Friday, August 22, 2008
In a press conference yesterday, Shyam Sunder, who represents the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] as Lead Investigator of the World Trade Center Disaster, introduced himself and said:
I am here to summarize the findings from our three-year study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7.
The collapse of WTC 7 has been a source of extensive speculation. No planes hit the building. There was damage to the building from the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 1, which was about 370 feet to the south. […] But despite damage that severed seven exterior columns, Building 7 remained standing.
I’ve snipped a reference to a map showing the location of WTC 1. I’ve also snipped other references to visual aids and some more-or-less tangential material, so we can concentrate on Shyam Sunder’s explanation of what happened to WTC 7.
Here’s how it happened, according to Shyam Sunder:
The debris from Tower 1 […] started fires on at least 10 floors of the building. The fires burned out of control on six of these ten floors for about seven hours.
The city water main had been cut by the collapse of the two WTC Towers, so the sprinklers in Building 7 did not function for much of the bottom half of the building. Nevertheless, other tall office buildings have burned for as long or longer in similar fires without collapsing—when sprinklers either did not exist or were not functional.
So we knew from the beginning of our study that understanding what happened to Building 7 on 9-11 would be difficult.
It certainly would be. And the difficulty sprang from two sources.
First, NIST had to find a way to dismiss all the evidence that points to the deliberate destruction of the building.
As if that weren’t difficult enough, they then had to follow up by “explaining” how the tower could have disintegrated due to “natural” causes.
Shyam Sunder attacks on the first point straight-away, saying:
It did not fit any textbook description that you could readily point to and say, yes, that’s why the building failed.
… except that it did. It fit a textbook description perfectly. But that description was not admissible.
The thing is: we know what happened. We’ve heard from people who were there that day who were warned in advance; we’ve seen video of police shooing people away from the building and saying “The building’s gonna blow up.”
In August of 2002—exactly six years ago today, with authority and funding from Congress, NIST started its building and fire safety investigation of all three World Trade Center building collapses. The study of Towers 1 and 2 was extremely complex, and as a result, we had to place our study of WTC 7 on hold. In September of 2005, with the study of the towers complete, we began the study of Building 7’s collapse in earnest.
We conducted our study with no preconceived notions about what happened.
That’s probably true. But it’s clear that they had some powerful preconceived notions about what didn’t happen!
We gathered evidence, we analyzed that evidence, we constructed computer models grounded in principles of physics and using detailed data on every aspect of the building’s construction, detailed information on its contents, videos and photos of the event, and witness accounts.
All this evidence would have been carefully selected, to be sure.
Among other damning details, NIST had to ignore:
- witness accounts of bomb damage in the building before the planes hit the other towers,
- witness accounts of evacuation and a countdown before the building was demolished,
- a televised interview with the building’s owner, in which he explained when and how and why the decision to destroy the building was made, and
- the fact that the demolition was announced to the world by an allegedly reputable international news agency, before it even happened!
In the clip above, the BBC reporter on the scene in Manhattan points to Building 7 while describing the hole in the skyline left by its collapse.
As tough as it may be to make all these anomalies go away, fabricating a counter-story seems to have been even more difficult. We’ll get to that part of the task shortly.
First, Shyam Sunder gives an overview of the investigative team:
Our investigation team for this building consisted of about 50 people with expertise in structures, fire science and engineering, metallurgy, explosives, blast analysis, evacuation and emergency response, and other technical fields. Our own technical staff was complemented by world-class private sector experts on contract.
We conducted this study without bias, without interference from anyone and dedicated ourselves to do the very best job possible.
The team’s lack of bias is readily apparent in the transcript of their leader’s press conference. No doubt it will be equally visible in the final report, which is due to be released next month.
We have had only one single-minded goal during this entire effort. We wanted to determine the probable sequence of events that led to the collapse of Building 7 on 9-11, and then to share that information with the public in order to improve building and fire safety.
Before I tell you what we found, I’d like to tell you what we did not find.
This is Shyam Sunder’s emphasis, by the way. And it’s an important place to put it.
Watch carefully. Don’t miss this next bit. Here comes the magic wand!
