The Center for an Informed America

NEWSLETTER #43
Revisiting September 11
The Collapsing Towers
September 28, 2003


[For a more thorough, accurate, and up-to-date report on the collapsing towers, see Newsletter #69, posted in October 2004]

[Tip for readers: open the following link (http://images.indymedia.org/imc/mayday/wtc-7_cbs.mpg) in a new tab/window before you begin reading this. If your computer is as slow as mine, the short video clip will take several minutes to load.]

This is the most recent of several half-hearted attempts that I have made to compose this newsletter. My original goal was to have it finished by September 11, in time for the big anniversary celebration. Everyone else, it seemed, was doing something, so I felt like I should do my part. But with each passing week, it seemed more and more like an exercise in futility.

The truth is that ‘we the people’ have constructed a wall of denial that is nearly impenetrable. We do not want to be told the truth. We want to be lied to. We want to be told big, bold, reckless lies. If we didn't, then Fox News surely would not be the reigning king of cable news. We need the lies to build and maintain the wall of denial.

Not long ago, a bizarrely large percentage of the American people told pollsters that they believed that Iraq was somehow responsible for the September 11 attacks, despite the fact that even the most audacious liars on the Bush team had by then quietly admitted that there is no evidence of Iraqi complicity.

A few months have passed since then and no evidence establishing a link between Iraq and the ‘terrorist’ attacks has surfaced. So where do we now stand? According to the most recent polls, an even higher percentage of the American people (around 70%) now believe that Saddam was behind the carnage of September 11.

It is perfectly obvious that we, as a nation, are in denial. In a big way. We will believe virtually any lie (or at least convince ourselves that we believe), no matter how thoroughly that lie has been discredited, just so long as we do not have to face the undeniable reality that our beloved, peace-loving, law-abiding nation is waging a brutal, illegal, unprovoked and completely unjustified war of aggression.

We refuse to deal with the reality that America is not the hero of this story, even though the evidence is overwhelming. What that evidence says is that we are the aggressors. We are the imperialists. We are the oppressors. We are the occupiers. We are the mass murderers. We are the war criminals.

But to the vast majority of us, that cannot possibly be true. We are (repeat after me) America, land of the free and home of the brave. We do not invade and occupy sovereign nations for the express purpose of exploiting their resources and oppressing their people. We do not slaughter innocents for the financial gain of the Washington elite. There must, therefore, be a righteous reason that we invaded Iraq -- and we are determined to find it.

We need to find it, and then cling to it for dear life, no matter how demonstrably fraudulent it is.

During the build-up to the invasion, we were willing to accept the most amateurishly fabricated evidence of the existence of ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ We would have gratefully welcomed any discovery of such weapons, no matter how obviously staged the 'discovery' would have been. Even without any ‘discoveries,’ even after months of searching, many of us are reluctant to give up our belief in the mythical weapons.

We will continue to believe in nonexistent weapons just as we will continue to believe that most of the Iraqi people are really quite happy to have their country militarily occupied. And we will continue to believe that occupying Iraq somehow makes America a better and safer place to live, just as we will continue to believe that the world becomes a much kinder and gentler place every time America slaughters for profit.

Most of all, we will continue to believe that Iraq sponsored the September 11 attacks, because that belief allows us to construct a false reality in which America did not, in defiance of world opinion, choose to wage an unprovoked war against a nation that posed no threat to anyone. No, in our artificial reality, a benevolent America acted in self-defense against a terrorist-sponsoring regime that had launched a completely unprovoked first-strike against us.

We will believe - indeed, we will warmly embrace - that Orwellian inversion of reality because we lack the courage to take even a cursory look at the alternative. We would rather live in a parallel universe than accept a reality that can no longer be reasonably denied, but which we are terrified to confront.

If we are more than willing to lie to ourselves rather than face the fact that our national leaders are slaughtering innocents abroad, then we will never accept that those same leaders slaughtered some 3,000 of our own native sons and daughters right here on American soil. If we cannot accept that we were sold a manufactured reality in Iraq, then we will certainly never accept that we were sold a manufactured reality on September 11.

Nevertheless, I will, for whatever it's worth, make yet another attempt to convince the true believers in the crowd that the pyrotechnic show staged on September 11, 2001, was, in reality, a Washington production.

