Saturday, November 11, 2006

Loud and clear

Venezuela's president continued his criticism of President Bush after the pro-Chávez legislature declared that the 9/11 attacks were `self-inflicted.'

Special to The Miami Herald

CARACAS - When Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chávez called President Bush ''the devil'' in a U.N. speech in September, many thought his ''anti-imperialist'' rhetoric had reached rock bottom.

But fresh depths have since been plumbed. [Plumb them! Plumb them!] The Venezuelan government, to judge from recent events, officially regards Bush as a genocidal Nazi who arranged the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to justify aggression against other nations.

In a speech Tuesday, Chávez criticized the decision of an Iraqi court to sentence former dictator Saddam Hussein to the death penalty. ''If sentencing is to be done,'' Chávez said, ``the first one to be given the most severe sentence this planet has to offer should be the president of the United States, if we're talking about genocidal presidents.''


His comments, which were fairly typical of his recent attacks on Bush, came shortly after the publication of a resolution by Venezuela's legislative National Assembly describing the 9/11 attacks as ''self-inflicted'' and after an exhibition at the Foreign Ministry building in Caracas in which Bush was portrayed as a Nazi storm trooper.

The resolution, which appeared in the official government gazette in mid-October, primarily criticized Washington's decision to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out.

But in its fourth paragraph, it calls on the U.S. Congress to ``demand that the government of President Bush explain the self-inflicted attack on the World Trade Center and its victims, the supposed aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon and the links between the bin Laden family and the Bush family.''

The resolution, drafted by the deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Carlos Escarrá, was passed unanimously by the 167-member assembly, all of them Chávez supporters after an opposition boycott of elections last December.

Both Chávez and Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro have referred several times in the past to suspicions that the 9/11 attacks were planned by the Bush administration, and have called for an inquiry.

But this appears to be the first time that the term ''self-inflicted attack'' has been used without qualification.

Asked how the legislature had reached that conclusion, Escarrá said that ''evidence and testimonies'' had emerged in the United States and that ''for the rest of the world, there is no longer any question'' that 9/11 was not an al Qaeda attack. ...

Miami Herald, November 9th 2006


  1. TuppenceWorth2:24 PM

    Interesting article here from the latest Socialist Review on “The Lies that aren't Meant to Deceive Us”. China Miéville (who I believe is a member of Respect) asks, ‘What should we make of ruling class stories that are so outrageous that no one could really fall for them?’ No mention of 9/11, but surely the direction is towards joining up the dots…

  2. It will be an interesting process for the elements that are concerned with social standing, ie don't want to be labelled as 'kooks', 'obsessives' and 'nuts' in their polite yearning to reshape the world.
    To ease them through this difficult time, I suggest a minimalist 9/11 viewpoint: accept what didn't happen.
    No such act has been perpetrated before or after
    None of the perpetrators had attempted anything remotely similar before
    There was no air interception
    There was no investigation
    There is no explanation for wtc7's collapse
    There was no hesitation in attributing it to the cia house terrorist counter gang
    No investigation of the put options through which some entities directly benefited
    No one took credit for 'the greatest single blah blah blah...'

    I could go on but that's just the start, you don't even need to speculate on what did happen, just accept the official conspiracy theory is fantastical, successful bollocks and reserve judgement for a rational explanation.

  3. Tuppenceworth: yes, I saw that article by Miéville at Lenin's Tomb. "No mention of 9/11, but surely the direction is towards joining up the dots…" But why no mention? In November 2006, I see no excuse for it. Is he hinting at something about 9/11? If so, he should stop hinting and say what he means.

    Paul: exactly. Exactly, exactly, exactly. No "theories" whatsoever are required, and I am sick and tired of people trying to reverse the burden of proof.

    - w.

  4. tuppenceworth9:00 AM

    Oh - must have missed the Tomb link to that article when I was trying to wean myself off all the damn blogs! I don't agree with Paul however - how you can accept that the official story is fantastical unless you've looked into it? I must admit I've spent long hours on the web indulging my fairly recent interest in this - and I think you need to in order to discover 'what didn't happen'. (Unless you're like Chavez and have a delegation of people like William Rodriguez visit you to tell you the truth.) That's got to be an obstacle to spreading awareness, until we're flooded with DVDs, TV programmes, articles etc that are more accessible to people with full-time jobs and social lives, who can't spend all evening on the net, innit.

  5. Sorry you don't agree, 2p
    We have been bombarded with the un-criticised official version for over 5 years now, and its as comical as ever. People who can't fly flying, buildings collapsing with no explanation, a totally unforeseen event whose perpetrators were immediately identified though they neglected to claim credit or say why they did it, or ehy they would bite the hand that had fed them all these years.

    When you look at it coldly, it is just bollocks. The only reason people believe it is that they trust the people that told them.

