacing the "1," a picture of Bush supplanting that of Washington) chockablock with Web sites.
In fact, if you type "World Trade Center" and "conspiracy" into Google, you'll get more than 250,000 hits. From these sites, you will discover that some people think the Pentagon was hit by a missile; that U.S. Air Force jets were ordered to "stand down" and not intercept Flights 11 and 175, the ones that struck the twin towers; that the towers themselves were razed by demolition explosives timed to go off soon after the impact of the planes; that a mysterious white jet shot down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania, . . . Books also abound, including Inside Job, by Jim Marrs; The New Pearl Harbor, by David Ray Griffin; and 9/11: The Great Illusion, by George Humphrey. The single best debunking of this conspiratorial codswallop is in the March issue of Popular Mechanics[http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html],which provides an exhaustive point-by-point analysis of the most prevalent claims.The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking (as well as creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank theories of physics). All the "evidence" for a 9/11 conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy. . .

No melted steel, no collapsed towers.
For example, according to www.911research.wtc7.net, steel melts at a temperature of 2,777 degrees Fahrenheit, but jet fuel burns at only 1,517 degrees F. No melted steel, no collapsed towers. "The planes did not bring those towers down; bombs did," says www.abovetopsecret.com. Wrong. In an article in the Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society and in subsequent interviews, Thomas Eagar, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains why: steel loses 50 percent of its strength at 1,200 degrees F; 90,000 liters of jet fuel ignited other combustible materials such as rugs, curtains, furniture and paper, which continued burning after the jet fuel was exhausted, raising temperatures above 1,400 degrees F and spreading the inferno throughout each building. Temperature differentials of hundreds of degrees across single steel horizontal trusses caused them to sag—straining and then breaking the angle clips that held the beams to the vertical columns. Once one truss failed, others followed. When one floor collapsed onto the next floor below, that floor subsequently gave way, creating a pancaking effect that triggered each 500,000-ton structure to crumble. . .

All the 9/11 conspiracy claims are this easily refuted. On the Pentagon "missile strike," for example, I queried the would-be filmmaker about what happened to Flight 77, which disappeared at the same time. "The plane was destroyed, and the passengers were murdered by Bush operatives," he solemnly revealed. "Do you mean to tell me that not one of the thousands of conspirators needed to pull all this off," I retorted, "is a whistle-blower who would go on TV or write a tell-all book?" My rejoinder was met with the same grim response I get from UFOlogists when I ask them for concrete evidence: Men in Black silence witnesses, and dead men tell no tales.Michael Shermer is publisher of Skeptic [www.skeptic.com]. His latest book is Science Friction.