Sifting Through the Dust at Ground Zero
by Daniel A. Martino, Environmental Risk Limited
Like most Americans, I can vividly remember the morning of September 11th. I was sitting at my desk discussing mold sampling with a client. The next thing I knew, a colleague handed me a picture of the World Trade Center North Tower in flames. Within minutes, our entire firm migrated to our training room to watch the events unfold live on television. We all watched together as the towers fell, and there was a shared feeling in the pit of our stomachs that couldn’t quite be put into words. If you told me that day that I would be spending the next several months working in and around â€œground zero,â€ I would have said you were crazy.
I was fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to see the many sides of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. From working behind the police line of ground zero, to talking to rescue workers including police officers, fire fighters, OSHA staff, and FEMA workers, to working inside buildings that remained standing but were heavily contaminated as far as 15 blocks away from ground zero, I got to see first-hand how much of the city was actually impacted from the terrorist attacks.
A majority of the work at the site involved collecting bulk dust samples and conducting air monitoring. A contracting firm representing several building owners had retained ERL to collect dust samples to be analyzed by a certified laboratory for a number of constituents and to perform air monitoring at those selected locations. Their request for analysis was prompted by the fact that building owners were frustrated by hearing from federal agencies that the dust wasn’t harmful, yet after spending a day in lower Manhattan, your nose and eyes often became irritated. In fact, as a member of the health and safety community, I often found myself being asked for advice by members of the rescue effort, as well as by residents of lower Manhattan, on topics such as respiratory protection and the proper use of personal protective equipment.
The dust, which has come to be known to those of us who collected it throughout the city as the World Trade Center (WTC) dust, can be described as a pale gray colored fibrous material that to the touch feels like a powder similar to baking flour. Most people don’t realize what actually makes up the WTC dust. When the twin towers collapsed, every part of the buildings, as well as everything inside, was literally pulverized. Components of the buildings included items like HVAC systems, lights, carpets, ceiling tiles, and glass. Furnishings inside the building would have included computers, desks, chairs, books, toilets, sinks, and other basic office items. All of these elements make up the composition of the WTC dust. Rescue workers have told me that in months of digging and searching, not only were human remains few and far between, but very few items resembling office paraphernalia were discovered, even though the Twin Towers included hundreds of floors of offices. To attempt to put this in perspective, the next time you’re in an office building, take a look around you and imagine everything that you can see completely pounded into dust. Even now, that’s hard for me to imagine as I look around my office.
Another thing that most people don’t realize is the extent of the contamination of the WTC dust. To understand this, you must first understand how a typical HVAC systems works within a New York City skyscraper. In many cases, the HVAC system sucks in air from a fresh air intake, usually located on the roof of the building; the system then disperses this air throughout the entire building. On September 11th, shutting down their HVAC systems was not foremost on the minds of building engineers throughout Manhattan; most explained that they left work immediately after the first plane hit to get their children out of school, or to rush home to find their significant others. Many of the images of New York City after the attacks showed the massive cloud of smoke that engulfed buildings throughout Manhattan. Since air intakes were still operational, dust was being drawn into these buildings and dispersed throughout. As a result, not only were entire HVAC systems contaminated, they also delivered the dust to every square inch of these buildings.
Locating samples of the WTC dust to collect was never a problem because it was everywhere. As long as four months after the attacks, I could locate the dust inside ductwork, within elevator systems, on elevator cables, and in basements within elevator pits. The dust could also be found on window ledges, on rooftops, within electrical and mechanical rooms, and even in carpets that had been cleaned professionally many times over.
When submitting samples for laboratory analysis, initially, we didn’t know what we were looking for. We soon learned that we would be sampling the WTC dust for almost everything under the sun. The dust has undergone metal scans and asbestos fiber counts; it has also been analyzed to determine pH levels, as well as the levels of carbonate and OH alkalinity. Additional analysis included fluoride, chloride, nitrate, phosphate, and sulfate levels. You might think that after all this analysis, everything has been resolved; in fact, many, many issues are still pending.
I also had the task of collecting samples from within many residential buildings surrounding ground zero. Listening to people relate their stories of 9/11, I saw firsthand the ways in which their lives were forever changed. I witnessed the devastation of homes, and heard of the precious personal belongings that were lost or ruined. Nothing could spare these people from the loss of personal valuables and the loss of homes that had been filled with emotion and memories.
My work in New York City has been a poignant experience. Not only has it changed my outlook on life, but it has also affected the way I look at my role as a health and safety professional. I still perform my duties as a health and safety consultant, but am now also part of ERL’s vulnerability assessment team. With a focus on Emergency Action Plans and Emergency Response Plans, I’m working with companies to help them prepare for emergencies of any sort. We all know now that â€œIt can’t happen to usâ€ just isn’t true.
Dan Martino is a health and safety consultant with Environmental Risk Limited in Bloomfield, Connecticut. For more information, please contact him at (860) 242-9933 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
December 24, 2005
Scott Forbes Interview
Scott Forbes is a Senior Database Administrator for Fiduciary Trust and used to work in the South Tower of the WTC. This interview with him began last September and was conducted through a series of instant messaging and e-mails. Scott can be reached at:
Killtown: Scott, you have an interesting story to tell. Where were you working the week before 9/11?
Scott Forbes: In my office on the 97th floor in WTC 2 (South Tower), as usual except that myself and a lot of my colleagues were also working the weekend of 9/8 and 9/9.
KT: Why were you working the weekend before 9/11?
SF: Because of a "power down" notified by the Port Authority. Power was being switched off for a 36hr period in the top half of tower and as I work for a Financial Institution and Bank in the Technology Group I was working on the shutdown and eventually the startup of all our systems.
KT: Was it unusual for you to be working on the weekend?
SF: I suppose at that time I would have been working one weekend in every 6 or 8 weeks, so it was not unheard of. Working in Technology you get used to working 'out of business hours.' I guess what was odd about this weekend was that as all power was going down then all of our systems were being shutdown. This was extreme and unprecedented.
KT: Who were you working for and what was your position there?
SF: Fiduciary Trust, an Investment Bank, who had just been acquired by the Franklin Templeton Group and I was (and am) a Senior DBA or Database Administrator.
KT: So you are an IT personnel?
KT: How long did you work in the WTC 2 before 9/11?
SF: I started in the company as a consultant in June 1998 and I joined full time in December 1998.
KT: During all this time, how many times did the WTC have a "power down"?
SF: None in Tower 2 that I was aware of. We had a backup Generator for our Data Center on floor 97 in the event of an unplanned power outage but it had not been used during my time in the company. You have to understand how unprecedented the power down was. To shutdown all of our financial systems, all inter-related and with connections and feeds to may outside vendors and suppliers was a major piece of work. Additionally, the power outage meant that many of the 'ordinary' building features were not operating, such as security locks on doors, cameras, lighting, etc.
KT: How many floors did this power down effect?
SF: I can't give you the absolute numbers, but I know it was the 'top half ' of WTC 2, so I'd say from floor 50 or so.
KT: Was there a power down in the WTC 1 also?
SF: Not to my knowledge.
KT: Did you think that was kind of odd that one tower (South) had a power down and the other one (North) didn't?
SF: Not really – I remember that we were notified some 3 or 4 weeks in advance by the Port Authority-NY/NJ that there would be a power outage – so we had to co-ordinate and plan efforts in the IT departments to ensure we had everything shut down in time and ready to restart. Frankly at the time I didn't think about WTC 1.
KT: What did the Port Authority say the power down was for?
SF: As far as I recall it was for re-cabling, though I don't remember the wording on official documents or the detail, as I wasn't in the Management Loop.
KT: What did they say the "re-cabling" was for?
SF: I understood it was something to do with the power supplies.
KT: Did you think it was odd that they had to power down for "re-cabling?"
SF: Well at the time I didn't question it — neither did anyone else. We just got on with the work that needed to be done. There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling, I certainly remember that, and I got the Tuesday off in lieu of 9/11, so I was at home watching events unfold from my my apartment window on that day.
KT: You had gotten the day of on 9/11, was this because you worked the previous weekend?
KT: If your company hadn't scheduled you to work that weekend, would you normally have been at work that Tuesday?
SF: Yes and I was usually in the office at 7 am EST, so I would have been there for sure. In fact on 9/11 my first response after the first plane hit WTC 1 was to call my office and speak to my colleagues.
KT: Your company, Fiduciary Trust, is located on floors 90, 94-97, correct?
SF: Yes, we were located on those floors. The Executive Offices were on 90, 94-97 were Administration Offices, with the Data Center and Tech Staff on floor 97.
KT: Did you normally work mainly on the 97th floor, or did you work on all of those floors?
SF: 97 was my floor, but inevitably I was on all floors for staff meetings, etc.
KT: Had you or any of your colleagues ever heard or experienced a power down before?
SF: No, except when the bomb went off in the car park in '93.
KT: Did the Port Authority ever say if they were going to power down the bottom half of the WTC 2?
SF: No, not that I recall.
KT: I was reading an article about the WTC saying that it was not very modern in terms of it's high tech infrastructure. Is that true?
SF: Correct, not if you compare the WTC to recently built and opened buildings. It was a little dated and faded which I liked actually.
KT: Why is that?
SF: The building was retro, some of the features were so old, like the central heating and a/c systems, which were really really bad and inefficient.
KT: I read about how it was very expensive to heat and cool the towers.
SF: Yes, in summer the heat inside the building could be really bad. We had a manual way of setting up fans on desks to keep the air circulating around the floors.
KT: Besides the "power down" the weekend before 9/11, was there any other unusual activity going on related to the WTC? There was one guy, Ben Fountain, who worked on the 47 floor of the WTC 2 who said there was an unusual amount of evacuation drills. Did you experience any of those?
SF: We had regular fire/evacuation drills, but not an unusual number.
KT: How often were those and when was the last one before 9/11?
SF: I couldn't tell you the frequency or when the last one was held, I just can't remember, sorry.
KT: Back to the weekend of the "power down," when did they turn the power off and when did they turn it back on?
SF: Off on Saturday afternoon – around 12 noon I think – and back on at about 2 pm on the Sunday (my timings on this are hazy).
KT: When you were working these two days, did you notice anything suspicious going on in or around the WTC?
SF: Well there were several guys in overalls, carrying building gear, toolboxes, etc inside the building. Remember there were no security locks on doors or security cameras, so access was free unless a door was locked by a manual key. Seeing so many 'strangers' who didn't work at the WTC was unusual.
I'd make one other point at this juncture also, because of the power down backups of system were an absolute necessity and they would have been taken offsite for security. Because of the power outage all our systems backups had to be 100% valid and available in case of an emergency. These were taken offsite, like normal, for security.
KT: So the people you saw coming in and out of the building, did they have badges and what were their ethnic makeup, were they Arab?
SF: No ethnic consistency at all and I don't remember any badges or labels of any sort.
KT: Where did you see all these strange workers? Was it just the floors you were working on that Saturday and Sunday, or also in the lobbies and elevators and what floors were you working on that Saturday and Sunday?
SF: I was working on the 97th floor and as I recall I saw guys in the main lobby, on the ground floor and in the elevator lobby on floor 76. This was on the Saturday.
KT: You mentioned you didn't notice them wearing any badges. Is this unusual? I take it there must be a lot of construction going on in the WTC from time to time. Do construction workers not need identity badges?
SF: They would all need to have stick-on badges, with their photo and name. I can't remember seeing those badges or not.
KT: After 9/11, did anybody you worked with or know in the building also notice these strange workers running around on Saturday and Sunday?
SF: Well anyone who worked those days saw them. After 9/11, things were a blur.
KT: When did you know that you would have Tuesday, the day of 9/11 off?
SF: On the Monday, I was taking off Friday but I swapped it with a colleague, who got out on 9/11 unscathed fortunately.
KT: So you were scheduled to work that Tuesday?
SF: Originally yes, but I swapped a day off with a colleague, so I had Tuesday off and he was in the Office.
KT: So in a sense, and for a lack of a better word, you were really lucky to be off that day?
SF: Very lucky. Usually I was in the office at 7 am and having breakfast with colleagues in the 96th floor cafeteria by 8:30 am. In fact one of my colleagues was there in the cafe when the first plane hit the Tower 1. He watched it coming in over Manhattan.
KT: He saw it coming? How did you find this out?
SF: Well he survived and we talked about it often. We used to joke about the planes over Manhattan and that one day one would hit the Trade Center. He ran from the cafe and took his colleagues from his team and left the building. Had he not seen the plane with his own eyes, he and his team would have been far more relaxed I'm sure.
KT: Was this the same colleague you swapped days with?
