Pretending for a moment not to be a convert to the pinnacle of conspiracism, putting aside the several, if not many occasions when it was necessary to defend with a certain amount of vehemence those ideas which Cockburn and others of the Left have scoffingly dismissed as lunacy, is there a manner in which the subject can be approached with an open-mind, and with reason and caution and circumspection? After all, many, if not most of us, arrived at this craggy spot overlooking the most frightening of chasms, not out of whim, or fanciful political disposition, but rather through an introduction to Professor David Ray Griffin’s work, New Pearl Harbor.
If you had your pick from all of central casting for the part of lunatic conspiracist, Professor Griffin would not be anyone’s choice. He is a well-respected 60 plus year old, now-retired, Theology professor from a school of note who looks that part, and when you see him at the podium, sounds and acts that part. Now no one, of course, should end a consideration of matters as heart-stopping as whether or not the US government sacrificed three thousand of its own citizens for power political reasons with what an advocate looks or sounds like, or even with his credentials, but it seems perfectly reasonable to begin a study based on his, or a similar person’s, recommendation, doesn’t it?
Griffin has his look and manner going for him, and he is a recognized scholar, but there is a bit more that must be considered when we determine whether to take the first steps on this journey. For example, he managed to get two books published about this subject, not to mention whatever publishing he must surely have done as a theologian which, according to the back cover of New Pearl Harbor, amounts to the authoring or editing of some twenty books. One may assume from those facts that his history does not include disabling mental instability, and since the group as a whole is defending itself from accusations of lunacy, this particular characteristic of the premier prophet appears relevant.
Most of us don’t know what precisely is involved in getting a book published, but there are layers of vetting that go on there that can be taken into consideration, again, simply with regard to the question of an open mind and a beginning. Everyone understands that the publisher is trying to sell books, not promote truth, but they all have legal departments that are there for protection against libel laws. The point is simply that those who read his book are not just devouring the off-the-cuff and ill-considered rantings of a thoughtless mind.
Some may wish to think of Griffin’s own professed circumspection in the first pages of New Pearl Harbor where he declares no temptation to conceive of what many believe to be inconceivable. In doing so, taking him at his word, he plants himself among the majority of American citizens who begin the inquiry disposed toward disbelief, entirely appropriate given the horror of the accusation.
The book itself is powerful and amply filled with disquieting facts which are disregarded by some for reasons of personality or political predisposition and accepted without question by others for similar reasons. Trying to do as little harm as possible to an impressive amount of scholarship, it may be helpful, doing one’s best to keep to the brick path of reason, to put the evidence set out in Griffin’s book in two categories: the matters of physics, and the instances of human behavior which contributed to the success of the attacks.
Everyone has a different appreciation of, or tolerance for, proofs that depend on physical evidence. As it is the ground of what many consider possible, it must be paid careful attention in this instance. The newly-informed reader is bidden to consider the scholarship which declares that the Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed because they were blown up and not because of any fire started by crashing airplanes. We know that, the argument goes, because molten steel is found in the rubble of all three buildings destroyed that day.
The reason molten steel has such probative force, it is asserted, is because jet fuel fires do not burn hot enough to melt steel to a molten state, there being about a 1000 degree Fahrenheit differential in the potential heat from a jet fuel fire, and the amount of heat required to melt steel. It may then be argued, by analogy, that since the corpse contains a bullet, murder by gunfire must be considered, at the very least. A seemingly reasonable subsequent question would be: what are the other explanations for the existence of molten steel in the rubble? As one might ask, is the bullet one that the victim has been carrying around for years?
It is certainly true that jet fuel fires can burn hotter than normal, even to the point of melting steel, but apparently bellows are required or a significant additional source of oxygen. In the absence of any sort of claim that unusually strong winds enabled the fires to burn substantially hotter than would be expected, that particular explanation may be put aside.
Griffin and the group of physicists upon whom he relies say that the existence of molten steel proves the use of explosives as temperatures well in excess of that required to melt steel accompany the detonation of substances like thermate which can cut through steel instantaneously. Therefore, a series of simple questions require answers: 1. Are Griffin and others right when they state that steel melts at temperatures higher than those attendant a jet fuel fire? 2. Is there some other explanation for the existence of molten steel in the rubble? 3. Was there, in fact, molten steel in the rubble?
There are several other €œphysics €œ arguments that appear in Griffin’s work, that can be subjected to a similar analysis, but the molten steel is the most compelling for many observers and so is the best example of a claim that provokes a question that demands an answer. Has our foot already left the bricks, or are these the sorts of questions that arise in the minds of reasonable people?
The instances of human behavior that contributed to the success of the attacks are so many as to, in and of themselves, require rapt attention by virtue of their numbers and nothing else. In fact, it is the coincidence of many bits of supposed human negligence which to some are the most powerful argument for government complicity.
Along these lines, it is well-known that the United States has a procedure that is employed when airplanes do what is not expected of them. Jet fighters are scrambled; the errant aircraft is located; and choices are made that take into consideration the safety of the pilot, the passengers, and theoretical inhabitants of potential crash sites. In the nine months leading up to 9/11 jets were scrambled 67 times, mostly without real need, but rather out of an abundance of caution. Air traffic controllers, in and out of the military, have responsibility to take the necessary steps to insure aircraft safety. If called upon, military forces have the responsibility to intercept the threat and deal with it.
The number of times that someone failed in their appointed duty on September 11th is quite stunning according to Griffin and other scholars of the matter. The number is so stunning, in fact, that no more evidence is required for some observers; it being, for them, ludicrous to imagine so many failures by highly-skilled, highly-trained operatives all on the same occasion and, most importantly, all serving the same purpose. Some are inspired to say, €œyou mean to tell me that all of those people just happened to be negligent at the very same time, in some instances the very same way, and their negligence just happened to be required in order for the attacks to achieve the success they did? Come on.€
A similar tone of disbelief can be found when the facts surrounding the crash at the Pentagon are set out. Hani Hanjour, the government’s supposed highjacker and pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which the government claims flew into the Pentagon 1. had trouble flying a Cessna, 2. changed the course of the aircraft in the last two and a half minutes of the flight, 3. from one headed at Donald Rumsfeld’s office or the roof above which 4. would have provided the largest possible target and grandest possible devastation 5. to one, after a 270 degree turn and dive from 7000 feet, that would hit the building in that part 6. providing the smallest possible target, 7. that had been recently reinforced to withstand attack 8. with the fewest occupants assuring the smallest possible loss of military life while 9. flying virtually parallel to the ground and just a few feet above it. The entire maneuver prompted air traffic controllers to assume it was a military plane. The flight was monitored in the White House and every ten miles was reported to Dick Cheney. As the young man reported that the plane was only ten miles away, he asked if the orders still stood. Norman Minetta was present as the Vice President asked pointedly if the young man had heard anything to the contrary. Minetta thought that the plane would be shot down, but it wasn’t, and the large hole in the Pentagon was the result. The combination of Hanjour’s supposed maneuver, thought to be inconsistent with the presumed purpose of a suicide terrorist, and Minetta’s report of Cheney’s actions are simply two of many examples of unswallowable recitations of the official story.
It seems even the reasonable among us would be provoked to further inquiry by such a confluence of improbable events. Pursuing that inquiry, one sadly finds that the government has within its power the ability to shed an enormous amount of light on the subject of the crash at the Pentagon as it seems there was video of the occasion. The sadness derives from the fact that the video, from several different sources near the building, seized by the FBI shortly after the explosion, has not been made public. It is not as if the Pentagon is hovering miles above the fray uninterested in the debate in books and on the Internet. When one author claimed there was no flying object involved in the destruction at the Pentagon, a few frames from a camera at one of the gates to the Pentagon were released establishing conclusively, that a flying object was involved, and absolutely nothing whatever about its nature. Just this past spring, pursuant to a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal organization, a few more frames from essentially the same spot were released. Anyone who claims the debate about what kind of aircraft hit the Pentagon is over as a result of the most recently released frames has far more imagination at their disposal than is safe for public discourse.
At least two things are interesting about the newest release and the cause of it. Judicial Watch apparently did not seek the pictures from the Sheraton Hotel, the Virginia Department of Transportation or, most notably the Citgo gas station whose camera points directly at the point of impact. If public awareness is the goal of such legal action, why weren’t the other videos the subject of the suit? If the Pentagon has the slightest interest in quelling public concerns about what happened, or in exonerating its officials, assuming that is what a release of pictures would do, why in the world don’t they do it? If this is an effort to be reasonable, aren’t these questions that deserve answers?
With just this small sampling of disturbing pieces of evidence, some sort of rebuttal seemed to be in order. One would have expected that the 9/11 Commission, appointed to provide the truth to the American people, would have been a proper vehicle for that rebuttal. A reasonable person would think so. A reasonable person can find NOTHING in the report that eludes to the problems that Griffin raises, much less answers them.
