The Elements of a Great Scientific and Technical Dispute

Thursday, September 17, 2009
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If the scientific fight over the World Trade Center was not so hugely important, it might be viewed as simply ridiculous that core elements of an event could be so severely disputed by people equally pledged to the scientific method. But with the stakes so immense, the vastness of the gap is far from ridiculous and is, in fact, of such magnitude that it is almost certainly going to take wide public understanding of the elements of the dispute to force re-examination of the evidence in a manner that would win the trust of both the public and the experts.

For the record, here is a summary of just some of the technical areas in dispute and what the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and its building trade and science allies on one side and its equally credentialed science, professional and licensed critics (building and structural engineers, architects, physicists, chemists) on the other side, put forward as their cases. It was compiled from NIST’s official report and from analysis that included papers and reports by independent professionals or members of groups representing each side of the argument, as well as from some other independent technical experts who have not taken sides.

The dispute takes place in a context that no other high-rise steel buildings ever collapsed in such a manner without the use of explosives. NIST alleges that in this special-circumstances case the buildings, like the “unsinkable” Titanic, did just that. NIST’s independent critics believe that what is “titanic” here are NIST’s scientific mistakes, evasions and willful refusal to examine all evidence.

Impact of Planes on Steel Columns

NIST reports that of the 47 core columns in each tower, three in WTC 1 were severed, four sustained heavy damage and five sustained moderate damage, adding up to about 25% of the columns. In WTC2 five core columns were severed, four sustained heavy damage and one sustained moderate damage, adding up to about 21% of the columns. NIST argues that in combination with the steel beams weakened by fire after the plane impact stripped fireproofing from the beams, this was sufficient to trigger a general collapse in both towers. Moreover, in both buildings perimeter columns on the exterior were severed, in one of them 35 such columns out of the 240 in each tower.

NIST critics among building professionals argue that the towers were built to survive even if more than 50% of the columns were severed or weakened. A favorite 1964 quote from the professional magazine Engineering News-Record cites the assertions of WTC designers that a catastrophe “could cut away all the first story columns on one side of the building, and partway from the corners of the perpendicular sides, and the building could still withstand design live loads and a 100 mph wind from any direction.” NIST responds that designers did not allow for the “unique conditions” of the tower events. Some independent NIST supporters add that the magazine quote itself is more self-promotion than construction reality.

Load Redistribution

NIST estimates that after the airplane crashes severed some beams in each tower, loads on some columns increased by up to 35%. NIST allows that, just as it should have been, the weight of the stories above the severed beams was efficiently distributed to intact beams and to other support elements but notes that, even so, once the fires softened the steel core and trusses bearing the extra load, there was sufficient give to allow the perimeter columns to bend inward and thereby touch off the collapse.

Opposing professionals note that the WTC designers specifically designed for airplane impact (though they concede for a somewhat smaller jet plane). Moreover, to assist load redistribution and for other safety reasons, the designers used a super-strong steel in the beams that, critics say, gave a margin of error allowing beams to handle three times their load capacity. Some critics cite a statistic that the outside perimeter columns could handle increases of 2000% above the designed live load. NIST says it never heard of such a number and doesn’t know its derivation (the authors of this article could not verify its source). Such a number is clearly inaccurate given the events, NIST says.

Dislodged Fireproofing

Absolutely essential to the NIST case is its finding via computer modeling of the damage that “significant amounts” of fireproofing protecting the core steel beams were dislodged from both towers by the impact of the aircrafts, allowing the steel to soften sufficiently (not melt) in the ensuing fires to destabilize the entire building. In one building 43 of the 47 core beams on at least one floor were estimated by NIST to be so damaged. Without this dislodgment, NIST concedes, the airplane crashes and subsequent fires could not have caused the collapse of the two buildings.

Critics point out that there is no hard evidence the fireproofing was stripped on impact or that so many core beams were damaged by fire, the hard evidence having been destroyed or carted away. NIST therefore had to rely on computer models to determine this a process in which the information chosen to be input was all important. They note that it is simply a NIST hypothesis that significant dislodging occurred. To support this theory, NIST performed laboratory tests in which shotguns pellets were fired at steel surfaces coated with spray-on foam insulation like that used in the twin towers. Critics note that the underlying assumption is that a crashing Boeing 757 would have been transformed into the equivalent of the thousands of shotgun blasts needed to dislodge fireproofing from the 6,000 square meters of surface area of structural steel in the fire areas.

Fire and Steel Softening

NIST argues that once the fireproofing was dislodged, the combination of gasoline fire and huge paper and office furniture fires created sufficient general area heat in sufficient time (with the air heated up to 1000C in some areas) so that the steel beams with dislodged fireproofing were able to reach temperatures of 700C, at which point they lost slightly more than half their load-bearing capacity, initiating the collapse. How did NIST come to cite the crucial 700C number? In its own lab tests, NIST found that the steel would soften sufficiently to allow floors to sag if it reached 700C. NIST further notes: “Bare structural steel components, when exposed to a large and sustained fire, can heat rapidly to the point where their ability to support their load is compromised.”

Said NIST spokesman Michael Newman: “NIST conducted simulations of the fires in each of the towers from the time of airplane impact to the collapses. The computational model used to simulate the fires was the Fire Dynamics Simulator. This model had been validated in numerous experiments and fire recreations prior to the WTC investigation. Additional large-scale experiments conducted during the investigation provided further assurance of the validity of the model output. This output was in the form of maps of the air temperatures on each of the floors over the duration of the fires.

In a set of computations using the Fire Structure Interface, the evolving temperatures of the concrete and steel structural components of the towers were calculated by exposing them to the mapped air temperatures. Both sets of computations are based on the fundamental laws of combustion, heat transfer, and air flow. The methods have been documented extensively and have been successfully subjected to technical peer review and published in professional journals.”

Opposing experts, some with sophisticated calculations in hand, dispute that the temperatures from the fires ever reached the levels cited by NIST in the areas around the core beams. They point out that (1) NIST’s own display chart shows that the highest air temperatures, which NIST estimated lasted only 15 to 20 minutes, were not in the area of the core inner beams and that only 3 perimeter columns of 16 studied had reached a temperature above 250C, while two core columns studied had not even reached 250C. (2) Even in the unlikely event the beams lost 50% of their load- bearing capacity, they had capacity to handle three times the load they were carrying. (3) Steel rapidly transfers heat elsewhere such that no one spot is likely to have become sufficiently hot to lose its load-bearing capacity. (4) NIST states there is no visual evidence for fires close to or in the core of the buildings. (5) In the case of WTC2, all the NIST-claimed fire damage would have had to happen within 52 minutes whereas it took almost an hour and three quarters (102 minutes) for the impact-fire events allegedly to collapse WTC1.

Floor Sagging

NIST reports that impact-area floors sagged just before the collapse, as has happened in other steel-framed buildings under the duress of fire. With its computer-modeling of the collapse, NIST estimated the floors sagged 54 inches, pulling perimeter columns inward, which placed more load on the fire-weakened inner steel columns. For NIST this is another key element in the collapse scenario.

Opposing building professionals argue that no other fire in a steel-framed building ever caused so much floor sag and that in fact NIST’s own tests demonstrated only a few inches of sagging in the middle - and this after two hours in a high-temperature furnace. NIST, some critics allege, could have pumped the statistics fed into the computer in order to achieve a pre-desired outcome, justifying doing so with its questionable hypothesis that the fire-proofing was stripped as severely as NIST estimates.

NIST responds that it tested 17-foot and 35-foot trusses “at two Underwriters Laboratories for impact of the heat. The actual floor trusses that pulled on the perimeter columns were longer spans than we could test, so there would be more sagging than occurred in the laboratory mockups. The 54 inches is the calculated number [by the computer simulators] based on the fire test data.”

