Never before or after 9/11 have steel-framed skyscrapers collapsed due to fire.
In February 2005, the 32-storey Windsor Building in the financial district of Madrid, Spain was completely engulfed by flames for 20 consecutive hours. I repeat: 20 consecutive hours. The structure did not collapse. In fact, after the fire was finally extinguished, a huge construction crane was seen perched on the roof of the building as raw testimony to the practical indestructibility of steel as a construction material.
Now compare the fire in Madrid that burned continuously for 20 hours, without compromising the structure, to two relatively low-temperature fires inside the formidably constructed WTC buildings. As the investigators would have us believe, those fires caused both structures to disappear, in mirror-image collapses, into their own footprints in less than one hour.
On October 18, 2004, an inferno gutted the top 20 floors of the 50-storey Parque Central Tower in Caracas, Venezuela. The fire burned for 17 consecutive hours, but the steel structure did not collapse.
By contrast, the fires burning inside of the World Trade Center buildings were textbook examples of oxygen-starved fires, visible by the dark gray smoke that emitted from both structures. Indeed, very few flames were visible at all. Furthermore, many tenants of the stricken buildings were able to walk down the emergency steps past the point of impact where the planes had struck.
Brian Clark, a South Tower survivor, was working in his office at Euro Brokers Inc. when, at 9:03am, United Airlines 175 crashed into the 78th Floor. Euro Brokers’ office was situated on the 84th floor, 6 storeys above the impact of the jetliner. Yet Clark, together with other fellow employees, managed to escape from the South Tower, walking down the building’s inside stairwell and past the point of impact.
“When I looked down there, I didn’t see flames,” Clark said in an interview for the film Zero. “We decided to go as far as we could until we would be stopped by flames. When we came to the 78th floor (the point of impact), there were flames licking up the other side of the wall… It wasn’t a roaring inferno. I sensed that the flames were maybe starved for oxygen right there. We kept going, and when we got to the 74th floor… normal conditions: the lights were on, and there was fresh air coming up from below.”
Another indication that the WTC fires were far below the temperatures needed for a catastrophic collapse was evident by the tragic image of office workers who were filmed standing inside the gaping mouth of the airplanes’ point of entry, desperately waiting to be rescued. Indeed, much of the jet fuel that both airplanes were carrying was immediately blown out of the buildings upon impact in magnificent orange fireballs.
Kevin Ryan is a former engineer from Underwriters Laboratory (UL), a highly reputable company that was subcontracted to test the hypothesis of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as to how the WTC towers collapsed. Ryan and his colleagues used model replicas of the WTC towers to test the ability of the structures to remain standing in the event of a fire.
“We did test the floor models in August 2004,” Ryan said, “and those tests disproved the primary theory behind the collapse of the buildings.”
“The floor models didn’t collapse in the tests,” Ryan said, “and these (models) were in furnaces in much hotter temperatures, for a longer period of time (as compared with the temperature and endurance of the fires on 9-11). Yet, they still did not collapse.”
According to Ryan, in order for NIST to get the results they were looking for, they “manipulated the test parameters. They doubled one thing, and cut something else in half. They doubled the time their computer model exposed the columns to fire – 90 minutes, as opposed to 50 minutes.”
Eventually, NIST was forced to substitute the “pancake theory” (which wrongly hypothesized that the combined force of the upper floors began a domino effect downward) for the “inward bowing theory,” which argues that the floors and walls of the WTC buildings buckled to the point where they could no longer support the weight of the structure – an equally implausible explanation for the collapses, given the low temperatures inside the structures.
Ryan was fired from his job with Underwriters Laboratory one week after he challenged the results of the NIST report, the US government’s official version of the reasons for the WTC collapses.
It is important to remember that the WTC was specifically designed to withstand the impact of not one, but several airplanes crashing into it, as well as powerful winds that the architects understood would regularly pummel the structure.
The inner “core” of the World Trade Center towers, a mixture of steel and concrete that housed the elevator shafts and stairwells, can best be described as formidable. This inner supporting section, which measured an area of 87 by 135 feet (27 by 41 m), was composed of 47 steel columns packed in cement that ran the entire length of the structures. If left untouched, the towers were constructed to “outlive the pyramids,” as one engineer told me.
“We designed the buildings to resist the impact of one or more airliners,” said Frank De Martini, WTC construction manager.
One of the most perplexing aspects about the collapse of the WTC structures is that they tumbled to the ground in almost free-fall time. Researchers say this is a physical impossibility.
“One of the things that particularly struck me was the incredible speed in which the towers came down,” said Paolo Marini, a metallurgy researcher at the Italian Center for Materials Development.