KT: Can you tell us real quick where the colleague you swapped with was at the time of the plane crash and how he managed to escape?
SF: He was at his desk on the 97th floor, looking South toward the statue of liberty. He heard the plane hit the other tower and just picked up his backpack and left our tower by elevator. I had other colleagues who did not leave so quickly — some survived, others did not.
KT: How many people from your company did not make it out of there that morning?
SF: 89 were lost I believe. 20 from my department. [See list]
KT: So a lot of these people must of been your friends and also colleagues you worked with and saw everyday at work?
SF: Yes, many close friends.
KT: One thing I have to ask is when I was reviewing those from your company who perished that day, it seemed to me that no high-level employees in your company — such as managers, directors, VP's, etc — were among the victims. Was I reading that right?
SF: Not quite. Certainly in my department six of the 20 were managers. However it is a statement of fact that no Directors or VP's were lost.
KT: Of the floors your company occupied in the WTC 2, floors 90, 94-97, were most of your executives on the 90th floor?
KT: Do you know if most of the executives from your company were in the building when the plane crashed?
SF: Frankly I don't know. I know some were absent from the building and some were in the building and escaped.
KT: Were you at home on 9/11? Can you tell us what you were doing up to the time you heard about the 1st plane crash?
SF: I was at home having coffee when I heard the 1st plane hit the North tower. I thought it was a car crash on the street below (I lived on the 15th floor) and so I went to the window and opened the blind to look down (the blinds were closed due to the bright sunshine) and there in front of me I saw the smoke coming from the North Tower.
Forbes' apartment in relation to the WTC. (See map)
KT: What did you immediately think about what happened to the North Tower?
SF: I thought it was explosion from the windows on the world restaurant, but I turned on my TV and coincidentally at the same time the news programme began showing the event from the northern direction and gave out the news that a plane had hit.
KT: Did the news say what kind of plane?
SF: A "passenger jet" I believe.
KT: Do you remember about how long it was after you heard the crash until the news said it was a passenger jet?
SF: Almost instantly.
KT: After you heard a plane had crashed there, did you think anything suspicious of it, or just a freak accident?
SF: No, I didn't think it was an accident – I was highly suspicious, so much so that I called the office, spoke to colleagues and told them to get out right away.
KT: Just to be clear, you were suspicious right away after the 1st plane crash into the North Tower and before the 2nd plane crashed?
KT: Can you elaborate why you felt suspicious right away?
SF: It just didn't seem right. Commercial passenger jets don't crash seemingly intentionally in clear bright sunshine in Manhattan.
KT: So it was mostly a "gut feeling"?
SF: Yes. Then when the second plane hit the South Tower, I immediately thought about the power down condition in the South Tower that previous weekend and I watched the second plane coming in over New York Bay from over Staten Island, miles away.
KT: Were you able to get a close look of the 2nd plane coming in, or did you just see it's silhouette?
SF: It would have been about 1.5 miles away from my apartment at its closest. I saw it for some time, not closely, but for some time.
KT: Were you able to make out what kind of plane it was, or from what airlines?
SF: No, I couldn't tell what kind of plane or what airline it was – all I could tell was that it was a two engine jetliner going extremely fast.
KT: Did you have any idea what type of plane it was (commercial airliner, military, large, small)?
SF: No, actually my naivety made me think it was a tanker of some kind, coming in to drop water on the flames from the North Tower!
KT: Let me back up a bit, after the 1st plane crash, did you try to call any of your colleagues in the WTC?
SF: Yes. I called the guy I sat next to — his number was the first I could remember — he answered and I spoke to him and one other. They had heard the crash, rushed to the windows and saw the smoke but didn't know what it was. I was able to tell them and I told them to get out right away.
KT: Did they leave right away?
SF: Some did and some didn't. Some took elevators and some took the stairs.
KT: Did you feel that you probably had helped save some of their lives by telling them to leave right away and did you happen to know anybody in the North Tower?
SF: I knew no one in the North Tower and I don't think I helped anyone. In fact in retrospect I wonder why I didn't call more people.
KT: The next question I want to get at is there have been lots of reports of people in the WTC's said that they heard popping noises, rumblings, and other noises associated to explosions going off in the buildings. Did anybody you have talked to that were in the WTC on 9/11 speak of this too?
SF: Not directly that I spoke to, but I am aware of one member of staff who was lost whose wife reported that he told her on the phone that explosions were going off.
KT: Do you have any idea at what time he was talking to her or what time he heard these explosions going off?
SF: Between 9:15 am and 9:58 am approx – you can read her account of the conversation in the New York Times archive [See: Edmund McNally]
KT: What floor was he on?
KT: There have been reports of explosions in the basements of both towers and video evidence shows damage in both lobby areas which looks a bomb went off. Did anybody you know who escaped from the South Tower ever mention any damage to the lobby area?
SF: No, apart from broken glass from the plane impacts and crashing elevators. Several elevators cables were broken/slashed so they crashed to the ground.
KT: Are you still in contact with anybody who escaped from the South Tower?
KT: Has any of these people, or anybody else who was in the South Tower for that matter, have come out publicly about the "power down" the weekend before or reports of hearing bombs in the building when they were inside?
SF: Many, many people have talked to me about the power down and one person was contacted by a journalist as a backup source for my information.
KT: Let's recap a little, you said you felt something wasn't right when the first crash happened and when the 2nd crash happened, you felt that this had something to do with the "power down" in the South Tower that you worked in. Did you immediately think it was an "inside job" at this point and did you think it just involved maybe the owners of the WTC, or did you also suspect that this may have also involved someone in the government?
SF: I didn't think that one group specifically were the cause, but I immediately was very suspicious about the power down. The timing was so coincidental.
KT: I guess at what point did you start to feel that the plane crashes were some sort of inside job? Did you think it was an inside job?
SF: Again that's putting it a little too specifically. I put together what I saw with my own eyes and the knowledge of the power down and came up with a great deal of suspicion on the "official" story. It just doesn't seem to be the total truth to me.
KT: When the towers came down, did that just create a ton of more suspicion for you?
SF: When the first tower collapsed, that's when my suspicion started.
KT: One aspect of 9/11 that probably has created the most suspicion the attacks for most people is the collapse of the 47-story WTC 7. Many people didn't even learn about this strange collapse until many months later when it first started appearing on conspiracy websites (that's how I learned about it!). Did you happen to witness the collapse of the WTC 7 from you apartment building and did you hear anything about it afterwards on your local NYC news?
SF: Yes, I was alerted by an item on TV (CNN I think) and when I looked out of the window I saw a new plume of smoke rising from the site. I did not see it actually collapse however.
KT: Did you see much news about this collapse immediately afterwards or ever see any video coverage of the WTC 7 collapsing on TV?
SF: I remember seeing coverage on CNN at the time and on other programmes and channels subsequently.
KT: Would you say there was a lot of follow-up news on the WTC 7 collapse in your area, or relatively few?
SF: Little — it was considered only in context of the other tower collapses.
KT: When did you first start coming out in public talking about the "power down" in the South Tower and your general feelings of suspicion about the attacks?
SF: From day one, but more loudly about two months after when my company had rebuilt itself in a Disaster Recovery site in NJ.
KT: Who did you start talking to about it at first?
SF: My colleagues and friends.
KT: What was their reactions?
SF: Some were skeptical in the immediate aftermath in the midst of that very vengeful and angry reaction.
KT: Did any of them start to come around and take your story and thoughts seriously after everybody's initial anger and rage subsided a bit?
SF: Sure, some did and have, but many remain skeptical and frankly many do not want to revisit that time, as it was very painful.
KT: When did you go back to England?
SF: I came back to the UK in May 2003.
KT: When did you start trying to tell your story to government officials? Have you tried to contact the media also?
SF: I've sent emails and letters to the 9/11 commission and the Port Authority of NY/NJ, without response, and I've emailed, IM'd and spoken to several independent authors and broadcaster. No mainstream media outlets.
KT: So the 9/11 Commission and Port Authority never even contacted you back?
KT: Did that just make you feel that there might be a cover-up going on?
SF: Sure – that's natural isn't it – though it could just be inefficiency. All I am looking for is an acknowledgement that the power down did take place and that it has been investigated.
KT: So no "officials" have acknowledged the "power down" in the South Tower that you witnessed?
SF: Not that I know of.
KT: How many times have you tried to contact the 9/11 Commission or other officials?
SF: Three times in total.
KT: Has anybody else from your company or who witnessed the "power down" try to contact any officials?
SF: That I do not know.
KT: When did you try contacting alternative media outlets to try to tell your story?
SF: I entered a three or four line entry on a blog site in 2003. That was my first entry.
KT: Have any foreign news media or any of your local British media ever try to contact you about your story?
SF: Yes, recently I spoke face to face and on-camera with a Dutch Journalist, working on a documentary on 9/11 and I was interviewed by two English journalists also.
KT: Do you feel like the U.S. mainstream media has been less interested in your story than the foreign mainstream media?
SF: Yes, very much so.
KT: Any thoughts to as why?
SF: I feel that the US media and Americans in general have an over-sanitized and safe character. They are far less willing to be critical of their government and country than foreign media and individuals and this extends to the point of not questioning accepted half-truths. Also, 9/11 is now part of an American History that is cherished and almost Holy – to question it is to be traitorous.
KT: How interested has your alternative media and other foreign alternative media compared to the US alternative media about your story?
SF: I've spoken to English, Dutch and Australian journalists, as well as a number of American media-folk. I'm surprised that US media folk are not as aggressive – but then I am outside the US now.
KT: Do you feel more people in your country and the rest of Europe are more suspicious about 9/11 than most Americans?
SF: For sure! Let me put it this way, I am British working in US on 9/11. I was contacted by Police from London to interview me (debrief me), but none of my American colleagues were contacted by police or FBI or any agency. Kind of weird.
Letter From a New Jersey Emergency Medical Technician.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Dylan Avery posted the following letter which he and Mark of "Screw Loose Change" received. Well worth the read.
"I don't know what to say, I'm not sure where I stand, and I don't know what to think anymore… not about 9/11, but society in general.
I was a NJ EMT for 6 years. I was in NY at the WTC before, during, and after the collapse. I ran from the falling towers. I hid behind a plexi-glass bus stop panel, as if that would have helped me if anything large came hurtling in that direction. My lungs are full of dust and I can barely breathe without holding back a cough and the ever-present faint taste of blood in the back of my throat. I wake up gasping for air. Those towers fell, and I was there. I don't know why the "official story" of what happened isn't questioned more than it is. Nobody listens to the people who KNOW. The 9/11 commission was made up of puppeteers, and the tesimony was given by the puppets. It's so obvious. It was a failure. If the things I, and hundreds of other people saw, felt, and heard didn't make it into that attrocious failure called the 9/11 Commission Report, then there is no other con clusion than accepting the fact that the whole thing was a whitewash.
Mark… listen to me. There were explosions. There were flashes. There was molten metal running down the I-beams of the basement levels like lava flows. I've never seen anything like it. Yes, planes hit the buildings- anybody who says otherwise is a moron. But the explosions- the rapid, symmetrical, sequential explosions- they happened. We were in the basement, helping a man who had been struck by pieces of flying concrete and rebar, and there was one of the huge steel and concrete support pillars with an 8 foot section blown out of the center of it. We looked around and there were other support columns that were the same. We spoke about it right then and there… we were discussing as we were carrying this man, saying "how could someone have rigged all these explosives?". That sort of thing does not happen from an airplane hitting the building 70, 80 stories up. We stood outside listening to the explosions. One after the other, every minute or so. At one point, about 10 minutes before the first collapse, a 30 foot or so section of the courtyard exlploded straight up into the air. Just before the collapses, a series of deep, below ground explosions, then numerous explosions in the buildings upper floors. Then we ran. We felt the same deep explosions before the second collapse. This was not just the planes. THE BUILDINGS WERE RIGGED. There is no question about it. Hundreds of people know this, Mark. People were told, the crowds of people were TOLD over bullhorns, that building 7 was going to be pulled (and YES that is the term they used). There was a 20 second countdown over the radios, there were bright flashes up and down the sides of building 7, you could see them through the windows…and it collapsed. We all knew it was intentionally pulled… they told us! There was no question about it until a day or so later when the news was reporting that it had collapsed due to fire. We kept wondering when they were going to correct the news reports. Eventually, it became "official story". "
(more after the break..)
