Viewpoint: More questions around WTC attack

Viewpoint: More questions around WTC attack

By Joe Baker

More questions around WTC attack

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

Last week, in this space, we aired some of the many questions surrounding the events of Sept. 11. This week we will present some of the other problems with the “official” story of those assaults.

Writer Jim Marrs outlined some of them in a piece presenting an overview of the “war on terrorism.” ( To begin with, he asks: why was the U.S. military readying war plans against Afghanistan months before the 9-11 attacks, and why are we attacking Afghanistan when none of the hijackers were from that country?

Marrs also would like to know how paper documents incriminating bin Laden survived the WTC attack undamaged, but the airliners’ flight recorders were damaged beyond use?

Another interesting question is: Why, many weeks after these incidents, were news photographers barred from showing the ruins from certain angles? CBS Correspondent Lou Young queried: “What are they afraid we’re going to see?”

Why was the New York Police Department liaison to the FBI booted out as a security risk? (The New York Times-Oct. 16) Whose security is risked? What doesn’t the FBI want the NYPD to know?

How could a highly sophisticated, well-organized terrorist plan, involving maybe 100 persons, not be noticed by the FBI and the CIA? Why, instead of removing those responsible and reorganizing these agencies, have we doubled their budgets?

What caused the South Tower to collapse first when it was less damaged than the North Tower? Why did a number of witnesses claim to have heard additional explosions within the buildings?

Why did FBI Director Robert Mueller admit the list of named hijackers might not contain their real names? Don’t you have to show a photo ID to get a boarding pass? Where was security? Incidentally, have you noticed that Mueller rarely appears on the tube to comment on the investigation? In Washington circles, he is viewed as a guy who could “screw up a free lunch.”

Yet another question: Why was there a discrepancy of 35 names between the published passenger lists and the official death toll on all four hijacked flights? It was reported the published names did not match the total listed for the number of passengers on board. Why?

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Since none of the passengers had Arabic-sounding names, how did the feds know which ones were the hijackers? Why were none of the hijackers’ names on any of the passenger lists? If they all used aliases, how did the FBI identify them so quickly?

Why did the seat numbers of the hijackers, as reported via a cell phone call from Flight Attendant Madeline Sweeney to Boston air traffic control, not match the seats occupied by those the FBI said were responsible for the crime?

Why did one of the hijackers take luggage on a suicide flight and then leave it and an incriminating note in his car, parked at the airport?

With the most mammoth criminal investigation in U.S. history supposedly probing these attacks, and with 365,000 tips received by the authorities, why has nothing substantial come out of it?

If United Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania as the result of a struggle between the hijackers and some passengers, why did witnesses tell of a second plane following the airliner down? There was falling, burning debris, no deep crater and wreckage over a six-mile area, indicating an explosion in the air. Could that second plane have been an F-16 fighter?

A man named J. McMichael spent several years in the construction industry. He knows something of building practices and the nature of building materials, such as steel. He also knows the laws of physics. (Conspiracy He used that knowledge to identify some interesting inconsistencies in the government’s (media’s) account of the tragedy.

“Let us consider: one plane full of jet fuel hit the North Tower at 8:45 a.m., and the fuel fire burned for a while with flames and black smoke. Then, by 9:03 a.m. (which time was marked by the second plane’s collision with the South Tower), the flame was mostly gone and only black smoke continued to pour from the building. To my simple mind, that would indicate the first fire had died down.”

By 10:29 a.m. the fire in the North Tower had done something McMichael finds amazing; it had melted the steel supports in the building, causing a chain reaction that brought the tower down. More amazing, with less fuel to burn, the South Tower collapsed only 47 minutes after the plane struck it; half the time it took to destroy the North Tower.

So that means the fire burned in the first tower for 104 minutes, getting hotter and hotter, until it reached 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which steel melts.

“I try not to wonder how the fire reached temperatures that only bottled oxygen or forced air can produce,” McMichael said. “And I try not to think about all the steel that was in that building—200,000 tons of it. ( “I try to forget that heating steel is like pouring syrup onto a plate; you can’t get it to stack up. The heat just flows out to the colder parts of the steel, cooling off in the part you are trying to warm up,” he said.

If the North Tower did collapse because of heated steel, why did it take 104 minutes to achieve the critical temperature?

