Some readers get angry when I denounce the "semi-official" conspiratorialist view of the World Trade Center tragedy. They believe that my dismissal of the bombs-in-the-buildings scenario amounts to a blinkered acceptance of the Bush administration's pronouncements.
In my view, this emphasis on controlled demolitions diverts us from matters which truly merit investigation, such as Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff's ties to an accused Al Qaida financer, or the possible links between Bin Laden and intelligence-connected drug routes. These areas of research remain under-discussed. Meanwhile, the "bomb brigade" includes some of the loudest loudmouths on the internet.
Alas, actor Charlie Sheen has joined their company.
His eyewitness description of 9/11 is worth reading
. Nevertheless, I feel that he has bought into some misleading information:
Regarding building 7, which wasn't hit by a plane, Sheen highlighted the use of the term "pull," a demolition industry term for pulling the outer walls of the building towards the center in an implosion, as was used by Larry Silverstein in a September 2002 PBS documentary when he said that the decision to "pull" building 7 was made before its collapse. This technique ensures the building collapses in its own footprint and can clearly be seen during the collapse of building 7 with the classic 'crimp' being visible...
"The term 'pull' is as common to the demolition world as 'action and 'cut' are to the movie world," said Sheen.
Let's look at what Larry Silverstein actually said... (To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)This is from an Alex Jones web page:
In a September 2002 PBS documentary called 'America Rebuilds,' Silverstein states, in reference to World Trade Center Building 7, "I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."In context, the true meaning of Silverstein's report is clear. Firemen were inside the building trying to save it. Silverstein didn't want them to risk their lives. Better, he felt, to give the building up for lost -- to pull it down and build anew. The phrase "maybe the smartest thing to do" indicates a decision made on the spot -- a decision made by firemen ("they made the decision"), not by Silverstein and not by any band of conspirators. Nothing in this quote indicates a pre-arranged plan to pull the building that day. Nothing in this quote specifies that the building fell because it was "pulled."
As Oscar Wilde noted: "Quotation may be slander/If you gerrymander." This particular gerrymandered quotation represents just one of the ways the bomb theorists have misled the public.
Here's another commonly heard misconception: "Steel melts at 2800 degrees Fahrenheit; the fire caused by the exploding jet fuel could not have reached that temperature." Other sources give 1500 degrees.
My response comes in the form of what may seem a rather odd question: Did you know that you can make your own dagger? People do it all the time. They buy steel rasps (files) from the hardware store, and then they "cook" them in a fireplace or over the coals of an outdoor barbecue. This process is called annealing, and it is the first step in making the steel workable. I do not know how hot an outdoor barbecue gets, but I feel fairly sure that the temperature stays somewhere below 2800 degrees.
Point being: A piece of steel loses structural integrity at a much lower degree than is necessary to turn it into a running liquid.
For a while now, I've threatened to post an unpublished piece I wrote in early 2003 on the WTC7 collapse. Here are a few selections, detailing facts which the "bomb boys" don't want you to know:
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In 1998, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani situated his Emergency Operations Center -- headquarters of the Office of Emergency Management -- on the 23rd floor. To provide this command post with power even if the rest of the city went dark, he arranged for the installation of a 6000 gallon fuel tank. According to New York City fire codes, such a unit must rest at or below ground level, encased in concrete. Technically, the tank was on the ground floor – although much depends upon how one defines the term: It sat atop a 15 foot pedestal, in order to escape possible flooding. Nobody knows if the fireproofed enclosure was adequate, or if the shock of the nearby collapses caused a rupture....
7 World Trade Center hid other diesel caches. Just below ground on the southwest side, four tanks held an astounding 36,000 gallons. Pipes connected this fuel to three 275 gallon tanks on the fifth, seventh and eight floors -- the same general area first hit by the fire, as documented by the photographic record. These smaller tanks, in turn, fed generators that serviced various tenants...
An engine from the first plane sailed through the South Tower and described, in its path of descent, an arc that took it very near Building 7. The engine finally landed on the street behind 7 World Trade Center. The other engine, or a flaming chunk of the South Tower, might well have sailed into the building itself. Granted, I’ve seen no photographic evidence of an "entrance wound," but, as the axiom has it, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. After scouring the web and flipping through many photo books, I have yet to find a single clear, detailed image showing what the key areas of building 7 looked like before 9:55. Cameramen focused on buildings one and two, while the eight-story tall 6 World Trade Center did much to obscure the lower region of its 47-floor sibling.
Within that structure, pipes carried diesel from the massive ground floor units up to the smaller tanks on floors five, seven and eight, where fire broke out. Any fiery rupture of that piping could have ignited the upper fuel deposits. (Alternatively, an aircraft engine could have struck one of the tanks directly.) If gas flowing within that pipe turned to flame, the 36,000 gallon underground tanks might have ignited, and one can easily guess how the resulting explosion would have affected both the lobby area and the Mayor’s cache of emergency fuel. In all, 7 World Trade Center hosted some 43,000 gallons of diesel -- perhaps more, if the CIA maintained its own fuel supply, as some believe that agency did. This potential explosive power far exceeded that of the bomb Timothy McVeigh (and friends?) stuffed into their infamous Ryder truck.
Irving Cantor, the engineer initially baffled by the fall of the edifice he had helped create, accepted the preliminary findings of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA pointed an accusing finger at the diesel tanks, which did not feature in the original plans.
Although this scenario explains how the tower became an inferno, we still have no answer for the most important question: How did fire bring about the collapse of Building 7? In theory, skyscrapers should withstand an uncontrolled blaze.
If you have ever stepped inside a large open space within the ground floors of a tall building, you may have wondered how such a vast expanse could support the floors above. Architects use huge steel beams known as transfer trusses to distribute the weight – and such trusses played a major role in the construction of 7 World Trade Center. The design had to enclose ten previously-existing, 35-foot tall power transformers, much as one might use a paper cup to cover a ping pong ball. These transformers contained 109,000 gallons of oil, adding even more potential fuel to the fire. The transfer trusses over the power stations ran through floors five, six and seven; the fire-resistant spray-on coating on these beams probably crumbled when the nearby collapses shook the area. Fire weakened the trusses, and the weight of 30-odd floors brought the building down.
(By comparison, a foot-thick sheath of protective tile surrounded the steel support beams within 90 West Street, the 1907 structure which remained standing even when gutted by fire. Modern builders consider tile too heavy and too expensive for fire retardation purposes.)
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End of self-quotation. I would argue that a similar situation contributed to the downfall of towers 1 and 2, both of which suffered from poor design and inadequate fireproofing. The gas lines running throughout the buildings may well explain the anecdotal reports of explosions.
As I've said more than once, the allegations of a controlled demolition rest upon an absurd premise. Setting up such a demolition is an ostentatious, laborious process; covert operatives running bombs into the building would have run a great risk of discovery.
Why would anyone have bothered? The image of airliners hitting the towers provided all the casus belli needed for any devious plan the neocons wanted to put into action.
I've asked this question numerous times, and have yet to receive an answer that I found even partially persuasive.