World Developments / September 11, 2001 – Version Comparison

September 11, 2001 – the Unofficial Version

Probably everybody had been caught off guard by the events of September 11, 2001. An unimaginable thing happened – an attack on the United States of America and the subsequent collapse of the three buildings of the World Trade Centre and a part of the Pentagon. And yet, even at that moment, there were people who started asking how could the buildings collapse in such an unusual way. The more they thought about it, the less they were satisfied with the official theory explaining the causes of the collapse of these buildings. The impression that the collapse resembled a controlled demolition was becoming increasingly persistent. These people started gathering and analyzing available information. The “unofficial” version of the events of 9/11 emerged. Government circles started referring to it as a conspiracy theory. It is a version not generally supported by the national media or the media controlled by large supranational corporations. It has nevertheless gained force and is spreading especially thanks to the internet. It gained enormous momentum after the publication of the results of the government investigation when it became possible to point out the inconsistencies in the official version. Also the theory that it had been al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden (who has probably now been dead for several years) that stood behind the attacks of 9/11 is believed with the passing of time by fewer and fewer people.

In the following text we will focus also on some of the findings made by experts who, drawing on available information, have pointed out the contradictions in the official version and are calling for a review of the investigation of the events. The same is being requested also by a number of military-political analysts. The advocates of the unofficial version, too, do not all share the same view of all the events of that critical day. Nonetheless, they do agree on most matters. To give an idea of what it is all about, we will expound only the main points of this version. In no way do we intend to play down the human and material losses. No matter who had stood behind the attacks, it was an extremely evil act.

The Twins

From the beginning to the end, the course of the collapse of the towers was the same, as if the steel structures of the buildings had been made of paper. The buildings collapsed almost symmetrically and at a speed approaching free fall. To calculate the time needed for free fall of a body covering a distance equal to the average height of the towers (416 m – 455 yd.) [18], we use the formula s = 0.5gt2, where s is the distance, g is acceleration due to gravity and t time. Since the value of acceleration due to gravity at the latitude of New York is g = 9.803 m/s2 [9], the approximate value we get for the total time of the fall in vacuum is 9.2 s. According to the conclusions of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), the total time of the fall of the towers was about 9 s (South Tower – WTC 2) and 11 s (North Tower – WTC 1).[43] The total destruction of the one-hundred and ten floor high buildings, including subterranean floors, occurred without any evidence of the lower floors offering resistance of any kind to the collapsing higher floors. It is namely the speed of the fall that makes researchers wonder.

When analyzing the videos, researchers noticed horizontal jets of “dust” in several places under the collapsing floors, i.e. from floors that had not yet been damaged.[1], [2] Since there had been no fires on those floors and what was escaping was only “dust”, the question is what had caused those intense jets of dust. This phenomenon contributed to the birth of the explosives theory. Some eyewitnesses said they heard a series of explosions before and during the collapse of the buildings.[14] According to the advocates of this theory, only explosives would have been able to demolish the towers with such speed if individual floors had been blasted away ahead of time so as not to offer resistance to the floors falling on top of them. There are rumors also about explosions in the basement just before the impact of the plane. This has been confirmed by eyewitnesses and takes from the entrance hall and garages of the North Tower.[5]

A very interesting find was made during the removal of the wreckage. In some places molten metal was found.[28] In August 2006, NIST, in its summary of answers to the most frequently asked questions, published the following claim: “In no instance did NIST report that steel in the WTC towers melted due to the fires.”[43] Therefore if it is not possible for aircraft fuel and subsequent fires in the offices to melt steel, the question arises as to how it could have happened. According to Steven Earl Jones, a professor of physics, this is one of the pieces of evidence supporting his theory of the use of thermite. Thermite is a composition of a metal oxide and metal powder – the most common combination is iron oxide and powder aluminum. It is used mostly as an admixture in military incendiary bombs. As it releases high temperatures when burning, it can easily melt iron.[20] In his revised and complemented study, [32] professor Jones also submits proofs of the use of explosives. He also points to a large block of the South Tower that had been above the place of the impact of the plane. While the building was collapsing, this part deflected significantly from the axis of the building and then fell apart before reaching the ground. The controlled demolition version is supported also by the analyses of physicist David Chandler.[31] Besides other things, he studied the velocity of the horizontal ejection of pieces of material during the collapse of the towers. It is also worth mentioning that NIST has admitted that it was unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse.[42]