Perimeter Column Buckling

NIST claims that crucial evidence that helped steer its research into what brought on the collapse is a film by two Czech brothers showing perimeter support columns near the area of impact bending inwards, thus “applying an inward pressure” on the inner support beams, forcing them to bear some of the load of the perimeter columns. Once it saw the perimeter beams bend in, NIST says, it began to search for the cause which led to its understanding of the sagging floors.

Outside experts find two problems with this. One, NIST has never released the supporting film so that independent tests can be done on whether the perimeter columns actually bent inward or only appeared to do so because of light refraction. Second, to bolster its computer model’s outcome as to the effects of the columns supposedly moving inward, NIST, according to former Underwriters Lab chemist and whistleblower Kevin Ryan, fed into the computer information that “doubled the height of the unsupported wall sections [moving inward], doubled the temperatures, doubled the duration of the stress, and ignored the effect of insulation.”

NIST flatly denies Ryan’s claim that any data was doubled or altered at all. It also responds that it does not have the right to release the films and that independent investigators need to deal directly with the film owners, for whom NIST will provide contact information.

A NIST defender, scientist turned computer artist Mike King, wrote on his skeptics website,, of the critics collapse theories: “They do not consider the NIST explanation, which points out that the core columns were designed only to withstand compressive loads, whereas the outer columns were the ones designed to withstand all lateral loadings (principally winds up to hurricane speed). As each floor collapsed it would have created lateral forces on the core columns which were sufficient to either tear away the bolts or sever the columns themselves as they ‘peeled’ away from the center.”

Shared Column Instability

NIST reports that the instability in the perimeter columns that spread to the core columns was then sent back to the perimeter columns, magnifying the shock.

Critical building experts dismiss this theory as speculation that is unproven by evidence in the NIST report. Given that each tower’s perimeter measured 832 feet, for such shock to spread to all the columns in the fraction of a second in which the buildings commenced their collapse, would require “a supersonic rate of propagation,” as one critic argues. No such event has ever happened in steel building history, the critics say.

Global Collapse Theory

In its most controversial finding, NIST argues that “global collapse” or “total progressive collapse” of the floors beneath the impact areas of both buildings ensued instantaneously after the impact area gave way and the tops of the buildings came crashing down into the lower sections. The lower sections “provided little resistance to the tremendous energy released by the falling building mass,” NIST reported. This happened with near free-fall speed despite the known load-bearing strength of the steel beams holding up the lower floors. As NIST spokesman Newman put it, “It is a simple matter of physics: force equal mass (of the upper stories) plus acceleration. We believe our calculations are accurate and we have had top physicists confirm this is how it could happen.”

NIST adds that the mass of the buildings coming down from the top were sufficient to collapse the lower floors even though photos and videos show the top of both towers breaking up before reaching the crash zone, with a significant amount of the rubble appearing to fall outside of the towers’ footprint, thus not impacting at all the lower floors.

Critical outside building professionals and others note that NIST provides no detailed calculations as to how the force of the upper stories was received by the lower ones, only a formula as to how it might have happened, and they cite Newton’s Law of Conservation of Momentum in which, quite logically they say and as evidenced by other damaged steel buildings, the upward strength and sheer size of the lower buildings mass with its huge steel columns would slow the descent of the upper portion of the buildings, not yield to it and collapse en mass. Not even if all the core steel beams in the fire area gave way, they argue, could global collapse ever occur absent some other force weakening the steel of the lower floors, which would have to come from pre-planted explosives. Absent such explosives, the “weak link” of the most severed or heated steel would have given first, at most causing the upper stories to topple to one side and not, as in two identical buildings, causing a mass and fairly straight-down collapse.

Tellingly, the critics note that the NIST report focuses in massive detail on its analysis of the damage to the impact area that allegedly initiated the collapse and does not provide similar detailed studies of how the lower floors supposedly collapsed. As the NIST report itself concedes, “It [the report] does not actually include the structural behavior of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation were reached and collapse became inevitable.” The critics insist that such an admission itself invalidates the report.

NIST counters that, to the contrary, once the collapse started, the fact that the lower floors gave way is proof enough that the initiating events were sufficient to cause them to give way. As spokesman Newman said: “In the towers we believe we understand the physics of what happened and it’s a fairly simple conclusion after that. There was no need to build computer models after that as the results were already explained.”

One member of AE911Truth counters, “That is science by imperial fiat, reminiscent of the Catholic Church in the time of Galileo.”

Molten Steel

Crucially, NIST denies that any of the building steel ever turned molten before the collapse, which would take a temperature much greater than it says the fires in the building reached but which an explosive such as thermite would easily generate. NIST argues that the yellow-reddish molten metal clearly seen pouring from one of the buildings was the aluminum from one of the planes turned yellow likely by blending with burning elements of furniture, computers and the like. NIST spokesman Newman further argues that any possible photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony of molten steel being removed from Ground Zero, if such evidence even exists (NIST says it has none), was either aluminum mistaken as steel or steel that had cooked in the heat and fires under the pile generated after the collapse and which were trapped, oven-like, in the debris and earth.

Critical independent professionals pounce on all this, noting that:

(1) NIST only surmised but did not actually test the hypotheses that silvery molten aluminum could turn yellowish-red when compounded with building contents; (2) NIST only studied carefully-selected whole steel sections; (3) there is some eyewitness testimony and a few photos showing that quantities of non-aluminum molten metals were seen above ground and so could not be explained by underground fires; (4) metal fires burned for weeks “consistent with the use of high-temperature cutter charges such as thermite … routinely used to melt/cut/demolish steel,” producing temperatures above 2000C, as one NIST-rebutting technical essay claims, and (5) it is physically impossible and absurd beyond science that fires in trapped rubble could burn hotter than the building fires and thus melt fallen steel unless some other chemical element were in place to reinforce those fires. A chemical such as thermite, which contains its own oxygen, would allow burning in oxygen-less underground spaces. The critics also note that NIST admits it never saw or tested any of the molten steel itself, and some of NIST’s lead scientists even deny its existence.

Missing evidence is also an important element here to the critics. NIST based its findings on analysis of 236 steel structure elements, which account for less than 1% of the total steel in the buildings. The vast bulk of the remaining steel was, as is routine with building debris, ordered to be broken up and was sold as scrap, largely to China, within a short time after the cleanup began. Critics say this business-as-usual was akin to selling off evidence from a crime scene and further undermines NIST’s assertions that its investigation comprehensively followed where the evidence led.

The question of molten steel sightings is important and unresolved. AE911 posts some photos and eyewitness accounts of molten steel on its website that its critics challenge as misrepresentative. Brent Blanchard, senior editor for the demolition industry magazine and director of field operations for a New Jersey company called Protec Documentation Services, which provides extensive building technical services to the demolition industry, supports NIST with a claim that of numerous debris crew members interviewed by him and his colleagues, none reported seeing molten steel.

Other NIST supporters accept the eyewitness accounts of molten steel cited by AE911 (though the “debunker” website challenges all the eyewitnesses it can identify). They argue, however, that if any melting occurred underground, the oxygen to fuel the fires would have derived from particulate matter in the building walls and contents. One NIST-supporting chemist, Dr. Frank R. Greening, former senior research scientist at Ontario Power Generation, argues that the great amount of aluminum from the cladding of the towers as well as from the planes might well have supplied both the fuel and oxygen needed to help melt the steel in the towers and later underground.

Predictably in the punch-counterpunch world of WTC scrutiny, some technical experts have sought to refute Greening’s claims with their own computations.

