The last thing that Battalion Chief Oreo Palmer expected as he surveyed the dwindling flames on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center South Tower at 9:54am on 11 September 2001 was, seven minutes from then, for the South Tower to come crashing down on him and to collapse almost completely into dust at a rate barely slower than free fall. Many scientists and engineers, who have since disputed the official US Government explanation of the World Trade Center collapses, would have agreed with Palmer's judgement on the day, however the ABC's Science Show, presented by Robyn Williams seems reluctant to let its listeners know of their views.
See also: articles: "Fire Department Tape Reveals No Awareness of Imminent Doom" In New York Times of 9 November 2002, "NY firefighters reached South Tower crash zone" in the Guardian of 5 Aug 2002
sites: Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, www.911oz.com, wearechange.org.au, 911research.wtc7.net, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Patriots Question 9/11, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, 911truth.org, 911blogger.com
At 9:54AM on 11 September 2001, seven minutes before he perished in the first of the two Twin Tower collapses, Battalion Chief Oreo Palmer radioed his unit, Ladder Company 15, this message, from the 78th floor, close to where United Airlines Flight 175 had slammed into the World Trade Center South Tower, only 51 minutes earlier :
"Ladder 15, we've got two isolated pockets of fire. We should be able to knock it down with two lines."
The Port Authority of New York refused to release the recording for over a year after the attack until forced to do so by the New York Times.
When Oreo Palmer's widow heard the recording of her doomed husband, she said:
"I didn't hear fear, I didn't hear panic. When the tape is made public to the world, people will hear that they all went about their jobs without fear, and selflessly."
Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca had caught the elevator to the 44th floor1 and had then climbed 34 floors to the 78th, the floor immediately below where flight 175 had hit. Palmer had found wounded needing evacuation and fires he had judged could be doused with water pumped from two fire trucks.
Palmer and Bucca had every expectation that the South Tower would remain fully standing as they proceeded to extinguish the flames and attend to or evacuate the wounded.
The last thing that Palmer, Bucca and many other veteran firefighters, then making their ways up to 78th floor, expected to happen only 7 minutes from then was for the whole of the South Tower to collapse in an explosive spectacle that has imprinted memories round the world.
The point to take in here is that, seven minutes before that final collapse, the temperature on the 78th floor was not sufficient to cause professional fire-fighters to panic, let alone present a threat to their lives or the steel structure of the building.
Whilst each of the two towers had suffered, respectively, the unprecedented impact of a jet-fueled passenger aircraft, both had withstood the impact with most supporting pylons in their cores undamaged and few entirely severed. The buildings had been designed in the 1960's to withstand a head-on impact from a Boeing 707, comparable in size to the Boeing 767's which had struck the towers. Even if the structure had been fatally weakened, the collapses should have occurred at the time of the impact and not 58 minutes later, in the case of the South Tower, when the strength of the oxygen-starved fires had greatly diminished.
Oreo Palmer's assessment of the situation he faced on the 78th floor, and, indeed, the fact that he was even able to be there, stands in flat contradiction to what 'structural engineer' Chris Wise told the BBC on 13 December 2001:
"It was the fire that killed the buildings. There's nothing on earth that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. The columns would have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they would have collapsed one on top of each other."
Many well-credentialed and credible scientists and engineers, stand by the judgment on that day of Oreo Palmer and the other 342 members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) who unexpectedly perished there. These scientists and engineers disputed Chris Wise's pronouncement about the inevitability of the unprecedented engineering failure which occurred on that day. These include:
They argue, firstly, as Palmer intuitively knew, that there should have been abundant strength left in the structural steel of the towers to keep both standing. They maintain that, even if the structure of the towers had somehow failed, it would have been impossible for these buildings to have collapsed at a rate barely slower than free fall straight down, through the path of most resistance. Rather, they would have expected the collapses to have been more irregular, and the buildings to have toppled in one direction or another. They don't believe it possible that the impacts and fires could have caused the structural steel to have been almost completely dismembered and for nearly all the concrete in the buildings to have been pulverised to dust simply as a result of the planes' impact and the fires afterwards.
In fact, they argue that no office-building has collapsed just because of fire. If that seems hard to believe, have a look here for examples of similar skyscraper-fires. (Please let us know of any contradictory examples).