But a rebuttal certainly was in order, and the editor of Popular Mechanic magazine knew it. Is it reasonable to think of the rebuttal, Debunking the Myths of 9/11, as disingenuous and intentionally misleading, or just a pitiable effort strengthening the paranoia growing rapidly at the edges? The magazine article takes a sampling of some of the more bizarre and easily refutable claims found on the internet and soundly demolishes them. Left unmentioned are molten metal, freefall speed, the antics of Hani Hanjour, thirty years of US government collaboration with the likes of Osama Bin Laden, and the mountain of instances of government agent negligence all perplexedly serving precisely the same purpose. All of these items, surely worth consideration by a reasonably open-minded citizen, remain unchallenged by the arbiters of reason at Popular Mechanics.
General Mahmoud Ahmad deserves his own paragraph. He was arguably the most powerful man in Pakistan in 2001 as head of that country’s CIA, referred to as the ISI. It has been established that he had at least $100,000 sent to Mohammed Atta, the official story’s leader of the nineteen highjackers, in the weeks before the attacks. It has further been established that General Ahmad was in Washington, D.C. on September 11th meeting with officials from the CIA and DOD. It is simply beyond plain that these are matters that should be the subject of official scrutiny. The most stunning omission by the 9/11 Commission Report is its failure even to mention the two facts set out above in this paragraph. There should be no mystery to the persistence of the 9/11 conspiracy theories when the government’s effort to quell them does not include one of the most damning pieces of evidence that anyone could imagine.
Is this all that a reasonable person with a bit of time on his or her hands can do? No one would suggest that the €œconspiratorial€ thesis has, as of July of 2006, been seriously addressed at, say, the New York Times. A fair amount of space in the back sections with the word €œbuffs€ in the headline established that a number of outside-the-mainstream-looking people gathered in Chicago to discuss the problem, but none of the evidence was examined. Jim Dwyer wrote in August of 2005 of the statements of firefighters given immediately after 9/11, some of which, unmentioned in the articles Dwyer wrote, provided sustenance to the dark view by speaking of hearing explosions before, or as, the Towers collapsed. There was, however, none of what a reasonable person, willing to consider the dark view, might have imagined in the way of follow-up to the ideas which some of those highly-ranked firefighters put into play.
Reached by phone in the winter of 2006, Mr. Dwyer was a most gracious fellow, quite gentle and professorial in his denunciations of conspiratorial talk. Occam’s Razor was invoked, that ancient admonition against multiple assumptions if one will suffice. Up against a deadline, the simple rebuttal to Occam’s Razor’s applicability under the circumstances, that the government’s conspiracy theory assumes not just one criminal combination but many necessary instances of gross negligence as well, thereby offending Occam, had to be left unsaid.
Several months later, Mr. Dwyer’s voice was at the other end of the line again, inquiring why he should spend any time chasing down what some professor said about some part of an engine, supposedly not belonging to a 757, that was found in the wreckage at the Pentagon. Efforts to convince Mr.Dwyer that professors don’t cast their reputations to the wind willy-nilly were unavailing, and no investigative work in that regard was undertaken so far as the New York Times reported, or Mr. Dwyer later claimed.
In August some further accumulation of energy led to an email to Mr. Dwyer, admittedly snide in tone, that led to an email conversation that lasted for about ten days. The entire conversation can be read as an appendix to this essay. It began with my asking him to contact Professor Steven Jones who had claimed, during the course of a symposium broadcast on CSPAN, while holding in his rubber-gloved hand a small piece of metal, that he had tested the tendered sample of steel from Ground Zero and found it to contain thermate, an explosive that is used in controlled demolitions to sever steel.
Dwyer replied that he was done talking about the subject, having concluded that the Towers were the victims of suicidal highjackers and nothing more. He outlined his understanding of what would have been required to bring the buildings down and asserted the impossibility of it €œwithout a single credible witness mentioning an iota of such work.€
In spite of his efforts to put the matter to rest, I wrote back suggesting that he contact the company, Controlled Demolition, which was responsible for hauling part of the rubble to Hangar 17 at JFK. I also alluded to reports that the WTC was closed down prior to 9/11. I asked him to consider the skeptics’ scholarship and said I believed there could be a Pulitzer in it for him.
His reply, in apparent good humor, denied that the Towers were closed down and referred me to a National Institute of Standards and Technology website designed to answer some of the questions I had raised, particularly concerning the amount of explosives required, and therefore the enormity of the task of blowing the Towers up. At the bottom of the email, Mr. Dwyer implied that he was not, after all, quite finished with the subject. He asked why the airplane explanation didn’t work for me. He also referred to my years of trial lawyering, thinking that they should have taught me something about evidence and proof.
My reply referred to a witness who said that there had been a power-down at the WTC the weekend before 9/11 and a lot of maintenance people around. Responding to his question, why not the airplanes, I set out twenty-seven points of evidence or areas of inquiry, that I called my short form. The first eight dealt with the Pentagon and the next two the crash in Pennsylvania. Beyond wanting to know who I thought had done the damage, Mr. Dwyer in his response said,€[I]‘m not going to tackle the Pentagon. Or 7 WTC. Just 1 and 2, scenes of the greatest crimes. All must be true for any of it.€
Upon further reflection, the last phrase is one of the most troubling in the course of our conversation though a couple of others are in the running. There were at least four crimes that were part of the attacks of 9/11. At the end of our exchange, I ask Dwyer what about the search for truth about 9/11 allows one to disregard the Pentagon, Shanksville, and the fact that 7 WTC collapsed without being hit by an airplane. I still have no answer to that problem, but it occurs to me that one of the ways to cope with evil on such a grand scale is to construct within one’s mental process a mechanism which relegates to irrelevancy matters not otherwise considered so. The mechanism involves focusing on one aspect of the problem and seeing it as a linchpin for the whole. If an analysis of the focal point leads to a conclusion that conspiracy, or the dark view, is an impossibility, then there is no need to consider what is involved in the remainder.
One must question whether or not this is a reasonable approach to an understanding of the attacks. As engaged in by Mr. Dwyer, I speculate, he has determined that the central accusation of the dark view is that the Towers were blown up. If that is impossible, then, as part of an impossible assertion, any issues surrounding the Pentagon or Shanksville needn’t be addressed. As set out above, however, the attack on the Pentagon has its own issues that have nothing to do with physics, or impossibility, but instead with each of our understanding of what could reasonably be in the mind of a suicide highjacker, i.e., would he want to save as many lives as possible?
It is admittedly a matter of physics, but the mile-bouncing jet engine of Shanksville requires consideration regardless of what brought down the Towers. Put simply, why can’t conspiracy theorists be wrong in part and right in part? For whatever reason, accompanying a flawed intellectual construct or not, Mr. Dwyer’s refusal to tackle the Pentagon or 7 WTC stopped any thorough consideration of 9/11 in its tracks. My reply to him expressed the essence of my concerns. His justification, as I read it, brought my speculative analysis into play a second time. In a subsequent email, he asserted that there can be no €œmix and match, no hybrid.€ Either 9/11 was the government, or it was Islamic terrorists; it can’t be both.
This was a dumbfounding notion which Dwyer can be seen as implicitly conceding in a subsequent email. Having made reference to thirty years of collaboration with, and infiltration of, Islamic extremists, I inquired if the no mix and match idea was widespread at the New York Times. I don’t have an answer to that question beyond the implication that it isn’t, since Dwyer himself refers to his own books which establish numerous occasions of government agents working with terrorists, or at least appearing to.
The point here is that a reporter for the nation’s premier newspaper appeared to be engaging in a kind of mental gymnastic on two occasions which relieved him of the necessity of scrutinizing the attacks as a whole and therefore the multitude of disturbing problems which a reasonable open-minded person would want answers to. At some point in our exchange I suggested it might be difficult for someone in his position to consider the dark view out loud, alluding to what I referred to as the €œstrictures of thought€ in the newsroom. He did not deny the phenomenon, and it may have been responsible for the most pronounced failure of his reportorial duty.
The conversation began with a request that Mr. Dwyer speak with Professor Steven Jones of Brigham Young University. A professor of physics, Dr. Jones authored one of the papers upon which proponents of the dark view rely. Applying seemingly fundamental principles of physics, at what temperature steel melts, the potential heat from a jet fuel fire, for example, Jones concludes that the presence of molten steel in the rubble at Ground Zero means that there had to be some other source of heat during the collapses of the buildings. He asserts that controlled demolition using explosives creates the kind of heat that can in fact melt steel.
Jones’s analysis goes far beyond what is stated here by a non-scientifically-minded person. But, for the purposes of this discussion, it is sufficient to focus on this particular aspect of the problem. A reasonable inquiring mind, learning of Jones’s thesis might well want to know if something more can be done to determine if explosives were used to blow up the Towers. The answer is obviously €œyes,€ and apparently some people with an interest decided Professor Jones was the person to ask.
According to his statement at the symposium televised on CSPAN, at least one woman, a victim’s family member, had access to the repository of some of the remains of the building, presumably Hangar 17 at JFK, and decided to requisition a sample of the debris in the interests of truth and science. She sent the piece of steel to Professor Jones for scientific testing, such as is fundamental in today’s criminalistic investigations. That NIST did not test the steel for thermate, the substance theoretically used in the demolition, is a perplexing fact all by itself, given the existence of the hypothesis of controlled demolition not long after the attacks and a long time before the NIST report was published.
