9 - 1 1 R e s e a r c h letters

Popular Mechanics

The March 2005 issue of Popular Mechanics featured a 14-page cover story attacking its caricature of the 9/11 Truth Movement: "a growing army of conspiracy theorists." This article, critiqued in the essay Popular Mechanics Attacks Its "9/11 LIES" Straw Man , is the subject of the letters on this page.

STATUS: sent to Popular Mechanics

To Popular Mechanics:

While reviewing Jim Hoffman's new "Popular Mechanics' Assault on 9/11 
Truth" critique posted at
http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/gopm/index.html and marveling at how
often your magazine has distorted the truth, I also  picked up your May
issue that features a sampling of the many letters  that came in in regard
to this story. Below I will deal with just two  (of many) distortions.

Regarding the number of NORAD intercepts, in your reply to Elliot Lemmon 
you assert that "Numerous conspiracy theorist cite these as 'proof'  NORAD
intercepted flights more frequently than PM stated. However, when 
excerpting the clippings, conspiracy theorists leave out a few important 
details. Here's the full quote from the Knight Ridder story as it appeared
in the Colorado Springs Gazette: 'From June 2000 to September 2001, NORAD
scrambled fighters 67 times but not over the continental United States.' "

The problem with your explanation is that Elliot Lemmon didn't say 
anything about the continental United States. What he wrote was (and 
correctly quoting your magazine) "Your claim that NORAD intercepted only
one civilian plane over North America in the decade before 9/11 is in
opposition to the facts. The following quote from Maj. Douglas Martin, a
NORAD spokesman, contradicts you:  'From Sept. 11 to June [2002], NORAD
scrambled jets or diverted combat air patrols 462, almost seven times as
often as the 67 scrambles from Sept. 2000 to June 2001, Martin said.' "

As can be seen here it is clear that rather than admit that not everything
you wrote is true, you instead attempt to confuse the issue.  NORAD's
(North American Aerospace Defense Command) mission since 1958  has been a
partnership between Canadians and Americans to protect the airspace of
Alaska, Canada and the contiguous 48 United States. Elliot Lemmon left out
no important detail. It is you who got it wrong.

Another thing that puzzles me is your statements from the March issue:  
"Why couldn't ATC find the hijacked flights? When the hijackers turned off
the planes' transponders, which broadcast identifying signals, ATC had to
search 4500 identical radar blips crisscrossing some of the country's
busiest air corridors." What, I wonder, is so difficult in tracing a radar
blip that is missing its transponder information? It should stand out like
a beacon. I would be surprised if the radar screen machine wasn't
programed to flash a hazard signal for each flight that was missing its
transponder signal. After all, it is the "country's busiest air corridor."
A flight without a transponder signal would be a real safety concern.
Certainly, those machines would be able to make it easy to identify a
safety concern.  Also, you emphasize 4500 blips, but are we to suppose
that a single radar operator would have that many on his individual

Vincent Sauve

STATUS: sent to Popular Mechanics

March 9, 2005

Popular Mechanics
810 Seventh Ave., 6th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Re: 9/11 Debunking the Myths
March, 2005 Magazine Issue

Dear Editor:

Even now as the puffy white smoke clouds begin to clear, exposing fraudulent
missile pods and faked aerial photographs, many mysteries still persist
regarding NORAD?s passive role in the chain of command, structural anomalies
within the towers, liquefied or missing aircraft parts, misplaced landing gear,
and strangely resilient Pentagon window panes. Perhaps a future generation of
Americans will learn that this sort of dialogue is not always healthy, wise, or
in the best interest of the country. But for those of our generation who still
thrive on disaster scenarios and conspiracy theories we have no choice but to
carry on in typical point and counterpoint fashion until all our energy runs
out or a more commanding crisis captivates our attention. We're hooked and we
can't help ourselves. And so in that sad spirit, I dutifully offer counterpoint
to your recent article, 9/11 Debunking the Myths, as published in the March
issue of your magazine.

According to the article, "Jet fuel burns at 800 to 1500 F, not hot enough
to melt steel (2750 F). However, experts agree that for the towers to
collapse, their steel frames didn't need to melt, they just had to lose some
of their structural strength--." But how much warping, bending, or sagging
could be expected, given the size, construction, and heat tolerances of the
steel beams and the fact that the maximum achievable temperature was admittedly
about 1000 F; beneath the melting point? No attempt is made in the article to
quantify any tolerances, but Forman Williams, a structural engineer and
professor of engineering at the University of California, is quoted as saying
"that while jet fuel was a catalyst for the WTC fires, the resulting inferno
was intensified by other combustible material inside the buildings, including
rugs, curtains, furniture and paper." According to Williams, "The jet fuel was
the ignition source. It burned for maybe 10 minutes, and [the towers] were
still standing in 10 minutes. It was the rest of the stuff burning afterward
that was responsible for the heat transfer that eventually brought them down."
This is a bit much to swallow. How could rugs, curtains, or the odd sandwich
left in someone's desk drawer have burned hotter than jet fuel? Even if there
was no cooling off, how could yet higher temperatures have been achieved or
maintained once the jet fuel was no longer a factor? And even if structural
warping did occur at or above the fire levels, how could the healthy massive
steel structures below the fires have lent themselves so completely and
uniformly to rapid vertical collapse? Instead of answering these questions, the
article offers Mr. Williams' opinion, which turns out to be less substantiated
than conspiracy theories that the buildings were brought down by controlled

Fortunately the collapse of WTC Building 7 sheds new light on this subject.
Situated across Vesey Street and separated from the North Tower by Building 6,
which did not itself collapse, even after sustaining extensive damage from fire
and falling debris, WTC 7 showed no significant damage at all in photos taken
just before it collapsed. There were a few internal fires, but they weren't
large enough or hot enough to even break out the windows. Significantly, this
47-story monolith collapsed completely and uniformly straight down in less than
seven seconds. Totally! The whole thing was sheared to the ground! The article
states "NIST researchers now support the working hypothesis that WTC 7 was far
more compromised by falling debris than the FEMA report indicated." Working
hypothesis? Is that anything like a conspiracy theory? What evidence is offered
to support this? The unavoidable facts are that an airplane did not strike WTC
7, the discreet distance separating it from the North Tower protected it from
falling debris, and there was absolutely no evidence of structural damage.
Conspicuous by its absence is any mention in the article about the stunningly
short time span of the collapse. Quite possibly the under-seven-second
swiftness was too much for even the "working hypothesis" to explain. Anyone
with basic logic skills now knows that this was, in fact, a controlled
demolition; and happily this reinforces suspicions about the towers too.

I'll leave it up to others to decide whether the 9/11 disaster constitutes
another Reichstag Fire or something even more sinister. All I know is that the
physical evidence of controlled implosions is much too strong to be debunked by
the arguments offered in your article.


Joe Fougerousse