Like any self-respecting organized religion, the 9/11 Truth Movement has its schisms and its ex-communications and many of its bloodiest battles are internecine. Fortunately that also makes them effective debunkers of other sects. Jim Hoffman, for example, provides compelling photographic evidence for debunking the no-plane-hit-the-Pentagon theory (which is the majority group of the "no-planers" sect, a minority cult of which deny any planes hit any buildings on September 11th 2001) and he has, in turn, received abuse from No-planers. Still more exotic theories include the idea that the Twin Towers were destroyed with nuclear weapons or lasers from space.
However while there may be quibbles and theological disputes over doctrine there does remain one supreme tenet that is dogma across the spectrum: that 9/11 was an inside job! Here, again, there are disagreements over who, exactly conducted the attacks. Was it the Bush administration? Were the "mainstream media" involved? Perhaps the CIA? FBI? The New York Fire Department? The owners of the buildings? The Red Cross(!)? There are also suspicions about more shadowy groups about which we know nothing, the New World Order, the Illuminati or the Freemasons. Perhaps the blame can be laid, as so tiresomely often in the past, at the door of suspiciously rich Semites? Such a disparite movement with its various articles of faith is unfortunately bound to attract a few weird and nasty people. With such a schismatic and quarrelsome community of adherents a few newer groups have emerged to slough off their image of conspiracist cranks and to present a more sober and scholarly face with impeccable scientific credentials.
Richard Gage's AE9/11 Truth (Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth) is one such organization. In his slideshow presentation in Osaka - which was similar to his presentation at Ritsumeikan which I've covered here he plays the Anglican vicar to Alex Jones' fire-and-brimstone preacher. His presentation is ecumenical in that it contains sections of Loose Change and Jones' 9/11 Mysteries as well as physicist Steven Jones' controlled demolition using thermite theory. Gage was influenced by reading the dean of 9/11ology, David Ray Griffin, who was himself influenced by Thierry Meyssan and the sinister Eric Hufschmid.
The Reverand Richard Gage in the pulpit
In the beginning, Gage informed us that the 9/11 Truth Movement is not a religion, which is what gave me the idea of adding a religious motif to this blogpost. Gage then went on to say that since 9/11 American freedoms are being trampled, the American media is becoming more "complicit", there are "ongoing injustices in the Middle East" and the US is at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only the Truth about 9/11 can roll these issues back. This seems to me to be making a literally fantastic claim almost likening the 9/11 to a kind of spell which needs to be broken. It might be why a number of anti-war activists have been dismayed by the Truth Movement as it has drained their reservoir.
The meat of Gage's presentation was to show that the collapse of both the Twin Towers and the Salomon Brothers Building (WTC7) had all the characteristics of a controlled demolition. First he showed a flowchart listing what those characteristics are.
Richard Gage's Flowchart
By far the largest part of the presentation was on WTC7, which is what Gage calls "the smoking gun" evidence of an inside job. This is perhaps because it more closely resembles the video of an actual controlled demolition that he plays it against. However, in this video the audio is turned off making it impossible to compare the sound of a controlled demolition with that of WTC7's collapse. This is important as we'll get to later. But also, looking at the characteristics, it seems clear that the collapse of the Twin Towers also don't follow that criteria. They didn't go straight down into their footprint as can clearly seen on photographs.
The towers didn't fall at free-fall speed either as is evidenced by the fact that debris fell faster than the collapse front on the buildings moved.
But, let's get back to the WTC7. The actual controlled demolition that Gage compares the collapse of WTC7 to is in fact very loud. Yet to demonstrate that this was the case with WTC7 also, Gage uses the testimony of Kevin McPadden which I've addressed here.
I decided to ask Mr Gage about that here:
Hmmm...so there are videos - which he can play - of WTC7 collapsing with the sounds of explosions audible on them and yet he decided not to play them but to have an eyewitness account of explosions retold? And which of these videos have been manipulated? We didn't find out because the next thing on the agenda was Steven Jones' theory that the buildings were brought down with thermite - or thermate...or possibly superthermite or nanothermite, I am not up to date with the latest theory. That's okay because the programme we received featured one of Steven Jones' "peer-reviewed" articles on "thermitic materials" and we can buy Jones' DVD on nanothermite straight from AE9/11 Truth's website (and in Jesse Ventura's recent faux-documentary on 9/11 conspiracies Jones suggests "liquid thermite" could have been painted on to the steel in the WTC buildings - swivel-eyed Jesse remarks darkly that it could be in any building in every city painted straight on to the buildings and the painters wouldn't even know!)
But how exactly is thermite supposed to work? Fellow commenter on the JREF forum, Nag P - an associate professor of chemistry at Osaka University - asked Richard Gage:
The objections are that thermite itself isn't explosive and that any form of highly reactive thermite with explosive capacity wouldn't be able to melt columns and beams continuously for weeks after the collapses and create the pools of molten metal cited by Gage as evidence for a controlled demolition. This raises two more objections and an observation.
1. As Nag P points out, thermite isn't even used in controlled demolitions. It seems to have been introduced almost as a deus ex machina to support the CD theory. 2. Molten metal isn't a characteristic of controlled demolitions. It seems to have been introduced (and oddly bumped "squibs" from the list of characteristics and replaced it) simply to undermine the "government story". I've remarked on this before that he uses a number of eyewitnesses to show that molten metal had been found - some of them indeed say steel - but he doesn't show any actual evidence of such pools of molten steel as were mentioned. One of the clips from 9/11 Mysteries disingenuously shows a report of finding molten steel in the rubble and yet it doesn't mention pools of metal. The rest of Gage's evidence is the discovery of tiny microspheres which Steven Jones contends were caused during the thermitic controlled demolition and also red and gray chips that Jones believes to be unreacted nano-thermite. I'd be interested to know what they are but so far the explanations I've heard are that the microspheres come from the cutting devices used to sever the remaining columns and beams during clean-up (in other words tools using similar materials to those cited by Jones for cutting beams were used to cut beams for having them shipped out - and there goes another characteristic) while the red and gray flecks are simply paint.
However, convinced of the existence of "chemical evidence for cutter charges", Gage then goes on to argue that the other characteristics were observable. At the end of Nag P's question, Gage says, "Let's see if there is any evidence of foreknowledge..." What? Foreknowledge of the destruction of WTC7, of course there was foreknowledge. Again, this seems like a dubious tactic, and I spoke directly to Gage after the presentation explaining that there had been many, many fire fighters who had said both before and after that the building's structural integrity had gone and that its collapse was imminent. He flatly dismissed it as I've described here.
He then moved on to the Twin Towers saying that the collapse of those was also by controlled demolition - just a very different controlled demolition. There then followed another barrage of odd and dubious claims which and ended up concluding that the characteristics of a controlled demolition were there also.
A show of hands revealed that Doubting Thomases, Nag P and I, were the only two sheep remaining while 90% of the rest of the audience now had their eyes wide open to the Truth.