The World Trade Center Collapse:

How Strong Is The Evidence For Controlled Demolition?


The collapse of the World Trade Center has become an icon, a stunning and brutal image charged with more raw emotional energy than any other recent event.   It numbs the rational mind, it evokes rage and shock and puzzlement and a blind thirst for revenge.  It is an image that has been used and misused by those in power, used as a bludgeon for our proposed enemies and as an excuse for premature emotional closure around a sentimentalized version of the facts, used to infantalize us all and make us crave the warm protection of our fatherly rulers.   But why is it that the event itself has been subjected to so little rigorous investigation or forensic engineering analysis?  Why have we allowed this event, even in its narrowest technical dimension, to evade serious independent investigation for over a year?  Could there be something so awful and yet so obvious that any serious investigation would threaten its exposure?  It is my contention that, even in the absence of the physical evidence which has now been almost entirely destroyed, there is enough photographic and video evidence to raise very serious questions about the official theories, and to point strongly to a controlled demolition.

A controlled demolition on this scale would of course imply the existence of a fairly large and well-connected group of insiders with access to the buildings over a long period of time. And most important of all, they would have to be in enough positions of power and authority to ensure that there could be no real forensic analysis of the collapses, a task that was well and truly accomplished. There can be no question that the WTC site was scrubbed with remarkable haste, and virtually all the physical evidence (“debris”) sent off to landfills and recycling plants before it could be properly studied.  The first chapter of Eric Hufschmid’s book “Painful Questions” gives a detailed discussion of the removal of evidence: 

As we begin to look at the evidence that survived this purge, which comprises a considerable body of photos and video clips, we see more and more major objective features of the collapses that are simply not consistent with a gravitational collapse triggered by plane crashes and fires. The initial appearance of the collapses for many people, technically oriented and otherwise, had a first impression gestalt that told them unmistakably that these were controlled demolitions, and I believe that this first impression was in fact a glimpse of the truth.

And despite the official or quasi-official theories that have been put forward to explain the collapses, there is much physical evidence that these models simply cannot account for.




The Available Evidence


WTC-1 collapse picture from Eric Huffschmid's "Painful Questions"



Still Photographs




One of the best sources for still photos of the collapses and their aftermath is Here Is New York, the source of several of the pictures on this page.

There are many still pictures that show explosive ejections of debris from the north side of WTC-2, including the cover photo from The War on Freedom .  What is especially striking in the collapse of both towers is the enormous volume of material being ejected early in the collapse, and the quantity shattered steel thrown out ahead of the dust clouds, especially clear in the picture above from Hufschmid's book.  Much of this broken steel consists of neatly chopped one-story long pieces of the perimeter columns, 14" square steel box columns that are assembled in three-story sections.  These columns are also welded to 52" deep plates along each floor, but have somehow been broken free of these at the same time they are chopped up and ejected at high speed.   This combination of shattered debris with dust and smoke ejected at high speed makes for a textbook picture of the effects of high explosives.  


An amazing series of pictures was taken by Bob Biggert, who was killed by the pyroclastic flow from the North Tower.



Click for animated GIF of South Tower collapse

The link below is a 3MB AVI of the WTC-2 collapse, with the north tower in the foreground but shot from a little east of north so you can see quite a bit of the south tower. At the start of the collapse the south tower begins to lean to the south, away from us in this view, so there should be no significant compression (and possibly some traction, if the core has any resistance) on the side closeset to us. This means that there is no way from the action of gravity to generate the high pressures it would take to pulverize and eject material in the manner seen. Instead of the kind of slow start we would expect at the start of a gravitational collapse we see high speed “demolition waves” coming directly toward us, with another set shooting out to the left, from the east side of the building. These ase basically the lines of squibs that are that so characteristic of a controlled demolition, and they can be seen emerging in flat rings that run right around the tower and accelerate rapidly downward.

We see the building literally “popping out floor by floor as several of the firefighters on the scene at the time described in the documentary “9/11” made by the Naudet brothers:  

Here’s another interesting snippet from “9/11”:

WTC-2  demolition wave can be seen even more clearly in this video, shot by Evan Fairbank from almost beneath the south tower.  Very energetic ejections of dust and debris occur floor by floor , moving rapidly down the tower.  He photographs the collapse briefly, then turns and runs from the pyroclastic cloud. 


WTC-7, which collapsed on the afternoon of 9/11, looks like a classic controlled demolition, almost uncannily smooth.  The picture above links to a 12mb MPEG of the collapse taken from the Naudet brothers' documentary.  For those with limited bandwidth here is a smaller (3.8mb) version in animated GIF format.


Elongated squibs: This short clip of the North Tower collapse, taken from a 9-11 timeline done by KTLA in Los Angeles shows two sharply defined jets emerging from the side of the building.  Seen in profile, they extend far from the building while remaining as narrow streams.


Physics of WTC Collapse 

Here's a link to my earlier discussion of collapse dynamics, with a more detailed discussion of the significance of the pyroclastic flows seen in the WTC 1 and 2 collapses, with links to some interesting videos:

Physics of WTC Collapse (english) 
PlaguePuppy 11:15pm Mon Sep 16 '02 (Modified on 9:18am Tue Sep 17 '02)


Other Resources


A good overview of the unanswered WTC questions on the Democratic Underground 9/11 forum (some flaming):