Conspiracists misrepresent WTC 7's condition

To close this chapter, let’s take a look at how the condition of WTC 7 on 9/11 is represented by CTs, and how they incorporate the evidence that I’ve presented above. I’ll focus on the claims made by Steven E. Jones, because other CTs believe his science credentials give him credibility in this area; by Dylan Avery, writer and director of the most popular 9/11 CT video, and by the group, because I‘ve heard hundreds of their claims in person.

In this 2006 presentation at Utah Valley State College, Dr. Jones spends a good deal of time discussing WTC 7’s condition and playing videos of its collapse. Here’s a slide he uses as an overview. Keep two things in mind here: Jones is a scientist who surely must know how the scientific method works, and Jones presents this as being representative of WTC 7’s condition:

Above the photo it says, “Not much smoke or visible damage.”

First, this photo was not taken in the afternoon from the area of WTC 1, as Jones claims. It was taken in the morning, shortly after the towers collapsed, from Church Street at the southeast corner of the site, as far from WTC 1 as it’s possible to be and still be in view of the site. How can we tell it’s a morning shot? The sun is strong on WTC 7’s east face, and the south face is in shadow. Debris from tower 2 is at left, WTC 4 is at center, and WTC 5 is at right.

Why does this anger me? Because, as we read in the eyewitness accounts, the fires in WTC 7 did not spread extensively until the afternoon. Steven Jones deliberately chose a photo that was taken before WTC 7 was heavily involved with fire.

Once the fires developed, according to eyewitness accounts and photo and video evidence compiled the NIST investigation, flames were visible on at least 16, and possibly 17, floors: 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, (possibly 14), 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 29, and 30.

Let's remember how serious those fires were:

FDNY Chief of Operations Daniel Nigro: "It had very heavy fire on many floors."
FDNY Assistant Chief Harry Myers: "When the building came down it was completely involved in fire, all forty-seven stories."
FDNY Deputy Chief Nick Visconti: "the fire was going virtually on every floor."
FDNY Lieutenant Robert LaRocca: "We walked over by number Seven World Trade Center as it was burning and saw this 40-plus story building with fire on nearly all floors."
FDNY Lieutenant James McGlynn: "Just when you thought it was over, you're walking by this building and you're hearing this building creak and fully involved in flames. It's like, is it coming down next? Sure enough, about a half an hour later it came down."

Steven Jones, who was not at the scene on 9/11:

“It's not an inferno, certainly.”
“Fires were random, not particularly large, and certainly not an inferno.”
“Here in this photo you see the fires in building 7. A close-up and you see a little bit of fire in there. Not much.”
“Now here are photos seen in the late afternoon. Not a lot of fire here, or damage.”

What does Jones display to prove these assertions? A photo of the NORTH side of WTC 7. Here it is in the late afternoon, with the red border:

At about the same time, the south side of the building looked like this:

Again, the videos of WTC 7 burning are far more impressive than the still photos above:

Update: as of September 7, 2006, Steven Jones has been removed from his teaching position at BYU (after classes had started for the new semester). He is on paid leave pending investigation into the nature and legitimacy of his 9/11 claims. Update 2: Jones has elected to take early retirement from BYU.

"BYU has repeatedly said that it does not endorse assertions made by individual faculty. ...We are, however, concerned about the increasingly speculative and accusatory nature of these statements by Dr. Jones. ...BYU remains concerned that Dr. Jones' work on this topic has not been published in appropriate scientific venues. ...It is a concern when faculty bring the university name into their own personal matters of concern."

In addition, in August the Scholars for Truth’s ( membership secretary left the organization after making accusations of improper behavior against Steven Jones and Jim Fetzer. An excerpt from a scathing email she sent:

"What this means is that Jones is perfectly willing to LIE about credentials to pad the roles of ST911, and Fetzer is perfectly willing to ACCOMMODATE those lies even af-ter he has been informed in no uncertain terms that that is EXACTLY what they are.

This puts in stark relief the noteworthy lack of integrity that informs the work of ST911. That is, if there is not even an INTENTION to maintain integrity in the membership roles, how can anyone trust there is integrity anywhere else? As I have said more than once, Scholars for 9/11 TRUTH cannot succeed when founded on a pack of LIES." The entire email, with responses from Fetzer, is here:

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Dylan Avery, writer and director of Loose Change, in an interview on The Edge AM radio, May 13, 2006:

“The strongest piece of evidence I would have to say would be the collapse of World Trade Center building 7. This was a 47-story office building, 300 feet away from the north tower. At 5:20 p.m. on September 11th this building fell straight down into its own footprint in six seconds, which if you do the math, is basically in absolute free-fall."