"I tried to explain that wasn't what happened. I kept telling people there were explosions. I kept explaining what I saw, and wrote to the newspapers, the networks, and the government about what I saw. I called to speak to the FDNY, and NYPD. I told them what I knew and wanted know why the news reports were wrong. I wasn't told I was wrong. I wasn't even given a different explaination. I was just told to "shut up", "forget about it", or "let it go, for my own good". I told my EMT Coordinator In Charge what we saw. The four of us from my squad who went were first congratulated for responding and doing such a good job, and later, two of us (the two that refused to "let it go") were brought up on charges of disorderly conduct, fired, and fined for the uniforms and equipment we used on 9/11 because they were ruined. The other two (who are women, one a mother of two, the other a mother of 3) now ref use to admit they were even there, even to us! They just won't speak about it. The four of us were heroes. Two of us were harrassed and fired, and the other two have to deny ever being there.
There is no doubt in my mind what happened in New York on 9/11. Yes, some of the conspiracy theories are far fetched. A few are even rediculous. But MOST of them, hold much more validity than the "official story". The government has one theory, and it is very weak, at best. Loose Change may be questionable, but that's what it is doing… providing theories and asking questions. Some of those questions get answered, others come up. THAT is why there is a 2nd Edition and a future final cut. Yes, the truth must be updated, of course it does. To say it doesn't is silly. What do you think an investigation is? You formulate a theory, ask questions, and get answers. When you come across new information or rule out false information, you update your theory. Why do you ridicule that concept? Why do you take so much pride in claiming "I didn't know the truth needed a 2n d Edition"? That's like your main motto and it's the weakest thing I've ever heard. Would it make more sense to you to write a story, or make a documentary, and NOT update it if you found new information? Would you want today's school children learning out of a 1977 1st Edition History textbook? Would you criticize an updated edition for them to learn out of? What about following editions? Of course not. My point is this: Loose Change may not be 100% accurate or complete, but it offers more plausible explanations, no matter how diabolical, than the 9/11 commission report fiasco.
In case you are wondering, no. I'm not going to give you my full name or what city I worked for. I had enough trouble having it dragged through local newspapers for two years. I don't want to lose another job. I don't want you unfoundedly slandering my name all over the net like you do with Dylan, Jason, and whoever else offers a point of view other than yours. I'm not giving you my name, so do as you wish with what I've told you. Just remember something. It's very easy to deny something, and even easier to "debunk" it with a simpler story, and simpler still to present that information to millions of people who not only have heard it as truth before, but WANT to believe it. It is much harder to piece together a series of events that makes much more sense, provides a motive, a means, and more capable suspects, and harder yet to present that information to millions of people who not only DON'T want it to be true, but have already heard a much happier story that they would rather believe.
Trust me, I'd much rather believe the official story. I'd also rather believe that Columbus discovered America and DIDN'T torture and murder the natives he encountered on the way here. But history had a 2nd Edition to that story. I can't wait for the Final Cut."
Nobody expected that the World Trade towers would collapse. Yet New York Mayor Giuliani was told in advance of the impeding collapse of the World Trade towers.
George Washington (pseudonym), 14 August 2005
How Did They Know?On September 11th, none of the New York City rescue people thought any of the World Trade Centers would collapse. For example:
The battalion chief of the New York Fire Department stated "there was never a thought that this whole thing is coming down" (page 15)
The Emergency Medical Services Division Chief, in charge of planning for the Chief of Department’s office said "No one feared that the building was in any danger as a result of two airplane attacks and subsequent fires . . . ."(page 7)
A lieutenant firefighter said "I never thought the whole thing would come down"
A firefighter stated "I never expected that a tower might collapse"
A lieutenant Investigator with the Bureau of Investigations and Trials said "no one ever expected it to collapse like that" (page 18)
And no engineer in the country, including the designers of the world trade centers, thought they would collapse. Indeed, "experts said no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire" (summary is free if you register with the New York Times; full article is pay-per-view), and the twin towers were designed to survive airplane strikes.
Indeed, the 9/11 Commission Report itself states:
"They also received advice from senior FDNY chiefs that while the building might eventually suffer a partial collapse on upper floors, such structural failure was not imminent. NO ONE ANTICIPATED THE POSSIBILITY OF A TOTAL COLLAPSE" (Page 291)
"Prior to 9:59, no NYPD helicopter pilot predicted that either tower would collapse" (page 304)
"Though almost no one at 9:50 on September 11 was contemplating an imminent total collapse of the Twin Towers, many first responders and civilians were contemplating the possibility of imminent additional terrorist attacks . . . " (page 320); and
"Contrary to a widely held misperception, no NYPD helicopter predicted the fall of either tower before the South Tower collapsed" (page 321)
And yet, somehow, on 9/11, Mayor Rudy Giuliani knew in advance that the world trade center was going to collapse.
And newly-released tapes of firefighters and other emergency personnel show that New York's Office of Emergency Management told a handful of people that the twin towers were going to collapse BEFORE any building had actually collapsed. For example, a paramedic testified that, before ANY of the world trade center buildings had collapsed, the following occurred:
I mentioned to the EMS people there, again, not knowing who they were, I said you need to get away from here, the building might collapse, we need to leave this spot . . .
I said, Steve, where's the boss? I have to give him a message. He said, well, what's the message? I said the buildings are going to collapse; we need to evac everybody out. With a very confused look he said who told you that? I said I was just with John at OEM. OEM says the buildings are going to collapse; we need to get
out . . . .
He said, hey, Pete, we got a message that the buildings are going to collapse. His reply was who the fuck told you that? Then Steve brought me in and with Chief Ganci, Commissioner Feehan, Steve, I believe Chief Turi was initially there, I said, listen, I was just at OEM. The message I was given was that the buildings are going to collapse; we need to get our people out. At that moment, this thunderous, rolling roar came down and that's when the building came down, the first tower came down? (page 6)
And there was also warning that building 7, which was not even hit by a plane, was going to collapse. Indeed, people “waited around? for the building to collapse.
For example, right before WTC7 came down, a NYPD police officer said clear away, the whole building is "about to blow up"
A firefighter stated "They moved us back south. We ended up back up on Vesey Street and West Street and just hanging out until tower 7 came down. After tower 7 came down, we went right to work over at tower 7 to put the fires out" (page 9)
Another firefighter testified "Once they got us back together and organized somewhat, they sent us back down to Vesey, where we stood and waited for Seven World Trade Center to come down" (page 14)
A firefighter said "I don't know what happened to No. 7. I knew the building was coming down" (page 8)
A lieutenant firefighter said Basically, we fell back for 7 to collapse, and then we waited a while and it got a lot more organized, I would guess" (page 17)
A paramedic testified “Then it was about 5:00 . . . We didn't do any further because building number seven was coming down. That was another problem, to wait for building seven to come down, because that was unsecure. It was about 5:30 that building came down? (Pages 13-14)
Indeed, many news reporters, including reporters from the BBC (and see this BBC clip; BBC clips authenticated here, here, and here), CNN and other stations reported the collapse of Building 7 before it actually fell, thus strongly implying that someone informed the reporters of the collapse ahead of time.
See also this collection of evidence regarding building 7.
And if you have any doubt about the foreknowledge concerning the collapse of Building 7, watch this 13-minute video.
What if a police detective was investigating the murder of a guy named Joe, who had previously been healthy, and discovered that a suspect had said on the day of the murder "Joe will be dead within 2 hours"? The detective would believe that the suspect killed Joe, or at least conspired with those who did.
Similarly, the foreknowledge of the collapse of buildings 1, 2 and 7 ? when steel-framed buildings simply do not collapse due to fire ? is strong circumstantial evidence that Guiliani and some key people within New York's Office of Emergency Management — or their superiors in the chain of command — are guilty for the demolition of those buildings.
We've all watched enough detective shows on TV to recognize this foreknowledge as evidence of guilt.
Explosives Planted In Towers, N.M. Tech Expert Says
By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer
Televised images of the attacks on the World Trade Center suggest that explosives devices caused the collapse of both towers, a New Mexico Tech explosion expert said Tuesday.
The collapse of the buildings appears "too methodical" to be a chance result of airplanes colliding with the structures, said Van Romero, vice president for research at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
"My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse," Romero said.
Romero is a former director of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at Tech, which studies explosive materials and the effects of explosions on buildings, aircraft and other structures.
Romero said he based his opinion on video aired on national television broadcasts.
Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures.
"It would be difficult for something from the plane to trigger an event like that," Romero said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.
Romero said he and another Tech administrator were on a Washington-area subway when an airplane struck the Pentagon.
He said he and Denny Peterson, vice president for administration and finance, were en route to an office building near the Pentagon to discuss defense-funded research programs at Tech.
If explosions did cause the towers to collapse, the detonations could have been caused by a small amount of explosive, he said.
"It could have been a relatively small amount of explosives placed in strategic points," Romero said. The explosives likely would have been put in more than two points in each of the towers, he said.
The detonation of bombs within the towers is consistent with a common terrorist strategy, Romero said.
"One of the things terrorist events are noted for is a diversionary attack and secondary device," Romero said.
Attackers detonate an initial, diversionary explosion that attracts emergency personnel to the scene, then detonate a second explosion, he said.
Romero said that if his scenario is correct, the diversionary attack would have been the collision of the planes into the towers.
Tech President Dan Lopez said Tuesday that Tech had not been asked to take part in the investigation into the attacks. Tech often assists in forensic investigations into terrorist attacks, often by setting off similar explosions and studying the effects.
[Webmaster's comment: Ten days after the publication of this interview, Van Romero gave a new interview to this journal in which he retracted his previous views on the collapse. He now said that he believed that the towers collapsed because of fire.
Molten steel in the basement of the WTC: What does it mean? During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows. [George W. Bush] http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060906-3.html
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2006
President Discusses Creation of Military Commissions to Try Suspected Terrorists
The East Room
1:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. Welcome to the White House. Mr. Vice President, Secretary Rice, Attorney General Gonzales, Ambassador Negroponte, General Hayden, members of the United States Congress, families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our nation, and my fellow citizens: Thanks for coming.
On the morning of September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to a nightmare attack. Nineteen men, armed with box cutters, took control of airplanes and turned them into missiles. They used them to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people. We watched the Twin Towers collapse before our eyes — and it became instantly clear that we’d entered a new world, and a dangerous new war.
The attacks of September the 11th horrified our nation. And amid the grief came new fears and urgent questions: Who had attacked us? What did they want? And what else were they planning? Americans saw the destruction the terrorists had caused in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania, and they wondered if there were other terrorist cells in our midst poised to strike; they wondered if there was a second wave of attacks still to come.
With the Twin Towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country on edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new attacks, my administration faced immediate challenges: We had to respond to the attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists hiding in America and across the world, before they were able to strike our country again. So in the early days and weeks after 9/11, I directed our government’s senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack.
Nearly five years have passed since these — those initial days of shock and sadness — and we are thankful that the terrorists have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil. This is not for the lack of desire or determination on the part of the enemy. As the recently foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they’re still trying to strike America, and they’re still trying to kill our people. One reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because of the hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women in our government, who have toiled day and night, along with our allies, to stop the enemy from carrying out their plans. And we are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours.
Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies — and given our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms.
The terrorists who declared war on America represent no nation, they defend no territory, and they wear no uniform. They do not mass armies on borders, or flotillas of warships on the high seas. They operate in the shadows of society; they send small teams of operatives to infiltrate free nations; they live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret, and then they strike without warning. In this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists, themselves. Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terrorist networks operate. They have knowledge of where their operatives are deployed, and knowledge about what plots are underway. This intelligence — this is intelligence that cannot be found any other place. And our security depends on getting this kind of information. To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.
After the 9/11 attacks, our coalition launched operations across the world to remove terrorist safe havens, and capture or kill terrorist operatives and leaders. Working with our allies, we’ve captured and detained thousands of terrorists and enemy fighters in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and other fronts of this war on terror. These enemy — these are enemy combatants, who were waging war on our nation. We have a right under the laws of war, and we have an obligation to the American people, to detain these enemies and stop them from rejoining the battle.
Most of the enemy combatants we capture are held in Afghanistan or in Iraq, where they’re questioned by our military personnel. Many are released after questioning, or turned over to local authorities — if we determine that they do not pose a continuing threat and no longer have significant intelligence value. Others remain in American custody near the battlefield, to ensure that they don’t return to the fight.
In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly [sic], questioned by experts, and — when appropriate — prosecuted for terrorist acts.
Some of these individuals are taken to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It’s important for Americans and others across the world to understand the kind of people held at Guantanamo. These aren’t common criminals, or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield — we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo Bay belong at Guantanamo. Those held at Guantanamo include suspected bomb makers, terrorist trainers, recruiters and facilitators, and potential suicide bombers. They are in our custody so they cannot murder our people. One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him — he said this: “I’ll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers, your mother, and sisters.”
