9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 2

During the month of November 2005, Professor Jones and I went back and forth via email about the contents of his paper. His paper has been updated since then so I have gone through our discussions and I have only kept the parts of them that still pertain to the current version of his paper located here. All page references below refer to the current version of the paper as of the date of this post.

Item 1 – On page 9, there is a photo of what Jones asserts is evidently “now solidified metal” that used to be molten. It turns out that this photo is of cement and other materials, including paper, that are part of several floors of material that were compressed during the collapse. Here are two of the original photos with the caption that explains what it really is.

Item 2 – On page 22 in the above report Professor Jones states:

“…further investigation and analyses are indeed needed, including serious consideration of the controlled-demolition hypothesis which is neglected in all of the government reports (FEMA, NIST and 9-11 Commission reports).”

But on page 6 of the NIST report, it says in bold red letters:

“NIST has seen no evidence that the collapse of WTC 7 was caused by bombs, missiles, or controlled demolition.”

So, they do address that they have not found any evidence that would support a controlled demolition theory. I asked Professor Jones if he thought that NIST was wicked (i.e. not telling the truth about what they found) or incompetent. He ultimately replied:

“I think the FEMA and NIST fellows were tightly constrained in what they could say, not evil. NIST states they were under non-disclosure restrictions, for example.”

So even though NIST explicitly states that they have found no evidence that WTC 7 was demolished, it seems to me that Professor Jones states that they neglected addressing controlled demolition and that the reason for this is that they were tightly regulated.

I would think that being regulated would mean that you don’t say anything about demolition even if you had found something, not that you lie and say the opposite of what your findings are. I think that they weren’t lying and that they really didn’t find any evidence of demolition and by saying so, they did in fact address the issue.

Apart from this, there is firsthand testimony gathered from firemen and rescue personnel during the few weeks after 9/11 during debriefing interviews. Several links to these interviews posted at www.nytimes.com can be found here. Some of this information also comes from www.firehouse.com.

In summary, the firefighters at WTC 7 say that there was a huge 20-story tall hole down the south side of WTC 7 that went inside the building 1/4 to 1/2 of the depth of the building, there was a large bulge between floors 10 and 13 that they put a transit on to measure its movement to predict collapse potential, there were strange creaking noises coming out of WTC 7, the building was leaning to one side, they saw from the structural damage combined with transit and laser doppler vibrometer data (another tool used to measure collapse potential) that the building would soon collapse on its own.

They set up a collapse zone a couple of hours before it collapsed to let it fall. Once it fell, they went back in to work on the debris pile. There are photos and video of the severe damage and smoke billowing out of the entire south side of WTC 7 here and here.

I have never seen these photos or video in a demolition theory presentation. I was only shown the basically undamaged north side and a small part of the southwest corner that’s damaged. I think they do this to create a need to investigate a demolition theory in the first place. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe they just didn’t look hard enough for evidence that would go against investigating a demolition theory.

Perhaps NIST had access to all this information and saw that a demolition theory was not necessary and that is why they didn’t address it except to say that they didn’t see any evidence of demolition. I have sent Professor Jones the testimony above about the severe damage to WTC 7, for example, but I have yet to find that information in his paper.

Why would he exclude this important testimony about the state of WTC 7 from his paper? I don’t know either. I also heard Professor Jones during an interview with Alex Jones saying that there was little damage to WTC 7 and that was AFTER I gave him the above testimony and references. Like I said, this testimony makes a demolition theory not necessary and perhaps that is why it is ignored.

Item 3 – On pages 2 and 22 of Professor Jones’ paper, it says:

“I invite you to consider the collapse of the 47-story WTC 7, which was never hit by a jet.” and “No major high-rise building has ever collapsed from fire…”

These statements are misleading in a few ways. First, with regard to WTC 7, yes, it wasn’t hit by a plane, it was hit by a huge chunk of the North World Trade Center Tower that did the damage explained above. Also, that other steel high rise buildings haven’t collapsed like the towers (and WTC 7) did that day is interesting but mostly irrelevant. The example photos of buildings falling on their sides in his presentations and other buildings that withstood fires were built differently and were not hit by airplanes or other buildings in combination with fires.