“There was something truly inexplicable about the speed of the collapse. If we drop a weight from a height of around 400 meters, which was the height of the towers, the time it would take to reach the ground… would take approximately 9 seconds.”
“The impact (of the airliner) was about two-thirds of the way up the tower,” Marini continued. “But even if the section above collapsed suddenly due to the structure giving way, and even considering that the impact of the section above was enormous, and therefore somewhat weakened the resistance of the structure below, it’s clear that, due to the resistance of the undamaged part below, this tower should not have fallen at such a speed. But it fell as if there was nothing below it.”
David Chandler, a member of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, has created a video presentation that blows a gaping in hole in the official version of events.
Chandler focuses on the top 32 meters (equivalent to eight floors) of World Trade Center I, also known as the North Tower, which collapses and drops on top of the massive undamaged section below. It has been argued that the downward force of the upper section onto the lower section was what brought down the entire building into a mountain of dust and rubble.
Chandler tracks the rate of fall of the upper 32 meters at 64 per cent of free fall speed. In other words, once the upper structure begins to fall, the upward resistive force (that is, the undamaged section below) must be only 36 per cent of the weight of the falling section of the building, i.e. the difference in percentage (if the math seems fuzzy to some readers, you may want to find Chandler's visual models, which are easily accessible over the Internet).
“So far, so good,” says Chandler, who has a knack for making physics sound simple. “But… Newton’s Third Law says that interaction between objects work both ways. The forces that two objects exert on each other are always equal and opposite. If the upward force acting on the falling block is 36 percent of the weight of the falling block, the downward force exerted by the falling block must be exactly the same: 36 percent of the weight of the falling block.”
“In other words,” Chandlers continues, “the top section of the building is exerting less force on the lower, stronger, undamaged structure than it would if it were simply sitting motionless.”
Chandler’s scientific conclusion: “The top section of the building, whatever its condition, cannot possibly be destroying the lower section of the building. The destruction of the building must be caused by something else.”
To summarize: Even if we accept the official explanation that fires from the jet fuel weakened the steel girders to the point that made the upper section collapse on to the bottom section, the freefall speed that is clear for all to see cannot have happened by itself; something else must have been destroying the lower floors at the same time that the upper “block” was coming down. The force of the smaller 8-storey section of building above was not significant enough to bring down the entire North and South Towers as it allegedly did.
If the destruction of the World Trade Center’s North and South towers was nothing more than magicians pulling fluffy white rabbits out of silk black hats, World Trade Center 7 is where the cards tumbled out of their sleeves, revealing the invisible strings that brought this great illusion to life.
The horrifying images of two commercial jets slamming into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center largely dominate our memories of 9/11. Yet many people forget about, or never heard of, World Trade Center 7, which was a 47-storey, 200-meter-high skyscraper that was never hit by a jet, yet crumpled to the ground like a house of cards a full 7 hours after the collapse of the North Tower. So let us reiterate: there were three destroyed skyscrapers on 9/11, but just two commercial jets.
And just like the first two towers, WTC 7 dropped at almost free-fall speed. Although this building was damaged by falling debris from the collapse of WTC North tower (a large gash was visible on the building’s exposed side), and was on fire in isolated sections for several hours, the extent of the physical damage seems entirely inconsistent with the final catastrophic result.
An increasing number of researchers are arriving at the conclusion that Building 7, like the towers, was brought down with thermitic material. Indeed, at the base of the WTC 7 towers, as was the case with the North and South towers, the presence of molten metal in large quantities was found. But more on that "theory" later.
David Chandler, a humble physics teacher armed with nothing more than inexpensive software and a zero budget, provided a far more realistic analysis of the collapse of the WTC 7 building than NIST did with its multimillion-dollar government budget.
Basically, Chandler accuses NIST of not only doing a “sloppy job” in its analysis of the collapse of WTC 7, but goes so far as calling it “beyond incompetence; it is a… blatant lie.”
“NIST’s method tells us nothing about the nature of the motion itself,” says the physicist. “They merely assume uniform acceleration over a time interval in which it is clear that the acceleration is not uniform. Mislabeling their assumption to be constant speed indicates sloppy work. But asserting uniform acceleration for an interval where the building sits nearly motionless for several seconds and then drops for several seconds in free fall is beyond incompetence, it is a… blatant lie.”
“The average acceleration is a meaningless quantity,” Chandler explains. “It is the instantaneous acceleration that is significant because the acceleration at any moment is an indication of the forces at work. To measure and publish a meaningless average acceleration, when sufficient data and a multimillion dollar budget are available… constitutes either gross incompetence or an attempt to obfuscate the issue.”
