The 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks came and went pretty quietly, with the usual somber memorials at the World Trade Center site and at the Pentagon. It was probably quieter than Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) might have liked; it’s a group dedicated to spreading the idea that the attacks were an inside job and the towers were felled in a controlled demolition. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
A crucial piece of the group’s theory revolves around the collapse of “Building 7,” or 7 World Trade Center. On September 3, in part of a campaign they’ve dubbed ReThink911, AE911 and a related group, Remember Building 7, bought space on an enormous billboard near Times Square and took out an ad, one which reads, “Did you know a third tower fell on September 11?”
The groups bought similar billboards in Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Sydney, and London. But the Times Square ad was meant to be the centerpiece, the small flame that would, in their words, “spark a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.” When that didn’t happen, they launched an email campaign.
A little background, greatly condensed:
Rethink911.org‘s main feature is a five-minute video during which a succession of talking heads — from architects to engineers to 9-11 conspiracy theorists to Ed Asner, who isn’t a journalist but played one on TV — address the “unanswered” questions about WTC Building 7, which collapsed with seeming suddenness at about 5:20 p.m. on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The building had housed offices for the U.S. Secret Service and the Central Intelligence Agency.
What the video conspicuously does not mention is an exhaustive 2008 report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which concluded that a combination of intense fire and widespread structural damage brought down the building. Popular Mechanics has heavily covered the structural reasons behind the collapses of all three towers; the magazine, too, concluded that fire and physical damage were enough to take down the building. (The magazine has spent a lot of time disproving alternate theories of the September 11 attacks; that work eventually became a book, Debunking 9/11 Myths.)
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth has denounced the NIST report as fraudulent and insist the truth has yet to be revealed. Hence the billboard, which was originally paid for through September. On October 1, ReThink911 announced it had raised another $25,000 to keep it through the month.
Four days later, ReThink911 also launched “Media Blitz Week,” designed to get the New York media’s attention. From the website:
Join this media blitz campaign to tell the NYC media that there has been a giant ReThink911 billboard in Times Square since September 3rd. The 54-feet-tall billboard asks New Yorkers if they know a third tower fell on 9/11. A recent poll shows that, after 12 years, only 1 in 2 Americans know about the collapse of WTC Building 7. Mainstream media cannot and should not ignore this ─ but they have so far. With the participation of thousands of ReThink911 supporters like you, this can change.
The campaign targeted five publications: the New York Times, the Post, the Daily News, Newsday and the Voice.
“Two of the Village Voice’s partner alternative weekly newspapers – the Dallas Observer and SF Weekly – already covered the ReThink911 campaign,” the announcement read. “So there’s a good chance the Village Voice will, too–if we send a loud enough message.”
On Friday, we started getting the e-mails.
Some were sent to a general mailbox; others went to the inbox of our editor, Tom Finkel. They range from the polite (“Please cover the Rethink911 campaign”) to the insistent (“Are you sure that this movement isn’t worth another look? There have been substantial developments in just the last 2 years!! Don’t you owe your readers this information?”) to the very, very insistent (“I’m not sure why its taken 12 years for people to get their shit together concerning this issue…DO YOUR FUCKING JOB PEOPLE.”)
A few more excerpts:
Here’s a really good story that other newspapers refuse to cover. The billboard sign in Times Square that reads “Did you know a 3rd tower fell on 911?” posted by www.rethink911.org is the result of an effort by over 2000 Architects and Engineers that are putting their reputations on the line to scientifically expose the fact that it was not a fire that caused the 3 WTC buildings to collapse on 911. These are the experts that design and construct steel frame buildings and they have secured funding to get the word out. You will be hearing more about this as they are growing in number and have the financial support to increase their advertising campaign. I strongly suggest that your paper take the lead in reporting this story in support of those that lost their lives that day in the attack. The official story defies science and is a lie. These experts can prove their case with your support. – Neil Monastero, Escondido CA
It is obvious to any honest observer why the buildings fell in 2001. Most often, the media ignores the story or will only rarely mention it sandwiched between phrases such as the standard “conspiracy theory” or perhaps “nut-jobs” If you stand up to the people pulling the strings and get fired- you have an open door to better opportunities and a life of integrity. Kevin K., Chicago
A few emails suggested that September 11 as a whole might have been staged or somehow fabricated:
There are on billboards around the world and in Times Square requesting reconsideration of the 9/11 event. A day on which 4 airliners crashed leaving no trace of any bodies or luggage. Rather unusual?
In the World Trade Center Building 7 fell as if brought down by controlled demolition, which would have required several weeks of planning and planting of charges for the whole steel framework to have fractured spontaneously.
Freedom of the press means that some countries are far better informed than the USA. In Germany for instance the vast majority of the population do not believe the official account of 9/11. Malcolm Shykles, London
More than one suggested that we are either forbidden from writing about the truth as they see it or are being paid by powerful forces to keep the truth quiet (for the record, neither of those things are true). To wit:
Your newspaper, one among many major media companies, stands accused of gross dereliction of responsibility, and reprehensible neglect, in the conduct of its investigation and reporting on the 9/11 events.
Unless your editors continue to be muzzled, the subject billboard should serve to have them direct their reporters to conduct a much closer and honest look at ALL the many crimes committed on that fateful day. The editors owe it to the nearly 3,000 victims and, especially, to their own conscience. Wayne Bailey, Mission British Columbia, Canada
Dear Mr. Finkel,
The only reasons why a good journalist would not print the truth about 9/11 is:
1) Your being paid to keep quiet.
2) Your afraid
3) All of the above
Which one fits you? Or do you have enough love in your heart to stand up and say enough! We do!!! Do the right thing, tell the truth!!!!! Arnett Leftenant, Windsor New York
Coverage will mean that you are still a news organization.
Failure to cover will me that you are a prostitute [#2 definition: “One who sells their values or talents for an unworthy cause]. Robert Flynn, Minneapolis
Not reporting the facts makes your as guilty as the murderers that perpetrated this heinous act.
Silence is complicity.
Do your duty, you have a responsibility even 12 years too late. Adri Schlotz
And a few managed to get their point across with a minimum of words:
9/11 commission hinky
Don’t you think?
At last count, we’ve received around 200 e-mails. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2013