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Thursday, March 23, 2006

NOT the last word on controlled demolitions

My readers were kind enough to respond to my post describing my discomfort with the theory that planted bombs brought down World Trade Center 7 and perhaps the Twin Towers. (Scroll down.) My response to (most of) these responses may be of sufficient interest to justify a new post.

1. "Annealing is done to soften steel, which does not necessarily cause it to lose much of its strength."

After exposure to temperatures well below 1500 degrees, a rasp can be shaped into something non-raspy. Many believe that the "transfer truss" design is inherently unstable under the best of circumstances. How much loss of strength is necessary to bring ruin to a design which was poor to begin with?

2. "I'll note that though some firemen claimed there was structural damage to the building, AFAIK none of them claimed there were diesel-fueled fires."

I didn't know that firemen in the process of fighting a fire usually offered opinions as to what caused the blaze.

3. "A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts studied steel samples from WTC7 and were quite mystefied by their "evaporation" from a high-temperature sulfidative attack. WPI still has an article on its web site "The Deep Mystery of the Melted Steel." The researchers could not explain the source of the sulfur..."

If the Worcester Polytechnic Institute is puzzled by the presence of sulfur, I suppose I ought to be as well. Even so, this laymen would like to remind you of the presence of 109,000 gallons of oil, and that the type of oil used in the generation of electricty has (as a little googling will tell you) a notable sulfur content which would be dispersed into the air as the oil burns.

From the WPI's introduction to the "Mystery of the Melted Steel" study: ""The important questions," says Biederman, "are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from? The answer could be as simple--and this is scary--as acid rain."

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

4. "Your use of the interchange between Silverstein and the fire chief is itself a quote out of context. We don't have any record, as far as I'm aware, of what conversations Silverstein and the fire department had before that..."

I did quote in context. For quite a while now, bomb buffs have referenced that Silverman quote as though it were the holy effing grail. Now that I've pointed out that this quote doesn't mean what the buffs THINK it means, they say: "Pfft. His words are unimportant."

C'mon, guys. Play fair. This isn't Calvinball -- you can't change the rules as you go along.

5. "Joseph, can you actually find us evidence of an explosion that brought WTC7 down?"

By which you mean, I presume, an explosion involving the deisel tanks. In the first place, the burden of proof is on those positing a conspiracy. (I accept this challenge speaking as one who has posited a few conspiracies in his time.) Second, photographs show that fire broke out on the very floors where deisel tanks were stored. Coincidence?

6. "There is a lot of buzz here in NYC, because major local media are actually beginning to take 9/11 truth issues seriously."

Good. Maybe folks will start to ask about some of the real issues: Who is Magdy El-Amir? Who is Wally Hilliard? Why were the hijackers visiting those SunCruz boats?

But if the focus remains on this bombs-in-the-buildings crap, then I despair. Numbers of believers do not make a proposition true. If 75% of the public believes that a flying saucer crashed at Roswell, does that mean a saucer crashed at Roswell?

7. Every time I ask the "Why bother?" question, the answer comes down to this: "More psychological oomph. People would not have gotten really, really, REALLY scared unless they saw buildings fall."

Cah-mon, folks. Do you really expect me to believe that this posited "oomph" factor justified the drain on the economy and the loss of life?

Okay. Let us posit that someone -- call him Mr. Evil -- pushed a button and set off bombs in the south tower (the first building to go). Why didn't he wait until the building was evacuated?

A conspiracist might answer: "Because it was important to maximize the loss of life! He needed to SCARE people! Oomph! They needed lots of OOMPH!"

Okay. But if that "oomph" factor made it so bloody important to maximize the loss of life and scare people, why didn't Mr. Evil make BOTH buildings go down at once? Why wait until the north tower was evacuated?

"Um...maybe he was SOMEWHAT evil but not TOTALLY evil? Maybe he needed just a certain degree of OOMPH but not too much OOMPH?"

Yes, I know that I've argued with a straw man, which is, I suppose, a very presidential thing to do. I doubt that any real life debater will be able to make the scenario more convicing to me.

