by David Ray Griffin
January 18 2006
“[T]here was just an
explosion [in the south tower]. It seemed like on
television [when] they blow up these buildings. It
seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt,
all these explosions.”
“I saw a flash flash flash [at] the lower level of the
building. You know like when they demolish a building'”
Commissioner Stephen Gregory
“[I]t was [like a] professional demolition where they
set the charges on certain floors and then you hear
'Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop'."
--Paramedic Daniel Rivera
I could not have written
this essay without the amazingly generous help of
Matthew Everett, who located and passed on to me
most of the statements in the 9/11 oral histories quoted
David Ray Griffin
is professor emeritus of philosophy of religion and
theology at the Claremont School of Theology and
Claremont Graduate University, where he taught 31 years.
He has published some 30 books, including The New Pearl
Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush
Administration and 9/11 (Interlink Books, 2004) and The
9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions
(Interlink Books, 2005).
The above quotations come from a collection of 9/11 oral histories
that, although recorded by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) at
the end of 2001, were publicly released only on August 12, 2005.
Prior to that date, very few Americans knew the content of these
accounts or even the fact that they existed.
Why have we not known about them until recently' Part of the answer
is that the city of New York would not release them until it was
forced to do so. Early in 2002, the New York Times requested copies
under the freedom of information act, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s
administration refused. So the Times, joined by several families of
9/11 victims, filed suit. After a long process, the city was finally
ordered by the New York Court of Appeals to release the records
(with some exceptions and redactions allowed). Included were oral
histories, in interview form, provided by 503 firefighters and
medical workers.1 (Emergency Medical Services had become a division
within the Fire Department.2) The Times then made these oral
histories publicly available.3
Once the content of these testimonies is examined, it is easy to see
why persons concerned to protect the official story about 9/11 would
try to keep them hidden. By suggesting that explosions were
occurring in the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, they pose a
challenge to the official account of 9/11, according to which the
towers were caused to collapse solely by the impact of the airplanes
and the resulting fires.
In any case, now that the oral histories have finally been released,
it is time for Americans and the world in general to see what these
brave men and women reported about that fateful day. If this
information forces a reevaluation of the official story about 9/11,
better now than later.
That said, it must be added that although these oral histories are
of great significance, they do not contain the first reports of
explosions in the Twin Towers. Such reports---from firefighters,
reporters, and people who had worked in the towers---started
becoming available right after 9/11.
These reports, however, were not widely publicized by the mainstream
press and, as a result, have for the most part been known only
within the '9/11 truth movement,' which has focused on evidence that
seems inconsistent with the official story.
I will begin by summarizing some of those previously available
reports. Readers will then be able to see that although in some
respects the newly released oral histories simply add reinforcement,
they also are revelatory documents: Some of the testimonies are
quite stunning, even to people familiar with the earlier reports;
and there are now so many testimonies that even the most skeptical
reader is likely to find the cumulative effect impressive.
911 Commission Report - Omissions and
Available Testimony Suggestive of Explosions in the Twin Towers
The day after 9/11, a story in the Los Angeles Times,
referring to the south tower, said:
'There were reports of an explosion
right before the tower fell, then a strange sucking sound, and
finally the sound of floors collapsing."4
A story in the Guardian said that,
'police and fire officials were
carrying out the first wave of evacuations when the first of the
World Trade Centre towers collapsed. Some eyewitnesses reported
hearing another explosion just before the structure crumbled.
Police said that it looked almost like a 'planned implosion.'"5
'Planned implosion' is another term for controlled demolition, in
which explosives are placed at crucial places throughout a building
so that, when set off in the proper order, they will cause the
building to come down in the desired way. When it is close to other
buildings, the desired way will be straight down into, or at least
close to, the building's footprint, so that it does not damage the
surrounding buildings. This type of controlled demolition is called
an 'implosion.' To induce an implosion in steel-frame buildings, the
explosives must be set so as to break the steel columns. Each of the
Twin Towers had 47 massive steel columns in its core and 236 steel
columns around the periphery.