    That's before you start actually taking a hammer to it like thompson, chussodovsky, shoenman, griffin and tarpley have done so well.

  6. Paul: "When you look at it coldly, it is just bollocks. The only reason people believe it is that they trust the people that told them."

    I don't think that's the only reason. I don't believe, for example, that lenin and Miéville actually believe the Bush Gang's grotesque account, or "trust the people who told them [it]". Like hell they do. In the first place, they have allowed themselves to be intimidated by that old and trusty thoughtstopper, the epithet "conspiracy theorist". ("If we ask any questions, someone might laugh at us.") In the second place, they have now manoeuvred themselves into a corner by defending the "blowback" thesis so vehemently for the last five years. To give it up would entail - or would be seen by them as entailing - an intolerable loss of face.

    Chabert has pointed out in several brilliant posts how comforting (and how terribly evidence-resistant) the blowback thesis is to those who hold it. The world looks less chillingly unipolar when 19 Superstudents are held to be capable of striking a deadly blow at the Global Hegemon. Essentially, the Blowback Thesis functions as a comfort blanket, which explains why its adherents are so stubbornly resistant to evidence and to rational argument:

    Suffering Cockburn: 9/11 and the Left's Collective Unconsciousness

  7. Well I wasn't really talking about those folks, more the people that have faith in mass media and get most of their information from it.
    The tomb folk have, unfortunately set their face against ceetee and can't extricate themselves with any dignity, though there is a lot less certainty about this position now, I sense.

    The problem I see with accommodating the criminal element (the fact that there is an extremely sophisticated and ruthless element to primitive accumulation) is that it just doesn't sit easy with a 'systemic' approach.
    If 'capitalism' is seen as the problem(and it certainly is a big problem)it can lead you to exclude the (in)human element. They, quite naturally, truly,madly,deeply want a rational, scientific explanation for what's going down.

    It's a bit discomforting if its just a bunch of crazies doing what's required to stay on top.

    Blowback is odd, it misfits these impulses with a wholly irrational, unscientific appeal to a kind of systemic natural order, what goes around, comes around, karma, etc...basically all that shit that doesn't work when you actually need it.

    Just my opinion though

  8. "Blowback is odd, it misfits these impulses with a wholly irrational, unscientific appeal to a kind of systemic natural order, what goes around, comes around, karma, etc...basically all that shit that doesn't work when you actually need it."

    The poor will inherit the earth. Yup, it's essentially religious.

    Of course, polls in both Germany and the States have shown that a very large number of randomly-selected people think it possible or likely that elements within the US government were involved in 9/11, and at the very least "allowed it to happen". (50% in New York City according to that Zogby poll.) It's the clerical class on the right and left who claim to know better, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever (and despite a ton of carefully-ignored evidence to the contrary).

    I would love to see the SWP and Respect taking a poll amongst British Muslims on precisely this topic. Naturally, they won't. On this very sensitive issue, the proles' opinions are an embarrassment that has to be studiously disregarded. Not very Respectful, that.

    Meanwhile, participation in antiwar protest drops by 1900% from London 2003 to Manchester 2006, and the blogging left laments its chronic inability to form a mass movement. Go figure.

  9. Blowback is another of these things that didn't happen before or after. Islamic terror, well there just isn't enough to go around, one significant attack in 2001,one in 2004, one in 2005, that's it. (if, of course, that is what they were)

    Why has there been no blowback from timor, central and southern america? If blowback is true, then its not a big problem, certainly not enough to be the undoing of it's creators.

    Even if it were true, considering the many nations that have been successfully immiserated and dominated in the last 50 years, it might be one of those prices well worth paying.

  10. "Why has there been no blowback from timor, central and southern america? If blowback is true, then its not a big problem, certainly not enough to be the undoing of it's creators."

    Right. And this is why The Muslim has to be constructed as something essentially inhuman or anti-human. They're not like us, you know, and they're not like Melanesians or Latin Americans either, or indeed like any other human beings at all. They love death.

    Even on the left, there is a strong undercurrent of racism in responses to "Islamic suicide attacks", whether these take place in New York or in London. The bar is lowered for the Establishment and no real evidence is ever demanded, even if the alleged culprits are young guys with everything to live for and no history of violent crime. There is this tacit acceptance that killing themselves and a bunch of random strangers is indeed the kind of thing those people would do at the drop of a hat, quite unnecessarily, for no stated reason and for no perceptible benefit. ("Capable of anything, that lot.")

  11. tuppenceworth3:06 PM

    The point I wanted to make was that those who don’t know what bollocks the official story is don’t even know the official story at all, except that ‘Al-Qaeda did it’. You don’t need either some psychological explanation about the neediness of the believers or a belief in karma to go along with that ‘official’ idea – it seems entirely reasonable to me that people would want revenge for the massacres going on in the Middle East. Immediately after the WTC attacks discussions started about whether it was down to that. Most people just left it at that, and then along came more ‘terrorist’ attacks to keep the story alive, in the UK especially. The more Blair and Co denied that it was all about Iraq, the more we believed that it WAS about Iraq and imperialist barbarity in the Middle East.

