Monday, May 19, 2008


Sam Smith

In a new book, Matt Taibbi has fun making fun of the 9/11 Truth movement. He writes:

"The 9/11 Truth movement is really distinguished by a kind of defiant unfamiliarity with the actual character of America's ruling class. In 9/11 lore the people who staff the White House, the security agencies, the Pentagon and groups like PNAC and the Council of Foreign Relations are imagined to be a monolithic, united class of dastardly, swashbuckling risk-takers with permanent hard-ons for Bourne Supremacy-style "false flag" and "black bag" operations, instead of the mundanely greedy, risk-averse, backstabbing, lawn-tending, half-clever suburban golfers they are in real life."

The problem with this sort of ridicule - common among liberals dealing with events that have still unsolved elements - is that it uses the most extreme theories and theoreticians to discredit anyone asking any questions about what actually happened. America's drift towards post-constitutional government has been hastened by such elitist disdain towards skepticism. Anyone who wonders or questions is just lumped with the presumed crazies.

If such an approach were applied to homicides, you would have police shutting down an investigation as soon as some loony in the 'hood claimed the nice Catholic priest had done it - so clearly it wasn't a murder at all, except in the mind of some nuts. Fortunately the police don't operate that way. That some people have inaccurate theories does not, after all, affect the facts of the case in any way. And so the cops pursue unanswered questions and, when they are important but can't be answered, they keep the file open.

Media and political mainstreamers, on the other hand, tend to demand a commission - typically comprised not of skilled investigators but of politicians and their appointees - and then, after its report is issued, demand that everyone accept it and shut up. This is intellectually lazy at best and dishonest at worse.

My own unconfirmed theory about 9/11 is that it is extremely unlikely that the administration was directly involved given its record carrying out any other slightly complicated activity such as invading Iraq or running an economy. The sophistication required for such a devious act would be, to put it mildly, atypical of the Bush administration's skill set.

Another problem is that conspiracy and incompetence often leave similar footprints. While the Bush team may not have properly put two and two together from information received prior to the attack, it is difficult to distinguish between willful and witless inaction.

Finally, both theorists and anti-theorists, in their mutual disdain for one another, can easily eliminate from discussion critical matters over which there is far less dispute but aren't as much fun to debate. In the case of 9/11 this would include whether the World Trade Center was properly built in the first place and why the response wasn't better.

The Review's approach to such matters is simply to the keep the case open. We have a whole webpage devoted to 9/11 but include here just a couple of the clips dealing with an immensely serious question no one seems to want to discuss: was lack of proper construction to blame for a large number of the deaths on 9/11?

DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF VINCENT DUNN RET. - After the 767 jet liner crashed into the world trade center building creating the worst terror attack in history, a fire burned for 56 minutes inside the World Trade Center building number two. The top 20 floors of the building collapsed on the 90 floors below. The entire one hundred and ten-story building collapsed in 8 seconds . . . After a fire burned inside WTC tower number one for 102 minutes, the top 30 floors collapsed on the lower 80 floors. And the entire one hundred and ten stories of this building collapsed in 10 seconds. You can say the reason they collapsed was they were struck with a 185 ton jet airliner and the 24,000 gallons of jet fuel caused a fire of 1500 to 2000 degrees F which weakened the steel and cause the collapse. Or you can take a closer look at the buildings construction of the WTC buildings. And ask yourself why did these structures collapse so fast and so completely. The answer can be found by examining high-rise construction in New York City over the past 50 years In terms of structural system the twin towers departed completely from other high-rise buildings. Conventional skyscrapers since the 19th century have been built with a skeleton of interior supporting columns that supports the structure. Exterior walls of glass steel or synthetic material do not carry any load. The twin towers are radically different in structural design as the exterior wall is used as the load-bearing wall . . .

The most noticeable change in the modern high-rise construction is a trend to using more steel and shaping lightweight steel into tubes, curves, and angles to increase its load bearing capability. The WTC has tubular steel bearing walls, fluted corrugated steel flooring and bent bar steel truss floor supports. To a modern high rise building designer steel framing is economical and concrete is a costly material . . . Architects, designers , and builders all know if you remove concrete from a structure you have a building that weights less. So if you create a lighter building you can use columns, girders and beams of smaller dimensions, or better yet you can use the same size steel framing and build a taller structure . . .

If you reduce the structure's mass you can build cheaper and builder higher. Unfortunately unprotected steel warps, melts, sags and collapses when heated to normal fire temperatures about 1100 to 1200 degrees F. The fire service believes there is a direct relation of fire resistance to mass of structure. The more mass the more fire resistance. The best fire resistive building in America is a concrete structure. The structures that limit and confine fires best, and suffer fewer collapses are reinforced concrete pre WWII buildings such as housing projects and older high rise buildings like the empire state building, The more concrete, the more fire resistance; and the more concrete the less probability of total collapse. The evolution of high-rise construction can be seen, by comparing the Empire State Building to the WTC. My estimate is the ratio of concrete to steel in the Empire State Building is 60/40. The ratio of concrete to steel in the WTC is 40/60. The tallest building in the world, the Petronas Towers, in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia, is more like the concrete to steel ratio of the Empire State Building than concrete to steel ratio of the WTC . . .