To return now to testimonies about explosions:
There were many reports about an
explosion in the basement of the north tower. For example,
janitor William Rodriguez reported that he and others felt an
explosion below the first sub-level office at 9 AM, after which
co-worker Felipe David, who had been in front of a nearby
freight elevator, came into the office with severe burns on his
face and arms yelling "explosion! explosion! explosion!"6
Rodriguez's account has been
corroborated by Jos' Sanchez, who was in the workshop on the fourth
sub-level. Sanchez said that he and a co-worker heard a big blast
that 'sounded like a bomb,' after which 'a huge ball of fire went
through the freight elevator.'7
Engineer Mike Pecoraro, who was working in the sixth sub-basement of
the north tower, said that after an explosion he and a co-worker
went up to the C level, where there was a small machine shop. 'There
was nothing there but rubble,' said Pecoraro. 'We're talking about a
50 ton hydraulic press--gone!' They then went to the parking garage,
but found that it was also gone. Then on the B level, they found
that a steel-and-concrete fire door, which weighed about 300 pounds,
was wrinkled up "like a piece of aluminum foil." Having seen similar
things after the terrorist attack in 1993, Pecoraro was convinced
that a bomb had gone off.8
Given these testimonies to explosions in the basement levels of the
towers, it is interesting that Mark Loizeaux, head of Controlled
Demolition, Inc., has been quoted as saying: 'If I were to bring the
towers down, I would put explosives in the basement to get the
weight of the building to help collapse the structure.'9
Some of the testimonies suggested that more than one explosion
occurred in one tower or the other. FDNY Captain Dennis Tardio,
speaking of the south tower, said: "I hear an explosion and I look
up. It is as if the building is being imploded, from the top floor
down, one after another, boom, boom, boom."10
In June of 2002, NBC television played segments from tapes recorded
on 9/11. One segment contained the following exchange, which
involved firefighters in the south tower:
Official: Battalion 3 to
dispatch, we've just had another explosion.
Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we've had additional
Dispatcher: Received battalion command. Additional
Firefighter Louie Cacchioli, after
entering the north tower lobby and seeing elevator doors completely
blown out and people being hit with debris, asked himself, 'how
could this be happening so quickly if a plane hit way above'' After
he reached the 24th floor, he and another fireman 'heard this huge
explosion that sounded like a bomb [and] knocked off the lights and
stalled the elevator.' After they pried themselves out of the
'another huge explosion like the
first one hits. This one hits about two minutes later... [and]
I'm thinking,' 'Oh. My God, these bastards put bombs in here
like they did in 1993!' 12
Multiple explosions were also reported
by Teresa Veliz, who worked for a software development company in
the north tower. She was on the 47th floor, she reported, when
'the whole building shook...
[Shortly thereafter] the building shook again, this time even
more violently.' Then, while Veliz was making her way downstairs
and outside: 'There were explosions going off everywhere. I was
convinced that there were bombs planted all over the place and
someone was sitting at a control panel pushing detonator
buttons... There was another explosion. And another. I didn't
know where to run.'13
Steve Evans, a New York-based
correspondent for the BBC, said:
'I was at the base of the second
tower... that was hit... There was an explosion... The base of
the building shook... [T]hen there was a series of
Sue Keane, an officer in the New Jersey
Fire Police Department who was previously a sergeant in the U.S.
Army, said in her account of the onset of the collapse of the south
'[I]t sounded like bombs going off.
That's when the explosions happened... I knew something was
going to happen.. . It started to get dark, then all of a sudden
there was this massive explosion.' Then, discussing her
experiences during the collapse of the north tower, she said:
'[There was] another explosion. That sent me and the two
firefighters down the stairs... I can't tell you how many times
I got banged around. Each one of those explosions picked me up
and threw me... There was another explosion, and I got thrown
with two firefighters out onto the street.'15
Wall Street Journal reporter John Bussey,
describing his observation of the collapse of the south tower from
the ninth floor of the WSJ office building, said:
'I... looked up out of the office
window to see what seemed like perfectly synchronized explosions
coming from each floor... One after the other, from top to
bottom, with a fraction of a second between, the floors blew to
Another Wall Street Journal reporter
said that after seeing what appeared to be 'individual floors, one
after the other exploding outward,' he thought:
''My God, they're going to bring the
building down.' And they, whoever they are, HAD SET CHARGES... I
saw the explosions.'17
A similar perception was reported by
Beth Fertig of WNYC Radio, who said:
'It just descended like a timed
explosion' like when they are deliberately bringing a building
down... It was coming down so perfectly that in one part of my
brain I was thinking, 'They got everyone out, and they're
bringing the building down because they have to.'18
A more graphic testimony to this
perception was provided on the film made by the Naudet brothers. In
a clip from that film, one can watch two firemen describing their
experiences to other firemen.
