The Official Explanation of September 11th is Implausible


[Webmaster’s Note. There is no need to apologize for posting on this web site a short guide to the main questions concerning the events of September 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C. This guide has been assembled with the help of people from several countries. It concentrates only on particular points which, when considered from a logical and scientific standpoint, raise serious doubts on the U.S. Government’s official explanation of what happened on that day. All people caring for democracy and all scientists caring for their self-esteem and intellectual reputation should feel concerned. In particular, an independent statement from non-governmental professional bodies in engineering and physics is long overdue that concerns the scientific plausibility of the official account of the collapses of the Twin Towers and of building number 7 of the World Trade Center. It is hoped that this guide will have an effect in stimulating such an action.


We offer no hypothetical scenarios in substitution of the official one as to the actors and the planners of the terrorist attacks. Before any such scenario (including the official one, of course) can be given some degree of credibility, the truth about the basic technical facts must be established beyond reasonable doubt. What we are confident enough to say in submitting this memorandum to the public, is that the official explanation of 9/11 is on the whole far from satisfactory, and at some crucial points provably false.]





The following is a transcript from the ABC News television show, “This Week” on September 23, 2001:




SAM DONALDSON (ABC News): All right. Let me show you something you said the other day, and just see whether you've changed your view on it, concerning proof. You said, "We are assembling the evidence that will tell us, in a way that the world will fully confer with us--concur with us, who is responsible for this." Are we going to present before the world evidence of Osama bin Laden's guilt?


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, COLIN POWELL: Yes, and I think his guilt is going to be very obvious to the world. I mean, he has been indicted previously for terror activity against the United States, and so this is a continuing pattern of terrorism, and we are putting all of the information that we have together, the intelligence information, the information being generated by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. And I think we will put before the world, the American people, a persuasive case that there will be no doubt when that case is presented that it is al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, who has been responsible for this terrible tragic [inaudible].


DONALDSON: So you're talking about something beyond simple assertions by U.S. leaders. You're talking about assertions backed up by the evidence.






Also on September 23, 2001, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was interviewed on CNN. The following is a portion of that interview, in which Rice explains the U.S. response to Taliban demands for evidence showing Osama bin Laden is behind the September 11 attacks:





SOHAIL SHAHEEN, TALIBAN DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN: There are many probabilities who are the real culprits behind this. There is no evidence and proof given to us. We will not be ready to give Osama bin Laden without proof.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And just to nail down the point, he says he needs proof, he needs evidence, before they hand over Osama bin Laden. Will you give the Taliban regime in Afghanistan any

evidence, any proof behind what is in the public domain out there?

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, again, let's be realistic. This is not a government given to western jurisprudence. So these calls for proof are somewhat misplaced. But clearly, we do have evidence, historical and otherwise, about the relationship of the al Qaeda network to what happened on September 11. We will begin to lay out that evidence, and we will do it with friends, allies, the American people and others.


Five years later, where is the evidence?





On September 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C., a crime of enormous consequence occurred. Nearly 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon—and orders of magnitude more have died in the many battles, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq, that have been fought since, largely in the name of September 11th (“9/11”) and global terrorism. For this reason alone, it is crucial to have the most accurate information about 9/11 as is possible.


This article has been written for critical thinkers of every walk of life. It requires no special degrees or technical background, and is instead intended for those who enjoy rigorous thinking, who enjoy asking whether a certain proposition or theory is compatible with all the available evidence. It is for those who don't necessarily believe something just because it came from the lips of a Ph.D., M.D., somebody rich and famous, or government. (As it is, many eminent and/or academically respectable people have publicly stated they have very serious doubts of the official story.)


Here we will consider popular understandings (and theories) about 9/11, largely those that have been provided by the United States government and told through the mass media. We will ask whether they are compatible with all the evidence. Unfortunately, much of the government's claims come without any evidence. For example, the FBI has provided a list of 19 hijackers

<> that they state carried out the attacks, but neither the FBI nor any other branch of the U.S. government has ever provided any evidence to justify how they came to this conclusion. Indeed, the FBI has yet to name Osama Bin Laden as responsible for the 9/11 attacks (


The following analysis is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, it concentrates on a few selected points which are essential to an understanding of what really happened that day in the United States. We are satisfied to show that even at this basic level the official reconstruction is seriously deficient. No one should feel that their doubts are somewhat baseless simply because of an inability to provide a documented reconstruction which explains “everything”.



