by Eli Rika
Over the last century, the most astounding historical discoveries of man-made artifacts have often been accomplished by well-funded, highly experienced researchers. From the excavation of King Tut’s tomb to the sighting of the sunken Titanic, stunning finds have required immense financial and human resources, as well as the leadership by distinguished. So, how did a mountain of never-before-seen footage used in NIST’s World Trade Center investigations get exposed to the light of day last month? Was it the work of a billionaire adventurer? Not quite. You can thank an upstart non-profit, the International Center for 9/11 Studies, whose efforts have at last borne fruit.
The International Center for 9/11 Studies was founded in 2008 by Director James Gourley, a Texas lawyer who began questioning the events of 9/11 after watching a presentation given by David Ray Griffin on C-SPAN.
“I was just floored by what I was hearing,” Gourley explained, “and I’ve been looking into 9/11 ever since then.”
In order to encourage a better understanding of the 9/11 attacks and promote scientific study of these tragic events, Gourley assembled a small team of trusted colleagues, which includes physics instructor David Chandler, activist Dr. Graeme MacQueen, and Justin Keogh, the Center’s Chief Technical Officer. The Center has partnered with other key researchers in the past, including physicist Steven Jones and chemist Niels Harrit.
Since its inception, the Center has contributed to groundbreaking work on the technical analysis of the WTC building destructions. Gourley, who has a chemical engineering background, co-authored several papers that exposed evidence that the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7 were destroyed by means of controlled demolition. His critique of official-story defender Zdenek Bazant’s crush down/crush up collapse theory was published as part of a formal discussion in the mainstream Journal of Engineering Mechanics. Gourley’s contributions also extended to the peer-reviewed paper detailing the active thermitic material discovered in the WTC dust, which was published in the Bentham Open Chemical Physics Journal. In addition, the Center collaborated with Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, and other scientists and engineers to submit 26 pages of comments on the NIST WTC 7 Draft Report within the three-week deadline.
Uncovering the data NIST used in its WTC investigations proved to be a little more difficult. The Center filed a FOIA Request with NIST on January 26, 2009, seeking disclosure of “all of the photographs and videos collected, reviewed, cited or in any other way used by NIST during its investigation of the World Trade Center building collapses.” NIST initially ignored this request, and for months dismissed attempts by the Center to gain acknowledgment of its receipt. Undeterred, Gourley filed a lawsuit on May 28, 2009 to get the data released. Since then, NIST has been periodically turning over images and video from its archives. So far, the Center has received over 300 DVDs and several external hard disk drives related to the NIST Reports – more than three terabytes of data – and NIST has indicated that additional records will be released in the future.
The first section of data to be partially analyzed by the Center is the Cumulus Database, a collection of more than 6,500 video clips that NIST had gathered from residents, first responders and news organizations that were filming in New York City on September 11, 2001. Even though the Center has only been able to look through a small fraction of this enormous archive, several remarkable video sequences have already been located and posted online.
In one unsettling video clip, two firefighters who had just escaped from one of the Twin Towers discussed how secondary explosions inside the building caused the lobby to collapse. One of the firefighters is so concerned about explosives that he says, “There may be more. Any one of these buildings could blow up.” The official accounts of the events have excluded the more than 100 witnesses citing the sights and/or sounds of explosions.
The release of this video generated so much interest that searches for it skyrocketed to #1 on Google Trends on October 6, 2010.
In another clip, a low frequency explosion can be heard just before the East penthouse of WTC Building 7 falls.
One of the most mysterious pieces of footage to be exposed shows a massive amount of dust and a large object being ejected from a window a few stories below the jet impact zone of one of the Towers. “The size and speed of the expelled material indicate that an explosion must have caused this event,” Gourley said after examining the video.
Several clips show clear evidence of editing that Gourley described as “suspicious.” This includes a video of WTC Building 7 from which the penthouse collapse sequence is missing. In another clip that begins just after WTC 7 starts to fall, the soundtrack is strangely silent, and does not turn on until after the building has been completely destroyed.
In addition to these, a video recorded after the collapse of the Twin Towers was released, in which Michael Hess, the Corporation Counsel for New York City, can be seen calling for help from the 8th floor of WTC Building 7. This footage further corroborates the testimony of Barry Jennings, the former Deputy Emergency Manager of the New York City Housing Authority, who reported that he and Hess were trapped on the 8th floor after an explosion inside the building destroyed the stairwell beneath them.
The Center is preparing other data collections for public download, and working with NIST to attain additional volumes of information that are still being withheld. Center volunteers are also analyzing a computer model of Building 7 that NIST reluctantly released to determine whether the parameters used in their investigation were scientifically legitimate. David Chandler will continue to provide his technical expertise by publishing a video that contains a detailed analysis of the recordings. Justin Keogh has been adding material to his website to assist those who wish to explore the extensive amount of written material pertaining to the WTC catastrophe.
In the meantime, the Cumulus video clips, which total about 86 GB in size, have been made available online, and instructions for download can be viewed here. This collection alone is so massive that the Center cannot analyze all of the footage in a timely manner with its limited assets. Many hours of video have yet to be thoroughly reviewed. At first glance, the current lack of resources may seem to be disappointing, but this dilemma actually presents one of the greatest opportunities for independent researchers, technical professionals and others to help bring new evidence to light.
“The more people there are that look at it, the better,” Gourley said when asked about the need for assistance. “There might be a bombshell hidden in there, and you never know until you go through it all.” The international attention that some of the footage has garnered also suggests that other as-yet-unseen evidence could make headlines around the world.
The treasure trove of data that the International Center for 9/11 Studies has worked so hard to obtain is waiting earnestly for a few good men and women to sift through it, and unearth all the information that has been buried for years. Anyone with Internet access now has the potential to make discoveries that will bring us closer to justice for the victims of that fateful day more than nine years ago.
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