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Friday, May 26, 2006

9/11: the impossible, the improbable, the implausible

22 May 2006

September 11, 2001. The day the world changed. Or so we are told.

We are also told the events of that day had been subject of several extensive official investigations. There are documents that have been produced as the result of those investigations - namely, the 9/11 Commission Report and an assorted collection of government-commissioned studies. We will refer to the version of events parlayed in the Report as the official version. The following is a partial list of problems found in, and anomalies associates with, that version of the events of 9/11.

The items on this list labeled "impossible" are claims laid in the official theory that can not be reconciled with general scientific knowledge. It must be noted that the laws of nature are not absolute and there is some theoretical probability of absolutely any event occurring. Yet some events, such as a boulder leaving the ground and floating through the air on its own, are so unlikely as to be considered impossible. The reason we say they are impossible is that they violate what has come to be known as basic laws of science. In this discussion that determines what we shall refer to as "impossible".

The term "improbable" shall refer to what is theoretically possible but unlikely to occur. Some may say unlikely enough not to be considered a realistic scenario.

The term "implausible" shall refer to what is also theoretically possible but does not conform to expected patterns of human behaviour.

Filed under "Impossible"

  • Near free-fall speed collapse of WTC1 (10 seconds), WTC2 (10 - 14 seconds) and WTC7 (6.5 seconds). The collapse of the latter one is most mysterious as that building was not struck by an airliner and only suffered direct strike damage that was largely superficial relative to the scale of the building. Regardless of how the collapse of those three buildings was initiated it is alleged to have been a progressive failure. That is an impossibility as it contradicts basic laws of physics including the Law of conservation of momentum. As calculated by Jim Hoffman it would take a building such as either one of the Twin Towers at least 15.5 seconds to fall as a result of "pancaking" even assuming each subsequent floor being hit by the floors above gave way with no resistance and merely were at a standstill prior to being hit. That model excludes such factors as resistance each floor should be expected to provide, the air resistance or considerations of energy needed to pulverize the contents of the buildings reported to have been turned into fine dust.

  • The pools of molten steel found in the ruins of the three skyscrapers that collapsed on 9/11. According to the official version of the 9/11 the fires in the towers were not hot enough to melt the steel, merely sufficiently hot to weaken it. That latter point is suspect too but it is pretty much a given that at no point were the fires caused by the aircraft impact hot enough to melt any steel.

Filed under "Improbable"

  • Four airliners successfully hijacked and subject to intercept procedures are not intercepted, even though one of them, American Airlines Flight 77, flies after being hijacked for over 40 minutes. All four hijackings are facilitated in a highly unusual manner - the pilots are removed from the controls, sometimes murdered, with hijackers taking over the cockpit. All four hijackings occur in what is probably the world's most heavily defended airspace - the US Northeast. The failure to intercept occurs in direct violation of the procedures and guidelines in place.

  • The individuals alleged to have taken over the job of piloting hijacked airliners were all characterized by their flight instructors as rather inefficient, if not hopelessly inept, pilots. That is especially striking in the case of Hani Hanjour who allegedly piloted AA 77 into the West Wing of the Pentagon executing a descending turn so difficult that even professional pilots are divided on the issue of whether or not it could be executed at all in a Boeing 757, the aircraft Hanjour allegedly piloted.

  • Hani Hanjour, the alleged pilot of AA 77, chooses to aim for the West Wing of the Pentagon. That was an extremely odd choice of target as that part of the Pentagon was at the time udergoing renovation and as a result largely empty. That renovation included installation of blast-resistant windows and other modifications aimed at making the building more fire and blast-resistant. The approach to that part of the building was most difficult. But, knowingly or unknowignly, Hanjour still chose to perform a near-impossible meneuver directing the aircraft under his control at the section of the building opposite from where the offices of the Secretary of Defense and other top brass are. If Hanjour simply dove into the building aiming for the center he would have most likely killed a lot more people there.

