The day the world changed is one of the euphemisms used for September 11, 2001, the day when airliners were flown as guided missiles into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. What exactly happened that day? Did it come as a surprise for everyone just as it did for the millions of television viewers glued to their screens to follow the events? Why should it have changed the world, and in what way? Are we being told the truth? If not, in whose interest is it being covered up? Is the information given to us reliable or propaganda? Who did it and why? What is the war all about, and will it escalate? Can a war on terror ever succeed? What are its declared and actual aims? What kind of world have we inherited at the beginning of this new millennium? Things have moved swiftly since that day, with America leading a world-wide coalition against alleged terror networks. Afghanistan has been the first country to be targeted in this war which, according to some strategists, will focus on various targets over a long time of up to 50 years. What is it meant to achieve? Is the truth, as always, the first casualty of this war? In the shadow of shock people did not have enough time to take in the detail. Too many questions remain unanswered, too many allegations unproven. Many, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, feel that there is something unreal – and improper – going on. This special edition of Common Sense gathers information from a variety of available sources and presents them in an attempt to help us understand the wider picture.
The Events of September 11
On September 11, 2001 several aircraft almost simultaneously deviated from their filed flight plans and were used as missiles:
Two struck the World Trade Center in New York just after 9 am local time:
American Airlines flight #11, a Boeing 767, 81 passengers and 11 crew, took off from Boston destined for Los Angeles, tail # N334AA.
United Airlines flight #175, a Boeing 767, 65 passengers, took off from Boston destined for Los Angeles, tail # N612UA. According to some reports this plane was still flying after the towers had been hit.
A third struck the Pentagon in Washington:
American Airlines flight #77, a Boeing 757, 58 passengers and 6 crew, took off from Dulles near Washington D.C. destined for Los Angeles, tail # was N644AA. According to some reports, this plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
A fourth aircraft crashed near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvenia at about 9.45 am local time:
United Airlines flight #93, a Boeing 757, 45 people on Board, took off from Newark destined for San Francisco, tail # N591UA.
According to a statement by United Airlines a fifth aircraft, Flight 175, a Boeing 767 bound from Boston to Los Angeles with 65 people on board, also crashed, but it was not revealed where.
According to the news agency AFP another plane was headed for the Pentagon, and was picked up by Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington. No further details were released.
The North Tower of the World Trade Center was struck at 8:45 local time, the South Tower at 9:03. The South Tower collapsed first at 9:50; the North Tower followed at 10:29. This means that it took the South Tower 47 minutes to collapse, the North Tower 1 hour 44 minutes. Both towers had been hit at a location near the top. Whilst the the top of the South Towers fell off to the side, with the North Tower the whole structure collapsed vertically and it seems that the collapse was not cushioned by the lower structures of the 110-floor building. If the collapse were due to the ground impact of the fall of several of the top floors of the South Tower, this would have had to cause a separate crater at some distance. Some hours later buildings 6 and 7 of the WTC-complex also collapsed.
Built to last Only a week prior the structural engineer who designed the twin towers stated at a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, that the internal steel columns would remain standing if the towers were hit by a Boeing 707. The collapse has been largely blamed on the fire which allegedly melted the steel supports. The South Tower was hit at the corner, rather than the side, causing a greater part of the aircraft’s kerosene to spill outside the building, yet it was this tower which went down first. Without supplemental supply of bottled oxygen or compressed air, jet fuel can only burn up to about 250°C; the fire in the WTC allegedly reached 800°C; to melt the steel construction of the building a temperature of 1538°C would have been required.
When a B-25 US airforce bomber crashed into one of the upper floors of the Empire State Building in New York on 28 July 1945, one engine going all the way through the building and landing on the other side on a nearby building, no similar damage ensued. The destruction was limited to the immediate environment of the floor struck. Since then, the possibility of aircraft strike was taken into account when designing high-rise buildings, including the WTC built in 1966. A new lease for the building had been signed in April 2001, and the building must have been checked for structural safety.
The Pentagon was built in 1943, housing the US military establishment, stretching over 6.6 million square feet. Throughout the last decade it was undergoing major reconstruction and refurbishment. The side struck by the plane was the one opposite to the military command centre.