I'm trying to figure out how to say this and be civil:

If you think the tower expostions, and free fall were caused by jetliners and fuel, and theories of melting, strength-compromised steel, I have to re-evaluate my whole universe. I gave you more credit. I not saying I know what kind of explosives or energy forces were used. However, the idea that 1,2, or 7 came down based on any of the NIST, 9/11 Commission / MIT, etc. theories is so patently false that you could not have studied the matter much as still believe the nonsense.
I wholeheartedly agree with bg. Wally hilliard, Atta's sister/gilfriend/father/whatever, Abramoff with his Suncruz casinos may be part of the story. But first throw away the pretense that you could make the scope of 9/11 visible by following corruption and money. That won't work. Accept that the central tenet of the official 9/11 sory is false, or keep on hunting son-of-lee-harvey-oswald-stories. The latter won't convince anyone.
You are the ones who have bought into the snake oil, friends.

I've probably been following the parapolitcal underground longer than you have, and there's one thing I learned long ago: The "alternative" theories you HEAR about, the ones that receive the biggest push, are the ones least likely to be true.

The right pushed (and still pushes) the "Castro hit JFK" theory. The HSCA pushed the "Mob killed JFK" theory. Jack Anderson once devoted a national broadcast to the loopy proposition that Castro brainwashed mobsters to kill JFK.

"Bombs in the buildings" belongs in the same category.

Have you seen the best of the old-line spook-watchers or JFK researchers join the "bomb brigade"? Peter Dale Scott, Jim Hougan, Gaeton Fonzi, Martin Lee, Kevin Coogan, David Guyatt, Robin Ramsey, etc. etc. There's a whole bunch of guys out there who have been around the block more than once and who know their parapolitical what's what. Guys from the old school. None of them have endorsed this nonsense.

Who IS in the bomb brigade? People I have never heard of before. Religious types. Right-wing Illuminati-spotters like David Icke. People who endorsed all the loopy anti-Clinton conspiracy theories in the 1990s. Sorry; not my crowd.

It gets worse. Do you know who has been funding the "bomb brigade"? Adnan Khashoggi, a name that ought to ring alarm bells. Go here:

And here:
I must partially correct myself. In the above comment, I said that Peter Dale Scott did not endorse the controlled demolition theory. In his review of the 911 Commission Report, Professor Scott gave that theory a lengthy and respectful mention (at least insofar as it impacts WTC7), although he stopped short of endorsing it. Of course, one would expect a former diplomat to put things diplomatically.
Comeon Joe!

Here are two facts:

1: No steel building has ever collapsed from fire. Not one, in the entire history of skyscrapers, not one.

2: Hundreds of buildings have collapsed to the ground in a manner almost identical to the 3 collapsed buildings that day. Every one of them was by controlled demolition.

Those are the facts.
buildings don't fall at freefall speeds unless you "pull" them ,what you smokin'
I'm still sitting on that effing fence about 9/11, Joseph, but I'll tell you what--everything the government says today is either an outright lie or spun so severely it qualifies as one.

So, yeah. I want what Charlie Sheen, and the families of the victims, do, which is an honest investigation that doesn't rely on "appointed" investigators.

It's not that you're necessarily wrong about 9/11. It's that you are wrong in trying to sidetrack such an investigation. Don't you realize that you sound like one of those Bush supporters who keeps insisting that the exit polls were wrong, and that there couldn't have been any electoral fraud, so we don't need to listen to those conspiracy theorists who say that there was?
Ok, Joseph. Put that rasp in your grill for a couple of hours and then try to break it in half. That's what you're trying to make us believe.
I have no interest in preventing an investigation. I argue that there are a lot of things genuinely worthy of investigation. For example, look at John Newman has to say here:

Now THAT'S something real. But there is a Gresham's law of research into these matters, where the bad shoves out the good.

It's like this. ABout 12 years ago, a creep named Milton William Cooper went around showing a degraded, colorized version of the Zapruder film and told audience that it showed JFK being shot by his driver. It was pure bullshit, and the people who had been researching the assassination for ages knew it was bullshit. But when they dared to say "bullshit" out loud, Cooper accused them of being part of the cover-up.

