On August 1, 2014, San Francisco Architect Richard Gage appeared on C-SPAN to discuss a topic of growing importance: What actually happened to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?
The official investigation conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found office fires to be the tipping point that ultimately brought down three skyscrapers that day, claiming nearly 3,000 innocent lives in the process. But Gage and 2,200 fellow architects and engineers offer a very different explanation to how the buildings fell; an explanation they feel deserves a thorough investigation once and for all.
The smoking gun, as Gage and his colleagues see it, exists in the puzzling structural failure and subsequent free fall of World Trade Center 7, a 47-story skyscraper next to the Twin Towers. The collapse would become the third worst structural failure in modern history, eclipsed only by the falling of the Twin Towers just several hours prior. Dan Rather’s live report takes us back to that fateful afternoon.
“Amazing, incredible, pick your word,” remarked Rather with unbridled amazement. “For the third time today it’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before when a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.” But little did Rather know that his candid observation would form the basis of an alternate explanation for the day’s horrific events.
Unlike the Twin Towers, Building 7 was never struck by an aircraft, but instead suffered slow burning fires from airborne debris. The fires were largely isolated to the south-facing region of the building, permitting a full evacuation with no casualties.
But at 5:20 pm, World Trade Center 7 would be destined to a nearly identical fate as the Twin Towers earlier that morning, collapsing symmetrically into its own footprint at free fall speed.
The symmetrical nature of Building 7’s fall is of particular importance because as Gage points out, the fire damage to Building 7 was quite asymmetrical. Gage further asserts that if fire caused the structural collapse as claimed by NIST, the building would have leaned or cascaded toward the damaged side.
But the oddities surrounding Building 7 weren’t limited to how it fell, but also how the media reported it. CNN, for example, announced the collapse of Building 7 at 4:12 pm, a full hour prior to the building’s ultimate demise.
“Building 7 in the World Trade Center complex has collapsed or is collapsing,” reported CNN correspondent Aaron Brown, as the very building in question stood prominently behind him. The journalistic oversight begs the question of how can a news agency exhibit such lack of knowledge and a wealth of knowledge all at once.
In a similarly strange broadcast shortly after, the BBC too would announce the collapse of World Trade Center 7, at 4:57 pm, a full 23 minutes before the building actually came down.
Once again, despite BBC correspondent Jane Standley’s assertion of the collapse of World Trade Center 7, also known as the Solomon Brothers Building, it is shown to be standing directly through the window behind her. Standley’s satellite feed to the UK is then terminated quite abruptly before the conclusion of her live report.
With the erroneous yet seemingly prophetic reporting from both CNN and the BBC, are we to presume their possession of foreknowledge of WTC7’s impending structural failure? And more broadly speaking, should reporters in such crucial news stories be required to have a base level of knowledge on the subject they are reporting on?
With the copious amount of disinformation being spread about World Trade Center 7 that day, it’s not surprising that a general lack of understanding persists throughout the public perception to this day. But media mishaps aside, what could have been the true cause of such unprecedented structural failure that day? Gage asserts we must turn our attention to the survivors and first responders who lived to tell their stories.
One notable witness to the attacks was Barry Jennings who survived being trapped in World Trade Center 7 for several hours. As the Deputy Directory for Emergency Services for the New York City Housing Authority, Jennings found himself among the last inside Building 7 before it came crashing down.
Jennings’ personal account of the events that day is important in multiple regards. Not only did he hear multiple explosions emanating from various floors of the building, but he was actually blown back by one of the blasts. Jennings also makes it clear that the explosions he encountered in Building 7 preceded the collapse of the Twin Towers. When confronted by a police officer coming to his aid, Jennings was warned to evacuate the building immediately as the officer received word of even more explosions forthcoming.
“I’m just confused about one thing and one thing only,” remarked Jennings with a nervous chuckle. “Why World Trade Center 7 went down in the first place. I’m very confused about about that.”
Jennings, who continued to be outspoken in the years following the incident, would pass away on August 19, 2008 from undisclosed circumstances. His untimely death would occur just days prior to the release of the NIST report on WTC7, denying the occurrence of any explosions on 9/11.
Sharing in Jennings’ confusion about the collapse, Air Force medic Kevin McPadden sheds even more light onto the final moments of WTC7 before it came down.
McPadden, determined to provide care for the victims in the attack, recalls being given a word of caution from a nearby Red Cross worker.
