Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight
David Ray Griffin
Published May 27, 2010
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 7,1 by National Medal of Science-winner Lynn Margulis: “Two Hit, Three Down – The Biggest Lie.”2
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?”3
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:
“[I]t’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen . . . on television . . . , where a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.”4
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.”5
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.”6
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.”7
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.”8 Jennings, in fact, said that explosions continued going off while they were waiting to be rescued.9
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.”10
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.’”11
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.”12
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.”14
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?’”15
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.”16
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.”17
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.”)18
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”19 – the engineers who wrote the FEMA report admitted that their “best hypothesis” about why WTC 7 collapsed had “only a low probability of occurrence.”20
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.
2. Widespread Ignorance about WTC 7
A Zogby poll in May 2006 found that 43 percent of the American people were unaware that WTC 7 had collapsed,21 and that same year, as mentioned earlier, Danny Jowenko of the Netherlands still did not know about it, even though controlled demolition was his field.
A dramatic example of the fact that this building’s collapse has not been prominent in the public consciousness was provided in a New York City courtroom in September 2009. Judge Edward Lehner was hearing arguments about a petition sponsored by NYC CAN to allow residents to vote on whether New York City should have its own investigation of the World Trade Center attacks. After Judge Lehner had observed that the 9/11 Commission had carried out an investigation and issued a report, Dennis McMahon, a lawyer for NYC CAN, said that this report left many unanswered questions. “One of the biggest questions,” he added, “is why did Building 7 come down” – at which point Judge Lehner asked: “Building what?” McMahon replied: “World Trade Center Seven. There were three buildings that came down.” When the judge, continuing to illustrate his ignorance about this building, asked if it was owned by the Port Authority, McMahon replied that it was owned by Larry Silverstein.22
Judge Lehner, it should be emphasized, was not simply an ordinary American citizen. Besides being a judge presiding in New York City, he had been assigned to a case involving the 9/11 attacks in this city. So his ignorance about this building was surprising. And yet it was typical. With his query - “Building what?” – he expressed the ignorance manifested in 2006 by controlled demolition expert Danny Jowenko and almost half of the American people. How can we account for this ignorance?
In a New York Times story in November 2001, James Glanz wrote that the collapse of WTC 7 was “a mystery that under normal circumstances would probably have captured the attention of the city and the world.”23 Clearly these were not normal circumstances.
Part of the abnormality was the fact that Building 7, while huge, was overshadowed by the Twin Towers, which were over twice as tall. This fact by itself, however, would not account for the enormous ignorance of this third building’s collapse. Knowledgeable people had said right away, as Glanz pointed out, that there was a sense in which the collapse of Building 7 should have been the bigger story. Why was it not?
The answer seems to be that it was a deliberately suppressed story. This conclusion is supported by the following facts:
First, after 9/11 itself, our television networks played videos of the Twin Towers being hit by planes, then coming down, over and over, but the collapse of Building 7 was seldom if ever shown.
Second, when The 9/11 Commission Report was issued in 2004, it did not even mention that Building 7 came down.
Third, after NIST – the National Institute of Standards and Technology – took over from FEMA the task of explaining the destruction of the World Trade Center, it repeatedly delayed its report on WTC 7. In 2003, NIST said that this report would be issued along with its report on the Twin Towers, the draft of which was to appear in September 2004.24 However, even though NIST’s report on the Twin Towers did not actually appear until 2005, the promised report on WTC 7 was not included: NIST said that it would appear in 2006. But when August of 2006 came, NIST said: “It is anticipated that a draft report [on WTC 7] will be released by early 2007.”25 But it was not released in 2007 – either early or late. Instead, NIST in December 2007 “projected” that it would release draft reports on July 8, 2008, followed by final reports on August 8, 2008.26 Instead, the draft report did not appear until August, and the final report not until November of that year – when the Bush-Cheney administration was about to leave office.