There is also the Madrid Windsor Tower that is often used to show that a huge raging fire didn’t destroy a building, but only selected photos are used. Look here to see the photos the conspiracy theorists don’t want you to see. Yes, if you look at the side of the building they don’t show you (that’s a recurring theme) the steel collapsed but the cement remained at the Windsor Madrid tower.

But this all ends up being a straw man argument anyway. Consider the research of Asif Usmani – a structural engineer from Edinburgh University who specializes in fire’s effect on structures. He contends that the steel didn’t need to melt or even loose much strength – all it had to do was expand. Another paper exists here. (Dang! I had to pay $25 for an earlier, less complete copy of that document and now it’s free and has more information in it – oh well.)

The floors of the towers expanded with fire across three floors. These floors buckled (as is shown in photos) because they couldn’t push the core in or the outer walls out. Once they buckled, the load was transferred to adjacent floors and also through the hat truss to the core. As each floor buckled, more load was put on the core until a global collapse initiated. The outer walls buckled inward up to 55 inches before the collapse, just as his computer models predicted. His models took about 50 minutes to collapse completely and the temperatures were fairly low.

Item 4 – On page 23 it says:

Horizontal puffs of smoke and debris are observed emerging from WTC-7 on upper floors, in regular sequence, just as the building starts to collapse. (The reader may wish to view the close-up video clip again.) The upper floors have evidently not moved relative to one another yet, from what one can observe from the videos. In addition, the timing between the puffs is less than 0.2 seconds so air-expulsion due to collapsing floors (see Chertoff, 2005) is evidently excluded. Free-fall time for a floor to fall down to the next floor is significantly longer than 0.2 seconds: the equation for free fall, y = ½ gt2, yields a little over 0.6 seconds, as this is near the initiation of the collapse. However, the presence of such “squibs” proceeding up the side of the building is common when pre-positioned explosives are used…”

The puffs come from the damaged area of WTC 7 as seen in the above photos and video of the south side. The penthouse falls into the building and then we see puffs of debris coming out of the windows in regular succession. It wouldn’t surprise me to see puffs of debris coming out of a building that has already started to collapse. Even the regularity of the puffs wouldn’t surprise me. If these were explosives, not only would they be seen before the building starts to fall (I saw the building start to fall one frame before the first puff came out – perhaps I’m looking at a different video), but they seem to be in the wrong place. Why put them at the top edge of the building? Also, why are we calculating floor to floor pancake times when WTC 7 didn’t pancake according to video accounts. The floors were connected to each other and a shock wave through the floors would go as fast as the speed of sound in the materials it was traveling through. With the penthouse dropping before the puffs, why is it such a mystery that air pressure from within the building as it collapsed would want to escape out of the already broken windows? Anyway, this really is moot since the collapse was expected hours before (without demolition), according to the firemen on the scene.

Item 5 – On page 32, it says:

“The 110-story towers of the World Trade Center were designed to withstand as a whole the forces caused by a horizontal impact of a large commercial aircraft. So why did a total collapse occur? (Bazant and Zhou, 2002, p. 2.)”

This is dishonest and misleading. I gave Professor Jones a more accurate quote:

“According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, however, WTC towers 1 and 2 were designed to withstand the impact of a 707 lost in fog, looking to land. The modeled aircraft was a 707 weighing 263,000 lb (119,000 kg) with a flight speed of only 180 mph (290 km/h), as would be used in approach and landing situations ([2], page 17). The 767s that actually hit the towers had a kinetic energy more than seven times greater than the specifically modeled 707 impact.” (wikipedia.org)

To which he replied:

“That was Bazant and Zhou’s statement in full on this matter – and I’m analyzing their paper at this point. The towers did withstand the impact, and so stood for 52 and 102 minutes afterward.”