The official version received a hard blow from a study on unreacted nano-thermite found in the dust from the collapsed buildings of the World Trade Centre, on which an international research team of nine scientists had been working for 18 months.[30] For more on this study published in April 2009, see here.

A very interesting fact is the finding of hundreds of small pieces of human bones on the roof of the building of the Deutsche Bank.[7], [38] An enormous amount of energy would be needed for bone to be crushed to small fragments and for these to penetrate tissue and then fly as far as the roof of the mentioned building. And if this is what actually happened, moreover involving the remains of several dozen or more people, is startling, to say the least.

The advocates of the unofficial theory also point to the large clouds of dust arising from the crushed concrete,[37] and as a comparison attach images of collapsing buildings where certainly no phenomenon of similar proportions can be observed.[10]

So those were the main points of the unofficial theory concerning the fall of the Twins. Now let's have a look at some of the aspects of the collapse of Building 7.

Building 7

This building collapsed late in the afternoon, without having been struck by a plane. The official version claims that this 186 m (203 yd.) high building [45] fell as the result of a fire. The unofficial version – the same as in the case of the Twins – has not found any large fires and refers, besides eyewitness's statements and available photographs, also to various videos showing only small pockets of fires. An interview with experts published in the end of 2001 in the New York Times implies that no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.[26] To compare, the unofficial version attaches images of fires in high-rise buildings that had a much more violent course and had burnt for a longer time without the buildings collapsing as a result.[11]

Let's have a look at what the advocates of the unofficial version think was the cause of the fall of this building. Their conclusion is the same as in the case of the Twins. According to them, this was a model example of a controlled demolition. One of the great advocates of this version is the architect Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.[21] Gage points out the velocity of the fall, which was around 6.5 s. Professor Jones measured 6.5 s[32] and professor Griffin speaks of a speed practically identical to that of free fall.[28] If we calculate the time needed for the fall of a body from a height of 186 m (203 yd.) to the ground using the formula referred to above, we get 6.16 s (again calculating with the acceleration due to gravity of g = 9.803 m/s2, i.e. corresponding to the latitude of New York). Taking into account the resistance of air when calculating free fall, we arrive at approximately 6.45 s.[39] Unlike the Twins, this building obviously started folding from the bottom floors.[19], [34] The unofficial version also mentions the large clouds of crushed concrete and points out the great similarity with controlled demolitions.

The Pentagon

We read in the official version that American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Department of Defense complex. The conclusions of the unofficial version are much more cautious. Instead of concrete answers, it poses a whole number of questions. It points to the fact that the wall of the Pentagon collapsed a full twenty minutes after the impact and that although the FBI acquired a number of camera recordings, no record unequivocally confirming the impact caused by the Boeing 757 has been released. Nor does the found wreckage of “something” bring the required evidence, says the unofficial version. The testimonies of eyewitnesses are not unambiguous.[13], [25] The actual impact of “something” must have been captured by several cameras located in the corridors or in some of the Pentagon offices. No such recording has ever been made public.

