THE EXPERT WITNESS: A 9/11 redux - Let's use forensic science methods and hard evidence


By John Francis Sase, Ph.D.
Gerard J. Senick, chief editor

“Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.”
—Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Sign of Four” (“Sherlock Holmes” series, 1890)

As have hit the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 disaster, we have decided to give a second look at one specific event, the collapse of WTC Building Seven. We write about this subject with respect to serious investigation that continues on the part of a group of Forensic Architects and Engineers. Furthermore, we have drawn our inspiration from Frank Capra’s famous film “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Liberty Films, 1946). Our title for this column refers to the fallen petals that George Bailey’s little daughter Zuzu gives to him from a flower that she has received. “Look, Daddy, paste it,” she cries tearfully. Rather than repairing the flower, George places the detached petals in his pocket. Throughout the latter part of the movie, Clarence Oddbody (Angel Second Class) leads George through a view of his town as if he had had never been born. In this scenario, the petals have disappeared from his pocket. However, near the end of the film, George prays, “Please, God, let me live again.” Miraculously, the petals reappear in his pocket. Zuzu’s petals symbolize our current American culture. Just as George Bailey’s life was connected to everyone else’s in his small town, so the incident of 9/11 has touched every American since then.

Over the past decade, the public attention given to the tragedy of 9/11 has grown like a snowball rolling downhill. Suspicion of conspiracies has become a cause celeb among the activist community, especially that portion of the far-left wing that has resounded most vocally against the previous Presidential administration. The main voices of the populist 9/11 movement appear to be the organization known as NY911 Truth and talk-show host Alex Jones ( In the other corner of the ongoing media slugfest are organizations such as Debunking 911 Conspiracy Theories ( and journalist Mark Roberts (see his 104-page article World Trade Center Building 7 and the Lies of the 9/11 “Truth Movement,” For me (Dr. Sase), the wake-up occured after I viewed a YouTube documentary on the economic future of the auto industry. For some reason, the video that came up next in the automatic queue was “AZ Massacre Psyop: Shooter Viewed ‘Loose Change’ & Questioned Reality” (

For the unfamiliar, “Loose Change” was one of the first video documentaries to assert that the 9/11 tragedies resulted from a planned conspiracy that employed controlled demolition. In “AZ Massacre Psyop,” which is an interview by the Associated Press, the father of a friend of Jared Loughner, the accused shooter of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, connects Loughner’s behavior to his viewing of “Loose Change.” We are sorry, Zuzu, but it seems that America has taken the red pill from The Matrix and has gone down the rabbit hole. The time has come to take off the gloves and to settle the 9/11 debate within the public forum of our legal system once and for all, to the satisfaction of both sides.

For most of the decade, Geraldo Rivera vocally opposed the rag-taggers and radicals who were given the media label of “9/11 Truthers.” However, this group, once chided by Rivera and others, has evolved into a more formidable movement of advocates from the building professions. The passionate masses have been joined by a knowledgeable, objective, and respected organization of professional investigators. This organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), has brought credibility to the efforts of many and has reinstated the calm that allows for the much-needed, serious dialogue between the proponents and opponents of the 9/11 movement. In doing so, this group has set the goal of having the investigation of the 9/11 events be reopened officially. Since AE911 Truth has taken on the mantle of the movement, even Rivera has recanted (see “Geraldo Changes His Mind on AE911 Truth,”, 13 November 2010).

Patriotism is at issue here: Some Americans believe that it is unpatriotic to question the government about its official report on 9/11. Other Americans feel that it is just as unpatriotic not to question the government about this report. When these divisive politics are put aside and the deep and heavy emotions associated with the terrible loss of human life are held at bay, forensic scientists can take a cold, hard look at events of that day—CSI 9/11. The credible group of investigators called AE911 Truth has set aside the heated questions of alleged complicity by members of the previous administration. They have narrowed their laser focus to the simple analysis of a single event, one that most Americans have discharged as the less-significant sideshow of the day that changed America.

Building What?