Fair enough. He gave the full quote from Bazant and Zhou, but I gave him the complete quote. Ok, so now he has the complete quote. Does he remove the less correct, misleading quote from the paper and replace it with the more complete and accurate quote that I gave him? No. The incomplete and misleading quote is still in the paper to this day. He then discusses the misleading quote:

“Correct – the WTC Towers were designed to withstand forces caused by large commercial aircraft – we can agree on that.”

That’s a true, but misleading statement, especially when you know what the whole quote says.

Item 6 – on page 41, it says:

“Ryan’s estimate is that the probability that fires and damage (the “official theory”) could cause the Towers complete collapse is less than one in a trillion, and the probability is much less still when the complete collapse of WTC7 is included”

I asked him the following questions about this estimation:

How can you do a probability calculation on an event with such an incredible amount of unknowns? Did Ryan input the amount of core damage that was done into his statistical calculations? If so, where did he get that data? If not, where did he get his numbers? Could you provide me with the inputs and the formula used to come up with that number? Was an airplane flying into those core columns part of the calculation?

He didn’t get back to me on those questions. I really think it smells funny to put a “one in a trillion” estimate out there with no calculations to back it up.

Apparently, Mr. Ryan didn’t know about the damage to the south side of WTC 7 that gave the firemen the idea that the probability of collapse was close to 1 in 1. He also apparently didn’t know about Dr. Asif Usmani’s work that put the probablilty of collapse of the towers at some number quite a bit less than a trillion to 1.

If you combine those two probablities, you get a more likely overall chance of the three buildings collapsing. Yeah, I don’t know the exact probability, but it seems that Mr. Ryan doesn’t have all the inputs, including the firemen testimony above, or it would seem to be less than a 1 in a trillion chance.

Item 7 – On page 28, it says:

“And these explosives also readily account for the turning of the falling Towers to fine dust as the collapse ensues. Rather than a piling up with shattering of concrete as we might expect from non-explosive-caused progressive collapse (“official theory”), we find that most of the Towers material (concrete, carpet, etc.) is converted to flour-like powder WHILE the buildings are falling.”

As we might expect? Who is expecting this? Exactly what type of concrete were the floors made out of again? What amount of energy would it take to convert that into dust? Is there a more reasonable explanation than explosives all over every floor?

I think so and I think I’ll believe people who knew what kind of concrete was used and actually did calculations to find out what would happen. Look here if you dare.

Item 8 – On page 29 it says:

“But then – and this I’m still puzzling over – this block turned mostly to powder in mid-air!”

I just watched video of this again and the upper floors remain intact all the way until they disappear into the cloud of concrete dust below them. I don’t know which video he was watching.

Even if it did turn into dust because of explosives, how on earth would you do that without having fire or other explosive evidence other than just dust? And don’t say nukes – even Professor Jones doesn’t buy the nuke or the “high energy particle beam” theories.

Item 9 – On page 43, it says:

“Remarkably, the explosive demolition hypothesis accounts for all the available data rather easily. The core columns on lower floors are cut using explosives, near-simultaneously, along with explosives detonated up higher so that gravity acting on now-unsupported floors helps bring down the buildings quickly. The collapses are thus symmetrical, rapid and complete, with accompanying squibs — really very standard stuff for demolition experts….It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings, and set off after the two plane crashes – which were actually a diversion tactic.”

I disagree. How would cutting core columns on lower floors cause a collapse of the building directly above the impact but not just below the impact? How would it cause the south tower to tilt and rotate above the impact point but not below? Why would it not fall from the ground floors straight down?

And how on earth does a physics professor make an assertion that the plane crashes “were actually a diversion tactic”? What? Um, where are your physics calculations for such an assertion? I think that statement gives us a glimpse into his underlying beliefs that could be driving him to reject any data that goes counter to that belief. I could be wrong though. You decide.

Item 10 – This quote was in his paper back when I reviewed it with him but it has now been removed:

“And that fact should be of great concern to Americans and to all those threatened by American military and security units in the wake of the 9-11 events.”