Under the circumstances, government agencies having failed to investigate fully, it was entirely reasonable for someone to turn to a scientist with the interest and the wherewithal to provide answers to reasonable questions. Professor Jones announced on CSPAN that his tests confirmed the presence of thermate on the sample he was provided. According to a source familiar with Jones’s work, he has actually found thermate on three separate samples from three separate sources, making the possibility of happenstance a longshot of inestimable proportion.
Since none of this had, or has, appeared in the New York Times, it was my request of Mr.Dwyer that these matters be investigated. It is now possible for Mr. Dwyer to say that he looked into the situation and reported about it. The manner, scope, and energy with which the investigation was conducted is no small indication of the harness that binds the brain of the best of our news gatherers.
At the start, it seems disrespectful, almost, not to have flown to Utah to meet the person who may have the most serious and important things to say about this nation’s day of victimization. On the simplest level, if Professor Jones is correct, doesn’t some person or agency have an enormous amount of explaining to do? I don’t know if Dwyer made the travel request and was denied, or not, but the tone of his various answers and his reporting generally would suggest he had no interest in going to see Jones in person.
That said, it seems plain that the point of contacting Jones at all would be to learn what his claims are, to what extent he is able to back them up, in what ways he employed scientific techniques that are reproducible, who were the sources of whatever substance he tested, the precise kinds of tests that he performed and under what conditions, and whether or not there are fellow scientists who have replicated his work or confirmed his findings. In addition, an investigator would be interested in knowing what sort of person Professor Jones is, what his credentials are, whether he is possessed of some kind of bias, and what his reputation is amongst academics.
It would be wrong to say that the latter questions were the focus of Dwyer’s email interrogation of Professor Jones, but these last questions found plenty of space in Dwyer’s emails to me, leading one to wonder, given what Dwyer found in those regards, if the point of Dwyer’s work was not to discredit Jones if at all possible. Dwyer learned from the Physics Department at BYU that Jones’s work surrounding 9/11 had been disavowed by his colleagues. It is a matter of history that Jones was a government researcher into cold fusion, an enterprise that produced much in the way of headlines a decade or more ago, but nothing scientifically valid. In addition, Jones has written about religious topics.
After detailing all of this in emails to me, Dwyer asked, €œWhy is Jones more credible than all his colleagues at BYU?€ This question is demonstrative of a profoundly flawed analysis, not to mention a debilitated investigative technique.
1. Jones stated that he performed tests and found thermate; his colleagues at BYU make no such claim and offer no specific denial of it.
2. Jones has written a paper which uses scientific principles to demonstrate certain facts; the structural engineering professors at BYU, according to the Department Chair, Woodruff Miller, among other procedural criticisms, have stated that they €œdo not think there is accuracy and validity to these (Jones’s) claims,€ but have published nothing by way of scientific rebuttal. Miller further states that the university is aware that Jones’s €œhypotheses and interpretations of evidence€¦are being questioned by a number of scholars and practitioners€¦€ In addition, Miller states that college administrators are not convinced that Jones’s work has been submitted to the proper scientific venues of peer review. While each one of these ideas is profoundly troubling in a general sense, and specifically damaging to anything that Jones puts forth as scientifically demonstrated, they do not establish the notion that Jones is wrong in what he says he found or how he says he found it.
3. The rejection of a hypothesis is a long way from disputing scientific practice.
The conclusion that Dwyer’s mission with regard to Steven Jones was to discredit is supported by one particular admission in our email exchange. Dwyer said that he could not remember if he had asked Jones €œpointblank€ if he had found thermate, much less how, from where, in what concentrations, etc. Reviewing his notes, he determined that he had asked Jones to comment on the NIST website’s Q and A’s, which include the fact that NIST did not test for thermate. Jones’s reply is as follows: We, OTOH, are testing for the residue of thermite-reaction compounds (aluminothermics) both in the toxic WTC dust and in the solidified metal. And we are finding an abundance of fluorine, zinc and other elements which are commonly used in aluminothermics, but not in building materials in the concentrations found. We are investigating the possibility of thermite-based arson and demolition.
A number of questions arise, some of which have been referred to previously: Yes, but did you find thermate? Is the testing you referred to something different from that that you discussed at the Symposium televised on CSPAN? Are you suggesting that the toxic dust tests corroborate the solidified metal tests. Where did you get the solidified metal? Is it possible that what you got did not come from Ground Zero? Were there any inconsistencies in your testing? Who observed your testing? Do you have any doubts about your findings?
None of these questions was asked. One postulates that the reason is that the underlying premise, the falsity of the official story, was never given the room to breath in the reporter’s mind. If an investigator is unaware of his or her predisposition to dismissal, or aware, makes no mental effort to compensate, the results are a hit piece, properly deserved or not. Since we are awash in thoughts of conspiracy, there is the further possibility that a reporter understands his or her role as spear-carrier for the forces of stability, and sets out, quite mindfully, upon the job of discrediting critics of the regime. US history is filled with countless instances of compromised and corrupted reporters. While his reporting seems to lack energy, and scope, there is nothing in the performance of Mr. Dwyer which demands such a cynical view of his understanding of his role.
A few more highlights of the email conversation with Mr. Dwyer are worth mentioning. Much space was devoted to describing some of the people who worked at, and were responsible for, the World Trade Center. Dwyer bristled at the inferred suggestion that any of those people would have allowed their building to be blown up without uttering a word. Apart from never having implied such a thing, it seems very bizarre to even entertain such a notion. It is not decent, conscientious people who were responsible for what happened if the dark view is true. Those people had to be kept unaware so that a cabal with its cadres of covert operatives could perform its devastating work without getting caught. That any time at all was spent by Mr. Dwyer considering how the heroes of the World Trade Center could have allowed such a thing to happen is hard to understand.
Dwyer has obviously spent an enormous amount of time and energy studying the World Trade Center, including, according to his emails, creating databases to track witnesses’ stories. Most peculiar, then, is his unwillingness, or inability, to acknowledge the existence of numerous firefighters and others, of varying ranks, some quite elevated, who refer to explosions before and as the Towers collapse. Some of the statements are ambiguous as to what is being described, and in some instances it may well be that the explosions they refer to are the collapse of one of the Towers, but with regard to each of the relevant statements, one interpretation involves explosions that are not simply the collapse of one of the Towers. The interrogators who obtained the statements were either uninterested, or unqualified to clear up ambiguities.
What cannot be said in truth, as Mr.Dwyer did, is that there is nothing in the witness accounts to support the demolition theory. There is even an added emphasis in his claim which is astounding in the face of a catalogue of people whose names are in the record and upon whom the likes of Griffin and Jones rely. One wonders if, in the case of Mr. Dwyer, there is an effort to convince himself.
Just to take one instance, Mike Pecoraro is an engineer who was working in the sixth subbasement of the North Tower when it was hit. In the hour before the Tower collapsed, he went up to the third subbasement and found the machine shop and a fifty ton press reduced to rubble. Though the question was asked, Mr.Dwyer has not said if he has interviewed Mr. Pecoraro to write about his story or determine his credibility. Nor has he explained how Mr. Pecoraro is nothing.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that Mr. Dwyer has described what would be an amazing undertaking, to demolish the Towers by means of explosives without anyone, who has subsequently spoken up, knowing about it. None of Dwyer’s arguments can or should be disregarded. Set down next to what a tenured professor in physics describes as a physical impossibility, however, a reasonable person would likely be provoked to investigate how an organization with the expertise at blowing up buildings might go about doing it in secret. A reporter for the New York Times has all that it takes to get responses to such questions. Have they been asked? Should they be asked? Is it reasonable to think they should be asked, and answered? Is any of this, so simple and reasonable to some, still impossibly inconceivable to others? How is that chasm bridged?
The email conversation began as follows: Dear Mr. Dwyer,
I am the now-retired public defender from California who remembers an enlightening chat with you in February or so where we jousted over the applicability of Occam’s Razor to the collapse of the WTC.
I referred you to Professor Fetzer about two months ago over the rotor found at the Pentagon. I don’t know what you did about that, but I understand it is not at all clear whether that rotor is consistent with a 757 or a JT3B or both. Understanding that I may well be writing to no end whatever, I now ask that you investigate Professor Steven Jones’s claim that he has samples of metal from ground zero that contain thermate, the explosive that is used to cut steel in controlled demolitions.
I saw this on CSPAN. I can’t imagine an explanation for the presence of such a substance in the wreckage of the towers that does not include the most condemnatory conclusions about our government, but I think the people who put it there should be entitled to offer whatever they can come up with. Do you have sufficient interest in the worst single crime ever committed on American soil to ask the obvious questions of Professor Jones, BYU, and others?
I apologize for the snide tone, but I suppose you can understand it at this point.
His reply within a short period of time was: Dear Bill,
To answer your challenge, I have enormous interest in the worst crimes committed on American soil. I don’t believe that the towers were blown up by demolition. Two planes flew into them and killed them.