The Incendiary “Super” Thermite

Most NIST critics cite as the most devastating potential evidence of explosives the work of Dr. Steven E. Jones, a physicist who was forced to retire from his tenured professorship at Brigham Young University in Utah after he wrote a highly critical analysis of the NIST twin towers report that was severely rebuked by BYU”s own building engineering department as mistake-ridden because it was outside Jones area of expertise. Based on the article, however, four New Yorkers sent Jones what they claimed was WTC dust for testing. Jones and two other scientists, using BYU’s superb electronic microscope lab, then analyzed and, in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reported and showed photographs last April of what they said was clear evidence of nano-thermite, otherwise known as super thermite, in the dust. Super thermite easily cuts through steel and is used by the military.

After Jones informed NIST of his findings and invited a dialogue, NIST countered that there was no “clear chain of custody” proving that the dust indeed came un-tampered from Ground Zero. Jones then invited NIST to conduct its own studies using its own known “chain of custody” dust. NIST has refused to take up the challenge.

Overwhelmingly, the independent professional critics accuse NIST of both gross negligence and making a mockery of the scientific method, given that eight years after the event no tests for explosives residues have been performed. Some assert that NIST willfully violated fire investigation regulations in not testing for explosives and note that many members of the NIST science panel have expertise in thermite and other explosives. The critics attribute such neglect to the self-protective peer-pressure effect of NIST scientists being government employees or contractors, including many defense contractors.

Other Evidence of Explosives

NIST concedes it never tested for explosives or residues largely because no credible evidence of explosives appeared, just as no molten steel samples were presented to it by the independent civil engineers who gathered up the steel to be tested. NIST states there were no credible eyewitness accounts of explosions from 10,000 interviews. And it argues that what appeared to be explosive-like puffs of light and smoke pushing out from various sections of the buildings were “squibs” of heated air and debris forced outward by the immense downward air pressure created as the mass of the buildings collapsed.

Given that the evidence that was available led so clearly to its final published conclusions, NIST says, there was and remains no reason to conduct explosives tests. “We know it wasn’t explosive that brought down the building so why waste the taxpayers money,” is the way NIST spokesman Newman put it.

Critical professional outsiders often angrily dispute every element of this. Their refutations include:

(1)A body of hundreds of eyewitnesses testimony reporting hearing and seeing loud explosions taking place in rapid sequence, including testimony from first responders and live news reports. NIST defenders argue the explosions and explosive sounds likely came from transformers blowing up, particularly the generators along the elevator shafts; from the floors crashing on one another, and from rivets popping en mass from the pressure of the fall. Janitorial staff reports of a huge explosion in the basement of one of the towers before it fell have not been explained.

(2) The fact that the light flashes and smoke emissions NIST labeled dust “squibs” developed in such an unusual pattern in lower floors, far from where the crunch was happening, that they cried out for closer investigation as explosives.

(3) In Building 7, these squibs occurred in a distinct rapid and symmetrical pattern along the line of the building that exactly mirrors controlled demolitions.

(4) Lab evidence from FEMA’s analysis of metal debris, ignored in the NIST report, showed large traces of unexplained sulfur, suggesting to FEMA a “severe high-temperature corrosion attack.” Another lab test by the EPA found the dust contained “one molecule 1.3 diphenylpropane.” According to outside experts, both sulfur and diphenylpropane are by-products of the military super-explosive thermite, whose potential use is also suggested by the severe high temperature damage FEMA found. For its part, NIST notes the EPA study found that 1.3 diphenylpropane was a common ingredient in plastics found in large quantities at Ground Zero and that sulfur from gypsum was also common.

(5) The official lab tests conducted for NIST and for the WTC-adjacent damaged Deutche Bank found widespread evidence of “iron-rich microspheres” which, NIST critics assert, is a byproduct of steel becoming molten, a challenge to NIST’s claim that molten steel existed only in small pockets underground.

(6) NIST itself reported an “unusual flame” right near the molten metal pouring from one of the towers that it said was aluminum from the plane. NIST could not explain what caused the flame and acknowledged it was not the burning aluminum.

The Iron-rich Microspheres

Three separate laboratory tests of dust and materials from the site reported the presence or iron-rich microspheres that, NIST critics assert, could only derive from high pressure or high temperature explosives. The tests were made by the US Geological Survey at the request of NIST, by the independent firm R.J Lee for an insurance investigation, and by NIST-challenger and former BYU physicist Dr. Steven Jones and some scientist colleagues.

Says AE911’s Gage: “The dust clouds are full of these iron-rich microspheres. In the dust from the WTC, you have millions of these tiny, perfectly spherical microspheres of iron. Now, where did they come from? The only way they could have been formed is to have molten iron and then a series of explosions whose incredible force atomizes, if you will, the molten iron into these tiny microspheres.”

Although NIST itself offers no explanation for the microspheres other than some might have formed from underground fires, others do. One of the leading critics of the microspheres and thermite theories is chemist Dr. Frank R. Greening. Greening argues that any thermite-like pockets of heat in the towers might well have derived from the incendiary qualities and heat of aluminum once it reaches a critical temperature a notion that Dr. Jones and others question in light of Jones’ research that reported finding direct evidence of thermite. Of the microspheres, Greening notes: “The formation of iron-rich microspheres below the [melting point] of pure iron: is possible, indeed probable, in an environment containing HCl/Cl2 and SO2/SO3 in the presence of O2 and H2O. The WTC fires produced lots of HCl from the combustion of PVC [plastics]and oxides of sulfur were present from sources such as lead acid batteries, residual fuel oil and gypsum:.These complex Al/Si/K/Ca/O phases readily combine with iron oxide at 1000 deg C to form iron-rich calcium/potassium aluminosilicate microspheres on cooling.”

Dr. Jones responds that this is speculation and, in light of his finding traces of thermite, the incendiary provides a better explanation for the required tremendous temperatures to get to the point at which miscrospheres would have been created. Moreover, Greening’s 1000C temperature needed is “a significant difference” from the temperatures NIST claims were generally generated by the WTC fires [NIST stated that if temperatures reached that high, it was for a very brief period in a small area]. Absent the presence of something like super thermite, the brief 1000C temperatures, if in fact achieved just from the fires, would not have been of the duration to produce so many microspheres. Jones adds that a USGS scientist had told him the microspheres might have come from “the cleanup process, cutting steel. Problem is that we have samples from long before the cleanup began.”

Dust Clouds and Pulverization

Anyone who watches the videos of the tops of the two towers as they begin to come apart sees a vast, seemingly explosive mushroom cloud or plume of dust and debris spew outward as if a major explosion took place. The dust cloud reached New Jersey and some of the debris was found hundreds of feet away. Moreover, rather than coming straight down as a unit, the upper floors collapse within themselves as if their steel structure was giving way even without being damaged by the fires burning stories below. Then as the entirety of both buildings came down, vast amounts of their innards were completely pulverized, to the degree that much of the building contents were not found intact. The thick layer of pulverized fine dust and residue spread across lower Manhattan, corroding cars as if there were some toxic substance in them.

The NIST report asserts that every single one of these phenomenon was caused by the magnitude of the tons of material from the tops of the buildings that gained speed and added other tons of toxic materials as the buildings collapsed. And the vast dust clouds that appeared to be a massive explosion in the top floors, NIST asserts, were caused by the force of air being compressed and blowing outward from the building, sending debris flying as well.

As for the upper stories collapsing on themselves first - before their mass hit the lower stories - this was an organic part of the process as the building came apart, as was the pulverization into powder-like dust from the tons of materials and the fires. Furthermore, the corrosive effects of the dust could easily have come from building elements that were burned up or pulverized into the dust, NIST maintains.

