Inside Job: Spending Sept. 11 in Pioneer Courthouse Square with 9/11 Truthers

9/11 conspiracy theorists set up displays in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Sept. 11
Image: Lisa Dunn

A woman in a flowery skirt and oversized sunglasses stands in Pioneer Courthouse Square, at the edge of a table covered in pamphlets.

"What is all this?" she wonders aloud.

Another woman, wearing a cargo vest and Keens, answers. "We're raising awareness of what really happened on 9/11," she says. "Would you like to learn more?"

"Oh," the first woman says. She starts to back away. "I have a meeting right now, but thank you. Good luck." She walks off, her head down.

It's sunny and oppressively warm in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Sept. 11, 2015.


Marvin Sannes, who volunteers for the nonprofit organization Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, rented the square for 10 hours on Friday—the 14th anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers—to spread the 9/11 "truther" message.

He and two other volunteers set up banners and a table with informational pamphlets and DVDs. He also planned the world premiere of a movie funded by AE911Truth later Friday evening in the brick plaza known as "Portland's Living Room."

Sannes, a resident of both Salem and Portland, is a repeated political candidate who most recently ran against U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) in 2014.

He and his two colleagues focused heavily on World Trade Center 7, a third building that fell a few hours after the Twin Towers collapsed.

AE911Truth believes that all three buildings were felled in a controlled demolition and WTC7 is the smoking gun that proves it—something about the virtual impossibility of sustained fires being able to do significant enough damage to steel foundation in order for a building to collapse.

"Why aren't we talking about it? A lot is at stake," Sannes said Friday. "This is why we invaded Afghanistan."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, he said, is in the drug business, and entering Afghanistan meant more money. He held up a bar graph that shows the incremental increase in opium cultivation in Afghanistan from 1994 to 2014.

"We have a heroin problem here," Sannes said. "Ever wonder why it's cheaper now? That means less blowjobs for your daughter, and only misdemeanor burglary for your son."

Sannes said he rented the square to raise awareness, because, in Oregon, he sees more open-mindedness than in most states. "We are still open. The message may resonate."

At one point in the interview, a woman walked up and told us, "It's all bullshit. Everyone hates us anyways."

She asked Sannes for a pamphlet—and tried to walk away with his opium cultivation graph. Sannes jogged after her and, when he returned, he shrugged.

"She was interested."

Marvin Sannes in Pioneer Courthouse Square
Photo by Lisa Dunn
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Photo by Lisa Dunn

Correction: This story incorrectly reported that Marvin Sannes runs Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. In fact, he only volunteers for the organization. WW regrets the error.

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth spokesman Andrew Steele has given WW the following statement:

"Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth is a nonprofit organization currently representing over 2,300 architects & engineers who are simply calling for a new investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center towers that fell in New York on 9/11. We do not as an organization point fingers at any individuals or groups for planning or orchestrating the attacks of 9/11. Nor do we take a stance on any issue outside of the destruction of the towers on 9/11. […] Being a significant and growing organization, volunteers from all over the country occasionally plan their own events and use the materials that we sell and give out to spread awareness about our issue, but the opinions they express are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth."

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