No one can explain to me how demolition experts could 1. carry hundreds of pounds of explosives into the building, getting past the security and loading the material into the elevators; 2. bring it to individual floors, make it past the security operated by each of the corporations on those floors, sometimes, in multiple layers because there are multiple tenants. 3. open the interior skin of the building to a sufficient depth to locate the structural columns; 4. insinuate the explosives and fuses into the interior body of the building. 5. repeat four times, for all four corners of the building; 6 repeat steps 1 through 5 on at least 20 floors, probably 30;. 7 run fusing material through 20 or 30 floors at timing intervals such that a progressive collapse explosion actually took place; 8: do all of the first seven steps to identicial specifications in a second tower; and finally, 9. do all eight steps (actually, 16 steps, since two buildings are involved). without getting caught by anyone, without anyone ever remembering it, without a single credible eyewitness mentioning an iota of such work.
For those reasons – each and every one a necessary condition — I think demolition by controlled explosion did not happen and death by suicide hijacked airplanes did.
I’m not going to waste time calling anyone to ask why some substance was purportedly found in the Ground Zero debris. Being on CSPAN doesn’t prove anything.
I enjoyed speaking with you last winter. I have spent the last 13 years considering how and why someone would kill the World Trade Center. I have written two books about it. No one has seriously challenged the reporting in either book. I’m done talking about the subject.
Replying to that: Jim,
You have exposed yourself as a reasonable human being. I appreciate your tone and your time. A smartass likes nothing so much as another.
Conan Doyle said when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth. It is impossible to create molten steel from a jet fuel fire of the duration we know about on 9/11. No matter the physics of it, it is pretty much impossible to imagine attaching thermate to three separate pieces of steel obtained from three separate human sources all from the wreckage at ground zero without the use of explosives. That leaves your string of improbabilities, if they are indeed so improbable, which I doubt.
1. I am not a bit sure you need hundreds of pounds of thermate, even if you would need that much of the 1993 fertilizer mix. Were I in your shoes I would want to have a conversation with the operation that hauled all of the evidence away, except what is in hangar 17 at JFK, that is. That company was, it’s hard to make this stuff up, “Controlled Demolition,” but I hope that isn’t news to you; or maybe I hope it is.
2. I have read that the WTC was in fact closed down for some period of time in the weeks or months preceding 9/11. Is that true? If it is, the rest of your improbable occurrences lose their power.
I know you said ‘I’m done talking about the subject,” but what’s the worst you can do? Your reaction to the supposed rotor at the Pentagon-”first I’ve ever heard about it” suggests that you have not made the skeptics’ scholarship a priority. Maybe you should.
I think there is a Pulitzer in this for you, or at least a best seller when you resign because they pulled you off of the story. What can I do to help you win it?
Then, in the course of answering what had been put to him, came a question in return, Dear Bill:
The WTC never closed down. There were people in there every day. On weekdays, there were between 16,000 and 25,000. No one — not one — ever saw anyone opening up the interior of the building to reach the structural steel columns.
According to NIST, which today issued a communique on these issues (entirely coincidental to our exchange), not hundreds of pounds of thermate but thousands were needed.
Here’s a link to what they call a fact sheet. It was developed to answer questions about other explanations (ie, demolition) of the WTC.
I am thinking of writing about this. Why doesn’t the airplane work for you? You must have tried scores of criminal cases and understand evidence and proof.
That occasioned the following:
Bless you, sir, it’s actually hundreds, and I guess I think I know a thing or two about evidence. So here we are, a couple of seasoned veterans who view a bunch of facts differently. One of us is wrong; I have already admitted as much on a couple of occasions concerning this case. Are we looking at the same facts?
Scott Forbes says there was a power-down the weekend before 9/11 and a lot of maintenance men. One of my people, those with an interest but neither subpoena power nor press credentials, understands that there was a maintenance contract for suspicious places in the Towers, but don’t you think if the government wanted to do such a thing, it could, with spy techniques or intimidation or both?
If you really want my unabridged lawyer’s case, say so and I will provide it to you. It will take a couple of weeks. Short form is as follows:
1. They hit the Pentagon. How much more really needs to be said?
2. They say it was an incompetent pilot who performed a very difficult maneuver for a 757, to hit an uninhabited part of the building so that the least possible damage would be done when flying straight into the top(the plane’s initial heading) would have provided a much easier target, a staggering death toll, and the possibility of Donald Rumsfeld himself.
3. They smelled cordite at the Pentagon and felt shock waves, and there was a secondary explosion.
4. They have the ability to nail a lot of it down by releasing videotapes from a number of cameras around the Pentagon and they haven’t.
5. There was an airplane, maybe one of the fancy big ones, in the sky above the Pentagon when the rest of flying America was on the ground.
6. The exit hole in the inner ring looks a lot like it was blown out from the inside, an explosive wall-breaching in essence.
7. The columns in the Pentagon were damaged in such a way as to make one skeptical that a flying 757 was responsible. For example, tests performed at Sandia show jetfighters disintegrating on impact with reinforced walls. The absence of any significantly-sized debris at the scene suggests that the plane did indeed become confetti. That is inconsistent with busting through all those columns and making it through the back wall. Either it is mass A, or it is mass B.
8. Some analyses of the released frames from the Pentagon cameras conclude that what is found there is not big enough for a 757, but I don’t need this for my conclusion that it was an inside job.
9. Cell phones don’t work above 6 thousand feet or so.
10. I can’t explain what the wreckage of a crashed plane is doing spanning a mile or more of the Pennsylvania landscape. A shotdown plane is another matter.
11. Dan Rather said that WTC7 looked like a controlled demolition. I agree with him. Larry Silverstein said as much on TV.
12. All three WTC buildings contained molten metal weeks after 9/11. That is consistent with extremely high temperatures(explosives) and not a jet fuel fire that lasted a very short time.
13. Steel framed buildings had never collapsed due to fire and several have had the opportunity-Philadelphia and Madrid, for example. That three would on the same day, hours apart, one of which was never hit by an airplane, actually makes me amazed at what it is possible to get away with.
14. Your reporting established many eye/earwitnesses to explosions at the critical moment.
15. The first thing to go in WTC7 is the penthouse, but there is no fire anywhere around.
16. There were 47 enormous steel core columns that ended up in 30-50 ft lengths. There is no way that the short-burning fires of that day could have severed the steel columns in such a manner.
17. It seems far more likely, had the theoretically weakened steel of the perimeter collapsed due to heat, that the core columns would remain standing or fall over whole since the fires were no where near long enough to get them hot enough to collapse. Steel conducts heat away from the source. That’s an awful lot of steel.
18. If the hottest parts of the core columns got hot enough to be plastic, they would bend and fall over. They would not break up into 30-50 foot lengths(conveniently sized to fit the trucks that hauled them away, owned by Controlled Demolition, but I think I already mentioned that).
19. As you watch one of the Towers collapse, you see the top, above impact, telescope down appreciably. If it is a weakening at the point of impact due to fire, there is no reason for the top to compress; nothing beyond what usually does, is weighing it down.
20. There are unmistakable squibs(in some cases large pieces of steel) ejected from the sides of the building up to two hundred feet away, well below where the fire is burning at the time of collapse.
21. The concrete in the building was pulverized.
22. Physicist Jim Hoffman studied the quantity of dust created by the collapse and found it to be ten times what you would expect from the potential energy in a collapsing burning building of the size of the towers.
23. The second one hit fell first.
24. A reputable tenured professor at an accredited university, with post doctoral work at Cornell and Stanford has publicly claimed to have tested a piece of steel from Ground Zero and found it to contain Thermate, an explosive. He has actually tested three from three different sources all containing the same substance.
25. The NiST report is a sham. See the foot note on page 80, I think, which admits that they didn’t study what happened after the conditions for collapse had been achieved. Would you ever conclude a homicide investigation without studying the corpse or the place where it was found?
26. The mountain of human direct and circumstantial evidence that plays really well with juries but that is hard to evaluate on the printed page. In sum, Ahmed’s War on Freedom, Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon, Griffin’s New Pearl Harbor, Marrs’ can’t remember the name, Hufschmid’s Painful Questions, Hoffman’s various scholarly articles, Steven Jones’ scholarly articles, Fetzer’s article. There are flaws in each of these but none that warrant dismissal. Peter Lance and Jane Davis, along with several others that don’t come to mind at the moment, have contributed a lot.
27. The number of instances of supposed negligence, well into the hundreds if you go back a number of years, all around the same focal point, all contributing to the same end, as if they had the same purpose, at some point must no longer be called negligence. It is an in-one’s-tracks-stopping notion to think that our trained professional intelligence and military operatives can’t do anything right when their untrained, or ill-trained, martyrdom-seeking zealots can do nothing wrong. Add to that the elements of cover-up and unwillingness to do an investigation, and the fact that the 9/11 Commission refused to even address, much less answer the questions I set out above, and ….
I hope I haven’t cracked under the pressure. The thought that a New York Times reporter might be listening, and that this might be the nation’s only chance, is kind of hard on my constitution.
With respect and appreciation for the interest,
His reply attaches itself in the appropriate places to the email to which he is responding with the following prefatory comments: Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 19:41:25 -0400
How did you get started on this? How persuaded are you?
I’m not going to tackle the Pentagon. Or 7 WTC. Just 1 and 2, scenes of the greatest crimes. All must be true for any of it.
See my notes on your annotations.