Critical building experts dispute each of these assertions. NIST provides no calculations to justify its case that the top of the buildings blew out via exhalation of compressed air instead of via explosives. Moreover, they say, large chunks of matter flew off the building and reached outside perimeter distances from a force that could only have come from explosives. Similarly, there is no evidence of any other collapsed building ever experiencing such intense pulverization except where explosives have been used. As for the highly corrosive dust, normal building and office materials would not cause that; only residues from certain explosives would be so toxic to metals, the critics argue.

AE911’s director Richard Gage says it is “scientifically invalid” that the pneumatic pressure was of such force to account for all the seeming explosion effects a point argued for and against by physicists who have posted technical papers online

NIST and its independent supporters respond that, in fact, building matter and debris did not, as critics allege, fly so far from the building as to be outside a normal perimeter that could be calculated from the height from which the topmost debris fell and its push by pneumatic air. As for pulverization, they note that no building the size and mass of the twin towers ever collapsed; accordingly, there is no reasonable comp to prove that the dust was an anomaly.

Demolition Footprint

NIST central argument here is that even though all three buildings seemed to follow the classic footprint of a pre-planned demolition, both in the speed and symmetry of the structural collapse, in fact its global collapse theory better explains the anomalies of the events. It cites demolition experts it consulted affirming that all three buildings did not meet the classic demolition model. Many independent demolition experts also support NIST in this claim.

NIST critics do not allege a classic model of demolition in the towers, though they get close to doing so for Building 7. Instead they argue that incendiaries or explosives were used to assure collapse in a manner that could be obscured as to cause, and they cite by name several demolition experts, including eyewitnesses to the events, who attest their belief that explosives were used. Furthermore, the critics hold as wildly improbable the NIST concept that the impact-area core beams all gave way at once, allowing for a symmetrical collapse of both towers nearly simultaneously and in identical manners. (Even more improbabe, they say, was Building 7 crash footprint, with no plane crash into it). Instead, the critics argue, if there was loss of holding power in some beams, the towers would have tilted and crashed in an asymmetrical manner, as other buildings have.

Among NIST defenders is the demolition company Protec, which had a unique window on the WTC event because of three factors: it was monitoring seismic activity in Manhattan routinely (and says its seismic detectors did not record explosions at WTC); its multiple TV monitors normally used to capture news coverage of demolitions was able to record all the 9/11 news reports and their timing, and it was called in to assist cleanup crews and in doing so gathered much testimony and photographs from the crews.

Close examination of these events from every video and photographic angle available:rather clearly shows each building beginning to fail at precisely the point where the respective planes struck:That is, no floors above or below the impact points ever move until the structural elements within the impact zone begin to collapse:” Protec’s Blanchard wrote in a report disputing the presence of explosives to which some of his Protec colleagues contributed.

Typically, Protec and Blanchard are challenged in very specific detail by several technically-oriented Truthers. As just one example, the Alameda, CA., software engineer Jim Hoffman, whose specialty is visualization of mathematics and who created his own 9-11 web site, wrote that Blanchard “provides no evidence to support most of his assertions, cherry [picks] a few issues to address, and promotes common misconceptions, such as that demolitions must proceed from the ground up.” Like AE911’s Gage, Hoffman also notes (as do others) that there is distinct evidence of building movement above the impact zone before the collapse.

Says AE911’s Gage: “In the twin towers, it’s very explosive. You can see the explosions in all the videos, and what’s happening is the explosions are creating this incredible dust cloud right in the beginning, even before the gravitational potential of this top portion, which we’re told drove the building all the way down to the ground. But the dust clouds are forming immediately.”

The TV Antenna

Videos show the large transmission antenna atop the north tower began to move downward and slightly laterally just before the outer walls showed movement. The antenna appears to sink somewhat into the building, suggesting that the massive center core steel was collapsing even before there was any visible outside evidence of collapse. NIST attributes this anomaly to events happening to the core columns below: ÂThe videos show tilting southward consistent with the inward bowing of the perimeter columns and the initiation of collapse. The NYPD photographs seven minutes before collapse show the inward bowing clearly.” NIST reports.

Critics point out that NIST provides no quantitative analysis of the anomaly which, they allege, is far more easily explained by the presence of demolition charges going off.

The Computer Modeling

NIST painstakingly built an elaborate computer model to examine the core elements of the initiation of the buildings collapse from impact and fire. (It concedes, as already noted, that it did only calculations and not intense computer simulation of how the lower floors failed to resist the falling upper stories.) Responding to critics assertions that it adjusted some of the data before entry, NIST says it adjusted input only within the bounds of physical reality. It cites as proof of its work that its many safety recommendations have been adopted by the international body that promulgates construction codes.

NIST critics challenge several of the calculation that were input and, perhaps more importantly, note that NIST has not given full disclosure of the data it input, which would allow the data to be tested by others. One engineering magazine reported that NIST has refused to show computer visualizations of the collapse despite a call from fire and building engineers to see the data. NIST has also refused to submit its finding to an independent panel or journal for peer review, relying instead on a form of review from outside contractors it has hired, most of whom have Defense Dept. contracts.

NIST’s Newman responds that NIST is barred from releasing all the data critics want: “Pursuant to section 7 of the National Construction Safety Team Act” (the authority under which the WTC investigation has been conducted), certain evidence received by NIST in the course of this investigation is “voluntarily provided safety-related information” that is “not directly related to the building failure being investigated” and that “disclosure of that information would inhibit the voluntary provision of that type of information: In addition, a substantial portion of the evidence collected by NIST in the course of the investigation has been provided to NIST under nondisclosure agreements. Anyone wanting this information can go to the specific sources and we will provide the contact data. All of the data that NIST generated has been made public.

NIST established a secretariat to coordinate NIST-level activities in support of the investigation and to maintain ongoing liaison with the Executive Branch, Congress, the public, and the news media. NIST has maintained an ongoing liaison with the professional community, the public, and local authorities over the course of the investigation through briefings, presentations, and opportunity for comment on key investigation reports. NIST also assigned a special liaison to interact with the families of building occupants and first responders. A Web site dedicated to the WTC investigation has been maintained at The final report on the WTC towers is available there in its entirety (43 documents totaling some 10,000 pages). The Web site also provides access to the WTC investigation archives where the public can follow the complete history of the effort so far, including the two interim progress reports, two public updates and 22 news releases issued during the WTC towers portion of the investigation, as well as documentation from eight public meetings, eight media briefings, seven meetings of the NCST Advisory Committee, and the September 2005 technical conference on putting the NIST recommendations from the WTC towers study into practice.”

Building 7

NIST critics often cite the collapse of the 47-story WTC Building 7 as the premier evidence that incendiaries and/or explosives were present given that no fireproof dislodging plane ever struck the high-rise and no other high-rise building of its size had ever collapsed from fire. NIST asserts that its most elaborate computer modeling went into its report on Building 7, which took three years to assemble and, NIST says, demonstrates how the building fell in what seemed to be a controlled demolition pattern without being struck by a plane and without explosives.

Says NIST: “Determining the probable collapse sequence for WTC 7, NIST found that the impact of debris from the collapse of WTC 1 ignited fires on at least 10 floors of WTC 7, and the fires burned out of control on six lower floors. The heat from these uncontrolled fires caused thermal expansion of the steel beams on the lower floors of the east side of WTC 7, damaging the floor framing on multiple floors. Eventually, a girder on Floor 13 lost its connection to a critical interior column that provided support for the long floor spans on the east side of the building. The displaced girder and other local fire-induced damage caused Floor 13 to collapse, beginning a cascade of floor failures down to the fifth floor. Many of these floors had already been at least partially weakened by the fires in the vicinity of the critical column. This collapse of floors left the critical column unsupported over nine stories.”

