WTC Power Down
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The story...

On the weekend of 9/8,9/9 there was a 'power down' condition in WTC tower 2, the south tower. This power down condition meant there was no electrical supply for approx 36hrs from floor 50 up. I am aware of this situation since I work in IT and had to work with many others that weekend to ensure that all systems were cleanly shutdown beforehand ... and then brought back up afterwards. The reason given by the WTC for the power down was that cabling in the tower was being upgraded ... Of course without power there were no security cameras, no security locks on doors and many, many 'engineers' coming in and out of the tower.

Did this provide an opportunity for explosives to be planted?

Our take...

There are problems with this account.

#1, the most commonly used claims - power completely down across the building, many engineers coming in and out of the building - are sourced only to a Scott Forbes. It's been pointed out to me that there now appears to be basic corroboration of a power down by a Gary Corbett (my apologies for missing that for a very long time), but that doesn't go nearly as far (please, go watch his interview, find out for yourself).

Even Forbes' own claims seem less definitive in other interviews:

GW: How do you know that there was no electricity from floor 50 up, if Fiduciary Trust was on much higher floors -- starting at the 90th floor?

SF: I can't absolutely verify that there was no power on lower floors ... all I can validate is that we were informed of the power down condition, that we had to take down all systems and then the following day had to bring back up all systems ...

So Forbes doesn’t appear to have any direct knowledge of conditions on floors below his own, and perhaps above (which makes sense, of course). If only some companies were affected then this would make the lack of corroboration more noticeable; of course, this also presents fewer opportunities to prepare the building for demolition.

As an example of what this might mean, consider these ticket images posted on a blog:

wtc ticket1

wtc ticket2

The author wrote:

I had an interesting email sent to me today, showing scans of the ticket stubs for the top of the World Trade Center dated September 8, 2001. A friend of a friend was up there just 3 days earlier.

Forbes tells us “the power down condition was in effect from approximately 12 noon on Saturday September 8, 2001” (see point 5 below), yet it appears it was still business as usual for visitors heading to the top of the tower.

These tickets aren’t fatal to Forbes’ story as he’s already admitted he can only confirm the power-down condition on his floors. However, they do suggest that the original claim, “there was no electrical supply for approx 36hrs from floor 50 up”, simply wasn’t true.

#2, why would such a lengthy "power down" be necessary for a cable upgrade? This plainly didn't have anything to do with the main power lines into the building, as it only affected the floors from 50 upwards. What work could possibly be done on the floor below, that required turning off the power for 50+ floors (or whatever it really was) for 36 hours? If there were rewiring to be done, isn’t it more likely that this would be carried out in parallel, and companies would be switched from the old system to the new in a few minutes?

#3, are we supposed to believe that security systems fed off the same power system as everything else? So a power cut meant no security at all? Look at the affected tenants, if the “floor 50 upwards” version is true -- First Commercial Bank (floor 78), Fuji Bank (79-82), Fiduciary Trust, Atlantic Bank of New York... Do you really think these companies would live with a situation like that, or not object that all security for their offices has been disabled?

#4, even if all this were true, it still only provided access to half of one tower. What about the North Tower? WTC7? No mention of "power downs" there.

#5, the power down time was initially reported as 36 hours, and a subsequent interview cut this to 26:

SF: All systems were shutdown on Saturday morning and the power down condition was in effect from approximately 12 noon on Saturday September 8, 2001.

GW: When did it end?

SF: Approximately 2PM on Sunday 9/9.

 Preparing for a controlled demolition takes very much longer:

In 24 days, CDI's 12 person loading crew placed 4,118 separate charges in 1,100 locations on 9 levels of the structure. Over 36,000 ft. of detonating cord and 4,512 non-electric delay devices were installed in CDI's implosion initiation system. As the implosion required the detonation of a total of 2,728 lb. of explosives, CDI implemented 36 "primary delays" and an additional 216 “micro-delays" in the implosion initiation sequence in an attempt to keep detonation overpressure to a minimum.

That's 24 days to prepare a smaller building (33 levels including basements) for demolition. And they didn't have to hide the 4,118 charges or 36,000 feet of detonating cord, either. Oh, and remember that Forbes said he worked the weekend, so there were independent witnesses around for at least some of that time. If this “power down” was a cover for demolition preparations, then it’s hard to know exactly what could be done in the time available.

People occasionally email to tell us that setting up a demolition need not involve so much work. Which begs the question why they know this, and Controlled Demolition do not. Anyway, this quote pops up a lot:

If explosions did cause the towers to collapse, the detonations could have been caused by a small amount of explosive, he said. "It could have been a relatively small amount of explosives placed in strategic points," Romero said.

But would that really explain all the reasons used to justify the controlled demolition theory in the first place? We’re told it’s suspicious that “all the concrete was pulverised”, for example: could a “relatively small amount of explosives” explain that? Not according to Jim Hoffman, who tells us that required at least ten times the energy available from gravity alone.

Then we’re told the towers collapsed too quickly, that the only way that could have happened is if the resistance were removed. This might involve many of the columns being taken out at the same time through demolition, in waves running down the building. Does that sound like a “relatively small amount” of explosives to you?

There does seem to be a couple of different argument here.

When it’s suggested that a gravity-driven collapse could have produced the observed effects and collapse times, we’re told that’s virtually impossible, there’s not enough energy, the towers were too strong, far more energy was required than available. 

But when the difficulty in planting these explosives is pointed out, we’re told that, actually maybe a smaller amount would have done, after all.

Is there a contradiction here? Are some people switching their positions for the sake of convenience? We’ll leave that for you to decide, but in the meantime, if there is a way to demolish tall buildings with minimum effort then the real specialists in controlled demolition appear not to have heard about it. Here’s the Landmark Tower, demolished in March 2006:

The button to bring down the 30-story office tower at Seventh and Houston streets, one of the tallest buildings ever to be imploded, will be pushed at 8 a.m., said John Angelina president of D.H. Griffin of Texas, a Houston company that has served on the demolition team, which also includes Midwest Wrecking in Fort Worth.

Crews have been working feverishly this week on the final preparations on work that began in November.

"We'll work as hard today as we have in the last four months," Brian Choate, Midwest Wrecking's chief executive, said Thursday.

Around four months for the Landmark Tower, yet we’re supposed to believe far larger buildings were prepared over a weekend, without anyone noticing?

Could it still be done? Perhaps there were many hundreds of "engineers", all of which have been persuaded not to talk. Maybe they used special hi-tech explosives and so didn't require as many charges. But with no evidence to support any of that, it’s really just speculation..

And we're not the only people to express doubts on this, either. Even sites like 911review are calling the letter a hoax ( ).

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