“You have to stay behind this line,” advised the Red Cross representative to McPadden. “Because they’re thinking about bringing the building (WTC7) down.”
After conferring with a firefighter, the same Red Cross worker began a countdown on his radio, followed by a piece of unsolicited advice to McPadden and others still waiting in the wings.
“3, 2, 1,” the unnamed Red Cross worker shouted into his radio within earshot of McPadden. “Just run for your life! Just run for your life!”
What McPadden experienced next he is unlikely to forget.
“And then it was like another 2-3 seconds, you heard explosions,” recalled McPadden. “BA-BOOM, you felt a rumble in the ground almost like you wanted to grab on to something. To me, I knew that was an explosion. There was no doubt in my mind.”
McPadden, tasked originally with providing aid to others, now found himself in the position to save his own life, and would narrowly escape the plume of airborne debris engulfing the city streets.
From these multiple personal accounts, we can infer that World Trade Center 7 was not only expected to come down, but it was expected to blow up.
While the questions surrounding World Trade Center 7 are plentiful, answers seem few and far between. But what about the Twin Towers? For most, the airplane impacts and subsequent skyscraper collapses are images burned into our collective consciousness. But Gage contends that there is more to it than meets the eye. Furthermore, once we examine the glaring evidence surrounding Building 7 and its explosive, free fall, symmetrical collapse, the same questions and principles must be applied toward the Twin Towers.
For example, the falling of both the North and South Towers produced an incredible amount of outward force in the process. 4 ton steel perimeter wall sections were driven laterally outward at 60 mph in all directions, some steel beams landing 600 feet away.
One such instance of a massive steel support column was launched into the American Express Building across an entire city street, entirely separate from the World Trade Center complex.
As any high school physics teachers will attest, gravity works exclusively as a downward force and not an outward one, so the explanation for such a phenomena resulting from office fires is puzzling to say the least.
Even prior to the collapse of the Twin Towers, evidence of explosive reactions were evident through the large volume of molten steel pouring from the side of the building in a steady stream. Office fires alone, ranging in temperature from 500-1,500 degrees fahrenheit, are not capable of burning hot enough to melt steel, requiring much hotter temperatures of at least 3,000 degrees.
And after the collapse of the Twin Towers, the existence of molten steel became even more prevalent to relief and cleanup workers.
“Molten steel, running down the channel rails,” recalled one firefighter. “Like you’re in a foundry, like lava.”
These claims were even corroborated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report of the incident. In Appendix C of FEMA’s 2002 report, Jonathan Barnett documented the presence of hot sulfur corrosion along with partial evaporation of the ends of steel beams. For such a chemical reaction to take place, temperatures of at least 4,000 degrees fahrenheit would be needed. The FEMA report would ultimately be discarded in favor of the NIST report which neglected to take into consideration any of these observed factors.
Never the less, it is evident that office fires were incapable of producing such an explosive, thermal reaction as was witnessed during and after the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, even with jet fuel as an accelerant. In fact, Gage asserts that he and his colleagues know of only one substance capable of producing such rampant destruction and excessively high temperatures: thermite.
“Thermite is an incendiary used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter,” explained Gage in his interview with C-SPAN.
And Gage along with his colleagues aren’t the only ones to possess that belief. Since thermite, or any explosive material for that matter, was never considered by NIST in their investigation, multiple groups have taken the initiative to conduct independent studies on dust samples collected on 9/11.
“When Tower 2 fell it created a debris cloud which became a part of our life,” explained Janette McKinlay, who lived in a high-rise apartment across from the World Trade Center. “It just burst in our window at 50 miles an hour.”
McKinlay escaped the avalanche of explosive dust unharmed, but exercised the foresight to save a material sample for future reference. This is a decision that would prove invaluable as a friend put her in touch with Dr. Steven Jones, a researcher from Brigham Young University. Jones, like many others in the scientific field, had serious questions about the true cause for the destruction of all 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers.
An initial inspection of the dust through a traditional microscope revealed several prominent red chips. Jones took a closer look at one of the chips through an electron microscope and was surprised at what he found — an elemental combination consisting of aluminum and iron oxide — the chemical ingredients for thermite. But an even deeper magnification of the chip would reveal something unexpected, the additional presence of of carbon and silicon, two organic additives used specifically in nanothermite, a thermite variant capable of producing even greater explosive reactions. This theory would be confirmed with the discovery of solidified molten iron spheres, providing the final puzzle piece necessary to provide a positive match.