Regardless of the reason that he put this in his paper originally, it stinks like anti-war agenda bias and it weakens his objectivity. Could it be just another glimpse into his underlying belief driving what I think is his practice of pathological science – where his underlying belief drives the types of data he looks for? I don’t know either. You decide.

Item 11 – Chain of custody. Professor Jones discusses some ground zero samples on page 13:

“We are studying residues found in solidified slag as well as in dust from the WTC collapses, in order to determine the nature of the reactions which produced this molten material. We have performed electron-microprobe, X-ray Fluorescence and other analyses on samples of the solidified slag and on the WTC dust. The provenience of the WTC dust sample is an apartment at 113 Cedar Street in New York City, NY. A memorial constructed from structural steel from the WTC Towers located at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, is the source of previously-molten metal samples. Porous, solidified splatter found with the compacted dirt from this memorial is being analyzed.”

I think if these samples are real, that this is really where Professor Jones’ time should be spent. It’s in his area of expertise and it’s physical evidence.

My only problem is that since his theory amounts to charging our own government with large scale cold blooded murder, his chain of custody (or provenience) needs to be better than this. I believe he has more detail for his chain of custody but I haven’t seen it published yet. I would like to see the names, dates, and locations of each sample from ground zero all the way to his hands. That is what would be required for a murder case.

If the chain of custody isn’t bulletproof, then it could be argued that someone just gathered up some slag from a thermite experiment they did in their back yard and sent it to Professor Jones and that would be the end of his case.

Next up, I would like to describe his reaction when I came to one of his presentations with firemen testimony in my hand. It was very strange. I would also like to go through his current paper and address any new information he has added since my last review of it.

Just to reiterate, I am not here to beat up on Professor Jones or to just do anything I can to prove him wrong. I think he should do the research he’s doing and I think his findings should be published. I do not however think that his solid research dealing with physics and metal samples should be hidden in a sea of already debunked or questionable or misleading material.

This would end up being a bunch of red herrings for the government or others to pick at – like I’m doing right now. I’d like these inaccuracies and misleading items to be reworded or removed so that the focus can be clear and solid and if there was something fishy going on on 9/11, it can be discovered.

Related articles:
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 4

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Posted on December 19, 2006, in Conspiracy Theories. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. As I’ve said before, Steven Jones does not constitute the totality of the 9/11 truth movement.

    One question, though, how did debris from the North Tower shoot over building six, across a street and land about 360 feet away on building 7? Do steel beams fly horizontally 360 feet if they are released from a great height. Maybe the wind carried them.

    Nitpicking Dr. Jones’ work will not convince anyone of the veracity, or lack thereof, of 9/11 truth, unless they are merely disciples of Dr. Jones with no real knowledge of the many other sources of information out there. It takes guts to speak out publicly about one’s beliefs and convictions and Dr. Jones has my respect for doing just that. I don’t believe that his research is perfect, but I believe that his main points are sound.

    There are some 9/11 theorists out there that are simply quacks and some are not, but it seems to hurt some members of the church to know that another member of the church, Dr. Jones, thinks that our president (their president) could possibly be complicit in the events of 9/11. For many, Dr. Jones’ views threaten their political identity and sense of security. This is doubly true for Mormons since they are predominantly Republican and conservative. However, killing the messenger will not destroy the message. 9/11 was an inside job and most American’s now believe that. I do not support George Bush the Republican party or the Democrat Party. I support the Constitution. Will you join me?

  2. Again – another example of the conspiracy theory pattern: ignore or discount the items at hand and talk about all the “other” information out there. This pattern keeps anything from being resolved or addressed.

    By the way, there is video of the debris falling outward from the north tower into the south side of wtc 7. Plus all of the testimonies above from people on the ground that day. What’s wrong with the 9/11 “truth” movement? Why can’t they see the real truth that exists beneath their own pile of lies?