Moreover, when in 2008 NIST was accused of having deliberately delayed its report on WTC 7 (which the 9/11 Truth Movement had long considered the “Achilles Heel” or “Smoking Gun” of the official account of 9/1127), NIST lied, saying that it had worked on this report only since 2005 and hence for only three years – the same length of time it had worked on its Twin Towers report. Actually, however, NIST had filed progress reports on WTC 7 in December 2002 and May 2003;28 in June 2004, it published an Interim Report on WTC 7;29 and in April 2005, NIST released another preliminary report on WTC 7.30 Then, after ceasing work on this building until after the report on the Twin Towers was issued in October 2005, NIST reported, “the investigation of the WTC 7 collapse resumed.”31 In truth, therefore, NIST had worked on its report on WTC 7 for almost six years, not merely three. So there was good reason to suspect that this report had been deliberately delayed for as long as possible.
3. NIST’s Draft for Public Comment: Mystery Solved?
Be that as it may, when the Draft for Public Comment did finally appear in August 2008, it was announced at a press conference with much bravado. Shyam Sunder, NIST’s lead investigator for its World Trade Center projects, said:
“Our take-home message today is that the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery. WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings. It did not collapse from explosives.”32
The mainstream media for the most part simply repeated Sunder’s claims. For example, an Associated Press story entitled “Report: Fire, Not Bombs, Leveled WTC 7 Building,” began by saying: “Federal investigators said Thursday they have solved a mystery of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: the collapse of World Trade Center building 7, a source of long-running conspiracy theories.” Then, after reinforcing this message by quoting Sunder’s assurance that “the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery,” this story concluded by quoting his claim that the science behind NIST’s findings is "incredibly conclusive," so that “[t]he public should really recognize that science is really behind what we have said.”33
Reporters, however, could easily have discovered that this was not so. They could have seen, in fact, that NIST’s WTC 7 report repeatedly committed scientific fraud in the technical sense, as defined by the National Science Foundation.
4. NIST's Falsification of Evidence
One type of fraud is falsification, which includes “omitting data.”34 While claiming that it “found no evidence of a . . . controlled demolition event,”35 NIST simply omitted an enormous amount of evidencefor that conclusion.
Omitting Testimonial Evidence
NIST failed, for one thing, to mention any of the testimonial evidence for explosions. Besides claiming that the event described as a mid-morning explosion by Michael Hess and Barry Jennings was simply the impact of debris from the collapse of the North Tower – which occurred at 10:28 and hence about an hour later than the explosion they had described – NIST failed to mention any of the reports of explosions just as the building started to come down.
Omitting Physical Evidence:
NIST’s report on this building also omitted various types of physical evidence.
The Swiss-Cheese Steel: One of these was the piece of Swiss-cheese steel reported by the three WPI professors in a paper that was, as mentioned earlier, included as an appendix to the 2002 FEMA report. After describing the erosion of this piece of steel, the professors had said: “A detailed study into the mechanisms of this phenomenon is needed.”36 When NIST took over from FEMA the responsibility of issuing the official reports on the World Trade Center, NIST’s director promised that its reports would address “all major recommendations contained in the [FEMA] report.”37 However, when NIST’s report on Building 7 appeared in 2008, it did not even mention this mysterious piece of steel, let alone explain how it had been produced. NIST even claimed that no recovered steel from WTC 7 had been identified, because the steel used in this building, unlike the steel used in the Twin Towers, “did not contain . . . identifying characteristics.”38
NIST made this claim, incidentally, even though it had previously published a document in which it had referred to steel recovered from WTC 7, including the piece discussed by the WPI professors in the appendix to the FEMA report. This claim about not identifying any steel was made by NIST (in August 2008), moreover, even though one of these professors, Dr. Jonathan Barnett, had during a BBC program on WTC 7 (in July 2008) discussed an “eroded and deformed” piece of steel that he and his colleagues had studied in 2001, explaining that they knew “its pedigree” because “this particular kind of steel” had been used only in WTC 7, not in the Twin Towers.39
Melted Iron: Deutsche Bank, which had a building close to the World Trade Center that had been contaminated with dust, hired the RJ Lee Group, a scientific research organization, to prove to its insurance company that the dust contaminating its building was not ordinary building dust, as its insurance company claimed, but had resulted from the destruction of the World Trade Center. Reports issued by the RJ Lee Group in 2003 and 2004 proved that the dust was indeed WTC dust, having its unique chemical signature. Part of this signature, the RJ Lee Group said in its final (2004) report, was “[s]pherical iron . . . particles,” and this meant, it had pointed out in its 2003 report, that iron had “melted during the WTC Event, producing spherical metallic particles.”40
The RJ Lee reports thereby provided additional evidence that temperatures had been reached that significantly exceeded those that could have been produced by fire. These reports, which were made known in an article published in January 2008 by a group of scientists led by physicist Steven Jones,41 were simply ignored by NIST.