  • On September 11, 2001 a number of war games, some simulating aircraft hijackings were in progress. Mohammed Atta and his team seem to have chosen a very lucky day for them as, among other things, a number of false radar blips were inserted into civilian and military radar systems to simulate fake hijackings. As a result the air defense system in place had trouble distinguishing real-life hijacked aircraft from the make-believe ones which made proper response difficult if not impossible. This begs several questions. For instance, how often do multiple large-scale war games and disaster preparedness excercises take place on the same day? What is the likelyhood that a team of foreign terrorists alleged not to have any inside contacts would just so conveniently for them happen to schedule their strike for that particular day?

Filed under "Implausible"

  • Al Qaeda, the group alleged to have been behind the attacks of 9/11, never openly claimed responsibility for them. That makes little sense, if only due to the fact that if they indeed were the perpetrators it would be rather naive of them to expect not to be found out as hardly ever in history has a perfect crime of such a monumental proportion been executed. So if you have indeed commited an act that is in line with your ideology, is likely to enhance your prestige amongst your followers and admirers and is, on top of that, virtually impossible to keep secret for long - then why not just announce it? Instead, according to the official version of 9/11, the culpability of Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden was aknowledged by Bin Laden on a low-quality video tape found in Afghanistan. Several Arab aquaintances of mine while not voicing any strong opinions regarding this tape this way or the other claimed that while watching it on TV they could tell that the language spoken was Arabic but the quality of the recording was so poor that they had to read subtitles to understand what was being said. Meanwhile, some experts with a specific experience of translating Bin Laden's speeches claim that the above-mentioned "confession video" is a fake as are most if not all audio recordings attributed to Bin Laden in the recent years.

  • The Secret Service fails to evacuate President Bush from the school where he is making a photo-op appearance while the attacks of 9/11 are unfolding. Consequently, no one in his security detail is reprimanded or sanctioned in any way. The event at the Emma Booker Elementary School had been scheduled in advance and was known to the public. It would have been absurd to assume that the President was not a target while a surprise attack was in progress. With a supposedly unknown number of potentially hostile hijacked airliners roaming the sky who and how could have known that one of them would not try and take out the school building where the President was attending an event of no decision-making value? What way was there that one could be sure terrorists would not try to level that building potentially killing the President along with hundreds of bystanders? If you were President and your security detail were so slow thinking on their feet wouldn't you consider firing them - simply out of concern for your own survival if for no other reason? In situations such as that of September 11, 2001 it would be entirely natural for anyone to think of whether or not the threat could directly impact them - in this case, if an airliner could be targeting the location they are at. Many a coworker of mine worried that the government facility I worked at on that day might come under attack. As someone familiar with pilotage I viewed that scenario as unlikely but overall, given the information available at the time, my coworkers' concerns didn't strike me being unreasonable or a sign of panic. Now take into account the fact that security operatives are specifically trained to anticipate potential threats to the persons or objects in their care. Their apparent failure to consider the possibility that an unfriendly airliner might be making its way towards the Booker Elementary would be a certain sign of being unfit for their duty.

  • Mohamed Atta, the alleged leader of the terrorist team, checked in a suitcase containing incriminating evidence at the airport in Portland, Maine. Contents included Boeing airliner flight manuals, a copy of the Koran, Atta's will and other papers that later helped federal investigators to trace back the terrorist plot. However, it is very strange that Atta would pack all these things. What he expected to need for the actual hijacking he would have been expected to take with him as carry-on. But why would he carefully collect items that could easily arouse suspicion and pack them in his luggage? According to the FBI he and Abdulaziz Alomari arrived at the airport in Portland with only a few minutes to spare. If any airline security or law enforcement officer became suspicious of them and decided to question them for any length of time that may have interfered with the timing of the whole operation. Why would an expertly trained terrorist such as Atta chance that?

  • The 9/11 Commission whose creation the Administration initially opposed was finally created after a staggering 411 day delay. Its final report some came to call The 9-11 Omission Report. This is hardly a joke given the glaring inconsistencies and omissions littering that report. For instance, the mystery of WTC 7 is not mentioned there once. The Administration appears largely content with what the Commission came up with even though one would expect that the country's leadership would be interested in a true exhaustive analisys of how a surprise attack of such magnitude could ever materialize. The unprecedented events of that day also have significant implications for many industries such as insurance, architecture, firefighting, urban planning and others. Yet there does not apear to be much open discussion of such implications. That appears to run counter to what would be expected if 9/11 were truly what the official story would have us believe.