In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.
Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks — here in the United States and across the world. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.
Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. Our intelligence community believes he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained, and that he helped smuggle al Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan after coalition forces arrived to liberate that country. Zubaydah was severely wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody — and he survived only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.
After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information — and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the “nominal” information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — or KSM — was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias “Muktar.” This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States — an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained — one while traveling to the United States.
We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.
Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM’s accomplices in the 9/11 attacks — a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody — a terrorist named Majid Khan. KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate known as “J-I”. CIA officers confronted Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative.
Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali. After Hambali’s arrest, KSM was questioned again. He identified Hambali’s brother as the leader of a “J-I” cell, and Hambali’s conduit for communications with al Qaeda. Hambali’s brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian “J-I” operatives. When confronted with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives were being groomed at KSM’s request for attacks inside the United States — probably [sic] using airplanes.
During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows.
KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda’s efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda’s efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent — and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM’s arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid’s role in al Qaeda’s anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.
These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti — they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.
We’re getting vital information necessary to do our jobs, and that’s to protect the American people and our allies.
Information from the terrorists in this program has helped us to identify individuals that al Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations, many of whom we had never heard about before. They include terrorists who were set to case targets inside the United States, including financial buildings in major cities on the East Coast. Information from terrorists in CIA custody has played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since this program began. By providing everything from initial leads to photo identifications, to precise locations of where terrorists were hiding, this program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they were able to kill.
This program has also played a critical role in helping us understand the enemy we face in this war. Terrorists in this program have painted a picture of al Qaeda’s structure and financing, and communications and logistics. They identified al Qaeda’s travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaeda’s senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like Iraq. They provided information that allows us — that has allowed us to make sense of documents and computer records that we have seized in terrorist raids. They’ve identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications.
The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence, and we’ve received — that we’ve received from other sources — and together this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places. It’s helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.
This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they’ve determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA’s Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they’re screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.
I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.
The CIA program has detained only a limited number of terrorists at any given time — and once we’ve determined that the terrorists held by the CIA have little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments. Others have been accused of terrible crimes against the American people, and we have a duty to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. So we intend to prosecute these men, as appropriate, for their crimes.
Soon after the war on terror began, I authorized a system of military commissions to try foreign terrorists accused of war crimes. Military commissions have been used by Presidents from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt to prosecute war criminals, because the rules for trying enemy combatants in a time of conflict must be different from those for trying common criminals or members of our own military. One of the first suspected terrorists to be put on trial by military commission was one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards — a man named Hamdan. His lawyers challenged the legality of the military commission system. It took more than two years for this case to make its way through the courts. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the military commissions we had designed, but this past June, the Supreme Court overturned that decision. The Supreme Court determined that military commissions are an appropriate venue for trying terrorists, but ruled that military commissions needed to be explicitly authorized by the United States Congress.
So today, I’m sending Congress legislation to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes. My administration has been working with members of both parties in the House and Senate on this legislation. We put forward a bill that ensures these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security, and ensures a full and fair trial for those accused. The procedures in the bill I am sending to Congress today reflect the reality that we are a nation at war, and that it’s essential for us to use all reliable evidence to bring these people to justice.
We’re now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — and the families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. Some of the families are with us today — they should have to wait no longer. So I’m announcing today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. (Applause.) They are being held in the custody of the Department of Defense. As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice. (Applause.)
We’ll also seek to prosecute those believed to be responsible for the attack on the USS Cole, and an operative believed to be involved in the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. With these prosecutions, we will send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No longer — how long it takes, we will find you and we will bring you to justice. (Applause.)
These men will be held in a high-security facility at Guantanamo. The International Committee of the Red Cross is being advised of their detention, and will have the opportunity to meet with them. Those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys who will help them prepare their defense — and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care, and opportunities for worship as other detainees. They will be questioned subject to the new U.S. Army Field Manual, which the Department of Defense is issuing today. And they will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied others.
As we move forward with the prosecutions, we will continue to urge nations across the world to take back their nationals at Guantanamo who will not be prosecuted by our military commissions. America has no interest in being the world’s jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated — or they will not return to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have. We will continue working to transfer individuals held at Guantanamo, and ask other countries to work with us in this process. And we will move toward the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
I know Americans have heard conflicting information about Guantanamo. Let me give you some facts. Of the thousands of terrorists captured across the world, only about 770 have ever been sent to Guantanamo. Of these, about 315 have been returned to other countries so far — and about 455 remain in our custody. They are provided the same quality of medical care as the American service members who guard them. The International Committee of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are held there. The facility has been visited by government officials from more than 30 countries, and delegations from international organizations, as well. After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo “a model prison” where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country. Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay — and so can the American people.
As we prosecute suspected terrorist leaders and operatives who have now been transferred to Guantanamo, we’ll continue searching for those who have stepped forward to take their places. This nation is going to stay on the offense to protect the American people. We will continue to bring the world’s most dangerous terrorists to justice — and we will continue working to collect the vital intelligence we need to protect our country. The current transfers mean that there are now no terrorists in the CIA program. But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical — and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information.
Some may ask: Why are you acknowledging this program now? There are two reasons why I’m making these limited disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of the men — and to start the process for bringing them to trial, we must bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court’s recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions, and has put in question the future of the CIA program. In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as “Common Article Three” applies to our war with al Qaeda. This article includes provisions that prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity” and “humiliating and degrading treatment.” The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article Three are vague and undefined, and each could be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges. And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act — simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way.
This is unacceptable. Our military and intelligence personnel go face to face with the world’s most dangerous men every day. They have risked their lives to capture some of the most brutal terrorists on Earth. And they have worked day and night to find out what the terrorists know so we can stop new attacks. America owes our brave men and women some things in return. We owe them their thanks for saving lives and keeping America safe. And we owe them clear rules, so they can continue to do their jobs and protect our people.
So today, I’m asking Congress to pass legislation that will clarify the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror. First, I’m asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act — so our personnel can know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies. Second, I’m asking that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee Treatment Act our personnel are fulfilling America’s obligations under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. Third, I’m asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts — in U.S. courts. The men and women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because they’re doing their jobs.
The need for this legislation is urgent. We need to ensure that those questioning terrorists can continue to do everything within the limits of the law to get information that can save American lives. My administration will continue to work with the Congress to get this legislation enacted — but time is of the essence. Congress is in session just for a few more weeks, and passing this legislation ought to be the top priority. (Applause.)
As we work with Congress to pass a good bill, we will also consult with congressional leaders on how to ensure that the CIA program goes forward in a way that follows the law, that meets the national security needs of our country, and protects the brave men and women we ask to obtain information that will save innocent lives. For the sake of our security, Congress needs to act, and update our laws to meet the threats of this new era. And I know they will.
We’re engaged in a global struggle — and the entire civilized world has a stake in its outcome. America is a nation of law. And as I work with Congress to strengthen and clarify our laws here at home, I will continue to work with members of the international community who have been our partners in this struggle. I’ve spoken with leaders of foreign governments, and worked with them to address their concerns about Guantanamo and our detention policies. I’ll continue to work with the international community to construct a common foundation to defend our nations and protect our freedoms.
Free nations have faced new enemies and adjusted to new threats before — and we have prevailed. Like the struggles of the last century, today’s war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries are different, but the stakes in this war are the same: We’re fighting for our way of life, and our ability to live in freedom. We’re fighting for the cause of humanity, against those who seek to impose the darkness of tyranny and terror upon the entire world. And we’re fighting for a peaceful future for our children and our grandchildren.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 2:22 P.M. EDT
9/11: Defense Contractor and CNN collaborated on Analysis of Collapse of World Trade Center Towers
by Elias Davidsson, March 19, 2006
On 13 September 2001, CNN interviewed “expert in blast engineering” Tod Rittenhouse from Weidlinger Associates on the collapse of the World Trade Towers. He was presented as a person who “has been the blast engineer for a number of embassies and government buildings” and had been called “to discuss such problems as the Oklahoma City bombing and the previous World Trade Center calamity.” In his introductory remarks, Rittenhouse said: ” I did not want to believe that a complete collapse could occur.” He then proceeded to explain why the buildings collapsed, merely 48 hours after the events.
An outfit entitled FACS (Foundation for American Communications), “secured Weidlinger engineers as a resource for journalists. The firm is a leader in defense-related blast effects research and design programs for more than four decades.” The mission of FACS, as posted on its website is “to improve the quality of information reaching the public through the news”.
Weidlinger’s President and CEO, formerly “responsible for significant contracts with the Department of Defense” is now Dr. Raymond Daddazio, who is presented as “principal liaison with the U.S. government’s Technical Support Working Group’s Physical Security Program, which identifies, prioritizes and coordinates interagency and international research and development requirements for combating terrorism.” Dr. Daddazio succeeds Dr. Jeremy Isenberg, who served in this role from 1993 through 2005.
For further details see:
Experts from defense-related corporation comment on WTC collapse
FACS mission statement: http://www.facsnet.org/
FACS Conference Agenda:Terror and Homeland Defense: Bringing the Stories Home
Report on the FACS Conference: http://www.rtnda.org/resources/dean.html
Molten steel was found in the basement of the World Trade Towers weeks after 9/11. Burning jet fuel cannot significantly soften steel, much less melt it.
Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
May 29, 2002
[…] When [Joe] O’Toole signed on for trade center duty in January, he thought it would be a 30-day assignment. But after one month, he volunteered for another. And another. And another. And another.
[…] Underground fires raged for months. O’Toole remembers in February seeing a crane lift a steel beam vertically from deep within the catacombs of Ground Zero. "It was dripping from the molten steel," he said.
[…] A veteran of disasters from the Mississippi floods Mt. St. Helens, [Ron] Burger said it reminded him most of the volcano, if he forgot he was in downtown Manhattan. "Feeling the heat, seeing the molten steel, the layers upon layers of ash, like lava, it reminded me of Mt. St. Helen’s and the thousands who fled that disaster," he said. "It could have been a tornado or an avalanche or a volcano."
Ground Zero was a disaster site like no other—with hazards everywhere. Shards of steel lay upon shards of steel, shifting and unstable, uncovering red hot metal beams excavated from deep beneath layers of sub-floors, exposing further dark crevasses.
Ironworkers’ Job of Clearing Ground Zero Is Over, but the Trauma Lingers
By COREY KILGANNON
November 11, 2002
[…] The four men sat on a sunny sidewalk in Greenwich Village on a recent workday and ate their lunch staring at the steel skeleton of a building going up on West Third Street.
One of them commented on how much easier it was to eat a sandwich in front of steel that was strong and straight and new, not molten and mangled and laden with debris.
Reflections in the Wake of September 11:
Visit to Ground Zero, New York City
by Father Edward A. Malloy, CSC
[…] Eddie and I walked down into the depths of the South Tower, Building Two, which was the first to collapse. Large front end loaders were engaged in their task. Gigantic cranes were lifting pieces of steel weighing tons, some of which were being placed on the back of semi trucks. Firefighters atop a number of ladder trucks were spraying in the areas of greatest smoke. The average temperature beneath the rubble is said to be 1500 F. so that when steel is brought up it is molten and takes two or three days to cool down.
RICH GARLOCK: Going below, it was smoky and really hot. We had rescue teams with meters for oxygen and carbon dioxide. They also had temperature monitors. Here WTC 6 is over my head. The debris past the columns was red-hot, molten, running.
PBS, September 2002
TWO WEEKS AT GROUND ZERO
By Guy Lounsbury
[…] My particular part was to help maintain security in and around the perimeter of the site.
[…] Two weeks after the attack, one fireman told us that there was still molten steel at the heart of the towers’ remains.
At Ground Zero
NIH’ers Respond to Tragedy in NYC
By Rich McManus
Photos by Van Hubbard, Susan Orsega, Rich McManus
[…] Ed Pfister’s Diary:
[…] I spent several hours tonight, walking "the pile" and attempting to soak it all in for the last time and find a bit of closure…deep below ground a portion of the pile was still on fire and boiled with molten material. Sometimes, open flame would erupt as a crane pulled debris out and air rushed in. Fire hoses constantly poured streams of water causing huge billowing steam clouds to rise up over the site into the huge lights above.
Reluctant hero narrates horror of N.Y. mission
September 11, 2002
[…] Interim Bryan Fire Department Chief Mike Donoho was one of those sent to "ground zero," as the World Trade Center site quickly became known. […] Here is Donoho’s story, as told to Eagle staff writer John LeBas:
[…] What you had were large columns of steel that were just stuck into massive amounts of molten steel and other metals, that had just fused together from the heat and bonded together from the strength of the collapse.
