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BBC's Premature Announcement of WTC 7's Collapse

Archived footage of television broadcasts from 9/11/2001 shows the BBC reporting the collapse of WTC 7 about 23 minutes before it actually occurred.

BBC News correspondent Jane Standley reports that the Salomon Brothers' Building (WTC 7) has collapsed, unaware that the intact building is clearly visible behind her.

The BBC Bombshell

On February 26, 2007, it was publicized that the BBC had reported the collapse of the building at 4:57 PM on 9/11, 23 minutes before the actual collapse time of 5:20 PM, using excerpts which were apparently extracted from one of 417 streaming video files discovered on Archive.org just four days earlier.

The report is found in the following 1-gigabyte mpeg, which covers the time span from 4:54 PM through 5:36 PM:

http://ia311517.us.archive.org/2/items/bbc200109111654-1736/V08591-16.mpg

Portions of the report are transcribed below. The numbers in bold indicate times, in minutes and seconds, from the beginning of the mpeg recording.

03:15 ~4:57 PM: The anchor states:

We'll leave it there for a moment. We've got some news just coming in actually, that the Solomon Brothers' Building in New York, right in the heart of Manhattan, has also collapsed. This does fit in with a warning from the British Foreign Office a couple of hours ago to British Citizens that there is a real risk -- ah let me get the exact words -- the British Foreign Office -- the foreign part of the British government -- said it was a strong risk of further atrocities in the United States, and it does seem as if there now is another one with the Solomon Brothers' Building collapsing. We've got no word yet on casualities. One assumes that the building would have been virtually deserted. Whether this latest collapse is going to influence the President, who we heard about a few moments ago, who was expected to be heading from Nebraska back to Washington, we don't know.

06:31 ~5:00 PM: The anchor states:

The 47-story Solomon Brothers', situated very close to the World Trade Center, has also just collapsed.

13:20 ~5:07 PM: The anchor states:

Now more on the latest building collapse in New York ... you may have heard a few moments ago we were talking about the Solomon Brothers Building collapsing and indeed it has, and apparently it's only a few hundred yards away from where the World Trade Center Towers were. And it seems that this was not the result of a new attack; it was because the building had been weakened during this morning's attacks. We'll probably find out more about that from our correspondent Jane Standley. Jane, what more can you tell us about the Solomon Brothers' Building and its collapse?

14:00 ~5:08 PM: The screen is filled by correspondent Jane Standley standing in front of a window framing smoke rising from Ground Zero and a clearly erect WTC 7.

15:35 ~5:09 PM: The caption on the bottom of the screen reads:

The 47 storey Salomon Brothers building close to the World Trade Centre has also collapsed.

20:15 ~5:14 PM: The image of Jane Standley begins to break up and the anchor, remarking that they'd "lost the line" with Jane Standley, shifts to another report.

This YouTube video captures a portion of the mpeg starting at 00:13:20, and contains an excerpt from another BBC broadcast containing the announcement.

Veracity of Conclusion

Questions prompted by the report include: How do we know what the correct time of the broadcast footage is? and How do we know that the imagery behind Jane Standley is live?

It is unlikely that the real times estimated above are off by more than a minute. The mpeg files are located in directories on archive.org with names that encode times down to the minute. For example, the directory name bbc200109111654-1736 encodes the time range 4:54 - 5:36 PM. No part of the 41-minute recording that contains the report shows a digital clock, but other recordings do, and suggest that the encoding of times into directory names is as meticulously accurate as the set of recordings is complete. For example, an NBC broadcast recording with the directory name nbc200109110954-1036, encoding the time range 9:54 - 10:35 AM, shows a clock with minutes and seconds. It displays a time of 10:20 starting at 25:34 in the recording, putting the start of the recording at 9:54:26 AM.

That Jane Standley was standing in front of a live view of WTC 7 as she describes it in the past tense is virtually indisputable. The high-quality mpeg video clearly shows that she is in front of a row of windows in a tall building.

BBC Reacts

On February 27, 2007, the BBC's website published a response by Richard Porter in which he reactively denied the suggestion that there is something wrong with the BBC ( whose "vision is to be the most creative, trusted organisation in the world" 1   ) announcing the third of the only three skyscraper "collapses" in world history before it happened.

1. We're not part of a conspiracy. Nobody told us what to say or do on September 11th. We didn't get told in advance that buildings were going to fall down. We didn't receive press releases or scripts in advance of events happening.

2. In the chaos and confusion of the day, I'm quite sure we said things which turned out to be untrue or inaccurate - but at the time were based on the best information we had. We did what we always did - sourced our reports, used qualifying words like "apparently" or "it's reported" or "we're hearing" and constantly tried to check and double check the information we were receiving.

An image of the website hosting the alleged BBC World footage 3. Our reporter Jane Standley was in New York on the day of the attacks, and like everyone who was there, has the events seared on her mind. I've spoken to her today and unsurprisingly, she doesn't remember minute-by-minute what she said or did - like everybody else that day she was trying to make sense of what she was seeing; what she was being told; and what was being told to her by colleagues in London who were monitoring feeds and wires services.

4. We no longer have the original tapes of our 9/11 coverage (for reasons of cock-up, not conspiracy). So if someone has got a recording of our output, I'd love to get hold of it. We do have the tapes for our sister channel News 24, but they don't help clear up the issue one way or another.

5. If we reported the building had collapsed before it had done so, it would have been an error - no more than that. As one of the comments on You Tube says today "so the guy in the studio didn't quite know what was going on? Woah, that totally proves conspiracy... "

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References

1. About the BBC: Purpose and Values, bbc.co.uk,
2. Part of the conspiracy?, bbc.co.uk, 2/27/07
3. A stunning 48 hours of news, Associated Press,

page last modified: 2007-08-20
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