April 17, 2006 (updated November 4, 2008)
The Wisdom Fund
What Really Happened to 7 World Trade Center
'The 9/11 Commission Report' offers no
explanation for its collapse on September 11, 2001. NIST's conclusions, based
on computer simulation, apparently suffer from inadequate model validation and
insufficient actual data
On September 11, 2001, 5:20 PM, 47-story Building 7 of the World Trade
Center (WTC 7) collapsed in about seven
seconds. To this day there is no official explanation of why it collapsed.
"The 9/11 Commission
Report" tells us that the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management was
located on the 23rd floor of WTC 7, and at 8:48 AM the Emergency Operations
Center was activated, but it does not mention the collapse of WTC 7. Major
news media have largely ignored this omission.
The collapse of the nine-story Murrah
Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 was repeatedly
shown on television, and initially blamed on Muslim terrorists. Videos of
the collapse of the 47-story WTC 7, while readily available on alternative news sites, have generally not
been shown to the public after September 11 by major news media.
Trade Center Building Performance Study," concludes that the collapse of
WTC7 may have been caused by "an internal failure and implosion." FEMA adds,
"Althought the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential
energy, the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence." (May
Dr. Steven E. Jones, a
physics professor at Brigham Young University, writes: "The specifics of the
fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse ["official
theory"] remain unknown at this time."
Prof. Jones attempted to make his point on MSNBC's "The Situation" with
Carlson on November 15, 2005, but was prevented from doing so.
5 and 6, which stood between the twin towers and Building 7, sustained
much greater damage than Building 7, but they did
not collapse in the way that the twin towers, and Building 7 collapsed.
CNN's Aaron Brown
and BBC's Jane
Standley reported that Building 7 "has collapsed or is collapsing" before
it collapsed. The BBC picture above is time stamped 21:54 London
time which is 16:54 or 4:54 PM EST.
an award-winning investigative journalist, interviewed J. D. Halperin - a volunteer, on ABC News
Live Coverage who said: "At Building 7 there was no fire there whatsoever,
but there was one truck putting water on
the building, but it collapsed completely."
Sawyer then says, "And you saw melted tour busses, melted cars." Halperin
responds, "The cars that were right down there were unbelieveable. They were
twisted and melted into nothing."
Dan Rather, at the time anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News,
while reporting on the collapse of Building 7, said: "For the third
time today, it's reminiscent of those pictures we've all seen too much on
television before - a building was deliberately destroyed."
Larry Silverstein, the World Trade Center leaseholder, was shown on television
saying: "I remember getting a call from the ER, Fire Department Commander,
telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the
fire, and I said, 'We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest
thing to do is pull it.' And they made the decision to pull and we watched
the building collapse."
If Building 7 was "pulled" - a demolition term, when were the explosives
planted to pull it? Who planted them?
The FEMA investigation of
WTC7 concluded (World Trade Center Building Performance Study, May 2002):
"Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this
On August 21, 2008, Shyam Sunder, lead investigator at NIST, presented NIST's findings at a press
briefing. A draft
"Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building
7" was made available on the Internet later in the day.
NIST claims that the collapse was due to "some structural damage to the
southwest perimeter" by falling debris, and to "ordinary building content
fires" on floors 7 through 9, and 11 through 13. This caused "buckling of a
critical interior column", followed by "progressive collapse".
Engineers have routinely designed structures to withstand expansion of steel
"Video and photographic evidence combined with detailed computer simulations
show that neither explosives nor fuel oil fires played a role in the
collapse of WTC 7," Sunder said.
The photographic evidence regarding fires is helpful, and it does show some damage to
WTC 7. However, NIST admits:
Although the visual evidence for WTC 7 was not nearly as rich as for WTC
1 and WTC 2, the fire simulation did exploit as much as possible the few
photographs showing the location of severe fire activity in WTC 7 at
various time during the afternoon of September 11, 2001.