Melted Molybdenum: Another study was carried out by scientists at the US Geological Survey. Besides also finding the spherical iron particles, these scientists found that something had melted molybdenum42 – which has an extremely high melting point: 4,753°F (2,623°C).43 Although these USGS scientists failed to mention this discovery in the published version of their report, a group of scientists led by Steven Jones, having obtained the USGS team’s data through a FOIA request, reported evidence that this team had devoted serious study to “a molybdenum-rich spherule.”44 NIST, however, failed to mention this discovery by the US Geological Survey, although it is another federal agency.
Nanothermite: A peer-reviewed report by University of Copenhagen chemist Niels Harrit and several co-authors, including physicist Steven Jones and chemist Kevin Ryan, showed that the WTC dust contained unreacted nanothermite. Unlike ordinary thermite, which is an incendiary, nanothermite is a high explosive.
This report by Harrit, Jones, Ryan, and their colleagues did not appear until 2009,45 so it could not have been mentioned in NIST’s final report, which came out at the end of November 2008. However, given the standard guidelines for the investigation of building fires, NIST should have tested the WTC dust for signs of incendiaries, such as ordinary thermite (including thermate), and explosives, such as nanothermite.46
When asked whether it had carried out such tests, NIST said it had not.47 When a reporter asked NIST spokesman Michael Newman why not, he replied: “[B]ecause there was no evidence of that.” When the reporter asked the obvious follow-up question, “[H]ow can you know there’s no evidence if you don’t look for it first?” Newman replied: “If you’re looking for something that isn’t there, you’re wasting your time . . . and the taxpayers’ money.”48
5. NIST’s Fabrication of Evidence
Besides omitting and otherwise falsifying evidence, NIST also committed the type of scientific fraud called fabrication, which means simply “making up results.”49
No Girder Shear Studs
For example, in offering its explanation as to how fire caused Building 7 to collapse, NIST said that the culprit was thermal expansion, meaning that the fire heated up the steel, thereby causing it to expand. Expanding steel beams on the 13th floor, NIST claims, caused a steel girder connecting columns 44 and 79 to break loose. Having lost its support, column 79 failed, starting a chain reaction in which all the other columns failed.50
Leaving aside the question of whether this is even remotely possible, let us simply ask: Why did that girder fail? NIST’s answer was that it was not connected to the floor slab with sheer studs. NIST wrote: “In WTC 7, no studs were installed on the girders.”51 In another passage, NIST said: “Floor beams . . . had shear studs, but the girders that supported the floor beams did not have shear studs.”52
However, NIST’s Interim Report on WTC 7, which it published in 2004 before it had developed its girder-failure theory, said shear studs were used to anchor “[m]ost of the beams and girders,” including the girder in question.53
A Raging 12th Floor Fire at 5:00
Although in its 2004 Interim Report on WTC 7, NIST said that by 4:45 PM, “the fire on Floor 12 was burned out,”54 it claimed in its 2008 report that at 5:00, just 21 minutes before the building collapsed, the fire on this floor was still going strong.55
6. NIST’s Final Report: Affirming a Miracle
NIST’s final report on WTC 7, which appeared in November 2008, was for the most part identical with its draft report, which had appeared in August. But NIST did add a new element: the affirmation of a miracle, meaning a violation of a fundamental law of physics.
This issue is treated in a cartoon in which a professor has written a proof on a chalkboard. Most of the steps consist of mathematical equations, but one of them simply says: “Then a miracle happens.”56 This is humorous because one thing scientists absolutely cannot do in their scientific work is appeal to miracles, even implicitly. And yet that is what NIST does. I will explain.