    The funny thing is that as I have studied the “rest” of the 9/11 “truth” movement, I have found even less truth in their work than I have found in Jones’ work. It’s mainly a pile of lies and misleading quotes taken out of context and I’m astounded!

    Please address the topics in the post instead of pretending that the whole 9/11 “truth” movement has validity without bringing up any details of that movement.

    Once I’m done with the Jones topic, I’ll address anything dealing with 9/11 you want to deal with. Post it here and we’ll work through it.

    Again, in the meantime, you’ll find most of your 9/11 “truth” arguments debunked at http://www.911myths.com and http://www.debunking911.com. I hope you will thoroughly scour those sites before bringing up any more topics that have already been proven false.

    And, yes, LDS should be open to possible conspiracy theories but we shouldn’t blindly accept any pile of lies just because it’s a conspiracy theory.

  3. Something I wonder about those LDS sucked in by this nonsensical gibberish over 9-11; do they wonder why President Hinckley, President Monson, President Faust or any of the Quorum of The Twelve never intervened on the behalf of or attempted to protect ex-Professor Jones?

    The primary business of the church is “The Truth™”, is it not? We are taught that all religions posess fragments of truth, but we’re the only ones that deal the pure product.

    I can’t imagine that the only prophet of the living God on the earth today would stand idly by while a humble university professor was forced to resign in disgrace simply for standing up for the truth.

    (photo of President Hinkley and President Monson taken 3 days before Joneses suspension from BYU)

  4. The Church does care about the truth. But, Aaron, the church is a nonprofit organization that manages to maintain its nonprofit status by avoiding most political controversy. You now, that whole seperation of church and state thing. There is a lot of injustice that occurs on a daily basis, some even in Salt Lake City itself, that our leaders do not intervene in and probably a lot that they do intervene in. How do you know that one of our leaders did not intervene in Jones’ behalf to arrange a favorable retirement deal? The point is, you don’t know and neither do I.

    My main question to you Aaron is: can you manage to establish your own opinion without a rubber stamp from someone in authority? You look to the governent for guidance about what happened on 9/11 instead of examining the evidence with an open mind. You look to the First Presidency for the seal of approval on Dr. Jones. Your constant appeal to authority is scary to me.

    The Church is noted for not taking stands on strongly political issues. They seem to feel that the members have enough brains to decide most issues for themselves. Therefore I would be suprised to see either an endorsement or an impeachment of Dr. Jones coming from the First Presidency.

    Our government is, at best, inept, and, at worst corrupt. You will not find truth from government officals and you are incredibly naive if you think you can. True analysis involves synthesis, not simply the regurgitation of sound bites from those in authority.

  5. How can our government be, at best, inept and yet pull off the cleverest conspiracy in history.

    A government/military that has made numerous mistakes and bungled many attempts managed to pull off a well coordinated flawless attack upon itself killing thousands of civilians and blamed it on the poor innocent Muslims who have never hurt anyone or, at best, just a few.

    A government that can’t keep any secrets to save itself some how manage the participation and silence of hundreds (maybe thousands) of fellow Americans.

    I appreciate the discussion as I can tell all are passionate about the subject.

    If you are looking for a conspiracy to chat about there are plenty of real ones to examine and they are much more sinister the any of the WTC myths. I myself have become interested in something called “The Project” by the followers of Islam. It is being played out on a global scale and is quite easy to follow. Kind of like a real world game of Risk in which the players use real countries, real bullets, real bombs, and the odd knife to behead those that get in the way.

    BTW, Merry Christmas and if things don’t go well for us then its Alla Akbar… 🙂

  6. Robert – I posted a heads up and links to your entires here over at JREF and James B. has linked here as well from screwloosechange.

    It’s been a few days since you posted part one and there wasn’t anything form you over there so I kinda jumped the gun on you. I hope you’ll forgive me if it seems that I stole some of your thunder. 😉

  7. Spread the word. Thanks! Part 3 is in the works.

  8. Film: 9/11 Mysteries – Please Debunk! We need a 9/11 Mysteries Sucks Page! Also 9/11 Guilt: The Truth is in your Hands. These movies are full of compelling evidence and must be destroyed!

