Seminar at University of Tennessee raises questions - Event draws close to 300
News Story from Chattanooga Times Free Press, 11/16/11.
RE: 11/15/11 seminar at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Questions should be asked about the science behind the falling of the World Trade Center buildings 10 years ago, panelists agreed Tuesday night.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hosted the event, "The Science of 9/11," which began with a moment of silence for the families who lost loved ones.
The discussion "is an opportunity to illustrate the application of the scientific method to a real life event that most Americans remember exactly where they were," said UTC professor of anthropology Lyn Miles, one of the event's coordinators.
There are also more than 1,500 architects and engineers who have raised scientific questions over the collapse of the World Trade Center and are calling for a full investigation of 9/11, and it's worthwhile to discuss why, she added.
The school showed the documentary "Architects & Engineers 9/11 Truth," also the name of the nonprofit that says the collapse of the buildings was not caused by the impact of the planes but by explosives or controlled demolition.
Close to 300 people attended the event, many university students, who often cheered the comments made from one of the panelists, David Johnson, a University of Tennessee at Knoxville urban planning professor emeritus and urban engineering expert, who also calls for a new investigation of what happened on that day when almost 3,000 people were killed.
"We need a citizens' initiative to ask for an investigation. We need other kinds of efforts to ask the academic and legislative world for hearings that are authentic and that we can respect and settle this and bring us to some closure," he said.
Jim Hall, former director of the National Transportation Safety Board and leading expert on transportation safety and security, agrees.
"As a nation, we have to be very careful not to overclassify information that we the taxpayers are paying for. We need to be sure as these investigations proceed, so the American people and those individuals who lost loved ones have confidence in the integrity of the investigation," he told the crowd to applause.
There were a few instances when self-described "truthers" rebutted comments from panelists, especially from Erwin Foster, UTC College of Engineering professor emeritus, civil engineer and forensic investigator, who provided a lot of the scientific explanation. But moderator Richard Winham was quick to emphasize the discussion was not about conspiracy theories but about science.
The documentary showed the testimony of experts ranging from chemical and structural engineers to physicists and architects talking about why the official findings are flawed.
The official finding was that the fires weakened the structures, leading to the collapses.
One argument in the documentary was the speed at which tower seven, the 47-story high-rise across Vesey Street collapsed in less than seven seconds.
But Foster said there were a lot of "half truths."
"My philosophy is that everybody ought to ask questions and ought to keep asking questions," he said.
Foster added he was impressed by the number of half-truths about the temperature of steel and how it wouldn't melt and the lack of mention about the beams in the building being very flexible.
"There are a lot of mathematics and dynamics going on here that we don't have any experience on whatsoever," he added.
One of the earliest casualties of 9/11 was the truth, said Tom Junod, an Esquire magazine journalist who interviewed families and survivors to determine the identity of the famous falling man -- a man photographed falling from one of the buildings.
The picture of the falling man immediately was suppressed, he said. The official explanation was that nobody jumped from the buildings, but families were desperate to learn the truth.
Rorie Jones, 19, attended the panel discussion to get extra credit and write a paper about it for her sociology class.
When the freshman entered the auditorium at the University Center, she didn't have an opinion on the matter. When she left, she only had more questions.
"It brought up points I hadn't thought about before, like the physical aspects of how the buildings collapsed," she said.
"It makes you think," she added, "but in order to come up with any conclusions we have to remove our emotions."
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of architects, engineers and affiliates dedicated to exposing the falsehoods and to revealing truths about the collapses of the three World Trade Center high-rises on Sept. 11, 2001.
The group believes there is sufficient evidence to conclude that three World Trade Center buildings No. 1 (North Tower), No. 2 (South Tower), and No. 7 (the 47-story high-rise across Vesey Street) were destroyed not by jet impact and fires but by controlled demolition with explosives.
Original story at
Another article by an independent writer about this event follows:
Is The Truth Still Out There?
“The Science of 9-11” panel proposes independent investigation of towers’ fall
By Lee Hamilton
An independent investigation should be formed to look at the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings that occurred after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a panel at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The occasion was a Nov. 15, 2011 screening of a shortened version of the film “9/11: Explosive Evidence, Experts Speak Out”, produced by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth. Formed in 2006 in San Francisco by architect Richard Gage, the organization’s members believe there is sufficient evidence that the twin towers (along with another building about 350 feet away known as World Trade Center 7), collapsed as a result of controlled demolition.