NIST’s August 2008 Denial of Free Fall
Members of the 9/11 Truth Movement had long been pointing out that Building 7 came down at the same rate as a free-falling object, or at least virtually so. But in NIST’s Draft for Public Comment, issued in August 2008, it denied this, saying that the time it took for the upper floors – the only floors that are visible on the videos - to come down “was approximately 40 percent longer than the computed free fall time and was consistent with physical principles.”57
As this statement implies, any assertion that the building did come down in free fall would not be consistent with physical principles – meaning the laws of physics. Explaining why not, during a “WTC 7 Technical Briefing” on August 26, 2008, Shyam Sunder said:
“[A] free fall time would be [the fall time of] an object that has no structural components below it. . . . [T]he . . . time that it took . . . for those 17 floors to disappear [was roughly 40 percent longer than free fall]. And that is not at all unusual, because there was structural resistance that was provided in this particular case. And you had a sequence of structural failures that had to take place. Everything was not instantaneous.”58
In saying this, Sunder was, of course, presupposing NIST’s rejection of controlled demolition – which could have produced a free-fall collapse by causing all 82 columns to fail simultaneously – in favor of NIST’s fire theory, which necessitated a theory of progressive collapse.
Chandler’s Challenge and NIST’s November Admission of Free Fall
In response, high-school physics teacher David Chandler, who was able to speak at this briefing, challenged Sunder’s denial of free fall, stating that Sunder’s “40 percent” claim contradicted “a publicly visible, easily measurable quantity.”59 Chandler then placed a video on the Internet showing that, by measuring this publicly visible quantity, anyone knowing elementary physics could see that “for about two and a half seconds. . . , the acceleration of the building is indistinguishable from freefall.”60
Amazingly, in NIST’s final report, which came out in November 2008, it admitted free fall. Dividing the building’s descent into three stages, NIST described the second phase as “a freefall descent over approximately eight stories at gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s[econds].”61 So, after presenting over 600 pages of descriptions, photographs, testimonies, graphs, analyses, explanations, and mathematical formulae, NIST says, in effect: “Then a miracle happens.”
Why this would be a miracle was explained by Chandler, who said: “Free fall can only be achieved if there is zero resistance to the motion.”62 In other words, the upper portion of Building 7 could have come down in free fall only if something had suddenly removed all the steel and concrete in the lower part of the building, which would have otherwise provided resistance. If everything had not been removed and the upper floors had come down in free fall anyway, even for only a second, a miracle – meaning a violation of laws of physics - would have happened.
That was what Sunder himself had explained the previous August, saying that a free-falling object would be one “that has no structural components below it” to offer resistance. But then in November, while still defending its fire theory of collapse, NIST agreed that, as an empirical fact, free fall happened. For a period of 2.25 seconds, NIST admitted, the descent of WTC 7 was characterized by “gravitational acceleration (free fall).”63
Knowing that it had thereby affirmed a miracle, NIST no longer claimed that its analysis was consistent with the laws of physics. In its August draft, in which it said that the collapse occurred 40 percent slower than free fall, NIST had repeatedly said that its analysis was “consistent with physical principles.” One encountered this phrase at least three times.64 In the final report, however, every instance of this phrase had been removed. NIST thereby almost explicitly admitted that its report on WTC 7, by admitting free fall while continuing to deny that explosives and incendiaries were used, is not consistent with the principles of physics.
NIST thereby implicitly acknowledged that Building 7 was intentionally demolished. It also thereby implicitly admitted the same about the Twin Towers, because the collapses of these buildings manifested many of the same tell-tale signs of controlled demolition as did WTC 7, plus some additional ones, including the horizontal ejection of sections of steel columns, weighing many thousands of pounds, more than 500 feet from the towers. (These ejections occurred at the outset of the collapses, after which the Towers came straight down.).65
And with this implicit admission that the collapses were examples of controlled demolition, NIST undermined the al-Qaeda theory of 9/11. Why?