But even if we accept the official version, which says that WTC 7 was “compromised by falling debris” from the North and South Towers, as Popular Mechanics mechanically argued, how is it possible that the building came down in “elegant” (as one demolition expert put it to me) controlled-demolition fashion?
Demolishing a building is a veritable science that requires the precise placement of explosive charges at carefully selected points so that the targeted structure drops into its own footprint without damaging any other buildings in the vicinity. This is exactly what WTC 7, as well as the monstrous North and South towers, politely did with tremendous respect for their surroundings.
Having a large building drop in textbook fashion without the assistance of professionals must be to demolitionists what a monkey that sat down to a typewriter and hammered out perfect Shakespeare in a fortnight would be to literary agents. In other words, highly unlikely.
Compounding the mystery behind the inexplicable collapse of the 47-storey WTC 7 building, which housed Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Office of Emergency Management, this major event (the collapse) is never mentioned once in the government’s 9/11 Commission report.
If anybody holds out hope that somebody someday will analyze the steel columns from the collapse for evidence of explosives, better not hold your breath: the wreckage was quickly whisked out of the United States to Asia where it was melted down. Indeed, we are probably buying Chinese-made toys made out of WTC evidence without even knowing it. Thus, NIST’s threadbare investigative efforts have been compared to “conducting an autopsy without the corpse.”
“Anyone serious about solving a crime,” comments Chandler, “knows the importance of physical evidence. Yet here (at Ground Zero), the crime scene has been scrubbed, the evidence destroyed, and the investigation delayed for years.”
“Destroying a crime scene is itself a criminal act,” Chandler concludes. “Destroying the steel has absolutely no justification except to cover up the cause of the collapse.”
According to numerous witnesses, molten metal was clearly visible on the salvaged steel girders, as well as at Ground Zero. These claims are supported by video footage of the burning towers on 9/11, which clearly shows images of white-hot metal oozing out of the towers like volcanic lava shortly before catastrophic collapse occurs.
In the weeks and months after 9/11, there were many reports of “pools of molten metal” in the remains of the World Trade Center. In fact, the presence of these intensely hot pockets hampered the cleanup efforts until December 20 – over three months after the collapses!
“As of 21 days after the attack,” said Leslie Robertson, structural engineer responsible for the design of the WTC, speaking at the National Conference of Structural Engineers on Oct. 5, 2001, “the fires were still burning and the molten steel was still running.”
“The fires got very intense down there,” Richard Riggs, a debris removal specialist, told the History Channel. “It was actually melted beams, molten steel that was being dug up.”
Ken Holden, who was involved with the organizing of demolition, excavation and debris removal operations at Ground Zero told the 9/11 Investigative Committee, “Underground, it was still so hot that molten metal dripped down the sides of the walls from the (WTC) buildings.”
To the uninitiated in the murky field of chemistry, such phenomena (intensely burning fires that continue to burn for weeks and months) may seem somehow plausible given the extent of the damage at Ground Zero. But for (some) trained chemists and engineers, such physical phenomena are nothing short of a scientific impossibility without some degree of human trifling. Why? Because steel must be heated to 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit before it will melt, simple as that. Not even the planet Venus gets that hot. Yet researchers are practically unanimous in their belief that the temperatures inside of the buildings never got above 800 degrees.
So what was responsible for slicing through the steel columns like a hot knife through butter?
One of the unforgettable images of 9/11 was the amount of white soot that covered everything, making the stunned survivors resemble a menagerie of lost ghosts walking down the streets of New York City in the middle of a snowstorm.
Thousands of pounds of this dust clogged every nook and cranny of the Big Apple for weeks. And for the residents of New York, who were forced to cope with tiny mountains of white ash throughout their downtown apartments, this dust became a morbid keepsake, a grim souvenir of the day that shook the world. New Yorkers scooped up the fine powder and saved it, not knowing how important this act would turn out to be, because what researchers discovered in that dust has proven to be the single most disturbing discovery to date about 9/11.
“At the microscopic level, if you examine the granular structure of the steel, one can detect the presence of an element that is not normally present,” said Marini. “And it is there in substantial qualities. It is sulfur.”
Professor Steven Jones, a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, after examining samples of the dust collected from residents (from different locations around the city), provided the shocking reason for the high levels of sulfur found in the steel beams: the existence of thermite, a powerful material that is often employed in detonations.