  • Sibel Edmonds is a Turkish American linguist who worked in the FBI's translations unit from September 20, 2001 to March 22, 2002. She was fired following her discovery of deliberate inefficiency, incompetence and potential criminal activity, some in her opinion related to the 9/11 terror attacks, in the unit and attempts to report her concerns up the chain of command. She was consequently fired, intimidated and silenced by a gag order issued by the Attorney General. Consequent legal action by Edmonds was blocked by the Administration, ostensibly on the 'State Secrets Privilege' grounds. The 9/11 Commission reluctantly spoke to her, but whatever she had to say never made its way into the Commission's final report. On August 1, 2004 Edmonds wrote a public letter to the Commission's Chairman Thomas Kean. Here's part of what she has to say regarding her allegations and subsequent gag orders issued to her, "After almost three years the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of ‘ protecting certain foreign business relations.’ The victims family members still do not realize that information and answers they have sought relentlessly for over two years has been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under ‘ safeguarding certain diplomatic relations.’ Your report did not even attempt to address these unspoken practices, although, unlike me, you were not placed under any gag." Now it is perfectly legitimate for you to ask why anything Sibel Edmonds alleges is to be trusted in the first place. There is certainly no reason to take anything she says at face value but it is worth noting that the Justice Department Inspector General had pretty much acknowledged the validity of Edmonds' allegations. In fact, it was after reading the above-quoted letter of hers that this author started to have serious doubts about the true nature of the 9/11 Commission Report. Even years after 9/11 it doesn't look like the FBI's translation capabilities are a serious concern to the powers that be as the picture still appears to be that of dire inefficiency. Does this agree with the notion of an all-out "war on terror"?

  • If there is nothing to hide then why is the US government hiding so much, including records of things anyone could have observed? The question mainly pertains to the multitude of 9/11-related materials the government is reluctant or outright unwilling to release. For instance, the feds are still holding on to some of the videos of the Pentagon attack that were taken by security cameras located in public places.

Please note that the list offered in this article is by no means complete or exhaustive. Can you reconcile these anomalies with the official version of the events of 9/11? Many experts have tried and failed. It must be noted that failure to explain the "impossible" claims alone must inescapably lead one to the conclusion that the official story is a sham, likely designed to cover up the real story.

Let me reiterate it. You've got to either demonstrate - to yourself and preferably others - that the impossible and highly improbable events suggested by the official explaination of the events of 9/11 are somehow possible or to accept that the official explaination of what happened does not hold water. In case it is the latter your choice fundamentally is whether to accept this reality as inevitable or join those who demand a real investigation of 9/11. That choice is yours, and yours alone.


Steve Horgan said...

You cannot defy the laws of physics unless you do magic. The buildings did what the buildings did. What there isn't, however, is a library of similar experiences of large, fast aircraft hitting extremely tall skyscrapers that make anything obvious about what happens next. So, if you think the way they fell is indicative of anything then in particular then please demonstrate. If your point is that you think they should have taken longer to collapse unless...well, you have to tell us what the unless is. Just saying that something defies the laws of physics is not just nonsense in itself and is meaningless in any wider context.

Boris Epstein said...

Hi Steve,

Actually, I do not have to state my own theory to disprove a theory. Case in point: you are a pathologist, and they bring you a body without a head with a note stating that they believe this person died of a heart attack. You open the body up, find that the heart is just fine, and then state that no, their theory is not valid. You could then theorize that decapitation is a more likely scenario - but you don't have to if all you are trying to do is prove them wrong.

Getting back to the matter at hand - yes, I believe the sequential collapse of any kind of any building would take considerably longer than the free-fall time for said building, aircraft strike or not. The reason is the law of the conservation of momentum. Intact floors will offer resistance as their have the inertial momentum which will have to be overcome.

Now, like I said, I do not have to come up with a theory of my own as to how the WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7 were destroyed. Yet I could come up with a number of theories as to how that was accomplished. They would all be different from the official theory, and none of them would be in tension with the laws of physics.