First, in re: quantity of stuff, this is from Jones’s papers. And I don’t see that Jones tells us he found thermite, but he conjectures it’s there:
€œThus, we find substantial evidence supporting the current conjecture that some variation of thermite (e.g., solid aluminum powder plus Fe2O3, with possible addition of sulfur) was used on the steel columns of the WTC Tower to weaken the huge steel supports, not long before explosives finished the demolition job. Roughly 2,000 pounds of RDX-grade linear-shaped charges (which could have been pre-positioned by just a few men) would then suffice in each Tower and WTC 7 to cut the supports at key points so that gravity would bring the buildings straight down. The estimate is based on the amount of explosives used in controlled demolitions in the past and the size of the buildings. Radio-initiated firing of the charges is implicated here, perhaps using Joule heating or superthermite matches. Using computer-controlled radio signals, it would be an easy matter to begin the explosive demolition near the point of entry of the planes in the Towers (to make it appear that the planes somehow initiated the collapse; cutter-charges could have been pre-placed at numerous spots in the building, since one would not know exactly where the planes would enter.)
At 07:01 PM 8/31/2006, you wrote:
With regard to Scott Forbes and others who saw maintenance people or knew of a maintenance contract, Dwyer says nothing. As to whether he thought the government could have done the demolition job, he responds: No. Maybe in a limited area, but not over 25 or 30 floors, in two buildings occupied by thousands of people, day, night and weekends. A 1,500 pound bomb didn’t put a serious dent in the place in 1993. Each face of the tower had to take enormous, enormous wind loads every day — far greater than a 1,500 pound bomb. So you would have had to put tons of explosives around to get the job done. Read Wikipedia on thermite. It’s not easy to handle. Who uses it for demolition?
Moreover, you couldn’t open all those walls without people finding out. In 1978, the Citicorp Tower on 53rd Street was built with a structural flaw — its main columns had been bolted, rather than welded together. An engineer doing wind studies figured out it would blow over in the wind. They had to go in and open the walls on 30 or 40 floors, apply welds to the columns that had been bolted together. Everyone in the building knew. There was a newspaper strike on at the time, and even I — a junior in college — knew.
He chooses not to respond to the comment about the Pentagon’s apparent vulnerability, but rather wants to know who, it is believed, were the perpetrators? Points 2-10 in the email to which Dwyer is responding engender nothing by way of response. The comment about the owner/lessor of the building, Larry Silverstein, in point #11 provokes this:
I believe Silverstein was talking about pulling the firefighters out of an empty burning building. (And why would he be in on it?) Fire Chief Pete Hayden, who commanded the operation after the first two towers fell, said precisely that (in his oral history).
The problem of the molten steel, serious enough to provoke more than one physicist to generate a purportedly scholarly paper, evokes the following perplexing answer: I covered a dump in Jersey City that was burning for 25 years in 1980. They could never put it out. Why is an explosive – literally a fraction of a second – more likely to create molten steel? Wouldn’t temperature have cooled weeks later?
Point #13 having to do with the lack of prior history of steel-framed buildings collapsing because of fire and the strange coincidence of three such collapses, etc., etc. yields nothing in response. What precisely one is to make of such silence is hard to know. The witnesses to explosions within the WTC prompts the following: Jones cited the FDNY oral histories to argue that the explosions began in the basement. I have read all the histories of the 50 firefighters who were in the buildings. (I sued four years to get them.) No one credible says that. It is preposterous. There were people in the base of the building. They walked out — civilians, firefighters, and so forth.
The implosion of the penthouse of WTC7 is apparently unworthy of mention, but the 30-50 ft lengths of the severed steel columns elicited this:
During construction, the columns were field assembled from 20-40 foot lengths. So it’s not surprising that they ended up in such lengths.
Point#17, having to do with the length and the heat of the fires being insufficient to severe the steel and more likely to make them fall over whole, finds this in response: How can you say the perimeter is theoretically weakened? It was hit by an airplane! Dozens of those exterior pinstripe columns were destroyed, across 8-10 floors.
Anyway, NIST says the core columns — damaged by impact, weakened by fire — sagged first, pulling the floors inward, which pulled the compromised perimeter columns in, seen as bowing on the videos.
And then this to the related Point#18: I think the columns sag.
But wait: you’re not saying Controlled Demolition set up the demolition, and had it worked out so it fell in truck sized pieces?
Point #19 referring to the telescoping of the tops of the towers in mid collapse occasions no response beyond a question: Does that mean there is agreement as to the assumed fact? If the core goes first, wouldn’t we see the TV antenna at the top start to sink into the middle?
Point#20 concerning the ejected pieces of steel finds no rebuttal. Point #21 about pulverization elicits this:
Some of it was pulverized. I walked on top of it. Some of it was in hunks. Only the floors were concrete. The point of the trade center’s design was to keep it very lightweight, to reduce the amount of steel needed. The walls were all drywall. That was pulverized.
Point#22 concerning the work of physicist Jim Hoffman evokes nothing. Point#23 about the second tower falling first prompts this: It was breached across two faces, as the plane went from south to northeast, and according to NIST, significantly more core columns were damaged,
Point#24′s reference to an academic finding thermate on steel from ground zero finds this response: Do you mean Jones? I can’t find that.
Point #25 that refers to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s report as a sham and queries whether a homicide investigation conducted in a similar fashion would be acceptable leads Dwyer to say the following: I disagree. I think viable evidence expires at that point.
Point#26′s mention of the many authors who have studied the issue led to this response: I haven’t read all of these. Jones’s article is filled with conjecture, and he uses that term himself. It is supposition that thermite is consistent with his scenarios, not direct evidence.
The email ended as follows: You’re not cracking. Best, Jim
My reply follows: Jim,
I have never been a part of a more fascinating conversation. The implosion world stuff is very powerful, and it will probably have to be up to the physicists on my staff to properly rebut it. I clearly rely on the existence of molten steel and thermate. Blanchard kind of suggests that the photographs in Jones’ paper were doctored. It sure looks yellow and dripping to me. There’s an extremely weird story if true. Jones stated on the panel discussion on CSPAN that he had tested a piece of steel and found thermate. My source tells me Jones has tested three samples from separate sources, none of which is included in the paper I read.
Blanchard takes refuge in the chain of custody problem with Jones’ tests. That’s fine technically, but figuring out how and why thermate got on the steel in some other way detracts from the safety of the refuge, to torture the metaphor a bit. Blanchard does not suggest what is essential to put this matter to rest. Four different scientists with no prior pronouncements on the issue should be allowed into Hangar 17, to take as much steel as they want, to then publicly and transparently test it for thermate and then render their conclusions.
What’s the matter with the Pentagon and WTC7? It is a fact that this case has a cumulative effect on the truth-seeker. The tentative conclusions with regard to one aspect lend weight to impressions with regard to another. The “they”? What I have been saying for a year or more is-give me subpoena power and I will find out.
There are two very significant problems with not dealing with WTC7 and the Pentagon. They are the ancillary crime problem and the character evidence problem. So many of my clients avoided major disasters as they were committing the murder, but got sloppy when they were trying to fence the stuff. It is often the secondary that gets them. WTC7 should be viewed as the ancillary crime. When somebody explains why the penthouse is the first thing to go, which Blanchard doesn’t do, very significantly, people like me may begin to quiet down. Silence under these circumstances comes close to being an adoptive admission-admissible in court because an innocent person would have spoken up. The Commission’s failure to mention WTC7 is explosive.
The Pentagon will never go away because of the broad outlines of the crime, as discussed previously. That is character evidence. These people are capable of everything. To disregard the criminal’s prior or subsequent crimes is to close investigative eyes. As an aside, 9/11 is what seals the question of whether the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, which RFK,Jr.and I are ready to debate whenever called upon.
You make excellent and perplexing points about the enormity of the task of blowing up the buildings that Jones addresses to some extent. I admit I really don’t even get there because no one has sufficiently addressed the satellite photos and the molten steel questions. First you eliminate the impossible. Since it is far from physically impossible to blow up the building, we are in that instance dealing with the concededly improbable. Blanchard seems to agree that the presence of molten steel would defeat the fire hypothesis, doesn’t he?
Underlying a consideration of how hard it would be to plant the explosives is the voluminous history of government intimidation of witnesses, not to mention firing and silencing whistle-blowers. If the best rebuttal is “there would be witnesses,” I think of that history.
At base, my belief requires the understanding that very powerful people did something horribly wrong because they had convinced themselves they were right. They were the heroes awakening a sleeping nation in the only way they knew how. 1993 and Bojinka were obviously insufficient. They then let their servants(only the absolute minimum, the rest are duped) in on the true value of their vision and let patriotism and threat of prosecution or worse take it from there.
I like the business about the dump, but at what temperature was it burning and what does that say about the nature and temperature of the initial fire? The last thing I am is a physicist, and I have the same question with regard to cooling down, but I rely on Hoffman and Jones for the notion that explosives create tremendous temperatures which create molten metal. It is not from the airplanes as has been suggested-1. too heavy, and 2. it was found in WTC7 which wasn’t hit by one. Molten metal, therefore, disposes of the jet fuel hypothesis. Do we have dueling physicists on these issues?
I must say I get a little anxious when witnesses are referred to as not credible without being cross-examined; it is so easy to dispose of inconvenient discrepancies that way.