Building Seven was a forty-seven-story office structure that was approximately 330 feet long, 140 feet wide, and 610 feet tall. It was constructed over a pre-existing electrical substation owned by Con Edison. Almost a decade ago, the Manhattan Twin Towers (World Trade Center Buildings One and Two) suddenly collapsed, allegedly due to aircraft impacts and subsequent fires. However, eclipsed by the destruction of the Twin Towers in the morning, the sudden falling of Seven World Trade Center at 5:21 PM drew only mild attention from a nation that was numbed by the earlier tragedies of the day. Post facto, official reports barely mentioned the building, attributing its collapse to a combination of structural damage and localized fires. Though its destruction was recorded by news crews and bystanders, reported by first responders, and analyzed by university physicists and other scientists, most Americans have relegated the collapse of WTC Building Seven to obscurity.

Though information about WTC Seven has remained below the media radar for years, the “Cone of Silence” has begun to lift. AE911 Truth, a group that includes more than one thousand professional architects and engineers, increasingly has considered the collapse of this building as the primary “smoking gun” that points to the use of controlled demolition on 9/11. Using the methodology of forensic science, AE911 Truth founder Richard Gage (AIA) and a cadre of architects, engineers, physicists, and other scientists have studied blueprints, construction and demolition videos, and other evidence. In addition, they have developed computer-graphic models, which cast a light on the core infrastructure of the building. Though they have considered the anecdotal testimony of police, firefighters, and first responders, these forensic analysts focused their attention on the principles of mass, resistance, and the physics of buildings, topics ingrained in the education of architects and structural engineers. Rather than attempting to solve a complex web of intrigue and political and financial conspiracies that allegedly led to the razing of an entire complex of buildings, as NY911 Truth has done, AE911 Truth has focused on the smallest of three buildings, the one not hit by an airplane. These investigators constructed their test hypothesis to consider whether or not Building Seven collapsed due to apparent structural damage and localized fires.

A Building or a Bunker?

Tony Szamboti, a member of AE911 Truth who is an accomplished mechanical engineer with an emphasis on the structural behavior of materials, has detailed the strength of construction of WTC Building Seven. Szamboti noted that the strength of construction was “five times stronger than it needed to be, yet collapsed at free-fall acceleration on 9/11.” Furthermore, Szamboti has demonstrated clearly that a free-fall acceleration collapse is, as he says, “physically impossible without the use of explosives” to remove the thousands of tons of structural framework beneath the skin of the building.

Since the inception of AE911 Truth, other members of the organization have used objective scientific methods to assemble and to analyze hard evidence. They claim that this evidence refutes the “collapse-from-fire” hypothesis. The group divides the evidence to support their hypothesis into three categories:

1. WTC Seven exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire. The missing “by-fire” characteristics include:

• Slow onset with large visible deformations

• Asymmetrical collapse following the path of least resistance. (Note: laws of conservation of momentum would cause a falling to the side that was most damaged by fire.)

• Evidence of fire temperatures capable of softening steel structural elements

• High-rise buildings with significantly larger, hotter, and longer-lasting fires have never collapsed

2. WTC Building Seven, a forty-seven-story high-rise not hit by an airplane, exhibited all of the characteristics of classic controlled demolition with explosives. These characteristics include:

• A rapid onset of the collapse

• Sounds of explosions at the ground floor that occurred approximately one second before destruction

• Symmetrical “structural failure” through the path of greatest resistance at free-fall acceleration. (For a period of ~2.5 seconds, Building Seven was falling through itself for over 100 feet with zero resistance, impossible in any natural scenario.)

• Implosion, complete collapse, and landing within its own footprint

• A massive volume of expanding pyroclastic clouds of dust

• Evidence corroborated by Europe’s leading controlled-demolition expert, the Dutchman Danny Jowenko

• Foreknowledge of the collapse by the media, police, firefighters, and others

3. Following the destruction of WTC Seven, strong evidence of demolition by incendiary devices has been discovered. This evidence includes:

• FEMA finding rapid oxidation and inter-granular melting on structural steel samples

• Several tons of molten metal reported by numerous, highly qualified witnesses

• Chemical signature of the incendiary Thermite found in solidified molten metal and dust samples

In order to access more detailed information of the forensic research by AE911 Truth, we suggest that our readers view their video “Blueprint for Truth” (

For a kiosk of opposing views, we suggest that our readers start by visiting the WTC Seven page of “Debunking 911 Conspiracy Theories” (

At this website, one can find the link to a long and thorough article by Ramon Gilsanz, P.E., S.E., and Willa Ng, “How the Loss of One Column May Have Led to the Collapse of WTC 7” (Structure Magazine, November 2007, Structure Magazine is the joint publication of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA), the Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE), and the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI). However, “Debunking 911” erroneously attributes the authors’ work to the editors of this magazine.

