Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Richard Gage’s Asterisk

Richard Gage’s Asterisk
by Michael Wolsey

March 29, 2011

Anyone who knows Richard Gage, AIA very well or has worked with him, knows that Richard insists that when you cite his name anywhere, whether in voice or print, that you include his title AIA, which stands for American Institute of Architects. I assume it’s much like a Dr. following his name with the letters PhD and is obviously important to Richard for whatever reasons. Those of us who know, always include the AIA tag when formally referring to Richard. We know that if we do not, Richard will be quick to correct us!

Unfortunately, Richard now has another inclusion in his title; an Asterisk.

In early 2009, I learned that Richard Gage, AIA and founder of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth had given a written endorsement of a new documentary about the September 11th Pentagon attack titled National Security Alert. This film was being aggressively promoted by two people, Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis who call themselves the Citizen Investigation Team or CIT. Craig and Aldo were apparently seeking written or verbal endorsements of their film from high profile members of the 9-11 Truth Movement.[1] At some point, they had approached Richard and he agreed to give them a statement. Richard’s written endorsement reads as follows:
"The exhaustive effort by Craig Ranke and Aldo Marquis of Citizen Investigation Team to contact, record, document, and analyze numerous first-hand eyewitness accounts of the actual flight path of the airliner at the Pentagon on 9/11 has been long overdue, but worth waiting for. The evidence they have uncovered and compiled in their DVD "National Security Alert" deserves serious attention - particularly in light of what we now know about the explosive destruction of the three World Trade Center high-rises that day."

Prior to Richard’s endorsement of CIT, I knew about Craig and Aldo and their kooky theory that speculates that Flight 77 flew over the Pentagon. I confess that I didn’t really pay that much attention to them. I consider CIT’s work to be counter to the truth and believe that unsubstantiated claims of truth based on dishonest research and methods and speculation actually hurts our efforts at achieving a new 9-11 investigation. It was also a highly held belief that in most cases, it’s best as a movement to ignore disruptions such as these, which is what I did with CIT.

With much fanfare, CIT boasted their high profile endorsers to as much of the movement as would listen and used these peoples’ names as an appeal to authority [2] to further promote their film. I saw this behavior as extremely dishonest and was very disappointed in Richard and the others. [3] I considered this a tipping point and a place where 9-11 activists could no longer ignore CIT. Since then, we have published several podcasts as well as articles on the topic at visibility911.com. [4]

In response, I personally contacted Richard and some of the other endorsers with polite, yet firm emails asking them if they knew the whole story behind CIT. I urged them to look further into Aldo and Craig if they had not done so in the beginning, and reconsider their endorsements of what I considered to be the worst disinformation in the 9-11 movement history. I also had a chance to sit down with Richard face to face when he was in Denver in August of 2009.

My biggest concern was that Richard’s endorsement of CIT was helping CIT’s credibility and hurting his own. It is my opinion that there is very strong evidence to support the Controlled Demolition hypotheses at the World Trade Center on 9-11. Richard and his organization AE911T had gained much credibility over the years in this area. I did not want to see this hard work discredited by association with CIT and I saw this as a real possibility. I informed Richard of my concerns, as well as why I believe what I do. I was certainly not alone in my critique of CIT and I know Richard was hearing from many others on this topic. After spending over an hour and a half talking on this, Richard admitted to me privately that he had probably made a mistake with regards to CIT but still failed to fully retract his endorsement.

In December 2009, Richard issued a “clarification” of his CIT statement, and in February of 2011, after educating himself about who Craig and Aldo really are, issued his “complete withdrawal of support” for CIT and their film.

Personally I welcomed this withdrawal of support by Richard, although I wished he hadn’t given them the statement in the first place. I argued for a long time that the damage had been done, and that even if Richard took back his support from CIT, that they would never remove his name or words from their website. This was even a prediction I made privately after Richard issued the withdrawal; repeat, that CIT will NEVER remove his name or endorsement from their website.

Since then, I have from time to time checked back to the “Praise for Citizen Investigation Team” webpage to verify my prediction. It is no great surprise to me, nor should it be to anyone familiar with CIT’s methods, that Richard’s endorsement continues to be posted at the CIT website along with the others. The only difference now is that Richard’s words are now followed by a big red Asterisk which is actually a link to another page at the website which contains a long and wordy response by CIT to Richard’s withdrawal of support. The link is neither prominent or easy to see. It is linked only to the Asterisk itself and unless you are looking for it, you won’t see it.

The reasons that CIT will never remove Richard’s statements are not hard to understand. It’s not because of pride or ego or anything like that. The main reason, and one of the main goals of disinformation is to discredit good information with bad . Since Richard and AE911 promote solid information, one way to undermine them is to discredit them. When Richard, and all the other endorsers gave their names to CIT, they all in one way or another discredited themselves by associating good information with bad; some have called it the “turd in the punchbowl”. The endorsements provide a strong tie between the good and the bad and these ties will never be broken; they are actually the goal.

Dishonest? Heck yea, but what else is new with CIT.


[1] It should be noted here that in my experience in the movement which goes back to 2003, I have never known any film about 9-11 to seek or even need endorsements. The movement has at times been hungry for tools to use on their friends and new video’s about the 9-11 attacks are no exception. The success or failure of a film was based on the films’ own merits.

[2] Argument from authority (also known as appeal to authority) is a fallacy of defective induction, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

[3] This list includes David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, Aidan Monaghan, Barrie Zwicker, Sander Hicks, Kevin Barrett, Peter Dale Scott, and Ed Asner.

[4] It is not my intention in this essay to discuss the relative dangers in disinformation/ misinformation as it relates to CIT. This topic has been extensively covered on our podcast and at my blog.