Due to the scarcity of data there are not too many people dealing with the attack on the Pentagon. The advocates of the unofficial version mostly tend towards the opinion that the crash of the mentioned civilian airplane into the Pentagon probably never occurred. Interesting supportive information on this view has been brought by Pilots for 911 Truth.[35] This organization is an association of aerospace professionals and pilots from various countries working together to find the truth about the attacks of 9/11. They re-enacted the whole flight on a flight simulator until the moment of the impact. They used data reportedly acquired from the flight data recorder, the “black box”, of the crashed airplane, provided by NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board). Unlike the NTSB simulation, their simulation led to somewhat different results, showing that at the time of the alleged crash the plane, physically, must have been approximately 90 m (98 yd.) higher up than claimed.[12] Rob Balsamo and Craig Ranke, members of this organization assert: “When considering the eyewitness reports and on location research of Citizen Investigation Team and the Flight Data Recorder analysis by Pilots for 9/11 Truth, there can be no other conclusion than that both sets of data are irreconcilable with the physical damage to the building.”[22] According to the pilots' conclusions, it could not have been possible for the plane to have managed to damage five street lampposts just before the actual impact, as the alleged flight records say.[33]

If, according to the result of the research done by these pilots, we accept that the plane should have been roughly 90 m (98 yd.) higher in the air, it would mean that the plane could have flown closely over the Pentagon where it would have been masked by the flash of light from the notorious explosion caused by the impact of “something” into the Pentagon wall, and then could land at Reagan National Airport 1.5 km (0.93 mi.) away.[8]

The Wreckage of the Plane in Pennsylvania

The mentioned Pilots for 9/11 Truth does not agree with the official NTSB version. Its members claim that the NTSB animation of Flight 93 is in contradiction with testimony of witnesses.[23] It also rejects the angle of incidence referred to in the official version.[36]

A very interesting aspect is the spread of the wreckage.[6] Some places with a higher occurrence of smaller debris were found. One such place was approximately 5 km (3.1 mi.), another roughly 13 km (8.1 mi.) away from the alleged place of the impact of the plane.[3] It is difficult to imagine how a plane could explode on impact in such a manner as to have wreckage scattered kilometers away and then concentrated there on a relatively small area. This points to the possibility of the plane being shot down.[27], [29]

September 11, 2001 – the Official Version

We will not go into a detailed description of the events of that fateful day since it is assumed that they are commonly known. Nonetheless – and for completeness sake – let us summarize the course of that day's events. We will use the term “official version” to refer to the information provided by the large media and the national agencies or commissions that have something to do with the investigation of the attacks.

On Tuesday morning September 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m. local time, a Boeing 767 crashed into the 110-storeys high North Tower of the World Trade Centre between the 93rd and 99th floor. The second plane crashed at 9:03 a.m. This time the plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Centre between the 78th and 84th floor. This second impact was already broadcast live by TV stations to the whole world. It was clear to probably everybody at that moment that this was not an accident. New York airports closed down. The American airspace was closed at 9:25 a.m. and all aircraft given orders to land immediately. At 9:37 a.m. a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense. The part of the Pentagon struck by the plane buckled at 9:57 a.m. Two minutes later, the South Tower collapsed. At 10:03 a.m. a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. It was a Boeing 757. The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. Later that afternoon, at 5:25 p.m., the 47-storeys high Building 7 of the World Trade Centre fell down. At half past eight in the evening, US President George Bush gave an address to the nation. The War on Terror started closing in.[15], [16], [41]

Investigation of the event started immediately. On September 17, 2001 Osama bin Laden [4] and al-Qaeda were marked as the main suspects. A list of nineteen people supposed to have hijacked the four mentioned planes was released to the public. Probably the best known of the group was Mohamed Atta. Other names mentioned were Ayman al-Zawahiri or Mohamed Omar. These accusations resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.[17]

Government investigation into the causes of the collapse of the World Trade Centre buildings continued in parallel with the accusations against bin Laden and his companions. This task was taken up by several organizations. The best known were FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). NIST prepared the most extensive study of several thousand pages on the causes of the collapse of the World Trade Centre buildings.[44] FEMA did not stay far behind. Its report has hundreds of pages.[40] We must also mention the report of the commission dealing with the causes of the attacks of September 11, 2001 as well as with the preparation of immediate responses to various terrorist attacks. The latter report has 585 pages and is known as The 9/11 Commission Report.[41]

The conclusion of the investigation was that it had been mainly intensive fires that had caused the total destruction of the buildings of the World Trade Centre. The intensity of the fires was supposed to have twisted the girders and weaken the steel, which was then said to cause the fall of the individual floors one on top of the other and, consequently, the total collapse of the buildings.