When this critical column buckled due to lack of floor supports, it was the first domino in the chain,” NIST’s Building 7 Team leader Dr. Shyman Sunder explained. “What followed in rapid succession was a progression of structural failures. Failure first occurred all the way to the roof line-involving all three interior columns on the most eastern side of the building. Then, progressing from east to west across WTC 7, all of the columns in the core of the building failed. Finally, the entire fa§ade collapsed.”

NIST adds that the seven hours of fires were so intense, and with the sprinkler system gone, firefighters were fearful of entering the building.

Independent NIST defenders concede that fire has brought down smaller buildings but none before over 15 stories. They point out, however, that some fires like that of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland have caused steel to collapse and have caused partial collapse in some other buildings. Building 7’s collapse, they argue, while it may superficially have resembled a controlled demolition far more than did the twin towers collapse, in fact the seven hours of intense fires would have destroyed any pre-planted explosives which, had they gone off, would have registered on seismic detectors none did, they say, though in another war between technical experts, this is disputed in online papers and blogs.

The NIST defenders also cite firefighter reports that the physical damage to Building 7 was greater than shown by most photos, to the degree that when combined with the fires, fire officials reported that they expected the building to collapse even sooner than it did. NIST defenders also cite a collapse pattern that, when looked at closely, does not in fact replicate that of a controlled demolition. Finally, they point out that most of the eyewitness reports of sounds like explosions occurred at the fall of the towers, not in regard to Building 7.

Independent building professionals dismiss the NIST findings and defenders as prejudiced and irrelevant given that, as with the twin towers, NIST refuses to test for explosives. They note that Building 7 is the single only high-rise to fall solely from fire which, they point out, it was built to withstand. More tellingly, they affirm their professional belief that it is impossible that any modern high-rise designed to meet building code standards could collapse because of failure of one support beam, which building codes specifically guard against. The critics argue that NIST likely pumped wrong data, highly questionable hypotheses and forced extrapolations into its Building 7 computer models in order to explain why Building 7 fell rather than follow the logic of testing for demolition residues.

As to Building 7’s collapse pattern, AE911’s Gage and others concede that a traditional demolition collapse pattern would not have been likely or planned for anyway, even though Building 7’s collapse pattern seemed to come somewhat close to it. Instead, they argue, any culprits who planted either incendiaries such as thermite (their most likely case) or explosives would do so only to magnify the impact of the incoming airplanes. Accordingly, the culprits would not likely have even tried to plant traditional demolition cutter charges (for which they concede there would not likely have been the long and open access time in the building needed) either in the towers or Building 7. Instead, relatively small amounts of super-thermite and detonators placed quickly in obscure areas of the buildings could have accounted for the collapses.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Although one has to first wade through all of the official version before hearing the other side, this article is surprisingly balanced and avoids the typcial "hit-piece" attack language: "truthers", "9/11 deniers", believers, conspiracy theorists, etc. That's important.

Scientists do not stop being scientists just because their findings have a political relevance. Unfortunately, the mainstream media would have one believe that they become sub-rate as soon as they dare to look at things like the WTC dust.

The broad misconception is that the "engineering community" disagrees with the "conspiracy theorists" and somehow "knows" that the NIST Reports are "correct."

But the reality is that almost no engineers outside of NIST have ever read the Reports, nor have they even seen Building 7 "collapse", Once they do, it is surprising to see how the vast majority of them are shocked and want to know more.

The "science" is not real science when only one side is participating and the other is doing things like hiding the raw data (dust, simulations, etc), refusing to do the experiments and claiming they "just know" the outcomes. I work for the government and that is no excuse -- government scientists are no different than any other. The response from NIST is not indicative of other government scientists.

Researcher911 (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2009 at 12:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This article exhibits qualities of superior journalism. It is impressively well-researched, technically accurate, and comprehensive. It is fair and balanced - each argument is respectfully presented from both sides, with no obvious intention of bias. It is not condescending or insulting, and it doesn't use pejorative language. It treats its readers respectfully, whomever they might be. It doesn't get too distracted with people or politics, but instead stays focused on the important issue at hand: the science of the WTC building collapses. My thanks to the authors for this refreshingly well-written article.

Wildbear (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2009 at 8:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a horrible article. It is unbalanced and presents erroneous information as "facts". The Indy should be hanging its hat in shame.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 2:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And interestingly, all other on-line articles in the Indy this week have authors who can be reached by clicking on the name. But not this article. Why?

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 2:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To answer your question regarding link-able bylines in the stories, SezMe: only staffers have e-mailboxes associated with our website; freelancers do not.

-- WebAdmin

webadmin (webadmin)
September 18, 2009 at 7:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The moment I realized the awful truth was when I watched WTC7 come down. That was controlled demolition pure and simple. From that moment on I knew it was an inside job.

gaviotamilitia (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (disclaimer). I was in NY until 9/10/01 and returned to SB that day and watched the horrific event on my TV (general info). As soon as the first building went down I turned to my special one and said "Oh they brought it down" because it takes science and perfect execution to do such a demolition and this looked exactly identical to them. And then the second building and then the third! Then I was curious in what will be presented as the root of the terror as well as the cause of the buildings coming down. I was shocked and disappointed at the "official" statements on why the buildings collapsed. I have no idea why they were brought down and do not care for conspiracy theories as almost all are baseless but science is just that and when anybody specially the government and NIST try to change and make exceptions to science it turns my stomach.

You can see all of the scientific proof and what NIST and others say to try to counter them and they fail. Because of my background I understand all of the points and counter points. But let me try to present a simple lay person way of looking at this.

To bring a much smaller building down (demolition) it has to be properly and exactly calculated on where to put the explosives, what order to explode them... so essentially a process that has to be exactly and correctly followed for the building to fall in (instead of falling out). The larger the building the more room for error so it has to be done with more calculations and again perfect execution. You cannot have these towering magnificent buildings collapse the way they did without a controlled demolition with the footprint we saw. Unless it is David Copperfield's magic. It is kind of like saying all bullets go straight but suddenly I shot one bullet that went straight, hit one person, then suddenly curved and hit another person and then curved again : because yesterday was a very hot day with high humidity at 2:31 p.m. and it was a Tuesday of all days. Just does not happen folks.

info (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 9:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For what it's worth: I have a copy of USGS Bulletin 324, "The San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, and their effects on structures and structural materials", published in 1907.

Photographs in the report clearly show vertical support I-beams that had begun to collapse _vertically_ from the heat of the fires, Here's a link to one:

For some reason, the USGS doesn't include this photo in their image library. But, it's worth pointing out that the text of the report mentions damaged insulation as a contributing factor in this type of failure.

CharlesB (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Somebody wasted a lot of money on Info's PhD (if he has one).

The towers do not look nor sound like controlled demolitions. NOBODY in the building demolition business thinks the bigger the building the more room for error. The errors displayed in this article and the comments are disgusting.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 18, 2009 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hello SezMe:

A team of 9 scientists from a variety of appropriate disciplines have found and analyzed unexploded "nano-thermite" in numerous dust samples collected in various locations on or very shortly after 9/11. Their paper has been peer-reviewed (unlike the NIST report), and passed the review process after some 18 months of exhaustive examination and questioning by fellow experts. Their findings have also been corroborated by other scientists and engineers, and more reports and papers on the dust analysis are in the process of preparation and peer review.

Don't confuse this substance with "regular" thermite (a mix of powdered aluminum and iron oxide) with nanothermite, a modern state of the art composite explosive/incendiary composed of nanoparticulate components with an explosive yield greater than TNT and other conventional explosives. It ignites more easily than regular thermite, and explodes at even higher temperatures than the regular variety. Nanothermite has been developed at highly secure facilities such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and military installations.