    I guess the SWP etc don’t want to spend the time delving into the complexities of 9/11 because, as someone said on Lenin’s Tomb, what difference would it make to our practice if you’re right? After all, the 9/11 movement couldn’t just call a nationwide demo exceeding 1 million people simply because they ‘had the right line’ - there are real factors out there in the world that affect people’s wish to organise or attend demos, whose sizes always go up and down in any movement with the ebb and flow of events.

    An understanding of the role of the US state (or a section of it) over 9/11 often does lead directly to anti-capitalist ideas, with demands for an end to the whole, despicable rule of the ‘military-industrial-complex’ and their political representatives, and for a more rational and human system to replace it. So it would be great if the left’s meagre resources could be added to that movement – BUT whereas it only takes an instant to be enraged about the slaughter in the Middle East, it takes a lot of education to be enraged about the cynical ploy of 9/11. I think that leaves a practical problem for people who actually want to build a left organisation.

  12. Tuppenceworth, it's a lot simpler and a lot more basic than that. All anyone is asking anyone to do is to say what they know (that the Bush Gang's account is utter bollocks) and to stop pretending that they don't know it.

  13. tuppenceworth3:11 PM

    On the 'blowback' issue, aren't you ignoring the struggles in Palestine? Or do you think that people DON'T actually carry out revenge attacks against the Israeli state?

  14. Palestine is Palestine. If people grow up in a prison that denies them all hope, and if they see their families humiliated on a daily basis or even killed, then it's plausible that some of them will take terrible revenge with primitive bombs if and when they can.

    That's very different from saying that 19 prosperous middle-class Superstudents attacked the Global Hegemon without warning, unstoppably, with enormous skill and coolness, for no stated reason, and suicidally in unison.

  15. On the 'blowback' issue, aren't you ignoring the struggles in Palestine?

    No, they don't fit into the blowback story, where us skullduggery comes home and takes a chunk out of its arse, to everyone's great amusement.

    Or do you think that people DON'T actually carry out revenge attacks against the Israeli state?

    That's called resistance, and where do you get the idea I hold this belief?

    Sorry you don't appreciate my amateur psychology, it passes the days.

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  18. Sorry about the triple post, blogger got itself in a knot, I think

  19. I removed the duplicate posts, paul.

    Seen this? From this week's Sunday Herald:

    Lockerbie trial was a CIA fix, US intelligence insider claims

    By Liam McDougall, Home Affairs Editor

    THE CIA manipulated the Lockerbie trial and lied about the strength of the prosecution case to get a result that was politically convenient for America, according to a former US State Department lawyer.

    Michael Scharf, who was the counsel to the US counter-terrorism bureau when the two Libyans were indicted for the bombing, described the case as “so full of holes it was like Swiss cheese” and said it should never have gone to trial.

    He claimed the CIA and FBI had assured State Department officials there was an “iron-clad” case against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and al-Amin Khalifa Fimah, but that in reality the intelligence agencies had no confidence in their star witness and knew well in advance of the trial that he was “a liar”.

    Scharf branded the case a “whitewash” and added: “It was a trial where everybody agreed ahead of time that they were just going to focus on these two guys, and they were the fall guys. ...”

    The CIA lying, for reasons of political convenience, about the alleged involvement of certain named Muslims in a terrorist attack on an airliner? Shurely shome...

    (Conundrum: Does it count as a "conspiracy theory" when it's supported by an "intelligence insider" but denied by an intelligence agency?)

  20. Iraqi counter gangs, a hate drenched anti muslim media campaign, gordon broon being controlled into the mad woman of mi5's empire building, and all this just happens?

    Lockerbie has always stunk, the planted detonator, the convoluted bomb route and the sanctions on libya, all wrapped up in the demeaning show trial at camp ziest.

    there's some top lockerbie/libya shit over at the RI forums just now.

  21. 2p/worth11:42 AM

    “All anyone is asking anyone to do is to say what they know (that the Bush Gang's account is utter bollocks) and to stop pretending that they don't know it.”
    - They DON’T know it, dammit. They weren’t born with the knowledge, and they won’t do the reading to find out - they won’t touch it with a bargepole. I wish someone like John Pilger (who does do research) would come out and say something definite, as he has a lot of respect and credibility with everyone on the left (surely).

    “Even on the left, there is a strong undercurrent of racism in responses to "Islamic suicide attacks".”
    - Nah, I don’t think so. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought the Red Brigades were left wing Italian terrorists, only now have I heard of ‘stay behind’ etc. I thought people were putting a political ideal higher than their own life, which is brave. Even one or two politicians/politicians wives have been known to murmur that they understand why someone could become a suicide bomber, and that’s not racism, that’s anger at injustice and barbarity.

