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Finally, an Apology From the National Geographic Channel

by KEVIN RYAN

August 22, 2009


EDITOR'S NOTE: Ryan describes e-mail communications with the producers of the "Science and Conspiracy" show, some of which were subsequently disclosed by Steven Jones.

Six days after September 11th, National Geographic Today (NGT) published one of the very first descriptions of the official myth for what happened to the World Trade Center (WTC) towers.[1] This article exaggerated the little known facts about the fires in the towers, equated gas temperatures with steel temperatures, and detailed the long-surviving but incorrect Pancake Theory of "collapse." Since that time, millions of people have been killed or injured in the 9/11 Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that originated from the official myth about 9/11.[2,3] Fortunately, this week it was announced that the NGT's parent, the National Geographic Channel (NG Channel), is scheduled to broadcast a new television special covering the science behind the events of 9/11. We can only assume that this new show is meant to correct the record and apologize for the company's false statements that contributed to the ongoing wars.

Some of the false statements made in that NGT article had to do with an early version of the Pancake Theory for destruction of the buildings. One claim was : "As the steel columns at the core of the Twin Towers collapsed, the floors they supported fell on each other like two stacks of pancakes." Another statement was more authoritative, saying: "Once the structural support of the upper floors is removed, a few falling floors can bring down an entire building." The Pancake Theory did not make sense to many people but was tested by my former employer, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in August 2004. The tests showed that the floors in the WTC buildings could not have pancaked, even when exposed to higher temperatures for longer periods of time than was actually the case. Two years later, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) finally made clear that its "findings do not support the ‘pancake theory' of collapse."[4]

To date, there have been no apologies from any of the media sources that, oftentimes arrogantly, promoted the Pancake Theory as a means to prevent further questioning of the WTC events. But we all know that "National Geographic" is different, right? Actually, some people are unaware that the NG Channel is majority controlled (67%) by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.[5] The National Geographic Society, publisher of the well-known magazine, was a minority partner in creation of the NG Channel, but does not have editorial control over what is produced there. Instead, the News Corporation controls the programming much like it controls Fox News.

In the early article promoting the WTC myth, NGT described how "Jet fuel fires burn unusually hot, and engineers believe the fire may have led to temperatures as high as 1,600 degrees Celsius (2,900 degrees Fahrenheit)." But the truth is that the jet fuel fires at the WTC, which lasted a total of 79 seconds by one expert estimate, and lasted only a few minutes according to NIST, would have been cooler than the later fires fed by office furnishings alone.[6] It has since been admitted by NIST that gas temperatures reached only "as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius."[7]

With that in mind, it's important to note that in a structure fire, the temperature of fireproofed steel lags far behind the temperature of the air (i.e. gas) in the vicinity. In fact, even in a testing furnace where heat cannot be conducted away, when the temperature of the furnace is raised to 1000 ºC and held at that temperature, it takes two full hours for the protected steel within to reach 600 ºC.[8] Neither of the Twin Towers remained standing for two hours after aircraft impact, however, and that's why NIST evaluated a fireproofing loss scenario for the towers. NIST suggested fireproofing loss through a mechanism of shotgun-like blasts, presumably formed from aircraft debris and aimed in all directions throughout the areas where the planes impacted. Fortunately, in the 1.5-second long video produced by Purdue University, and featured on the website for the new television special, this shotgun scenario is shown to be in direct contradiction to the large-scale debris field produced by the aircraft. Apart from this one valuable refutation of NIST, however, the micro video from Purdue has been shown to be a poor representation of what actually happened at the WTC.[9] Hopefully the apology from the NG Channel will include an interview with Purdue President France Córdova, who can help to clarify these facts. That is, if she's not tied up in another SAIC board meeting.[10]

The website for the new television show also suggests that the NG Channel's apology will be offered directly by the Turkish professor Mete Sözen, a long-time supporter of government myths about terrorism.[11] Sözen is not just a professor at Purdue but was a leader of the FEMA investigation into what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11. He was also the director of the Department of Defense's Blast Mitigation for Structures program, and is therefore another example of the many explosives experts that came up with only non-explosive stories for what happened on 9/11.[12] When Sözen is done helping with the apology from the NG Channel, he might, as a prominent Turkish person in the US, be able to help clarify the recent claim that some of our government representatives maintained "intimate relations" with al Qaeda, through Turkish proxies, right up until 9/11.[13]

In any case, it will be a relief to not see another lame hit piece about 9/11 questions that relies solely on Brent Blanchard for testimony about demolition techniques. As a photographer for "Implosion World," Blanchard is often consulted for these tabloid programs when a "demolition expert" is needed. But no evidence has ever been given that the real experts allow photographers to plan and implement their high-rise demolitions. Hopefully, the NG Channel will feature interviews with experts who actually have planned and implemented such operations, like Danny Jowenko, who stated that WTC 7 was a demolition.[14]

