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9 Jul, 2009 08:40

Did nano-thermite take down the WTC?

Could the most audacious terrorist attack in history be a “sophisticated masterpiece of demolition”?

That’s what chemistry professor Niels Harrit has been asking, following his investigation of the World Trade Centre rubble, which has revealed traces of explosives.

RT: Professor Niels Harrit, you examined the rubble that came from the World Trade Center. What did you find in it?

Niels Harrit: Well, in there we find the remains of what we characterize as thermetic material, and this is a very energetic material which can be used either for melting iron, or it can be designed as an explosive.

RT: So, what effect would nano-thermite have had on the collapse of the towers on September 11?

Niels Harrit: Actually, within this group of authors behind this paper, which we published in April, there are diverging opinions about what this nano-thermite was used for. And my opinion is: we should not speculate on a scenario for the demolition. There is no doubt that the three towers were demolished on 9/11. But beyond that there is very solid evidence that some thermite has been used for melting the steel beams. We do not know if the thermite that we have found is the same thermite which has been used for melting the beams. It’s very, very possible that different varieties were used, and I personally am certain that conventional explosives were used too, in abundance.

RT: When you say “in abundance,” how much do you mean?

Niels Harrit: Tons! Hundreds of tons! Many, many, many tons!

RT: So we are not just talking about nano-thermite. In fact, we are talking about both nano-thermite and conventional explosives used in large quantities…

Niels Harrit: We have not found remains or traces of conventional explosives. Actually, we’ve suggested and recommended to NIST, which is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, that they should look for remains or traces of explosives, and they have refused to do that every time. They have not investigated it.

RT: In terms of the nano-thermite, the traces of which you did find, what are the possible explanations for its presence in the World Trade Center? I mean, could it have been in the airplanes, or could it have been a naturally occurring substance in any way?

Niels Harrit: The two last options I can definitely rule out. It could not have come from the airplanes. If it had been there beforehand – those who put it there, I urge them to step forward and tell us how and why it got there. One thing, which has been mentioned frequently in the discussion following our publication, is that this could be the primer paint which was applied to the steel beams in order to prevent corrosion. And many of the ingredients are the same. In terms of the iron oxide, as I told you, which is red in color, you see it hugely on steel beams when they are protected, it’s iron oxide… So, some of the chemicals in there are the same. But the composition of the primer paint used… there are two very good reasons for it not being paint, in my opinion. One is that the composition, chemical composition of the paint, primer paint, used in the World Trade Center, according to NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) is vastly different from that what we are seeing. To be specific, I’d say that we are missing large amounts of chromium, zinc, and magnesium. Next, which can be understood by everyone, is that the paint applied on the steel beams is stable to elevated temperatures. NIST did experiments with the steel beams, because they wanted to use the appearance of the paint as a measure for the temperature the steel beams had been exposed to. And let me be specific. When you heat this steel beam up 250 degrees Centigrade, it starts cracking. This is because the steel expands more than the paint. They get what they call mat cracks. And it keeps on cracking until the temperature is above 650 degrees, where it starts peeling off, forming scales. This continues to about 800 degrees, when this scaling becomes excessive. But it does not burn. So, the paint on the steel beams is stable beyond 800 degrees Centigrade. Now, the stuff we have found ignites at 430 degrees Centigrade. So, it is not the primer paint. So, what I can say is… Is this nano-thermite? Well, it quacks like a duck, it waggles like a duck, it looks like a duck, maybe it’s a duck? This is all we can say.

RT: It’s now around three months since your article was first published. What’s the response been like? I understand it’s one of the first times you’ve been interviewed for an English-speaking audience.

Niels Harrit: For what you call the mainstream media, there has been dead silence, except for two interviews I’ve done on Danish television. It has taken off on the Internet to an extent that I had not anticipated. But on the official, organized level, it’s a roaring silence, I must say.

RT: Just going back a bit. What first piqued your interest in 9/11? How did you first come to examine the rubble? What did you expect to find?

Niels Harrit: Back two and a half years, I think, when I accidentally saw the collapse of Building 7. And to those who do not know this, we should make it absolutely straight that there were two airliners, but there were three skyscrapers. Most people associate the World Trade Center with the Twin Towers. But the World Trade Center was a center. There were seven buildings, and the towers were number one and number two. Now, number three, number four, number five and number six were relatively small buildings from nine to 22 stories. But Building 7 was a huge building close to two hundred meters high, 47 stories, with a footprint at the level of a small soccer field. And it came down 20 minutes past five in the afternoon; this was seven hours after the North Tower collapsed. I saw this accidentally and I said: “What is this? This is the World Trade Center. What!?” And I had to see it again. Because most people didn’t know about Building 7. And it is going down completely symmetrically in 6.5 seconds. Z-z-z-u-p! Like that! And as a scientist, you are trained to watch your environment in an analytical fashion. You always think: how does this happen and how does that happen? And this I just couldn’t understand or cope with. Why should this building come down, which I had never heard of before? It comes down with no apparent reason. So I have to push the button again and again. And it took me weeks actually to digest this. And I think this is common to most people – to realize what you have seen. But once you have realized this, there is no way back. So you can either speak out, or you can live in shame. And from that on I got more and more interested. And I found that the evidence for a controlled demolition is overwhelming. The evidence for thermite is also. First, I told you that the thermite reaction produces molten iron. Now, molten iron was pouring out of one of the towers, and molten iron in pools under the rubble after 9/11 for weeks and months. The surface temperature was 735 degrees after three days of heavy showers. It took them three months to put out the fire. It was declared officially extinguished on December 20th. Now, this is the kind of fire! And the point is that the thermite kept on reacting. This was a witch’s brew of thermite chemistry. For three months! Very sophisticated, very complicated. It’s a masterpiece of demolition.

RT: And who would be capable of producing of such a masterpiece of demolition?

Niels Harrit: It is not competitive with the official conspiracy theory, the one with Osama Bin Laden and 19 highjackers. I am an anti-conspiracy theorist. I am against the official conspiracy theory. We must have a criminal investigation to find out what. This was a crime and it has never been investigated.

RT: You were the first team to have examined the rubble, and the first team to have picked this up. Why do you think that is?

Niels Harrit: Technically, the collapses were investigated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. So, they should have looked into the dust, and they have been encouraged many times to look for remains of explosives, to look for remains of thermite. And actually, when there is a fire in the United States, which is suspicious, or which is violent, or which is unexpected, according to some regulation, you should look for thermite. Because you can use it for arson; and if you want to burn your house, this is the way to do it. You cook up a thermite reaction, and you go on vacation, and you can trigger it with your cell phone at a long distance, if you wish. So, this is routine for the FBI to look for remains of thermite. This they do very frequently actually. But they didn’t do it this time.

RT: But obviously you are a real scientist, so it is understandable you don’t want to be associated with conspiracy theorists and don’t like that kind of term. What would you say to people who do lump you into that same category?

Niels Harrit: Then I must repeat, I mean, who is being fooled here? Because the official conspiracy theory, yeah, people call me strange things, and conspiracy theory is… the word theorist is not meant kindly. But who is being fooled here, when we are being presented with the official conspiracy theory? Without any proofs, without a criminal investigation, with nobody being charged with this and no one is wanted? Osama Bin Laden is not wanted by the FBI for this! I mean, shouldn’t there be some questions to ask here? So, I will turn the question back and say, “Who are the fools?”