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The Inconvenient Science of 9/11: Engaging History for a Sustainable Reconciliation and Mobilization

by Henry MacLean

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
--Upton Sinclair

When do social and political events become disruptive to the point where we as building professionals are driven to protest? One would argue that climate change would be such an event, a fundamental motivation behind the advocacy and educational efforts NESEA members have focused on as a community since our founding. As we approach the National election of 2016, many of us are stunned to witness a major political party identify climate change as a “hoax”, while proposing an economic and environmental platform that threatens the future of a sustainable society. Most NESEA members view this rhetoric as fundamentally disruptive and cause to challenge those who ignore science and risk the goals and values we as a community cherish.

This September 11 will mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a new national day of mourning in America. Many of us may choose to honor the 2,996 souls taken from us in this country’s deadliest terror attack. We may choose to learn about or comfort some of the 5,400 who have been diagnosed with cancers linked to the 9/11 attacks, three times as many as were diagnosed just 2.5 years ago, many with more than one type of cancer. Some of us may help the 32,000 others who struggle with aero-digestive issues, chronic coughs, gastroesophageal reflux disorder and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and the 12,000 diagnosed with 9/11 mental health issues directly caused by these events. In all, 75,000 are enrolled in the World Trade Center health program.

So naturally, it would come as a big shock (perhaps inconceivable) to learn that the Final Reports from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Investigation of the WTC Disaster (released in November of 2008) did not fully track all the evidence of the crime scene at ground zero. After all, this was the event that sparked two ensuing wars and rebooted the international war on terror. Yet fifteen years later, a growing number of architects, engineers, and scientists are disputing that report. The fundamental question asked is how these three steel-framed high-rises collapsed on September 11, 2001, when no such building in history has ever collapsed from the cause cited by NIST for the collapse for all three towers, “normal office fires”. One of them, the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), was not struck by an airplane, and the other two, the WTC Twin Towers, had been specifically designed to withstand the impact of a jetliner. In fact the fires sparked by the airplane impacts were on their way out when the towers began to show signs of explosive activity.

Last November at the AE911/ABX booth (Boston Society of Architects (BSA) annual tradeshow), another 109 building professionals added their support to AIA Resolution 16-3, which 527 architects voted in favor of last May in Philadelphia, over 11% of the delegates at the AIA National Convention. These folks are among the 2,600 fellow building professionals who have gone on record to sign the Architects and Engineers for 911Truth (AE911Truth) Petition, demanding a new investigation into the destruction of all 3 WTC skyscrapers on 9/11. While 89% still choose to oppoose the resolution, those in favor increased by over 300% from a similar vote taken in 2015. This effort seems be to gaining momentum, and a 2011 statistical study at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute indicates why 11% might be very significant. They summarize that ..“Once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group.”

In these past 15 years, independent researchers around the world have assembled a large body of evidence that overwhelmingly refutes the notion that airplane impacts and fires caused the destruction of the Twin Towers and WTC 7. The 10 points of this key evidence (all omitted from the NIST and FEMA reports) can be seen in carefully documented video out-takes from the one hour AE911Truth documentary, Experts Speak Out. This conclusive material shows that all three skyscrapers fell at near free fall speed, and were likely brought down by “controlled demolition”. This is a well practiced process in which explosives and/or other devices are used to bring down a building, a feat that in the case of the WTC towers would have required months of preparation, not to mention exclusive security access to the central core of all three structures.

As a result of this material, further laid out in detail in the publication, Beyond Misinformation (What Science Says About the Destruction of World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2, and 7) this growing movement of professionals finds itself where climate scientists and sustainability advocates were just a few short decades ago: presenting their science to a skeptical building industry, and a public struggling with the inconvenient evidence of controlled demolition, in the place of climate change. The similarly sharp disagreement over the collapse of the three WTC Towers (NIST saying it was due to office fires vs AE911Truth saying it was controlled demolition) is also a fundamental debate that rightfully belongs in the wheelhouse of building professionals, where NESEA has shown itself as a national leader over the last 30 years.

The AE911Truth research has shown that if the NIST report is true, architects would be facing an additional dire reality where many existing codes on structural steel, fire protection, fire fighting, and other related disciplines would need to be re-written, immediately. In a recent letter from 20 PE’s out to 35,000 Civil and Structural Engineers, the following question is asked about the twin towers that the NIST study never even considered. Why was the upper section of each building able to fall through the lower section all the way to the ground without its fall ever being arrested or even (in the case of the North Tower, which can be measured accurately) decelerating at any time?

Sustainable thinking means that we have no tolerance in our society to sweep events like 9/11 under the rug. Denial of such magnitude can’t survive in a culture intent on preserving integrity. In his recent New Republic article, Bill McKibben traces back through the history of how quickly americans mobilized under FDR during WW2, claiming this is the level of intensity we need to engage to Declare War (Literally) on Climate Change. History can be a valuable tool, and I would suggest to Bill that we might also engage mainstream America in the 70 years of history since WW2, culminating with 9/11 and the current ongoing Global War on Terrorism. As recounted by veteran New York Times correspondent Steven Kinzer, beginning in the 1950‘s, the Dulles Brothers Secret World War laid the foundation for our governments state of perpetual war that we have all grown up with. Comparable to the classified war we have been fighting since 9/11, these wars (including Vietnam at the Gulf of Tonkin) were often sparked by false flag operations, and hidden from a populace whose symbol of freedom was further debased with each ensuing engagement.

Exposing the red historical thread that weaves through the last 7 decades of our national history, could be a motivational force that McKibben and 350.org could use to engage all of America in mobilizing for the war on climate change they are rightfully envisioning. In a world plagued with ecological, political, economic, and social inequities, NESEA and its membership can lend their technical genius and join in this open discussion to help set the record straight on 9/11. This is a journey that is in keeping with our association’s founding principles which “embrace whole systems thinking as the path to sustainability”. Part of this work involves moving beyond the limiting world of the mainstream and Groupthink, where we try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision that has often set critical thinking aside. The challenge may be socially and politically inconvenient, but engaging the scientific process with truth-seeking and truth and reconciliation would mark the responsible path forward on this issue, and for our commitment to a truly sustainable world.

On this 15th anniversary of September 11, AE911Truth will present at Justice In Focus, 9/11-2016, A Weekend Symposium, to be held in the historic Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City, joining Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, & hundreds of researchers and activists for the 2 day event.


Updated NEWS since 9-10-16

See Presidential Candidate Jill Stein's latest statement regarding the need for a new investigation of 9/11. http://www.jill2016.com/on_911,

& On the Physics of High-Rise Building Collapses , AE911Truth article in magazine of the European physics community, EurophysicsNews (47/4 2016)


Our Mission

NESEA advances sustainability practices in the built environment by cultivating a cross-disciplinary community where practitioners are encouraged to share, collaborate and learn.

Henry MacLean AIA, LEED AP is an architect, educator, and principal of his firm Timeless Architecture. Promoting green design in the northeast since 1987 as an active member of the Boston Society of Architects, he has developed curricula and taught at the Sustainable Design Institute (at the Boston Architectural College) and the Architecture Dept. at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He chaired the Town of Milton Alternate Energy committee between 2006 and 2015 (where he lives and works) and has has been an active member of NESEA since 1992.

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