We did not find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down.
And now the next part is crucial, as we will see …
We ran detailed computer simulations of blast scenarios. [We determined] the expected air pressures from the smallest possible blast capable of crippling a critical column. This size blast would have produced an incredibly loud sound that was not recorded on videos of the collapse nor reported by witnesses.
There are two problems with this “explanation” and they are very different. The first concerns the content of the argument. Nobody has claimed that WTC was demolished by a single bomb that went “BOOM”. You don’t need a shock wave that rocks the city to take down a building; you only need to cut some strategic steel in some strategic places. Thermite would do the job quite nicely, as would thermate, and neither would go “BOOM”.
This video shows a pound of thermite burning on a frozen lake.
It melted three inches of ice but it didn’t make much sound at all.
The second and more telling problem with the NIST explanation is revealed not in the content but in the style.
We can see quite clearly that they didn’t “find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down” because they weren’t looking for “any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building down”.
They were looking for a way to rule out any explanation involving the notion that “explosives were used to bring the building down”, and this is the “way” that they found:
If the building had been demolished by explosives, the explosion would have made more noise than anybody reported hearing or any video recorded. Therefore the building wasn’t demolished by explosives.
We’ve seen in the previous video how much noise thermite makes when it burns.
So we have no choice but to reject the NIST claim as false. Period.
After three years, this was the best they could come up with!
And sadly, it only “accomplished” half of their “mission”.
On the other hand, with a single wave of the magic wand, NIST took us through the looking-glass. And none of the history matters anymore. But if it did, surely something or other in this video would be relevant:
Shyam Sunder continued:
The collapse was also not due to fires from the substantial amount of diesel fuel stored in the building. Such fires from ruptured fuel lines—or from fuel stored in day tanks on the lower floors—could not have been sustained long enough, would not have generated sufficient heat to weaken critical columns, and would have produced copious smoke that was not was not observed on 9-11.
This passage is crucial for two main reasons. First of all, it discredits the vicious serial liars who have claimed for years that WTC 7 collapsed because of “fires from the substantial amount of diesel fuel stored in the building”.
Ha! Not even the government agrees with Joey Bananas anymore. Boo-Hoo for vicious idiots everywhere.
But secondly, if fires from the diesel fuel didn’t cause the building to collapse, what could have done so?
What we found was that uncontrolled building fires—similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings—caused an extraordinary event, the collapse of World Trade Center 7.
This is the first time that we are aware of, that a building taller than about 15 stories has collapsed primarily due to fires.
Uncontrolled building fires! Very interesting!! What do you suppose fueled those fires? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t burn nearly as hot as diesel fuel, and it generates an awful lot of dark smoke …
But nevertheless, NIST
reached [their] conclusion by reconstructing the entire building, beam by beam, column by column, connection by connection into a computer model, a virtual WTC 7 Building.
They “reconstructed” … “the entire building” .. “into a computer model”! How extraordinary!
filled that virtual building with as much detail as possible about exactly what types of furnishings were on each floor.
Yep. Furnishings! They had time and money to find out “what types of furnishings were on each floor”, but they couldn’t talk to any of the people who had been warned in advance that the building was going to blow up.
It’s quite astonishing methodology, isn’t it?
No! It’s the normal way these sorts of things get covered up. I’ve been reading about these episodes — events whose historical importance is routinely denied by people who are allegedly the nation’s leading dissidents — for most of my life.
The NIST approach is almost exactly the same as the approach used by the Warren Commission, which allegedly investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Just like NIST, the Warren Commission prided itself on having produced a huge stack of documents [see photo above]. They were counting on us not reading any of them. But they still hedged their bets.
The Warren Commission never claimed there was no evidence of a conspiracy; instead, the Warren Report said that they had “found no evidence” of a conspiracy.
Former Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford, who became our first unelected president after the resignation of Richard Nixon, stressed the difference in later interviews. He were dumb, but he weren’t that dumb!
Back at the computer model, NIST
set fire to those virtual offices on the floors where video and other visual evidence told us the fires burned.