    I think this mutual hostility of lefties and 9-11ers should be overcome (man).

  22. Maybe its because I'm older than you 2p, when I was growing up there was investigative journalism. I remember world in action doing programmes on gladio, the industrial league and other oddities, I read the glasgow media group stuff in the school library. The explosion of info available with the world wide internet just crystallised this viewpoint. I think looking at the modern world with a a conspiratorial/parapolitical element is wilfully naive.

    The 'hostilities' are all on one side, as conspiracy is heresy, but as its just words, its nothing to get worried about.

  23. Hot of the printing press, turns out there are conspiracies, but just at a certain level, according to uncle alex.

    There's also a long, equation laden explanation from the laurence livermore guy on wtc7, superceding his 'bad vibrations' theory a few issues back, will post when I get a moment

    On Conspiracies
    By Alexander Cockburn
    There are plenty of real conspiracies
    in America. Why make up fake ones? Every few years, property czars and city government in New York conspire to withhold fire company responses, so that enough of a neighborhood burns down for the poor to quit and for profitable gentrification
    to ensue. That’s a conspiracy to commit ethnic cleansing, also murder.
    It’s happening today in Brooklyn, even as similar ethnic cleansing and gentrification are scheduled in San Francisco. Bayview Hunters Point is the last large black community in the Bay Area, sitting on bay front property. So now it’s the time to move the black folks out. As Willie Ratcliff, publisher of Bay View writes, “If the big developers and their puppets, the mayor [Democrat Gavin Newsom] and his minions win this war, they’ll have made what may be the largest urban renewal land grab in the nation’s history: some 2,200 acres of San Francisco, the city with the highest priced land on earth.” That’s a real conspiracy,
    even as many in the Bay Area left meander through the blind alleys of 9/11 conspiratorialism.
    The conspiracy virus is an old strand. Arabs in caves couldn’t have brought down the towers. The Russians couldn’t possibly build an A-bomb without Commie
    traitors. Hitler couldn’t have been defeated by the Red Army marching across Eastern Europe and half Germany. Traitors let it happen. JFK couldn’t have been shot by Oswald: it had to be the CIA. There are no end to examples seeking to prove that Russians, Arabs, Viet Cong, Japanese, etc etc couldn’t possibly match the brilliance and cunning of secret cabals of white Christians. It’s all pathetic, but it does save the trouble of reading and thinking. CP

  24. Tuppenceworth: "I think this mutual hostility of lefties and 9-11ers should be overcome (man)."

    That's like talking about the "mutual hostility" of cats and mice. (The mice are much more numerous but much less powerful - not that cats are the world's most powerful animals...)

    The latest lazy-minded and deeply dishonest bollocks from Cockburn (kindly posted by paul) demonstrates what we're up against: "It’s all pathetic, but it does save the trouble of reading and thinking."- so he tells us. Well, if Cockburn ever had a serious thought about 9/11, or read a serious book about it, I've yet to see the evidence. The fact is: Cockburn does not have a single solitary argument against the really brave and serious work of people like Paul Thompson, Cynthia MicKinney, Benjamin DeMott or Nick Levis, so it's no wonder he never mentions such people by name. All he ever does is bluster and bully. Behind it all is nothing but profound moral and intellectual cowardice.

    Add David Corn and Norman Solomon of The Nation, and all their prudent acolytes, and you have a very substantial number of influential lefties who perform the invaluable task of covering the US ruling class's most vulnerable flank. (Chomsky is at least impeccably decent while constantly missing the point, yet millions hide behind his reputation.) In December 2006, in the sixth year of the War on Terror, what other response is possible but hostility?

    - w.

