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|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||9/11 Truth movement|
|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||9/11 Truth movement|
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) is an American non-profit organization of architects, engineers, and a demolition expert who dispute the results of official investigations into the September 11 attacks, including the 9/11 Commission Report. It supports the conspiracy theory that the World Trade Center was destroyed by explosive demolition.
Founded in 2006, the group demands that the United States Congress pursue "a truly independent investigation" into the September 11 attacks as they believe government agency investigations into the collapse of the World Trade Center have not addressed what it calls "massive evidence for explosive demolition." Despite their petition to Congress bearing the signature of over 2000 architectural and engineering professionals, the scientific and engineering community has generally rejected the position taken by the group, and several NIST-independent analyses published in peer-reviewed scientific journals provide evidence arguing against the "blast hypothesis".
Richard Gage, a San Francisco Bay area based architect, founded Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth in 2006. Gage, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, has worked as an architect for twenty years and was involved in the construction of numerous fireproof steel-frame buildings. He became convinced of the need to create an organization that brings together architects and engineers after listening to an independent radio station interview with theologian David Ray Griffin.
The organization continues to collect signatures for a petition that demands an independent investigation with subpoena power of the September 11 attacks, specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and 7 WTC. By December 2012, over 1,750 architectural and engineering professionals and 16,000 other supporters had signed the petition. According to the organization, the identities and qualifications of all licensed architects and engineers whose names are being published on its website as well as those of other supporters who are listed separately are subjected to verification before acceptance. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth publishes The Blueprint, a periodic e-mail newsletter.
Gage has given speeches at conferences organized by supporters of the 9/11 Truth movement in various locations in the United States and Canada, and has presented his multimedia talk "9/11 Blueprint for Truth – The Architecture of Destruction" in 14 countries. His presentations focus on the sequence of events leading to the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings and include videos of their collapses and footage of other high-rise building fires. He went on a tour of European countries in 2008 and gave speeches in Australia, New Zealand and Japan in 2009. In 2009, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth had a booth at the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects.
The controversial two-hour movie 9/11 Blueprint for Truth, popular among members of the 9/11 Truth movement, is based on a presentation given by Richard Gage in Canada. Gage was also interviewed for an episode of the BBC television program The Conspiracy Files, an episode of the ZDF's series History, based on a co-production of the BBC and the ZDF, as well as for a documentary produced by the Canadian television news magazine The Fifth Estate.
The organization is the main constituent of the ReThink911 coalition, which ran an advertising campaign putting up signs and billboards in seven U.S. cities, as well as in Vancouver, Toronto, London, and Sydney in 2013.
On February 7, 2013, a female visitor to the Louvre-Lens museum in Lens, Pas-de-Calais, France defaced Eugène Delacroix's painting "Liberty Leading the People" by writing "AE911" in indelible marker. The unidentified woman, who was reportedly mentally unstable, was arrested by museum staff. The inscription led to speculation in the French media that the incident was related to Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. The group released a statement stating that it "condemns and deplores the defacing of this priceless work of art and all public and private property." The painting, which bore no permanent damage, was quickly restored and returned to public view.
Members of the organization argue that the buildings of the World Trade Center could not have collapsed only because of the impact of the planes, or as a result of the fires that had been caused by them, and claim to have identified evidence pointing to an explosive demolition of the World Trade Center buildings. The group does not blame any particular individuals or organizations for the September 11 attacks, and Gage stated that avoiding speculation on the attacks on the Pentagon or on the involvement of the Bush administration was critical to the mission of the organization. However, Gage also said that if the destruction of the World Trade Center was the result of a controlled demolition, this would mean that part of what happened on September 11, 2001, would have been planned by "some sort of an inside group". According to Gage, an elevator modernization program that had taken place before the attacks would have provided an opportunity to get access to the core areas of the WTC towers without creating suspicion.
The organization has compiled a list of criteria for a controlled demolition that it says the collapse of the World Trade Center meets: the destruction followed the path of greatest resistance, the debris was symmetrically distributed, the rapid onset of the destruction, explosions and flashes reported by witnesses, steel elements were expelled from the building at high speed, the pulverization of the concrete, expanding pyroclastic clouds, lack of pancaked stories in the debris, isolated explosions 20 to 40 stories below the wave of destruction, molten steel and thermite traces found in the debris.
Investigations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have concluded that the buildings collapsed as a result of the impacts of the planes and of the fires that resulted from them. The mainstream scientific and engineering community has generally rejected the position taken by the AE911Truth group. In 2005, a report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that the destruction of the World Trade Center towers was initiated by a "progressive collapse" caused by the jet impacts and the resultant fires. A 2008 NIST report described a similar progressive collapse as the cause of the destruction of the third tallest building located at the World Trade Center site, the 7 WTC. Many mainstream scientists choose not to debate proponents of 9/11 conspiracy theories, saying they do not want to lend them unwarranted credibility.