Many in the 'skeptics community' have denounced those intrepid souls who have questioned the cause of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, just as they have cast aspersions on those who question whether it was really a commercial airliner that struck the Pentagon. Such lines of inquiry, I am told, "discredit" and "marginalize" the "movement." Better to focus on "legitimate" lines of inquiry, like Washington's failure to act on advance warnings of the coming attacks.

The harsh reality though is that if the only reasonable explanation for the collapse of the towers is that they were brought down in controlled demolitions, then it necessarily follows that the entire operation was an inside job, planned well in advance. Likewise, if the Pentagon was hit by something other than American Airlines Flight 77, then one is again drawn to the conclusion that the September 11 attacks were directed from within.

This is what it looks like when a building is brought down in a controlled demolition. This particular building wasn't burning prior to its collapse, as you can see, so there is less smoke than in those spectacular images that are seared into our collective conscious. But even without the smoke, it looks eerily familiar, doesn't it?


The World Trade Center towers hit the ground, at an estimated 124-miles-per-hour, less than ten seconds after they first began to collapse. They were, in other words, virtually in free-fall. 200,000 tons of steel and nearly 500,000 cubic yards of concrete in free-fall. 10,000,000 square-feet of commercial office space in free-fall. Two 110-story skyscrapers, stretching a quarter-mile into the sky, reduced to 1.8 million tons of debris piled just a few stories high. Two 1,360-foot-tall monoliths pounded into a pile of rubble that stood, at its tallest points, just 60 feet high. In under ten seconds.

What has never been in dispute is that the fall of the south tower (at 9:59 AM, 56 minutes after it had been hit) marked the first time in history that a steel-framed high-rise structure had suffered a total collapse due to fire. In fact, never before had such a building suffered even a partial collapse due to fire. At 10:28 AM, the north tower became only the second steel-framed high-rise structure to suffer a total collapse due to fire.

To explain such a bizarre series of events, media-ordained experts have posited that the photogenic collapses resulted from the unique combination of three factors: the damage inflicted on the towers by the airplane crashes; the damage sustained during the fires; and the unconventional “tubular” design of the buildings.

None of these experts, however, has explained how it is that WTC7 - a conventionally-designed steel-framed high-rise structure that was not hit by a plane - became, at approximately 5:20 PM on September 11, 2001, the third high-rise structure in recorded history to suffer a complete collapse due to fire.

aBuilt in 1985, the building identified as #7 World Trade Center was a modern, 47-story structure that housed 2,000,000 square-feet of commercial office space, much of it occupied by various governmental agencies bearing three-letter acronyms. Though some have suggested that the collapse of WTC7 was due to debris from the falling towers, WTC6, which sat between WTC7 and the towers, somehow managed to avoid a spontaneous collapse that day. WTC7 purportedly burned for hours before collapsing, but the source of the fire remains a mystery, as does the complete failure of the building's modern fire-protection systems. Considering the intense media attention that was focused on lower Manhattan that day, video footage of a burning WTC7 is curiously hard to find. 

The massive structure hit the ground, reduced to a pile of unrecognizable rubble, in approximately 7 seconds. It collapsed into its own footprint with absolutely uncanny precision. It is no accident that the American people, bombarded with images of the collapsing towers, have never seen footage of the collapse of WTC7. It is not possible to watch the videotape and fail to recognize the collapse for what it is: a deliberate, and perfectly executed, controlled implosion. But don't take my word for it -- watch the clip (the one you were supposed to start loading before you began reading this missive: http://images.indymedia.org/imc/mayday/wtc-7_cbs.mpg).

The official explanation for the collapses (of the towers, that is – WTC7 is rarely, if ever, mentioned) is that the steel-and-concrete floor sections, in the areas of the towers damaged by the initial plane crashes, broke free and collapsed upon the floors below, which then in turn broke free and collapsed, creating a “pancake” effect that quickly gained mass and speed. Once the floors broke free, the outer steel shell of the building lost structural integrity and collapsed as well.

