Taking aim at reader’s 9/11 building theory

Reader pokes holes in conspiracy theory around other trade centre building

Re: 9/11 explanation needs to be revisited (Letters, Sept. 27)

I was disappointed to learn that the stale and long debunked conspiracy theory regarding the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7 appears to remain alive and well. It is difficult to know where to begin, but I shall address three of the fallacies raised by Mr. Burchill’s credulity as follows:

1) “During Tower 7’s collapse, characteristics of controlled demolition were plainly evident.” Not so. The tower did not, as claimed, “collapse into its own footprint;” quite the contrary in fact. In actuality, it tilted and twisted to one side as it fell and parts of the building severely damaged two neighbouring buildings (the Verizon and Fiterman Hall structures).

2) “… scientists found residue of the type of explosives and incendiaries used in controlled demolitions …” Mr. Burchill fails to point out that his fellow conspiracy theorists claim that thermite, or a derivative, (thermate, nanothermite etc.) was used in order to topple the tower quietly.

Thermite, although its ignition is extremely hot, is simply not practical for carrying out a controlled demolition and there is no documentation of it ever having been used for that purpose.

Thermite events manifest by means of a reaction between an iron oxide and pure aluminum; however, the detection of post-event particles of these is utterly meaningless, as the compound and the element would quite normally be expected to be found in the debris of any reinforced concrete building from standard metallic construction materials and anti-rust paint.

3) “The tower fell straight down into its own footprint, at free-fall acceleration …”

Again, simply not true; at the start of the collapse, materials fell at no more than two-thirds gravity (32 feet per second/per second) and by the end of the event at barely one-third g.

As stated, the foregoing addresses only three of the many flaws in Mr. Burchill’s argument.

For those people who are interested in learning more about this topic, I recommend a succinct argument of the issue, “The 9/11 Truth Movement: The Top Conspiracy Theory a Decade Later,” by Dr. Dave Thomas.

It appears in the July/August 2011 edition of The Skeptical Inquirer, from which elements of my letter have been shamelessly paraphrased.

John C. Simpson

Oak Bay