I’ve shown that to be false.

"I mean, this was a controlled demolition. I mean, there's no way of avoiding it, I mean, the simple fact is, how could al Qaeda, or anybody else, have rigged building 7 for controlled demolition, which is a process that takes months of planning?"

Excellent question. Avery just needs to take the next mental step.

“...Barely even in the damage range...It wasn't hit by a substantial amount of debris.”

I’ve shown that to be false.

Dylan Avery, in an interview on Black Ops Radio, May 14, 2006, explaining what facts are on his “side”: "Galileo's Law of Falling Bodies, Building 7, the Pentagon, basically, the obvious physical and scientific evidence that nobody can refute."

Korey Rowe, producer of Loose Change, interviewed on Air America Phoenix, April 15, 2006:

Caller: "What is the objective to be accomplished by placing bombs in the towers, other than a complete collapse, if plane impacts are sufficient to be considered an attack on America, the justification for war?"

Rowe: "Well, supposedly those bombs weren't there. According to the official version, there was never any charges placed inside the World Trade Center. And it's a question of why they would they be in there, and why you would want to bring down the World Trade Center themselves. I mean, the World Trade Center was built in 1973 with asbestos and other dangerous materials that aren't allowed in today's building world. I mean, they received numerous citations to clean up the buildings. And to clean up those materials would have cost over a billion dollars. So, I mean, yes, running planes into the buildings would have been sufficient enough as an attack, but it wasn't the overall goal of Larry A. Silverstein, who owned WTC Building 7 and leased the rest of the buildings. It wasn't enough for him. I mean, now he's got prime real estate in downtown Manhattan, and after a 220 million investment turned into a two billion dollar profit."

Utterly false. Asbestos-based fire protection had been applied only to 38 floors of tower 1. About half of that had been removed as of 9/11. There was no requirement for the rest to be removed: its replacement was voluntary. The WTC was fully leased and rented on 9/11. Its office and retail space was highly profitable. And by the way, WTC 7 opened in 1987, and did not use asbestos for fireproofing. More about the asbestos and occupancy issues here:

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Here’s how WTC 7 is presented in the literature that’s handed out to thousands of people at Ground Zero by I’ve highlighted some of the false and misleading statements.

I count 9 false statements, several misleading statements, and several logical fallacies in that small selection.

Note the bottom photo on the pamphlet, which Les Jamieson, the author of the pamphlet, says depicts the “small pile of rubble” left by the collapse of building 7. And note the indignant phrase “photos don’t lie, governments do...” Well, we’ve seen that photo before: 

WTC 7 hasn’t collapsed.  It’s standing at the left. The rubble is from WTC 1 and 6.  Governments do lie, and so does the “Truth” movement. They want you to believe that WTC 7 collapsed into a pile eight feet high. When I pointed out this egregious error to Les Jamieson at Ground Zero (although I had already done so in May in my written critique of his pamphlet), he denied that he had used this photo, because “I know what photos I put in my literature.” Then Abby Scott pulled out his pamphlet and showed him. New pamphlets have since been printed, but as of January, 2007, I  still see old pamphlets with this error being distributed. 

We’ve already seen an aerial view of the “small pile” left by WTC 7 and the damage it did to 30 West Broadway. Here’s a view from the ground. Keep in mind that WTC 7’s basement was 5 stories deep.

As for Jamieson's contention that the 9/11 Commission report is invalidated because it didn’t mention building 7, why should it have? The Commission was empaneled to determine why the attacks happened, how they could have been prevented, and to make recommendations to prevent future attacks.  Theirs was not an engineering report, and it does not discuss ancillary damage to buildings.

The accusation that the 9/11 Commission suspiciously avoided mentioning building 7 seems to have been popularized by theologian David Ray Griffin in his book "The New Pearl Harbor." It is often mindlessly repeated by CTs. Here’s “Scholars for Truth” co-chair Jim Fetzer, from the Alan Colmes show quoted above: “The 9-11 Commission for example, was so blown away by Building 7 they don’t even mention it in their report.”

Remember that top experts in the relevant disciplines continue to gather as much knowledge as possible about WTC 7’s collapse. Their final report is expected to be complete in early 2007. 

One last time, for the leaders of the “Truth Movement”:

FDNY Chief of Operations Daniel Nigro, on WTC 7:

"The biggest decision we had to make was to clear the area and create a collapse zone around the severely damaged building. A number of fire officers and companies assessed the damage to the building. The appraisals indicated that the building’s integrity was in serious doubt."