One may have thought that the 9/11 Truth Movement would be dying down given that the Bush Administration are now out of office and the planners of the operation, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, due to be tried in New York. But either out of Indomitable Belief or the realization that the movement's in its dying throes one of its main heroes, Richard Gage, has washed up on the shores of Japan to give a speaking tour and I went along to see his presentation at Ritsumeikan University.
Richard Gage is considered to be one of the more "respectable" members (as opposed to "rabid" members - Alex Jones and Kevin Barrett spring to mind here) as he is an architect and therefore seen as an authoritative counter to the hundreds of structural engineers and other scientists who worked on the NIST and FEMA reports into why the World Trade Center Buildings collapsed on 9/11.
He has famously demonstrated the difference between the behaviour of a box falling at free-fall compared to one that lands on another box.
When I arrived at the lecture theatre I was a little surprised to see how many people there were (between 100 - 150 by my estimates). There was a bit of an introductory ramble by Japanese Truther Yumi Kikuchi and a few preliminary questions which suggested the audience hadn't really heard the Truther arguments before (Thierry Meysan's Pentagon-wasn't-hit-by-a-plane theory and a short film of Japanese politician Yukihisa Fujita proclaiming his induction to Trutherdom at the Japanese Diet). Gage then asked the audience how many people believed the "official story" of the collapse of the WTC, how many believed it was taken down by explosives set by the US government and how many didn't know. The vote was split pretty evenly.
Then Gage went into his slide show which involved a huge number of distortions from the beginning. In particular a number of polls were shown as evidence that the number of believers in the "inside job" theory was between a third and a half of the population depending on the poll (Gage ommitted to mention the fact that one of these polls was commissioned by the 9/11 Truth Movement themselves and manipulated in such a way as to get those who don't believe in an inside job to suggest they do).
There seemed to be so much sleight-of-hand as Gage explained the "characteristics" of a controlled demolition and then provided "evidence" for them. He began with a list which included "squibs" as a characteristic - but didn't touch on that one, curiously altering it to "pools of metal". He switched between saying that steel melts at such-and-such a degree - a temperature which couldn't be reached by jet fuel - and then shows a researcher from NIST saying that there were no pools of steel. Then he switches back to a paper which showed that molten steel had been found in the ruins (though he doesn't point out that it doesn't refer to "pools" of the stuff) and also to eyewitnesses who say they saw pools of molten steel and those who say they saw molten metal. The trouble is that he has no expert witnesses saying they saw pools of molten steel and says that those who denied they were there were lying. He also doesn't make it clear how or even if molten steel is a characteristic of controlled demolition - it's a characteristic that seems to have been slipped in the back door replacing the "squibs" which disappeared on his slide show.
Another thing that is disingenuous is that almost his entire presentation was on World Trade Center Building 7 so the controlled demolition characteristics which fit that collapse are easier to demonstrate but which don't apply to the Twin Towers. In particular he shows a building collapsing in a controlled demolition alongside the video of WTC7 collapsing. But while the WTC7 seemed to come down as a block with the lower parts of the building giving way first the same is not true of the Twin Towers which collapsed from the top (at the impact points of the two planes). He does point out that the sound of explosions are clearly audible in a controlled demolition and uses the testimony of a couple of people on video who say they heard such explosions. What he doesn't explain, however, is why the vast numbers of video which captured the collapse of the building failed to pick up any sounds of explosions.
I wanted to ask him this question and the audience was given an opportunity to ask some questions. I was overlooked, however and instead had to wait until the end. A vote was taken on what the audience now believed and apparently Gage had convinced everyone but me that the "official story" wasn't true (with a few fence sitters). Interestingly no one seemed particularly concerned to learn that the US government had planted secret special explosives that hitherto weren't known to exist up and down the Trade Centre and weren't content with simply flying planes into them but needed that explosive and complicated coup de grace without which they would have escaped the perspicacious gaze of David Ray Griffin, Steven Jones and Richard Gage.
But nevermind that, they all had a meal to go to afterwards, so I thought I'd quickly find out the answer to my question from Mr Gage. He seemed amicable enough and shook my hand to introduce himself to the only person in the room who disagreed with him. "So, why is it that there were no sounds of explosions on the videos during the collapse of the buildings?" I asked. He thought about it and at first told me that he wasn't sure but that he had heard that the sounds of explosions had been scrubbed from the audio track. I was a bit confused about this, there were plenty of different videos which had the sounds of the buildings collapsing and the sounds of voices on them. I thought it would take quite a job to erase the sounds of just the explosions and to do that from all the videos of all the news channels from every country as well as all the fire and police cameras. Richard Gage smiled, a little nervously I thought, and said, "I know, it sounds like a conspiracy!"