Authorized Version (with references & notes)
In The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004), I summarized dozens of facts and reports that cast doubt on the official story about 9/11. Then in The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005a), I discussed the way these various facts and reports were treated by the 9/11 Commission, namely, by distorting or simply omitting them. I have also taken this big-picture approach, with its cumulative argument, in my previous essays and lectures on 9/11 (Griffin, 2005b and 2005d). This approach, which shows every aspect of the official story to be problematic, provides the most effective challenge to the official story.
But this way of presenting the evidence has one great limitation, especially when used in lectures and essays: It means that the treatment of every particular issue must be quite brief, hence superficial. People can thereby be led to suspect that a more thorough treatment of any particular issue might show the official story to be plausible after all.
In the present essay, I focus on one question: why the Twin Towers and building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed. One advantage of this focus, besides the fact that it allows us to go into considerable detail, is that the destruction of the World Trade Center provides one of the best windows into the truth about 9/11. Another advantage of this focus is that it will allow us to look at revelations contained in the 9/11 oral histories, which were recorded by the New York Fire Department shortly after 9/11 but released to the public only in August of 2005.
I will begin with the question of why the Twin Towers collapsed, then raise the same question about building 7.
1. The Collapse of the Twin Towers
Shortly after 9/11, President Bush advised people not to tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories about the attacks of 11 September” (Bush, 2001). Philip Zelikow, who directed the work of the 9/11 Commission, has likewise warned against “outrageous conspiracy theories” (Hansen, 2005). What do these men mean by this expression? They cannot mean that we should reject all conspiracy theories about 9/11, because the government’s own account is a conspiracy theory, with the conspirators all being members of al-Qaeda. They mean only that we should reject outrageous theories…..
No Prior Collapse Induced by Fire
The official theory is rendered implausible by two major problems. The first is the simple fact that fire has never—prior to or after 9/11—caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse. Defenders of the official story seldom if ever mention this simple fact. Indeed, the supposedly definitive report put out by NIST—the National Institute for Standards and Technology (2005)—even implies that fire-induced collapses of large steel-frame buildings are normal events (Hoffman, 2005). Far from being normal, however, such collapses have never occurred, except for the alleged cases of 9/11…..
There is a reverse truth to the fact that, aside from the alleged cases of 9/11, fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse. This reverse truth is that every previous total collapse has been caused by the procedure known as “controlled demolition,” in which explosives capable of cutting steel have been placed in crucial places throughout the building and then set off in a particular order. Just from knowing that the towers collapsed, therefore, the natural assumption would be that they were brought down by explosives…..
2. Testimonies about Explosions and Related Phenomena in the 9/11 Oral Histories
Most of these 11 features—all but the slicing of the core columns and the molten steel in the basements—are features that, if they occurred before or during the collapses of the towers, could have been observed by people in the area. And, in fact, testimonies about some of these phenomena have been available, since shortly after 9/11, from reporters, fire fighters, police officers, people who worked in the towers, and one prominent explosives expert, Van Romero,  who said on that very day after viewing the videotapes, that the collapses not only resembled those produced by controlled implosions but must, in fact, have been caused by “some explosive devices inside the buildings” because they were “too methodical” to have been chance results of the airplane strikes (Uyttebrouck, 2001). Some of these testimonies were very impressive. There were, however, only a few of them and they were scattered here and there. No big body of testimony was readily accessible…..
Several individuals reported that they witnessed an explosion just before one of the towers collapsed. Battalion Chief John Sudnik said: “we heard . . . what sounded like a loud explosion and looked up and I saw tower two start coming down” (NYT, Sudnick, p. 4).
Several people reported multiple explosions. Paramedic Kevin Darnowski said: “I heard three explosions, and then . . . tower two started to come down” (NYT, Darnowski, p. 8)…..
Flashes and Demolition Rings
Some of the witnesses spoke of flashes and of phenomena suggestive of demolition rings. Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought . . . before . . . No. 2 came down, that I saw low-level flashes. . . . I . . . saw a flash flash flash . . . [at] the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building?” (NYT, Gregory, pp. 14-16)…..