For one thing, the straight-down nature of the collapses of the Twin Towers and Building 7 means that the buildings were subjected to the type of controlled demolition known as “implosion,” which is, in the words of a controlled demolition website, “by far the trickiest type of explosive project,” which “only a handful of blasting companies in the world . . . possess enough experience . . . to perform.”66 Al-Qaeda terrorists would not have had this kind of expertise.
Second, the only reason to go to the trouble of bringing a building straight down is to avoid damaging nearby buildings. Had the World Trade Center buildings toppled over sideways, they would have caused massive destruction in Lower Manhattan, crushing dozens of other buildings and killing tens of thousands of people. Does anyone believe that, even if al-Qaeda operatives had had the expertise to make the buildings come straight down, they would have had the courtesy?
A third problem is that foreign terrorists could not have obtained access to the buildings for all the hours it would have taken to plant incendiaries and explosives. Only insiders could have done this.67
7. Explaining the Ignorance about WTC 7
NIST’s admission that Building 7 came down in free fall for over two seconds should, therefore, have been front-page news. The same is true, moreover, of the various other things I have reported – NIST’s fabrications; NIST’s omission and distortion of testimonial evidence; NIST’s omissions of physical evidence, such as the Swiss-cheese steel and the particles showing that iron and molybdenum had been melted; and the later discovery of nanothermite particles in the WTC dust. Especially given the fact that the collapse of Building 7 had been declared a mystery from the outset, the world should have been waiting with baited breath for every new clue as to why this 47-story building had come down. Upon hearing Building 7 mentioned, nobody in the world with access to CNN should have asked, “Building what?” How do we explain the fact that five and even nine years after the mysterious collapse of this building, ignorance about it was still widespread?
To begin answering this question, let us return to James Glanz’s statement that the collapse of WTC 7 was “a mystery that under normal circumstances would probably have captured the attention of the city and the world.”68 As I stated before, the abnormality seems to have been such that videos and even the very fact of this building’s collapse were deliberately suppressed. What was this abnormality?
A symposium in the February 2010 issue of American Behavioral Scientist, one of our leading social science journals, argues that social scientists need to develop a scientific approach to studying an increasingly important type of criminality: State Crimes Against Democracy, abbreviated SCADs,69 understood as “concerted actions . . . by government insiders intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty.” Having the “potential to subvert political institutions and entire governments . . . [SCADs] are high crimes that attack democracy itself.”70
Distinguishing between SCADs that have been officially proven, such as “the Watergate break-ins and cover-up . . . , the secret wars in Laos and Cambodia . . . , the illegal arms sales and covert operations in Iran-Contra . . . , and the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson by revealing his wife’s status as an intelligence agent,” on the one hand, and suspected SCADs for which there is good evidence, on the other, the symposium authors include in the latter category “the fabricated attacks on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 . . . , the “October Surprises” in the presidential elections of 1968 . . . and 1980 . . . , the assassinations of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy . . . , the election breakdowns in 2000 and 2004 . . . , the numerous defense failures on September 11, 2001 . . . , and the misrepresentation of intelligence to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.”71
Besides regarding 9/11 as one of the suspected SCADs for which there is good evidence, this symposium treats it as its primary example. The abstract for the introductory essay begins by asserting: “The ellipses of due diligence riddling the official account of the 9/11 incidents continue being ignored by scholars of policy and public administration.”72 The symposium’s final essay, criticizing the majority of the academic world for its “blithe dismissal of more than one law of thermodynamics” that is violated by the official theory of the World Trade Center collapses,73 also criticizes the academy for its failure to protest when “Professor Steven Jones found himself forced out of a tenured position for merely reminding the world that physical laws, about which there is no dissent whatsoever, contradict the official theory of the World Trade Center Towers’ collapse.”74
The authors of this symposium point out, moreover, that the official theory of the destruction of the three World Trade Center towers has serious implications for science and engineering. If NIST’s explanation “provides the most robust account of the Towers’ collapse, based on known science,” then some previously accepted physical laws would need to be revised:
“[These laws] would have to succumb, at some point, to the theoretical claims purported to explain the Towers’ collapse: New laws determining when steel melts and the phases at which such material loses its tensile strength would have at some point to replace existing science-based presumptions.”75
This revision of physical laws would also have practical implications for building codes: “[T]he specifications of design for all skyscrapers ought, in the public interest, to be subjected to major review.” The acceptance of NIST’s account, therefore, creates an “obvious crisis,” which should be evoking scientific and practical responses.76
The practical crisis that should have been caused by NIST’s report on WTC 7 had previously been addressed by four of the “Jersey Girls,” who had been instrumental in getting the 9/11 Commission created. In a statement released in September 2008, they wrote:
“Over the past seven years, the Families of the 9/11 Victims have been repeatedly told by fire experts, engineers and architects that we should NOT FOCUS our efforts on advocating for building and fire code changes based on the collapse of the WTC 1 and 2 towers. We were continuously reminded that the crashing of airplanes into buildings was a unique event. Additionally, we were told that the design and construction of WTC Towers 1 and 2 was unique and that there were no other buildings of that particular height or design in the world. We were repeatedly told that the key was WTC 7 since this building was of conventional design and height, yet it too collapsed without the unique event of an airplane striking it. . . .
