At 5:21 PM on 9/11, Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed, even though it had not been hit by a plane – a fact that is important because of the widespread acceptance of the idea, in spite of its scientific absurdity, that the Twin Towers collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airliners plus the ensuing jet-fuel-fed fires. The collapse of World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7) thereby challenges the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, according to which it was accomplished by al-Qaeda hijackers, even if one accepts the government’s scientifically impossible account of the Twin Towers. This fact was recently emphasized in the title of a review article based on my 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, by National Medal of Science-winner Lynn Margulis: “Two Hit, Three Down – The Biggest Lie.”
1. Why the Collapse of WTC 7 Created an Extraordinary Problem
The collapse of WTC 7 created an extraordinary problem for the official account of 9/11 for several reasons.
An Unprecedented Occurrence
One reason is that, because of the collapse of WTC 7, the official account of 9/11 includes the dubious claim that, for the first time in the known universe, a steel-frame high-rise building was brought down by fire, and science looks askance at claims of unprecedented occurrences regarding physical phenomena. New York Times writer James Glanz, who himself has a Ph.D. in physics, wrote: “[E]xperts said no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.” Glanz then quoted a structural engineer as saying: “[W]ithin the structural engineering community, [WTC 7] is considered to be much more important to understand [than the Twin Towers],” because engineers had no answer to the question, “why did 7 come down?”
Visual Evidence of Implosion
Equally remarkable, besides the mere fact that this building came down, was the way it collapsed: straight down, in virtual free fall, making the destruction of this building appear to be an example of the type of controlled demolition known as “implosion,” in which explosives and/or incendiaries are used to slice the building’s steel support columns in such a way as to cause the building to collapse into its own footprint. CBS anchor Dan Rather, not one to let a remarkable fact go unremarked, said:
Dan Rather, moreover, was not the only reporter to make such a comment. Al Jones, a reporter for WINS NYC News Radio, said: “I turned in time to see what looked like a skyscraper implosion – looked like it had been done by a demolition crew.”
Moreover, whereas Jones and Rather, being laymen in these matters, merely said that the collapse of Building 7 looked like a controlled demolition, experts, upon seeing the video, could tell immediately that it actually was a controlled demolition. In 2006, for example, a Dutch filmmaker asked Danny Jowenko, the owner of a controlled demolition company in the Netherlands, to comment on a video of the collapse of WTC 7, without telling him what it was. (Jowenko had been unaware that a third building had collapsed on 9/11.) After viewing the video, Jowenko said: “They simply blew up columns, and the rest caved in afterwards. . . . This is controlled demolition.” When asked if he was certain, he replied: “Absolutely, it’s been imploded. This was a hired job. A team of experts did this.”
Testimonies about Explosions
Besides the obviousness from the very appearance of the collapse of Building 7 that it was a product of controlled demotion, there were testimonies about explosions in this building.
One of these was provided by Michael Hess, New York City’s corporation counsel and a close friend of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While on his way back to City Hall, Hess was stopped for an interview at 11:57 that morning, during which he said:
“I was up in the emergency management center on the twenty-third floor [of WTC 7], and when all the power went out in the building, another gentleman and I walked down to the eighth floor [sic] where there was an explosion and we were trapped on the eighth floor with smoke, thick smoke, all around us, for about an hour and a half. But the New York Fire Department . . . just came and got us out.”
Hess thereby reported a mid-morning explosion in WTC 7.
The other gentleman, Barry Jennings of the New York City Housing Authority, reported the same thing during another on-the-street interview, reporting that he and “Mr. Hess” had been walking down the stairs when they became trapped by a “big explosion.” Jennings, in fact, said that explosions continued going off while they were waiting to be rescued.
There were also reports of explosions in the late afternoon, just as WTC 7 started coming down. Reporter Peter Demarco of the New York Daily News said:
“[T]here was a rumble. The building's top row of windows popped out. Then all the windows on the thirty-ninth floor popped out. Then the thirty-eighth floor. Pop! Pop! Pop! was all you heard until the building sunk into a rising cloud of gray.”