Fireman 1: 'We made it outside,
we made it about a block ...'
Fireman 2: 'We made it at least two blocks and we started
running.' He makes explosive sounds and then uses a chopping
hand motion to emphasize his next point: 'Floor by floor it
started popping out ...'
Fireman 1: 'It was as if they had detonated--as if they were
planning to take down a building, boom boom boom boom boom
Fireman 2: 'All the way down. I was watching it and running.
And then you just saw this cloud of shit chasing you
As these illustrations show, quite
impressive testimony to the occurrence of explosions in the Twin
Towers existed even prior to the release of the oral histories. As
we will see, however, these oral histories have made the testimony
much more impressive, qualitatively as well as quantitatively. The
cumulative testimony now points even more clearly than before not
simply to explosions but to controlled demolition.
the Oral Histories Suggestive of Controlled Demolition
Several FDNY members reported that they heard an explosion just
before the south tower collapsed. For example, Battalion Chief John
Sudnik said that while he and others were working at the command
'we heard a loud explosion or what
sounded like a loud explosion and looked up and I saw tower two
start coming down.' 20
Firefighter Timothy Julian said:
'First I thought it was an
explosion. I thought maybe there was a bomb on the plane, but
delayed type of thing, you know secondary device... I just heard
like an explosion and then a cracking type of noise, and then it
sounded like a freight train, rumbling and picking up speed, and
I remember I looked up, and I saw it coming down.'21
Emergency medical technician Michael
'[W]e heard a rumble, some twisting
metal, we looked up in the air, and... it looked to me just like
an explosion. It didn't look like the building was coming down,
it looked like just one floor had blown completely outside of
it... I didn't think they were coming down. I just froze and
stood there looking at it.'22
Ober's testimony suggests that he heard
and saw the explosion before he saw any sign that the building was
This point is made even more clearly by Chief Frank Cruthers, who
'There was what appeared to be at
first an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously
from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then
there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the
beginning of the collapse."23
These statements by Ober and Cruthers,
indicating that there was a delay between the explosion and the
beginning of the collapse, suggest that the sounds and the
horizontal ejection of materials could not be attributed simply to
the onset of the collapse.
before the Collapse
As we saw earlier, some people in the towers reported that there
were powerful explosions in the basements. Such explosions would
likely have caused the ground to shake.
Such shaking was reported by medical technician Lonnie Penn, who
said that just before the collapse of the south tower:
'I felt the ground shake, I turned
around and ran for my life. I made it as far as the Financial
Center when the collapse happened.'24
According to the official account, the
vibrations that people felt were produced by material from the
collapsing towers hitting the ground. Penn's account, however,
indicates that the shaking must have occurred several seconds before
Shaking prior to the collapse of the north tower was described by
fire patrolman Paul Curran. He was standing near it, he said, when,
'all of a sudden the ground just
started shaking. It felt like a train was running under my
feet... The next thing we know, we look up and the tower is
Lieutenant Bradley Mann of the fire
department, one of the people to witness both collapses, described
shaking prior to each of them.
"Shortly before the first tower came
down,' he said, 'I remember feeling the ground shaking. I heard
a terrible noise, and then debris just started flying
everywhere. People started running."
Then, after they had returned to the
area, he said,
'we basically had the same thing:
The ground shook again, and we heard another terrible noise and
the next thing we knew the second tower was coming down."26
The oral histories contain numerous testimonies with reports of more
than one explosion. Paramedic Kevin Darnowski, for example, said:
"I started walking back up towards
Vesey Street. I heard three explosions, and then we heard like
groaning and grinding, and tower two started to come down.'27
Gregg Brady, an emergency medical
technician, reported the same thing about the north tower, saying:
'I heard 3 loud explosions. I look
up and the north tower is coming down now."28
Somewhat more explosions were reported
by firefighter Thomas Turilli, who said, referring to the south
tower, that 'it almost sounded like bombs going off, like boom,
boom, boom, like seven or eight."29
Even more explosions were reported by Craig Carlsen, who said that
while he and other firefighters were looking up at the towers, they,
'heard explosions coming from
building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever,
but there were about ten explosions... We then realized the
building started to come down.'30
As before, 'pops' were reported by some witnesses.
