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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 New York City Coalition for Accountability Now 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?