“Why have so few academics and technical experts, such as physicists and engineers, raised questions about the 9/11 gruel that the government has pushed? Why so little investigation and research about this pivotal event in world history?” – Dr. Morgan Reynolds, Chief Economist, US Dept. of Labor during the 1st term of George W. Bush.[i]
I’ll never forget 11 September 2001 for as long as I live. I can still close my eyes and picture the scene as I arrived at work that day, with all my co-workers gathered around a television staring in disbelief at the surreal images of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers. I vividly recall the strange, eerie silence that spread as businesses closed and commercial flights were grounded, which seemed to amplify, instead of calm, the anxiety and inner turmoil that most of us were experiencing on that Tuesday.
The apocalyptic events of that day not only affected most Americans, but also impacted people in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere as Bush unleashed his “War on Terror.” I was no exception, as I struggled to understand the reasons behind the attacks. During this process, my worldview was turned upside down; I even adopted a new religion, Islam. Yet seven years later, troubling questions concerning the attacks remain unanswered.
The official account held that Al Qaeda, a shadowy group of religious fanatics lead by Osama Bin Laden, had carried out the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. The narrative maintained that Bush had received no warnings and the attacks were unforeseen by US defense and intelligence services. The story did not mention the 5 Israelis the FBI arrested at gunpoint after gleefully filming the attacks from the roof of a white van.[ii] Nor did it discuss the connections between CIA Executive Director A. B. Krongard, Banker’s Trust and the huge increase in “put” options—bets that stock prices will fall—on United Airlines stock in the days before the attacks.[iii]
On 11 September 2001 in an afternoon press conference aboard Air Force 1, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer insisted that Bush knew of “no warnings” of the attacks.[iv] However the following day, Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan had already been mentioned. While Fleischer claimed, “Something yesterday took place in New York that was not foreseen,”[v] by 13 September, Bin Laden had been promoted to prime suspect.[vi] The next day, as if previously planned, Bush called the reserves to active duty.[vii]
Flaws quickly appeared in the media spin when I learned Al Qaeda had its origins during the Carter administration as a US-funded proxy army to fight the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.[viii] During the Reagan years, former VP George H. W. Bush was in charge of covert operations to support Al Qaeda predecessor Maktab al-Khidamat.[ix] Apparently, even some members of Congress knew of Osama Bin Laden and that Al Qaeda was a CIA intelligence asset with connections to both Bush administrations.[x]
Disturbing questions arose about the administration’s prior knowledge of the attacks and possible involvement.[xi] On 25 June 2001, National Security Council counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke warned National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice of possible Al Qaeda attacks based on six intelligence sources.[xii] On 6 August 2001 while vacationing at his Crawford, Texas ranch,[xiii] Bush received a warning of an imminent Al Qaeda attack in a CIA daily briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.”[xiv] Despite 40 instances of the names “Al Qaeda” or “Bin Laden” in CIA briefings for the months of June and July of 2001,[xv] Bush administration officials denied receiving warnings under oath before the 9/11 Commission.[xvi] Was their lying part of a cover up?
Neither was the possibility of hijackers flying a plane into a building “unforeseen,” as both the Pentagon and the CIA had conducted exercises using this scenario. The Pentagon had conducted such an exercise in October of 2000 and the CIA was conducting a simulation of a jetliner crashing into one of its headquarters buildings on the very morning of the attacks.[xvii]
The obvious question not being asked seems to this: Given that both the CIA and the Pentagon were aware of the hijacked plane scenario, that the CIA had given Bush numerous warnings of an impending attack and that the administration failed to respond, did Bush deliberately ignore warnings to conceal CIA or administration involvement?[xviii] Was this part of the Neocon’s plan to exploit the attacks as the “New Pearl Harbor” to advance their agenda of global hegemony?
