The American Society of Civil Engineers - an organization that was funded by FEMA to investigate the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11 - has been accused of engaging in a cover-up to protect the government, with critics charging the organization falsified conclusions that skyscrapers could not withstand getting hit by airplanes.
The group has been forced to convene an investigative panel which could lead to a suspension in government funding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid the group about $257,000 to investigate the World Trade Center collapse and their report was released in 2002.
In an attempt to explain away the complete implosion of the twin towers shortly after the planes hit, the study concluded that skyscrapers were not designed to withstand jetliner impacts, a claim completely disproved by historical studies and contemporary investigations.
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"Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a structural engineer and forensics expert, contends his computer simulations disprove the society's findings that skyscrapers could not be designed to withstand the impact of a jetliner," reports the Associated Press.
"Astaneh-Asl, who received money from the National Science Foundation to investigate the collapse, insisted most New York skyscrapers built with traditional designs would survive such an impact and prevent the kind of fires that brought down the twin towers."
The group are also under scrutiny for their investigation of the failure of New Orleans' levees during Hurricane Katrina.
Raymond Seed, a levee expert at the University of California, Berkeley, "accused the engineering society and the Army Corps of collusion, writing an Oct. 20 letter alleging that the two organizations worked together "to promulgate misleading studies and statements, to subvert appropriate independent investigations ... to literally attempt to change some of the critical apparent answers regarding lessons to be learned."
As we reported last year, architectural drawings of the World Trade Center that prove beyond any doubt that the official reports into the collapse of the towers misrepresented their construction were used by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) during their study, but not before they had signed legal documents which bound them to secrecy and demanded that they never use the information against the buildings' owners as part of a lawsuit.
The detailed architectural drawings make clear what official reports have apparently attempted to hide: that the Twin Towers had massive core columns, and those columns ran most of the height of each Tower before transitioning to columns with smaller cross-sections. These facts were buried in the FEMA-funded ASCE report and contradictory conclusions were offered despite the fact that the group had access to the diagrams.
Numerous different World Trade Center designers and construction specialists are on record as having ruled out the possibility that multiple commercial jetliner impacts could bring the towers down. Such comments were made on a regular basis ever since the towers were first conceived and built.
A February 3, 1964 white paper which was written during the design phase of the towers stated, "The buildings have been investigated and found to be safe in an assumed collision with a large jet airliner (Boeing 707 DC 8) traveling at 600 miles per hour. Analysis indicates that such collision would result in only local damage which could not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building and would not endanger the lives and safety of occupants not in the immediate area of impact."
During a 1984-85 Office of Special Planning study into the vulnerability of the WTC to a terrorist attack, Leslie Robertson, one of the two original structural engineers for the World Trade Center, assured investigators that whether the towers suffered a bomb attack or were hit by an airplane, there was "little likelihood of a collapse no matter how the building was attacked."
THE REAL INSIDE SCOOP ON WHY THE TWIN TOWERS COLLAPSED
A February 27 1993 Seattle Times article entitled Twin Towers Engineered To Withstand Jet Collision quotes John Skilling, head structural engineer for the WTC.
"We looked at every possible thing we could think of that could happen to the buildings, even to the extent of an airplane hitting the side," said Skilling.
"Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed," he said. "The building structure would still be there."
In a telling afterthought, Skilling said that the only way the building could be brought down was by means of well-placed explosives rigged by top experts.
"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it," he said.
In 2001, Leslie Robertson again stated, "The twin towers were in fact the first structures outside the military and nuclear industries designed to resist the impact of a jet airplane."
"I designed it for a 707 to smash into it," he told a conference in Frankfurt Germany.
Also in early 2001, Frank A. Demartini, on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center, said on camera, "The building was designed to have a fully loaded 707 crash into it. That was the largest plane at the time. I believe that the building probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door -- this intense grid -- and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen netting. It really does nothing to the screen netting."
As investigators have pointed out, immediately after 9/11 Leslie Robertson refused to discuss the collapse of the buildings with the media but he later recanted and agreed with NIST's conclusions - completely contradicting his previous statements and exhaustive studies carried out since the 60's about the towers' ability to withstand jetliner impacts.
Allegations of cover-up directed at The American Society of Civil Engineers are just the latest chapter in a series of hammer blows for the credibility of the official 9/11 story, arriving on the back of last month's exposé of 9/11 Commission executive director Philip Zelikow's ties to the White House and his efforts to shield the Bush administration from responsibility for the terror attack.