We used a well-validated computer program developed at NIST, for studying the growth and spread of fires, to calculate temperatures throughout the building. […]
And we used well-established data on the properties of structural steel, the sprayed fire resistive material or fireproofing, and other building materials to determine how those temperatures affected the structure.
This is all theoretical, remember. All they needed to do — apparently, all they did do — was to create an animated computer model that looks something like the video of the event itself.
And they spent an incredible amount of time and money trying to develop one. Thus their leader reported that a
typical fire simulation for a single floor of the building took up to two days with a state-of-the-art cluster of Linux computers. The structural model of the building components used to predict the subsequent fire-induced progressive collapse included more than 3 million separate elements and took about 7 to 8 months to complete a single run on some very powerful computers.
Note the wording:
“The … model … used to predict the … collapse … “
The towers fell in 2001. The NIST study on WTC 7 didn’t even get started “in earnest” until 2005. Their final report still hasn’t been released. And yet Shyam Sunder can tell a room full of living, breathing, and presumably thinking human beings that his study “predicted” the demise of the building. How astonishing!
As I have discussed in connection with the Keith Seffen hoax, one cannot predict an event which has already happened. The use of such language — “See! We were able to predict the past!” — is a sure sign of intellectual dishonesty.
It’s an admission that the model was built to specifications — specifications that must have read like this:
“Explain X without admitting Y or Z”
If there’s one thing I agree with the NIST team about, it’s their assessment of the difficulty of their task.
It wasn’t just difficult; it was impossible!
And that’s why it took 50 experts three years to fake it.
What do they say brought down the building? Are you ready?
A critical factor that led to the initiation of collapse was thermal expansion of long-span floor systems located in the east side of the building. […]
Anyone who has run a tight jar lid under hot water to help loosen it up knows that metal expands when it gets hot. Beyond expansion, heat also causes steel to lose strength and stiffness. In our investigation of the collapse of Towers 1 and 2, loss of strength and stiffness was more important. For WTC 7, thermal expansion was a critical factor. These effects occur at temperatures much lower than those required to reduce steel strength and stiffness.
[…] on the east side of the building, these long beams are connected to a girder here and here, but there are no opposing support beams.
The exterior columns of the building were more closely spaced than the interior ones. When fires heated the floor system, thermal expansion of the floor beams caused damage to connections between the steel beams and concrete slab of the composite floor system. Some of the beams buckled. Others pushed the girders, causing some of them to buckle.
This is very interesting to me personally because I’ve seen steel columns that had buckled. Not pictures; actual steel. I’ve inspected it closely; I’ve held it in my hand. I know what it looks like.
And I’ve seen hundreds — maybe thousands — of pictures from the World Trade Center. Even though I haven’t inspected the scene closely or held any of the steel in my hand, I have a good idea of what it looked like, too. And here’s a very interesting coincidence:
I’ve seen many photographs of steel from the World Trade Center that looked as if it had been cut.
I’ve seen some photographs that showed steel which had obviously been bent.
But I’ve never seen a single photograph of a single piece of steel that looked as if it had buckled.
And this is a crucial distinction, because if there were photographs of buckled steel from the World Trade Center, you can bet the government and the very complicit media would show them night and day. These photographs would be “proof” that the “conspiracy theorists” are wrong.
But they don’t show us anything like that. And do you want to know why? [Click the image to find out.]
Here’s the “official” version; see how much sense it makes to you:
A few girders lost their connections to columns, triggering floor failures.
Fires on Floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 were particularly severe. Long-span steel beams on the lower floors of the east side of the building, expanded significantly due to these fires, damaging the floor framing on multiple floors. Eventually, a girder on Floor 13 lost its connection to a critical interior column that provided support for the long span floors on the east side of the building. The displaced girder, and other local fire-induced damage, caused Floor 13 to collapse. This began a cascading chain of failures of eight additional floors—many of which already had been at least partially weakened by the fires in the vicinity of the critical column. With the support of these floors gone, column 79 buckled, which initiated the fire-induced progressive collapse of the building.
It’s quite something, isn’t it?