We dug and we dug and we dug, and we cut and we cut and we cut, and we did not see anything that resembled any type of furniture, any type of personal belongings. We found some pieces of things like a telephone, things like that. I think we found credit cards a few times, and we found a couple of stuffed animals. But you would expect to see, like, a bunch of desks, a bunch of chairs. The only way I can explain it is, if you take a car and put it in one of those machines where they crush it and make it look like a cube, and you can’t recognize what it is, that’s what the whole area looked like. It looked like a massive, molten mess that had been fused together, like a car that had been cubed and crushed.
With all that heavy, heavy stuff, there were wires, rebar, concrete. Most of it was just steel. A lot of what we were walking on was just molten steel.
“A striking feature of the Twin Towers’ destruction was the pulverization of most of the concrete into gravel and dust before it hit the ground.”
Twin Towers’ Concrete Turned to Dust in Mid-Air
A striking feature of the Twin Towers’ destruction was the pulverization of most of the concrete into gravel and dust before it hit the ground. This is evident from the explosive mushrooming of the towers into vast clouds of concrete as they fell, and from the fact that virtually no large pieces of concrete were found at Ground Zero, only twisted pieces of steel. 1 Estimates put the size of the particles, which also included gypsum and hydrocarbons, in the ten- to 100-micron range. 2
Some idea of the volume of the dust clouds can be obtained by examining photographs taken shortly after each tower collapsed.
The researcher calling himself plaguepuppy articulated the thoroughness of the destruction and its incompatibility with the official explanation.
In trying to come to terms with what actually happened during the collapse of the World Trade Towers, the biggest and most obvious problem that I see is the source of the enormous amount of very fine dust that was generated during the collapses. Even early on, when the tops of the buildings have barely started to move, we see this characteristic fine dust (mixed with larger chunks of debris) being shot out very energetically from the building. During the first few seconds of a gravitational fall nothing is moving very fast, and yet from the outset what appears to be powdered concrete can be seem blowing out to the sides, growing to an immense dust cloud as the collapse progresses.
The floors themselves are quite robust. Each one is 39″ thick; the top 4″ is a poured concrete slab, with interlocking vertical steel trusses (or spandrel members) underneath. This steel would absorb a lot of kinetic energy by crumpling as one floor fell onto another, at most pulverizing a small amount of concrete where the narrow edges of the trusses strike the floor below. And yet we see a very fine dust being blown very energetically out to the sides as if the entire mass of concrete (about 400,000 cubic yards for the whole building) were being converted to dust. Remember too that the tower fell at almost the speed of a gravitational free-fall, meaning that little energy was expended doing anything other than accelerating the floor slabs.
Considering the amount of concrete in a single floor (~1 acre x 4″) and the chemical bond energy to be overcome in order to reduce it to a fine powder, it appears that a very large energy input would be needed. The only source for this, excluding for now external inputs or explosives, is the gravitational potential energy of the building. Any extraction of this energy for the disaggregation of the concrete would decrease the amount available for conversion to kinetic energy, slowing the speed of the falls. Yet we know that the buildings actually fell in about 9 seconds*, only slightly less than an unimpeded free-fall from the same height. This means that very little of the gravitational energy can have gone toward pulverizing the concrete.
Even beyond the question of the energy needed, what possible mechanism exists for pulverizing these vast sheets of concrete? Remember that dust begins to appear in quantity in the very earliest stages of the collapses, when nothing is moving fast relative to anything else in the structure. How then is reinforced concrete turned into dust and ejected laterally from the building at high speed?
Evidence indicates that the hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete in the Twin Towers was converted almost entirely to dust.
Both reports of workers at Ground Zero and photographs of the area attest to the thoroughness of the pulverization of the concrete and other non-metallic solids in the towers. 3 An examination of our extensive archives of images of Ground Zero and its immediate surroundings reveals no recognizable objects such as slabs of concrete, glass, doors, or office furniture. The identifiable constituents of the rubble can be classified into just five categories:
- pieces of steel from the towers’ skeletons
- pieces of aluminum cladding from the towers’ exteriors
- unrecognizable pieces of metal
- pieces of paper
- dustDespite the presence of 400,000 cubic yards of concrete in each tower, the photographs reveal almost no evidence of macroscopic pieces of its remains.
Many observers have likened the Towers’ destruction to volcanoes, noting that the Towers seemed to be transformed into columns of thick dust in the air. An article about seismic observations of events in New York City on 9/11/01, relates the observations of scientists Won-Young Kim, Lynn R. Sykes, J.H. Armitage:
The authors also noted that, as seen in television images, the fall of the towers was similar to a pyroclastic flow down a volcano, where hot dust and chunks of material descend at high temperatures. The collapse of the WTC generated such a flow, though without the high temperatures. 4
* 15 seconds is a much more accurate estimate of total collapse time than 9 seconds. (See this time analysis of the North Tower collapse.) Yet the 9-second figure is widely repeated in the literature of both detractors and supporters of the official story.
In late September of 2001, only weeks after the World Trade Center disaster, officials uncovered a criminal scheme to divert sheet metal beams from the Ground Zero rubble to Long Island and New Jersey. In late October, some 250 tons of scrap metal were found at unofficial dump sites in both those areas. On November 26, the city initiated use of an in-vehicle GPS tracking system to monitor locations of trucks hired to haul the debris to Fresh Kills, the official dump site on Staten Island.….Ninety-nine percent of the drivers were extremely driven to do their jobs. But there were big concerns, because the loads consisted of highly sensitive material.
GPS ON THE JOB IN MASSIVE WORLD TRADE CENTER CLEAN-UP
Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM
By JACQUELINE EMIGH
Access Control & Security Systems
In late September of 2001, only weeks after the World Trade Center disaster, officials uncovered a criminal scheme to divert sheet metal beams from the Ground Zero rubble to Long Island and New Jersey. In late October, some 250 tons of scrap metal were found at unofficial dump sites in both those areas.
On November 26, the city initiated use of an in-vehicle GPS tracking system to monitor locations of trucks hired to haul the debris to Fresh Kills, the official dump site on Staten Island.
By then, FEMA and the City of New York were already looking hard for ways to improve work efficiencies at Ground Zero and ease traffic jams around the area.
“Staging the trucks, signaling them into load zones in Ground Zero and out of it was a major operation handled by the (trucking) contracting companies under the watchful eye of the Department of Design and Construction-New York City (DDC-NYC). Recovery of human remains and evidence introduced another level of complexity. Occasionally, all work stopped for recovery, changing routes and playing havoc with traffic,” says Yoram Shalmon, director of product management for PowerLoc Technologies, Toronto, Ontario, a subcontractor on the project.
In the weeks before launching the GPS system, the city relied on a paper-based system for tracking traffic and loading data. Police and several other agencies teamed up to monitor the trucks on their routes between Ground Zero through 20 to 30 miles of tunnels, bridges and highways to the dump on Staten Island.
All outbound trucks needed to be washed, wetted, and covered to prevent dust from flying into surrounding neighborhoods. Steel beams from the WTC’s twin towers had to be sliced into manageable pieces. “With plenty of heavy equipment and overtime, the costs of the recovery operation became extremely high,” Shalmon says.
To get a GPS truck-monitoring system rolling right away, DDC-NYC and the New York Port Authority (NYPA) quickly identified several possible suppliers, viewed presentations from the candidates, and sent out a request for proposal.
In the end, the contract went to IDC-Criticom, a large alarm system wholesaler based in Minneapolis, and its two subcontractors: GPS hardware maker PowerLoc; and implementation specialist Mobile Installation Technologies (MIT) of Marietta, Ga.
Within three weeks, the system elements were in place, and nearly 200 trucks in New York City were being tracked in real time. Installed by MIT with assistance from PowerLoc and four trucking contractors, the solution revolved around PowerLoc’s Vehicle Location Device (VLD). Each VLD unit costs about $1,000.
VLD uses GPS antennas to monitor location, cellular wireless antennas to communicate, and multiple I/Os to track vehicle signals from engine systems, for instance. Signals are bounced to one of 24 GPS satellites, which in turn send the latitude and longitude of the truck back to the VLD.
In the WTC implementation, GPS information was then transmitted via Cingular’s Mobitex Data Network to a 24-hour call center operated by IDC-Criticom. By running in a different frequency range from cell phones, Mobitex was able to provide sufficient wireless bandwidth.
Cellular access was in short supply in the Ground Zero vicinity because of high demand. Many services from Verizon, including basic telephone service, were down for six weeks or more, as a result of damage to cabling and other phone company equipment. PowerLoc’s VLD also supports other wireless networks, however, including GSM and Cellemetry.
“PowerLoc’s ability to rapidly customize its software application was a significant help in getting the contract,” notes Ray Menard, senior vice president of development for IDC-Criticom. The software recorded every trip and location, sending out alerts if the vehicle traveled off course, arrived late at its destination, or deviated from expectations in any other way. The customized application also included report generation tools that let DDC-NYC analyze efficiency, adjust and shift resources, and compare fleet and vehicle performance.
“Geofenced zones,” connected by “geofenced corridors,” were set up around Ground Zero and the other sites. By tracking the trucks, officials were also able to monitor the actions of the drivers.
“We were able to start identifying patterns of behavior. If a driver arrived late, the traffic analyst would look at why. Maybe the driver stopped for lunch, or maybe he ran into traffic,” Shalmon says.
“Ninety-nine percent of the drivers were extremely driven to do their jobs. But there were big concerns, because the loads consisted of highly sensitive material. One driver, for example, took an extended lunch break of an hour and a half. There was nothing criminal about that, but he was dismissed. There were also cases where trucks did little detours from their routes,” Shalmon says.
“Although the loads of steel stolen in September were recovered, the spectre of other abuses was raised,” recalls IDC-Criticom’s Menard. “If a truck left the area, we dispatched the City of New York, which was working with seven different municipal, state and federal police forces.”
Analysis of the GPS results led to a number of changes in trucking operations, widely credited with cutting costs and accelerating the clean-up. “Within 24 hours, the city began to make changes,” says Greg Schnute, executive vice president at MIT. Instead of hauling debris directly, trucks began moving it to two piers in Manhattan, for transmission by barge and tugboat first to a staging area in Brooklyn, and then from Brooklyn to Fresh Kills.
Consequently, the number of loads per truck rose from four to 10, representing a 250 percent improvement. Needing fewer trucks per shift, the city cut the number of trucking contractors from four to one.
The numbers of checkpoints and human auditors diminished, likewise. Moreover, by eliminating unnecessary traffic at Ground Zero, officials gained further efficiencies, reducing vehicle wash station cycles by 33 percent.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of IDC-Criticom and its two subcontractors, a clean-up originally projected to last until September was completed in May. Defying previous estimates of $7 billion, the total clean-up bill ran to just $750 million. “We found out how fast we could act,” Schnute says. “It made us all proud to be Americans.”
For its part, PowerLoc is now working on a personal location device (PLD) similar to a VLD.
At this point, most GPS devices rely on cellular technology for communications with a satellite base station. “That’s because of the size and power of the GPS battery that would otherwise be required. But there will come a time when more portable devices communicate directly with satellites,” Shalmon predicts.
Meanwhile, PowerLoc is discussing its PLD with various departments in the City of New York. “The city might want to be able to track police and firemen, for instance. There may be situations where public safety workers are in distress, but unable to use a cell phone,” Shalmon explains.ABOUT THE AUTHORJacqueline Emigh is a New York-based writer and a regular contributor to Access Control & Security Systems
A group of victims’ families, the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, had complained that most of the beams from the site were quickly shipped off and reprocessed into new steel before they could be tested. The institute’s lead investigator, Shyam Sunder, cautioned the results were preliminary but said if those findings continue in further testing, that would rule out weak steel as a contributing factor in the collapse.
Steel type in WTC met standards, group says
Lack of progress in R.I. club fire frustrates prober
By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press, 8/28/2003
GAITHERSBURG, Md. — Early tests on steel beams from the World Trade Center show they generally met or were stronger than design requirements, ruling them out as a contributing cause of the collapse of the towers, federal investigators said yesterday. Engineers with the National Institute of Standards and Technology have conducted preliminary tests on some of the 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage, said Frank Gayle, who is leading the board’s review of the steel.
The tests found that, typical for construction steel used in the 1960s when the World Trade Center was erected, the steel beams exceeded requirements to bear 36,000 pounds per square inch. Often they were capable of bearing around 42,000 pounds per square inch.