  25. Get past the breathless reconstruction style intro (with 24 style countdown tics) and make of it what you will

    Bright, windless September morn-
    ing in Manhattan, looking south
    and slightly west across Vesey Street from the 12th floor of WTC 7. The eight story U.S. Customs House (WTC 6) lies directly across the way, and beyond it the North Tower (WTC 1), slightly rightward to the west, with the South Tower (WTC 2) even further off, left of WTC 1 to the east.
    Then a plane, loud, fast, low, directly overhead flying south; the sun glints off the dimpling of its shiny aluminum painted skin; its 156 ft wingspan over three quarters the width of a Tower face — puff! The lightning clarity of the moment
    blinks, the airplane disappears, an orange fireball erupts out of the north face of WTC 1 engulfing its ninth decade of stories. Thinking stops.
    Hour = 8:46:30 a.m.; Time = 0.
    Hurried calls, nervous chatter, excitement,
    fear; transfixed, watching the smoke engulf the top of WTC 1; and then another airplane, flying up from the south — puff!
    The plane disappears into the far side of WTC 2, the southern face. A fireball bursts through the north face, consuming the seventh decade of stories. Rocketing debris shoots out of the northeast corner — this way?! — it falls short, some whisks past just to the left.
    Hour = 9:02:59 a.m.; Time = 16.5 minutes.
    In time, the landing gear and an engine thrown out of WTC 2 would be found two and three blocks north, and7within a block east of WTC 7. A section
    of the fuselage from that plane fell atop WTC 5, the nine-story North Plaza Building east of the US Customs House. (See FEMA 403, “World Trade Center Building Performance Study: Data Collection,
    Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations, (second printing),” September 2002.)
    Some would wonder, “Am I shuddering,
    or did I feel an earthquake?” Seismometers would record the airplane impacts at local magnitudes 0.9 and 0.7, respectively.
    Phone home, reassure; what to do, work?, only watching out the window is possible, chatter is stunned to silence. People are beginning to jump. Time in front of you is racing, while time for you has stopped. A crack, the top of WTC 2 twists and drops into a gray opacity of billowing powder. The South Tower collapses.
    Hour = 9:58:59 a.m.; Time = 1 hour, 12.5 minutes
    A blast of dust rushes straight in, the scratching of grit pelting windows and the shattering of glass can be heard, a veil is drawn over the death of a building
    with too many of its occupants. WTC 7 shakes, magnitude 2.1; over in 10 seconds.
    Frantic calls home, some flee, time to lock up the sensitive files and leave before the trains are jammed — are they still running? Should some of the computer
    drives be taken along, for security and just in case? Lights go out, power from Con Edison is cut. The emergencygenerators kick in, power and phones work. Another power fault, then some power returns. Maybe the dust cloud is choking the diesel generator air intakes along Floor 5, and some units are shut down. Crack! — WTC 1 collapses.
    Hour = 10:28:22 a.m.; Time = 1 hour, 42 minutes.
    The upper block of WTC 1 drops into the burning impact zone and ejects a cascade
    of incandescent metal and heated stone laterally, from near the 97th story (368 m), at between 12 m/s (27 mph) to 15 m/s (34 mph) during the 1.5 seconds it takes to fall down to the original height of the 71st story (269 m).
    This hot volley, within the overall pyroclastic cannonade discharged by WTC 1 during its collapse, hurtles at 86 m/s (193 mph) at a steep angle down into the face of WTC 7 from Floors 18 to zero. A solid missile — a hot section of I-beam? — punches into Floors 11 and 12, bursting through the concrete floors and touching off fires. The elevator
    shafts at Floors 8 and 9, about 10 to 15 m (33 to 49 ft) into the building, are ruptured and the elevator cars fall out onto the floors. The air pressure wave presses on eardrums, stairwells fill with dust and smoke, and lights go out, the building shakes for nearly 10 seconds; magnitude 2.3.
    Time resumes. Some phones are still lit, but they make no connection.
    Wandering confused, Floor 7, heavy dust, one cubicle is burning at the west end — flashlights? Firemen! They lead people down through the choking haze. The lobby is layered in white dust, wires hang from the ceiling, the street is littered
    with wreckage, a huge cloud rolls all along Vesey Street blocking out the view south.
    Hour = noon; Time = 3 hours, 13.6 minutes.
    WTC 7 was mortally wounded. In 5 hours and 21 minutes, it would collapse.
    This article is a visualization of what probably happened. Only gods and the dead have certainty; we, the living, have rationality and courage to guide us through the puzzles and the perils of life.
    WTC 7: By The Numbers
    WTC 7 was a 176 m (576 ft) tall, 47 story building with a trapezoidal cross section (about): 99 m (325 ft) along the north face, 76 m (249 ft) along the south face, 45 m (148 ft) north-south width, and 47 m (153 ft) along the east and west sides. WTC 7 was about 107 m (350 ft) north of WTC 1, across Vesey Street.
    B ecause of its uniqueness, a number of engineering reports have been written about the collapse of WTC 7. A consistent
    story emerges through the mass of detail. The basic model of the WTC 7 collapse
    was stated in the earliest report, by FEMA, and increasingly amplified upon by subsequent investigators at NIST — the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency within the U.S. Commerce Department’s Technology
    Administration. WTC 7 was built in 1987 over an existing Consolidated Edison electrical substation. The Con Ed substation was three stories high, and took up the northern half of the footprint of WTC 7. The 1967 construction of the substation accounted for the eventuality of a building above it, and a much larger and stronger foundation was built. Also, a series of columns rose through the area of the substation, for future use.
    The design of WTC 7 was larger than anticipated by the provisions of 1967, so additional foundation columns were sunk. Also, the placement of columns in WTC 7 above Floor 7 did not match all the tops of columns connected tobedrock and waiting to be used. Thus, a series of trusses were designed to transfer the vertical loads above Floor 7 and redistribute them laterally to match the waiting columns below Floor 4. This transition used triangular assemblies of structural steel joined into a framework spanning two stories, Floors 5 & 6. A more detailed description of the three major trusses will be found below.
    Part of the transition structure included