A plane that only weighted 10 tons struck the Empire State Building and the high-octane gasoline fire quickly flamed out after 35 minutes. When the firefighters walked up to the 79 floor most of the fire had dissipated. The Empire State Building in my opinion, and most fire chiefs in New York City, is the most fire safe building in America. I believe it would have not collapsed like the WTC towers. I believe the Empire State Building, and for that matter any other skeleton steel building in New York City, would have withstood the impact and fire of the terrorist's jet plane better than the WTC towers. If the jet liners struck any other skeleton steel high rise, the people on the upper floors and where the jet crashed may not have survived; there might have been local floor and exterior wall collapse. However, I believe a skeleton steel frame high rise would not suffer a cascading total pancake collapse of the lower floors in 8 and 10 seconds . . .

Perhaps builders should take a second look at the Empire State Buildings construction. There might be something to learn when they rebuild on ground zero. The empire state building has exterior Indiana limestone exterior wall, 8 inches thick. The floors are also 8 inches thick consisting of one-inch cement over 7 inches of cinder and concrete. All columns, girders and floor beams are solid steel covered with 1 to 2 inches of brick terracotta and concrete. There is virtually no opening in the floors. And there are no air ducts of a HVAC heating cooling and venting system penetrating fire partitions, floor, and ceilings. Each floor has its own HVAC unit. The elevators and utility shafts are masonry enclosed. And for life safety there is a 4-inch brick enclosed so-called "smoke proof stairway". This stairway is designed to allow people to leave a floor without smoke following them and filing up the stairway. This is accomplished because this smoke proof stairway has an intermediate vestibule, which contains a vent shaft. Any smoke that seeps out the occupancy is sucked up a vent shaft . . .

Builders hailed the New York City building code of 1968 as a good performance code. However, some fire chiefs decried it as a law that substituted frills for real construction safety. The asbestos spray on coating of steel trusses used in the WTC towers was considered by Chief of the New York City Fire Department, at the time, John T. O' Hagan to be inferior to concrete encasement of steel . . . The WTC started construction in the 1970s. And the WTC towers built by the Port Authority of New York did not have to comply with the minimum requirements of the new 1968 performance building code.

NY TIMES, MAY 2003 - Federal investigators studying the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, say they now believe that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the government agency that built the towers, never performed the fundamental tests needed to determine how their innovative structures would perform in a fire. The preliminary finding, if it holds up, will undermine decades of public assurances by the Port Authority that the twin towers met or exceeded the requirements of New York City's building code, and therefore would be structurally safe in a large fire.

The codes are based on tests of each building component in furnaces that subject the structures, and the fireproofing insulation that protects them, to the harsh conditions of a major fire. Investigators, speaking at a news conference near ground zero, said their findings about the fire tests were an important development in their examination of one theory for why the buildings collapsed when and how they did: that the huge fires set by burning jet fuel weakened the lightweight floors of the towers, and that the failure of at least several floors in each building set off a chain reaction culminating in the total collapse of the complex.

The investigators have said that it is unclear whether, even if the tests had been done and the buildings been found to have met standards, the lightweight floor structures, called trusses, and the fluffy fireproofing on them could have been expected to withstand the intense fires of Sept. 11. But the absence of the central tests has robbed the investigators of the ability to even say whether the buildings performed as their designers had specified in their original plans and as the city's codes required of other buildings like them.

Yesterday, independent experts as well as relatives of those who died that day said they were dumbstruck or outraged that such prominent buildings - where fires had occurred more than once and that had been the target of a previous terrorist attack in 1993 - could have been first built and then maintained without such a basic test of its safety having been conducted. . .


At May 19, 2008 10:06 PM, Anonymous robbie said...

The entire text of the above article is left-justified to within an inch. I think there's a conspiracy :)

At May 20, 2008 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least foreign mainstream media is taking a more serious look at unanswered 9/11 questions. Here is a recent report from Australian TV questioning the U.S. government's official conspiracy theory about 9/11.

Indeed, it's much easier for Matt Taibbi to lampoon the more extreme critics of the government's version of 9/11, rather than counter the mountains of evidence documented by Mike Ruppert at From the Wilderness, and in his book Crossing The Rubicon, or the thorough research at

At May 20, 2008 8:43 AM, Blogger m said...



The complete stand down of all air defense in the north eastern corridor

The twin towers were built to withstand the impact of a 707.

No other steel structured building has ever collapsed even after a three day burn to the core.

Jet fuel is basically #1 diesel and has a relatively low energy value. Most fuel is carried in the wing tanks, and was burned on impact outside the towers.


Post a Comment

<< Home