A group of victims’ families, the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, had complained that most of the beams from the site were quickly shipped off and reprocessed into new steel before they could be tested. The institute’s lead investigator, Shyam Sunder, cautioned the results were preliminary but said if those findings continue in further testing, that would rule out weak steel as a contributing factor in the collapse.
The steel testing was discussed yesterday at the end of a two-day meeting with institute officials about the Sept. 11 investigation.
The two-year probe is designed to create a model of the fire and collapse, enabling the institute, which is part of the Commerce Department, to recommend improved fire and safety codes in building construction.
The Skyscraper Safety Campaign’s Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the site, said she doubted the institute’s findings.
"I don’t really feel that they have a representative sample of all the steel," Regenhard said.
James Quintieri, a professor at the University of Maryland who is consulting with the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, said key questions, about the steel’s strength under intense heat and the overall design of the building, remain unanswered.
In coming months, the federal institute will re-create sections of the building’s floor trusses and conduct large-scale fire endurance tests to determine how the floors of the towers responded to the twin stresses of impact by a jet plane and a continuing fire.
The institute also discussed its investigation of the nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., in February, which killed 100 people. Investigators will also use the results of this investigation to recommend improvements to codes.
At the meeting, some complained investigators were being delayed by prosecutors and civil lawyers denying them access to critical information, including the exact makeup of the soundproofing foam that burst into flames at the nightclub.
The blaze was sparked by a band’s pyrotechnic display, and nearly 200 people were injured as the fire roared through the wooden structure.
Lead investigator Bill Grosshandler said his team has to date gathered only about 20 percent of the information on the makeup of different materials in the building, but he said it was still early in the fact-gathering process. The institute is creating a computer reconstruction of the fire to simulate the spread of flames and smoke through the club.
Others, including the institute’s Jack Snell, seemed frustrated with the agency’s access to information. The investigation is proceeding under an act of Congress passed last year aimed to use the institute’s expertise to probe building disasters.
"The whole motivation for this law was timely investigations," Snell said. "We’re not doing timely investigations."
Debate Revives as 9/11 Dust Is Called Fatal
By ANTHONY DEPALMA; KAREEM FAHIM AND DIANE CARDWELL CONTRIBUTED REPORTING FOR THIS ARTICLE. (NYT) 1121 words
Published: April 14, 2006
In the cold, clinical language of the autopsy report of a retired New York City detective that was released this week, there were words that thousands of New Yorkers have come to anticipate and to fear.
”It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident,” stated the report from the medical examiner’s office in Ocean County, N.J.
That ”reasonable degree of medical certainty” — coroner language for ”as sure as I can be” — provides the first official link made by a medical expert between the hazardous air at ground zero after the trade center collapse and the death of someone who worked in the rescue effort.
The report has reopened old wounds, giving lawsuits brought by first responders and downtown residents new evidence to back up allegations that the toxic mixture of dust and fumes at ground zero was deadly.
The report has also reignited a fierce debate over whether to classify deaths like that of Detective James Zadroga, 34 — who died on Jan. 5 of respiratory failure at his parents’ New Jersey home — as being ”in the line of duty,” making survivors eligible for more benefits.
Dr. Robin Herbert, who has screened thousands of first responders through the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, called Detective Zadroga’s autopsy report a ”sentinel event” and a warning sign.
”It should be taken very seriously and investigated with great vigor,” Dr. Herbert said.
But while acknowledging that those exposed to the dust may develop fatal diseases, many medical experts who have tracked the health effects of the trade center collapse have been reluctant to cross the line in between probability and certainty.
The autopsy report went further than any other medical document to link a death to the dust, but it by no means provides conclusive proof of the dust’s general toxicity and its impact on other workers at the site. That, experts generally agree, may take 20 years to play out, depending on the latency period for many cancers and other diseases that could be linked to exposure to the toxic materials.
Proving the cause of a disease, even when the cause may seem obvious, is difficult. Dr. Michael M. Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York and a forensics expert, said the phrase ”reasonable degree of certainty” is the standard term used in court to mean that given the available information, ”it’s very likely that that opinion is correct.”
That said, Dr. Baden noted that given the impact of such a finding, he would have expected the medical examiner’s office to consult with doctors who had tested or treated other first responders before coming to such a conclusion. Other experts said that tests should have been done on the particles found in Detective Zadroga’s lungs to compare them with the dust from the trade center.
Neither step was taken. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Gerard Breton, a 73-year-old retired pathologist who has been on contract to the medical examiner’s office in Ocean County for a decade.
Dr. Breton said in a telephone interview yesterday that he did not attempt to classify the ”innumerable foreign body granulomas” containing ”unidentified foreign materials” in Detective Zadroga’s lungs. He also did not consult any doctors besides the detective’s physician, who he said had informed him of Detective Zadroga’s work at ground zero.
Nonetheless, Dr. Breton said what he found was unmistakable.
”I cannot personally understand that anyone could see what I saw in the lungs, and know that the person was exposed to ground zero, and not make the same link I made,” said Dr. Breton.
Detective Zadroga, who joined the New York Police Department in 1992, did not smoke and had no known history of asthma. His family has long believed that the 450 grueling hours that the highly decorated officer spent working on recovery efforts at ground zero in 2001 had filled his lungs with fiberglass, pulverized concrete and a toxic brew of chemicals that fatally scarred his lungs, leading to his death at the age of 34.
For them, the autopsy report was an awful confirmation.
Joseph Zadroga, Detective Zadroga’s father, said his son and other officers who had worked at the trade center site knew the air they were breathing would probably cause health problems down the road. ”You had to be a fool not to realize that,” he said on Tuesday at a news conference in Manhattan.
Detective Zadroga’s colleagues have argued that hundreds of officers who were also exposed to the dust will probably suffer from a variety of serious illnesses, including a number of blood cancers, because of their work at ground zero.
Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said that he wanted state pension law amended so that Detective Zadroga’s death and others like it are reclassified as occurring in the line of duty, qualifying survivors to receive larger benefits. A bill to make such a change has been proposed in Albany.
In Brooklyn yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg noted that a law was passed last year allowing city workers who got sick after responding to the trade center site to qualify for full disability pensions, even after they retire. He called Detective Zadroga’s death tragic, but said the autopsy report may not be definitive.
”We’ll see what other doctors say,” Mr. Bloomberg said. ”Generally, there are lots of other contributing factors.”
More than 7,300 people who worked at the trade center recovery site — police officers, firefighters and constructions workers — have joined in a class-action suit seeking damages from their employers.
David E. Worby, the lawyer handling that suit, said about 40 of the plaintiffs have already died. ”At a minimum, their diseases were aggravated, and accelerated by the toxic exposure,” he said.
Toxic substances known to cause cancer, like benzene and asbestos, take decades to develop the disease. Mr. Worby said the doctors and scientists he had consulted believe that the complex mixture of chemicals that resulted from the collapse of the two towers — along with everything in them — may have created a compound that acts as an accelerant, vastly increasing the speed by which known carcinogens trigger cancer.
”It’s a horror show,” he said.
In a separate class-action lawsuit against federal environmental officials, residents and schoolchildren from Lower Manhattan claim they were given false assurance that the air around ground zero was safe enough for them to move back in a few days after the attack.
In February, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that statements about safety made by officials after 9/11 were misleading and ”without question conscience-shocking.”
March 31, 2006
In Operators’ Voices, Echoes of Calls for Help
By JIM DWYER
The city released partial recordings today of about 130 telephone calls made to 911 after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, stripped of the voices of the people inside the World Trade Center but still evocative of their invisible struggles for life.
Only the 911 operators and fire department dispatchers can be heard on the recordings, their words mapping the calamity in rough, faint echoes of the men and women in the towers who had called them for help.
They describe crowded islands of fleeting survival, on floors far from the crash and even on those that were directly hit: Hallways are blocked on 104. Send help to 84. It is hard to breathe on 97.
Be calm, the operators implore. God is there. Sit tight.
The recordings, contained on 11 compact discs, also document a broken link in the chain of emergency communications.
The voices captured on those discs track the callers as they are passed by telephone from one agency to another, moving through a confederacy of municipal fiefdoms ? police, fire, ambulance ? but almost never receiving vital instructions to get out of the buildings.
No more than 2 of the 130 callers were told to leave, the tapes reveal, even though unequivocal orders to evacuate the trade center had been given by fire chiefs and police commanders moments after the first plane struck. The city had no procedure for field commanders to share information with the 911 system, a flaw identified by the 9/11 Commission that city officials say has since been fixed.
The tapes show that many callers were not told to leave, but to stay put, the standard advice for high-rise fires. In the north tower, all three of the building’s stairways were destroyed at the 92nd floor. But in the south tower, where one stairway remained passable, the recordings include references to perhaps a few hundred people huddled in offices, unaware of the order to leave.
The calls released today bring to life the fatal frustration and confusion experienced by one unidentified man in the complex’s south tower, who called at 9:08 a.m., shortly after the second plane struck the building. For the next 11 minutes, as his call was bounced from police operators to fire dispatchers and back again, the 911 system vindicated its reputation as a rickety, dangerous contraption, one that the administration of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani tried to overhaul with little success, and one that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hopes to improve by spending close to $1 billion.
The voice of the man, who was calling from the offices of Keefe Bruyette on the 88th floor of that building, was removed from the recording by the city. From the operator’s responses, it appears that he wanted to leave.
"You cannot ? you have to wait until somebody comes there," she tells the man.
The police operator urged him to put wet towels or rags under the door, and said she would connect him to the Fire Department.
As she tried to transfer his call, the phone rang and rang ? 15 times, before the police operator gave up and tried a fire department dispatch office in another borough. Eventually, a dispatcher picked up, and he asked the man to repeat the same information that he had provided moments earlier to the police operator. (The police and fire departments had separate computer dispatching systems that were unable to share basic information like the location of an emergency.)
After that, the fire dispatcher hung up, and the man on the 88th floor apparently persisted in asking the police operator ? who had stayed on the line ? about leaving.
"But I can’t tell you to do that, sir," the operator said, who then decided to transfer his call back to the Fire Department. "Let me connect you again. O.K.” Because I really do not want to tell you to do that. I can’t tell you to move."
A fire dispatcher picked up and asked ? for the third time in the call ? for the location of the man on the 88th floor. The dispatcher’s instructions were relayed by the police operator.
"O.K.," she said. "I need you to stay in the office. Don’t go into the hallway. They’re coming upstairs. They are coming. They’re trying to get upstairs to you."
Like many other operators that morning, she was invoking advice from a policy known as "defend in place" ? meaning that only people just at or above a fire should move, an approach that had long been enshrined in skyscrapers in New York and elsewhere.
At Keefe Bruyette, 67 people died, many of whom had gathered in conference rooms and offices on the 88th and 89th floors. Some tried to reach the roof, a futile trek that the 9/11 Commission said might have been avoided if the city’s 911 operators had known that the police had ruled out helicopter rescues ? another piece of information that had not been shared with them ” and that an evacuation order had been issued.
The calls were released today in response to a Freedom of Information request made by The New York Times on Jan. 25, 2002, for public records concerning the events of Sept. 11. The city refused to release most of them on the grounds that they were needed to prosecute a man accused of complicity in the attacks, or contained opinions that were not subject to disclosure, or were so intensely personal that their release would be an invasion of privacy. The Times sued in state court, and nine family members of people killed in the attacks joined the case.
Judge Richard Braun of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled in early 2003 that the vast majority of the records were public, but said that the city could remove the words of the 911 callers on privacy grounds. Over the next two years, the core of his ruling was affirmed by the appellate division and the New York State Court of Appeals.
That led to the release of the calls today. City officials said that 130 calls were made to 911 from inside the buildings. Of that group, officials were able to identify 27 people and notified their next of kin this week that they could listen to the complete call.
While that might seem like a small number of calls given that approximately 15,000 people were at the trade center that morning, officials said that many of those who got through to 911 were with large groups of people.
One of these groups was on the 105th floor of the south tower, a spot where scores of people had congregated after trying to reach the roof. Among them was Kevin Cosgrove, who worked on the 100th floor, and who had told his family that he had gone down stairs before turning back. He called 911, and said he was in an office overlooking the World Financial Center, across West Street, records show. He said he needed help, and was having difficulty breathing.
One of the recordings ? city officials have refused to say who made the call ? involved a man on the 105th floor who suggested desperate measures to improve the air.
"Oh, my God," said the dispatcher. "You can’t breathe at all?"
The caller’s words were deleted.
"O.K.," said the dispatcher. "Listen, when you ? listen, please do not break the window. When you break the window ? " here, the caller interrupted.
"Don’t break the window because there’s so much smoke outside," the dispatcher said. "If you break a window, you guys won’t be able to breathe; . O.K.” So if there are any other doorways that you can open where you don’t see the smoke."