“We are quite certain where this molten metal comes from,” the physicist explained in the documentary film Zero. “It comes from a material called thermite, which is made up of aluminum powder, iron oxide and sulfur.”
According to Jones, “the presence of thermite in the dust samples implies that someone had to place the thermite near the steel columns in order to cut through them.”
In other words, Jones is describing what is commonly known as a controlled demolition.
In addition to thermite, Jones said that his team detected large amounts of barium in the dust particles as well.
“This is very interesting,” he said, “because barium nitrate and sulfur are part of the military patent on what is known as thermate (thermite with sulfur and barium nitrate added). Barium is a very toxic metal, so one would not expect it to be present in the large concentrations that we see.”
In several of the available photos from Ground Zero, some of the protruding steel columns that survived the collapse have straight downward cuts that seem to lend credence to Jones’s chilling theory.
In a separate study, Neils Harrit from the University of Copenhagen, together with eight of his fellow colleagues, provides conclusive evidence for the prevalence of explosive material in dust samples from 9/11.
The study (entitled “Active Thermite Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”), draws the conclusion that “the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nano-technology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.”
During an interview with RT in July, Harrit said he also believed that “conventional explosives were used in abundance” in the collapse of the buildings.
“We suggested… to the National Institute of Standards and Technology that they should look for traces of explosives and they have refused to do so every time,” said Harrit. “They have not investigated it.”
The simple question must be: why? After all, 9/11 represented the largest crime scene in modern history; should not all of the possibilities be thoroughly examined? Why is NIST not interested in knowing if explosives were used in combination with the suicide missions of the hijackers? After all, is it not plausible that the terrorists rigged the building with explosives just in case the airliners missed, or failed, to bring down their targets? Rigging a building with explosives, although certainly no simple feat, would not have been any more challenging than hijacking four aircraft with worse than amateur pilots suddenly in charge of navigating the aircraft.
Moreover, conventional explosives were tried once before. It could not have escaped NIST’s attention that on February 26, 1993, a 1,500 lb (680 kg) bomb was detonated in the underground garage section of the North Tower. The terrorists had anticipated that the force of the bomb would topple the North Tower onto the South Tower. The crude attempt failed, of course, but given the testimony of hundreds of witnesses who reported feeling explosions below the buildings during the attacks of 9/11, it seems incredible, and even suspicious, that this angle was never explored by the government agency.
Harrit then goes on to discuss the presence of molten iron in the collapse site.
“The thermite reaction produced molten iron. Now the molten iron was pouring out of one of the towers. Molten iron was in pools in the rubble after 9/11. For weeks and months the surface temperature was 735 degrees after three days of showers. It took them three months to put out the fire, which was declared officially extinguished on December 20. Now this is some kind of fire. This was a witch’s brew of nano-thermite chemistry for three months!”
Meanwhile, eyewitness accounts of pre-crash explosions inside of the buildings seems to lend credence to the theory that nano-thermite, perhaps, mixed with other explosives, may have been used to bring down both structures.
“It turns out that literally dozens of firefighters and emergency medical workers had given testimony that they had heard one, two, three, seven, eight, some said 10 explosions going off in the building,” said Professor David Ray Griffin, the author of "9-11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions."
“Some of the people inside the buildings reported that they were banged around, knocked downstairs by explosions. Other people testified to seeing flashes. And many of them said: ‘It looked just like on TV when we see them bring down buildings with explosions.’”
RT asked Professor Niels Harrit in an exclusive interview (in fact, his first for an English-language media syndicate) what motivated him to research the collapse of the WTC buildings.
“I accidentally saw Building 7,” Harrit began. “And for those who do not know this… there were two airliners, but there were three skyscrapers (that were destroyed). Most people associate the World Trade Center with the twin towers… but Building 7 was a huge building, close to 200 meters high, 47 stories, with a footprint the size of a soccer field. And it came down 20 minutes after 5 in the afternoon; this was 7 hours after the North tower had collapsed.
“I saw this accidentally, and I said, ‘What is this?' “This is World Trade Center 7,' I was told. 'What?!'
“And it’s going down completely symmetrically, in 6.5 seconds,” says Harrit, gesticulating with his hands to demonstrate the movement. “It’s going down – zoop! And as a scientist, you are trained to watch your environment in an analytical fashion. You are always thinking ‘how does this happen, how does this happen.’ And this, I just could not understand it.
“It took me weeks actually to digest this… But once you have realized this, there is no way back. So you can either speak out, or you can live in shame. And from then on, I got more and more interested, and I found that the evidence for controlled demolition is overwhelming… '"
*To read this four-part investigative report in its entirety, click on stories at top left of this page.