Comparison of the Versions

Both the official and unofficial version has their supporters and opponents. To better understand the context we have summed up briefly the official version and also presented the most common objections of the other side. The fact that there are two versions shows that events around us are often much more complex than is evident at first sight. Knowledge of both versions allows us deeper reflection of events; approaching the issue in this way enables us to make a more qualified analysis in the case of future occurrence of similar or even more significant event.

The unofficial version has one major objective – the launch of an independent investigation into the events of September 11, 2001. For the time being, the unofficial version is gaining strength. Unless there is another similar event with a global impact, there is a real chance of such an investigation being opened, either in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world.

If more details are required, there are a number of videos dealing with this issue at e.g. However, this article ought to suffice to provide a rough overview.


  1. 9/11 The Explosive Reality – Part 4 of 12 [video]. [Accessed June 25, 2008]. Available from:"KXLkv8ULEqI&feature=related". The mentioned example is in the fifth minute of the film. The film is almost 10 minutes long.
  2. 911 Mysteries – Demolitions [video]. [Accessed May 20, 2008]. Available from: The mentioned example is in the 36th minute of the film. The film is in English with Czech subtitles and is almost 91 minutes long. Size 701 MB.
  3. ‘Black box‘ from Pennsylvania crash found [online]. September 13, 2001 18:00 [Accessed December 7, 2007]. Available from:
  4. Bush: bin Laden 'prime suspect' [online]. September 17, 2001 [Accessed September 17, 2001]. Available from:
  5. Debunking the WTC1 Main Freight Fireball Myth [online]. cOctober 31, 2006, Last modifications February 17, 2007 [Accessed May 21, 2008]. Available from:
  6. Did Flight 93 Crash in Shanksville? [online]. Last modifications September 10, 2007 [Accessed November 6, 2007]. Available from:
  7. Families Of 9/11 Victims Want Federal Help Searching For Remains [online]. July 15, 2006 [Accessed May 7, 2007]. Available from:
  8. Google Earth [software]. [Accessed July 5, 2008]. Ver. 4.3.7191.6508 (beta). USA : Google, 2008. Available from: Maps application. Requirements: Windows XP or higher. Free of charge for non-commercial use.
  9. Mechanika [online]. [Accessed July 3, 2008]. Available from:
  10. Other Building Collapses [online]. [Accessed July 3, 2008]. Available from:
  11. Other Skyscraper Fires [online]. [Accessed February 5, 2007]. Available from:
  12. Pandora's Black Box – Chapter Two – Flight Of American 77 [video]. January 12, 2007 [Accessed June 28, 2008]. Available from: The mentioned example is in the 40th–45th minute of the film. The film is almost 65 minutes long. Size 199 MB.
  13. Pentagon Attack Eyewitnesses [online]. [Accessed July 3, 2008]. Available from:
  14. Profile: World Trade Center [online]. [Accessed June 20, 2006]. Available from:
  15. September 11: Chronology of terror [online]. September 12, 2001 12:27 [Accessed September 13, 2001]. Available from:
  16. Teroristické útoky 11. září 2001 [online]. Last modifications February 7, 2010 5:53 [Accessed February 7, 2010]. Available from:é_útoky_11._září_2001.
  17. War in Afghanistan (2001–present) [online]. Last modifications February 7, 2010 10:12 [Accessed February 7, 2010]. Available from:
  18. World Trade Center [online]. Last modifications 2001 [Accessed June 30, 2008]. Available from:
  19. WTC-7 any Questions [video]. December 4, 2006 [Accessed July 1, 2008]. Available from: The film is roughly 1 minute long.
  20. Zápalné látky [online]. [Accessed February 7, 2010]. Available from:
  21. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth [online]. [Accessed March 5, 2008]. Available from:
  22. BALSAMO, Robert – RANKE, Craig. The Lack of Foundation Damage at the Pentagon is Irreconcilable with the Official Reports and Data [online]. March 15, 2008 [Accessed June 27, 2008]. Available from:
  23. BALSAMO, Robert. United 93 Data Provided by US Government Does not Support Observed Events [online]. December 22, 2007 [Accessed July 5, 2008]. Available from:
  24. Citizen Investigation Team [online]. [Accessed November 9, 2007]. Available from:
  25. Citizen Investigation Team [online]. July 1, 2007 [Accessed November 9, 2007]. Available from:
  26. GLANZ, James. A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SITE; Engineers Have a Culprit in the Strange Collapse of 7 World Trade Center: Diesel Fuel [online]. November 29, 2001 [Accessed September 8, 2006]. Available from:
  27. GRIFFIN, David Ray. Nový Pearl Harbor. Prague : Volvox Globator, 2006. 245 p. Translated by Mai Havrdová Fathi. ISBN 80-7207-591-8. Část 1., Události 11. září, Kapitola 3, Let č. 93: jediné letadlo, které bylo sestřeleno?, p. 65–70.
  28. GRIFFIN, David Ray. The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True [online]. [Accessed April 23, 2006]. Available from:
  29. GRIFFIN, David Ray. The New Pearl Harbor : Response to Chip Berlet's Review [online]. May 30, 2004 [Accessed June 27, 2008]. Available from:
  30. HARRIT, Niels Holger, et al. Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe [online]. April 2009 [Accessed May 7, 2009]. Available from:
  31. CHANDLER, David. 9/11: Speak Out [online]. [Accessed July 2, 2008]. Available from:
  32. JONES, Steven Earl. Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse? [online]. September 2006 [Accessed October 30, 2006]. Available from:
  33. LARSON, Adam. Pilot X and the 440 Foot Gap : Flight 77 Altitude Questions [online]. April 9, 2007 [Accessed July 3, 2008]. Available from:
  34. LAWSON, Anthony. This is an Orange [video]. [Accessed July 1, 2008]. Available from: The film is roughly 2 minutes long.
  35. Pilots for 911 Truth [online]. [Accessed June 25, 2008]. Available from:
  36. Pilots for 911 Truth [online]. September 23, 2006 [Accessed July 5, 2008]. Available from:
  37. RICE, William. Why the towers fell: Two theories [online]. March 1, 2007 [Accessed July 4, 2008]. Available from:
  38. SCHUMER, Charles E. 9-11 Families Call for Expert Army Unit to Search for and Identify Bone and Other Human Remains at Ground Zero [online]. April 23, 2006 [Accessed July 11, 2007]. Available from:
  39. SMITH, Winston. Calculation of World Trade Center Building 7 Collapse Acceleration [online]. November 12, 2006 [Accessed July 1, 2008]. Available from:
  40. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). World Trade Center Building Performance Study [online]. 2002 [Accessed June 28, 2003]. Available from:
  41. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report [online]. 2004 [Accessed July 8, 2006]. Available from: Size 7.3 MB.
  42. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) [online]. September 27, 2007 [Accessed July 2, 2008]. Available from:
  43. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster : Answers to Frequently Asked Questions [online]. August 30, 2006 [Accessed July 4, 2008]. Available from:
  44. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Final Reports of the Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster [online]. October 17, 2005 [Accessed May 27, 2007]. Available from:
  45. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Executive Summary for Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Structural and Life Safety Systems [online]. April 2, 2005 [Accessed July 1, 2008]. Available from: