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The "free media"- Financial Times article
What happened to building 7?|
By Peter Barber
Published: June 6 2008 19:45 | Last updated: June 6 2008 19:45
To the truthers, “building 7” – the third building in the World Trade Center complex to collapse on September 11 – is evidence that the mainstream media is in on the plot. On that day, the BBC reported the building’s fall almost half an hour before it happened. Journalist Jane Standley was broadcast at 4.54pm eastern time reporting that the tower had collapsed – but in the background, it was still standing.
It fell 26 minutes later, seven hours after the Twin Towers came down.
When the Standley clip hit YouTube, truthers bombarded the BBC’s website with questions and accusations. Richard Porter, head of BBC world news, was forced to deny that the broadcaster was reading from the Bush conspirators’ script. He said the BBC had misreported warnings from fire crews of the building’s imminent collapse and instead stated that it had already happened. He blamed the confusion of the day for the mix-up. CNN had earlier reported rumours that a third building had either collapsed or was about to.
But in the minds of the truthers, this explanation was undermined by Porter’s admission that the BBC no longer had the original tapes of its coverage.
Building 7 is the truthers’ smoking gun for other reasons, too. How, they ask, could this modern, steel-framed skyscraper collapse merely because of fire, without even being hit by an airliner?
The 47-storey WTC7 fell straight down, at almost free-fall speed, largely into its own footprint: all the hallmarks, the sceptics say, of a controlled demolition. Building 7 had some fascinating tenants.
The main occupant was Salomon Brothers, the bank, but on floors nine and 10 was the secret service. On the three floors above that was the Securities and Exchange Commission. The New York Times reported that the building also housed a secret office operated by the CIA dedicated to spying on and recruiting foreign diplomats based at the United Nations. The station’s loss had “seriously disrupted” intelligence operations, it said.
The CIA shared a floor with an office of the Defence Department and the Internal Revenue Service.
The collapse of the building also wiped out the operations centre of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management on floor 23, throwing the response that day into further mayhem.
Truthers have focused on a comment on the afternoon of September 11 by Larry Silverstein, the building’s owner, to a fire department commander: he said they should “pull” the building after a faulty sprinkler system left fires to rage all day. “Pull”, the sceptics claim, is industry jargon for demolish. Debunking911.com points out that the term actually refers to pulling one building away from another with cables. Silverstein’s spokesman later said that Silverstein told the fire chief that the most important thing was to protect the lives of the firefighters, including pulling them out of the building if necessary.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology began investigating the collapse of building 7 along with the Twin Towers in 2002, but hived the inquiry off into a separate probe, which will not report until August. This fuelled suspicion that officials were struggling to come up with a plausible line of obfuscation. NIST says progress has been slowed by the complexity of the computer model it is using, which simulates the collapse from the moment it begins all the way to the ground. Another 80 boxes of documents related to WTC7 have also been found and need to be analysed, it says.
NIST’s working hypothesis is that fire and/or flaming debris from the collapsing north tower (which left a long gash in building 7’s south face) damaged a critical column which supported a 2,000 sq ft floor bay. The remaining floor bays were unable to redistribute the loads, and the whole structure came down on itself. The fact that the collapse was triggered by an internal failure would explain the appearance of a controlled demolition with a small field of debris left behind.
The influence of the truthers can be found in this line from a 2004 progress report: “While NIST has found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event, NIST would like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more elements.”
The BBC, meanwhile, has yet to persuade some of its critics. It had wanted to film the 9/11 Truth seminar at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles but was barred by the organisers, who cited building 7.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008