    a Floor 5 made of 11 inches of reinforced concrete on top of a 3 inch 18 gage composite metal deck (supported on I beams); Floor 6 was 3 inches of concrete on a 3 inch 20 gage metal deck; the northern half of Floor 7 was 5 inches of reinforced concrete on a 3 inch 18 gage metal deck, and the southern half of Floor 7 was 8 inches of concrete with two layers of reinforcement (no metal deck). Floors 8 and up (except 21, 22, 23) had 2.5 inches of concrete over 3 inch 20 gage metal decks. These metal decks were sheets of metal with corrugations
    (metal thickness listed by gage number).
    The combination of three massive floors and interconnected triangular supports
    made the framework of Floor 5 to Floor 7 a diaphragm locking WTC 7 together
    laterally, core columns and walls (encasing elevator shafts and stairwells) to perimeter columns. The construction of WTC 7 above Floor 7 was similar to that of the WTC Towers (9). The irregular
    framing between Floors 5 and 7 made for less desirable tenant space, but it was well protected by the robust construction, an ideal location for the building’s machinery and the emergency power systems.
    Machine Space and Power Systems
    Only machinery resided on Floors 5 and 6. Floor 6 had two large cut-outs, one along the east side, another in the southwest
    corner, to allow for two-story mechanical
    spaces. A set of louvers spanned the height of Floors 5 and 6 along the eastern face of the building. Table 1 lists the equipment that resided on Floors 5 through 9 (ground level is floor 0).
    The “tank” noted in the table would be a 275 gallon diesel fuel tank, the maximum
    size allowed on any given floor by the NYC Building Code.
    There were five emergency power systems in WTC 7. Three of them (American Express, OEM, U.S. SecretService) drew fuel from the other two and larger systems (Salomon Smith Barney, Silverstein Properties).
    The emergency power for the building
    (Silverstein Properties) was provided by two 900 kW generators on the southwest
    corner of Floor 5. They drew fuel from a 275 gallon tank nearby, and this was replenished by pumps drawing from two 12,000 gallon tanks at ground level under the loading dock, at the southwest corner of the building.
    The SSB emergency power system used nine 1,725 kW generators on Floor 5: three in the southwest corner, two near the west end of the north face, four at the east end of the north face. Louvers for air intake and exhaust were situated on the building faces near the generators. Because there was already a 275 gallon “day tank” on this floor, the SSB systempumped on demand from their own pair of 6,000 gallon storage tanks, also situated
    under the loading dock, under the southwestern part of the building.
    The fuel supplier was contracted to keep the tanks full, and they were full that day.
    Fuel pipes for all systems except SSB ran up the western side of the core of the building, along elevator shafts. The SSB pipes ran up a shaft through mechanical spaces near the southwest corner of the building.
    After 1 p.m. on September 11, 2001,WTC 7 was an evacuated, stricken building.
    The southwest corner and central third of the south face had been ripped open by the cascading debris from the collapse of WTC 1. Fires burned in sections of Floors 6 through 30 at different
    times, and they migrated along their floors independently, seeking new sources of fuel. From the street the fires on Floors 11 and 12 appeared most intense. Many fires in the area went unchecked because utility power for electrical pumps, and water pressure for fire engines had either diminished or been lost.
    This is what happened.
    A Pumped Oil Spill
    The debris fall ripping into the southwest
    corner ruptured the oil pipes of the SSB pressurized fuel distribution system.Operating as intended — the lack of utility
    power triggering the “need”, and the lack of pressure due to a severed pipe signaling the “demand”, the SSB system pumped oil up from its 12,000 gallon basement reservoir, maximally with a pressure of 50 psi (pounds per square inch) and flow rate of 75 gpm (gallons per minute), onto Floor 5.
    Pumping would have started at 9:59 a.m., when Con Ed cut utility power to WTC 7; and the spilling would have started a half hour later when the pressurized
    pipe was cut. The SSB pumps could have drained the two 6,000 gallon tanks in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Engineersfrom the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found that “there was a maximum loss of 12,000 gallons of diesel from two underground storage tanks registered as WTC 7.”
    Additionally, “Both tanks were found to be damaged by debris and empty several
    months after the collapse. Some fuel contamination was found in the gravel below the tanks and the sand below the slab on which the tanks were mounted, but no contamination was found in the organic marine silt/clay layer underneath.”
    By contrast, 20,000 gallons of oil were recovered from the two 12,000 gallon
    tanks of Silverstein Properties.
    Pulled up by the emergency pumps, the SSB diesel fuel went, from the 6,000 gallon storage tanks, under the loading dock, under the southwestern part of the building, to floor 5.
    It may all have been pumped out by 1 p.m., or it may have been pumped out at a rate as low as 29 gpm for 7 hours. Since this fuel was absent from the wreckage,
    it was burned. You can see it as the huge plume of black smoke rising from the World Trade Center, in panoramic photographs of that day. Diesel fuel can supply 2.13 MW of power per gpm given an air supply of 1333 cfm (cubic feet per minute).
    Thus, a diesel fuel gusher of 75 gpm burning with excess air would produce 160 MW of heat; a total energy of 1536 GJ for the 12,000 gallons. This energy is equivalent to that released by an explosion
    of 367 tons of TNT. If the pumping rate is lower, or the air supply is throttled, then the burning would occur at a lower rate. Since the louver system along Floor 5 was designed to supply each of the nine SSB engines with 80,000 cfm, it seems likely that a fuel oil fire there would find sufficient air for combustion. For a discussion of heat at 9/11, and energy units, CounterPunchers will soon be able to have my study, “the Thermodynamics of 9/11”, to be published shortly on the CounterPunch website as part of our final package on the actual physics and engineering realities of the collapse of the WTC buildings.
    The diesel fuel spill spread out along Floor 5, which had been partly shielded from damage by the sturdiness of Floor 7, in addition to its own robustness. The fuel spilled down elevator shafts and breaks near the center of the southface. Floor 4 has a great deal of open space along its eastern two thirds near the south face. Fuel spilling from above would find an easy route to the eastern side of the middle of the building down to Floor 3.
    Truss 1, Truss 2 and Truss 3
    A bicycle frame is a truss supporting your weight on the axles of the wheels.