In other words, someone intentionally blew them up.
More than 1,600 architects and engineers, as well as nearly 14,000 other supporters have signed a petition demanding an investigation, according to the Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth website.
The UTC program, called “The Science of 9-11”, did not focus on conspiracy theories, and, in fact, no one on the panel speculated exactly how the buildings might have been blown up or who might have been responsible.
However, as one audience member implied during the Q &A that followed, it’s impossible to separate the two: If the group’s theory is correct, there had to have been many more people involved than just the 19 hijackers. Controlled demolitions, it was pointed out, take a lot of planning, time and expertise to set up, and a lot of explosives.
While about half of the film focuses on WTC 7, the group disputes the official investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which concluded that all three buildings fell because the supporting steel framing was weakened by fire and could no longer support the buildings’ weight.
Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth says NIST investigators didn’t consider key evidence, such as eyewitness testimony that there were numerous explosions, and that it won’t make its computer simulations of the WTC 7’s collapse available to the public, among many other problems. Members also believe a steel-framed high-rise building has never before collapsed from a normal fire, and that evidence of the incendiary thermite has been found in dust from the World Trade Center, along with iron spheroids, which are produced by molten iron.
The evidence of thermite, pushed hard by the organization, but brushed off by NIST, was only briefly mentioned at the UTC forum.
“I think there should have been an independent investigation, with a panel of citizens,” said panelist Jim Hall, former director of the National Transportation Safety Board. He added a little intrigue when he said the NTSB, which investigates all plane crashes, never found the flight data boxes from either plane, which is very unusual.
“The loss of that information was very difficult to deal with because we’ll never really know,” Hall said.
Hall said government investigations are difficult to put together and experts don’t always agree when faced with the same evidence. He said it’s not likely NIST was engaged in a cover-up, but it’s also likely the investigation was performed hastily.
“I think the government ought to try to address the questions in a responsible fashion,” Hall said.
The Twin Towers were hit by airliners that were full of jet fuel. However, WTC 7, a 47-story structure, was hit by falling debris from one of the other towers, igniting fires, and it fell at 5:20 p.m. The building had been evacuated, so no one died.
Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth, using largely video evidence from news organizations and other sources, says the way WTC 7 collapsed—essentially straight down, in a freefall with no resistance, into its own footprint—looks to be a classic case of controlled demolition.
The film features a parade of experts, including numerous civil engineers and architects, and a buildings demolition expert.
Panelist Edwin Foster, professor emeritus of civil engineering at UTC, came the closest of anyone on the panel to defending the official explanation of events.
“I was impressed by the number of half-truths [in the film],” Foster said, especially regarding the effects of temperature on steel and its ability to carry loads in a weakened state. He said the explosions people heard could have been the individual floors rapidly collapsing on each other.
“We’ve never seen this anywhere before and questions need to be asked,” Foster said. “There are a lot of dynamics that we have no experience for.”
David Johnson, professor emeritus of planning at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, who also worked as a planner in New York City and was very familiar with the design of the buildings, was the only panelist who has signed the Architects and Engineers’ petition.
On the petition he wrote, “When I saw the rapid collapse of the towers, I knew that they could not come down the way they did without explosives and the severing of core columns at the base. The spewing of debris from the towers where the planes entered also could not have occurred simply with just a structural collapse. Something else was happening to make this occur…What we are faced with is a lie of such proportions that even to suggest it makes one subject to ridicule and scorn.”
He was more circumspect at the forum.
“I’d love the National Academy of Engineering to undertake a very systematic study of what happened. The NIST studies are totally inadequate…NIST is a very politicized organization,” Johnson said.
Esquire journalist Tom Junod, who wrote a story called “The Falling Man”, detailing his efforts to find the subject of a famous photograph of a man who had fallen from one of the Twin Towers, didn’t offer an opinion about the assertions in the film.
However, he did say that despite overwhelming evidence that a significant number of the people who died that day (an estimated 200) jumped to their deaths, the official government explanation was that no one jumped: they were pushed out by forces inside the towers.
“One of the earliest casualties [of 9-11] was the truth,” Junod said. “The truth can be painful but it’s never as bad as the alternative.”
The full version of “9/11: Explosive Evidence, Experts Speak Out” is available for sale on Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth’s website or for free on You Tube.