The dispatcher tried to soothe the man, finally saying, "O.K. Listen, calm yourself down. We’ve got everybody outside. O.K.”"
The man spoke and the dispatcher assured him help was on the way.
"We are," the dispatcher said. "We’re trying to get up there, sir. Like you said, the stairs are collapsed. O.K.” Everybody wet the towels and lie on the floor. O.K.” Put the wet towels over your head and lie down; O.K.” I know it’s hard to breathe. I know it is."
People on the highest floors in both towers suffered acutely from the smoke and heat, even though they were many floors distant from the entry points of the planes that had crashed into the buildings. In the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald in the north tower, between 25 and 50 people found refuge in a conference room on the 104th floor. One man, Andrew Rosenblum, reached his wife in Long Island, and gave her the names and home phone numbers of colleagues who were with him. As he recited the information, she relayed it to neighbors. Mr. Rosenblum also called a friend and said that the group had used computer terminals to smash windows for fresh air.
Such drastic actions appeared to have been discouraged by the operator. Another Cantor Fitzgerald employee on the 104th floor was Richard Caggiano, who called 911 at 8:53, seven minutes after the plane hit the north tower.
"Don’t do that, sir," the operator said. "Don’t do that. There’s help on the way, sir. Hold on."
Mr. Caggiano’s words, which were not made public, prompted a question from the operator.
"Are y’all in a particular room?" she asked. "How many?"
She listened, then said, "25 or 30 in a back room. O.K. They’re on the way. They’re already there. You can’t hear the sirens?"
Just before the south tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m., a spurt of calls reached the 911 operators. One of these was from Shimmy Biegeleisen, who worked for Fiduciary Trust in the south tower on computer systems. He was on the 97th floor where, by chance, an emergency drill had been scheduled for that day. Mr. Biegeleisen called his home in Brooklyn, spoke with his wife and prayed with a friend, Jack Edelman, who remembered hearing him say: "Of David. A Psalm. The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those that live in it."
At 9:52, he called 911. The building had seven more minutes before it would collapse. Mr. Biegeleisen would spend those minutes telling first the police operator, then the fire dispatcher, that he was on the 97th floor with six people, that the smoke had gotten heavy.
The police operator tried to encourage Mr. Biegeleisen.
"Heavy smoke. O.K. Sir, please try to keep calm. We’ll send somebody up there immediately. Hold on. Stay on the line. I’m contacting E.M.S. Hold on. I’m connecting you to the ambulance service now."
As his call was transferred to the ambulance service, once again, the information about the smoke and the 97th floor was sought and delivered.
"Sir, any smoke over there?" asked the ambulance dispatcher. "O.K. the best thing to do is to keep ? keep down on the ground. All right? O.K.”"
The ambulance dispatcher hung up, but the original operator stayed on the line with Mr. Biegeleisen. She could be heard speaking briefly with someone else in the room, and then turned her attention back to him
"We’ll disengage. O.K.”" the operator asked. "There were notifications made. We made the notifications. If there’s any further, you let us know. You can call back."
Seconds later, the building collapsed.
An expert (Tod Rittenhouse) of Weidlinger Associates, comments on CNN on 13 September 2001 "why the World Trade Center collapsed." His engineering expertise was "secured" to CNN by Foundation for American Communications (FACS), a right-wing outfit whose mission is to influence journalists and public opinion. Weidlinger Associates is a "leader in defense-related blast effects research."
Los Altos, Calif. 94022
4410 El Camino Real, Suite 110
(650) 949-3010; fax (650) 949-5735
FACS (Foundation for American Communications) has secured Weidlinger engineers as a resource for journalists. The firm is a leader in defense-related blast effects research and design programs for more than four decades. Weidlinger is one of the only US firms in the security engineering field with decades of experience in both commercial structural engineering and blast resistant design.
The mission of FACS is to improve the quality of information reaching the public through the news. We believe better journalism can be achieved through education. Toward that end, FACS provides educational seminars designed to give journalists the background knowledge they need to better understand and analyze the issues that are so vital to our society.
Tod Rittenhouse: Why the World Trade Center collapsed
CNN September 13, 2001 Posted: 4:06 PM EDT (2006 GMT)
Tod Rittenhouse is an expert in blast engineering from the international consulting engineering firm Weidlinger Associates and has been the blast engineer for a number of embassies and government buildings. He has been called to discuss such problems as the Oklahoma City bombing and the previous World Trade Center calamity.
CNN: Welcome to our discussion, Mr. Rittenhouse. We’re pleased to have you with us today.
RITTENHOUSE: I’m glad to be here and hopefully can answer some of your questions.
CNN: When you learned about the airplane hits and saw the pictures, what did you think about the structural soundness of the World Trade Center buildings?
RITTENHOUSE: When the event first occurred, naturally we all wondered how sound the building would be given the structure. We were concerned about the damage and in getting the people out in time before some type of collapse occurred. Like most people, I did not want to believe that a complete collapse could occur. But these were large bombs, strategically placed — the bomb being the airplane and the placement being in a vulnerable spot in the building. The port authority has worked to secure the perimeter around the base of the building so the only way to attack the building is at a higher elevation — such as an air attack.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Can you explain why the buildings collapsed?
RITTENHOUSE: The exterior structure is comprised of columns. The vertical load bearing members and the horizontal elements called "beams." When the plane impacted the building, it severely damaged those exterior columns. The following fire further damaged the support columns. So it was a two step event; initial damage by plane and further damage or subsequent loss of structural stability that caused the building to fail.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Was it due to the structural engineering that the building collapsed relatively straight down?
RITTENHOUSE: There are two reasons why it fell straight down. One is the structural engineering –how it was designed. And how it fell is really a phenomenon. The other reason is because the impact zone was so high up in the building that the weight of the uppermost floors fell onto the impact zone. Had the impact zone been lower in the building, the structure may have fallen in a tree-like effect, rather than crushing down on itself.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: I am amazed the buildings didn’t collapse immediately when the planes crashed into them. Is this more or less unique for these two buildings?
RITTENHOUSE: No. They are very big buildings. They were carrying a lot of weight. And so the structure was acting as it was designed. In most buildings, you might be able to lose a column and have the building remain standing for a period of time. But given the structure of these buildings, and that is called a "tube structure," the remaining structural elements were able to carry the load. A tube structure building is like a garbage can, very rigid around the outside but once the damage starts, it is very easy to crush it. And this time that time to crush, that is, the time to achieve structural instability, was about an hour.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Do you think the towers could have withstood the plane crashes if the fire hadn’t burned so hot and so long?
RITTENHOUSE: Very difficult question. I think that if the fireball was not so great, that they could have contained the fire. Fires are meant to be fought in localized areas. In other words, if a fire breaks out in a 15th floor, the sprinklers will go off on the 15th and 16th floors and so on, up the building as required to fight local fire. However in this case, there were fires located on 15 to 20 different floors. So there was never enough water to arrest the fire to prevent structural instability.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: What can you tell us about the escape routes for people in a high rise building such at WTC? How safe is it really to be in the upper levels of such a tall building during an emergency?
RITTENHOUSE: The emergency egress requirements are well thought out. And every building has an emergency egress plan. The time to egress the WTC, for example, is approximately two hours. And that is why we have requirements to fireproof buildings for one or two hours to allow orderly egress. Had the building collapse occurred two to four hours after the initial event, they would have been able to evacuate everybody.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Are the water systems enough or do we need another fire suppression system in such buildings as well?
RITTENHOUSE: For a conventional fire, these water systems should be enough. This was not a conventional fire. Other systems have been investigated but have been recalled because of other health risks. So the current water deployment system may be the best we have. Perhaps we need more water.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: How many other buildings may collapse? And do we know yet how many buildings will have to be demolished when all is said and done?
RITTENHOUSE: It is impossible to know how many buildings will need to be razed rather than rehabilitated. There are engineers from the Structural Engineering Association of New York (SEAONY) as well as other local engineering firms, such as my own, that have volunteered to inspect buildings and determine if they are safe for rescue personnel and subsequent tenants.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: What, specifically, would cause surrounding buildings to collapse?
RITTENHOUSE: Damage from the various events. Damage from aircraft parts, the fireball explosion, the building falling itself, causing damage to other buildings, the ground shaking, and potentially high winds could now cause other buildings to fall.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Why can’t we determine if more folks are alive within the structure? How long before we get to the folks?
RITTENHOUSE: It could take a very long time. You have to be concerned about the stability of the neighboring buildings. We don’t want them to fall on rescue people. You have to be concerned that removing rubble doesn’t collapse on air pockets below where victims might be. You have to be careful that vibrations from machinery do not cause further failures. So many of the rescue efforts are being done by hand and small tools to quickly get to victims.
In Mexico City, there was once an earthquake where up to eight days later, they found survivors, many of them infants, located in the hospital. So there is a good chance that people who are located may still found, though it is a dim chance. That area of Manhattan has many underground tunnels where people could be. We just need to get to them.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: There must be multiple basements under the towers. Is it possible that people have fallen into the basements with debris on top of them?
RITTENHOUSE: Yes, there are many utility tunnels, subway tunnels, below grade and several, maybe as many as seven basement levels. So there is a strong possibility that if they can get to them, they will be people there. Unfortunately there is a lot of debris and now water circulating as they fight the fires. So it is possible that these void places where people are located could be filling with water.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Tod, I keep looking at ground zero and my mind cannot fathom how two 110-story buildings are reduced to nearly ground level. How is that possible, that such massive buildings are now nearly gone?
RITTENHOUSE: It’s partly because of the type of structure. I’m sure a lot of it has filled the hole that was the basement. It is as surprising to me as well, but had they fallen over, it would have caused greater damage and far many more deaths.
CNN: Do you have any final thoughts for us today?
RITTENHOUSE: This has been a terrible tragedy for many many people. I have been pleased at how people have united to help in their own way either rescue workers, or fellow engineers, or individuals who are lining the streets with thank you cards to show appreciation to the rescue workers. I hope that we can rebuild.
CNN: Thank you for joining us today, Tod Rittenhouse.
RITTENHOUSE: Great… If I can be of any help, please contact me. Our Web site is: www.wai.com.
Tod Rittenhouse joined CNN.com via telephone. The above is an edited transcript of the interview on Thursday, September 13, 2001.
http://www.allbusiness.com/periodicals/article/862457-1.htmlRaymond Daddazio takes the reins at Weidlinger Associates.
From Real Estate Weekly: Jan 11, 2006 issue
The international engineering firm Weidlinger Associates, Inc. has appointed Dr. Raymond Daddazio to the position of president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2006.
Dr. Daddazio succeeds Dr. Jeremy Isenberg, who served in this role from 1993 through 2005.
"We are extremely pleased to have Ray Daddazio as our new chief executive officer," said Isenberg. "The board of directors was impressed with the depth of Ray’s experience."
Having spent the major part of his career with Weidlinger Associates, Daddazio is committed to the firm’s growth and to preserving the firm’s culture of excellence and creativity.
"Weidlinger’s staff has incredible technological strength. With that comes the ability to find solutions to difficult problems and the practical experience to implement them," he noted.
Daddazio is particularly proud of Weidlinger’s commitment to creating a built environment that is greener and safer.
Since 1996, Daddazio has been the director of the applied science division at Weidlinger, responsible for significant contracts with the Department of Defense in the areas of shock and vibration, extreme loadings on structures and risk assessment.
Daddazio is Weidlinger’s principal liaison with the U.S. government’s Technical Support Working Group’s Physical Security Program, which identifies, prioritizes and coordinates interagency and international research and development requirements for combating terrorism. Nationally, he is working with the Department of Defense to develop and test new strategies for protection of military and civilian facilities.
Daddazio is a recognized expert in the field of structural response to extreme loadings and has published numerous technical papers in the fields of nonlinear structural analysis, low frequency structural acoustics, structural optimization, underwater shock analysis of surface ships and submarines and vibration control. He is a graduate of Columbia University.
Explosive Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories
David Ray Griffin
David Ray Griffin is professor emeritus of philosophy of religion and theology at the Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught 31 years. He has published some 30 books, including The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Interlink Books, 2004) and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Interlink Books, 2005).
"[T]here was just an explosion [in the south tower]. It seemed like on television [when] they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.”–Firefighter Richard Banaciski
“I saw a flash flash flash [at] the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building”?–Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory
?[I]t was [like a] professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’."–Paramedic Daniel Rivera
The above quotations come from a collection of 9/11 oral histories that, although recorded by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) at the end of 2001, were publicly released only on August 12, 2005. Prior to that date, very few Americans knew the content of these accounts or even the fact that they existed.
