Ron Craig versus Richard Gage, AIA: An Analysis of the Controlled Demolition Debate

Mr. Ron Craig, teacher of pyrotechnics and explosives at Ryerson University and fire and explosion investigator, came out as a spokesperson against the controlled demolition hypothesis 2007. We heard Craig will be debating with Richard Gage on Sunday and thought the community might want to know more about Craig's arguments, since as far as we know, none have been published on the web. We have tried to represent Craig’s arguments as fairly as possible, we have added some context and comments in square parenthesis.

Adnan Zuberi and Adam Parrott (authors of this article) have several experiences with Ron Craig. Firstly, we hosted him at the University of Waterloo 9/11 Research Group event in March 2009, where Craig framed explosives as the conventional explanation of the towers demise and gravitational collapse as the “correct” alternative explanation. Secondly, we attended his lecture at the Centre for Inquiry in Toronto and Craig’s presentation was largely the same. Thirdly we met him on the Richard Syrett Show in September 2009 in a debate-like format (yet to be released). We find that Mr. Craig is a likeable and polite person and we invite him to join other 9/11 researchers in the community by publishing his work so that it may be properly scrutinized.

Craig’s Tactics

Craig does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate 9/11 websites and simply refers to “9/11 websites” as though they were all equally illegitimate. This provides him with ample opportunity to selectively choose information to set up straw man arguments and discredit his opponents by association.

Craig remains unpublished even though we have asked him on all three occasions to publish his calculations and assumptions. None have been forthcoming after a reasonable time. He has banked on his membership to official-sounding associations and experience to lead the audience to believe that his calculations are correct. In this way we feel he is using a professional veil to hide from scrutiny.

Craig will not admit to defending “official account of 9/11”, since he thinks this pool of data (including government reports) is somehow poisoned by criticism. This is actually a testament to the hard work of the 9/11 truth movement, thanks Ron. So Craig does not rely on data produced in government reports. Craig claims to have conducted his own separate analysis.

During his presentations, Craig likes to read his calculations and sometimes this will go on for minutes. What follows turns into a mess that is hard to follow and we think this might simply bore someone into believing him, as long as enough of the right phrases are repeated. Craig’s favourites to repeat are “fire and explosion investigation” and “scientific method”.

Main Arguments: What Craig thinks about...

When conventional explosives are set off, they change quickly from a solid to a gas, generating heat and pressure. The result is a shock wave that pushes air away in all directions from the explosive origin, called the positive phase. This phase is characterized by a hot, high velocity outward wind that last for a short period of time. While the energy released by an explosive dissipates, a vacuum is formed in the center and air rushes back inward to fill in the vacuum in what is called the negative phase. Heat from the explosive raises the air to temperatures exceeding 700 degrees Celsius. Both blast pressure and heat last for short period of time.

When it comes to cutting steel, an explosive cutting charge, shape charge or linear charge will provide an effective force to cut steel. Unshaped explosives will deform steel but will not effectively cut it.

Thermite and Nano-Thermite
Thermite is a mixture of Iron Oxide, Aluminum and an oxidizer like Barium Nitrate (approximately 30% Barium Nitrate). None of the tests by Harrit et al. found Barium Nitrate in the red/gray chips analyzed, therefore, thermite was not used to destroy the WTC. In addition, thermite is a pyrotechnic material that burns rather than explodes.

The molten metal flowing out of the building was not thermite, but rather other chemicals that burn together, such as aluminum and plaster. This is a common occurrence, however, more research is needed.

Nanothermite cannot be an explosive. Kevin Ryan’s claims about faster energy release in nanothermite when compared to thermite and its use as an explosive are scientifically untrue.

Dust Clouds
The most common ingredient used in the WTC was drywall: there was a lot of gypsum and it’s the drywall that creates all the dust when a building collapses.
Concrete was not blown into dust but was reduced to small chunks and concrete rubble. The squibs are created by the force of the collapse.

Molten Metal
The molten metal in the rubble would require a constant heat source, and it would take hundreds of thousands of pounds of thermite to keep the metal at its melting temperature.

Fire code NFPA 921 states that during a fire, a metal with a relatively low melting point can soften or liquefy in contact with other metals. If a lower melting emperature metal contacts the surface of a high melting temperature metal, the two metals can combine to create an alloy which can have a low melting point. NFPA 921 says that this is not an indication that accelerations or unusually high temperatures were present in the fire.