There is no denying that this material was there, the likely "loaded gun" re. the evidence pointing to how the WTC buildings failed. There is also a "smoking gun": positively identified products of thermitic reactions, for example the large quantities of tiny iron spheres in the dust, indicating a former molten state. There is little point in referring to the NIST report for impartiality: Their methods encapsulated the classic notion of pseudoscience.
(1) They refused to test the dust for explosives, an extraordinary omission. When questioned about this, they said "we didn't think there was the need". This is not science, this is faith!
(2) NIST was not permitted access to steel beams by the authorities in New York, they even complained about this, to their credit. The steel was transported stored under armed guard in trucks monitored by GPS devices (why???), then shipped rapidly overseas for reprocessing, so NIST was unable to examine hard, evidence.
(3) With the lack of hard evidence, NIST resorted to computer modeling to simulate the collapses.
(4) The computer models used by NIST have not been peer reviewed by independent experts, and to this day NIST refuses to release copies of the software, or the numerical values they fed into the input parameters of the model in order to get the buildings to fail (in a virtual sense).
(5) Physicists Steven Jones and David Chandler confronted Shyam Sunder of NIST in a public hearing, pointing out that NIST had fudged the figures relating to the partial freefall acceleration of WTC #7. As a result, NIST quietly altered their report to include this aspect of WTC#7's collapse.


bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2009 at 6:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(from the above)

As I am not a "conspiracy theorist", I decline to point the finger at how (an extrapolated) several tons of this material were placed inside the World Trade Center Twin Towers and WTC #7, when it was done, and who was responsible. But one thing is for certain. If "al Qaeda" had been the sole guilty party in this affair, then common sense would tell us that the US Government would have done everything in their power to find out how in hell's name 19 young men somehow managed to run rings around the entire multi-trillion dollar US military/security/intelligence/law enforcement apparatus, disable our air and ground defenses in the most heavily guarded airspace on the planet for up to an hour and a half, successfully rig and detonate rare military grade explosives in 3 huge, secure buildings in a major city, and last but not least, manage to violate the immutable laws of classical physics, including Newtons Laws of Motion and the law of conservation of momentum.

In reality, the US Government's reaction defies all notion of common sense: heads should have rolled by the literal thousand, but nobody was fired or even suspended (!); the heads of departments and agencies which failed so utterly that day were either promoted or transferred. The Bush Administration refused any form of inquiry for 441 days (!) before the threat of terrible PR, (re. complaints and questions from the bereaved families) forced the issue. The resulting 9/11 Commission was a farce, and 6 of the 10 Commissioners have now trashed their own report, indicating that "we were set up to fail by the White House", "we were lied to by NORAD and the DoD", even "the greater part of the findings of the Commission are untrue"... and more.

So, where do we go from here? I am not a conspiracy theorist, so those who resort to the predictable ad hominem attacks will have to come up with something better than the usual Glenn Beck, Bill O"Reilly or David Corn approach. I have, however, hundreds of unanswered questions about that day, as do most people. So far, we have lost 5000 troops in 2 wars "justified" by this event, over 1 million civilians have been needlessly killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, we've squandered $3 Trillion (counting all the costs) on these wars, with no end in sight, and our economy is wrecked.

This is why America needs an exhaustive, FULLY INDEPENDENT, criminal investigation into the entire event of 9/11, with full subpoena power and no holds barred, no "executive privilege" or other such weasel excuses. Whoever ends up in the dock (al qaeda or other parties) had better provide some damned good answers to our questions. We are never going away until all of this is forthcoming. We owe it to our nation. Period.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2009 at 6:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

gaviotamalitia, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, based on your education. My "inspiration" for writing, however, comes from the dangerously ingnorant remarks of SezMe

-- as in "Says Me?" Is that right? Implication, by any chance, that whatever you say is correct, and cannot be challenged? --

Your attitude is that of a punk. If you "know" that

"NOBODY in the building demolition business thinks the bigger the building the more room for error," then offer some evidence. Otherwise, zip your lips. Do YOU work for the demolition industry? Which one? Where? Are YOU an architect? Maybe you were Einstein's assistant! Cool. Tell us. Don't just run off at the mouth. I'm really getting sick of that, so many just running off at the mouth, with nothing to back their claims.

I'm no expert, but when I watch those videos of the buildings coming down, they sure do NOT look natural to me. Planes, very light, hollow tubes, hit upper floor of HUGE buildings, some smoke and fire, then buildings DISINTEGRATE INTO SAND. Never mind building 7, which is NOT EVEN HIT!

Says me: there is no, none, zero reason that a real investigation not be launched. Arguments from the likes of "SezMe" certainly do NOT help enlighten. If nothing amiss of the official accounts is found, fine. Big deal. If something IS found, that is a deal so big, it's bound to keep us all up at night. Why is there even an argument against an independent investigation? That alone scares me (and, of course, the teacher who was in charge of teaching Critical Thinking to "SezMe".")

duetc (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2009 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Indeed, the stakes are very, very high. Repercussions tremendous.

9/11 controlled demolition will bring down the whole establishment, or at least the top, the whole empire of war, which staged these attacks.


PetrBuben (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 12:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 12:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is not a viable venue to refute all the "mud monkeys" (thanks, Kratatoa) contained in bloggulator's posts. Suffice it to say that his/her invocation of "common sense" is nonsensical. bloggulator's assertion that he is not a "conspiracy theorist" is refuted by the fact that he is, in fact, a "conspiracy theorist". Sheesh.

duetc does little better, resorting to ad homs, even on my nic. How childish. Sheesh ... again.

PetrBuben, the "whole establishment" has not been brought down for the last eight years. So what new information could you possibly put on the table to change that FACT?

Bottom line: The Indy article is a mass of lies and the supporters in the comments section continue the delusions. Sad, really.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 1:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

SezMe says,

"Bottom line: The Indy article is a mass of lies and the supporters in the comments section continue the delusions."

Now that certainly adds lots to the discussion.

I asked you for evidence, and yours is that the admin (Bush admin, obviously) has not been brought down for eight years. So, if not caught in eight years, they must be innocent. hmmm.

In fact, it's not even about whether or not the Gvt. did it. It's about explaining inconsistencies between the "official" account of what happened, and the evidence that has been uncovered.

One more thing: this article did not even take a particular side. It simply lays out the arguments of both prominent explanations.

Who are you protecting?

duetc (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

SezMe not only counters all claims/opinions that are not what he/she likes/believes, but also makes fun of one of the highest ranking accredited universities in the United States!
And as to her/his statements:
"The towers do not look nor sound like controlled demolitions." First it should say did not and not do not. Second where did he/she hear what she/he refers to as sound? Who recorded the sounds close to the buildings when they were coming down?

"NOBODY in the building demolition business thinks the bigger the building the more room for error" First is he/she in the business of demolition to make such a statement? and Second, if so did he/she get a vote results of which is such a statement?

I will not comment any more as I would not get into a battle with a witless individual. If SezMe wants though he/she can show an independent volunteer her/his valid accredited high school credentials and I will show them my PhD. ;=). Bye bye SezMe.

info (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 9:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear duetc and others,

You are giving more credit to SezMe than she/he deserves. Just read her/his replies to many posts and you will see what I mean. I will not waste any more time on replying to SezMe. Take care.

info (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 9:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

SezMe and the person at the Independent who organized the opinion poll on this matter should learn the meaning of a word before he/she uses it.


1. an unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
2. a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: .
3. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.