May I amend to say theoretically heat-weakened steel of the perimeter? Everyone agrees, however, that the planes did not cause the collapse except insofar as they started the fires, right? So, the crash-destroyed perimeter is not particularly relevant. The building was entirely stable after impact, no?
I would need subpoena power before I asserted that Controlled Demolition had anything to do with blowing up the building, but whoever did blow up the building would have done more or less what was done.
The most stunning notion to which I have been introduced in this exchange is that of the expiration of viable evidence. If I understand you correctly, you just relegated to irrelevance an entire branch of criminology(criminalistics) as well as forensic pathology. I can’t imagine you meant to do that, but then again, that is what NIST did, establishing forever their lack of credibility and providing the kooks like me in the audience with yet one more reason to believe.
If we have thousands of photographs of the steel, I’m told it is a simple matter to look at it and determine if it was cut by explosives or not. But the body of the building, that NIST had no interest in, would also have contained, or not contained, thermate. I can’t tell you how many of my clients are in jail due to forensic science, evidence that was, according to those infallible juries, quite viable enough, thank you.
To my credit, or not, I laughed at the skeptics for 3 1/2 years. Then an extremely bright colleague, so smart he does nothing but fancy appellate work, threw Griffin’s book across the desk at me. My life will never be the same. How’s that for drama?
As to how persuaded I am, I shot past beyond a reasonable doubt when the Commission didn’t even deal with Griffin’s issues, and Lance’s testimony was given no space. But it is a fact that I am constantly reevaluating my level of certainty. I think we would have to say morally certain at the moment, made stronger by the unwillingness or inability of smart guys with power like you to deal with the Pentagon and WTC7.
Having now read the story in Saturday’s paper, did you ask Jones if he found thermate? Is he backing off of his pronouncements on CSPAN? What does the presence of zinc and fluorine mean? Does the fact that Kevin Ryan is actually a whistleblowing former NIST scientist give you pause? I noticed that fact didn’t make it into your story. My recently-graduated-from-law-school son wanted me to object to “Conspiracy Theories” in the headline, saying every theory about 9/11 is a conspiracy theory. I told him you didn’t write the headlines and shouldn’t be chastised for “playing the game” as he put it.
Mr. Dwyer’s replies followed his prior format with comments inserted in the email to which he was responding as appropriate. In toto, it went as follows: Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 19:41:25 -0400
I watched the NIST investigation because I was writing a book at the time; they had to suspend the investigation of 7 WTC because they were so in the woods on the analysis of 1 and 2 WTC. Now they say they will be finished the 7 WTC inquiry next year and will include something about a demolition thesis.
Either the whole thing — the WTC, Pentagon, Shanksville — was Islamic fundamentalists in planes, or it was all done by people in the US. There’s no hybrid., no mix and match
So I’m sticking with the WTC because I’ve studied the thing.
I’m not sure Blanchard concedes that it’s molten steel or its fire.
I wrote a book about what happened inside the towers after the planes hit. By chance, one of the people who is inside the north building and rescues a whole bunch of people is named Frank DeMartini, the construction supervisor for the WTC. (Doors on the 88th, 89th, 86th, 84th floor were jammed shut by the impact; DeMartini and another man, Pablo Ortiz, found a tool and pried them open.) Then around 915, a half hour into the crisis, DeMartini, who has a radio, calls a colleague on the ground. He is on the 78th floor sky lobby and sees structural damage to the building core. He wants a structural engineer to come up because he doesn’t like what he sees. On the ground, though, the engineer can’t get past the police cordon because of the dangers on the street.
What does this mean? This means the very core of the building was wounded, and DeMartini saw it. That damage could only have been caused by the airplane.
Why would DeMartini, who oversaw every piece of construction in the building for compliance with code, who had two young kids and whose wife was visiting him that morning (he sent her down the stairs, promising to be along shortly), permit people to plant demolition charges all over the building he knew like the back of his hand? Why would he stay in the building if he had the slightest idea? I mean, here’s your character evidence: brilliant, dynamic construction manager of the WTC somehow doesn’t notice people planting bombs in the structure of his building? And it’s not just DeMartini — there are dozens of people like him who work in the trade center, many of whom did not get killed. How could this demolition project go forward without their consent and five years of silence?
Who was deemed not credible? There are people who are in this argument whose crediblity is nil. But I don’t think I dismissed anything on those grounds alone, did I?
I think NIST says it was the destruction of structure and weakening of the surviving pieces by fire that led to the collapse.
I guess what they mean is they lose track of viable dynamic photographic evidence (ie, cameras can’t see what’s happening as the buildings start to fall), because video and still photography underlie their analysis up to the point where the collapses begins. They certainly did examine quite a bit of steel — after the fact, though not for thermates or thermites, but for meeting the code requirements. The code said fire-test 17 foot lengths and those passed the test. But the actual lengths were 34 feet, and those didn’t pass the test. (as the structural member gets longer, it becomes more frail; think of dry spaghetti, a stub versus a full length piece. The longer the piece, the less vertical strength it has.)
Here’s something to consume a few hours:
The 7 WTC thing about “pulling it” is a chimera. It misconstrues what was going on.
I thought Ryan was a former Underwriter Lab guy. And Jones is a cold fusion man. (He is also the author of a paper, “Behold My Hands: Evidence for Christ’s Visit in Ancient America” ) Jones wrote to me about possible thermite dust collected from an apartment near Ground Zero. According to Jones, xinc and flourine mean…maybe there were thermates or what have you down there.
As for the headlines, right, not my job; I didn’t call anyone a conspiracy theorist or alternative theorist, or anything.
On the 5th of September, a reply: Jim,
Last and least important first, Ryan was a site manager of Environmental Health Laboratories, a division of UL. A headline in an article refers to him as a NIST scientist; appropriate description or not, it was the whistleblower part that I considered important that was not included in your article.
I thought I had escaped witnesses I had to apologize for in my last career. That Jones is a cold fusion guy, I have been frightened of for some time; that he has some interesting religious beliefs, …you are the bearer of that news. Point 1. It is not my impression that Jones is not well-qualified as a physicist; he was actually doing work for the government in the cold-fusion instance. Point 2. It is also my impression that the area in which he is working(9/11) is not…rocket science. In other words, temperature at which steel melts, how long a fire stays hot, how long however hot a fire would have to burn to create plasticity, etc. are not PHD thesis material. Point 3. As funny as we may look at him for his religious ideas, what do they have to do with his ability to analyze physics problems? Point 4. Can’t the NYT prevail upon some well-known uninvolved physicist to answer some of these questions so that we don’t have to rely on others with baggage? Was Jones one of the arguers whose credibility is nil? How do you like Jim Hoffman? Have you talked to him? I don’t think you answered the question whether you point blank asked Jones if he had found thermate? It is after all what he said on TV.
Why didn’t NIST test for thermate? The demolition thesis was out there long before any report was written? Have you asked them?
DiMartino clearly had character, and that is an extremely important story. That strong character, however, does not add to, or detract from, the weak and flawed character of the perpetrators demonstrated by everything else that happened to which I have previously referred. As to how, I imagine that the night security staff was compromised. All of the DiMartino’s in the world can’t speak if they are ignorant. The actual executors of the demolition are obviously government operatives who will be dead as soon as they open their mouths, and they know it…if they aren’t dead already.
Or, how about this? Any building that big has to have a self-destruct capability to minimize damage in the event it started to fall over, but the calculus is so horrible, only a few know, and they are sworn to secrecy. How’s that for an overheated imagination?
The NUB- no hybrid? I will say I am a bit shocked by that assertion for the following reasons:
As Zbig Brezinski has detailed, we began working with and supporting and fostering Islamic extremists in 1976. He says it brought down the Soviet Union and was worth it. Bin Laden and Abdel Rahman have been working for us and recruiting fighters for 20-30 years. It takes nothing for me to imagine the USG finding out about the 9/11 attacks from one of our agents, and then using it and them as patsies for our purposes. What about the six or so of the 19 who are still alive and living in Europe? I’m sure you are aware of the pilots who say the planes were remote controlled. I have no idea, but it is easily within USG capability. Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed’s book, War on Freedom, exhaustively documents, about every third page, another instance of USG and UK dealings with Islamic terrorists.
Is the idea that it couldn’t be a hybrid an accepted notion at the NYT? I would have every bit as much difficulty with the ideas I have espoused if they had to fit into that particular paradigm. That I haven’t felt so constricted I will now begin to attribute to my vast knowledge of twentieth century history and the field of intelligence, but honestly, as outrageously full of myself
as I am, I thought the basic notion of our past collaboration was common knowledge.
In fact, however, there needn’t have been that much in the way of collaboration. If we simply learned of the particulars from an inside source, as we had from the Egyptian Army officer, Emad Salem, in the 1993 bombing, we would have been in a position to take over airplanes as necessary, and then do whatever USG sick minds conceived of.
His response: Whatever about his religious beliefs: more relevant is that the structural engineering faculty at BYU has disavowed Jones en masse.
I can’t remember if I asked him point blank about thermate.
NIST had, I think, 100 outside advisors, some of them quite contrarian on their views. None of them took up the demolition banner.
