The Online Photographer

Check out our new site at!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day of Infamy

Today is September 11th. My view of this day in history is not a popular one, but it is a view to which I am led by the evidence, much of it photographic. On this day five years ago, late in the afternoon, World Trade Center Building Seven (WTC7), a 47-story, 570-foot-high office building that housed, among other things, offices of the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission, imploded seemingly spontaneously into its own footprint. Unlike WTC 1 and 2, WTC7 had not been hit by a plane. It was on fire, but the fires were not sufficient to cause its collapse, even eventually, much less catastrophically and totally within the space of 6.5 or 6.6 seconds, about one second more than it would take an object in freefall through the air to fall from a height of 570 feet to the ground. Unlike WTC1 and 2, no one died in the collapse of WTC7; there was no firefighting activity in the building and all the occupants had been evacuated.

The fires inside WTC7, photographed no more than two hours before building's implosion

We have decided, as a people, to not believe this, some for political reasons, some for reasons of denial, some because the media is ignoring it, some out of ignorance of the facts of the case, but the evidence is clear: WTC7 was demolished using high explosive charges deliberately placed and detonated to cause its collapse—a so-called "controlled demolition"—and those charges were almost certainly placed in that building prior to the crash of the planes into the towers that morning. How this was so, and why this was so, I have no idea. Who is responsible, I of course have no idea. What it implies within the broader context of the fall of the towers, I can't say. But the fate of WTC7, to me, is the nub of the current, ongoing tragedy of this day: we Americans don't know all of what happened on 9/11, and thus we as a society continue to be blinded to the implications of the truth.

All of us grieve for the innocent dead, and feel hatred and contempt for the misguided "martyrs" who perpetrated the crashes of those four planes on this date five years ago.


Please, no more comments for this post. Let's get back to photography.


Blogger mike said...

see for more about the WTC demolition.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2002, Larry Silverstein, the then owner of WTC7, in a PBS documentary, admitted that he, along with the NYFD decided to demolish the building....resulting in about $500 million in profit after insurance pay outs.
and also:

Things that make you go 'hmmm....'

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your beliefs might be unpopular, but they are not uncommon. A Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll reports that 36 percent of respondents believed that government officials were involved in the attacks, or allowed them to happen. A full 16 percent think that explosives brought down WTC 1 and 2. The poll does not appear to have asked questions about WTC 7.

According to the Washington Post, a majority of New Yorkers share these beliefs.

I cannot agree with them myself - I find that murderous intent on the part of the hijackers, and incompetence or malfesance on the part of elected officials, explains the events of 9/11 adequately.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Well done.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Popular mechanics spent a lot of time debunking these urban legends which is the kind term I'll use.

In specific - WTC7

I can stomach Mike's leftist comments on a photography site - his house, his rules. BUT this kind of consipracy mongering gets tough to swallow.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Viz said...

Thank you so much for saying this. I really, really, really don't want to be a 9-11 conspiracy theorist, but I've never seen a credible explanation for what happened to WTC7. I can buy the arguments re the collapse of the twin towers (even if there are some problems with the standard explanation) but I just can't accept the conventional wisdom re WTC7.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Popular mechanics spent a lot of time debunking these urban legends which is the kind term I'll use."

Popular Mechanics has the same problem George Bush has when he talks about Iraq: they start from a premise and argue backwards. PM has clearly decided that its brief is to defend the official account of the events, and every effort they make is to support this premise and belittle its opposite. They are clearly not starting from an investigative stance to see what they can discover, letting the evidence lead where it may.

I suggest you simply spend some time reading up on the evidence. It's not "leftist," "rightist," "centrist" or anything else: it's wondering what happened and weighing the evidence. The evidence proves simply that fires cannot cause the near-instantaneous complete collapse of a steel-framed building. Read building owner Larry Silverman's comments about the collapse if you still have doubts.

Inform yourself. You'll come to the same conclusion I have if you learn the facts. Namely, that the official story is suspicious and we probably do not know what really happened.