They argue that the only explanation which fits all the recorded evidence and all observations made, was that all three towers were brought down by controlled demolitions. They have called for new investigations into the collapses which would not rule out in advance the controlled demolition hypothesis and which would take full account of all the available evidence.
As the controlled demolition explanation must necessarily implicate many senior figures within the US Government, fierce controversy has raged over these questions for more than seven years.
Australians rightly esteem and enjoy Robin William's popular and educational Science Show, but this listener was disappointed and irritated by what seemed one-sided treatment of this issue.
On the Science Show of 20 September 2008, Dr Sergei Dudarev of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority was presented to the listeners of the Science Show as having the final word on the controversy.
Dr Dudarev's argument relies on the idea that the towers would have reached a temperature of around 600 degrees centigrade. Even though this temperature is well below the 1,500 degrees centigrade melting-temperature of steel, Dudarev thinks it likely that, at 600 degrees centigrade, changes to the steel's magnetic properties - similar to those exploited by blacksmiths when forging metals - would have caused a fatal weakening in its strength. That weakening would have started the collapse.
Even if we were to accept that theory, it remains inconceivable that Oreo Palmer would have been able to stand on the 78th floor as he did, only seven minutes before the collapse, if the steel above and below him really were at temperatures reaching 500 degrees Centigrade. Dr Dudarev's theory also fails to explain how the temperatures could have subsequently risen so dramatically, in such a short time, when the ferocity of the fires was diminishing.
If, in spite of that failure of his argument, we were to accept that the fires around the impact scene could somehow have initiated the collapse, Dudarev's theory could only possibly explain the commencement of the collapse and not its subsequent astonishingly rapid progression and its totality.
In regard to Dudarev's hypothesis of structural steel being weakened, in a letter dated 9 November 2008, Judy Shelton of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, pointed out that tests conducted by the the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) showed that steel in the towers was unlikely to have reached temperatures anywhere near 600 degrees as a result of the fires2 (see Appendix 1 below).
Robyn Williams final question to Dr Sergei Dudarev was:
"Does this scotch some of those many conspiracy theories (I'm sure you're familiar with them) and explain actually what happened?"
Sergei Dudarev answered:
"The answer to the terrible tragedy is had the thermal insulating panels been glued better to the steel structures, nothing would have happened, or at least the buildings could have been evacuated before they collapsed. It is a predictable outcome of very strong fire in a building where a conventional steel proved to be unsuitable for the purpose, so partially the answer might be in the use of different steel that remains mechanically stable at high temperatures, or partially in the design of better protected structures using thermal insulation materials."
Although Dudarev had not directly answered the question, Robyn Williams pursued it no further, so the impression that many Science Show listeners would have gained was that all controversy had ended.
Knowing this not to be the case, I contacted the Science Show on Sunday 2 November. I wrote:
I note that Sergei Dudarev's theory which ostensibly explains how the Twin Towers collapsed at www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2008/2369411.htm is hotly disputed by many credible scientists, engineers and architects, including whistleblower Kevin Ryan who was sacked from Underwriters Laboratories for publicly questioning the way his company was investigating the collapses.
Is the Science Show intending to let its listeners know why they [meaning the abovementioned scientists and engineers et al] believe Sergei Dudarev to be wrong?
Would the Science Show be intending to cover the science of the WTC collapses and other aspects of the 9/11 attacks some time and allow all sides of the raging controversy to be aired?
Robyn Williams gave the following general response to my question in his response of Wednesday 5 November:
"Dudarev was at a conference organised by the BA and vetted accordingly. His paper was put to in depth questioning by science journalists for one hour before I took over.
"When new evidence appears, vetted by the usual processes, we shall report it. It is a recurring topic."
A rather circular correspondence followed, which I have appended below this article. I argued that either Sergei Dudarev was wrong or that his explanation for the collapses was at the leading edge of science and opposed to current knowledge of physics and structural engineering. In either case, I believed that listeners were entitled to be made aware of all sides of the controversy. I only got general replies which gave me the impression that the Science Show must think that peer review among the scientists for 9/11 Truth is perhaps inferior to peer review among scientists from the ITER Project, to which Sergei Dudarev belongs, and which he managed to publicise in his comments about 9/11.