The NG Channel's apology will certainly cover the other false claim in its NGT article, that: "At temperatures above 500 degrees Celsius, steel loses its strength and ‘turns to Play-doh.'" By exaggerating the gas temperatures and then hitting us with the "Play-doh" steel claim, the article falsely equated gas temperatures and steel temperatures in a structure fire. But anyone can see from photographs and videos that the buildings did not turn to "Play-doh" as if they were experiencing an overall softening. To the contrary, the towers behaved as if they were rigid structures, suddenly exploding outward and otherwise falling – at nearly free-fall speed -- through what should have been the path of most resistance.[15] Additionally, tests done by NIST indicated that only 2% of the steel samples saved had experienced temperatures as high as 250 ºC, and steel is barely affected at all at such low temperatures.

The WTC steel temperature issue is complicated by the fact that the samples saved for the NIST investigation were pulled by John Gross, an investigator who has since been clearly deceptive when speaking about the evidence. Gross specifically selected the steel samples that were saved, from what was said to be the areas of greatest heat exposure. It's possible that Gross erred in his sample selection process, however, because in 2006, he was publicly asked about molten metal at the WTC site, and he claimed that there was no evidence of molten metal.[16] The truth is that there were many witnesses to molten metal at the WTC site, as well as photos that showed molten metal pouring from one of the towers before it fell.[17]

Since that time, scientific experiments have shown that extremely high temperatures existed at the WTC. Other peer-reviewed articles demonstrate that the environmental data at Ground Zero indicate the presence of energetic materials, and that residues of such materials are present throughout the WTC dust.[18,19] This strong evidence supports the many witnesses to explosions and the photographic evidence of demolition at the WTC. Furthermore, it has been shown through an extensive peer-reviewed study that unexploded nanothermite is present in the WTC dust.[20] It appears that the nanothermite materials present in the WTC dust are similar to the "explosive aerogels" made by US national laboratories for the past ten to fifteen years.[21]

All of this was explained in detail to the producer of the National Geographic Channel show long before his production ended, so it will be great to see it all communicated honestly. The technical details should not be difficult, considering that the NG Channel produced a show on aerogels before.[22] But what's more, my colleagues and I have communicated directly with Robert Erickson, the producer of the show, and made sure he had all the information he needed on nanothermite and its explosive properties.

Erickson was confused at first, in that he had contacted the folks at Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL), and was forced to conclude that LANL's only exposure to nanothermite (also called super-thermite) technology was a recent, poorly received commercial venture. He wrote -- "Their work on nano-thermite was patented in 2005 – the theory of nano-thermite was in play by their scientists no earlier than 2004."[23] But the truth is that LANL had its own "Super-Thermite Program" years before 2004, and before 9/11.[24] It must be that the scientists Erickson talked to were way out of the loop, or were lying to him for some reason, because we all trust that "National Geographic" would not engage in deceiving the public.

In any case, it is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) that has been widely reported to be the leader in nanothermite research. Unfortunately, Erickson could not contact LLNL because, as he wrote: "My budget does not provide funds for me to travel to Livermore labs. I just have a small television production to deal with." This was a strange thing to say considering that North Hollywood, CA, where Erickson's company is located, is much closer to Livermore, CA than it is to Thibodoux, Louisiana, where Erickson traveled to shoot an example, illustrative demolition event. Erickson went on to despair about the subject, stating -- "And apparently – even if I'm willing to look... No nano-thermite is available."[25]

This statement is reminiscent of NIST's reply when questioned as to why it did not test for explosive residues at the WTC (i.e. why would you look for something that's not there?). But it's possible that Erickson's pessimism was correct, and that even if he was "willing to look", he would not be able to share what he found. That's what we heard from BBC producer Mike Rudin -- that LLNL scientists would not cooperate with his "Conspiracy Files" video production. Rudin told us that LLNL refused to allow the BBC to use of any of the photographs of nanothermite materials that were readily available on the web. That seems at odds with the idea that science can so easily disprove the demolition theory.

But I did give Erickson permission to use my own photos of nanothermite formulations that had been ignited. Interestingly enough, these looked surprisingly similar to many of the red chip-like materials found in WTC dust samples, and both had attached metallic microspheres.[26] Although he did not respond to this invitation, I'm sure Erickson was excited to have these resources available for the show.

Some months earlier, Erickson's assistant, Dieu Pham, had contacted me several times to set-up an interview in Bloomington because other 9/11 investigators had recommended they do so. At the time I told them that I would be glad to, and that also – "My advice to you is to contact the 9/11 victim's family members who were responsible for initiating both the 9/11 Commission and the NIST WTC investigation, if you have not done so already."[27] Most people know that the WTC issue is only a small part of the incredible amount of evidence showing that the official myth of 9/11 is false. In this televised apology, it will be good to see the interviews they did with victim's families, and how they handled the conflicts of interest within the 9/11 Commission, the insider trading, the air defense failures, the behavior of the Secret Service, and the many other anomalies of 9/11.