“Dr. Shyam Sunder of NIST . . . stated that WTC 7 met all New York City codes. Yet, WTC 7 is the first steel high-rise building of traditional construction in the United States -- and the world, to completely collapse as a result of fire. According to . . . Dr. Sunder, "there were no flaws with the construction of the building."
“We don't how the rest of the country is feeling about this news, but we are very scared! These findings suggest that ANY EXISTING building is prone to a progressive collapse if a fire should start and the sprinkler system fails for whatever reason. . . .
“The ultimate purpose of advocating for the $16 million to have NIST study this event was to determine how to make buildings safer in the future. If we are now to believe that any skyscraper is subject to total collapse from fire, why isn't NIST emphasizing the impact on EXISTING buildings? . . . NIST needs to . . . provide guidance for EXISTING buildings.
“NIST should put the most important conclusion in plain English and announce it to the entire country: UNCONTROLLED FIRES IN HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS CAN LEAD TO THEIR TOTAL COLLAPSE. . . . NIST must address this dangerous issue immediately. The future safety of the public and the fire services hangs in the balance.”77
Like the SCADs symposium, this brilliant piece of satire makes clear that NIST’s explanation of WTC 7’s collapse should have created a crisis in many fields, both theoretical and practical. The implications of NIST’s explanation should have been extensively discussed in technical journals of various types and then in newspapers and on television programs and radio talk shows. But no such discussion occurred. The worlds of physics, engineering, building codes, and public safety continued on as if the report had never been issued. How can we understand this?
Hiding the Most Obvious Evidence that 9/11 Was a SCAD
If the reason why the collapse of WTC 7 did not occur “under normal circumstances” is the fact that it was part of 9/11, which was a SCAD, then it would not be surprising that the collapse of this building, which “under normal circumstances would probably have captured the attention of the city and the world,” did not do so.
If 9/11 was a SCAD, the collapse of WTC 7 would not have been allowed to capture the world’s attention for the reasons mentioned earlier: Unlike the Twin Towers, it was not hit by a plane; because of this, there was no jet fuel to spread big fires to many floors; its collapse, unlike that of each of the Twin Towers, looked exactly like a classic implosion, in which the collapse begins from the bottom and the building folds in upon itself, ending up almost entirely in its own footprint; and the videos show that it came down, at least part of the way, in absolute free fall. The fact that Building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition was, therefore, more obvious.