'As we are looking up at the [south
tower],' said firefighter Joseph Meola, 'it looked like the
building was blowing out on all four sides. We actually heard
the pops. Didn't realize it was the falling--you know, you heard
the pops of the building. You thought it was just blowing
'Pops' were also reported by paramedic
Daniel Rivera in the following exchange:
Q. How did you know that it [the
south tower] was coming down'
A. That noise. It was noise.
Q. What did you hear' What did you see'
A. It was a frigging noise. At first I thought it was---do you
ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on
certain floors and then you hear 'Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop''
That's exactly what--because I thought it was that. When I heard
that frigging noise, that's when I saw the building coming
Beginning below the Strike Zone and Fire
According to the official account, the 'pancaking' of the floors
began when the floors above the strike zone, where the supports were
weakened by the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires,
fell on the floors below. Some witnesses reported, however, that the
collapse of the south tower began lower than the floors that were
struck by the airliner and hence lower than the fires.
Timothy Burke reported that while he was watching flames coming out
of the south tower, 'the building popped, lower than the fire.' He
later heard a rumor that 'the aviation fuel fell into the pit, and
whatever floor it fell on heated up really bad, and that's why it
popped at that floor.' At the time, however, he said,
'I was going oh, my god, there is a
secondary device because the way the building popped. I thought
it was an explosion.'33
This same twofold observation was made
by firefighter Edward Cachia, who said:
'As my officer and I were looking at
the south tower, it just gave. It actually gave at a lower
floor, not the floor where the plane hit... [W]e originally had
thought there was like an internal detonation, explosives,
because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then
the tower came down.'34
Indications of Controlled Demolition
Some witnesses reported other phenomena, beyond explosions,
suggestive of controlled demolition.
- The Appearance of
Implosion: When a building close to other buildings is
brought down by controlled demolition, as mentioned earlier, it
typically implodes and hence comes straight down into, or at
least close to, its own footprint, so that it does not fall over
on surrounding structures.
As we saw above in the accounts that were previously available,
both police and fire officials were quoted as saying that the
towers seemed to implode. This perception was also stated in the
oral history of Lieutenant James Walsh, who said:
"The [north tower] didn't fall
the way you would think tall buildings would fall. Pretty
much it looked like it imploded on itself."35
- Flashes: Another
common feature of controlled demolitions is that people who are
properly situated may see flashes when the explosives go off.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory said:
'I thought... before... No. 2
came down, that I saw low-level flashes... Lieutenant
Evangelista... asked me if I saw low-level flashes in front
of the building, and I agreed with him because I... saw a
flash flash flash... [at] the lower level of the building.
You know like when they demolish a building, how when they
blow up a building, when it falls down' That's what I
thought I saw.'36
Flashes were reported in the north
tower by Captain Karin Deshore, who said: 'Somewhere around the
middle of the World Trade Center, there was this orange and red
flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash.'37
- Demolition Rings: At this point, Deshore's
account moved to another standard phenomenon seen by those who
watch controlled demolitions: explosion rings, in which a series
of explosions runs rapidly around a building. Deshore's next
'Then this flash just kept
popping all the way around the building and that building
had started to explode. The popping sound, and with each
popping sound it was initially an orange and then a red
flash came out of the building and then it would just go all
around the building on both sides as far as I could see.
These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger,
going both up and down and then all around the building."38
An explosion ring (or belt) was also
described by firefighter Richard Banaciski. Speaking of the
south tower, he said:
'[T]here was just an explosion.