    A truss is a rigid framework of beams used to support a bridge, roof or floor. The beams in a truss are usually joined so the empty spaces they enclose have triangular and rectangular shapes. A truss transfers the weight it supports along its span, laterally out to its ends where this weight is then carried by columns or foundations into the ground. A truss is how structural engineers shift vertical loads laterally to distant supports. Many railroad bridges are trusses, hollow rectangular
    space defined by a network of beams joined in a triangulated fashion, and through which trains move.
    A folding ladder opened into an “A frame” is a truss. It supports your weight and, say, a can of paint near the top, by transferring the downward force out to the feet of the A. It relies on a horizontal bar connecting the sloping legs to resist the lateral force pushing the A to open and the top to drop.
    WTC 7 had three major trusses, two at the eastern end of the building, and one at the western end. These trusses transferred
    gravity loads carried by columns above Floor 7, laterally to the positions of columns below Floor 4. These trusses supported relatively large floor areas above Floor 7 for the number of columns below Floor 4.
    Truss 1 and Truss 2 were aligned roughly along the east-west direction, parallel and along side each other when viewed from the north-south direction.
    Truss 1 was recessed from the north face by over 1/3 of the width of the building, Truss 2 was recessed from the south face by over 1/3 of the width of the building.
    Truss 1 was roughly aligned with the northern edge of the building coreas it existed above Floor 7, and Truss 2 was roughly aligned with the east-west centerline of this core.
    The northern edge of the mechanical bay on Floors 5 and 6 aligned roughly with Truss 1. Truss 2 aligned with the east-west line bisecting the area of this mechanical bay, but it only extended from the core region to half the distance to the east face.
    The eastern end of Truss 2 was a column at the center of the nearly-rectangular
    space mapped out by the eastern mechanical bay of Floors 5 and 6. This particular column was Column 80. The columns rising out of Truss 2 were Columns
    80, 77 and 74, from east to west.
    Recall, the pattern of columns below Floor 4 did not match the pattern above Floor 7; for example there was no continuation
    of Column 77 (middle of Truss 2) below Floor 4.
    Truss 3 was another formidable structure, and it occupied a similar zone at the western end of the building; it was aligned in the north-south direction. Diagrams of these trusses may help to visualize the distribution of gravity loads in WTC 7.
    Dark Fire
    Oil pooled in the vicinity of Truss 2. It was ignited by local office fires, and this burning heated the volumes occupied by the spill, further volatilizing combustible
    hydrocarbon materials. Air entered the fire through the louver system ofFloors 5 and 6, as well as through the opening gouged out of the south face by the debris fall from WTC 1. Air probably entered the south face along Floors 0 to 5, and smoke exhausted up through the south face above Floor 5.
    The observation of dense smoke rising
    out of the south face while the other sides remain clear is consistent with an airflow entry through the east face louvers
    at Floor 5; combustion of vapors in Floors 3 to 6; heating of the eastern interior
    of the building; and smoke billowing up through the open atriums and lobbies of Floors 3 and 4, and the breached mid-third of the south face up to about Floor 14. See photos, (14)
    Most of the heat generated would be trapped within the heat capacity of the building’s structure. The maximum heat we expect here is 1536 GJ, which is half (51%) of that released in the WTC 2 fire (3000 GJ) and one-fifth (19%) of the WTC 1 fire (8000 GJ).
    By estimating volumes and cross-sectional areas of metal and concrete in walls and floors in the WTC Towers, I arrived at a provisional estimate for the iron and concrete that made up the framework of the WTC buildings. I calculate
    that the totality of these materials — let’s call it “ironcrete,” a mixture of 72% iron and 28% concrete — takes up 5.4% of the volume of the building, the other 94.6% being air. We assume that everything else in the building is combustible or an inert material, and the combined mass and volume of these are insignificant compared to the mass and volume of ironcrete. However, the fires in the Towers occurred within larger volumes. Continuing the “ironcrete”
    example, let us assume that heatis stored in the structure of WTC 7, that has a volumetric heat capacity of Cv = 2.8*10^6 joules/(Centigrade*m^3).
    Trapping heat in an ironcrete matrix can be thought of as the charging of a thermal battery.
    If the WTC 1 fire was concentrated in 6 stories, with a total volume of 96,480 m^3, then the volume of ironcrete would be 5210 m^3, and its average temperature rise would be 549 C.
    If the WTC 2 fire was concentrated in 4 stories, with a total volume of 64,320 m^3, then the volume of ironcrete would be 3473 m^3, and its average temperature rise would be 309 C.
    If we assume the oil fire in WTC 7 occurs on the eastern third of the floor space of three floors, then the volume of the oil fire equals that of one floor, which is roughly 15,000 m^3. In this case, the ironcrete volume is 810 m^3, and its temperature rise is 677 C. This estimate assumes all the energy of combustion contained in the fuel oil is released and captured by the structure; clearly, an overestimate.
    If we assume that up to half of the combustion energy is lost, because the air is throttled, and because fuel vapors are lost to the atmosphere (as hot, smoky pollution), then we arrive at 768 GJ released within 3 to 7 hours, producing an ironcrete temperature rise of 339 C. Since the flame temperature is about 1100 C (2000 F), we can expectmetal supports within continuing fires to heat up by much more than the average amount estimated here.
    The thermal energy density is near 1000 MJ/m^3 in all three examples, which correspond (as highly simplified idealizations) to three buildings that collapsed
    because of thermal weakening of their frames. Perhaps this observation can help to estimate the risks posed by potential fires elsewhere.
    Heat Exhaustion
    All of the structural analysis done by FEMA and NIST points to a failure of Truss 1 or Truss 2 — Truss 2 seems more likely to me — as the initiating failure in WTC 7. The sequence is as follows:
    • thermal weakening of Truss 2 leads to its failure,
    • the loss of support low in the eastern interior propagates to the roof,
    • the weight (and dynamic force) of material falling onto the diaphragm on Floor 5 tips this rigid layer of the building,
    • this causes failure of column joints