In the end, the show's producers suddenly changed their minds about interviewing me. Dieu Pham wrote back saying – "I was pushing to go there, but it just wasn't working." Who knows – maybe they finally drove up to Livermore, or the photos I provided gave the final touch needed to round out this science-based program. No matter, just knowing that an apology is forthcoming is enough for me. It won't right the wrong entirely, as the death and destruction caused by the false stories about 9/11 cannot be undone. But thanks to the National Geographic Channel in advance, for finally rejecting the trashy tabloid hit pieces of the past, and for being professional and caring enough to admit its many mistakes in reporting on the events of 9/11.

[1] Bijal P. Trivedi, Inferno Heat, Not Impact, Brought Down Towers, Experts Say, National Geographic Today, September 17, 2001, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/09/0917_disasterbuildings.h...
[2] Just Foreign Policy, Iraq Deaths, http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq
[3] Unknown News, Casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html
[4] NIST's Responses to FAQs, August 2006, http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm
[5] FreePress, Ownership Chart: The Big Six, http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart/main
[6] J. L. Torero and J. G. Quintiere, Fire Safety in High-rise Buildings, Lessons Learned from the WTC,
Dresden Germany 2002, http://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/1507/1/WTCLessonsLearned02.pd...
[7] NIST's Responses to FAQs, August 2006, http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm
[8] Structural Fire Protection, ASCE Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice no. 78,1992, p 172.
[9] Kevin R. Ryan, Open Letter to Purdue President France Córdova, July 6, 2007, found at 911Truth.org, http://www.911truth.org/article_for_printing.php?story=20070706155755469
[10] Webpage for SAIC board of directors, including France Cordova, http://investors.saic.com/directors.cfm
[11] Website for The Channel's new show, 9/11: Science and Conspiracy, http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/9-11-science-and-conspirac...
[12] Kevin Ryan, Looking for Truth in Credentials: The Peculiar WTC "Experts", Global Research, March 13, 2007,http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=RYA20070313&articleId=5071
[13] Sözen is a member of the Society of Turkish Architects, Engineers & Scientists Inc., a group that has among its goals the intention of fostering Turkish interests in the US through several other organizations. http://home.comcast.net/~mimusa/mim1986_membership.pdf These organizations have recently launched an "all out assault" on 9/11 Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. See Brad Blog.com for details, http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7358
[14] 911veritas, Danny Jowenko - Dutch Demolition Expert Still Maintains WTC7 Could NOT Collapse Due to Fire, 911blogger.com, February 22, 2007, http://www.911blogger.com/node/6400
[15] Jim Hoffman, 9-11 WTC Videos: Video Evidence of the Destruction of the World Trade Center Skyscrapers, 911Research.wtc7.net, http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/index.html
[16] Stallion4's blog, NIST Engineer, John Gross, Denies Reports About Molten Steel at the WTC, 911blogger.com, http://www.911blogger.com/node/6104
[17] George Washington's blog, Why was there molten metal under Ground Zero for months after 9/11? , December 6, 2005, http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2005/12/why-was-there-molten-metal-...
[18] Steven E. Jones, et al, Extremely high temperatures during the World Trade Center destruction, Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 19, January 2008, http://www.journalof911studies.com/articles/WTCHighTemp2.pdf
[19] Kevin R. Ryan, et al, Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials, The Environmentalist, Volume 29, Number 1 / March, 2009, http://www.springerlink.com/content/f67q6272583h86n4/
[20] Niels H. Harrit, et al, Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe, The Open Chemical Physics Journal, Vol 2, 2009, doi: 10.2174/1874412500902010007, http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/000000...
[21] Randy Simpson, Nanoscale chemistry yields better explosives, Science and Technology Review 2000, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, https://www.llnl.gov/str/RSimpson.html
[22] Stephen Steiner, Zero_Gravity aerogel formation: Research on the production of aerogel in weightlessness, 2003, National Geographic Channel Segment Part 1, Summary: All about aerogel, how it's made, why it's blue, and making it clear in zero-gravity.
http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~aerogel/videos.html
[23] Personal email from Robert Erickson, producer of the new National Geographic Channel special on 9/11
[24] Danen, W.C., Jorgensen, B.S., Busse, J.R., Ferris, M.J. and Smith, B.L. "Los Alamos Nanoenergetic Metastable Intermolecular Composite (Super Thermite) Program," 221st ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 1-5 April 2001.
[25] Personal email from Robert Erickson, producer of the new National Geographic Channel special on 9/11
[26] Kevin Ryan, Nanothermites and WTC Dust, 911blogger.com, December 27, 2008, http://www.911blogger.com/node/18935
[27] Personal email response to Dieu Pham of Creative Differences Productions



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