It’s not just DeMartini — it’s the whole community of people who worked in the buildings, who were fanatical about their character as the tallest, the fastest elevators, all that stuff. None of them noticed anything. They loved those buildings. They jealously defended them. They were proud of working in them.
Not to quote myself incessantly, but CIA blowback was one of the themes of my book on the first WTC bombing (lots about Emad Salem in there). The opening scene involves one of the Afghani mujahdeen, our own trained warrior, watching across Park Row as he waited for the towers to come down from the truck bomb.
It’s not that I have any lack of faith in the perfidious possibilities of our government (or any other one); it’s my lack of faith in its competence.
In re: thermate, I will put my thoughts on that below.
I’ve actually now truly reached the end of my imaginative and intellectual rope with the WTC. I have lived in those buildings and thought about their assassins for 13 years. For the more recent book, I spoke to hundreds of people who were inside the towers and sued the government in three states and five courts at multiple levels of appellate review to get the first hand documentary record, which is in the tens of thousands of pages, and dozens of hours of tapes. With help from other people, I built databases to find patterns, to piece together where people were, what they saw, who they saw, what they said.
Nothing — zero — in there supports the demolition thesis. It wasn’t that I knew what was going to be in there, or that I was resistant to the notion. It’s just that none of the evidence in there supports it. Perhaps some factual wisps exist that people of goodwill feel point to demolition as the real cause; I don’t have the freedom to entertain those thoughts, having absorbed so much substantial information from which any corroboration of such a notion is utterly lacking.
The reality of the thing — the cold, concrete provable factuality of it — has occupied the rapidly diminishing space in my middle-aged brain. I actually don’t have the physical or mental strength to imagine scenarios where the nightguards all live in terror of being killed by the government. If they exist, others can find them. I can’t.
As for thermate – here’s what NIST said on their website:
12. Did the NIST investigation look for evidence of the WTC towers being brought down by controlled demolition? Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? The combination of thermite and sulfur (called thermate) “slices through steel like a hot knife through butter.”
NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel.
The responses to questions number 2, 4, 5 and 11 demonstrate why NIST concluded that there were no explosives or controlled demolition involved in the collapses of the WTC towers.
Furthermore, a very large quantity of thermite (a mixture of powdered or granular aluminum metal and powdered iron oxide that burns at extremely high temperatures when ignited) or another incendiary compound would have had to be placed on at least the number of columns damaged by the aircraft impact and weakened by the subsequent fires to bring down a tower. Thermite burns slowly relative to explosive materials and can require several minutes in contact with a massive steel section to heat it to a temperature that would result in substantial weakening. Separate from the WTC towers investigation, NIST researchers estimated that at least 0.13 pounds of thermite would be required to heat each pound of a steel section to approximately 700 degrees Celsius (the temperature at which steel weakens substantially). Therefore, while a thermite reaction can cut through large steel columns, many thousands of pounds of thermite would need to have been placed inconspicuously ahead of time, remotely ignited, and somehow held in direct contact with the surface of hundreds of massive structural components to weaken the building. This makes it an unlikely substance for achieving a controlled demolition.
Analysis of the WTC steel for the elements in thermite/thermate would not necessarily have been conclusive. The metal compounds also would have been present in the construction materials making up the WTC towers, and sulfur is present in the gypsum wallboard that was prevalent in the interior partitions.
My response attempted to duplicate his method of placing comments or questions in his email;. In toto, it proceeds as follows: (With regard to the denunciation of Steven Jones)This is devastating. How did they do it? Publish a denunciation? Did it include a scientific rebuttal of his paper?
(Responding to Dwyer’s inability to remember whether he had asked Jones about the finding of Thermate)This a little touchy; I apologize. I was able to win a bet with a beautiful reporter once because she had her notes. Before being enormously enlightened in this conversation, but maybe even after, I would have thought that the single most important thing that Jones could add to this debate is the fact that he found thermate from three different sources from steel in ground zero. The circumstances of that, the testing, etc. would have been the focus of any questioning I did of him. Had I the opportunity, I actually would have set about to test him and his assertion, because that is what I am trained to do, and because I can’t stand not getting to the bottom of things, and that is the best way.
It leaves me thinking that your mindset is a radically different one. In as polite a way as I can think to ask, does having written two books on the subject and coming to a certain conclusion about matters arrange your consciousness in such a way that potentially conflicting ideas become off-limits? I prefer to think you aren’t simply tidying up after the forces of stability have made a bit of a mess. You are, presumably, far better aware of the newsroom strictures of thought than my reading would have made me, but it would be my theory that it would take something of a revolutionary act to think outloud that there is reason to believe the whole thing was an inside job. Care to enlighten me about any of that?
(About the failure of the outside NIST experts to take up the demolition banner)With WTC7 looking so much like a controlled demolition(Dan Rather) that would be astounding but for the “strictures of thought” extant in the world as well as in the newsroom.
(Responding to the DiMartini reference) Amen, but not QED.
( With regard to Dwyer’s belief in governmental incompetence) Bingo, this is almost the beginning and end of it all. Would you agree that at some point, some number, a string of incompetences serving the same end are no longer a coincidence of incompetence? Roosevelt said there is no such thing as coincidence in international relations. Robert Stinnett proved to me that Roosevelt should know, given what he knew about Pearl Harbor.
I detect in at least one of the collapses a shortening or compressing of the top floors on the way down. Am I wrong about that? Seems a simple matter of measuring with more technological savvy than I possess. I suppose demolitionists can do what they do in a variety of ways depending on the needs. In my hypothesis they had a need to keep people off of the track and to make it look like it was the planes that did the job. By the way, what do you do with the freefall speed problem? Is Hoffman wrong that, had there been resistance at each floor, it would have taken a much longer time to collapse?
(Responding to Dwyer’s assertion that nothing in the record supports the demolition thesis) I have just reread New Pearl Harbor or at least relevant portions. Griffin and Jones both refer to a number of people who heard and saw the effects of explosions, most importantly Mike Pecoraro who saw a crumpled up door etc. after hearing an explosion. I don’t understand how you can use words like “zero” and “utterly lacking” in the face of those stories.
I have been proving things for years with a lot less than Mike Pecoraro. You are all wrong about the diminishing space. It just seems that way. My mind has improved enormously in the last 20 years. What is sad is the note of resignation. I had forgotten that the nightguards worked for Marvin. What does it take to hire ex-covert ops guys to do your security work; they come complete with ideological strait jacket, I understand.
Have you made any effort to find out who it was that kept interrupting Cheney telling him the plane was 50, 30, 20 miles out-the Minetta story. I know it isn’t WTC, but it sure is explosive.
( About the presence of thermate not being conclusive of anything) Conclusive is a bit much to ask. You aren’t saying it wouldn’t be extremely important to know are you? And then the metallurgists and physicists can battle about how it was attached to what pieces of steel in what proportions consistent with which scenarios. Possible presence of certain compounds is a long way from the end of the story.
Have you contacted an uninvolved physicist yet?
I understand that I am communicating with someone who has made up his mind. I am saying that areas have not been explored, questions have not been sufficiently answered, mine for example. Do you think we have gone as far as we can, and it is worldviews that prevent further progress?
Dwyer replied as follows: (quoting from the BYU faculty statement) €œI think without exception, the structural engineering professors in our department are not in agreement with the claims made by Jones in his paper, and they don’t think there is accuracy and validity to these claims” “The university is aware that Professor Steven Jones’s hypotheses and interpretations of evidence regarding the collapse of World Trade Center buildings are being questioned by a number of scholars and practitioners, including many of BYU’s own faculty members. Professor Jones’s department and college administrators are not convinced that his analyses and hypotheses have been submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review.” – A. Woodruff Miller, Department Chair, BYU department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
“The structural engineering faculty in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology do not support the hypotheses of Professor Jones.” – The College of Engineering and Technology department
This is from our exchange — I had asked him to comment on the Q and A of the Nist statements. His comment follows. As I read it, he found compounds consistent with, but not exclusive to, thermites. (ie, Type O blood, counselor, doesn’t your client have type O blood, and wasn’t that found on the murder weapon?) It’s also consistent with the plastics and metals of thousands of burning desktop computers. (But 70 percent of the population has Type O blood…)
Q: Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? The combination of thermite and sulfur (called thermate) “slices through steel like a hot knife through butter.”
NIST: NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel.
We, OTOH, are testing for the residue of thermite-reaction compounds (aluminothermics) both in the toxic WTC dust and in the solidified metal. And we are finding an abundance of fluorine, zinc and other elements which are commonly used in aluminothermics, but not in building materials in the concentrations found. We are investigating the possibility of thermite-based arson and demolition
Here’s a little more on the thermite problem. It’s from debunking911myths.com (in case you wonder what their bias is). They claim 18,000 pounds of thermite would be needed to account for the amount of aluminum drops that were filmed.
How much mass would be required to produce molten iron from thermite equal to the same volume of molten aluminum droplets shown flowing from the south tower window:
A mole of Fe weighs 54 g. For every mole of Fe produced by thermite, one mole of Al and 0.5 mole of Fe2O3 is needed.
2Al + Fe2O3 = Al2O3 + 2Fe
One mole of Al weighs 27 g. 0.5 mole of Fe2O3 weighs 80 g.