    • lack of vertical support through the diaphragm progresses up the interior of the building west of Truss 2 (and/or Truss 1),
    • the difference in collapse timing east and west of Truss 2 creates a vertical crack/crease/kink/fold/break through the building above Truss 2 (Column 80),
    • a progressive collapse propagates up and material falls freely,
    • since the building implodes, exterior
    walls falls in.
    To sum up: The blast of hot debris from WTC 1 kindled fires in WTC 7 and caused an emergency power system to feed the burning to the point of building collapse.
    One of the building’s major bridging
    supports was heated to the point of exhaustion by the burning of an abundant store of hydrocarbon fuel. CP
    Manuel Garcia works as a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California with a PhD Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, from Princeton. His technical interests are generally in gas dynamics and plasma physics; and his working experience includes measurements on nuclear bomb tests, devising mathematical models of energetic physical effects, and trying to enlarge a union of weapons scientists. We will be publishing our series on 9/11 in full on our site later this year, with a full apparatus of footnotes and citations.

  26. Table 1
    Machinery on Floors 5 to 9, WTC 7
    Floor -Items
    9 - generator (1 tank) for (tenant) U. S. Secret Service
    8 - generator (1 tank) for (tenant) American Express
    7 - generators (1 tank) for the Mayor's Office of Emergency Mgt.
    6 - switchgear, storage
    5 - (1 tank), switchgear, transformers.

    Table 2

    WTC Ironcrete Examples
    Item -Units -WTC 1 -WTC 2 -WTC 7
    energy -GJ -8000 -3000 -768
    solid volume - m^3 -5210 -3473 -810
    energy density - MJ/m^3 -1536 -864 -948
    temperature rise - C -549 - 309 - 339
    duration -minutes -102 -56 -180-420