The presence of nanothermite in dust samples provides a strong indication for it’s use in the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, but could such a substance be harnessed in a practical manner to accomplish such a destructive goal? Industrious engineer and truth seeker John Cole found himself with this very question, and decided to conduct a series of experiments to determine once and for all what NIST so egregiously overlooked.
The experiments conducted by Cole determined that thermite could successfully be used to cut through steel beams in a controlled manner. He also discovered that the size and placement of the explosive container plays a vital role in managing the thermitic reaction, ultimately requiring far less thermite than originally suspected. Cole suspects the box columns of the World Trade Center buildings played an important role in housing and concealing the thermitic containers used in the attack.
In his C-SPAN interview, Gage asserts that the flaws of the official investigation were not just limited to the scientific report generated by NIST, but also by the 9/11 Commission, the official task force appointed to investigate and explain the broader scope of the attacks on 9/11.
But evidence suggests that not even this official committee was given the the necessary clearance to conduct a thorough, transparent investigation. In a CNN interview dating back to November, 2003 Max Cleland, former Georgia Senator and 9/11 Commission member expressed his frustration with the White House and Bush Administration in stonewalling the commission’s investigative efforts.
“I’m very much for issuing a subpoena to those in the White House that would obstruct this investigation,” remarked Cleland. “And that’s what we have here, an obstruction of a full investigation on the most serious attack on the homeland in the last 150 years.”
Unable to fulfill his appointed task, Cleland would step down from his position on the 9/11 Commission less than a month later.
But Cleland wouldn’t be the only 9/11 Commission member to raise concerns about the handling of this all-important matter. John Farmer, Senior Council to the 9/11 Commission make a startling acknowledgement in his 2009 book.
“The public had been seriously misled about what occurred during the morning of the attacks,” wrote Farmer in The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11. “At some level of the government, at some point in time, there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened.”
These statements by 9/11 Commission members seems to raise serious questions about the Bush administration’s involvement in the attacks. Was it willful ignorance that allowed the attacks to ultimately take place, or perhaps something far more sinister?
Radical events call for radical measures, and the political aftermath of 9/11 proves no exception. As one caller points out, our foreign and domestic policies are largely based on the events of 9/11. Perpetual war and causalities persist abroad to this day, along with legislation that has stripped Americans of precious civil liberties.
Most people have formed the basis of their beliefs on 9/11 from the traditional narrative doled out by official sources and the mainstream media. And understandably so, as the technical nature of 9/11 makes it difficult for the average person to discern fact from fiction based on the official story alone. But as gage points out, you must first analyze all of available evidence to form a comprehensive picture of what happened that day. Without question, the evidence presented by Richard Gage and other researchers sheds invaluable new light into uncovering the true nature of what happened at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
But the mainstream media’s role during and post-9/11 is not to be taken lightly. In many ways, their airwaves act as the megaphone for the official story, merely regurgitating the information they’ve been fed with no critical thought added. Instead of useful facts that viewers can assimilate to form an educated opinion, they’re fed propaganda, half-truths and fear for the purposes of furthering an agenda.
It’s increasingly clear that we’ve long since entered an era in which information obtained from mainstream sources cannot be accepted at face value. Further, truth-seeking citizens would be well-advised to question the motives and agenda of all news sources, mainstream, independent or otherwise. The formula for a truthful information diet exists only in the scrutiny of multiple sources paired alongside critical thinking, a trait that has taken a backseat to entertainment and sensationalism.
Gage, his colleagues, and citizens of the world are demanding an independent investigation into 9/11 that considers all of the evidence in a scientific, unbiased manner. And what would there be harm in conducting such an investigation? Considering the violent and economically destructive aftermath that persists to this day, wouldn’t it be a wise precautionary measure to reevaluate the premise that has led us to where we are?
For many, the notion of revisiting the events of 9/11 comes with a painful reluctance, even if on a subconscious level. Such a feeling is understandable, as it represents the uncertain notion of reopening a wound that has all but healed, and accepting the unsettling fact that things in this world may not be as they seem.
We may not currently have all of the answers to what happened on 9/11, but by examining the evidence and asking the right questions, we can embark on a journey toward ultimate truth — a truth that must be revealed once and for all.