A few witnesses spoke of horizontal ejections. Chief Frank Cruthers said: “There was what appeared to be . . . an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of the collapse” (NYT, Cruthers, p. 4)…..
Some witnesses said that the explosions seemed to be synchronized. For example, firefighter Kenneth Rogers said, “there was an explosion in the south tower. . . . I kept watching. Floor after floor after floor. One floor under another after another . . . [I]t looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing” (NYT, Rogers, pp. 3-4).…..
The official theory about the collapse of the towers, I have suggested, is rendered extremely implausible by two main facts. First, aside from the alleged exception of 9/11, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never been caused to collapse by fire; all such collapses have all been produced by carefully placed explosives. Second, the collapses of the Twin Towers manifested at least 11 characteristic features of controlled demolitions. The probability that any of these features would occur in the absence of explosives is extremely low. The probability that all 11 of them would occur is essentially zero.…..
4. Other Suspicious Facts
Moreover, although we have already considered sufficient evidence for the theory that the towers were brought down by explosives, there is still more.
Removal of the Steel: For one thing, the steel from the buildings was quickly removed before it could be properly examined, with virtually all of it being sold to scrap dealers, who put most of it on ships to Asia. Generally, removing any evidence from the scene of a crime is a federal offense. But in this case, federal officials facilitated the removal.
This removal evoked protest. On Christmas day, 2001, the New York Times said: “The decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and trusses from the WTC in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be known.” The next week, Fire Engineering magazine said: “We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence (Brannigan, Corbett, and Dunn, 2002). . . . The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately” (Manning, 2002)…..
5. The Collapse of Building 7
As we have seen, the 9/11 Commission simply ignored the facts discussed above. Still another matter not discussed by the Commission was the collapse of building 7. And yet the official story about it is, if anything, even more problematic than the official story about the towers—as suggested by the title of a New York Times story, “Engineers Are Baffled over the Collapse of 7 WTC” (Glanz, 2001).
Even More Difficult to Explain
The collapse of building 7 is even more difficult to explain than the collapse of the towers in part because it was not struck by an airliner, so none of the theories about how the impacts of the airliners contributed to the collapses of the towers can be employed in relation to it.
Even More Similar to Controlled Implosions
Yet another reason why the collapse of building 7 is especially problematic is that it was even more like the best-known type of conventional de
Much More Extensive Foreknowledge
Another reason why the collapse of building 7 creates special problems involves foreknowledge of its collapse. We know of only a few people with advance knowledge that the Twin Towers were going to collapse, and the information we have would be consistent with the supposition that this knowledge was acquired only a few minutes before the south tower collapsed. People can imagine, therefore, that someone saw something suggesting that the building was going to collapse. But the foreknowledge of building 7’s collapse was more widespread and of longer duration. This has been known for a long time, at least by people who read firefighters’ magazines. But now the oral histories have provided a fuller picture.
It is, in any case, already possible to know, beyond a reasonable doubt, one very important thing: the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to the buildings to plant the explosives. They probably would not have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings collapsed straight down, rather than falling over onto surrounding buildings. And they could not have orchestrated a cover-up, from the quick disposal of the steel to the FEMA Report to The 9/11 Commission Report to the NIST Report. All of these things could have been orchestrated only by forces within our own government.
The evidence for this conclusion has thus far been largely ignored by the mainstream press, perhaps under the guise of obeying President Bush’s advice not to tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories.” We have seen, however, that it is the Bush administration’s conspiracy theory that is the outrageous one, because it is violently contradicted by numerous facts, including some basic laws of physics.
There is, of course, another reason why the mainstream press has not pointed out these contradictions. As a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times said:
The number of contradictions in the official version of . . . 9/11 is so overwhelming that . . . it simply cannot be believed. Yet . . . the official version cannot be abandoned because the implication of rejecting it is far too disturbing: that we are subject to a government conspiracy of ‘X-Files’ proportions and insidiousness.
molition—-namely, an implosion, which begins at the bottom (whereas the collapse of each tower originated high up, near the region struck by the plane). As Eric Hufschmid has written:
Building 7 collapsed at its bottom. . . . [T]he interior fell first. . . . The result was a very tiny pile of rubble, with the outside of the building collapsing on top of the pile.