It seemed like on television [when] they blow up these
buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around
like a belt, all these explosions.'39
A description of what appeared to be
a ring of explosions was also given by Deputy Commissioner
Thomas Fitzpatrick, who said:
"We looked up at the [south
tower] ... All we saw was a puff of smoke coming from about
2 thirds of the way up ... It looked like sparkling around
one specific layer of the building... My initial reaction
was that this was exactly the way it looks when they show
you those implosions on TV."40
- Horizontal Ejections:
Another feature of controlled demolition, at least when quite
powerful explosives are used, is that things are ejected
horizontally from the floors on which the explosions occur. Such
ejections were mentioned in the testimony of Chief Frank
Cruthers above. Similarly, Captain Jay Swithers said: 'I took a
quick glance at the building and while I didn't see it falling,
I saw a large section of it blasting out, which led me to
believe it was just an explosion.'41
Firefighter James Curran said:
'When I got underneath the north
bridge I looked back and... I heard like every floor went
chu-chu-chu. Looked back and from the pressure everything
was getting blown out of the floors before it actually
Battalion Chief Brian Dixon said:
'I was... hearing a noise and
looking up... [T]he lowest floor of fire in the south tower
actually looked like someone had planted explosives around
it because... everything blew out on the one floor. I
thought, geez, this looks like an explosion up there, it
These reports by Curran and Dixon
conform to what can be seen by looking at photographs and videos
of the collapses, which show that various materials, including
sections of steel and aluminum, were blown out hundreds of
feet.44 Such powerful ejections of materials are exactly what
would be expected from explosions powerful enough to cause such
huge buildings to collapse.
- Dust Clouds: The most visible material ejected
horizontally from buildings during controlled demolition,
especially buildings with lots of concrete, is dust, which forms
more or less expansive dust clouds. Some of the testimonies
about the collapse of the south tower mention that it produced
an enormous amount of dust, which formed clouds so big and thick
that they blocked out all light.
Firefighter Stephen Viola said:
'You heard like loud booms...
and then we got covered with rubble and dust, and I thought
we'd actually fallen through the floor... because it was so
dark you couldn't see anything."45
Firefighter Angel Rivera said:
'That's when hell came down. It
was like a huge, enormous explosion... The wind rushed... ,
all the dust... and everything went dark."46
Lieutenant William Wall said:
'[W]e heard an explosion. We
looked up and the building was coming down right on top of
us... We ran a little bit and then we were overtaken by the
Paramedic Louis Cook said that after
the debris started falling, 'everything went black' and 'you
couldn't breathe because [of] all the dust. There was just an
incredible amount of dust and smoke.' He then found that there
was, 'without exaggerating, a foot and a half of dust on [his]
The kind of dust clouds typically produced during a controlled
demolition can be seen on videos of the demolition of Seattle's
Kingdome and the Reading Grain Facility.49 If these videos are
then compared with photos and videos of the collapses of the
Twin Towers,50 it can be seen that the dust clouds in the latter
are even bigger.51
- Timed or Synchronized Explosions: Some people
said that the collapses had the appearance of timed,
synchronized demolitions. Battalion Chief Dominick DeRubbio,
speaking of the collapse of the south tower, said: 'It was weird
how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed
Firefighter Kenneth Rogers said:
"[T]here was an explosion in the
south tower... I kept watching. Floor after floor after
floor. One floor under another after another and when it hit
about the fifth floor, I figured it was a bomb, because it
looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing. I was
there in '93."53
Given so many signs that the buildings had been brought down by
controlled demolition, we might expect that debates about this issue
would have taken place. And they did.
Firefighter Christopher Fenyo, after describing events that occurred
after the first collapse, said:
'At that point, a debate began to
rage because... many people had felt that possibly explosives
had taken out 2 World Trade, and officers were gathering
companies together and the officers were debating whether or not
to go immediately back in or to see what was going to happen
with 1 World Trade at that point. The debate ended pretty
quickly because 1 World Trade came down."54
Firefighter William Reynolds reported on
a conversation he had with a battalion chief:
'I said, 'Chief, they're evacuating
the other building; right'' He said, 'No.'... I said, 'Why not'
They blew up the other one.' I thought they blew it up with a
bomb. I said, 'If they blew up the one, you know they're gonna
blow up the other one.' He said, 'No, they're not.' I said,
'Well, you gotta tell them to evacuate it, because it's gonna
fall down and you gotta get the guys out.'... He said, 'I'm just
the Battalion Chief. I can't order that.'... I said, 'You got a
fucking radio and you got a fucking mouth. Use the fucking
things. Empty this fucking building.' Again he said, 'I'm just a
Battalion Chief. I can't do that.'... Eventually this other
chief came back and said, 'They are evacuating this tower.'...