10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up to you folks but, where I come from, there's nothing wrong with being "leftist". Our Constitution protects our rights to be whatever, (leftist, optimistic, tall, or even a book-reader)as long as it is legal. Well, maybe some of you would like to illegalize "leftists" worldwide, but that's another question.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very liberal, and don't see these comments as 'leftist' at all. I put them in the same category as the theories which claim all the Jews were informed of the attacks in advance, so they could stay home that day.

I watched WTC 7 collapse, from a few blocks away. Nothing about the collapse looked suspicious, and no signs of any explosion preceded the collapse. It looked simply like a building that had been on fire for hours and finally collapsed. In fact, it looked pretty much like the collapse of the main towers, except without the sliver-like shards of debri, due to the buildings' differing construction.

I think WTC 7 probably collapsed because it housed the Mayor's command center, which was stocked with thousands of gallons of deisel fuel in the first floors of the building. The fuel containers were likely damaged by debris from WTC 1 & 2, and the fuel caught fire. At that point, you basically had a plane's worth of fuel inside the building. Just like WTC 1 & 2.

I was distressed to see this post on TOP. Not just because I think it subscribes to a ludicrous belief that undermines the rest of the site's credibility, or because it propagates misinformation that will only make it harder for this country to address the disaster responsibly, but also because it's just so out of place. There's plenty to say about Sept. 11 and photography, but this post says nothing. Why is it here?

12:12 PM  
Blogger John said...

Well, I tend to lean a bit left myself but I'm perennially skeptical of conspiracy theories from the left, right or center. Problem with most if not all of them is that they credit the alleged conspirators (and particularly the government) with improbable competence and capacity for concealement. I'm also convinced of the wisdom the Ocham's Razor approach - the simplest explanation for phenomena is likely to be the most accurate. And while there may be problems with the mainstream explanation for the collapse ot WT7, it seems to me that explaining the destruction of WT7 as an event not caused by the collision of the planes but occuring shortly after on the same day rapidly becomes very complex indeed. That doesn't mean its true but from my pov it certainly reduces the plausibility. I do believe there is great reason to be concerned with the the failings of the government leading up to and during the 9/11 attacks and I am deeply concerned about the way our nation has responded to this event and what I see as the cynical use of post-9/11 fear to further certain political ends.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, I would love to know the truth but unfortunately that is not going to happen. One problem is that there too many theories put forward by people with suspect motives that are clouding the issue. The second coming of the JFK assasination.

I will gladly look at facts provided by credible investigators.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Brambor said...

Most of you have probably been to this site but for those who haven't this is a must.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Inform yourself. You'll come to the same conclusion I have if you learn the facts."

What facts? If you want anybody to come around to your point of view, you need to back up your assertions with evidence.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I've never found the hullabaloo over WTC 7 to be at all convincing. It's
never made sense from a variety of perspectives. See, for instance:

Now, if you wanted to talk to me about the anthrax attacks, I'd
listen. Everyone seems to have forgotten about them, yet the anthrax
apparently came from our own stocks and they've never caught the

And then there's the run-up to the Iraq war. Iraq was supposed to have
all these terrible weapons, and be connected with 9/11, none of which
turns out to be true.

And what about Tora Bora? It's pretty well documented at this point
that we didn't use nearly enough American troops at Tora Bora, which
was our best chance to actually catch Osama bin Laden. Why not? Well,
the troops we should have used at Tora Bora were already preparing for
the war in Iraq.

Six years ago I was basically a centrist, but I've moved firmly to
the left thanks to the follies of the Bush administration.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I admit a few salient points were made in, I have to admit that a lot of it reminded me of... the forums at DPReview. People appearing as if they know that they're talking about but, well, you know...

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just re-read the PM piece in WTC7 and I'm persuaded. I can ascribe any number of bad deeds to this administration, but demolishing any part of the WTC complex, killing 3000 citizens, to say nothing of the planes and the damage to the airline industry, seems beyond their malevolence. Negligence -- ignoring the warnings that the attack was being planned -- yes, but active involvement, no.