Why have we not known about them until recently? Part of the answer is that the city of New York would not release them until it was forced to do so. Early in 2002, the New York Times requested copies under the freedom of information act, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration refused. So the Times, joined by several families of 9/11 victims, filed suit. After a long process, the city was finally ordered by the New York Court of Appeals to release the records (with some exceptions and redactions allowed). Included were oral histories, in interview form, provided by 503 firefighters and medical workers.12) The Times then made these oral histories publicly available.3 (Emergency Medical Services had become a division within the Fire Department.
Once the content of these testimonies is examined, it is easy to see why persons concerned to protect the official story about 9/11 would try to keep them hidden. By suggesting that explosions were occurring in the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, they pose a challenge to the official account of 9/11, according to which the towers were caused to collapse solely by the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires.
In any case, now that the oral histories have finally been released, it is time for Americans and the world in general to see what these brave men and women reported about that fateful day. If this information forces a reevaluation of the official story about 9/11, better now than later.
That said, it must be added that although these oral histories are of great significance, they do not contain the first reports of explosions in the Twin Towers. Such reports—from firefighters, reporters, and people who had worked in the towers—started becoming available right after 9/11.
These reports, however, were not widely publicized by the mainstream press and, as a result, have for the most part been known only within the ?9/11 truth movement,” which has focused on evidence that seems inconsistent with the official story.
I will begin by summarizing some of those previously available reports. Readers will then be able to see that although in some respects the newly released oral histories simply add reinforcement, they also are revelatory documents: Some of the testimonies are quite stunning, even to people familiar with the earlier reports; and there are now so many testimonies that even the most skeptical reader is likely to find the cumulative effect impressive.
Previously Available Testimony Suggestive of Explosions in the Twin Towers
The day after 9/11, a story in the Los Angeles Times, referring to the south tower, said: “There were reports of an explosion right before the tower fell, then a strange sucking sound, and finally the sound of floors collapsing."4
A story in the Guardian said that “police and fire officials were carrying out the first wave of evacuations when the first of the World Trade Centre towers collapsed. Some eyewitnesses reported hearing another explosion just before the structure crumbled. Police said that it looked almost like a “planned implosion.”"5
“Planned implosion? is another term for controlled demolition, in which explosives are placed at crucial places throughout a building so that, when set off in the proper order, they will cause the building to come down in the desired way. When it is close to other buildings, the desired way will be straight down into, or at least close to, the building’s footprint, so that it does not damage the surrounding buildings. This type of controlled demolition is called an “implosion.” To induce an implosion in steel-frame buildings, the explosives must be set so as to break the steel columns. Each of the Twin Towers had 47 massive steel columns in its core and 236 steel columns around the periphery.
To return now to testimonies about explosions: There were many reports about an explosion in the basement of the north tower. For example, janitor William Rodriguez reported that he and others felt an explosion below the first sub-level office at 9 AM, after which co-worker Felipe David, who had been in front of a nearby freight elevator, came into the office with severe burns on his face and arms yelling "explosion! explosion! explosion!"6
Rodriguez’s account has been corroborated by Jos
April 12, 2004 – In an article published by the alternative newspaper American Free Press, AFP reports that pools of "molten steel" were found in the basements of the WTC 1, 2, and 7 and quotes Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition, Inc, as saying he would have put "explosives in the basement" of the Twin Towers to help bring it down.
NEW SEISMIC DATA REFUTES OFFICIAL EXPLANATION
"Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction of Flushing, N.Y., told AFP that he saw pools of “literally molten steel? at the World Trade Center.
Tully was contracted after the Sept. 11 tragedy to re move the debris from the site.
Tully called Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Md., for consultation about removing the debris. CDI calls itself “the innovator and global leader in the controlled demolition and implosion of structures.”
Loizeaux, who cleaned up the bombed Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, arrived at the WTC site two days later and wrote the clean-up plan for the entire operation.
AFP asked Loizeaux about the report of molten steel on the site.
“Yes,” he said, “hot spots of molten steel in the basements.”
These incredibly hot areas were found “at the bottoms of the elevator shafts of the main towers, down seven [basement] levels,” Loizeaux said.
The molten steel was found “three, four, and five weeks later, when the rubble was being removed,” Loizeaux said. He said molten steel was also found at 7 WTC, which collapsed mysteriously in the late afternoon.
Asked what could have caused such extreme heat, Tully said, “Think of the jet fuel.”
Loizeaux told AFP that the steel-melting fires were fueled by “paper, carpet and other combustibles packed down the elevator shafts by the tower floors as they “pancaked? into the basement.”
However, some independent investigators dispute this claim, saying kerosene-based jet fuel, paper, or the other combustibles normally found in the towers, cannot generate the heat required to melt steel, especially in an oxygen-poor environment like a deep basement.
Experts disagree that jet-fuel or paper could generate such heat.
The foundations of the twin towers were 70 feet deep. At that level, 47 huge box columns, connected to the bedrock, supported the entire gravity load of the structures. The steel walls of these lower box columns were four inches thick.
Videos of the North Tower collapse show its communication mast falling first, indicating that the central support columns must have failed at the very beginning of the collapse. Loizeaux told AFP, “Everything went simultaneously.”
Asked if the vertical support columns gave way before the connections between the floors and the columns, Ron Hamburger, a structural engineer with the FEMA assessment team said, “That’s the $64,000 question.”
Loizeaux said, “If I were to bring the towers down, I would put explosives in the basement to get the weight of the building to help collapse the structure.” – AFP (04/12/04)
Observations Suggesting the Use of Small Hydrogen Bombs
Writings of a Finnish Military Expert on 9/11. Due to concerns for his personal safety, the author has chosen to remain anonymous.
2) Very energetic – hot – dust after the explosions. (Demolition charges would produce white clouds of dust, which would not move much, and a gravity-driven collapse would produce much less and more coarse dust.)
3) Brown shades of color seen in the air – these are produced by nuclear reactions of a thermonuclear device. The reactions use (gamma radiation caused by free neutrons, N2, O2, H2O > nitrid acid, NO2, NO3). These clouds soon get their usual white color after some minutes as the heat and fast movement of the clouds cease becoming ordinary clouds with some water.
Note: many of the pictures taken regarding the WTC Towers and the clouds seem to have been developed too blue, killing shades of brown. (This may have been an attempt to suppress the evidence.) Also there was supposed to be 200 000+ gallons of water on the roof of each tower – this water was spilled into stairwells etc, but was later all converted into water vapour reducing the brown color.
4) Superheated steel objects, disintegrating into steel vapour. Molten ponds of steel were found in the elevator shafts. There were lots of burned cars in the parking areas of the towers. The fire department did not announce until 12/19/2001 that the fires under the WTC rubble have been distinguished (more than 3 months after the incident). For more, see (Gehue plate 8)
location F C name A 1341 727 WTC7 B 1034 557 WTC7 C 1161 627 WTC1 D 963 517 WTC1 E 819 437 WTC3 F 801 427 WTC2 G 1377 747 WTC2 H 1017 547 WTC4
The thermal survey of the WTC 9/16/2001 (NASA /US Geological Survey). Despite of fire department having cooled the rubble, aluminium would still be melting in some sites 5 days after the incident.
5) Elevated values of tritium in this area, but not elsewhere in New York. The University of California found elevated values on 9/13/2001 and 9/21/2001 within bounds of the WTC. They found them harmless for health. In pure hydrogen bomb isotopes of hydrogen are fused (D + T > n + a + 17.6 MeV).
6) An EMP-type phenomenon blacked out cellular phones at the moment when the first (southern) tower started to ‘fall down’, at the exact moment when a small thermonuclear bomb was detonated. Even in electronic cameras and videos a strange afterglow was seen in the late phase of the ‘collapse’ of both of the towers. See Gehue plate 5
7) A wave of pressure was witnessed in the root of the tower at the moment when the so-called collapse was progressing just about two hundred meters and nothing had fallen down to earth. The blast wave turned over for example a photographer and a fireman close to the entrance, who was taking photos of the dust cloud. The burst of the dust cloud on the root of the tower was photographed as well. In the image at the left below is what probably was the explosion of WTC 6. The Customs building was deliberately exploded for some reason – it was not damaged because of the falling girders as they had not yet reached the roof of WTC 7 when the photo was taken. A couple of seconds later the clouds of the explosion were already partly above the roof of WTC 7, which was too energetical to be caused by usual blasting agents. This suggests it was the second hydrogen bomb in the WTC block. The first hydrogen bomb is discharging upwards (pulverized concrete) exactly in the picture, and the steel structures vaporized by the bomb are already falling down 100 meters (approx. 328 ft.) farther down. The mass of cloud, caused by vaporized steel, is seen in the center of the picture and even more clearly in the picture at the right.
8) In the cellar, out of all the 47 ultra strong steel pillars, the steel was melted completely at the length of more than 20 meters (approx. 65 ft). Even cars were melted and burned in the cellar. The pillars were far too thick for thermite, which some have suggested. An explosion of a thermonuclear bomb explains the phenomenon well.
9) Steel columns and pillars were ejected in the surroundings of the building. In the beginning of the so-called collapse, exists no such energy exists that could throw steel pillars outwards from 60 to 175 meters (approx. from 170 to 574 ft.) from trunk. Not even cutting charges can do that. Instead, the blast wave from a nuclear bomb is capable to do that.
NIST and the WTC:
"Science" at the Service of an Empire
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa (sy-k[at]kolumbus.fi)
14 July 2005
"Thorough, open, independent." This is how the National Institute of Standards and Technology characterizes 1 its 10 000-page, 750-Mb WTC draft study 2. The tactics are clear: to drown the weak points of the official 9/11 story in an enormous amount of redundant information. However, those who know what they are looking for can soon find their way to the critical omissions in the reports.
The first of the specific objectives of the NIST study was to "[d]etermine why and how WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed following the initial impacts of the aircraft and why and how WTC 7 collapsed." 3 These questions are not answered for simple reasons:
Incredibly, the progressive collapse of the Twin Towers has been left out of the computer models used: "The global models of the towers extended from several stories below the impact area to the top of the structure." 4 Thus the structurally intact floors 1-91 of WTC 1 and floors 1-77 of WTC 2 were excluded from the so called "global" models of the towers.
Correspondingly, the temporal dimension was cut short as well: NIST gave itself the task of finding out "[t]he probable sequence of events from the moment of aircraft impact until the initiation of global building collapse." 5
Why were the models truncated? The following are two examples of the reasons given by NIST:
- "The observation of photographic and video evidence of the behavior of both structures, following the time of aircraft impact and until collapse initiation, strongly suggested that nonlinear behavior and structural collapse initiation occurred within the upper portions of the structures, generally above the zone of aircraft impact. Therefore, to reduce the model size and improve solution time, the model of WTC 1 was truncated at Floor 89, five floors below the zone of impact, and a series of equivalent vertical linear springs were introduced at the base of this truncated model to represent the stiffness of the interior columns and exterior walls beneath the level of truncation. Similarly, the model of WTC 2 was truncated at Floor 73. This truncation is believed to have negligible effect on the predicted behavior of the structure." 6
- The parts of structures below the impact zones (Floor 89 to Floor 91 in WTC 1 and Floor 73 to Floor 77 in WTC 2) contributed little to the overall behavior of the buildings. Previous analyses of subsystem models and preliminary global models showed that the elements below the impact zone did not experience plastic deformations or buckling. Therefore, they were eliminated to further reduce the size of the models. With this modification, the global model for WTC 2 was truncated at Floor 77 just above the mechanical floors and at Floor 91 for WTC 1." 7
In other words, "Even without the modeling of the progressive collapse we had to postpone the publication of the reports four times so we just didn’t have time to do that. And besides, the lower parts of the buildings simply did not slow down the collapse, as everyone could see on TV, so why bother?"
In summary: The reports by NIST say nothing about how — and if! — the collapse was able to progress through dozens and dozens of structurally intact floors without being stopped. If no external energy was available e.g. in the form of explosives, this would have been the opportunity to show that no such energy was needed. On the other hand, if some unaccounted-for energy broke the supporting structures enabling the collapse to progress with the speed it did, there would have been many good reasons not to try to model the impossible, ie. a purely gravitation-driven collapse. Stopping the analysis early enough also saves NIST from trying to explain the symmetricality of the collapses (despite non-symmetrical impact damage and fires), the almost complete pulverization of non-metallic materials as well as the extremely hot spots in the rubble. These remain as inexplicable by the official story as they have ever been.
One appendix of project 6 includes an interesting analysis of a dropping floor. 8 According to the results, however, temperatures of 400 to 700
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