NYPD officer Craig Bartmer gave the following report:
“I was real close to Building 7 when it fell down. . . . That didn't sound like just a building falling down to me . . . . There's a lot of eyewitness testimony down there of hearing explosions. . . . [A]ll of a sudden. . . I looked up, and . . . [t]he thing started pealing in on itself. . . . I started running . . . and the whole time you're hearing ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.’”
A New York University medical student, who had been serving as an emergency medical worker that day, gave this report:
“[W]e heard this sound that sounded like a clap of thunder. . . . [T]urned around – we were shocked. . . . [I]t looked like there was a shockwave ripping through the building and the windows all busted out. . . . [A]bout a second later the bottom floor caved out and the building followed after that.”
In addition to the visual and testimonial evidence, there was clear physical evidence that explosives and incendiaries were used to bring down WTC 7.
Swiss-Cheese Steel: Within a few months of 9/11, three professors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) had issued a report about a piece of steel from Building 7 that was described in a New York Times story by James Glanz and Eric Lipton as “[p]erhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”13 Part of the mystery was the fact that the steel was “extremely thin,” indicating that the steel had “melted away,” even though “no fire in any of the buildings was believed to be hot enough to melt steel outright.” Another part of the mystery was that atoms in the steel seemed to have combined with sulfur “to form compounds that melt at lower temperatures,” but as to the source of the sulfur, “no one knows.”
Describing this mysterious piece of steel more fully, an article entitled “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel” in WPI’s magazine, said:
“[S]teel – which has a melting point of 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit – may weaken and bend, but does not melt during an ordinary office fire. Yet metallurgical studies . . . reveal that . . . a eutectic reaction . . . caus[ed] intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese . . .. A one-inch column has been reduced to half-inch thickness. Its edges – which are curled like a paper scroll – have been thinned to almost razor sharpness. Gaping holes – some larger than a silver dollar – let light shine through a formerly solid steel flange. This Swiss cheese appearance shocked all of the fire-wise professors, who expected to see distortion and bending – but not holes. A eutectic compound is a mixture [involving sulfur]. . . . ‘The important questions," says [one of the professors], ‘are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from?’”
The thinning and the holes even suggested that the steel had vaporized. Explaining as early as November 2001 why fire could not account for this mysterious steel, Glanz paraphrased one of the three WPI professors, Jonathan Barnett, as saying that it “appear[ed] to have been partly evaporated in extraordinarily high temperatures.”
Another New York Times story reported that the same phenomenon was described by Professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl of the University of California at Berkeley, who had received a National Science Foundation grant to spend two weeks at Ground Zero studying steel from the buildings. According to reporter Kenneth Change, Professor Astaneh-Asl, speaking of a horizontal I-beam from WTC 7, said: “Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized.”
These reports clearly showed that something other than fire had been making things happen in the buildings, because the fires could not possibly have been higher than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the boiling point of steel is roughly the same as that of iron, which is 5182°F. But even if the steel had not evaporated but had simply melted, that by itself would have proved the point, because the melting point of steel is only a little less than that of iron, which is 2800°F. (An obvious source of both the melting and the sulfidation would be a well-known incendiary, thermate – a “mixture of thermite and sulfur . . . which lowers the melting point of iron it contacts when reacting by forming a eutectic system,” which is “useful in cutting through steel.”)
Evidence in Plain Sight
Therefore, clear evidence against the official account of Building 7, according to which it was brought down by fire, existed in plain sight in the form of videos of its collapse, published testimonies about explosions in the building, and physical evidence reported in the New York Times. The reasonable inference to draw from this evidence – namely, that the official account is false – was reinforced by the first official report on this building’s collapse, which was issued in 2002 by FEMA. Besides including as an appendix the paper by the WPI professors containing the study of the Swiss-cheese piece of steel recovered from WTC 7 – a study that attributed the erosion to “oxidation and sulfidation” while adding: “No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified” – the engineers who wrote the FEMA report admitted that their “best hypothesis” about why WTC 7 collapsed had “only a low probability of occurrence.”
Failure to Become Well Known
In addition to all these facts, WTC 7 was a very big building, being 47 stories high and having a base about the size of a football field. Although it was dwarfed by the 110-story Twin Towers, it would have been the tallest building in half of the states in the nation. For all of these reasons, the collapse of this building should have become one of the best-known facts about 9/11. But it did not...