And surely in the post-Photoshop age, you don't believe that pictures don't lie?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Gnomeself Be True said...

Nothing wrong with being leftist, or any other ""
But tin-foil hat is more than I can take.
You just lost me Mike.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike: WTC7 was build over an old Con Ed station, which contained thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and was not like a normally supported building -it was partly cantilevered over the old station. in addition the fires were not minor, but horrendous. Add in the large amount of flammable material in the building itself and the speed of its collapse becomes less odd, as does the need to take down the remnant.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"offices of the Secret Service, the CIA"....

sorry Mike, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that the building was built with self-destruction charges in place. I would expect the same for any Brit security headquarters, and I wouldn't expect it to be confirmwd by the government.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with one thing you say here, that we do not know what really happened.

All else is hearsay, gossip and wishful thinking.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is difficult to accept the official explanations on this matter or any other when this administration has been so intent on obfuscating or simply being disrespectful of evidence counter to it's ambitions. It is not seditious to ask legitimate questions regarding these events which have so strongly steered the fate of this nation and the rest of the world, for that matter.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These aren't exactly correct in all aspects, but they're close enough to show what the truth speakers assert happened:


Construction of WTC1. This does not show a very important aspect of the structure of the tower.
Observe how the shafts upon which the cranes are sitting have diagonal cross members. Those shafts became the elevator shafts, and the cross members added significantly to the structural integrity of the cores.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I could be wrong about this, I'll admit that. It's happened before (me being wrong, I mean) and it'll happen again.

But I really think Americans need to wake up. We need to pay attention. The doubts that I'm willing to express in public center around WTC7 just because I believe it's the most clear-cut case.

People need to ask questions. How could fires cause this one building to collapse when a steel-frame high-rise has never before, and never since, collapsed due to fire? How could all of the steel structure fail at once even though not all of it was proximate to the fires? How could it fall spontaneously into its own footprint in a perfect implosion, even though implosions are the most difficult kind of demolition to plan and manage? Why has no spontaneous natural collapse of a building of any sort ever been documented to happen at near free-fall speeds? How did it leave hundreds of steel beams neatly cut into similar lengths despite the fact that fire can't cut steel (it will bend and droop before it will sever--while on the other hand, high explosive charges are intended specifically to cut steel). How did it leave molten steel in the wreckage even though free-air fires cannot reach temperatures sufficient to melt steel? Why did Larry Silverstein, the owner of WTC7, say, in 2002, "I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, 'We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.' And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse." What did he mean by "pull it" if he wasn't using the common term for initiating a demolition? Regarding the supposed 4,000 to 36,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored in the building, why did FEMA conclude, in its investigation, "The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence" [Federal Emergency Management Agency, 5/1/2002]?

More generally, why did the Administration successfully delay, and attempt to block altogether, the 911 Commission Investigation? Why did the Administration attempt to suppress the release of eyewitness accounts by surviving firefighters?!? What POSSIBLE benign rationale could there have been for that?

And even more generally than that, if you believe all that this Administration is telling us, it simply indicates to me that you're not paying attention to its patterns and modus operandi.

"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not after me," goes the old joke. And just because something qualifies as a "conspiracy theory" doesn't by itself prove that there could not have been a conspiracy.

We really do need to pay attention. The future is uncharted terroritory. It's getting important.


5:07 PM  
Blogger John said...

While I am skeptical about alternative explanations for the 9/11 attacks I don't have satisfactory answers to these questions. Mike is correct - just because many conspiracy theories are paranoid fantasies does not preclude the existance of real conspiracies. I seem to recall a few that were real enough lead to indictments of high level political appointees and one or two elected officials in the last 35 years or so. And I agree that it is important in this day and age that we critically examine the information and accounts of events we get from the media and our elected officials.

6:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home