Should WTC Steel Be Recycled? No - Families want answers first
By SALLY REGENHARD
The World Trade Center disaster was the first total collapse of high-rise
buildings during a fire in U.S. history, and the largest structural collapse in world history. In the interest of public safety, as well as the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed there, it is necessary to find out
why and how these buildings collapsed.After a battle that never should have had to be waged by the Campaign for Skyscraper Safety: A Project of Parents and Relatives of Firefighters and WTC Victims, we have finally learned that the federal government will embark on an independent investigation of why the WTC collapsed. Better later than never! Now we must urge Congress to
provide emergency funds as soon as possible.
Just as important, we must convince our public officials to stop recycling the WTC structural steel immediately. Recycling amounts to destroying physical evidence that holds clues to why the towers fell.
The WTC steel should be retained for many reasons: The towers were two of the first American buildings not constructed entirely of U.S.-made steel. It must be tested and evaluated for its integrity. Furthermore, examination can tell us how the steel held up at points of impact, and where it failed. We can ascertain how hot the fires were and where they burned. We can observe the joints and other connections and how they supported the infamous lightweight-truss floor construction, long known in the fire protection community to fail rapidly and unexpectedly in fires. And the list goes on.
When a plane crashes, we do not throw it away. All parts are meticulously recovered and reconstructed. In the case of TWA Flight 800, the government spent $50 million to find out why it crashed.
So far, only $600,000 has been spent for a crime involving nearly 3,000 homicides at the WTC. And the city almost immediately began to dispose of the steel and other debris, which is material evidence in a heinous crime.
Why was it so quick to enter into a $50 million scrap-metal contract, shred the steel and sell it to foreign markets? The question of who was responsible for signing off on this remains unanswered.
We have lost precious time. The relatives of the doomed 3,000, supported by fire science experts, agree on the importance of examining the steel evidence. Why is it still being thrown away?
With nothing left to examine, we may never truly answer the questions about why these buildings collapsed. Perhaps there are people who would prefer that these questions never be answered.
Regenhard is founder and chairwoman of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. Her son Christian, a 28-year-old probationary firefighter, was lost in the WTC.
Why are "America's Mayor" and FEMA obstructing the investigation of the WTC disaster? Why have they worked so hard to destroy the evidence? Why are they threatening the investigators and preventing them from talking to the media? If you read between the lines of the cautiously-worded NY Times article below and factor in the material at http://baltech.org/lederman/ you'll see yet another huge government cover-up unfolding.
Not mentioned in the Times article below but previously reported on by the Times and other NYC media is that allegedly Mafia-connected demolition companies who were contracted by the Giuliani administration for the clean-up stole thousands of tons of the steel beams from the WTC disaster site. Did they really need to take such a risk to sell the steel as scrap or were they doing exactly what they'd been ordered to do? Also see NY TIMES 12/20/2001 "City Had Been Warned of Fuel Tank at 7 World Trade Center" for info on how 6,000 gallons of fuel illegally stored in the building to supply Giuliani's supposedly bomb-proof "bunker" was directly responsible for the collapse of WTC building #7.
As a reward for his efforts Giuliani is likely to be Bush's Vice
Presidential running mate in 2004 (Cheney will be too ill to run again) and then run for President in 2008. He's the perfect man to run a Police State.]
KEY EXCERPT from the Times article: "In calling for a new investigation, some structural engineers have said that one serious mistake has already been made in the chaotic aftermath of the collapse: the decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and trusses that held up the buildings. That may have cost investigators some of their most direct physical evidence with which to try to piece together an answer. Officials in the mayor's office declined to reply to written and oral requests for comment over a three- day period about who decided to recycle the steel and the concern that the decision might be handicapping the investigation ....Interviews with a handful of members of the team, which includes some of the nation's most respected engineers, also uncovered complaints that they had at various times been shackled with bureaucratic restrictions that prevented them from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information like recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments..."This is almost the dream team of engineers in the country working on this, and our hands are tied," said one
team member who asked not to be identified. Members have been threatened with dismissal for speaking to the press. "FEMA is controlling everything," the team member said...Dr. Frederick W. Mowrer, an associate professor in the fire protection engineering department at the University of Maryland, said he believed the decision could ultimately compromise any investigation of the collapses. "I find the speed with which potentially important evidence has been removed and recycled to be appalling," Dr. Mowrer said. "
NY TIMES December 25, 2001
THE TOWERS Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers' Fall By JAMES GLANZ and ERIC LIPTON
Saying that the current investigation into how and why the twin towers fell on Sept. 11 is inadequate, some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide.
Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, both of New York, have joined the call for a wider look into the collapses. In an
interview on Friday, Mr. Schumer said he supported a new investigation "not so much to find blame" for the collapse of the buildings under extraordinary circumstances, "but rather so that we can prepare better for the future."
"It could affect building practices," he said. "It could affect evacuation practices. We live in a new world and everything has to be recalibrated."
Experts critical of the current effort, including some of those people who are actually conducting it, cite the lack of meaningful financial support and poor coordination with the agencies cleaning up the disaster site. They point out that the current team of 20 or so investigators has no subpoena power and little staff support and has even been unable to obtain basic information like detailed blueprints of the buildings that collapsed.
While agreeing that any building hit by a jetliner would suffer potentially
devastating damage, experts want to examine whether the twin towers may have
had hidden vulnerabilities that contributed to their collapse.
The lightweight steel trusses that supported the tower's individual floors,
the connections between the trusses and the buildings' vertical structural
columns, as well as possible flaws in the fireproofing have been drawing
scrutiny from fire safety consultants and engineers in recent weeks.
"Two buildings came down," said Joseph F. Russo, director of the Center for
Fire Safety Engineering at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, referring to
the twin towers. "That suggests some degree of predictability."
"And if it was predictable," Mr. Russo said, "was it preventable?"
Family members of some victims have added their voices to the calls for a wider investigation.
The exact scope of an expanded inquiry has not been defined. But the central desire is to learn any lessons that might be hidden in the rubble and to pinpoint the exact sequence and cause of the collapse, regardless of whether it was inevitable from the moment the planes struck, members of the investigative team and others said.
In calling for a new investigation, some structural engineers have said that
one serious mistake has already been made in the chaotic aftermath of the
collapses: the decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and
trusses that held up the buildings. That may have cost investigators some of their most direct physical evidence with which to try to piece together an answer.
Officials in the mayor's office declined to reply to written and oral
requests for comment over a three- day period about who decided to recycle the steel and the concern that the decision might be handicapping the investigation.
"The city considered it reasonable to have recovered structural steel recycled," said Matthew G. Monahan, a spokesman for the city's Department of Design and Construction, which is in charge of debris removal at the site.
"Hindsight is always 20-20, but this was a calamity like no other," said Mr. Monahan, who was designated by the mayor's office to respond to questions about the investigation. "And I'm not trying to backpedal from the decision."
Interviews with a handful of members of the team, which includes some of the nation's most respected engineers, also uncovered complaints that they had at various times been shackled with bureaucratic restrictions that prevented them from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information like recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments.
The investigation, organized immediately after Sept. 11 by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the field's leading professional organization, has been financed and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A mismatch between the federal agency and senior engineers
accustomed to bypassing protocol in favor of quick answers has been identified as a clear point of friction.
"This is almost the dream team of engineers in the country working on this, and our hands are tied," said one team member who asked not to be identified. Members have been threatened with dismissal for speaking to the press.
"FEMA is controlling everything," the team member said. "It sounds funny, but just give us the money and let us do it, and get the politics out of it."
A spokesman for FEMA, John Czwartacki, said the agency's primary mission was to help victims, emergency workers and to speed the city's recovery, and added, "We are not an investigative agency."
But given the assignment to examine the structural failures at the World Trade Center, the agency has so far spent roughly $100,000 and Mr. Czwartacki said that more financing could be expected after the group produced what he called an "interim document" in the spring.
"I've heard the calls for the N.T.S.B.-style investigation," Mr. Czwartacki
said, referring to appeals by engineers and some families of trade center
victim for an exhaustive examination like those done by the National
Transportation Safety Board when a plane crashes. "I don't think this study
will do it for them."
Mr. Czwartacki added that it was premature to comment on whether team
members were receiving necessary information because the study has not been
completed. Regardless of what any investigation might find, it is unclear
how many civilian lives would have been saved if the buildings had not
collapsed, because so many died on the burning upper floors.
Despite the universe of unknowns, the calls for more extensive
investigations of various kinds are coming from engineers, fire experts and
professional organizations in New York and across the nation.
"What some of us are calling for is a probe or reassessment," said Loring A.
Wyllie Jr., a member of the National Academy of Engineering and chairman
emeritus and senior principal at Degenkolb Engineers in San Francisco. Mr.
Wyllie, who has investigated many building collapses after earthquakes, said
the work would involve "a critique of our building practices" in search of
greater safety after Sept. 11.