There are a few very obvious problems with the 'pancake theory.' First, there is the question of whether fires raged in the towers at sufficient intensity, and for a sufficient amount of time, to cause the failure of the floor trusses. All of the images captured that day show that at the time of the collapses, the towers were billowing copious amounts of thick, black smoke, indicative of low intensity, smoldering office fires. Tapes of firefighters on the scene indicate that there were pockets of low-intensity fire, but no raging infernos capable of causing structural steel elements to fail.

The graphic above, by the way, which is supposed to help the public understand the collapses, indicates that the fires reached "800° C - hot enough to melt steel floor supports." That sounds pretty convincing -- except that steel doesn't actually melt at 800° C (about 1,500° F). Steel melts at about 1,500° C (about 2,750° F).

The 'pancake theory' does not, however, require that fires reached temperatures capable of melting steel. It requires only that temperatures were sufficient to substantially weaken the steel floor supports. A 1500° F fire could conceivably accomplish that, given enough time. But there were no fires of that magnitude that burned for any appreciable length of time.

Another problem with the 'pancake theory' is that it doesn’t address the fate of the cores of the two towers. These cores were massive, self-supporting configurations of 47 concrete-encased steel support columns. Even if we accept that the floor sections ‘pancaked,’ and that the outer shells then buckled and collapsed, we are left with no explanation of what happened to those massive, 1,360-foot-high, concrete-and-steel cores.

As depicted in the previous graphic (the one that claims that steel melts at 1,500° F), the central core appears to be very small in relation to the building, consisting of just a single concrete-encased cluster of four steel beams. Here, for comparison, is an accurately scaled rendering of the 'footprint' of one of the towers.

Notice that the structural core actually occupied a significant portion of each tower's footprint. Notice also that the floors are not wide-open 'pancakes,' as depicted in deceptive graphics distributed by the media. Notice also that the 'pancake theory,' at best, only offers an explanation how the floor and exterior wall sections may have possibly collapsed. Even if such an unlikely event had occurred, the end result would not have been a 60-foot-high mound of rubble, but rather two somewhat narrower, 110-story towers. 

Yet another problem with the ‘pancake’ theory is that it is wholly dependent on a perfectly symmetrical failure of the floor sections, despite the fact that the initial damage to the buildings was clearly asymmetrical, and despite the fact that it is very unlikely that fires burned uniformly throughout the damaged floors.

And yet we know that for the destruction to be complete, the collapse of the initial floors would have had to be perfectly symmetrical; every point of connection around the perimeter of the core, as well as every point of connection around the exterior shell of the building, would have had to fail at precisely the same time. And each successive floor would have had to fail in exactly the same way, unerringly, down the line. When the ‘pancake’ effect has to course through 110 floors, there is little, if any, margin for error. And yet both towers, as we know, 'pancaked' into oblivion in perfectly choreographed collapses.

And they did so in spite of the fact that the south tower, in particular, clearly did not begin to collapse in a symmetrical fashion. To the contrary, it first began to collapse in much the way that one would expect a tower to collapse after an airplane has ripped through one corner of the structure: the entire upper portion of the building, above the point of impact, began to tilt precariously toward the point of structural weakness. That is clearly evident in these two remarkable photographic images, taken at virtually the same time from slightly different vantage points.

Both photos demonstrate that the upper thirty floors of the south tower, still quite intact, were leaning to the left and slightly forward -- in the direction, that is, of the point of impact. This was obviously not the beginning of a symmetrical, 'pancake' collapse; this was the beginning of an old-fashioned "take a whack at the side of a tree with an axe and the top will fall over" type of collapse.

a

How then did it become, literally in the blink of an eye, a perfectly symmetrical collapse?

The answer perhaps lies in a photograph which could only have been taken immediately after the two previous shots. We are now viewing the scene from the opposite side of the towers, but we are clearly still looking at the south tower in those brief moments before its total collapse. And yet something is now quite obviously missing: the enormous, intact chunk of the tower that was about to topple over.

It seems to have simply disappeared in a puff of smoke. After struggling to come up with a reasonable explanation for that anomaly, I settled on the only one that doesn't violate any known laws of physics: a massive explosion. Or, perhaps, a rapid series of synchronized, smaller explosions. But explosions, of course, do not fit well with the official story of the collapse of the towers.