Perhaps if the 9/11 Truth science project were backed to the tune of 10 billion Euros, like the ITER Project, the BBC and Australia's ABC would take it more seriously. After reading particle physicist, Michael Dittmar's damning analysis of the ITER project, "Fusion Illusions," in Sheila Newman (ed) The Final Energy Crisis, 2nd Edition, Pluto UK, 2008, however, I think the Science show should be more cautious about Dr Dudarev's ITER-association, let alone his theory on 9/11 building-collapse.
Unfortunately, the Science Show is far from alone in keeping the Australian public ignorant about the of 9/11 controversy, despite its enormous political consequences. That is a subject for another article, except to say that rest of the ABC, together with the corporate newsmedia and even, surprisingly, the 'alternative' media and the supposed far left of politics have acted almost in uniformity to suppress open discussion on this seminal issue of the twenty first century.
As a consequence, Australians remain amongst the most ignorant in the world about this issue.
See also: "Fire Department Tape Reveals No Awareness of Imminent Doom" In New York Times of 9 November 2002, "NY firefighters reached South Tower crash zone" in the Guardian of 5 Aug 2002
sites: Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, www.911oz.com, wearechange.org.au, 911research.wtc7.net, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Patriots Question 9/11, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, 911truth.org, 911blogger.com
1. ↑I thought I had read somewhere of Ronald Bucca having ascended all 78 floors on foot, but it is difficult enough for me to imagine anyone ascending 34 floors on foot, let alone 78 in 51 minutes at most.
2. ↑ Judy Shelton's e-mail does not directly address Dr Dudarev's argument about the likelihood of magnetic properties of steel changing to fatally weaken steel at 500 degrees - 600 degrees Centigrade, but Appendix 1: Letter of 9 Nov 08 from Judy Shelton refuting Sergei Dudarev's explanation2
Many learned scientists have been drawn to the challenge of trying to explain the anomalies of the World Trade Center collapses, and some have offered imaginative, creative, and ingenious theories. Dr. Dudarev's information on the magnetic and quantum mechanical properties of steel is very interesting, but it's not very illuminating because there is no evidence that the World Trade Center steel suffered the 600 degree Centigrade temperatures Dr. Dudarev's theory relies on. NIST has not one piece of core steel showing heating above 250 degrees C.
NIST has said that the jet fuel burned off in ten minutes, and that office fires burn at most twenty minutes in a given area before the fuel is consumed. Firemen radioed from the south tower at the impact zone, reporting that they saw a couple of isolated pockets of fire. Photos of the burning towers show black smoke, indicative of oxygen-starved fires.
It is well to consider all hypotheses, but Dr. Dudarev's theory is not consistent with the evidence.
Dear Robyn Williams, Firstly, thanks for your reply. On Wed, 5 Nov 2008, you wrote: > Dear James Sinnamon, > > Dudarev was at a conference organised by the BA and vetted accordingly. > His paper was put to in depth questioning by science journalists for one > hour before I took over. Is there any record of this questioning - perhaps an MP3 recording or a transcript? It seems to me that more likely that Dudarev is plain wrong, but if he is not wrong, then he is at the leading edge of a change in scientific knowledge with profound implications for structural engineering. In either case, what he said should be subject to closer scientific scrutiny than what I was able to read on the Science Show at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2008/2369411.htm If you believe that the one hour questioning by science journalists amounted to proper scientific scrutiny, then perhaps that should be shared with your audience. However, I think it would be easier and fairer to just allow someone who completely rejects Dudarev's hypothesis, in line with current engineering knowledge and physics, to be given a right of reply, so that, at least your audience can know that Dudarev's views are far from uncontroversial. > When new evidence appears, vetted by the usual processes, we shall > report it. It is a recurring topic. There is a good deal of 'old' evidence of which I am aware, which, as far as I know, has not been given air time on the Science Show. Examples include scientific peer-reviewed articles on http://journalof911studies.com/ and a good deal of material on the site of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth at http://ae911truth.org I myself did not even seriously entertain the idea that the US government itself was implicated in September 11 attacks until little over a year ago. Now, having studied a great deal of evidence and having given what I believe to be a fair hearing to both sides of the argument, I can't come up with any other explanation which would account for the strange phenomena, unusual behaviour, suppression of documents and astonishing coincidences associated with the September 11 attacks. If the 9/11 Truth movement are right, then the implications for US and world democracy are profound. Whatever the Australian public should at least be made aware of the controversy and made aware that many well-credentialed and highly credible people reject the Official US Government explanation of the 9/11 attacks and want a proper investigation unlike the joke that was the 9/11 Commission so that they can make up their own minds. Some who question the official explanation are listed at http://www.911truthgroups.org/911Truth101/Step2ProminentSupporters/tabid/633/Default.aspx Yours sincerely, James Sinnamon
