Architects Shy From Truther 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Architects didn't show up for a 9/11-architecture-conspiracy documentary screening—and the AIA doesn't want its name associated with Trutherism.
By Jeremy Stahl
Posted on: July 19, 2012 | From: ARCHITECT 2012
The boardroom at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the American Institute of Architects is an impressive place: Beautiful concentric wooden desks, with microphones in front of every seat, encircle a small central dais, offering the impression that important discussions are had here. “It feels like the United Nations,” a guest recently commented.
This room recently served as a peculiar venue for the 23rd stop on the 30-city “world premiere tour” of AIA member Richard Gage’s new film 9/11: Explosive Evidence—Experts Speak Out: Final Edition.
Since 2006, Gage has been traveling all over the world under the banner of his organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth—an organization that has no affiliation with the AIA, express or otherwise—to preach the theory that the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center were actually brought down by explosives on September 11, 2001, and not the impact of two hijacked jetliners and the resulting fires and debris.
What was even more surreal than the late June screening location for his latest presentation of this argument, though, was hearing the types of speeches that accompany such an absurd event be given in such an austere room.
“I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into believing that our government and the Israeli government, the Israeli Mossad, could be responsible for the Twin Towers demolition,” one member of the DC chapter of 911truth.org declared from the AIA-emblazoned podium.
“At least three firefighters in New York at Ground Zero who came upon a large store of gold at the Twin Towers were executed by FBI… every official story turns out to be a lie,” another local activist said to applause.
Gage feigned to distance his organization, the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, from these remarks, calling the gold story “related” to his work but less “helpful” to its mission than his “irrefutable scientific evidence” that the skyscrapers were brought down by explosives.
The AIA itself, however, is firm about its relationship with Gage. “We don’t have any relationship with his organization whatsoever,” Scott Frank, head of media relations for the AIA, told me.
The former employee of the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based architectural firm Akol & Yoshii is a full-time 9/11 conspiracy theorist, but Gage tries to maintain a façade of being a scientist asking scientific questions. He does his best to avoid the murkier political questions of who could have orchestrated a conspiracy theory and cover-up of the size and scope that the 9/11 conspiracy movement alleges, but his technical views are actually quite mainstream within the Truth movement.
The accusations of Gage’s organization are the typical hodgepodge of pseudo-scientific claims. Along with other esoteric and debunked technical arguments, he says that melted steel was visible at the Ground Zero site proving that the fires burned too hot to have been caused by jet fuel; that because the buildings collapsed at “near free fall speed” there must have been a controlled demolition; and that traces of a thermitereaction found in the World Trade Center debris proves that explosives were used.
All of Gage’s so-called evidence has been rebutted in peer-reviewed papers, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, by the American Society of Civil Engineers, by the 9/11 Commission Report, and, perhaps most memorably, by the 110-year-old engineering journal Popular Mechanics.
What is more interesting than these bizarre and debunked conspiracy theories is the way that Gage places his AIA membership front and center in his presentations. He seems to be attempting to cloak his organization in the officialdom of the venerable 155-year-old professional institution, even as AIA wants nothing to do with his organization. At the start of his latest film, he explains that he is “a licensed architect of over 20 years and member of the American Institute of Architects.”
Gage often seems to wield his AIA status in promoting his conspiracy theories. In making his case, he also regularly cites that more than 100 AIA members and at least six AIA Fellows have signed his petition calling for a new investigation. In total, Gage says that more than 1,700 of the petition’s roughly 16,000 signatures are from architects and engineers.
During the screening, Gage was at the very least intimating that his organization had been invited to AIA officially.
“I can’t tell you how grateful we were to have been accepted to be here in the boardroom at the national headquarters,” Gage said. “We hope this is the beginning of a very productive relationship.”
Aside from Gage, though, there was not a single other architect in the room, much less an official from AIA, or even another member. The 80-strong crowd was made up largely of members of the local 9/11 Truth movement and other political activists.
Gage was once warned by AIA not to spread the misimpression that there is a relationship between the two organizations, after he wrote a letter to Congress stating that more than 100 members of AIA who signed his petition were demanding a new investigation into 9/11.
“It is somewhat troubling that he sort of portrays the notion that we have a relationship when we certainly do not,” Frank said.
After writing that letter to Congress, Gage was told, according to Frank, that “membership in AIA alone does not give any individuals the right to speak on behalf of the institute or represent the institute’s views.”
When I spoke with him after the event, Gage played up the importance of the venue.
“[AIA] can’t ignore the evidence of what we’re saying,” he said. “They can’t just say ‘it’s those guys out there.’ Now ‘they’re’ in ‘our’ house.”
When I asked him directly, Gage acknowledged that this was not an official AIA event but a rented space open to all members of the public, adding that he feels he hasn’t been given his proper due by the organization in the past.
But he is hopeful that one day he will be invited to officially address this boardroom.
“We need to be here with the board members of the American Institute of Architects so that they cannot ignore this evidence any longer,” Gage said.
He also hopes to be invited to speak at future AIA conventions and be given the chance to host free “educational” booths or seminars—a request that the AIA has denied. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth has exhibited at national and local AIA conventions in the past, but only after paying for booth space.
Gage should not expect those invitations any time soon, according to Frank: “There is absolutely zero relationship … [between our groups], nor will there ever be in the future.”
AIA 'Disowns' Richard Gage
9/11 Evidence: Fact or Fantasy?
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This is interesting to say the least but I guess hardly surprising at the end of the day. I will say that this 'episode' and its cast of characters have their dramas as well (including the writer J. Stahl from what I've casually gathered from searching) Its also lengthy and quite dated but I found it relevant especially considering Fintan's audio featuring Gage a few years ago:
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