He added that intensive studies of building failures in disasters like the
Northridge earthquake near Los Angeles in 1994 had led to important
Calling an intensive new investigation "absolutely necessary," Mr. Russo, of
Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, said the expense could be justified by
the payoff of better safety in high-rises of the future. Other experts take
a still wider view, favoring a study that would look at the implications of
the collapses - a nearby, 47-story building, 7 World Trade Center, also fell
on Sept. 11 after burning for most of the day - for fire codes, building
standards and engineering practices across the board.
National organizations charged with addressing building and fire safety
issues have sent letters urging the federal government to invest as much as
$15 million a year to study the vulnerability of buildings to terrorist
attacks and possible changes to fire and safety standards.
"There is an urgent and critical need to determine the lessons to be learned
from these events," reads a letter from the American Society of Civil
Engineers, dated Nov. 15.
In other disasters, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal
agencies have played a more central role in making decisions about cleanup
and investigations. But from the start, they found that New York had a
degree of engineering and construction expertise unlike any they had
"They wanted to do a lot of things on their own," said Charles Hess, who is
in charge of civil emergency management for the Army Corps. "Which they're
very capable of doing."
But during a recovery effort that received worldwide praise, the city made
one decision that has been endlessly second-guessed. To deal with nearly
300,000 tons of crumpled steel, the city quickly decided to ship it to scrap
Dr. Frederick W. Mowrer, an associate professor in the fire protection
engineering department at the University of Maryland, said he believed the
decision could ultimately compromise any investigation of the collapses. "I
find the speed with which potentially important evidence has been removed
and recycled to be appalling," Dr. Mowrer said.
But Mr. Monahan, the City Department of Design and Construction spokesman,
pointed out that members of the investigation team were eventually allowed
to visit the site and inspect steel at the scrapyards and continue doing so.
Some experts have suggested that the only way to definitively determine the
sequence and cause of the collapse is to recover large amounts of steel from
the areas near where the planes struck, and possibly reassemble sections of
Others say such a reconstruction of an entire section might be impractical,
but also expressed discomfort with the impediments they said they have faced
in their investigation.
For example, three months after the disaster, Ronald Hamburger, an expert in
structural analysis at A.B.S. Consulting in Oakland, Calif., and a director
of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, said he had
not even been given access to basic blueprints describing where the steel
and other structural elements had been when the World Trade Center was
"I'd like to be able to have a set of the drawings for all of the affected
buildings," Mr. Hamburger said. "I don't have that."
NY TIMES -City Had Been Warned of Fuel Tank at 7 World Trade Center-December
"Fire Department officials warned the city and the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey in 1998 and 1999 that a giant diesel fuel tank for the
mayor's $13 million command bunker in 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story
high-rise that burned and collapsed on Sept. 11, posed a hazard and was not
consistent with city fire codes. The 6,000-gallon tank was positioned about
15 feet above the ground floor and near several lobby elevators and was
meant to fuel generators that would supply electricity to the 23rd-floor
bunker in the event of a power failure. Although the city made some design
changes to address the concerns - moving a fuel pipe that would have run
from the tank up an elevator shaft, for example - it left the tank in place.
But the Fire Department repeatedly warned that a tank in that position could
spread fumes throughout the building if it leaked, or, if it caught fire,
could produce what one Fire Department memorandum called "disaster."
"The World Trade center was a project started up in 1960 by David
Rockefeller. The towers were sometimes nicknamed David and Nelson, the
New York's Giuliani Named Time's Person of the Year
NEW YORK (Reuters 12/23/2001) - Brash, outspoken, indefatigable Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani, whose composure and compassion rallied New York and the
nation after the Sept. 11 attacks, was named Time Magazine's Person of the
Year on Sunday..."Soviet leader Josef Stalin was Time's Person of the Year
in 1939 and 1942, German dictator Adolph Hitler in 1938, and Iranian leader
Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979."
"I take a different view of someone comparing me to Adolf Hitler than when
someone calls me a jerk." Mayor Giuliani, N.Y. Daily News 10/25/1998
"I don't regard associations of my people that support me as fascists as a
light matter ....But it's ultimately the results that matter."Giuliani -NY
Newsday 6/27/98 Apology For Holocaust Allusion
"City welfare chief Jason Turner apologized Friday for unwittingly using a
Nazi death camp slogan to defend Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's workfare program."
Newsday 8/18/89 Holocaust `Reminder' Claimed
"A concentration camp survivor who witnessed the murders of his parents and
five siblings at Auschwitz claimed that during questioning after his arrest
on bribery charges he was placed before a blackboard bearing a Nazi slogan
by former U.S. Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani's office as part of an
attempt to "break" him...Written on the blackboard was the German phrase
"Arbeit Macht Frei." The slogan, "Work Shall Set You Free," adopted by the
Nazi party, appeared over the gates at Auschwitz."