From a few grainy videos of the demolition, and a made-to-match computer animation, NIST can “pinpoint” the exact floor that “fell” first, and the exact column that “buckled” first.
It’s quite incredible, isn’t it?
I mean that literally: it’s absolutely unbelievable!
This in turn caused the failure of nearby columns 80 and 81 and floor failures up to the roof line. […]
In quick succession, the remaining interior columns failed from east to west across WTC 7, until the entire core began moving downward. Finally, the remaining outer shell or façade of the building fell. […]
In general, tall buildings are very safe. We have decades upon decades of real-life experience to prove this. This was a rare event.
Rare? It’s unique!! It’s an absolutely unprecedented event in the annals of structural failure, and a grotesque understatement to assert that such an event was “rare”!
But if you want to go beyond unique, wait for the explanation:
This study has identified thermal expansion as a new phenomenon that can cause structural collapse.
There’s that magic wand again! Did you see it go by?
Now, thanks to 9/11 and the good folks at NIST, there’s “a new phenomenon that can cause structural collapse”!
Nothing like this has ever happened before, and nothing like it has ever happened since, but a representative of NIST — the leader of the NIST investigation — can claim, with a straight face,
we have shown that fire can induce a progressive collapse.
Straight face or not, that’s a dreadful lie. “Shown” is hardly the word for what NIST has done here.
For the first ever, time somebody has claimed that fire can induce a progressive collapse; but nobody — not NIST, not anybody else, ever, anywhere — nobody has shown anything of the sort.
Any clown can make a claim. But it takes real evidence to “show” something, especially in the strict engineering or mathematical sense of the term.
But Shyam Sunder doesn’t pause to strengthen his very lame argument. Instead he goes on to the waving of the magic cloth: What can we learn from this?
In the building community the term “progressive collapse” means the spread of local damage from a single initiating event, from structural element to element, eventually resulting in the collapse of an entire structure or a disproportionately large part of it. […]
WTC 7, which included floor spans as long as 54 feet, had a structural system design that is in widespread use in other tall buildings. The length of floor spans is important. Longer beams can be subject to proportionally greater thermal expansion effects, but such effects may also be present in buildings with shorter span lengths depending on the design of the structural system.
We strongly recommend that building owners, operators, and designers evaluate buildings to ensure the adequate fire performance of the structural system. […]
So far, with all this talk [and much else that I’ve snipped], the big question has remained unanswered: What fueled the fires that allegedly caused the building to disintegrate?
Are you ready for this?
It was office furnishings.
Can you believe it?
I can’t, either. Watch this short video and see what you think!
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 or from diesel fuel fires.
It collapsed because fires—similar to those experienced in other tall buildings—burned in the absence of water supply to operate the sprinklers, and burned beyond the ability of firefighters to control fires. It fell because thermal expansion, a phenomenon not considered in current building design practice, caused a fire-induced progressive collapse. […]
We will be accepting public comments on our final report until September 15, 2008. Directions for submitting these comments are provided on our web site at wtc.nist.gov.
At this point, I’ll be happy to take your questions.
Oh yes … I have a question for you, sir.
Instead of considering any of the eyewitness and video evidence which shows quite clearly that WTC 7 was deliberately demolished, on a pre-set schedule, and that people were warned and evacuated ahead of time, you and your team have spent three years building and running a computer model so complex that it takes seven to eight months for a single iteration.
You’ve done all this, knowing it could never prove what actually happened — that the most it could show would be that one potential explanation for the disintegration of the building was plausible. And your study hasn’t even done that.
The impact of your report couldn’t possibly be greater. Millions of innocent lives are at stake; and at the same time, the world’s most vicious and violent terrorists are still at large.
Instead of helping to rectify the situation, you have led your team to devote three years to building a model and pretending it’s reality, while systematically shutting out every conflicting fragment of the real story. You weren’t even sly enough to hide it in your press conference.
Your absurd explanation, with its talk of a “new phenomenon”, is an insult to the intelligence of all thinking people. It’s also a disgrace to the memories of the victims of 9/11, and a betrayal of their families, of all Americans, of all mankind.
So here’s my question, sir:
How do you sleep? How can you possibly sleep?