By Christopher Bollyn
Exclusive to American Free Press
Despite reports from numerous eyewitnesses and experts, including news reporters on the scene, who heard or saw explosions immediately before the collapse of the World Trade Center, there has been virtual silence in the mainstream media.
Television viewers watching the horrific events of Sept. 11 saw evidence of explosions before the towers collapsed. Televised images show what appears to be a huge explosion occurring near ground level, in the vicinity of the 47-story Salomon Brothers Building, known as WTC 7, prior to the collapse of the first tower.
Van Romero, an explosives expert and former director of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at New Mexico Tech, said on Sept. 11, "My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse."
The collapse of the structures resembled the controlled implosions used to demolish old structures and was "too methodical to be a chance result of airplanes colliding with the structures," Romero told The Albuquerque Journal hours after the attack.
Implosions are violent collapses inwards, which are used to demolish buildings in areas of high density, to prevent damage to surrounding buildings. Precision-timed explosives are placed on strategic load-bearing columns and beams to cause the controlled collapse.
Demolition experts say that towers are the most difficult buildings to bring down in a controlled manner. A tower tends to fall like a tree, unless the direction of its fall is controlled by directional charges. The WTC towers "smokestacked" neatly, falling within the boundaries of their foundations.
Skeptics say this could not have happened coincidentally and it must have been caused by strategically placed and precisely timed internal charges. Videotape images may reveal these internal charges precipitating the controlled demolition of the towers and WTC 7.
Romero is vice president of research at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, which studies explosive materials and the effects of explosions on buildings, aircraft and other structures, and often assists in forensic investigations into terrorist attacks, often by setting off similar explosions and studying the effects.
After being hit by the aircraft, the twin towers appeared to be stable. Then without warning, at 9:58 a.m. the south tower imploded vertically downwards, 53 minutes after being hit. At 10:28, 88 minutes after being struck, the north tower collapsed.
"It would be difficult for something from the plane to trigger an event like that," Romero said. If explosions did cause the towers to collapse, "It could have been a relatively small amount of explosives placed in strategic points," he said.
"One of the things terrorist events are noted for is a diversionary attack and secondary device," Romero said. Attackers detonate an initial, diversionary explosion, in this case the collision of the planes into the towers, which brings emergency personnel to the scene, then detonate a second explosion.
Ten days after the attack, following criticism of his initial remarks, Romero did an about-face in his analysis of the collapse, "Certainly the fire is what caused the building to fail," he told the Journal on Sept. 21.
The twin towers were struck by Boeing 767's carrying approximately 23,000 gallons of fuel.
However, there is other information that lends credence to Romero's controversial scenario. One eyewitness whose office is near the World Trade Center told AFP that he was standing among a crowd of people on Church Street, about two-and-a-half blocks from the South tower, when he saw "a number of brief light sources being emitted from inside the building between floors 10 and 15." He saw about six of these brief flashes, accompanied by "a crackling sound" before the tower collapsed. Each tower had six central support columns.
One of the first firefighters in the stricken second tower, Louie Cacchioli, 51, told People Weekly on Sept. 24: "I was taking firefighters up in the elevator to the 24th floor to get in position to evacuate workers. On the last trip up a bomb went off. We think there were bombs set in the building."
Kim White, 32, an employee on the 80th floor, also reported hearing an explosion. "All of a sudden the building shook, then it started to sway. We didn't know what was going on," she told People. "We got all our people on the floor into the stairwell . . . at that time we all thought it was a fire . . .We got down as far as the 74th floor . . . then there was another explosion."
The accepted theory is that as the fires raged in the towers, the steel cores in each building were heated to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the support beams to buckle.
A lead engineer who designed the World Trade Center Towers expressed shock that the towers collapsed after being hit by passenger jets.
"I designed it for a 707 to hit it," Lee Robertson, the project's structural engineer said. The Boeing 707 has a fuel capacity of more than 23,000 gallons, comparable to the 767's 23,980-gallon fuel capacity.
Another architect of the WTC, Aaron Swirski, lives in Israel and spoke to Jerusalem Post Radio after the attack: "It was designed around that eventuality to survive this kind of attack," he said.
Hyman Brown, a University of Colorado civil engineering professor and the World Trade Center's construction manager, watched in confusion as the towers came down. "It was over-designed to withstand almost anything including hurricanes, high winds, bombings and an airplane hitting it," he said.
Brown told AFP that although the buildings were designed to withstand "a 150-year storm" and the im pact of a Boeing 707, he said the jet fuel burning at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit weakened the steel. Brown ex plained that the south tower collapsed first as it was struck lower with more weight above the impact area.
Brown told AFP that he "did not buy" the theory that the implosion was caused by the fires sucking the air out of the lower floors, which has been speculated.
The contractor who is reported to have been the first on the WTC collapse scene to cart away the rubble that remains is a company that specializes in the scientific demolition of large buildings, Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Baltimore, headed by Mark Loizeaux.
CDI is the same contractor that demolished and hauled away the shell of the bombed Oklahoma City Murrah building, actions that prevented independent investigators from pursuing evidence on leads suggesting that there were bombs set off inside the building.
In February 2000, a federal grand jury indicted Mark Loizeaux, Douglas Loizeaux and Controlled Demolition, Inc. on charges of falsely reporting campaign contributions by asking family members and CDI employees to donate to the campaign of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).
The Baltimore Sun reported that the illegal contributions allegedly occurred between 1996 and 1998. The Loizeaux brothers and CDI were acquitted in Sept ember 2000. Cleaning up the estimated 1.2 million tons of rubble will reportedly cost $7 billion and take up to a year.
Removing the debris has also been controversial. The police said that some scrap metal has been diverted to mob-controlled businesses rather than the dump where investigators are examining rubble for clues and human remains.
The second plane nearly missed the South Tower, cutting through a corner. Most of its fuel burned in an outside explosion. However, this building collapsed first, long before the North Tower, into which a similar plane entered completely.