U.S. moves to debunk
'alternative theories' on Sept. 11 attacks
Jim Dwyer The New York Times | September 2 2006
Comment: Although this piece still
misses the mark - we have covered how and when the explosives could
have been placed within the towers, it fails to address building 7,
and the people who do not believe the government's official story are
in the majority, not the minority - it is indicative of how far the
9/11 truth movement has come. For the NEW YORK TIMES to cover in depth
the controlled demolition theories is a great achievement for the movement
on the whole.
Faced with an angry minority of people
who believe the Sept. 11 attacks were part of a shadowy and sprawling
plot run by Americans, separate reports were published this week by
the State Department and a federal science agency insisting that the
catastrophes were caused by hijackers who used commercial airliners
The official narrative of the attacks has been attacked as little more
than a cover story by an assortment of radio hosts, academics, amateur
filmmakers and others who have spread their arguments on the Internet
and cable television in America and abroad. As a motive, they suggest
that the Bush administration wanted to use the attacks to justify military
action in the Middle East.
Most elaborately, they propose that the collapse of the World Trade
Center was actually caused by explosive charges secretly planted in
the buildings, rather than by the destructive force of the airliners
that thundered into the towers and set them ablaze.
The government reports and officials say the demolition argument is
utterly implausible on a number of grounds. Indeed, few proponents of
the explosives theory are willing to venture explanations of how daunting
logistical problems would be overcome, such as planting thousands of
pounds of explosives in busy office towers.
Nevertheless, federal officials say they moved to affirm the conventional
history of the day because of the persistence of what they call "alternative
theories." On Wednesday, the National Institute of Standards and
Technology issued a seven-page study based on its earlier 10,000-page
report on how and why the trade center collapsed. The full report, released
a year ago, and the synopsis, in a question and answer format, are available
online at http://wtc.nist.gov.
About a dozen researchers produced the new study over the last two months
by assembling material from the longer report that addressed the conspiracy
"With the fifth anniversary coming up, there seemed to be more
play for the alternative viewpoints," said Michael Newman, a spokesman
for the institute. "We have received e-mails and phone calls asking
us to respond to these theories, and we felt that this fact sheet was
the best means of doing so."
A nationwide poll taken earlier this summer by the Scripps Survey Research
Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of those surveyed
said the federal government either took part in the attacks or allowed
them to happen. And 16 percent said the destruction of the trade center
was aided by explosives hidden in the buildings. The survey questioned
1,010 adults by telephone and had a margin of sampling error of plus
or minus four percentage points. Details are available at http://newspolls.org.
The demolition theory has managed to endure what would seem to be enormous
obstacles to its practicality. Controlled demolition is done from the
bottom of buildings, not the top, to take advantage of gravity, and
there is little dispute that the collapse of the two towers began high
in the towers, in the areas where the airplanes struck.
Moreover, a demolition project would have required the walls of the
towers to be opened on dozens of floors, followed by the insertion of
thousands of pounds of explosives, fuses and ignition mechanisms, all
sneaked past the security stations, inside hundreds of feet of walls
on all four faces of both buildings. Then the walls presumably would
have been closed up.
All this would have had to take place without attracting the notice
of any of the thousands of tenants and workers in either building; no
witness has ever reported such activity. Then on the morning of Sept.
11, the demolition explosives would have had to withstand the impacts
of the airplanes, since the collapse did not begin for 57 minutes in
one tower, and 102 minutes in the other.
Those who believe in the demolition theory remain unpersuaded by government
statements new or old, and the officials who issued the would-be rejoinders
say they are not surprised.
"We realize that this fact sheet won't convince those who hold
to the alternative theories that our findings are sound," Newman
said. "In fact, the fact sheet was never intended for them. It
is for the masses who have seen or heard the alternative theory claims
and want balance."
Newman was correct that the institute's reports would not convert those
who favor the demolition theories, said Kevin Ryan, who is the coeditor
of an online publication, www.journalof911studies.com, that has published
much of the material arguing that the government's accounts are false.
"The list of answers NIST has provided is generating more questions,
and more skepticism, than ever before," Ryan said.
Newman said, "NIST respects the opinions of others who do not agree
with the findings in its report on the collapses of WTC1 and WTC2."
The State Department report, which officials said was written independently
of the NIST synopsis, is titled, "The Top Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theories"
and says, "Numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the Sept.
11 attacks continue to circulate, especially on the Internet."
Produced by an arm of the State Department known as a "counter-misinformation
team," the report is dated Aug. 28 and appears as a special feature
on the department's Web site, at http://usinfo.state.gov/media/misinformation.html.
The report brought to light one little-known detail about the morning:
a private demolition monitoring firm, Protec Documentation Services,
had seismographs at several construction sites in Lower Manhattan and
Those machines documented the tremors of the falling towers, but captured
no ground vibrations before the collapses from demolition charges or
bombs, according to a separate report by Brent Blanchard, the director
of field operations for Protec. It is available online at www.implosionworld.com.
Asked for comment, Ryan said that his online 911 journal would soon
publish an article on those seismic recordings. He also maintained that
the Protec paper did not adequately address why puffs of smoke were
seen being expelled from some of the floors. However, the federal investigators
said that about 70 percent of a building's volume consists of air, and
what looked like puffs of smoke were jets of air - and dust - that were
pushed ahead of the collapse.
Among those now propelling the argument that explosives took down the
trade center is Steven Jones, a physics professor at Brigham Young University,
coeditor with Ryan of www.journalof911studies.com, which published his
paper, "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Completely
Collapse on 9-11-2001?"
In an e-mail message Thursday, Jones did not explain how so much explosive
could have been positioned in the two buildings without drawing attention.
"Others are researching the maintenance activity in the buildings
in the weeks prior to 9/11/2001," he wrote.
He said his investigation was finding fluorine and zinc in metal debris
and dust gathered from near the trade center site, and argued that those
elements should not have been found in the building compounds. "We
are investigating the possibility of thermite-based arson and demolition,"
he wrote, referring to compounds that, under controlled circumstances,
can cut through steel.
The federal investigators at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology state that enormous quantities of thermite would have to
be applied to the structural columns to damage them. Not so, said Jones;
he reported that he and others were investigating "superthermite."
Jones also argues that the molten steel found in the rubble was evidence
of demolition explosives because an ordinary airplane fire would not
generate enough heat. He cited photographs of construction equipment
removing debris that appeared to be red.
In rebuttal, Blanchard of Protec said that if there had been any molten
steel in the rubble, it would have permanently damaged any excavation
equipment encountering it. "As a fundamental point, if an excavator
or grapple ever dug into a pile of molten steel heated to excess of
2000 degrees Fahrenheit, it would completely lose its ability to function,"
Blanchard wrote. "At a minimum, the hydraulics would immediately
fail and its moving parts would bond together or seize up."
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