In their analysis, Gilsanz and Ng write that Building Seven “likely would have remained standing if not for the failure of one critical column, and its role as a key structural component....” They assert that the local failure of column seventy-nine caused the global failure of WTC Seven. As studied by researchers on both sides of the issue, Gilsanz and Ng recount that “[T]he final collapse of WTC 7 occurred over 8.2 seconds” (refuted in detail by AE911 Truth physicist David Chandler, Gilsanz and Ng also note that several videographers recorded this event from locations to the “northeast and northwest of the building. Study of these videos has led to the development of the timeline of the visible external sequence of events. ...  [A] kink develops in the east penthouse before it falls into the building. The west penthouse then fails, followed by a kink in the entire façade of the building. Total collapse follows.” We note that Gilanz is a partner at Gilsanz Murray Steficek, a structural engineering and building envelope consulting firm. He was involved in the cleanup at Ground Zero, the selection of WTC steel remnants for analysis, the ASCE-FEMA WTC report, and the ensuing NIST report.

Independent Investigation with Subpoena Power

In order to keep matters in perspective, we acknowledge that this group of building professionals has the greatest amount at stake in the case of Building Seven by proving that the collapse resulted from causes other than fire and apparently light structural damage. After all, how many of us would feel comfortable spending hours of our day in any steel, glass, and concrete high-rise designed by such architects and structural engineers, especially if it can collapse so easily, in such a short time, and without warning? In defense of their professions, the group known as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth has emerged as the forensic science voice of reason. To date, 1,473 verified architectural and engineering professionals and 11,624 other supporters have signed the petition demanding that Congress performs a truly independent investigation.

AE911 Truth continues to make a calm, concerted effort to reopen investigation of the tragic events of 9/11. They assert that an abundance of solid evidence exists that contradicts the hastily prepared NIST Report—the official investigation prepared in the wake of 9/11. On the AE911 Truth website, founder Richard Gage states, “We hope that if we can make the public aware of WTC 7 and generate enough pressure for a real investigation into that building’s destruction, it will open the door to a public examination of the entire 9/11 manufactured catastrophe.” Gage is a California architect who builds steel-frame schools, shopping malls, and office buildings. Originally a non-believer in alternate 9/11 theories, Gage has stated that he was turned around by his exposure to information that did not make sense to him as a trained professional.

The AE911 Truth petition reads, “To the members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate of the United States of America: On Behalf of the People of the United States of America, the undersigned Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and affiliates hereby petition for, and demand, a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11/01 – specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7. We believe there is sufficient doubt about the official story to justify re-opening the 9/11 investigation. The new investigation must include a full inquiry into the possible use of explosives that might have been the actual cause of the destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Building 7.” For additional information, please visit

This investigation could materialize in the appropriate public forum. In addition, scientifically based evidence and sworn, documented testimony by both proponents and opponents of this issue could surface. A well-constructed case then could be forthcoming. Especially with the families of the WTC victims questioning the NIST report, attorneys would become involved in an impartial, formal legal dialogue that includes both sides of the issue. Perhaps the result of this dialogue will bring about both the reappearance of Zuzu’s petals in the pocket of George Bailey and a new cohesive faith in our American culture.
Dr. John F. Sase has taught Economics for three decades and has practiced Forensic Economics since 1997. He earned an M.A. and an MBA at the University of Detroit and a Ph.D. in Economics at Wayne State University. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. Dr. Sase can be reached at 248-569-5228 and by e-mail at You can find some of his videos on Economics for Attorneys at

Gerard J. Senick is a freelance writer, editor, and musician. He earned his degree in English at the University of Detroit and was a supervisory editor at Gale Research Company (now Cengage) for over twenty years. Currently, he edits books for publication and gives seminars on writing and music. Senick can be reached at 313-342-4048 and by e-mail at You can find some of his writing tips at