[A student asked Craig during the Q/A session at the Centre for Inquiry about Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl who said “I saw melting of girders in [the] World Trade Center”] Craig responded that he has no idea why the engineer would say that and that just because the engineer stated that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was molten metal found.

History of Fire-Induced Collapse of Steel-Framed Buildings
[Craig showed an unreferenced video of a building partially collapsing that he claims is a steel-framed high-rise.] In many situations firefighters fought an office fire for three hours – fires do not creep around. There is no evidence that the truss connections were ever fire tested.
[However, Shyam Sunder of NIST stated that no high-rise steel frame building has collapsed due to fire in the WTC 7 Final Report Press Briefing.]

Craig on Eye-Witnesses
There is no evidence of PBI (Primary Blast Injury) such as projectile injuries and damage to ear drums. Eyewitnesses are generally unreliable.

Craig on Free-fall of WTC 7
Craig distances himself from the issue of free fall by stating that the buildings fall at the rate they fall at and it’s an issue for physicists.

[When asked by Prof. Keefer and others at U. Waterloo about WTC 7 descending in free-fall,] Craig said it needs to be further researched or investigated.
[However, in our September 2009 discussion on the Syrrett show, Craig stated that WTC 7 came down due to a chain reaction failure of the columns. There was no explanation as to how a chain reaction can explain global collapse in free-fall.]

Who is Responsible
There was a lot of empty space in the WTC towers that resulted in the lack of structural integrity during the fires and concluded that the Port Authority’s goal was to maximize rental space. The Port Authority should be held responsible.

NIST and a new Investigation
Craig distances himself from NIST. He has read NIST’s reports on WTC 1, 2 and 7. In his presentations at U. Waterloo and CFI, he reasons that his research does not use NIST’s reports because critics argue that NIST is not independent from government. Craig says that he supports an investigation into 9/11.


Thanks for this, guys. Most of us allow our talks to be video-taped and widely distributed. Mr. Craig, it seems, does not, so to find out what he is arguing we either have to attend his lecture (not always possible) or depend on those who have--so your notes are very handy.

I hope Richard has a chance to read these notes, and I also look forward to comments from others whose work Craig is criticizing.

This should be a good debate

Here's a pro+Craig blog, from a professor from Waterloo

Is Ron Craig a Professor or

Special Effects guy or both? The conspiracy show bio says he's worked on 50 movies & 10 TV shows

According to that blog posting, Ron Craig said the following

A critical evaluation of the evidence used to prove explosive demolition consists of the following: 90% eye witness accounts/photographic evidence and 10% published articles in The Journal of 9/11Studies and other open source journals including “The Open Civil Engineering Journal”. So, what do we find in these journals? Let’s look at one example.

In an article published in the “The Open Civil Engineering Journal” (Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction – 2008, Volume 2) Mr. Steven Jones writes, “Probing for residues from pyrotechnic materials, including thermite in particular, is specified in fire and explosions investigations by the NFPA 921 Code” [page 39].

There is only one problem here: this statement does not exist in NFPA 921.

The exact quote, on page 85, NFPA 921 states: “Thermite mixtures also produce exceedingly hot fires. Such accelerants usually leave residues that may be visually or chemically identifiable. Presence of remains from oxidizers does not, in itself, constitute an intentionally set fire”.

Mr. Jones goes on to state in his article, “The code specifies that fire scene investigators must be prepared to justify an exclusion”. The implication is an investigator should look for these residues, and if the investigator does not, he/she has to justify the reasons for this action.

Again, no where in NFPA can you find this statement.

NFPA does state, “The scientific method, however, should be applied in every instance” (page 7).

I submit that if the quotes used to support a point of view do not exist in the document being quoted, and statements are used which do not exist in the source material, the quality of the research is at best, suspect.

There is one thing for certain: the scientific method is not used in any of the 911 research I have reviewed.

This should be an easy win for Gage, though if Ron Craig

is being sent in by the other side to try one last time in discrediting our position, we can expect him to be well versed in the art of spin and obfuscation (and outright lying). Gage had definitely better know his opponent ahead of time. When he debated Mark Roberts (and RG clearly won), the one criticism I had was that Gage could be a bit passionate sounding, which some might mistake for desperation, wheras Roberts came across as collected and confident. Plus, Roberts is 100% an agent imho and he certainly has mastered the art of spin as well as any Fox News pundit. He knows how to talk and be knowledgeable-sounding even when he's got no argument.