In search of answers to the lingering mysteries of the WTC collapses, I recently tuned in to two television documentaries that promised to provide insight. The first, which aired September 7 on the Discovery Channel, was entitled “Collapse: How the Towers Fell.”

One of the first things that I learned was that the collapses were thoroughly studied by a team assembled jointly by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and FEMA. According to the documentary, investigators spent months picking through the twisted mass of steel that was temporarily sent to a local scrapyard. So exhaustive was the investigation that by the time the team finished its work, as the solemn announcer intoned, “the scrapyard had no more secrets to tell.”

That came as quite a surprise to me. I was, you see, still clinging to the apparently misguided notion that the steel had actually been shipped overseas as scrap almost immediately, preempting any meaningful investigation. I don't know why I remember things differently than the good folks at the Discovery Channel, but it could be because some of us actually took the time to read media reports such as these:

Some 185,101 tons of structural steel have been hauled away from Ground Zero. Most of the steel has been recycled as per the city's decision to swiftly send the wreckage to salvage yards in New Jersey. The city's hasty move has outraged many victims' families who believe the steel should have been examined more thoroughly. Last month, fire experts told Congress that about 80% of the steel was scrapped without being examined...
(New York Daily News, April 16, 2002)

For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car... Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. Except for the marginal benefit obtained from a three-day, visual walk-through of evidence sites conducted by ASCE investigation committee members - described by one close source as a "tourist trip"- no one's checking the evidence for anything.
(Fire Engineering Magazine, January 2002)

Seeing as how 'Ground Zero' was the site of a mass murder, the actions of the federal investigators amounted to the willful, deliberate destruction of evidence in a criminal investigation.

If the collapse of the towers was due to an unprecedented, spontaneous failure of structural components of the buildings, then a full and rigorous investigation would have been mandated so that new construction methods can be implemented in future high-rise projects, and so that existing buildings at risk could be identified.

If, on the other hand, the collapse of the towers was due to strategically placed, synchronized explosive charges, then only the appearance of an investigation would have been necessary, for two rather obvious reasons: (1) those who need to know already know why the towers collapsed; and (2) they don't want anyone else to know why the towers collapsed.

As it has with all aspects of the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration chose to go with the appearance of an investigation, notwithstanding the claims of the Discovery Channel.

So the Discovery Channel, needless to say, wasn't off to a good start. We had barely begun our walk together down memory lane and already they were lying to me. But the program's creators did make one rather remarkable admission: after ominously discussing how jet fuel can burn fiercely, at temperatures approaching 2,000° F, the narrator added a very important "but": but not for very long.

According to the show's experts, fully one-half of the aircraft's fuel burned outside of the tower. The remaining half, which ignited inside the tower, burned up in about eight minutes. And that analysis was based on the first crash, into the north tower. As can be clearly seen in video footage, a much higher percentage of the fuel burned outside the south tower, in the second crash.

If a significant portion of the jet fuel burned outside of the towers, and the remainder burned for just eight minutes, then we are left with the problem of identifying a fuel source that would have allowed the fires to continue burning at the temperatures required to cause the failure of structural steel. In a modern commercial office building, such fuel sources are hard to come by.

The cores of the WTC towers, which contained elevator shafts, stairwells, and mechanical shafts, were constructed largely of concrete and steel. The exterior 'skin' was a lattice work of structural steel elements. The exterior facade was constructed of aluminum and glass. The floor sections were composed of steel trusses radiating like spokes from the core to the exterior shell. The trusses were covered with corrugated steel decking over which was poured lightweight concrete. Interior walls were constructed of light-gauge steel studs and fire-resistant gypsum panels. Ceilings consisted of a steel grid system and fire-resistant mineral fiber panels.

As a general rule, none of those materials provide much fuel for a fire. The only readily available fuel would have been some of the decorative construction materials, like carpet and draperies, and whatever was provided by the building's tenants, primarily office furniture and paper products. Nothing, in other words, that would sustain a fire of sufficient intensity to cause the collapse of the towers.

Still searching for answers, I watched another documentary on the History Channel. On September 8, they served up a two-hour look at the rise and fall of the towers that was titled, appropriately enough, "The World Trade Center: Rise and Fall of an American Icon."

