David Westerfield

Theology, Culture, Technology, Reviews, and Other Commentary

Unexploded Thermitic Material in WTC Dust? Surely Not

In a study published in April of this year, a group of scientists claim to have found active thermitic particles in several separate  World Trade Center (WTC) pyroclastic dust samples (the white dust resulting from the collapse of the two towers). What is thermite, you ask? Well, just go here (wikipedia) or watch a video here and here to see what it does. I have sent this research paper to a friend of mine attending Georgia Tech to send on to the School of Chemistry there to check on 1) the respectability of the journal in which this study was published, 2) if this is a real or fake study, and 3) whether or not the science in this study is valid at all.

I’m not smart enough with chemistry or the scientific processes used here to determine the legitimacy of this information, which is why I forwarded it on to have it examined. Of course, everyone and their dog, with the exception of those in the 9/11 Truth Movement, are going to blast this study as fake, absurd, pushing an agenda, etc. I mean, how outrageous and nonsensical of a proposition is it that our own government would conspire to attack us, the people of the United States (continue reading below on Operation Northwoods)? But I just wanted to check on what a top tech school would have to say about all of this, trying to approach this critically.

If this information is true and can be verified by third-party sources performing their own studies on the same (or different) samples of dust from the WTC towers, it would be quite a game-changer on the official story of why the WTC towers collapsed, maybe. Maybe not.

If true, at the very least, this adds more to the official story than was told to us and means the terrorists were even smarter than we thought in their master plan, smart enough in fact to make sure the towers fell by planting some sort of military-grade explosive materials in the buildings prior to the attacks, in order to ensure structural failure, which seems unlikely.

At the most though and in a worst-case scenario of what the actual, top-secret official story is, it means there’s something bigger going on than we were told, something in the likeness of a plan from 1962 that was fortunately never enacted pertaining to Cuba: Operation Northwoods (PDF). Just read pages 8 through the end (page 15). It sounds hauntingly familiar to 9/11, though I’m in no way saying or claiming that this is what happened, merely saying it appears oddly similar in pattern.

To sum up Operation Northwoods, in 1962 our military leaders concocted a plan, approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to stage “false flag” attacks on U.S. soil (even going so far as to involve civilians in these staged attacks). In doing so, the plan was to get overwhelming public support to preemptively engage Cuba militarily, in order to thwart the growing threat of the Communist build-up in that nation, that would eventually lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of the same year. Fortunately, JFK shot the plan down, no pun intended. Head-spinning stuff and an interesting history lesson. All that to say, I was a bit dumb-founded when I read that document.

How does Operation Northwoods relate to this study? Well, it doesn’t directly, except that it is historically instructive about top-secret military plans going on the behind the scenes, and that if (if, if, if, if, if) this study is valid, the government has some more explaining to do about 1) why there were thermitic materials in the dust 2) how did they get there, and 3) for what purpose?

But back to the issue at hand. If the study is false, it means 1) the science is completely bogus, 2) the science is good, but thermitic particles were placed in the dust samples as “evidence”, 3) these scientists’ careers are over, though that appears to be the case anyway ever since they began investigating all of this several years ago, and 4) if the science journal in which this study was published ever had any respectability or credibility, well, now it doesn’t. All of this if the study is false.

However, if this study is true, the 9/11 Commission, the FBI, NIST, the military, the CIA, and the government at large has some explaining to do on what the true story is. Military-grade explosives don’t just show up during an alleged “surprise” terrorist attack. That’s of course, if this is all true, don’t misunderstand me.

It is possible (and likely) this is a fake study and created merely to affirm conspiracy theories which would bode well for publicity in the 9/11 Truth movement. But I also see very little neutral chatter on the internet that coolly and scientifically discusses their findings in detail, apart from the conspiracy theorists of course, using this study as further evidence of their theories, as well as those seeking to refute them.

So far, the only news article I saw when searching under Google news for the word ‘thermitic’ that attempts to refute the study is this. And in another result that pulled up, an article was published on a news site on June 14 of this year, the Berkshire Eagle, discussing the findings of the scientists, but was later removed (archived evidence of the removal), entitled, “Unanswered questions about 9/11,” probably for fear the news sites’ reputation was on the line for even bringing up what is assumed to be a bogus scientific study (or something more sinister, like censoring, that is of course if the study is true and there was government involvement).

Regardless, these are some very interesting developments pertaining to 9/11 if found to be true.

Here is a video of Dr. Steven E. Jones talking about his initial findings in 2006, one of the scientists who helped with the recent study, who used to be a professor at BYU:

In addition, here is another one of the scientists, Niels Harrit, who also participated in the study:


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  1. Phil

    So David,

    What did your friend at Georgia Tech report about the thermite paper?


  2. Aaron

    I’d really be interested to know your findings on this subject as well. By the way your analysis of this set of data was a gem. As you mentioned, 90% of the information on this particular subject is completely biased or unreliable. It’d be nice to get some info on the credibility of this source from someone who isn’t a conspiracy nut.

  3. Peter A Smith

    Have you had an update yet? I’m a Mechanical Engineer for IBM so the subject is a little outside my field but when I read the report I found much of the methodology flawed particularly with respect to the provenance of the dust sample and the lack of any well documented control testing of either dusts sample from other place in NY or other large City or of the actual paints known to be used in the construction of the WTC and the surrounding buildings.

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