And computer simulation, without satisfactory validation of the model, proves
nothing - those sumo wrestlers transforming into an airplane taking off, in
the United Airlines commercial broadcast during the Beijing Olymics, were
Model validation - a crucial step in the modeling process - requires that
"[i]nferences made in establishing the model are checked by observing if the
model behaves as expected" (Simulation and Modeling, Prentice Hall, 1969).
In the NIST reports we were unable to find NIST's model validation criteria,
or discussion of other instances where the models used by NIST (LS-DYNA - "a general purpose
transient dynamic finite element program" - developed by Livermore Software
Technology Corp, and ANSYS), had been successfully applied to similar
problems, or how the NIST model behaved with other disturbances.
NIST writes that damage estimated by ANSYS "was input to the LS-DYNA model
as the final step before analyzing the structural response" (p565), and that
"damage criteria required adjustment to obtain the appropriate strength and
ductility of the structures" (p542). Did NIST adjust model inputs to obtain the
outputs presented by NIST?
Sunder's claim that explosives played no role, and videos appear to show explosions.
Buildings that have collapsed without explosives do not come straight down
on their own footprint. Forensic evidence from the structural steel is
necessary to rule out the use of explosives in WTC 7.
Absent satisfactory answers to these issues, one cannot have confidence
in the NIST computer simulation.
Architects & Engineers for 9/11
Truth, with 400 plus members, argue that NIST does not address why the
collapse exhibits none of the characteristics of destruction by fire, such
as slow onset with large visible deformations, and [a]symmetrical collapse -
which would cause the building to fall to the side most damaged by the fire.
NIST also does not address why the collapse does exhibit all the
characteristics of a classic controlled demolition with explosives such as
rapid onset of collapse, sounds of explosions at ground floor - a full
second prior to collapse, symmetrical collapse - through the path of
greatest resistance - at nearly free-fall speed - with the steel
skeleton broken up for shipment, massive volume of expanding pyroclastic
dust clouds, tons of molten metal found by Controlled Demolition, Inc., the chemical
signature of thermate (a high tech incendiary) found in slag, solidified
molten metal, and dust samples by Prof. Jones, and rapid oxidation and
intergranular melting on structural steel samples examined by FEMA.
Indeed a newly found video more clearly shows windows being blown out
from the bottom toward the top of WTC7 just prior to its collapse -- see
below at the beginning, and at 33 seconds.
When I worked for the U.S. Department of Energy, it would have been highly
unusual for a report such as NIST's to be presented to the news media
without it first being subjected to outside peer review, and often with
both supporting and dissenting views included in an appendix.
David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott (Editors), "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out,"
Olive Branch Press (August 23, 2006) - contributors include Richard Falk,
Daniele Ganser, David Ray Griffin, Steven E. Jones, Karin Kwiatkowski, John
McMurtry, Peter Phillips, Morgan Reynolds, Kevin Ryan, Peter Dale Scott, Ola
Kevin Barrett, John Cobb and Sandra Lubarsky (Editors), "9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims
Speak Out," Olive Branch Press (October 15, 2006) - contributors include
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Kevin Barrett, Faiz Khan, Enver Masud, Yasmin
Ahmed, Tamar Frankiel, Roger Gottlieb, Marc Ellis, Sandra Lubarsky, Rabbi
Michael Lerner, John Cobb, David Ray Griffin, Carter Heyward, Catherine
Keller, and Rosemary Radford Ruether.
[The majority of FDNY members did not rationally conclude, on the basis of
direct perception of damage to the building, that it was in danger of
collapse; they accepted that it would collapse on the basis of what they
were told.--Graeme MacQueen, "Waiting for Seven: WTC 7 Collapse
Warnings in the FDNY Oral Histories," journalof911studies.com,
January 11, 2008]
[A fierce fire consumed all 44 floors of a skyscraper in Beijing today,
shooting 30 foot flames into the air, but unlike the similarly-sized
47-story WTC 7, which suffered limited fires across just eight floors, the
building in China did not collapse.--Paul Joseph Watson, "Fire Consumes WTC 7-Size Skyscraper, Building Does
Not Collapse," infowars.com, February 9, 2009]