NO Planes in 911

Demographic, Environmental,
Security Issues Project

December 2006

Holmgren and Reynolds on No Planes on 911-

Exposing the Illusion

By Ronald Bleier

Like most people, on September 11th 2001, I believed the official story about the terror attacks. It took me almost three years to become a skeptic. The major issue that led me finally to question the official accounts was the manner of the collapse of the Twin Towers. After watching a one-hour critical video in the summer of 2004 (see below) I decided to look into the question of whether the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down by pre-planned demolition charges. In due course, as I researched the issue in books, video and the Internet, I become convinced that the terrible events of that day were planned and executed by the Bush administration. I saw no way out of Jim Hoffman’s theory that if the WTC Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, then Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have been responsible.[1]

Finally, to complete my conversion, about a year later, I read an article by Australian researcher Gerard Holmgren, called “Manufactured Terrorism,”[2] which propounded what seemed an incredible theory: that no large passenger jets were used in any of the 9/11 attacks, including New York City. Later I read yet another key article supporting the same No Planes Theory (NPT), this one by Morgan Reynolds[3], former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor 2001-2002. I soon became an advocate of the NPT, a tiny subset of the 9/11-truth movement.


On the day of 9/11 I experienced a heavy dose of the intended shock and awe when I watched in real time the collapses of the Twin Towers. Shortly after 9:03 a.m. I heard on the radio that there was video of a big passenger plane hitting the South Tower and I was glued to the TV for the next couple of hours.

Later I was relieved to learn that the government had quickly identified the perpetrators -– the story was that they were Islamic extremists[4]. It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to imagine that the motive for the attacks was revenge mainly for U.S./Israeli policies in the Middle East. The thought that my government, specifically the Bush-Cheney administration, might be the ones who planned and executed the attacks didn’t enter my mind, nor would such an outrageous unthinkable idea seem to me for many months within the realm of possibility.

As I watched the World Trade Center towers collapse, I couldn’t help thinking how surprising and fortunate it was that they came straight down in their own footprint instead of falling horizontally into the densely built up neighborhood of lower Manhattan when the destruction in lives and property would have been vastly magnified.

Years later, I realized that that was a very vulnerable moment. All that it might have required for me to become an instant 9/11 skeptic was learn that high rise steel framed buildings never come down at the speed of gravity and in their own footprints except during an earthquake or when previous arrangements have been made for them to collapse through controlled demolition. Dan Rather, CBS TV’s venerable news anchor as he watched the collapse of WTC Building 7 at 5:20 p.m. said it was “reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before when a building was destroyed by well placed dynamite to knock it down.”[5] But I didn’t happen to be watching television at that hour and in course of the day’s traumatic events, I don’t recall paying much attention to Building 7. I’m not sure that I even knew that Building 7 collapsed until I began my research in 2004.

The strange collapse of the Twin Towers

There can’t simultaneously be both high resistance—causing grinding of the concrete into dust—and negligible resistance allowing a fall at the same speed as through air. Only the input of extra energy—an orchestrated demolition, explains the simultaneous presence of both factors. – Gerard Holmgren (emphasis added)

It wasn’t until the summer of 2004 that I saw video of some of the speakers at a 9/11 conference held some weeks earlier in Canada. At that conference, persuasive evidence was presented that contradicted the official story, which claims that the towers collapsed as a result of the combination of plane crashes and the resultant fires.

One talk that I found most compelling was by computer engineer Jim Hoffman who has written widely on the World Trade Center collapses. From Hoffman and others I learned that according to the laws of physics, even the combined impact of the “planes” and the resultant fires could not have caused the collapses and explosions.

The strongest smallest fire in history

In Hoffman’s presentation and in other videos, articles and books, it was pointed out that never before or since had steel framed buildings been brought down by fire, even in cases where the fires were much hotter and burned much longer.

For example, the One Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia in 1991 burned for 18 hours and was described by local officials as

the most significant fire in this century…The fire caused window breakage, cracking of granite, and failures of spandrel panel connections. Despite the severity and duration of the fire, as evidenced by the damage the building sustained, no part of the building collapsed… All other cases of large fires in steel framed buildings were characterized by extensive window breakage, large areas of emergent flames and went on for several hours. The fires in the WTC towers did none of these things.[6]

David Ray Griffin, retired professor of Religion and Theology, a popular 9/11 author, writes that even a supporter of the official story, Thomas Eager, professor of materials engineering at MIT, says that the impact of the planes would NOT have been sufficient to bring down the Towers because “the number of columns lost on the initial impact was not large and the loads were shifted to the remaining columns in this highly redundant structure.”[7]

I also learned that airplane fuel burns at only 800 degrees F, not nearly hot enough to seriously stress steel, which melts at 2700 degrees F in optimum conditions. Hoffman notes that steel is an excellent conductor of heat so that even if the steel beams in the immediate area of the crash were stressed, the heat would have been spread throughout the vast heat sink that comprised the 236 steel beams in the perimeter and the 47 steel beams built into the core of the building.

