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September 11 2001
THE DAY AMERICA DIED
AND AMERIKKKA WAS CREATED
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"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." — Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II
Updated June 2005
CAN YOU HANDLE THE 911 TRUTH: Bushitler zombie leaders attacked America.
There is a toxic quality to war that affects the inner life of individuals and, as a collective consequence, the society itself. In the degradation and dehumanization of the individual lies the destruction of all mankind. - Butler Shaffer
The Point We Keep Missing
The biggest problem with the world is AmeriKKKans
Americans have a great and terrible secret they hide within themselves, ever pretending that it doesn't exist.
But in the deepest, darkest part of their hearts, if they’re honest, they know with certainty that it does. But, oh, do they deny it!
Americans couch this denial in all manner of panicky rationalizations — religious, political, psychological, astrological, you name it ... any pretense will do in order to deny what's really going on, in order to avoid the crushing guilt for what is nothing less than inexcusable, semiconscious savagery.
This secret is so big and so dark it can't be confronted all at once.
Better to take it one little piece at a time, and then let the idea of its overwhelming magnitude sink in just a little bit at a time, so that by the time you confront all the aspects of this multi-faceted horror, some of you who read this can perhaps begin to publicly admit this terrible secret and perhaps even begin to take positive steps to correct the stupendous damage this secret has caused — and is causing right this very minute.
One little piece at a time. Let's start with Iraq, since that seems to be the one place in the world at present where the needless bleeding is the worst.
Listen to this carefully, Americans
Do you understand that the death toll in Iraq over the past 13 years numbers in the high hundreds of thousands?
And do you understand that American is responsible for virtually all of those deaths?
Let’s say 99 percent of them.
I can hear all those denial switches clicking on out there as I ask this question. Hey we’re fighting terror! Those Muslims are savages! Saddam deserved what he got! We’re trying to bring democracy to an uncivilized country!
I'll repeat it as a statement.
Iraqis murdered since 1991? 800,000 to 1.5 million. American lives lost because of combat initiated by the United States? 1,000 or so in the past two years, 10,000 more in the intervening years since the first Gulf War introduced deadly depleted uranium ammunition onto the world’s stage, and fatally poisoned so many of our own troops.
11,000 Americans dead!
Around a million Iraqi lives suddenly snuffed out for reasons you can bet most of them really never understood.
And worse, future generations of both Iraqis and Americans doomed to complicated lives of cancer and birth defects. And that’s just in this one single country, in this one continuous military action.
Americans are responsible for every single one of these murders, every single one of these tragedies. And not a single one of these sad stories — these shocking terminations of unsuspecting, productive and innocent lives — ever represented any threat to the physical security of the United States.
Can you comprehend that? Is anything getting through?
Americans, in their selfish, willful blindness, are responsible for thousands of deaths all around the world — EVERY YEAR! And they have been for more than a hundred years.
No, you can’t get away with saying we’re fighting a war, and war is hell.
This is not a war in Iraq!
Saddam had no airforce, and we made him destroy all his missiles. Then we embraced the lies told about him in order to begin a multi-year campaign of mass murder. Iraq never had a chance. It was never a fair fight.
Let me ask you this. We went to war in Iraq to get rid of Saddam. Saddam is long gone. Why are we still killing people? Why are we still sacrificing our own soldiers? And why are we planning more wars?
You know the answer.
It’s in the deepest, darkest part of your heart.
We didn’t go to war against Iraq to overthrow a tyrant. We invaded Iraq because we wanted to steal a country’s precious resources, because we, in the blatant hubris of our soulless blindness, believe we can steal for any reason.
This is how Americans come to support mass murder of innocents for reasons that are lies.
This has been going on full bore since at least the late 1890s, when American obliterated a million Filipinos to keep them safe from the Spanish.
All this of course is not counting the 60 million Native Americans we exterminated throughout the 19th century, because they were savages, less than human.
And this is of course the paradigm that civilization has followed ever since, the British in India, the French in Indochina, the Belgians and the Portuguese in Africa, and all of the above and more throughout the bloody conquest of the Western Hemisphere.
Some literature asserts that even Hitler was impressed with the extermination policies of the white Europeans as they raped and pillaged their way across an undeveloped continent. Of course the more germane comparison these days is the way the Israelis have cut down the hapless Palestinians over the last half century, using their “holy” books to declare anyone in their voracious path to be less than human, and therefore eligible to be murdered without a second thought.
But Americans need to realize — and admit — that Israelis learned this heartless attitude from us. I even heard the esteemed Jewish theologian Michael Lerner — darling of the Zionist gatekeeper liberals — use this argument: how can Americans complain what the Israelis are doing to the indigenous inhabitants of their accursed chunk of Middle Eastern sand when the Americans set the example for the world to follow by exterminating the entire indigenous population of North America, and have behaved the same way throughout the rest of the world ever since? He has a point.
And this is the great and terrible secret all Americans hide within themselves, and palliate their guilt with such lame rationalizations as manifest destiny or “we need that oil.”
Fact is, none of those Palestinians, nor any of those Iraqis, would have died without the tacit approval of Americans. It wouldn’t have happened.
Sure, you can sit back and pontificate that those Islamic “savages” would have killed each other anyway, but you can’t prove that, and you can prove that it has been American manipulation, first and foremost, that has allowed that vicious bunch of Israelis to go into that region and become a raging terminal cancer. I supposed it’s only poetic justice that now Israel, with its pervasive political control of the U.S. political system, can manipulate events to the point where it can get America to come into the same region and do its dirty work, as is happening now in Iraq.
Iraq is not now nor ever has been a threat to the physical security of the United States. But Americans lie to themselves — we all know about THOSE lies — and arbitrarily declare that Iraq can bomb us with imaginary drones in 45 minutes, so we better bomb them first.
Same with Palestine. Palestinians were never a threat to anyone. But like Iraqis, they had something we wanted. And it is the great and terrible secret of every American that we will permit — and even cheer — the mass murder of innocents simply because we want to rob them of what is rightfully theirs.
Ask your preacher about that. I’m sure he’ll produce a suitable Biblical quote that approves of the murder of anybody who has something you want.
But we can’t blame this on a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, nor on the Jesuits, the elusive Illuminati, nor even the London-based global banking aristocracy.
This is about the American people, and their continuing willingness to look the other way while those who are all too willing to prey on the innocent kill people for profit and pass the price savings on to the blind cowards who sputter half-baked maxims about terror and security while they sit in their easy chairs in their stiflingly boring and braindead American suburbs.
And contemplate the horrid fact that both presidential candidates endorse this indefensible policy of war based on lies, guaranteeing exactly the kind of future so chillingly outlined in Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” movies.
We no longer need an excuse to kill anyone with impunity. Of course, in our materialistic American coma we have apparently become too dumbed down to realize that what happens “out there” will soon happen “in here,” but by the time that the neocon self-immolation of America finally dawns on us, it will be way too late to do anything about it. Perhaps it already is.
As the globalized American war machine spreads its flaming hell around the globe, the heart of the devil (enthusiastically cheered on by many who call themselves preachers) beats loudly in inane American hamlets among those silent morons who simply refuse to acknowledge what is being done in their names, who simply refuse to realize that what is happening to those faceless strangers so far away is one day soon also going to happen to us, right here.
John Kaminski is an Internet columnist based in Florida whose essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world. They have been collected into two anthologies, "America's Autopsy Report" and the soon-to-be-published "The Perfect Enemy."
For more information go to John Kaminski
The World Trade Center Demolition
and the So-Called War on Terrorism
Evidence for Explosives in the Twin Towers
Now We Know for Sure They Lied about 9/11
NYC 9-11 Truth Takes Back Ground Zero
9-11 IN PLANE SITE
Why weren't America and the world shown the video and photographs of the Pentagon, BEFORE the outer wall had collapsed showing only one 16 ft. hole? The Pentagon's outer wall did not collapse for a full 35 minutes after the initial impact. See these astounding photographs for the first time.
An informed citizen is freedom's best friend and a controlled citizen is our worst enemy!
WE WILL NOT STOP!!!
LETS ROLL 9-11
What's wrong with 911pi.com?
Celebrate 9-11 anniversary the right way:
IDENTIFY WHO SHOULD BE IMPEACHED & WHY
peoples investigation into 9/11
The spectacular and brazen attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11 shocked the citizens of the United States.
LIES:Within hours, the Bush Administration, U.S. Intelligence and the corporate media were already naming Osama Bin Ladin as the mastermind behind the attacks.
Within just a couple days, a list of alleged suspects was made public by the FBI, and a general outline of how they guess the attacks were carried out was presented.
The list of suspects has since proven to be inaccurate, the official story has numerous holes and glaring inconsistencies, and the FBI itself has admitted, after 8 months of investigation, that it does not have one single piece of hard evidence linking the people they said did it to the planning of the attacks.
The blunt fact is, there is no proof at all that the FBI's alleged suspects, or even Arabs in general actually did carry out the attacks.