Why the Official Story is Implausible: Three Points of Consideration


1. Collapse of the World Trade Center towers


On 9/11, three steel-structure towers suffered total collapses: World Trade Center 1, WTC 2 (collectively known as the Twin Towers), and WTC 7, a 47-story building that collapsed around 5:20 pm of 9/11, roughly seven hours after the collapse of WTC 1 and 2.


Knowing exactly how these steel structure buildings collapsed is essential. Engineers cannot build better buildings in the future without knowledge regarding the precise circumstances under which these towers collapsed. All three buildings fell vertically--rather than on their sides--and fell at roughly the rate of gravity, suggesting that lower floors provided little to no resistance to the floors above.


The official theory posits that fire, initiated by jet fuel, triggered the collapse of the Twin Towers. However, there appears to be no example, other than the three World Trade Center towers, of steel structure highrises collapsing due to fire. There may also be no other cases of highrise buildings, which were not deliberately demolished using explosives, falling at near freefall speeds--other than on 9/11.


Symmetrical collapses at the rate of gravity

What can explain the symmetrical, near freefall rate of collapse of World Trade Center building 7, a 47-story skyscraper that was not hit by a plane? What are the statistical probabilities this could have occurred unintentionally? How well does a intentional demolition of the building concur with the physical evidence?


A planned demolition requires explosives to be installed in strategic locations within a building, thus ensuring the building will collapse in a predictable, regular fashion--rather than toppling over on its side. Since it would have been difficult (if not impossible) to do this in the few hours between the time planes crashed into the Twin Towers, if WTC 7 came down due to the use of explosives, then these explosives were likely already placed in the building prior to September 11th. Who could have placed such explosives in the buildings? Who would have access? Could security have been breached? Were explosives placed by architects during construction of the building to make demolishing the buildings easier?


Whatever the answers to the logistical questions, that the buildings, especially WTC 7, did not fall over but rather fell downwards is a fact that suggests the intention to destroy the building without causing further damage to other buildings and people nearby. Would Al Qaeda want to limit suffering?


The collapse of World Trade Center 7 may be viewed online here:


So difficult to explain is the collapse of World Trade Center 7 that the New York Times wrote, «Almost lost in the chaos of the collapse of the World Trade Center is a mystery that under normal circumstances would probably have captured the attention of the city and the world. That mystery is the

collapse of a nearby 47-story, two-million-square-foot building [...]» (New York Times, Nov 29, 2001, pg. B9).


The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which studied the collapse, concluded in their 2002 report that the «The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. [...] the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue



Five years later, the collapse of World Trade Center 7 has yet to be explained. One theory that posits that diesel fuel tanks in the building, used for emergency power generation, triggered the collapse. Such a possibility, however, seems unlikely for three reasons: (1) the near freefall speed of the collapse; (2) the symmetric nature of the collapse (i.e. the building did not fall over on its side); (3) it «would not explain steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated in extraordinary high temperatures (New York Times, Nov 29, 2001, pg. B9) It seems implausible that gas tanks could destroy all of the building's steel support columns simultaneous for a near-freefall, symmetric collapse of the entire building. A controlled demolition can explain all of these features.



2. The identity of the terrorists


Most people believe the planes used on 9/11 were flown into their targets by hijackers. If true, their

identity is crucial to know.


Within days of 9/11, the FBI published a list of 19 hijackers. At the time, FBI director Robert Mueller first stated that he had «a fairly high level of confidence» that they knew the true identities of the hijackers. Subsequently, on Sept 20, Mueller stated that «We have several others that are still in question. The investigation is ongoing, and I am not certain as to several of the others

(LA Times, Sept 21, 2001 – link:


Despite the seeming initial uncertainty over the real identity of the hijackers, the FBI list <> has remained the same for five years. It has been published and cited as complete, not tentative. However, what makes the list problematic is that more than five of the accused hijackers are alive:


the Los Angeles Times lists six



the BBC lists four

( ).