Dear James Sinnamon, Could you exchange points of view with him? I was simply covering an event. No, the PC was not recorded but several press reports ensued. RW
Dear Robyn Williams, Thanks for your further reply and my apologies on my part for my slow response. On Wed, 12 Nov 2008, you wrote: > Dear James Sinnamon, > > Could you exchange points of view with him? I was simply covering an > event. I am afraid that this doesn't address the concerns I raised in my previous e-mails. I requested that you allow other scientists, who reject Sergei Dudarev's explanation of the collapses of the Twin Towers in accord with current knowledge of engineering and physics, be given the opportunity to do so on the Science Show. I would appreciate it if you would indicate to me whether or not you would be prepared to agree to this. If your listeners are not given the opportunity to hear from those who reject Sergei Dudarev's explanation, then it seems to me that they will have been misled into believing that his views are not controversial and that the collapses of the Twin Towers have been fully explained. It is noteworthy that even though the implications of Sergei Dudarev's theory would have to be groundbreaking, if true, that nothing more has been heard of it since September, as far as I can tell. So this further confirms my suspicion that Sergei Dudarev is plain wrong. I will include a response to Sergei Dudarev in an e-mail I received from Judy Shelton of Achitects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth on 9 November : "Many learned scientists have been drawn to the challenge of trying to explain the anomalies of the World Trade Center collapses, and some have offered imaginative, creative, and ingenious theories. Dr. Dudarev's information on the magnetic and quantum mechanical properties of steel is very interesting, but it's not very illuminating because there is no evidence that the World Trade Center steel suffered the 600 degree Centigrade temperatures Dr. Dudarev cites (at least, not as a result of office fires; higher temperatures did occur, but office fires don't burn at 600 degrees Centigrade). NIST has not one piece of core steel showing heating above 250 degrees C. "NIST has said that the jet fuel burned off in ten minutes, and that office fires burn at most twenty minutes in a given area before the fuel is consumed. Firemen radioed from the south tower at the impact zone, reporting that they saw a couple of isolated pockets of fire. Photos of the burning towers show black smoke, indicative of oxygen-starved fires. http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/idiotbastard/wtcburnssmall.jpg "It is well to consider all hypotheses, but Dr. Dudarev's theory is not consistent with the evidence." I am sure that if you were to contact Judy Shelton through http://www.ae911truth.org/contactus.php she would be more than willing to find a suitably qualified and knowledgeable scientist who would be willing to respond on your program to Sergei Dudarev. Thank you, Yours sincerely, James Sinnamon
I'm afraid I have to make 32 programs in the next two weeks. We shall no doubt return to this topic.
Dear Robyn Williams, Further to my previous e-mail included below. I would appreciate at least a response, one way or another, to my request that a scientist who disputes Dr Sergei Dudarev's highly unorthodox views about engineering and physics, be, as soon as is practical, given air time on the Science Show to rebut those views. Yours sincerely, James Sinnamon
Dear James, I am writing in response to your most recent email (4th December) to Robyn Williams, presenter of Radio National's Science Unit program, "The Science Show ". Please note that Robyn Williams has stated that the program will return to the matter in due course, as we see fit. Thank you for your interest. Regards, Lynne Malcolm Executive Producer Science Unit ABC Radio National
Dear Lynne Malcolm, Firstly, thank you for having contacted me. I will take your reply as meaning that my request, that the audience of the Science Show be given an opportunity to hear views opposed to Dr Sergei Dudarev's novel and controversial explanation of the collapses of the World Trade Center twin towers on 11 September 2001 at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2008/2369411.htm, has been refused. In my view, that is poor journalistic and scientific practice for reasons that should already be implicit from my previous correspondences. I will now be pursuing my complaint through other channels. Yours sincerely, James Sinnamon.