It's a classic disinformation tactic, and it will -- I guarantee you -- see usage every time an event of this sort takes place. If you divert everyone's attention into ONE questionable theory -- and then, in some public forum, you demonstrate that this theory is wrong -- the general public will presume that ALL alternative thought on that subject is bogus. That's why Khashoggi is funding the "bomb brigade."

I am not the one trying to sidetrack an investigation. The bomb boys are the ones trying to do that -- using a well-known disinfo tactic. Trouble is, you youngsters are so new to parapolitics that you can't yet recognise these tactics.

I realize it is difficult to admit that you've been had once you've bought into the lie. But that's what has happened to you, folks.

Brief responses to a couple of points raised:

1. The high-rise fires usually mentioned by the bomb-brigadiers occurred in buildings that did not have similar construction to WTC7. Find me an example of a fire in a massive building using transfer trusses over a huge open space covering 35-foot high transformers and 109,000 gallons of oil, which was probably on fire.

2. Put that rasp in a grill and make it bear weight. See how long it lasts. FEMA will always be loathe to blame the transfer truss design because that will raise questions about every building using such devices.

3. You people STILL cannot cobble together anything like a reasonable answer on the "Why bother with bombs?" question. I'm sorry, but we need some sort of conceptual framework as to why anyone would do such a thing before we even start to go down this road. Re-read my last point in the main post. If you can come up with better responses than my imaginary "conspriacy theorist" does, let me know!
Sorry; the article referneced above is related to Newman's observations, but for his actual piece, you should go here:|Omissions
FEMA will always be loathe to blame the transfer truss design because that will raise questions about every building using such devices.

Hmm, this sounds to me a conpirational theory par excellence. Why would FEMA do that? Why would NIST do that? They are not responsible for WTC1/2/7's design, are they?

Ockhams razor makes controlled demolition the best possibility. To me at least.
Let's apply Ockham's razor.

Why did the government want to knock down the buildings? To provide justification to go to war in Afghanistan? Iraq?

Hmm, you would think that if you wanted to do that you would plant a bomb with traceable materials to afghanistan and iraq. Surely someone sneaky enough to fake out the entire world with a jet crash is smart and skilled enough to make a concrete provable link via material evidence.

ockham's razor suggests there was no bomb.
Why would FEMA be less than happy about the idea of telling the public that a certain type of building design may be less safe than thought? For the same reason authorities don't to admit that the evidence tends to show that cancer clusters exist near power lines. Lawsuits galore.

So you think Sir William of Ockham would have had no problem with the idea of covert operators taking enormous risks of discovery in order to plant explosive charges in a building, even though taking it down served no discernable purpose? I think his razor cuts differently.
I value Joseph's analytic astuteness & justified concern that those of us skeptical of conventional delusions don't attract ridicule by falling for disinformation planted by the establishment. I'd propose a hypothesis as a variation on "controlled demolition" that is consistent with major government cover-up of incompetence, but does not imply collusion with whatever organization planned 9-11.

As an engineer in the military space business, I find it entirely plausible that after the nearly successful attack on WTC in 93 with explosives, mangement concern about another such attack causing "collateral damage" to other buildings from toppled WTC towers might have led them to install a system of "controlled destruct" charges in those buildings. The new safety option would be exercised if a WTC building were seriously damaged with explosives at ground or subterrainian level and all attempts to evacuate surviving building occupants had been made. Obviously, there would be a need to keep the controlled destruct mode highly secret, otherwise terrorists would try to find ways of activating that mode themselves.

In the case of the actual 9-11 events, there are multiple hypotheses of how the "controlled destruct" might have been activated. The most benign one for towers 1 & 2 is that damage from the aircraft impacts eventually spread enough to initiate the detonations. A less benign yet still defensible reason would be that the authorities in charge of the emergency decided that the danger to people & property outside the buildings was greater than the cost of sacrificing those still inside the buildings, and they consciously pulled the switch on the command destruct system. Any further hypotheses about local or federal collusion with the intent of the terrorist attackers is not ruled out, but merely relegated to the category of highly unlikely or a probable disinformation ploy by authorities to make any questioning of the official version of events appear on the lunatic fringe.
You really need to reconsider your thinking on this. In the first place, for the building to have fallen in the manner it did (rapidly and into its own footprint) ALL of the internal steel supports would have to have failed simultaneously. Otherwise the building would not have collapsed neatly into its own footprint. That is simple physics.