“Am I to believe,” asks McMichael, “that the fire burned all that time, getting constantly hotter until it reached melting temperature? Or did it burn hot and steady

throughout until 200,000 tons of steel were heated molten—on one plane load of jet fuel?”

He noted the BBC, picking up on U.S. news reports, said the fire reached 800 degrees Celsius and melted the steel. “In the

20th century,” said McMichael, “steel melted

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at 1,538 degrees Celsius or 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, but in the 21st century, it melts at 800 degrees.”

McMichael said the floors of the WTC could be visualized as a stack of long-play records, only rectangular rather than round. They were stacked around a central spindle made up of multiple steel columns arranged in a square around the 103 elevator shafts.

That core carried the weight of the building. The floors were stabilized and tied together by another set of steel columns, closely spaced and surrounding the outer rim of the building. The arrangement was so stable the towers moved only three feet in a high wind.

The “experts” on TV told us the joints between the floors and central columns melted, or the floor trusses, or the central columns or the exterior columns—it-depended on the “expert,” and this caused the floor to collapse, overloading the joints on the floor underneath, and the whole works then went down like dominoes.

McMichael said in most construction, a structural member such as a steel I-beam, must be capable of carrying three times the maximum load it ever will have to bear. He believes the actual load on each floor of the WTC was less than one-sixth the breaking strength, thus each floor could have supported its own weight plus two floors above it.

In order to cause the floor joints to fail, he said, the fire would have had to heat the bolts or flanges to the point where they fell apart or ripped through the steel. But all the joints and the central columns would have to be heated at the same rate if they were to collapse at the same time and at the same rate as the outer joints with the outer rim columns on all sides. Otherwise, one side of a floor would have fallen, distorting the building’s skin and making the tower lean on one side.

But those towers came down straight, like a demolition implosion. That’s a problem to McMichael because plane one hit one side of the North Tower, causing a more intense fire on one side than the other, and the second plane struck near one corner of the South Tower, sending most of its fuel out the windows of the building. Yet it collapsed in perfect symmetry, just like the other tower.

There’s a photo that shows a cube of concrete and steel, measuring 200 feet wide, 200 feet deep, and 200 feet high—the top 40 floors of one tower, falling over sideways. Yet there are no reports of it crashing into the street 1,000 feet below. Where did it go? That much concrete and steel should have made a very big hole in the ground.

Back to the fire. McMichael points out that liquid fuel evaporates as it burns and does not burn hot for very long. If the ambient temperature passes the flash point and there’s lots of oxygen, the process builds up to an explosion that consumes the fuel. Jet fuel boils at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the vapor flashes at 482F. In no case, he said, would an office building full of jet fuel sustain a fire at 1500F for 104 minutes, unless it was fed bottled oxygen, forced air or something else not normally occurring in a high-rise fire. What was burning?

Then there is the matter of the concrete dust. “No concrete that I have ever known pulverizes like that,” McMichael said. “My experience with concrete has shown that it will crumble under stress, but rarely does it just give up the ghost and turn to powder.”

Rev. Robert Schuller visited the WTC ruins. On his television program he told about his trip. He said there was not a single block of concrete in that rubble. Out of the original 425,000 cubic yards of concrete in that building, all of it was dust. How did that happen?

McMichael said he’s also disturbed by the central steel columns, which stretched upward a quarter-mile from the ground to the fire. He says they should have been left standing unsupported, and they would have fallen intact or in sections to the ground, smashing into buildings hundreds of feet from the site, like giant trees falling in the forest. Yet, there are no pictures showing those columns, either standing, falling or on the ground, and there are no reports of them causing any damage.

McMichael said in a century of tall urban buildings, this kind of collapse has never before happened—unpredicted by any experts. Yet, now that it has happened,

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nobody is surprised, and everyone understands it perfectly.

“There was one highly qualified engineer in New Mexico who thought the collapse could only happen with the help of demolition explosives, and he was foolish enough to make the statement publicly,” McMichael said. “But then he recanted 10 days later and admitted the whole thing was perfectly natural and unsurprising.

“I wonder what happened in those 10 days to make him so smart on the subject so quickly,” he said.

I don’t know the answers to all these queries, and we may never get them all in our lifetimes, but doesn’t all this make you suspect our buddies in Washington are not telling us the whole story?

More importantly, why isn’t the mainstream media asking these questions?

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