If some (or all) of the hijackers stole the identity of innocent citizens, who are the real hijackers?


3. Official video of Flight 77 Hitting the Pentagon Does Not Show Flight 77 Hitting Pentagon


In May, 2006, a Department of Defense website for Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA) listed the following headline: “Videos of American Flight 77 striking the Pentagon on September 11, 2001” <>. Nearly five years after 9/11, this was the first official release of any videos in conjunction with the 9/11 Pentagon attacks.


These videos--there were two--can be viewed here



and here



[Backups available here: <>

and here: <>.]


Despite the Defense Department's title (“Videos of American Flight 77 striking the Pentagon”), the videos do not show Flight 77 (or any other flight, for that matter) hitting the Pentagon. What can be seen is ambiguous, and cannot be said to confirm what struck the Pentagon. See the videos for yourself to confirm this--or consider that if the videos did show the plane approaching the building, this still frame from the video would have been captured and printed in newspapers across the world. But no such still photographs have ever emerged.


Whether Flight 77 really hit the Pentagon is an interesting and important question, but it is not the question we wish to raise here. Rather, the question is how can the Department of Defense claim to release "Videos of American Flight 77 striking the Pentagon" when the videos show no such thing? Did they forget to review the videos before releasing them? Did nobody in the six months it has been since then release the videos realize the videos lacked a key element--a plane?


If Flight 77 did indeed strike the Pentagon, surely security cameras watching the headquarters of the world's most formidable military would have caught the plane on tape. Under what conditions would the Pentagon release videos alleging to show a plane that in fact do not show a plane? And if the Defense Department has no video of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, why would they simply not say they have no video?


Considering the importance of 9/11, it is surprising that the release of a mis-labeled video has not triggered an investigation.





The above points were not written with the intent to explain what did happen on September 11, 2001. Rather, they were written with the intent to demonstrate that official and mainstream explanations for what happened are implausible.


The implausibility of mainstream understandings raises an additional question: given the implausibility of the official story, is it plausible that the government is truly committed to investigating the biggest crime scene in American history?


Five years have passed since 9/11. With each passing day, fewer people may feel the truth regarding 9/11 is important, its political relevance diminished in the myriad of events that have occurred since. With more current concerns, such as the Iraq war and concerns over a nuclear North Korea, people may feel that attention should not be diverted to past events like 9/11, especially since they have already addressed by the 9/11 Commission. Thus, people who want to know what happened on 9/11 may increasingly find themselves not taken seriously. It has happened before. Knowing who killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was considered critically important at the time--a matter of national security. Decades later, three quarters of Americans believe that there was a government cover-up of the truth --yet majority views hold little sway over officially sanctioned truths.


The truth about September 11, 2001 is vitally important, but unless discussion and debate over the plausibility of the official story is taken seriously, 9/11--the defining event of our time--will become another Kennedy Assassination, a piece of trivia, a cultural category which is not taken seriously, no matter how many people may not believe the government.



Postscript: A brief list of notable people who have questioned the official story of 9/11


1. Andreas von Buelow


former German Defense Minister and Minister of Technology


2. Michael Meacher


British Member of Parliament


3. Morgan Reynolds


Morgan Reynolds, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University and former director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis headquartered in Dallas, TX. He served as chief economist for the US Department of Labor during 2001-2, George W. Bush's first term.


4. Paul Craig Roberts


Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.


5. Steven Jones

«A physics professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, was placed on paid leave this month in connection with controversial statements and writings he has made on the 2001 destruction of the world Trade Center in New York (Science, 313, 22 Sept. 2006, p. 1727). Jones is one of the editors of the Journal of 9/11 Studies. He is a renowned physicist, and his treatment by his university administration is a clear example of prosecution of dissidents in the contemporary U. S. academic world.


6. Journal of 9/11 Studies < >


7. Scholars for 9/11 Truth <>


8. Actor Charlie Sheen



9. Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent:




Posted: March 28, 2007; addition: September 9, 2007

Scienza e Democrazia/Science and Democracy