"Robert Lederman, 49, a street artist who has protested for years against
Mayor Giuliani's policies, often arrives with dozens of placards
caricaturing the mayor as Hitler, complete with the Fuhrer's mustache". -NY
Times 4/8/2000 Demonstrators of Old Spread Their Message in a New Era of
"Throughout the rally, protesters waved Haitian flags and signs depicting
Giuliani as "the new Hitler." -POST 4/21/2000 PROTESTERS WANT RUDY BOOTED
NY Times AP 4/21/2000 NEW YORK (AP) -- "Chanting and waving signs, some
comparing him to Adolf Hitler, more than 2,000 protesters marched from
Brooklyn to City Hall demanding Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's resignation over
his handling of fatal police shootings of unarmed black men...The protesters
voiced anger toward the NYPD as well, but their real focus was Giuliani, and
sign after sign depicted the mayor as the devil or as Hitler. The signs were
cheered by about hundred onlookers as the marchers came off the Brooklyn
Bridge into Manhattan."
NY State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer N.Y. Post 10/15/98
"...the current mayor thinks he's a dictator and does not have sufficient
respect, not only for other branches of government, but also for the
citizenry and its opportunities to speak out and be heard."
"If we don't strike a balance between aggressive enforcement and common
sense," Savage said, "it becomes a blueprint for a police state and
tyranny." Former Policeman's Benevolent Association (the police union)
President, James Savage on Giuliani's policies, NY Times 4/14/99
"In satire and protest, the Mayor of the City of New York is again being
likened to some of the vilest figures in history. But this time Rudolph W.
Giuliani is learning to accept it.... Deputy Mayor Randy M. Mastro goes so
far as to detect a touch of flattery in the Giuliani-as-Dictator analogies."
NY TIMES 6/24/98 "Hudson Hitler? Midtown Mussolini? Giuliani Grins and Bears
From: -Newsweek 4/5/99 Rudy on the Record
Question: "Are you personally stung by those signs at the demonstrations
that say 'Adolf Giuliani'?"
Mayor Giuliani: "Five years ago I might have cried over it. And now I just
feel that this is a crazy exaggeration that we've allowed, and that our
media coverage is selective... You cover Susan Sarandon. But [the police and
the rest of the city] see the Adolf Hitler signs, the comparisons to the
president of Yugoslavia. These [demonstrators] are getting arrested, some
knowingly, some unknowingly, under that banner."
"Robert Lederman, a Manhattan man who began sketching political art of the
mayor with a Hitler mustache after the city's 1995 arrests of sidewalk art
vendors, called the art panel "ludicrous." "If it wasn't so ludicrous, it
would be just comical-but unfortunately we've known from watching Giuliani
for nearly eight years that he's not kidding," Lederman said." -NY Newsday
3/30/2001 City's Gatekeepers of Decency?
"An exhibit of the mayor's photographs opened today at a downtown Manhattan
gallery, displaying 23 of his color and black-and-white pictures taken over
the last two years. Panning the exhibit altogether were the sidewalk
protesters, who are fighting a city requirement that they need permits to
sell artwork in parks and in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Since
his first day in office, Giuliani has been waging a war on artists and
artists' rights," said painter and printmaker Robert Lederman. "He's doing
this show purely to change his image, posing as an artist in the arts
capital of the world." 5/9/98 Washington Post
NY TIMES November 5, 2001 THE FIREFIGHTERS
Second Union Leader Is Charged With Trespassing in Demonstration at Ground
""This comes right from the top," Capt. Peter L. Gorman, head of the
2,500-member Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said after surrendering -
under the threat of forcible arrest, his lawyer said - at a police station
in Manhattan to be booked on the misdemeanor charge. Kevin E. Gallagher,
president of the 9,000-member Uniformed Firefighters Association, also
blamed the mayor after his arrest Saturday night. "The message the city is
sending is that if you don't agree with what a union says, you simply arrest
its president," Tom Butler, Mr. Gallagher's spokesman, said..."The mayor
fails to realize that New York City is not a dictatorship, where if you
don't like what a union is doing you can just go and lock up a union's
president," the firefighters' union said. "The message being sent from City
Hall is that if you don't agree with this administration, we will get you."
Captain Gorman, a firefighter for 28 years, called his arrest an outrage.
"They're putting me through the system like I'm a thug," he said. He called
the mayor a "fascist" and referred to Mr. Kerik and Mr. Von Essen as
For detailed verifiable info on Giuliani and President Bush's Rockefeller
connection and how this directly relates to bin Laden, 9/11 and the
Nazification of the US government see: http://baltech.org/lederman/