From the first day, one set of suspects and a theory has been pursued with no success. An honest person would admit that they had made a major mistake by deciding who did it first, and then looking for the evidence to prove the decision correct, rather than openly collecting all the evidence, and looking where it led, no matter where that was.
During its many hearings your commission chose not to ask the questions necessary to unveil the true symptoms of our failed intelligence system.
Your Commission intentionally bypassed these severe symptoms, and chose not to include them in its five hundred and sixty seven-page report.
Now, without a complete list of our failures pre 9/11, without a comprehensive examination of true symptoms that exist in our intelligence system, without assigning any accountability what so ever, and therefore, without a sound and reliable diagnosis, your commission is attempting to divert attention from the real problems, and to prescribe a cure through hasty and costly measures.
It is like attempting to put a gold-lined expensive porcelain cap over a deeply decayed tooth with a rotten root, without first treating the root, and without first cleaning/shaving the infected tooth.
THE DAY AMERICA DIED AND AMERIKKKA WAS CREATED
Bush Does nothing when told
9/11 Survivor Describes Multiple Explosions
More 911 UPDATES
So if you are having trouble convincing your friends and family that our government is lying to us
and that the so-called terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 were actually an inside job,
here is the evidence you need to change their minds!
In The Day America Died: Why you shouldn’t believe the official story of what happened on September 11, 2001,’ you will read about:
The lies our leaders told us to cover up the crime:
• Arab terrorists didn’t hijack the planes.
• The Twin Towers didn’t collapse, they exploded.
• Why evidence was destroyed and suppressed.
• How the military let the attacks happen.
• Fake cellphone calls and bogus box cutters.
• Foreknowledge made millions for investors.
• No jetliner ever hit the Pentagon.
• The Patriot Act was ready and waiting for 9/11 and took away your freedom.
and other astonishing details of the most tragic day in American history that are much more believable than the story the government has told you.
If you have had the experience — as many of us have — where friends and relatives have asked you if you’re crazy when you say President Bush and his evil billionaire are friends should be indicted for treason, mass murder and obstruction of justice over what happened on 9/11, simply tell them their being misinformed and indifferent has no bearing on your honesty, integrity, or sanity. And then hand them this booklet.
Citing the latest findings by the best 9/11 researchers‚ including A. K. Dewdney, Jim Hoffman, Gerard Holmgren, Dick Eastman, Walter Davis, Jerry Russell, Richard Stanley, Peter Meyer, Plague Puppy and others, “The Day America Died” is simply a study aid to condense the major arguments against the government version into an easy-to-understand overview.
My purpose for writing it is to rally public opinion to investigate the lies our leaders have told us about the greatest tragedy in American history, and perhaps prevent some of the diabolical plans they have in store for us in their criminal scheme to turn our world into a militaristic police state.
It is no exaggeration to say that the future of freedom in America and throughout the world hinges on discovering the truth about the 9/11 deception. It is my sincere hope that this booklet helps in that discovery.
We declare a national emergency in uncovering what really happened on 9/11/2001 through an immediate call for an independent collaborative investigation worldwide. The U.S. government could help us but instead is doing everything it can to stop any investigations into 9/11.
The People's Investigation of 9/11 is an assemblage of international researchers and activists. Task-based functional groups work together on various projects, including research topics and volunteer efforts, in unison with other 9/11 evidence-finding efforts.
Until a LEGITIMATE INDEPENDENT CITIZENS COMMITTE with full subpoena power is funded and recognized by the U.S. government or a world political body or court, it is left up to the citizens of the world to investigate and share what they know with others.
It is critical that you at the least learn what is already known -- If you are new to the 9/11 Investigation, try starting with
What We Know
and the resources to the left.
The Center for Cooperative Research is also a good starting place.
World Trade Center
Terrorists did hijack four planes and crash two of them into the WTC towers, but it seems that the towers collapsed not because of the plane impacts but because explosives were carefully placed besides their structural supports.
Those explosives were detonated in a precise manner about an hour after the planes hit the towers, bringing them down in "a controlled implosion", killing thousands of American citizens in and around them.
Like millions around the world I watched the WTC events unfold live on CNN on September 11, 2001, in near-disbelief. I tuned in after the collapse of the first tower but before the collapse of the second.
I saw huge clouds of smoke billowing over Manhattan
and I saw the second tower collapse
... in a curious way.
It did not fall over; it imploded, in the way that most people have seen
when a building is destroyed in a controlled demolition:
the building does not collapse in a chaotic way, rather it descends neatly upon itself. Was this how the WTC towers collapsed: not because they were hit by the hijacked planes but because someone, with expert knowledge of explosive demolition of tall buildings, brought them down? If so, who placed those explosives there? Not likely a bunch of Arab terrorists.
From: "David Rostcheck"
If you watch the time sequence, you'll see that it happens like this:
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 3:12 PM
Ok, is it just me, or did anyone else recognize that it wasn't the airplane impacts that blew up the World Trade Center? To me, this is the most frightening part of this morning. ...
- A plane hits tower #1, blowing a hole in it high up. The expected things then happen:
- The building stays up. A reinforced concrete building is *extremely* strong. Terrorists set off a large bomb *inside* that building without significant damage. Notice that neither plane impact does anything like break off a big hunk of building floors and send it crashing into the street. The WTC towers were specifically designed to survive a direct impact from a jumbo jet - which *both do*.
- The stories from the impact point up burn horribly. Note, fire moves upward, not downward.
- The second plane hits the second tower, lower and moving faster. It blows a bigger hole through it, showering debris on the street, but the building is clearly still standing and still looks quite solid.
- The second building begins burning, also from the impact point up.
- Perhaps a half hour later, the fire in the first building *goes out*. It is still smouldering and letting off black smoke, but there is no flame. ...
- The fire in the second building goes out.
- Then, later, the second building suddenly crumbles into dust, in a smooth wave running from the top of the building (above the burned part) down through all the stories at an equal speed. The debris falls primarily inward. The tower does not break off intact and collapse into other buildings. The bottom does not crumble before the top. The burned out section crumbles also. The crumbling comes from the top (above the damage). It moves at a uniform rate. All of the structural members are destroyed in a smooth pattern, so there is no remaining skeleton. The damage is uniform, symmetric, and total.
In summary, it looks exactly like a demolition - because that's what it is.
- The first tower collapses in a similar demolition wave.
There's no doubt that the planes hit the building and did a lot of damage. But look at the footage - those buildings were *demolished*. To demolish a building, you don't need all that much explosive but it needs to be placed in the correct places (in direct contact with the structural members) and ignited in a smooth, timed sequence. Someone had to have had a lot of access to all of both towers and a lot of time to do this. ...
— davidr (Full text of this message is here.)
Some have claimed that the collapse of towers can be explained by burning jet fuel causing the steel beams supporting the towers to melt (at 800° C.).
Van Romero, vice president for research at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology says the collapse of the twin towers resembled those of controlled implosions used in planned demolition.
But much, or perhaps most, of the jet fuel was consumed in the fireballs which erupted when the planes hit the towers, especially in the case of the second plane, which hit the second tower at a shallow angle. Furthermore, it is likely that the jet fuel which managed to enter the towers would have burnt fairly quickly, being consumed in considerably less time than an hour (that is, in less than the time between impact and the collapse).
And finally there were sprinkler systems in place in the towers designed to put out fires, and it can be surmised that these would have dampened the fires even if they did not extinguish them entirely. Thus the claim that tens of thousands of liters of burning jet fuel produced a raging inferno and caused the steel girders to melt is dubious.
"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.
The detonations could have been caused by a small amount of explosive put in more than two points in each of the towers, he said. "It could have been a relatively small amount of explosives placed in strategic points," Romero said.
— Demolition Expert Says WTC Was Bombed
"To demolish a building, you don't need all that much explosive but it needs to be placed in the correct places ... and ignited in a smooth, timed sequence. Someone had to have had a lot of access to all of both towers and a lot of time to do this." And for sure it was not a bunch of Arabs (sneaking around unchallenged by security guards inside the WTC) whose expertise with explosives extends not much beyond truck bombs.
But this was a suicide attack, since the pilots of the planes killed themselves when they flew the planes into the WTC towers. The attack against the Pentagon was also a suicide attack. And a fourth plane was apparently headed for an attack against a target in Washington when it crashed. How can all this be explained? Here's what probably happened:
The attacks against the WTC and the Pentagon were brought to you by the same people (though "human" may not be the correct term for them) who brought you the Oklahoma City Bombing. In that case they placed high explosives by the structural supports of the Murrah Federal Building and demolished it, killing hundreds of people, then succeeded in convincing the more gullible among the American people that this was the work of one or two men using a truck full of ammonium nitrate.
The bombing of the WTC was part of an ongoing plan (in effect since the Kennedy assassination if not before) to destroy democratic government (what's left of it anyway) in the United States and replace it by a dictatorship. This plan was as follows:
Within a few days of the bombing the Counter Terrorism Bill was passed by Congress, a piece of legislation which provided for secret trials and seizure of assets without due process of law.
U.S. government security and intelligence organizations have for years monitored Arab militant groups keen to carry out reprisal attacks against the U.S. (reprisals for the direct and indirect harm callously inflicted upon Palestinians, Iraqis and other peoples, not by average "decent" self-absorbed Americans, who are mostly ignorant of this anyway, but rather by the U.S. government and U.S. multinationals).
All goes according to plan except for one major hitch: the fourth plane. This plane, United Airlines Flight 93, which took off from Newark, had made a U-turn over Ohio and was headed back toward Washington D.C. when, it seems, some passengers or crew managed to foil the plans of the hijackers (or, some say, the plane was shot down), and the plane crashed (killing all aboard).
U.S. agents have infiltrated these groups and know pretty much what they are up to.
So some of these agents suggest a clever plan: to hijack several aircraft and fly them into various strategic and symbolic buildings such as the Pentagon. This is, of course, a suicide mission, but eventually enough men are found who are willing to die for their cause (freedom of their people from American aggression). Some of these men must also be trained pilots, or at least, be capable of being trained to steer the aircraft into their targets.
The Americans obligingly provide the appropriate training where needed. (Of course the Arabs involved do not know that this is really an American-planned operation.)
Careful preparation and coordination are also needed, not the haphazard planning which Arab militants have exhibited before, such as in the previous, ineffective attack against the WTC. Americans provide the necessary expertise in this area, and tell the Arabs exactly what to do, when, and how to do it.
Unknown to the latter, the former have also placed high explosives by the structural supports of the WTC towers, since they are not sure that the impacts of the planes will be enough to bring down the towers, and they want to destroy both towers completely (for maximum psychological effect upon the people of the U.S. and the world).
Its target was probably the U.S. Congress building on Capitol Hill. Had the hijackers succeeded in destroying the House and Senate the operation would have been a complete success. President George W. Bush would then have been able to announce that, since the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government was no longer able to function, he was assuming (temporarily, of course) sole and total control in this time of national emergency (though in fact he would be, as he is now, a mere puppet, told where to go and what to do and say, barely able to read his script).
On December 18, 2000 in Washington, shortly after he was anointed as President by a corrupt majority on the Supreme Court, Bush said (apparently jokingly, but you can be sure he meant it): "If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier; just so long as I was the dictator." On September 11, 2001, he almost got his wish.
Still, the plotters achieved most of their objectives, which included a strike against the U.S. military establishment, just to show them who was in charge (the U.S. military high command would never have consented to the partial destruction of its headquarters).
And, of course, this heinous act of "international terrorism" provides a fine excuse for a yet greater military build up — in particular the already-planned development of "defensive" missiles, allegedly to foil attacks by "international terrorists", but which might also prove quite useful in defending the U.S. from retaliation by any nation which it chooses to attack.
Among the thousands who died in the collapse of the WTC were presumably a number of wealthy Jewish bankers (and major Japanese banks also had offices in the towers). And of course this "Attack against America" provides a nice justification for eliminating whatever civil liberties the American people had up to now managed to hold on to. In the name of "safety" and "security" the "authorities" will now have a legal right (the appropriate legislation will be rushed through by a compliant and corrupt Congress under the guise of "an emergency anti-terrorist package") to do whatever they want to monitor and control the entire population.
Anyone accused of being "a threat to the safety and security of the American people" (in reality, to the state and those who control it) will find themselves imprisoned without benefit of trial (if they do not "disappear" completely).
Indeed, the U.S. government has now given itself permission to attack whoever it wants to, to engage openly in political assassinations in the manner of Israel, and generally to wage war upon whoever it chooses to label as its enemy. We can expect that the number of innocent civilians who will die as a result of U.S. military action in the coming months and years will dwarf the number of those who died in the WTC attack.
But, of course, since they will mostly not be Americans, Europeans or Australians, this is of no concern, except insofar as it might result in international condemnation of such barbarity, making it difficult to maintain the "international coalition" that the U.S. seeks to provide a fig-leaf for its upcoming military aggression against the rest of the world.
George W. Bush has announced that America is now embarked upon a "War on Terrorism" (and has as good as told the American people that they have to sacrifice their civil liberties and burn their Constitution). But a war requires an identifiable enemy.
Thousands of civilians died in the WTC bombing, and hundreds of military personnel were killed in the attack on the Pentagon (though the number is small compared to the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by the U.S. fire bombings of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo, and the 100,000 or so Iraqi men, women and children who have died in the last ten years as a result of the U.S. economic embargo of Iraq).
A war is a war between two or more opposing sides. A "war" in which one side is invisible is a fantasy — a tool for psychological operations directed against both domestic and foreign populations.
Before the U.S. rushes out and kills thousands of innocent people in "revenge" attacks in the coming months it should first establish who exactly planned and directed the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon (not simply who were the individuals who hijacked the planes). The evidence must be such as to convince third parties such as the Europeans. Only then will it be possible to declare war. Until then the "War on Terrorism" will be a propaganda campaign like the "War on Drugs" — a way of disguising the true aims and motivations of those waging this "war", which in this case is that age-old motivation: territorial conquest.
The enormity of this evil is made worse, however, by its being perpetrated, not by external enemies of America, but from within — by a secret group of traitors which, for at least forty years, has controlled the U.S. government behind a façade of democracy, which has manipulated a gullible American population and the political leadership of other countries by the skillful use of propaganda (with the help of shamelessly compliant "news" organizations), and which must now be laughing and congratulating itself that its lies appear to have been believed by almost everyone and that its plans for complete economic and military conquest of the entire planet are coming along so nicely.
But just as their previous attempt at a "Thousand-Year Reich" resulted in complete and ignominious defeat, their plans may yet come to naught, though at what cost to the American people and the rest of the world remains to be seen."
Last modified: 2001-09-16 CE
Source page: "War on Drugs" Liberty and Democracy
Index Serendipity Home Page http://www.serendipity.li/_home.html
twin towers collapsed
From the Chicago Tribune
By Blair Kamin
How the twin towers collapsed
Head of official U.S. inquiry lays out theories
Tribune staff reporter
Originally published December 6, 2001, 11:46 AM EST
CHICAGO -- Many of his fellow structural engineers were stunned when the twin towers of the World Trade Center crashed to the ground on Sept. 11. But not W. Gene Corley, the suburban Chicago structural engineer who is heading the federal investigation into the collapse.
Corley, senior vice president at Construction Technology Laboratories in north suburban Skokie, is an old hand when it comes to figuring out why buildings fall down. His roster of past investigations includes the fatal 1993 fire that occurred during the FBI's raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas; the 1995 bombing and collapse of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City; and the 1999 collapse of a construction crane at Milwaukee's Miller Park. You might even call him a master of disaster, though he's far too reserved to use such a jaunty, self-promoting term.
When the hijacked Boeing 767 jets hit the Trade Center that morning, Corley was in his Skokie office, part of a Bauhaus-like compound of low-slung modern buildings at 5420 Old Orchard Rd., just west of the Edens Expressway. Alerted to the disaster in the making, he went to The Washington Post Web site and found still pictures of black smoke and red flames shooting out of the lower Manhattan landmark.
"I said: 'At least it hasn't fallen yet,'" Corley told the Tribune in his first extensive interview on the investigation. "'But if they don't get the fire out, it will.'"
For years, the 65-year-old has quietly gone about the business of structural sleuthing, amassing bits and pieces of evidence to figure out why structures that are supposed to stand up don't. Now, he's carrying out that task on a grand stage, heading the high-profile inquiry that is trying to pinpoint why the 110-story towers fell.
In a sense, everybody already knows what happened on Sept. 11: When the hijacked planes, gorged with fuel for cross-country flights, struck the towers, the rupture of the fuel tanks started an extremely hot fire that weakened the buildings' structural steel and caused the Trade Center's deadly crumpling. No building could have survived such a blow, expert after expert has said.
But things are hardly that simple. No one has authoritatively explained why One World Trade Center remained standing for 1 hour and 40 minutes while Two World Trade Center crashed to the ground just 56 minutes after impact.
Could the Trade Center's original architects and engineers have done anything differently that would have prevented such a large loss of life -- more than 3,300 victims, according to current estimates? Or is there reason to be satisfied that the buildings stood up as long as they did, allowing roughly 25,000 people to escape?
Another mystery is why smaller, nearby structures remained standing even though fire and steel from the twin towers rained down on them and even ripped huge chunks out of their facades.
These are some of the issues that Corley and his team of 23 specialists, who include experts in such esoteric fields as blast effects, will be grappling with until their investigation wraps up in March or April. The inquiry is co-sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, an industry group based in Reston, Va., and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, the government entity that tries to prevent, as well as deals with, disasters.
Much more than solving a structural mystery is at stake. With America fighting a war on terrorism, highly symbolic structures both tall and short may require new armor to protect them against fanatics like the ones who destroyed the twin towers and damaged the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
"For those buildings that can be identified as being particular targets of terrorists," Corley says, "we expect to have recommendations that will allow the designers to do things differently that will enhance the safety of the people in the building."
The investigators are looking at several spots where the collapse might have begun -- exterior columns, interior columns, or the lightweight steel trusses that supported the building's floors.
They also are challenging conventional wisdom by entertaining this hypothesis: The planes so damaged the twin towers that a regular fire of 1,100 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, not a superhot fire stoked by jet fuel and reaching at least 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, was sufficient to weaken the skyscrapers' structural steel to the point of collapse.
Whatever its outcome, the investigation is proceeding very differently than the one Corley led in Oklahoma City. There, the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Building fell almost instantly, denying investigators a real-time record of the steps leading to its collapse.
In trying to determine what piece of the skyscrapers gave way first, for example, the investigators are searching for an aerial-perspective video that would show the fall of One World Trade Center. If the communications antenna atop the building started dropping before the perimeter of the building, that would offer a clue that the interior steel columns in the building's core (which supported the antenna) began collapsing before the perimeter columns.
The much longer interval between blast and collapse at the World Trade Center resulted in the accumulation of a wealth of images (more than 150 hours of videos, as well as myriad photographs) that are crucial pieces of evidence.
In contrast, Corley says, "the only thing we had in Oklahoma City was an audio tape. There was a hearing on water rights going on right across the street. They had turned on the recorder at 9 a.m. At 9:01 a.m., the bomb went off. We were able to analyze the tape and determine from the sound that it took roughly 3 seconds for the building to collapse."
After Corley was named to head the Trade Center investigation, there was some grumbling among steel industry leaders because the Skokie engineer is known as a specialist in concrete.
The steel people fretted that Corley would blame the collapse on the steel frame of the Trade Center towers and say that structures that relied more on concrete, such as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, currently the world's tallest buildings, would have fared better.
The criticism is nonsense, according to Jim Rossberg, a director at the American Society of Civil Engineers, who is working with the investigative team. Because Corley led a similar team in Oklahoma City, "it was very natural that Gene's name came to the forefront," Rossberg says. "Gene has tremendous experience in looking at and organizing studies and getting the right people involved in the effort.
Building is in Corley's blood. His father, a contractor in Shelbyville, Ill., a small town about 60 miles southeast of Springfield, built single-family homes, shopping malls and grocery stores. "I was on building sites even before I was big enough to crawl," he says. Only one of his father's projects collapsed -- a farm equipment warehouse that couldn't bear the weight of heavy snow on its roof. But that was the designer's error, not his father's, Corley hastens to add.
This issue is not a concrete issue or a steel issue. It's a building issue."
He enrolled in the architecture school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 1950s, but opted for engineering instead. "I cannot draw a picture of a person that looks like a person," he says. "I figured I would flunk my art courses."
He got his bachelor's, master's and PhD in engineering at Illinois (his graduate adviser, Chester Siess, also tutored the late Fazlur Khan, the noted structural engineer who worked on both Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center). Then, Corley joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for whom he developed a collapsible aluminum and steel bridge that would pop out of a tank and provide a river crossing for tanks and troops.
During the mid-1960s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration asked him to work on its lunar rover program, but he took a less glamorous route, joining the Portland Cement Association, a concrete industry group that in 1997 spun off Construction Technology Laboratories to become a for-profit research and engineering company.
"The aircraft hits wounded the buildings, but they could have recovered if it weren't for the fire," says Corley, who has been to Ground Zero four times since Sept. 11.
At both Portland Cement and Construction Technology Laboratories, Corley explored the effects of fire on various materials, a body of knowledge that is proving essential in the Trade Center investigation.
The inquiry centers on three areas:
Fireproofing: Investigators are trying to figure out whether the impact of the planes dislodged the fireproofing that was sprayed onto the structural steel of the twin towers -- an outcome that would have made the steel far more vulnerable to fire.
To determine what happened, the team will work backward, estimating the temperature of the fire just before the collapses occurred by taking samples of the salvaged steel that now sits in junk yards in New Jersey and a New York City dump.
"That should give us a pretty good clue" about whether fireproofing stayed on or not, Corley says.
(Surviving chalk marks on that steel indicate where each piece went in the building.) Investigators then will use computer modeling to ascertain how long the buildings should have stood up, both with fireproofing intact and with it knocked off.
Escape routes: Based on media accounts showing that the vast majority of the dead were trapped on or above the floors where the planes hit, it appears that the stairwells in the Trade Center were wide enough to allow people on lower floors to get out and probably would have been wide enough to accommodate those on the upper floors as well. Elevators apparently operated right up to the time of collapse, though only on the floors below where the jets struck. (Not all elevators served the upper floors, and those that did were likely inoperable.)
As a result, Corley says, investigators are focusing on what happened on the floors where the planes hit and above. Did the jets smash through the stairwells, blocking access to escape routes on these floors? Or did the stairwells remain intact and fire prevented people from reaching them?
Structure: Corley's team is seeking to determine which structural elements of the twin towers gave way first and whether the skyscrapers' unique structural system played any role in the collapse.
Designed by the late architect Minoru Yamasaki and structural engineers Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, Robertson, the twin towers were each largely supported by a "tube" of closely spaced perimeter steel columns that formed a rigid box. That contrasts with a more typical building, in which an internal cage of columns and beams support a non-load-bearing exterior "curtain wall."
In another innovation, lightweight steel trusses (rather than heavier steel beams) supported the buildings' floors and connected the perimeter columns to the steel columns of each building's core. Finally, a pair of bolts (instead of multiple bolts) connected each truss unit to each perimeter column and core column.
The towers' structural system, which was economical because it used less steel and took less time to erect, was "unusual and not really repeated" in other buildings, says one member of the team, who asked not to be identified. There was "a very dense frame on the outside -- a good thing. But on the other hand, the [trusses] -- that's what you see in Kmart roofs -- they're not common."
Corley is less critical of the support network. "The structural system is a big part of the reason the towers held up after being hit by an airplane. [The investigators] don't think this was a highly vulnerable system. We think it did quite well."
The big question is whether this system was more prone to collapse than a conventional structural network after the planes hit and the fires started raging. The investigators don't know yet, but they are looking at two ways that the collapse might have occurred.
The first theory is best illustrated by a photograph that shows how one of the planes tore through the structural columns of One World Trade Center.
After impact, the weight of those columns would have been transferred to adjacent surviving columns on the perimeter of the building, with the surviving columns temporarily forming a kind of arch over the hole made by the plane. Because the remaining columns would have been supporting more weight than usual, Corley says, "they don't have to be heated as much before you have a collapse."
A variation on this theme is that the core columns collapsed first. Then, they would have dragged down the floor trusses and the exterior columns with them. This would have resembled a classic demolition scheme, Corley says, in which explosives "take out the interior part first."
The collapse also could have occurred another way: The floor trusses would have sagged because of the heat of the fire, and the trusses might have broken free because of the relatively weak connections between them and the columns. The weight of the trusses would have dropped onto the floors below, dangerously adding to their load. At the same time, the perimeter columns would have had no lateral support, causing them to buckle and fly outward.
In each case, one floor would have "pancaked" on top of another, with the weight from above bringing the entire building down. The only difference is which element gave way first -- the floors or the columns.
Some engineers have speculated that One World Trade Center stood longer than its counterpart because it was struck at a higher point -- around the 90th floor rather than 70th floor, as was the case at Two World Trade Center. Therefore, the columns beneath the hole had less weight to support. Such an explanation is plausible, Corley says, but it might founder because of the fact that the lower columns in the Trade Center towers were beefier than the higher columns, meaning that they might be able to handle the added stress on them.
"There is the possibility," he says. "that the [evidence] won't be conclusive and that we'll never know."
However the investigation turns out, Corley is always likely to remember how it got started -- with an incredible coincidence that brought one member of the team dangerously close to one of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
About 8 a.m. that morning, Corley calmly began a conference call with Rossberg and a New York blast effects expert, Robert Smilowitz, about design standards they had been working on to make skyscrapers and other non-government buildings better able to resist the impact of terrorist bombs. Rossberg, who lives in Virginia and was driving to downtown Washington, was speaking on his cell phone.
One World Trade Center had been hit about 15 minutes earlier, but though the engineers were aware of this, they continued with their call, thinking that a small private aircraft had accidentally hit the massive high-rise. They even kept going when Smilowitz, who was in his SoHo office, reported that another plane had struck Two World Trade Center.
By a twist of fate, meanwhile, Rossberg had run into traffic jams and pulled into the parking lot of the Pentagon for respite.
Around 8:40 a.m., he heard a tremendous explosion. The third hijacked plane had just burrowed itself into the side of the America's military hub, perhaps 1,500 feet from Rossberg's car.
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