Therefore, (27 + 80) g = 107 g of Al and Fe2O3 is needed to produce 54 g of Fe.
That means the mass of the reactants to that of Fe produced is a ratio of 107/54 = 2. The mass of thermite reactants (Al, Fe2O3) is twice that of the molten iron produced.
Comparing the weight of molten aluminum droplets compared with iron:
Iron is 7.9 g/cc. Aluminum is 2.64 g/cc. Fe is denser than Al by a factor of 3. For the same volume of droplets, Fe would have three times the mass as Al.
To produce the iron from thermite requires a reactant mass that is a factor of 2 more than the iron produced. Also, Fe is 3 times as dense as Al. So, it would take 2*3 = 6 times as much mass to produce the same volume of molten iron droplets from thermite compared with molten aluminum droplets.
Assume 3000 lbs of aluminum fell from the towers. If it had been molten iron produced by thermite, then 6*3000 = 18,000 lbs of thermite reactants would have been required to produce that same volume of falling mass.
Suppose 10 tons of molten aluminum fell from the south tower, about 1/8th of that available from the airplane. If it had been molten iron produced from thermite, 60 tons of thermite reactants would have to have been stored in Fuji Bank to produce the same volume spilling out of the south tower. The section of floor would have to hold all of that plus the aircraft.
*Amount of aluminum can be ascertained by counting the droplets and measuring their size compared to the known size of the window. It’s not easy to get a good number on this. It’s based on the number of slugs seen in video stills, their size relative to the window width which was about 22 inches, and the density of aluminum, assuming this was aluminum.
The weight of a gallon of aluminum is about 22.5 pounds. A hundred of these would already be 2250 lbs. A gallon size is not unlike the size of the slugs that were pouring out the window. Look at them relative to the window size. They look small at first, but when you realize how big the towers were, the slugs were fairly large. It must have been in the thousands of pounds.
Some of the video stills show what look like 50 to 100 slugs in just one frame.
Strictures of thought? Well, probably.
No witnesses where one would expect them; buildings collapse where planes hit them, not at the bases; expert eye (DeMartini) sees serious damage to the core post-impact. If not QED, it’s a constellation of realities versus Jones’s compounds that are consistent with thermite (and other bldg compounds)
I don’t know about the compressing of the floors. The freefall speeds apply, as I understand it, to the unimpeded facade, parts of which hit the ground first (and registered the first seismic vibrations, there being no explosive seismology, yet another non-existent “witness” where one would expect to find one). The collapse continued for about 20 or 30 seconds, much slower than free fall.
Where did the explosions happen? The witnesses who survived in the base of building don’t report any; the tapes from 911 don’t, either.
When did they put the thermite in there? How? When was the thermite allowed to begin burning? How did that happen? Someone show me how you could knock the building down with thermite before I would entertain that there could be something irregular about those trace elements.
Who’s an uninvolved physicist? Not to be touchy, but there are 100 people who don’t work for the government — FDNY, structural engineers, family members, fire engineers — who sat on the NIST oversight panel for this investigation. There are severe critics of the NIST case, but they have to do with the mechanism — how the fire spread, did the floor go first — but not on the central pathway to collapse of damaged structure plus unimpeded fire plus weakened structure.
There isn’t a single structural engineer in the world who has written a paper in a peer reviewed structural engineering journal that supports controlled demolition.
Why do I have to get someone? Why is Jones more credible than all his colleagues at BYU?
Beyond an inquiry about whether he had anything else to add, the last exchange involved the following email to him on the 9th of September or so:
With whom is poor Prof. Jones eating lunch now?
To take up his cause, the last place I would have expected to find a 9/11 “conspiracy theorist” physicist was BYU, so it is all understandable from a political point of view. The problem, of course, is that they reject his hypothesis but not his science, at least not in what you showed me. Where is he wrong in his application of physical principles? All that said, ugh! I think I asked you before if Jim Hoffman is similarly afflicted.
Re: Jones exchange: Is this the difference between a journalist and a trial lawyer, one asks for a comment, the other asks for an answer? That sort of politesse is bled out of us in the first battle. I think I understand your line of argument, but disagree with your reading. The “in the concentrations found” suggests an INconsistency with building materials. Where does the desk hypothesis come from?
Griffin refers to a guy named Mike Pecoraro, being in the 6th subbasement, seeing explosive damage in the machine shop. Does that not contradict your assertions about survivor witnesses? Has he been debunked as well? And what of the others mentioned in Griffin and referred to in Jones? Are these people you have interviewed and discredited?
There are questions that you have not answered, and it is my sense that you feel that the burden at this point is on the skeptics to prove the mechanism of explosive demolition before you would feel compelled to attempt to deal with the questions you have not answered. I, of course, can’t bear that burden. Had I the juice, I would inquire of a government demolitionist, “assuming this is your mission(destroy the towers) how would you accomplish it?” I definitely don’t have that juice; maybe you do.
One of the reasons I don’t think the conversation should stop with your shifting of the burden, is that I believe a prima facie case has been made of government complicity for all of the pieces of circumstantial evidence that don’t make sense to which I have made reference previously- government incompetence too many times, magnificent skill on the part of the terrorists, tactics that make no sense- Hanjour(unlikely candidate in the first instance) hitting the Pentagon in the hardest possible way allowing him to kill the fewest number of people, the Minetta story, Shanksville engines strewn over miles, Mahmood Ahmad having money sent to Atta, and WTC7, where it is patently obvious that the penthouse goes first, equalling controlled demolition. I am not bound in any way in my consideration of the case. You have said you are sticking with the towers. What part of the search for the truth allows you to disregard an enormous proportion of what my experience tells me is powerful evidence?
The email conversation with Jim Dwyer was an effort to challenge an establishment thinker and journalist to answer theoretically reasonable questions. The effort was severely handicapped by the refusal of Mr. Dwyer to consider the problems attached to the Pentagon, Shanksville, or WTC7. Though it is understandable for a journalist to stick with those parts of a story with which there is familiarity, €œthat’s not my department€ seems monumentally unsatisfying under the circumstances, especially when the €œcross-admissibility€ between the various aspects of the attacks is so obvious. Would it make any sense, in a study of Hitler’s strategy, to not consider German expansion, or not to consider the extermination of the Jews?
Nevertheless, certain insights may be worthwhile as the debate proceeds. Mr. Dwyer appears unable to imagine government operatives doing what is required to demolish the World Trade Center. This is a mindset that is completely inconsistent with history, reason, and an aggressive pursuit of the truth, for the following reasons:
1. Government operatives have been responsible for staggering achievements for progress and for demonstrable evil. In the first category one might find the defeat of Hitler or the exploration of outer space, or the many cures of disease for which the National Institute of Health is primarily responsible. In the second category, one might consider the covert operations carried out all over the world in the last fifty years that destroyed villages and countries on a vast scale, all accomplished, giving every benefit of the doubt, by people convinced of the rectitude of their actions.
2. Is it not a simple notion that the World Trade Center towers must have been demolishable? How could a building be constructed that can’t be destroyed when its useful life is over? The only question that remains, apparently the single most important one for Mr. Dwyer, is: could it be accomplished surreptitiously, at nighttime, or under the cover of another innocent endeavor?
The answer to that question seems obvious. With sufficient monetary reward, relevant skilled technicians can be prevailed upon to do virtually anything. With the power of government behind the endeavor, silence can be assured by a myriad of means. To the extent silence is not achieved, techniques of marginalization have been perfected which can be employed on an ad hoc basis.
Mention should be made of a number of instances where Mr. Dwyer made assertions that in another forum would have been the subject of prolonged exploration. For example, Dwyer seems to have relied on Mr. DiMartini’s love of the buildings to prevent a catastrophe from befalling them. This is an obvious waste of mental energy. Does Mr. Dwyer believe that anyone is suggesting that the likes of Mr. DiMartini were in on it? To entertain such a thought, as Dwyer articulates, is to be rigidly confined in one’s thinking. Why is it unreasonable to suggest that Marvin Bush be questioned about his ability to hire operatives for a demolition job and employ them as security guards in the buildings?
Dwyer subscribed to the idea, part of the NIST report, that viable evidence concerning the collapse of the buildings did not survive what was referred to as €œthe conditions for collapse.€ This led to the inquiry about homicide investigations that don’t include autopsies. In a subsequent email, his subscription seems to lapse and the infirmity becomes the NIST inspectors’ use of photography. There is a temptation to find weakness in Dwyer’s responses in this regard, though the slap-dashery of email may be a more fundamental explanation.
Of greater moment is Dwyer’s statement that there could be no hybrid operation, part Islamic fundamentalist and part government, responsible for the attacks. In response to having such a basic notion challenged, Dwyer confirms the reasons why these forces have been seen as working together, and then rejects the skeptics’ view because it requires too much in the way of competence on the part of government agents. Again there is the temptation to see this as a giving of ground, a concession that the once rejected hybrid is not the impossible notion so much as what is required of the cooperating parties.
In the final analysis, it is Dwyer’s reluctance, failure, or inability to answer arguments that keeps the proposition of true evil at the highest levels of government alive, not just for the deranged and unbalanced, but for those in the thralls of reason as well..