I was optimistic that this special would provide more answers than the Discovery Channel's offering. The write-up that the show received in the TV Times had set the bar pretty high:

As horrifying as it was to watch, the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was amazing for the fact that the twin towers fell straight down instead of going sideways -- undoubtedly preventing many more fatalities. This two-hour special takes a clinical approach to examining the structure's design.
Here was a television program that was going to explain an "amazing" fact about the collapse of the World Trade Center towers that, amazingly enough, no one had ever before admitted was the least bit amazing. Judging by the coverage that the collapse of the towers has received, you would think that all tall buildings collapse "straight down." But not so, the History Channel was admitting. The WTC case was a rather unusual one.

I was eager to hear the explanation. After watching the program, I still am.

There were other things that the show's producers felt had to be covered first. There was a brief history of high-rise construction. There was a brief history of the design and construction of the twin towers. But mostly there were the heartbreaking tales told by the families of victims, the epic tales of heroic rescue workers and firemen, and the panicked recollections of the survivors. All of that took about 1:45 of the 2:00 running-time of the show.

The focus on the human drama was clearly intended to manipulate viewers' emotions. The special did not, as advertised, take "a clinical approach" to examining the collapse of the towers, but rather tried to mask the absence of a critical examination with an emotional appeal. Nevertheless, a few intriguing facts emerged.

A Colonel John O'Dowd, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, shared an interesting observation with the filmmakers. O'Dowd, who is no stranger to disaster scenes, had never seen anything like what he saw at the site where the towers had once stood. "At the World Trade Center sites," he said, "it seemed like everything was pulverized." There was nothing recognizable in the debris -- nothing to indicate that that pulverized debris had been, just seconds earlier, a functioning 10,000,000-square-foot office building.

O'Dowd had been present at the scene of the partially collapsed Oklahoma City federal building. Though the collapse of the Murrah building was definitely facilitated by one or more powerful explosive charges, the debris from that collapse was not pulverized to the degree that it was at the site of the WTC towers. And the towers, according to the official story, were acted upon by nothing more than the effects of fire and gravity.

Another interesting fact that was revealed by the History Channel is that the entire twenty-third floor of WTC7 was a state-of-the-art command center, reportedly set up by Mayor Giuliani. The center was designed to serve as a base of operations during times of crisis. On September 11, 2001, the command center was monitoring the situation in lower Manhattan -- until personnel there received an order to evacuate. One official told the filmmakers: "to this day, we don't know who gave that order."

They don't know who gave that order?! The city's command center, the entity set up to advise others how to proceed in times of crisis, was itself ordered to shut down, and they don't know who gave that order?! The command center was shut down in the middle of the worst crisis the city had ever faced, and everyone staffing that center obediently left the building, based on an order of indeterminate origin?

Call me a skeptic if you must, but I find that rather hard to believe. I also find it hard to believe that three enormous commercial office buildings spontaneously collapsed, each into its own footprint, in a single eight-hour period. Most of all, I find it hard to believe that the American people cannot snap out of their collective stupor long enough to realize that the official story of the collapse of the twin towers cannot possibly be true.

Even if we accept that fires raged in the towers with enough intensity to cause the spontaneous failure of structural steel elements, and we accept that those elements failed in a uniform, symmetrical manner, and we simply ignore the fact that the cores of the towers were inexplicably pulverized, we still are left with no explanation of how WTC7 - which did not have an open floor plan that could have rendered it susceptible to 'pancaking,' and which was not hit by a fuel-laden airplane - imploded in exactly the same manner as the towers, and on the very same day.

If the World Trade Center towers were brought down with explosives, then an extensive amount of advance work had to be done to wire the buildings. Such an operation would have had to be run through the Center's security apparatus, since that is the entity given unrestricted access to the buildings, and, of equal importance, the entity with the authority to restrict the access of others.

A business entity now known as Stratesec, Inc. began performing security work at the Center in 1993. In 1996, Stratesec, then known as Securacom, was awarded an exclusive contract to provide security for the World Trade Center complex. Stratesec/Securacom also provided security for United Airlines and Dulles International Airport.

Sitting on Stratesec's board of directors, from the time the company began working at the WTC, was a major shareholder by the name of Marvin Bush. Marvin, like Jeb and Neil, is a brother of George W. Bush. Small world, isn't it?


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