And sometime after that... I watched the north tower fall."55
As both accounts suggest, the perception
that the south tower had been brought down by explosives may have
resulted in fewer lives being lost in the north tower collapse than
would otherwise have been the case.
about Explosions Has Not Become Public Knowledge
If so many witnesses reported effects that seemed to be produced by
explosives, with some of them explicitly saying that the collapses
appeared to be cases of controlled demolition, why is this testimony
not public knowledge' Part of the answer, as I mentioned at the
outset, is that the city of New York refused to release it until
forced to do so by the highest court of the state of New York
But why did we have to wait for this court-ordered release to learn
about these testimonies' Should not they have been discussed in The
9/11 Commission Report, which was issued over a year earlier' This
Report, we are told in the preface, sought 'to provide the fullest
possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.' Why does it not
include any of the testimony in the 9/11 oral histories suggestive
of controlled demolition'
The answer cannot be that the Commission did not know about these
oral histories. Although '[t]he city also initially refused access
to the records to investigators from... the 9/11 Commission,' Jim
Dwyer of the New York Times tells us, it 'relented when legal action
was threatened.'56 So the Commission could have discussed the
testimonies about explosions in the oral histories. It also, in
order to help educate the public, could have called some of the
firefighters and medical workers to repeat their testimony during
one of the Commission's public hearings. But it did not.
Why, we may wonder, have the firefighters and medical workers not
been speaking out' At least part of the reason may be suggested by a
statement made by Auxiliary Lieutenant Fireman Paul Isaac. Having
said that 'there were definitely bombs in those buildings,' Isaac
added that 'many other firemen know there were bombs in the
buildings, but they're afraid for their jobs to admit it because the
'higher-ups' forbid discussion of this fact.'57
Would we not expect, however, that a few courageous members of the
fire department would have contacted the 9/11 Commission to tell
their story' Indeed. But telling their story to the Commission was
no guarantee that it would find its way into the final report---as
indicated by the account of one fireman who made the effort.
Firefighter Louie Cacchioli, who was quoted earlier, testified in
2004 to members of the Commission's staff. But, he reported, they
were so unreceptive that he ended up walking out in anger.
'I felt like I was being put on
trial in a court room,' said Cacchioli. 'They were trying to
twist my words and make the story fit only what they wanted to
hear. All I wanted to do was tell the truth and when they
wouldn't let me do that, I walked out.'58
That Cacchioli's experience was not
atypical is suggested by janitor William Rodriguez, whose testimony
was also quoted earlier. Although Rodriguez was invited to the White
House as a National Hero for his rescue efforts on 9/11, he was, he
said, treated quite differently by the Commission:
"I met with the 9/11 Commission
behind closed doors and they essentially discounted everything I
said regarding the use of explosives to bring down the north
When reading The 9/11 Commission Report,
one will not find the name of Cacchioli, or Rodriguez, or anyone
else reporting explosions in the towers. It would appear that the
Commission deliberately withheld this information, as it apparently
did with regard to Able Danger60 and many other things that should
have been included in 'the fullest possible account of the events
The definitive report about the collapse of the towers was to have
been provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST). According to Rodriguez, however, this investigative body was
equally uninterested in his testimony:
'I contacted NIST... four times
without a response. Finally, [at a public hearing] I asked them
before they came up with their conclusion... if they ever
considered my statements or the statements of any of the other
survivors who heard the explosions. They just stared at me with
In light of this report of NIST's
response, it is not surprising to find that its final report, which
in the course of supporting the official story about the collapses
ignores many vital issues,63 makes no mention of reports of
explosions and other phenomena suggestive of controlled demolition.