This greater obviousness is illustrated not only by Danny Jowenko’s response, but also by the many engineers and scientists who joined the 9/11 Truth Movement only after seeing a video of this building’s collapse. For example, Daniel Hofnung, an engineer in Paris, wrote:
“In the years after the 9/11 events, I thought that all I read in professional reviews and French newspapers was true. The first time I understood that it was impossible was when I saw a film about the collapse of WTC 7.”78
Likewise, civil engineer Chester Gearhart wrote:
“I have watched the construction of many large buildings and also have personally witnessed 5 controlled demolitions in Kansas City. When I saw the towers fall on 9/11, I knew something was wrong and my first instinct was that it was impossible. When I saw building 7 fall, I knew it was a controlled demolition.”79
This video was also decisive for University of Copenhagen chemist Niels Harrit, who later became the first author of the nanothermite paper. When asked how he became involved with these issues, he replied:
“It all started when I saw the collapse of Building 7, the third skyscraper. It collapsed seven hours after the Twin Towers. And there were only two airplanes. When you see a 47-storey building, 186 meters tall, collapse in 6.5 seconds, and you are a scientist, you think “What?” I had to watch it again...and again. I hit the button ten times, and my jaw dropped lower and lower. Firstly, I had never heard of that building before. And there was no visible reason why it should collapse in that way, straight down, in 6.5 seconds. I have had no rest since that day.”80
Given these reactions, it is obvious why, if 9/11 was a State Crime Against Democracy, the fact of Building 7’s collapse, especially the video of this collapse, had to be suppressed as much as possible.
WTC 7 as a Dud?
Having made this point, I need to respond to an obvious objection: If those who were responsible for bringing down Building 7 were going to need to suppress the video of its collapse, why did they wait until late in the afternoon, when the air was clean and cameras would be trained on this building, with the consequence that we have perfectly clear videos of the collapse of this building from various angles, each one showing its straight-down free-fall descent? Why did they not bring it down in the morning, shortly after one of the Twin Towers had collapsed, when the resulting dust cloud would have made any images impossible? After the collapse of the North Tower at 10:28, for example, visibility did not return sufficiently for film crews to come back to the area, NIST reported, until 11:00.81 Had Building 7 been imploded at, say, 10:45, its collapse would still have been a big mystery, but there would have been no videos showing that it had come straight down and, for over two seconds, in absolute free fall.
There are many reasons, as I showed in an appendix to The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, to believe that this had indeed been the plan, but that this building was, as one researcher put it, “a dud”82 – meaning that “the demolition system in WTC 7 simply did not respond as intended and the building defiantly remained intact.”83 As a result, agents were perhaps sent into the building to set fires to provide the basis for a cover-story saying that fires had brought the building down. This hypothesis -- that fires were set in the building only after a controlled demolition system had failed to bring it down in the morning -- would explain why, although the fires in Building 7 were supposedly started by burning debris from the North Tower’s collapse at 10:28, no flames are visible in this building, as NIST admits, until after noon, and on some floors there is no photographic evidence of fire until 3:40 PM or even later.84
I have emphasized this likelihood – that the destruction of WTC 7 was a botched operation – because if true it provides the clearest possible illustration of the theme of this essay, namely, that SCADs can be hidden in plain sight. There are literally dozens of problems in the official account of 9/11 sufficiently serious to show the official story to be false. But the clearest proof is provided by the video of this enormous building coming straight down in absolute free fall. And yet even though this proof has existed in plain sight for all these years, the fact that 9/11 was an inside job, and hence a State Crime Against Democracy, has remained a hidden fact, at least in the sense that it is not part of the public conversation. If the destruction of WTC 7 was a botched operation, then the hiding of the fact that 9/11 was a SCAD is even more impressive. How has this hiding been achieved?
Hiding SCADs: The Role of the Mainstream Media
Peter Dale Scott, discussing the erosion of the US Constitution in recent times, suggests that “this erosion has been achieved in part through a series of important deep events in [post-World-War-II] American history – events aspects of which . . . will be ignored or suppressed in the mainstream media.”85 Indeed, Scott adds:
“[T]he mainstream U.S. media . . . have become so implicated in past protective lies . . . that they, as well as the government, have now a demonstrated interest in preventing the truth about any of these events from coming out. This means that the current threat to constitutional rights does not derive from the deep state alone. . . . [T]he problem is a global dominance mindset that prevails not only inside the Washington Beltway but also in the mainstream media . . . , one which has come to accept recent inroads on constitutional liberties, and stigmatizes, or at least responds with silence to, those who are alarmed by them. . . . [A]cceptance of this mindset’s notions of decorum has increasingly become a condition for participation in mainstream public life.”86
Referring thereby to events such as the JFK assassination, the Tonkin Gulf hoax, and 9/11, Scott by “deep events” means the same types of events called SCADs by the authors of the symposium on that topic. Indeed, one of those authors explicitly cites Scott’s writings, treating his “deep events” as examples of SCADs and quoting his statements about the complicity of the mainstream media in covering up the truth about these events.87
These authors also make the same point themselves, remarking that “the U.S. government’s account of 9/11 [is] parroted by the mainstream media”88 and commenting on “the profound disavowal of still burning, molten questions originating at 9/11 Ground Zero gone begging by the American media.”89
Besides parroting the government’s account of 9/11 and stigmatizing those who provide alternative accounts with the discrediting label “conspiracy theorists,” how has America’s mainstream media kept the truth about WTC 7 hidden from the majority of the American people? Through various means, including the following:
First, by never replaying the statements by Dan Rather and other reporters about how the collapse of WTC 7 looked just like a controlled demolition.