Thomas Eager asserts that the steel in the Towers could have collapsed if it had lost only 80% of its strength. Eager believes this happened since the fires reached 1300 F. But Griffin argues that for this amount of heat, the fires would have to very big and it would have to be applied to a steel beam for a considerable amount of time. (NPH, p. 14) The available evidence suggests that the fires were small and didn’t burn for long. Griffin cites the photos in researcher Eric Hufschmid’s book, Painful Questions[8] of the small fires evident in the both Towers, which generated a great amount of heat but were not long lasting because the fuel was quickly burned up. Hufschmid’s photos show that the spectacular flames vanished quickly and then the fire remained restricted to one area of the Tower and slowly diminished. The fires were localized and of short duration. (NPH, pp. 14-15) Griffin cites Hufschmid‘s question: How could a fire produce such incredible quantities of heat that it could destroy a steel building, while incapable of spreading beyond its initial starting location? The photos show that not even one floor in the South Tower was above the ignition temperature of plastic and paper!” The fire was not even powerful enough to crack glass windows! (NPH, p. 211, fn. 52)

Griffin tackles one of the persistent misunderstandings about the Twin Tower fires. He writes that defenders of the official theory suggest that the Twin Towers were special in the sense that the fire did not have to heat all the steel by spreading throughout the floors. The culprits were the “angle clips” which “held the floor joists between the columns on the perimeter wall and the core structure,” and which, he says, were not designed to hold five times their normal load. According to this “zipper” version of the truss theory, once angle clips failed in one area, it put extra load on other angle clips and then it unzipped around the building on that floor in a matter of seconds and led to a domino effect which caused the buildings to collapse within ten seconds. Something like this theory was endorsed in the FEMA report, which spoke of a “pancake-type of collapse of successive floors.” (NPH, pp. 15-16)

But Griffin finds that there are problems with this account. First the amount of heat required to make the steel very hot would seem to require more heat than was present, especially in the South Tower.

2nd Griffin cites Hufschmid who writes, “In order for a floor to fall, hundreds of joints had to break almost simultaneously on 236 exterior columns and 47 core columns.”

3rd Eagar’s theory of the speed of the collapse – nearly at free fall speed–doesn’t take into account the problem of resistance. “Can we really believe that the upper part of the buildings encountered virtually no resistance from the lower parts?” How “could the debris crush 100 steel and concrete floors while falling as fast as objects fall through air?”

4th Eager’s and other versions of the official account cannot do justice to the total collapse of the towers, resulting in a pile that “was only a few stories high.” Such theories don’t explain the collapse of the steel core of the buildings.

5th The official story doesn’t explain why the South Tower collapsed first. Since it would take considerable time for fire to heat steel to its own temperature, all things equal, the South Tower, which was struck 17 minutes later than the North Tower, should have collapsed later, not 29 minutes earlier. This is even more surprising since the fires in the South Tower were much smaller. This “reversal of expectations suggests that the collapse of these buildings was caused by something other than the fires.” (NPH, p. 17)

Controlled demolition accounts for all the facts discussed thus far. Peter Meyer, the author of a book on the WTC demolition, explained the reason the collapse was so total and so rapid. He theorized that the bases of the steel columns were shattered at the bedrock. “With those bases obliterated, and the supporting steel columns shattered by explosions at various levels…the upper floors lost all support and collapsed to ground level in about 10 seconds.” (NPH, p. 18)

Griffin goes on to list additional facts that seem explainable only by the demolition theory.

Each collapse produced a lot of fine dust. Where does the energy come from to turn all this reinforced concrete into dust? Hufschmid adds that photos show only “a few small pieces of concrete” which means that virtually every piece of concrete “shattered into dust.” Where did the energy come from? Similarly, by what means was very fine concrete dust ejected from the top of the building very early in the collapse. Hufschmid adds that even concrete slabs hitting the ground at free fall speed would not be pulverized. That would require explosives. (NPH, p. 18) Continue reading “NO Planes in 911”