Two or more persons is the key here.. and there were 19 *alleged* hijackers. Woohoo.. we have a conspiracy theory! Maybe the *alleged* hijackers enlisted the help of Elvis Presley and a few Martians in their plot? ;-).... By simple definition, no matter who was responsible for 9/11, it involved a conspiracy. (Unless one is of the opinion that the entire plot of 9/11 was planned, set up and executed by one person). ;-)

To reiterate: Steven Jones, Richard Gage, Neils Harrit (and the others on the team) are *not* interested in conspiracy-mongering. They have neither accused anyone, nor speculated as to the identity of the perpetrators.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"For the record, here is a summary of just some of the technical areas in dispute and what the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and its building trade and science allies on one side and its equally credentialed science, professional and licensed critics (building and structural engineers, architects, physicists, chemists) on the other side, put forward as their cases."

What an absurdity. The vast majority of building and structural engineers, architects, physicists, and chemists find the NIST report credible and most of the criticisms to be outlandish and ill-informed, but one can always find a few outlying "credentialed" individuals to create phony "balance". If one were just to count up the credentials of all the engineers and scientists who were directly involved in creating the NIST report and compare that to those among its critics, the result would be anything but "equal". This article is grossly irresponsible journalism that goes out of its way to mislead its audience by presenting the illusion of a technical debate; few readers have the expertise to judge these arguments, and are left only with the impression that there's a real dispute among scientists. It's the same approach that the Discovery Institute uses to create the impression that "Intelligent Design Theory" is a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution.

JayB (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 3:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"It is kind of like saying all bullets go straight but suddenly I shot one bullet that went straight, hit one person, then suddenly curved and hit another person and then curved again : because yesterday was a very hot day with high humidity at 2:31 p.m. and it was a Tuesday of all days. Just does not happen folks."

Strawman versions don't happen but reality does:

(See also "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" by Vincent Bugliosi).

JayB (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Just so you know, NIST, whose budget ran to $20 million to find out how the towers came down, failed to test for explosives. This is a classic example of the methodology of bad science, or pseudoscience. When undertaking tests of this nature, all possibilities must be taken into consideration. These are either eliminated or included as the data is analyzed and evaluated.

One can only speculate as to exactly *why* NIST failed to undertake what would have been relatively very cheap and simple tests, considering the large budget they were given, (about double that of the failed 9/11 Commission). But, had NIST's tests for explosives resulted in positive outcomes ... and it appears likely that they would have, it would have raised some ugly or inconvenient questions, and material that was additional to the story that had been sold with great vigor by the US Government and the corporate media, 24/7, starting immediately the South Tower was hit by Flight 175.

It is clear that the NIST report was more rooted in political mandate than scientific integrity. Using a variation of the bad science employed by the so-called "9/11 Commission" (which cherry-picked the data in order to arrive at a preordained conclusion), NIST decided that the only tenable explanation was the story which had already been sold to the American people via the media, 24/7 (before any testing had been done), and they thus tailored their own report accordingly to conform to such. NIST were caught in the act of either cooking the data (or gross incompetence?... unlikely) when physicist David Chandler confronted their experts in a public forum, pointing out some very basic errors in their report, which anyone with a knowledge of Newton's laws of motion and a simple piece of software could have deduced. To avoid further embarrassment, they quietly amended their report to conform to reality. Both NIST and the 9/11 Commission "drylabbed" their reports, the cardinal sin in any inquiry that pretends to be based on scientific rigor.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 5 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Next week in the Independent:

They probed my butt! An Alien Abduction Story.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

duetc asks, "Who are you protecting?" Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. Clearly they were in on it but I'm doing my best to save their sorry butts.


Yeah, you guys stick with Gage, the guy who thinks he can model the towers with cardboard boxes. D.U.M.B. Just plain dumb.

Chandler is not a physicist, he's a high school teacher. One who, by the way, thinks "pull it" is significant.


And bloggulator thinks NIST's work was a dry lab. Riiight, hundreds of engineers are part of the "inside job" and hundreds more reviewers are too.

You guys stick to it and, by golly, by 2020 you'll have some evidence.

Oh, to save you some trouble, I'm male and have a brain.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 5:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>>>If SezMe wants though he/she can show an independent volunteer her/his valid accredited high school credentials and I will show them my PhD. ;=)<<<

info, why don't you scan your PhD diploma and post it on a free picture hosting service such as photobucket? You can black out your name if you're worried that I work for the CIA.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I know he is... thats even more damning.. makes NIST appear kinda pathetic! A K-12 teacher debunks the NIST report by watching a video and doing some elementary measurements. Duh. How come NIST displayed such flagrant incompetence?

NIST omitted an important parameter in their un-peer-reviewed computer modeled version. According to NIST, for these purposes, structural steel does not conduct heat. Good work NIST... what kind of "scientific method" is that? Garbage.

Re "pull it": To "pull" a building does not specifically refer to explosive demolition.. in the demolition industry, "pulling" a building refers to attaching ropes/chains to a portion of a building and literally "pulling" it down. Obviously this did not happen in the case of WTC#7. However, it is quite possible that Silverstein was referring to "terminating the building".. as the term "pulling it" is in common usage in reference to canceling, or terminating an event, etc. So there *is* some justification in interpreting Silverstein's comment as "bringing down the building", especially as he also added in the nest sentence that WTC#7 came down shortly after he "decided to pull it".

When quizzed about this "pull it" comment, Silverstein explained that he was referring to "pulling the fire service out of the building". The problem being.. there had been no firefighters in WTC#7 since that morning, many hours prior.

Silverstein is a liar as well.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Pull it" is also a euphemism for masturbation. The conspiracy deepens ...

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2009 at 8:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This article and the other related article is one giant truther tinfoil circle jerk.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The neocons and their treacherous wannabe authoritarian supporters are the real paranoid tinfoil hatters. They also have so little power of comprehension that they appear unable to distinguish between a question and a conjecture. IQ <85 material by the looks.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Stop pulling it!

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 4:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, as a "treacherous wannabe authoritarian supporter" I am still waiting for any of you truthers to give me a coherant motive and means for the "controlled demolition" of the WTC and the apparent massive conspiracy of dark elements on our society that pulled off this attack. On second thought, let me break it down for you in a nice small bite so that your confused mind can wrap around it. Why would the unnamed dark forces set off a controlled demolition in two buildings that had already been hit by two airliners? The hijacking and crashes would have certainly been a sufficient causes belli. Why would they take such a huge risk by planting and then detonating explosives when that would have had no benefit for their dark agenda? Those were questions. Please respond with answers not conjecture. BTW, someone with an IQ below 85 can clearly see the foolishness of the truther movement.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What an incredible waste of time...twenty years from now you'll still be regurgitating this crap...get a clue Independent,
before you lose your readership!!!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Independent is slowly going off the rails. Here's a story from a few weeks ago that was presented as if it were by an impartial reporter, but turned out to have been written by an activist:

WTF is going on at the Independent?

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 8:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Kratatoa, the article to which you refer is clearly marked at the top:

Opinion >> Voices >>

which leads one to believe an Opinion is being presented.

-- WebAdmin

webadmin (webadmin)
September 22, 2009 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

SezMe (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 9:03 p.m.

Webadmin, check your own comment from September 10th.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 9:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What does that comment have to do with where the story was categorized?

-- WebAdmin

webadmin (webadmin)
September 22, 2009 at 10:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 22, 2009 at 11:31 p.m.

I misremembered the details, but it's still bad. The article was presented as if it were a letter from an ordinary citizen, but in fact the author worked for your paper.

And let's not forget the recent "news article" about someone's scooter that got stolen. Doing a favor for a buddy?

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2009 at 12:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)


First, the article:
"was presented as if it were by an impartial reporter, but turned out to have been written by an activist,"

and then the article:

"was presented as if it were a letter from an ordinary citizen, but in fact the author worked for your paper."

Which is it?

Dude, you're so all-fired in a hurry to toss out trollish comments you can't even get your story straight.

Please stop acting the Internet punk.

-- WebAdmin

webadmin (webadmin)
September 23, 2009 at 12:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

From the Wikipedia citation for "troll":

"n Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[2]".