Jay McHue said...

I think you need to recreate the attacks and collapses using chickenwire and some kerosene.

Steve Horgan said...

You do need to demonstrate why the building could not have failed from impact and fire as suggested. Belief and a wave of the hand at conservation of momentum is not nearly enough. To use your analogy, the body has been autopsied by an expert pathologist who has produced unequivocal results that have been accepted by the community of pathologists and only queried by a small group of people, most of whom have no medical training whatsoever.

As for alternative theories, any such must be presented with the same rigour as your disproof of the impact/fire/collapse scenario, both in terms of the physical processes of the collapse and the circumstances in which it occurs.

If you cannot do those two things then your 'belief' is irrational.

Boris Epstein said...


This is not a "wave of the hand" but a reference to relevant research. The law of the momentum conservation when applied to this collapse scenario makes it clearly impossible for the events to have been a result of the progressive collapse. A number of other possibilities exist, however, one being the controlled demolition (the most likely scenario in my opinion).

As for your analogy, a better one would be that the body mysteriously disappeared while many fully qualified medical professionals doubt the official autopsy results. To see what I mean check out Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and other professionals' groups disputing the official story.

And no, I do not have to generate a theory to disprove one. Why would I be under such an obligation - especially without the means to collect sufficient data (thanks in no small part to the government who did all they could to destroy mounds of valuable evidence).

Steve Horgan said...

A structural failure from fire and impact is not 'clearly impossible' and you have not demonstrated why you believe that it is. Saying so, does not make it the case and references to research would have to be quite authoritative to arrive at your level of certainty.

Boris Epstein said...


Regardless of whether or not the structural failure was possible (in general - yes, that certainly is a possibility to strike a building with something and then burn it hot enough to finish it off; the question is, whether the means employed on 9/11 were adequate for the task) - so, regardless of whether the failure was to be expected, the sort of failure (a sudden, rapid, symmetrical and complete collapse proceeding with almost the same acceleration as one would have when a ball was to be dropped from the roof of the building) is not consistent with the notion of a sequential process but instead requires simaltenour failure throughout the whole structure. That sort of failure is normally achieved through controlled demolition. In fact, aside from the 3 buildings that failed on 9/11, no other steel structure ever failed in this way for any reason other than controlled demolition.

mbats said...

OK, Boris, I’m going to tackle your first “impossible,” specifically as it applies to the twin towers, with a smidge more detail than your “Jim Hoffman” link provides. The collapses initiated at the point of impact, with several floors above. Once the structure gave way, the floors above the collapse moved as one, accelerating unimpeded until they impacted with the floor just below. The question, then, became whether or not the floor below was able to withstand the force of the combined floors above moving towards it. (Yes, the single floor. It is important to remember is that this is not a monolithic structure. I hope you can understand how this is relevant.) The floor below was really only designed to hold up a set static load of its own weight plus an allowance for equipment, and a minimal kinetic load (people on a daily basis, an occasional tenant moving in or out). Therefore, its connection to the overall structure was geared primarily towards a static load, and it had a limited tolerance to kinetic loads. The floors above accelerating towards the floor below far exceed any the kinetic load that the floor below was able to withstand. Thus, shortly after impact, the floor below failed. So great was the mass above and the momentum it had acquired (f=m*a, after all) and so small by comparison was the floor below’s ability to withstand that force that the impact did not rob the kinetic floors of all of their momentum. Some, but not all – this is crucial. So, with a starting speed greater than zero and one more floor of mass and even more momentum, the kinetic floors continued to accelerate towards the next static floor, which had roughly the same static/kinetic load tolerances as the floor above. This repeated until the mass and force of the kinetic floors surpassed a certain threshold. Once that happened, the force of the kinetic floors so greatly exceeded the ability of the floors below to resist impact that they collapsed through them with only a negligible loss of momentum and speed. I think you and Jim Hoffman are either gravely underestimating the mass, and, therefore, the force, that the collapsing floors applied to the floors below, or you are overestimating the force the floors below could withstand without collapse, or you are failing to understand that the floors above acted as one, and the floors below did not.

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