Gage criticized NIST for not having investigated the complete sequence of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and claims that "the official explanation of the total destruction of the World Trade Center skyscrapers has explicitly failed to address the massive evidence for explosive demolition." In particular, Gage argues that the buildings of the World Trade Center could not have collapsed at the speed that has been observed without tearing apart several columns of their structures with the help of explosives. To support its position, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth points to the "free fall" acceleration of 7 WTC during part of the collapse, to "lateral ejection of steel," and to "mid-air pulverization of concrete." Richard Gage also said that the absence of "large gradual deformations" associated with the collapse would indicate that the buildings have been destroyed by controlled demolition. That the three buildings of the World Trade Center "fell through what should have been the path of greatest resistance" would, according to the organization, require "precisely timed removal of critical columns, which office fires cannot accomplish". As the mass of the top of the North Tower had been blown outward during the collapse, there was "nothing left to drive this building to the ground," Gage says.
Gage maintains that the "sudden and spontaneous" collapse of the towers would have been impossible without a controlled demolition, that pools of molten iron found in the debris of the buildings were evidence of the existence of thermite, and that researchers had found unignited nano-thermite in the dust produced by the collapse of the World Trade Center. Gage argues that this material "is not made in a cave in Afghanistan". Iron-rich micro-spheres, which, according to the organization, have been found in the dust of the World Trade Center buildings by independent laboratory analyses, would indicate temperatures during the collapses much higher than temperatures that would result from hydrocarbon fires. "We have evidence of high tech explosives found in all of the dust, we have evidence of thermite found in the molten iron samples. This can’t happen in normal office fires. They don’t have half the temperature required to melt steel, so where did the molten iron come from?" Gage asks. A DVD produced by the group contains eyewitness accounts of explosions and flashes seen in the buildings.
In 2008, Zdeněk P. Bažant, professor of civil engineering and materials science at Northwestern University, published with three coauthors a paper to examine whether allegations of controlled demolition might be scientifically justifiable. They found that the available video records are not consistent with the free fall hypothesis, that the size of the concrete particles is consistent with comminution caused by impact, and that the high velocity of compressed air explains why material from the towers were ejected to a distance of several hundred meters from the tower. The authors conclude that the allegations of controlled demolition do not have any scientific merit. A spokesman for NIST said that any sightings of molten metal, including metal seen pouring from the South tower, were likely molten aluminum from the airplane, an explanation disputed by Richard Gage who stated that the color of the molten metal rules out aluminum. "Basically, gravity and the utter force of the upper floors forced the towers down," said NIST spokesperson Michael Newman.
According to Richard Gage, 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC), a 47-story high-rise building that was part of the World Trade Center complex and collapsed in the afternoon on September 11, 2001, is the "smoking gun" of September 11, providing the most compelling evidence that something was suspect about the building's collapse that had not been told to the public. Gage also described 7 WTC as "the most obvious example of controlled demolition." According to Richard Gage, the only way to bring a building down with free-fall acceleration would be to remove its columns, which provide resistance to the force of gravity. Scott Grainger, a fire protection engineer and member of the group, told the BBC that the evidence he had seen indicated the fires in 7 WTC were scattered about on the floors and would have moved on as they would have found no more combustibles. He thus claims that the fires could not have developed enough heat to cause the collapse of the building.
Gage dismisses the explanation of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), according to which uncontrolled fires and the buckling of a critical support column caused the collapse, and argues that this would not have led to the uniform way the building actually collapsed. "The rest of the columns could not have been destroyed sequentially so fast to bring this building straight down into its own footprint," he says. Richard Gage argues that skyscrapers that have suffered "hotter, longer lasting and larger fires" have not collapsed. "Buildings that fall in natural processes fall to the path of least resistance," says Gage, "they don't go straight down through themselves." Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth also questions the computer models used by NIST, and argues that evidence pointing to the use of explosives had been omitted in its report on the collapse of 7 WTC.
The community of experts in structural mechanics and structural engineering generally supports the explanation of the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings provided by the investigation conducted by NIST. The appearance of a controlled demolition can be explained by an interior failure of the building, which is suggested by the sequence of the collapse of 7 WTC that shows roof elements sinking into the building while the façade remained intact.
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth expresses concerns that evidence related to the destruction of the World Trade Center could have been distorted and covered up by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which conducted a building and fire safety investigation, one of the official investigations into the event. According to the group, and NIST themselves who considered it unnecessary, NIST did not look for physical evidence of explosives and did not include the eyewitness accounts from first responders and from people who escaped the buildings in their investigation. The organization also alleges that much of the physical evidence, apart from a few selected samples of the steel, would have been destroyed. Gage criticizes that taped eyewitness interviews that were released to the New York Times in August 2005 had been "hidden by the city of New York".
After the publication of the results of NIST's inquiry into the collapse of 7 WTC, Richard Gage called a news conference, and leaders of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth dismissed NIST's investigation as flawed. When told of the claims, Shyam Sunder, lead investigator from NIST, responded: "I am really not a psychologist. Our job was to come up with the best science." A spokesperson for NIST said the agency's computer models were highly reliable in assessing the amount of fireproofing dislodged, a factor that would not be present in other steel buildings cited by Gage.