What caused the collapse of the WTC towers remains another perplexing, unanswered question. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the government agency tasked with the investigation, concluded that both Towers collapsed due to plane impacts that damaged steel structural members and stripped off their fireproofing, allowing them to be softened by the jet fuel fires. The report emphasizes that the towers “would have remained standing were it not for the dislodged insulation (fireproofing) and the subsequent multifloor fires.”[xix] (Emphasis added.)
Many scientists and engineers have criticized the NIST report, due to its inadequate treatment of several anomalies. First, the WTC towers are the only high-rise steel framed buildings in the world to collapse due to fire. Second, both towers collapsed in a highly symmetric manner at near free-fall speeds. Third, Building 7 also collapsed but was NOT struck by a plane. Finally, the jet fuel fires, with a maximum temperature of 1700º F in open air, softened steel whose melting point is 2800º F.[xx]
Kevin Ryan, a certified quality engineer, was a manager for a division of Underwriter Laboratories before being terminated for publicly questioning the conclusions of the NIST report. In a November 2004 letter he wrote, “If the steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers.”[xxi]
A colleague from Worcester Polytechnic Institute put it more succinctly,” There is no indication that any of the fires in the World Trade Center buildings were hot enough to melt the steel framework.”[xxii] If the jet fuel fires didn’t soften the steel, then what did?
Sulfur was detected in samples taken from the few pieces of structural steel retained for testing and not hastily shipped overseas for meltdown as if to dispose of evidence. The sulfur challenges the official theory of how the buildings collapsed and its significance is even suggested in Appendix C of the NIST report:
“The severe corrosion and subsequent erosion of Samples 1 [from WTC 7] and 2 [from WTC 1 or 2] are a very unusual event. No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified… It is also possible that the phenomenon started prior to collapse and accelerated the weakening of the steel.”[xxiii] (Emphasis added.)
Adding sulfur to steel lowers its melting point significantly, forming what chemists call a eutectic mixture.[xxiv] The antifreeze in a car’s radiator is an every day example of this. The sulfur is a crucial piece of the puzzle because without it, there would be no eutectic mixture, no depressed melting point of the steel and hence no collapse.
The NIST suggested that the sulfur could be from the wallboard from interior partitions, but failed to address how it bonded to the exterior steel columns.[xxv] Sulfur is suspiciously consistent with controlled demolition by use of thermate, a mixture of sulfur and thermite, which is a substance used for cutting steel, welding and military purposes.[xxvi] The NIST did NOT test for the presence of thermite or thermate residues as recommended in NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.[xxvii] Why not?
The NIST acknowledged the observation of white-hot liquid flows prior to the collapse of WTC 2, but attributed them to aluminum from the plane. How the same aluminum, pulverized by the impact, first dislodged the fireproofing from the steel and then regrouped to form flows is not explained.[xxviii] One physical chemist stated that the observation of white-hot liquid flows “is inconsistent with any theory of collapse except controlled demolition.”[xxix] Occam’s Razor requires choosing the simplest theory consistent with the observed data.[xxx]
The NIST goes on to state, “The condition of the steel in the wreckage of the WTC towers …was irrelevant to the investigation of the collapse since it does not provide any conclusive information on the condition of the steel when the WTC towers were standing.“[xxxi] (Emphasis added.) If so, then what is the point of forensic metallurgy?
9/11 was the most cataclysmic and history-altering event of our time. Bush used it as a pretext to launch his “War on Terror,” spending trillions of dollars and killing over a million people, but he did not consider it to be of sufficient importance to allow the NIST to hire additional staff for the investigation.[xxxii] Why not, was this part of the cover-up?
The unexplained sulfur in the steel is but one of many questions that scream for answers on behalf of the victims of the attacks and those who have died in their aftermath.
Yuram Abdullah Weiler
[i] David Griffin, Peter Scott ed., 9/11 and American Empire, Northhampton, MA, Olive Branch Press, Chapter 7 by Morgan Reynolds, 9/11, Texas A&M University and Heresy, pages 111-112.