It is sometimes said that the mandate of an official commission is,
by definition, to support the official story. Insofar as that is
true, it is not surprising that neither NIST nor the 9/11 Commission
saw fit to discuss testimony suggestive of explosions in the Twin
Towers, since this testimony is in strong tension with the official
At least most of those who offered this testimony did not, to be
sure, mean to challenge the most important element in the official
story about 9/11, which is that the attacks were entirely the work
of foreign terrorists. For example, firefighter Timothy Julian,
after saying that he,
'thought it was an explosion,'
added: 'I thought maybe there was a bomb on the plane, but
delayed type of thing, you know secondary device.'64
Assistant Commissioner James Drury said:
'I thought the terrorists planted
explosives somewhere in the building.'65
The problem, however, is that a bomb
delivered by a plane, or even a few explosives planted 'somewhere in
the building,' would not explain the many phenomena suggestive of
controlled demolition, such as explosion rings and other features
indicating that the explosions were 'synchronized' and otherwise
'timed.' As Mark Loizeaux, the head of Controlled Demolition, Inc.,
has explained, 'to bring [a building] down as we want, so no one or
no other structure is harmed,' the demolition must be 'completely
planned.' One needs 'the right explosive [and] the right pattern of
laying the charges.'66
The 9/11 oral histories, therefore, create a difficult question for
those who defend the official story: How could al-Qaeda terrorists
have gotten access to the Twin Towers for all the hours required to
place all the explosives needed to bring down buildings of that
size' It is primarily because they force this question that the
testimony about explosions in the towers is itself explosive.
Jim Dwyer, "City to Release
Thousands of Oral Histories of 9/11 Today," New York Times,
August 12, 2005. As Dwyer explained, the oral histories "were
originally gathered on the order of Thomas Von Essen, the city
fire commissioner on Sept. 11, who said he wanted to preserve
those accounts before they became reshaped by a collective
Jim Dwyer, "Vast Archive Yields New
View of 9/11," New York Times, August 13, 2005.
These oral histories are available
at a NYT website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html).
Los Angeles Times, September 12,
"Special Report: Terrorism in the
US," Guardian, Sept. 12, 2001.
Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast
and Injured Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High,"
Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
Greg Szymanski, "Second WTC Janitor
Comes Forward With Eye-Witness Testimony Of 'Bomb-Like'
Explosion in North Tower Basement," Arctic Beacon.com, July 12,
"We Will Not Forget: A Day of
Terror," The Chief Engineer, July, 2002.
Christopher Bollyn, "New Seismic
Data Refutes Official Explanation," American Free Press, Updated
April 12, 2004 (http://www.americanfreepress.net/09_03_02/NEW_SEISMIC_/new_seismic_.html).
Quoted in Dennis Smith, Report from
Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade
Center (New York: Penguin, 2002), 18.
"911 Tapes Tell Horror Of 9/11,"
Part 2, "Tapes Released For First Time," NBC TV, June 17, 2002 (www.wnbc.com/news/1315651/detail.html).
Greg Szymanski, "NY Fireman Lou Cacchioli Upset that 9/11
Commission 'Tried to Twist My Words,'" Arctic Beacon.com, July
19, 2005. Although the oral histories that were released on
August 12 did not include one from Cacchioli, the fact that he
was on duty is confirmed in the oral history of Thomas Turilli,
Dean E. Murphy, September 11: An
Oral History (New York: Doubleday, 2002), 9-15.
BBC, Sept. 11, 2001.
Quoted in Susan Hagen and Mary
Carouba, Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion
(Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002), 65-66, 68.
John Bussey, "Eye of the Storm: One
Journey Through Desperation and Chaos," Wall Street Journal,
September 12, 2001 (http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/040802pulitzer5.htm).
Alicia Shepard, Cathy Trost, and
Newseum, Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News
of 9/11, Foreword by Tom Brokaw (Lanham, Md.: Rowman &
Littlefield, 2002), 87.
Quoted in Judith Sylvester and
Suzanne Huffman, Women Journalists at Ground Zero (Lanham:
Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 19.
For the video of this conversation,
see 'Evidence of Demolition Charges in WTC 2,' What Really
Oral History of John Sudnik, 4 (for
where to find the 9/11 oral histories of the FDNY, see note 3,
Oral History of Timothy Julian, 10.
Oral History of Michael Ober, 4.
Oral History of Frank Cruthers, 4.