Unfortunately, there are a few stinky trolls in the Indy threads. Its just too easy for them to be a sociopath while hiding behind a keyboard. I just ignore them. "Don't feed the trolls".

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2009 at 1:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Speaking of being in a hurry, you should reread the first sentence in my last post.

And name calling? Really professional.

P.S. -- Did they ever find the scooter!?!

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2009 at 2:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Skepticism is an essential element of scientific research and evaluation. When dealing with skeptics' organizations, (such as "JREF" which has vigorously taken up the task of promoting the official story of 9/11) one should always, however ask oneself "is the water clear and open, or is it muddied by other issues, not related to the science in hand"? Are they honest and sincere, in truly trying to weed out flimflam, or are they more concerned with promoting their (or others parties') agend: by the use of flimflam disguised as skepticism"? Is their method pure. peer-reviewed science, or is it "politics bracketed by science"?

A useful link is here:

Also, a link that casts some light on the organization's founder, James Randi.

Randi (amongst others) do not appear to be quite the scientifically solid "skeptic" that he claims... not only has he liberally employed dishonest techniques (lied) but also he does not have the relevant scientific credentials that would lend credibility to his arguments.

It would be interesting to interview William Rodriguez who worked as Randi's assistant before taking up his 20 year long tenure as janitor at the World Trade Center. Mr. Rodriguez, the master keyholder of the WTC is also a true American hero who led firefighters into the WTC during the attacks, unlocking doors, rescuing people trapped in elevators and he just escaped with his life by diving under a fire truck parked in the street as one of the Twin Towers came down. He was one of the last people who was rescued that day. Rodriguez also witnessed a large explosion which wrecked the lower basement levels of the North Tower some 10 seconds prior to the impact of Flight AA11, causing a number of severe injuries.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2009 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

LOL. The latest issue of the Indy printed 2 letters thanking them for running this story, and no letters wondering WTF was going on. They also didn't print any of the critical comments from this web page.

It's official -- there's a 9-11 Truther on the Indy staff. Indy, meet shark.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2009 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Kratatoa, I do not care if you are CIA or not. I do see that you have a sense of humor and couple of your "funny" posts were funny. I do not need to cover my name on my certificate ;=) But since you are interested I will be happy to prove to you that I do have one but only if you put your money where your mouth is. For $500 (two hours of my time) I will spend the time and prove it to you.

info (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2009 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It would take you 2 hours to scan and post your PhD diploma?

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2009 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No it does not. But that is what it will cost you since you asked to see it. This offer is good until 5 p.m. on 9/30/2009 as I have already spent enough time discussing this.

info (anonymous profile)
September 28, 2009 at 9:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Back on September 21st you offered to show your PhD to another poster for free. Why does it suddenly cost $500 now that I'm interested in taking up your offer?

I'm starting to get a raging clue ...

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 28, 2009 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How much would you charge to tell me the title of your dissertation?

9-11 Truther fraud. LOL.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 29, 2009 at 6:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi Kratatoa,

You seem like a nice person. You also are smart to know that things cost money and in this case for the title it will cost you $250. But we are almost at the deadline and I doubt I hear from you in time.

info (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 9:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)


An honest broker would back up her/his bona fides, after such full-throated flummery, with a single, free link to the source as PDF. You can do it here:

Charging admittance to something so easily faked or in fact dispositive to this argument on the whole, is telling and a little bit sad.

binky (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 10:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well since info paid good money to the diploma mill for his / her PHD diploma it makes good business sense to try to recoup some of that money by selling peeks of it to Kratatoa. Offer $10 and lets get this over with.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh please. You could have typed your dissertation title in less time than it took to post your new demand for money.

Let's say I wanted to pay you the $500. How would we arrange the transaction?

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi Kratatoa,

Now I am almost on the hook. Well, we will use a third party who gets the money from you and we meet and I show you the certificate and I buy the three of us a cup of coffee afterwards. If you want, we can take this to a personal email for the details and then after this is over, you can tell people whether I lied or not.

info (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at noon (Suggest removal)

A "third party?" You're just going to keep adding conditions and complications until this doesn't work, aren't you?

Here's an idea. I can leave the money in a manila envelope at a dead drop. I'll then wait at a nearby coffee shop in a trenchcoat and sunglasses. The code word is "Paultard."

STFU Walter Mitty. We all know you don't have a PhD.

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 1:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To Kratatoa,

My offer to show it for free was to SezMe and only if he showed his high school diploma. You cannot piggyback on an offer. For you it'd cost money and that was before you got upset and started using this kind of language and re-accusing.

Also a Paultard is someone whose claims cannot be tested/verified. My claims can easily be verified. However, your claim above (They probed my butt! An Alien Abduction Story) I would say is challenging to prove but you may be able to do it so I would hesitate to call you one (BTW I am not interested in your proof). LOL I am sure you are even madder now and if so you should control your anger.

Take care.

P.S. I think the rest of the readers had fun (I hope). You all take care too.

P.P.S. If I make a claim and someone doubts it they have to pay a price for their challenge. I would have donated this sum to the charity of the loser's choice (in my name!) so thanks for your offers to do it for free/$10 but I do not suggest how you do things and I do not do what you suggest.

info (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 4:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>>>LOL I am sure you are even madder now and if so you should control your anger.<<<

How old are you?

Kratatoa (anonymous profile)
September 30, 2009 at 9:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Herschel wrote on 9/22:
"I am still waiting for ... a coherant motive and means for the "controlled demolition" of the WTC... Why would [they] set off a controlled demolition in two buildings that had already been hit by two airliners? ... Why would they take such a huge risk by planting and then detonating explosives when that would have had no benefit for their dark agenda?"

If the agenda was limited to having justification with massive public support for the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq (to achieve goals established by Cheney's secret Energy Task Force) plus liberty-curtailing measures (the USA Patriot Act already written and waiting), you are correct that the hijackings and the jet impacts would have been sufficient.

Your last question implies, though, that the collapse of the towers had no benefit to their agenda.

Turn it around.

What if the chief goals of the day were the destruction of the entire WTC complex, a specific Pentagon wing, and the records stored there? A controlled demolition by itself would too obviously point at insiders for reasons of security access and logistics. Ah, but if you throw in the sensationalism and emotions of commercial aircraft impacts, you've got a somewhat plausible explanation for the initiation of the collapse to divert attention from other subsequent anomalies in how the collapses propagated (down and to WTC-4,5,6,7).

I won't go into details about means, because as soon as the list of perpetrators gets expanded beyond 19 Saudi patsies to include US government insiders, we're immediately talking not just deep pockets but also top-secret weapons and techniques that few citizens were aware of (like nano-thermite). How deep were the pockets? Recall that Rumsfeld said on 9/10 that the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion.


Here's the most comprehensive report I've seen yet to justify 9/11 as an inside job, and thankfully ties in the criminality of former CIA Director G. H. W. Bush as both Vice President (to clueless Reagan) and President.

"[N]ot only were the buildings targets, but ... specific offices within each building were the designated targets. ... [T]he attacks of September 11th were intended to cover-up the clearing of $240 billion dollars in securities covertly created in September 1991 to fund a covert economic war against the Soviet Union, during which 'unknown' western investors bought up much of the Soviet industry, with a focus on oil and gas. The attacks of September 11th also served to derail multiple Federal investigations away from crimes associated with the 1991 covert operation."
~ E. P. Heidner

The motives boil down to a cover-up for the Bush I crimes and those of administration supporters (Enron/WorldCom). And to money. On the money front: missing Pentagon funds, clearing of securities, war profiteering, and the shifting of wealth in the downed economy.

MaxBridges (anonymous profile)
October 1, 2009 at 11:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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