[ii] The White Van Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies?, ABC News, Common Dreams Website, 22 June 2002, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0622-05.htm (Accessed 8 September 2008)
[iii] German firm probes final World Trade Center deals, Aotearoa, a wider perspective, 31 July 2008 http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/german-firm-probes-final-world-trade-center-deals/ (Accessed 8 September 2008)
[iv] Office of the Press Secretary, Press Briefing to the Pool By Ari Fleischer, The White House, 11 Septermber 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010911-6.html (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[v] Office of the Press Secretary, Press Briefing to the Pool By Ari Fleischer, The White House, 12 Septermber 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010912-8.html (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[vi] Office of the Press Secretary, Press Briefing to the Pool By Ari Fleischer, The White House, 13 Septermber 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010913-12.html (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[vii] Office of the Press Secretary, President Orders Ready Reserves of Armed Forces to Active Duty, The White House, 14 September 2008, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010914-5.html (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[viii] Craig Unger, House of Bush House of Saud, New York, Scribner, 2004, page 104.
[ix] Unger, op.cit., page 102.
[x] Michael Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism,” Quebec, Global Research, 2005, page 45.
[xi] David Griffin, op.cit. page 7.
[xii] Thomas Keene et.al., 9/11 Commission Report, The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 21 August 2004, page 257, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch8.pdf (Accessed 6 September 2008)
[xiii] Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis – The Last Days of the American Republic, New York, Henry Holt, 2006, page 98.
[xiv] President’s Daily Brief, Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US, Declassified Version, National Security Archives, George Washington University, 6 August 2001, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB116/index.htm (Accessed 6 September 2008)
[xv] Thomas S. Blanton, The President’s Daily Brief, National Security Archives, George Washington University, 12 April 2004, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB116/index.htm (Accessed 6 September 2008)
[xvi] Michael Chossudovsky, op.cit.., page 247.
[xvii] Ibid.,, pages 238-241
[xviii] Ibid., page 247.
[xix] Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft), Executive Summary, page 4, http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/NCSTAR1ExecutiveSummary.pdf (Accessed 6 September 2008)
[xx] David Griffin, op.cit., page 11.
[xxi] David Griffin, op.cit., page 112.
[xxii] The “Deep Mystery” of Melted Steel, WPI – Transformations, Worcester, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Spring 2002, http://www.wpi.edu/News/Transformations/2002Spring/steel.html (Accessed 3 September 2008)
[xxiii] Jonathan Barnett, Ronald R. Biederman, and R.D. Sisson, Jr., World Trade Center Building Performance Study, Appendix C, Limited Metallurgical Examination, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2002, http://wtc.nist.gov/media/AppendixC-fema403_apc.pdf (Accessed 3 September 2008)
[xxiv] The “Deep Mystery” of Melted Steel, op.cit.
[xxv] NIST and World Trade Center Fact Sheets, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, National Institute of Science and Technology, 30 August 2006, Question 12, http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[xxvi] Jerry Lobdill, Some Physical Chemistry Aspects of Thermite, Thermate, Iron-Aluminum-Rich Microspheres, the Eutectic, and the Iron-Sulfur System as Applied to the Demise of Three World Trade Center Buildings on 9/11/2001, Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 200704, 15 June 2007, http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/JLobdillThermiteChemistryWTC (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[xxvii] Christopher Bollyn, STEVEN JONES – The Physical Evidence of Thermite in the WTC Dust, 16 May 2007, http://www.erichufschmid.net/TFC/Bollyn-Physical-Evidence-of-Thermite.html (Accessed 4 September 2008)
[xxviii] NIST and World Trade Center Fact Sheets, op.cit., Question 11.
[xxix] Lobdill, op.cit., page 1.
[xxx] Phil Gibbs, Sugihara Hiroshi, What is Occam’s Razor? 1997, http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/occam.html (Accessed 3 September 2008)
[xxxi] NIST and World Trade Center Fact Sheets, op.cit., Question 13.
[xxxii] NIST and World Trade Center Fact Sheets, op.cit., Question 14.