Oral History of Lonnie Penn, 5.
Oral History of Paul Curran, 11.
Oral History of Bradley Mann, 5-7.
Oral History of Kevin Darnowski, 8.
Oral History of Gregg Brady, 7.
Oral History of Thomas Turilli, 4.
Oral History of Craig Carlsen, 5-6.
Oral History of Joseph Meola, 5.
Oral History of Daniel Rivera, 9.
Oral History of Timothy Burke, 8-9.
Oral History of Edward Cachia, 5.
Oral History of James Walsh, 15.
Oral History of Stephen Gregory,
Oral History of Karin Deshore, 15.
Oral History of Richard Banaciski,
Oral History of Thomas Fitzpatrick,
Oral history of Jay Swithers, 5.
Oral History of James Curran, 10-11.
Oral History of Brian Dixon, 15.
Like many others, Dixon indicated that he later came to accept
the official interpretation, adding: "Then I guess in some sense
of time we looked at it and realized, no, actually it just
collapsed. That's what blew out the windows, not that there was
an explosion there but that windows blew out."
See, for example, Eric Hufschmid's
Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack
(Goleta, Calif.: Endpoint Software, 2002); Jim Hoffman's website
and Jeff King's website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html),
especially "The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the
Evidence for a Controlled Demolition'"
Oral History of Stephen Viola, 3.
Oral History of Angel Rivera, 7.
Oral History of William Wall, 9.
Oral History of Louis Cook, 8, 35.
The demolition of the Kingdome can
be viewed at the website of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (http://www.controlled-demolition.com/default.asp'reqLocId=7&reqItemId=20030317140323),
that of the Reading Grain Facility at ImplosionWorld.com (http://implosionworld.com/reading.html).
I am indebted to Jim Hoffman for help on this and several other
See the writings of Hufschmid,
Hoffman, and King mentioned in note 44.
For a calculation of the energy
required simply for the expansion of one of the resulting dust
clouds, see Jim Hoffman, "The North Tower's Dust Cloud" (http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volume.html).
Hoffman concludes that gravitational energy would have been far
Oral History of Dominick DeRubbio,
5. DeRubbio, at least professing to accept the official
interpretation, added, "but I guess it was just the floors
starting to pancake one on top of the other."
Oral History of Kenneth Rogers, 3-4.
Oral History of Christopher Fenyo,
Oral History of William Reynolds, 8.
Dwyer, "City to Release Thousands of
Oral Histories of 9/11 Today."
Randy Lavello, "Bombs in the
Building"; Prison Planet.com (http://www.prisonplanet.com/analysis_lavello_050503_bombs.html).
Greg Szymanski, "NY Fireman Lou
Cacchioli Upset that 9/11 Commission 'Tried to Twist My Words'"
Arctic Beacon.com, July 19, 2005.
Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast
and Injured Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High,"
Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
See MSNBC, "Officer: 9/11 Panel
Didn't Pursue Atta Claim" August 17, 2005 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8985244&&CM=EmailThis&CE=1),
and Philip Shenon, "Navy Officer Affirms Assertions about
Pre-9/11 Data on Atta," New York Times, August 22, 2005.
For other items, see David Ray
Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions
(Northampton: Interlink, 2005).
Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast
and Injured Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High,"
Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
See Kevin Ryan, "Propping Up the War
on Terror: Lies about the WTC by NIST and Underwriters
Laboratories," in David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds.,
9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out
(Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, Fall 2006), and Jim
Hoffman, "Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000
Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century" (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html).
Oral History of Timothy Julian, 10.
Oral History of James Drury, 12.
Liz Else, "Baltimore Blasters," New
Scientist 183/2457 (July 24, 2004), 48
Surprisingly, after explaining how precisely explosives must be
set to ensure that a building comes straight down, Loizeaux said
that upon seeing the fires in the Twin Towers, he knew that they
were "going to pancake down, almost vertically. It was the only
way they could fail. It was inevitable." Given the fact that
fire had never before caused tall steel-frame buildings to
collapse, let alone in a way that perfectly mimicked controlled
demolition, Loizeaux's statement was doubly puzzling. His
company, incidentally, was hired to do the clean-up of the WTC
site after 9/11.