Second, by seldom if ever replaying the video of this building’s collapse.
Third, by never mentioning credible critiques of the official account. For example, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False, which has been endorsed by prestigious scientists and engineers, has never been reviewed in the mainstream media, even though my previous 9/11 book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, was a Publishers Weekly “Pick of the Week” in 2008.90
Fourth, by never mentioning, except for one story that apparently slipped through,91 the existence of an organization called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which by now has some 1,200 professional architects and engineers calling for a new investigation of WTC 7 as well as the Twin Towers.92
Fifth, by never reporting scientific evidence contradicting the official account of these buildings’ destruction, such as the reported discovery of nanothermite in the WTC dust.
Sixth, by overlooking the fact that NIST’s report on WTC 7 omitted an enormous amount of evidence showing that explosives and/or incendiaries must have been used. For example, although the New York Times in 2002 called the piece of Swiss-cheese steel recovered from this building “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation,” it did not issue a peep when NIST’s 2008 report on this building failed to mention this piece of steel and even claimed that no steel from this building had been identified: The Times clearly knew better but said nothing.
Seventh, by not mentioning the fact, even after it was reported in my 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, that NIST had used various types of fabricated evidence to support its theory of a fire-induced collapse.
Eighth, by reporting NIST’s August 2008 press briefing, in which Shyam Sunder announced, triumphantly, that the “the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery” and that “science is really behind what we have said,” but then not reporting on NIST’s final report in November of that year, in which NIST almost explicitly admitted that science does not stand behind, but instead contradicts, its theory of this building’s collapse.
Ninth, by systematically ignoring the fact that the official account of WTC 7’s collapse has implications for many fields that, if taken seriously by leaders in those fields, would demand revolutionary changes in both theory and practice.93
Conclusion and Proposal
Through these and related means, the truth about the collapse of WTC 7 has been effectively hidden, even though it has existed in plain sight all these years. Even the bare fact of the collapse itself has been so effectively hidden that in 2006 over 40 percent of the American public did not know about it, and in 2009 a judge in New York City, upon hearing a reference to Building 7, asked: “Building what?”
I offer this essay as a case study in the power of the forces behind SCADs or deep events to hide things that exist in plain sight, because if they can hide the straight-down free-fall collapse of a 47-story building captured on video in broad daylight, they can hide almost anything.
I say this, however, not to instill despair, but to point to the seriousness of the problem, and also to pave the way for making a proposal. Recognizing the high correlation between those who know about the collapse of WTC 7 and those who believe that a new – or rather real – 9/11 investigation is needed, I propose that the international 9/11 Truth Movement initiate, starting this September, a world-wide, year-long “Building What?” campaign. Through this campaign, we would seek to make the fact of its collapse so widely known that the mention of Building 7 would never again evoke the question: “Building What?”94
David Ray Griffin is the author of 36 books on various topics, including philosophy, theology, philosophy of science, and 9/11. His 2008 book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé, was named a “Pick of the Week” by Publishers Weekly. In September 2009, The New Statesman ranked him #41 among “The 50 People Who Matter Today.” His most recent book is The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (2009). His next book will be Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory (September 2010). He wishes to thank Tod Fletcher, Jim Hoffman, and Elizabeth Woodworth for help with this essay.