Where there's smoke there's fire. A fire big enough to cause a structural failure of the magnitude needed to bring WTC 7 down in the manner of a controlled demolition would have created a lot more smoke than is seen in any of the videos which document the demise of this building.

Finally, look at the pictures of the building as it is coming down. If your theory that burning diesel caused catastrophic structural failure is correct then the interior of the building would have to have been engulfed in flames from the ground to the top floor in order to cause a complete failure of the internal steel structure. There is no sign that the building was engulfed in flames to the extent that would have been necessary to cause structural failure, let alone sufficient to cause simultaneous failure of all of the structural steel. The chances of that happening are infinitessimal.

I don't buy into many of the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, but there is something very fishy about the destruction of WTC 7.

KMSOR, Oregon
I agree that pursuing Hilliard and el-Amir are probably more important. So why don't you fly to FL and NJ and do it? Since my expertise is in science and construction, I contribute where I can.

As to the oomph, let me offer this:

Why didn't Dr. Evil wait until the south tower was evacuated? The fire was going out. Chief Palmer reported from the impact zone that there were only a couple of "pockets" of "isolated" fires. There was no basis for evacuating the building. How long would Dr. Evil have to wait? And how would anybody believe that a jet fuel inferno brought the tower down if the fires went out by themselves before the collapse?

The fact is, Dr. Evil chose to minimize the loss of life, which points AWAY from al Qaeda. Why did they attack before the building filled at 9:00? Why did they use planes with few

As to motive, read Dr. Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor (available online here: )

Not only did PNAC want to invade Iraq, the desire for an expensive space weapons program was another motive. Rummy had reported on 9/10/01 (the story got lost in subsequent events) that the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion in expenditures. Asking for a raise in the allowance after such an announcement would have been crazy.

#2. AFAIK no fireman fighting a fire opined on the causes. After the fact, senior FDNY personnel reported structural damage to WTC7. NIST has seized upon this to explain the collapse, claiming a 10-story gash that took out 1/4 of the depth of the building. There are no photos of this gash, and the FEMA/ASCE report ignored these reports, preferring the theory that fires caused the collapse, even though they could not explain the mechanism.

#4 You can't change the rules-- well I came along late, and I've never been terribly
impressed by Silverstein's comment and I resent being bound by rules I wasn't part of setting. I'm more impressed by the fact that the steel was shipped off to China post haste
by a former federal prosecutor who should have known better than to destroy evidence.

Anon 1:09's theory that officials detonated explosives to keep the building from toppling is an interesting one. Another theory suggests that al Qaeda operatives planted the bombs,
having rented office space in the buildings. In either case, the gov't would cover up the fact of the explosions to avoid embarrassment.
discernable purpose?

a) How about getting rid of the asbestos that otherwise would have cost $millions to remove?

b) How about Silverstein collecting on his insurance (and trying to collect double since each airplane was a separate terrorist act?)

c) How about a massive psy-ops to terrorize the American people into agreeing into any un-American plan that was suggested from on high - SHOCK AND AWE, ANYONE?

d) or how about all of the above?

Are those discernable purposes? I was able to discern them.

A third significant anomaly has not been discussed, let alone acknowledged: the reporting by the major US TV news networks in the first hours few hours immediately after the attacks.


1. MSNBC presented an elaborately detailed story about the lifestyle and anti-US philosophy of Osama bin Laden - while both towers were still burning and long before Bin Laden had been accused by anyone.

2. Fox News featured a "man in the street" eye witness who explained in strangely formal language the science behind why the towers collapsed when most engineers and firemen were utterly baffled and in shock by what had just taken place.

3. CBS featured a Bush administration insider (and not identified as such) as a guest who actively worked to dissuade Dan Rather (and viewers) from speculating that there must have been explosive charges placed in the buildings for them to have collapsed the way they did.

How was it that these stories - based on no fact, no research and no inquirry - appeared in full blown form so quickly on US news networks and then became part of the core myths of what happened on 9/11?

Were these stories prepared in advance?

There's an old intelligence saying that "once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action."
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