    If you could also address the JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations. I would like you to state publicly that all of these and the John Lennon murder were carried out by crazed losers. That will bolster your credibility even more that your extraordinarily brave words already have. After all, it takes guts to agree wholeheartedly with everything the upstanding administration and government agencies have asserted. What a wellspring of strength you must draw on! To stand firmly against the incredible power of the lying researchers who paw madly through the micron-thin dust and try to spin their webs of lies in the 7-story deep pit of those highly profitable towers. Rage on, great arbiter of honesty and understanding! Though every single newspaper, public radio station and major magazine in the country may agree with you, and 99 percent of politicians, and NFL & NASCAR fans, and Democrats and Republicans and Greens and the Antiwar left groups, let not your mettle fail now! Just because you hold the most conventional & conventionally defensible high ground, and spend your time criticizing a kind of lame movie made by a bunch of kids barely out of college, doesn’t mean you should stop. So eat your veggies and rage on. It’s going to take a lot of nerve to preserve the status quo and suppressing all the selfish liars who just need a little excitement in their life. After all, when there are 4 simultaneous hijackings on the eastern seaboard, it stands to reason that the Pentagon wouldn’t be protected for, oh at least 3 or 4 hours. What do you expect? The government is just a big bumbling beast, a giant DMV where you get a number and wait for years on end for a new license. And since Tom Clancy wrote a book about crashing a plane into the white house in the early 90’s, no one could have known that might happen. I mean no one reads that s**t anymore, we’re busy with the gossip tabloids. Look at bumble-bumble try to win the war! Silly bumble. Bumble so sad about bad arabs. Awabs got “the Project”! It sounds like they are stealing some plays out of the Company handbook! Ahhhhh! Bumble gonna get ’em. Git ’em. Go git ’em screwers!

  9. Louis,

    Thanks for giving all of us another example of the conspiracy theory pattern. In case you missed it, it goes like this: 1. Ignore or devalue the issues at hand and then, 2. Bring up a bunch of other issues. This leaves everything unresolved and nothing addressed. Just so you aren’t too disappointed, I’ll address some of your issues, just to give you an example of what that’s like. Man, I’m being a smarty pants today, huh?

    I’ve seen many 9/11 movies and all of the ones I’ve seen so far are full of half truths that fit a particular agenda. I don’t consider propagating lies, half truths, and misleading quotes taken out of context something useful to the public. I’ll go check out the movies you cited though just to see if there’s really something there.

    If the JFK, RFK, MLK assassinations were investigated anything like 9/11 has been by the conspiracy theorists, then I don’t think I believe them either.

    Hmm, the rest of your comment is a baseless rant so I’ll do what I do when my 18-month old twins rant…

  10. Hi,

    I think the following excerpt you quote, followed by your response, is a good summation of your mindset.

    “NIST has seen no evidence that the collapse of WTC 7 was caused by bombs, missiles, or controlled demolition.”

    So, they do address that they have not found any evidence that would support a controlled demolition theory.

    Right. They simply state it, with no evidence of a shred of detail as to just what their conclusions were based on.

    And that really satisfied you?

    Enough said.


    Tony Barbieri

  11. Tony – Actually I do wish they would have given more detail but as I think about it, what would they do? List a bunch of things they didn’t find? I guess they could do that. I’m actually more satisfied with the research they did rather than the evidence they didn’t find. If you want to check out http://www.911myths.com or http://www.debunking911.com you’ll find a lot more information that directly debunks the 9/11 truth movement’s assertions. Also, NIST put out a FAQ within the last year that also directly addresses some of these assertions. Also, the conspiracy theory area on the forums at http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=64 is a very good place to read and look at what people are finding out in these areas. I’ve done my own research and I have come to my own conclusions. It’s each person’s responsibility to do this.

  12. Tony, perhaps you should get a job to support your family rather than waste your time on this nonsense.

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