Richard Gage will be appearing in Montreal on Wednesday night, March 26 at McGill University’s Leacock Building, room 132, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance online and $20 at the door. Gage’s cross-Canada tour winds up April 1 in Newfoundland. For more details about the tour, check out rethink911.ca
By Craig McKee
The old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity gets a real test when it comes to 9/11 Truth.
Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who is currently on a cross-Canada tour, got a major dose of media ignorance and contempt during his visit to Toronto last week. Local hatchet man and supposed intellectual Michael Coren, host of the Sun News show The Arena, dropped by the Gage event long enough to spread some ridicule and truly nasty condescension with the help of some creative editing that often cut his subjects off in mid-sentence. He interviewed several who attended the event and then proceeded to show us “the worst of the worst.” But what he called the worst was really just people offering an assortment of thoughts on who might really have been behind the crimes of 9/11.
During Coren’s “interview” with Gage, the words “conspiracy loony” appeared on the screen. Seriously. On the screen. He also called truthers weak-minded, losers, and crazy during his report. Oh, and he and his crew left BEFORE the event even started. Facts? Evidence? No time for those. But in fairness, Coren did remind us that he doesn’t usually go out in the evenings (“I go home, obviously, and wrap up in bed …” ??).
Coren is Canada’s answer to Piers Morgan only even nastier and more smug – if that’s at all possible. We can tell by his accent that he’s also a transplanted Brit even though the bio on his own web site neglects to mention where he is from or when he came to Canada. Or why. Or how we can get him to go back.
Hilariously, Coren is described on the Sun News web site as providing “strong, balanced opinions to challenge conventional thinking.” You’d think he’d be embarrassed by this description, but perhaps self-awareness isn’t his strong suit. On his own site we see a cloud of positive attributes floating around his head shot: these include “opinionated, hard-hitting spiritual, and talk show host.” (The last one’s actually true; I checked). I almost forgot: he has the nerve to describe himself as “ethical.”
Then there’s Jonathan Kay, author of the intellectually dishonest book (hit piece) Among the Truthers. He reached into his bag of anti-truth tricks in a piece on Gage’s visit to say Gage was “preaching to a dying breed” and that his emergence as a 9/11 Truth advocate was akin to a religious conversion. It was the usual discredit-the-messenger crap from Kay, Canada’s most articulate disinformation specialist when it comes to 9/11. This National Post editor freely admits he doesn’t pay much attention to the actual evidence. Instead, he looks at the “phenomenon” of the Truth movement and what makes those crazy conspiracy theorists continue to believe what they do after all these years.
He cements this point with an oh-so-clever photo of Gage with his eyes open wide as if in surprise. But it’s not meant to look like he’s surprised, it’s meant to look like he’s not connected to reality. (Get it, folks? He’s a crazy conspiracy theorist – just look at the picture!)
Just because Kay is less outwardly offensive than Coren doesn’t mean that what he says is any less disgusting propaganda. If you must know more about where Kay stands (he thinks children should be taught in schools about the dangers of “conspiracism”), check out my interview with him here and my follow-up commentary here.
Despite the media hostility and indifference, there is much to be hopeful about concerning Gage’s tour and the Rethink 9/11 campaign in Canada and around the world (Toronto commuters have been shown a short video of the destruction of Building 7 as well as posters for the Rethink campaign). And I think it’s important for those of us in the Truth movement to look for and find the positive in things that are happening (the High-Rise Safety Initiative in New York is another example). Otherwise we will slip into cynicism and apathy. And we can’t give people like Coren and Kay the satisfaction of letting that happen.
One thing that really intrigues me from the Gage tour is that he is collecting names of people who might be willing to present themselves as federal candidates under a 9/11 Truth banner. I have a feeling I’ll be writing more about this prospect in the future (If you think a speaking tour is bringing out media hostility, wait till we run for Parliament!).
These efforts have people talking about 9/11 when they likely wouldn’t have been otherwise. And not all the media news is bad. There was some press coverage by the Toronto Star and Toronto Life magazine. The Star’s piece was not bad despite starting with, “The truthers are back.” Toronto Life’s piece was par for the course, calling the Rethink 9/11 ad campaign strategy “both brilliant and a little bit scary.” The piece pointed out that the ad campaign would be reviewed and possibly removed by the Toronto Transit Commission if it receives at least five complaints (which I’m guessing it has by now).
We went through this before when the Ottawa Transit Commission considered a review of their ad policy after Rethink ads were placed on buses. A past Supreme Court of Canada ruling makes clear that transit ads are protected speech.
To the City of Toronto: Just try and remove these ads and see how fast you get sued.
The Montreal stop on the tour has been going up against a provincial election and that fact that we don’t have any Rethink ads here. The result is that the event is happening with very little press attention save for a five-minute radio mention and a piece in The Suburban, a weekly newspaper where I worked until 2005. (*Just found out, two hours after this article was posted, that Gage will be a guest on Wed. morning at 9:30 on The Tommy Schnurmacher Show on CJAD radio, the top English AM station in the city. This is great news!)
Columnist Mike Cohen, who I have known since 1988, devoted a full piece to Gage’s visit and my involvement. Despite Mike feeling the need to start the piece with a warning that some may find the content of the piece offensive, he laid out the basics of why we’re questioning the official story of 9/11, and he did it without sarcasm or condescension. That took some guts on his part, and I’m grateful. And I understand the warning. When it comes to opening people’s eyes to the truth about 9/11, it seems we have to walk before we can run. And we’ve been doing a lot of walking over the past 12 ½ years.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been part of a volunteer team that is working to organize the Montreal stop on Gage’s tour. It’s really my first experience with on-the-street activism, although I have attended various demonstrations over the years, including one against Ronald Reagan’s summit with Brian Mulroney in Quebec City in 1985 and a huge demo in Washington D.C. in 1987 that condemned U.S. foreign policy in Central America.
When I agreed to help with the Gage event, I had an ulterior motive. I hoped this would give me the chance to finally connect with some truthers in my own home city of Montreal. The city did have a 9/11 truth group and a website at one point, but for reasons I’m not fully up to speed on, both became inactive. But that may now have changed, as our group has agreed to continue meeting regularly. We hope to initiate future 9/11 actions and get a new web site up and running.
I helped put up posters around the downtown area and on the downtown campuses of McGill and Concordia universities, while others in our group handed out AE literature, organized our Facebook event pages, reached out to the media, and co-ordinated with truthers across the country who worked in their communities to make the tour a success.
Our team assembled a massive email list of politicians, academics, law enforcement people, professionals (including, appropriately, architects and engineers), and media. I don’t expect we’ll see very many from these groups attending the event, but the effort was worth making.
While I very much appreciate the many truthers I’ve gotten to know from across North America and around the world – particularly those with whom I’ve become good friends – the one thing that was missing was being part of a local group that can do something concrete and local to raise the profile of this hugely important issue.
Together, the members of our new group can share our outrage about the 9/11 lie and our willingness to do something about it.