Of course, since RG and RC have already debated once, and RG did really well, I can't imagine it won't be the same this time.

Also in that posting...

Is the comment posted by Arthur Scheuerman, Former FDNY Battallion Chief. The post is longer than most dissertations, but tries to be as thorough as possible. It still ignores many aspects and some explanations seem very dubious and presumptive (IMO) but considering his background, I think his posting should be disected and put in the realm of Bazants outrageous "crush up, crush down" hypothesis. Of course, none of the explanations offered explain 105' of free fall.

good luck Richard, truth is on your side.

peace all

"It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear."
- Douglas MacArthur

BTW, that professor

repeatedly uses the ad hominem attack of comparing Truthers with Holocaust deniers. That's shameful and irresponsible.

Craig teaches a theater school class

on how to blow things up.

& i thought he was legit.

I'd rather not use the phrase..

but he sounds like a nutcase.

At first glance I thought he was a well respected "professor"

Bottom line is he is a life-long special effects guy. Master in the art of faking explosions for film.


for 911 lies?

It could have Ron Craig, Penn & Teller, James Randi, and Philip Zelikow.

Good one......

Craig is sounding more like a special effects guy than a scientist.... and doesn't even support the official story?? That is kind of weird. I would prefer we debate people who support the government story rather than someone who waxes about something that he won't even publish... sounds like a distraction away from the OCT.

More on master magician and myth-maker: The Amazing Zelikow!
This guy's academic expertise is the creation and management of PUBLIC MYTHS Presto! A Psy-op.

Barium nitrate is but one of many potential oxidizers

Jeffrey Shallit, owner of the pro-Craig blog, states that, "claims thermite was used is undermined by the fact that no barium nitrate was found in the [911] debris."

As I understand it barium nitrate is a component of "Thermate-TH3", which is but one variety of thermitic material. Numerous other oxidizers can be used, as iron oxides, which I believe is consistent with the Jones et al Thermitic material paper.

The lack of barium nitrate merely excludes one form of "thermite". There are many others.

Richard Gage, AIA

Our friend, founder of AE911truth requests our using AIA following his name in any article or other official circumstances. AIA stands for American Institute of Architects.

thanks for understanding.. i will send this in to the contact form too.. to request the title change to include AIA.

Fit to transmit in post Cassini flyby era
<>~<> <>~<>
for life's survival in the 21st Century

Who cares?

Obviously the three buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. A blind man can see that. What gets me is the whole so-called "Official Story" is all comic book stuff. 19 guys with box cutters did it? I wasn't born yesterday. The official story is ridiculous. 9/11 was an inside job period. Case closed!

More on Psy-Ops:

Zelikow's 1998 paper: "CATASTROPHIC Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy: Imagining the Transforming Event.

"Shock and Awe" in Iraq. Demolitions of the WTC. It happens on 9-1-1... "Let's Roll," hero story/ rallying call. Pentagon is hit. Ringleader is the scary-looking one we see the most--- Atta.

Now we have the "Christmas Day" bomber.

Well said Joe

It does seem crazy to have to "prove" that birds fly and fish swim.


I am sick and tired trying to prove the obvious. 9/11 was an inside job. Anyone who believes the Official Story is either brain-dead or in denial. I am also sick and tired of hearing "Our Government wouldn't do that." BS, they don't give a rats ass about you and I. They consider the average American "Useless Eaters." The entire Government is nothing but a criminal enterprise I am sorry to say.

RE: Craig's claim about Nano-Thermite...

...and how it cannot be explosive, it take all of two minutes to do a google search to prove him wrong.

Here are just three of many articles which discuss the now established scientific principle that bringing the particle size in thermitic materials down to the nano-sized level increases the energy release rate by several orders of magnitude.

That Ron Craig would so brazenly claim that nano-thermite cannot be explosive when there is established scientific principle to the contrary, seriously undermines his credibility as a scientist and as a researcher. All 9/11 researchers should keep this fact in mind when deciding whether Ron Craig is simply a mis-informed, but earnest participator in the debate over what happened on 9/11, or whether he serves some other, more sinister purpose.

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government." -The Declaration of Independence

Not A Debatable Subject

If I may suggest a tactical flaw in debating whether explosives brought down the towers: it gives credence to the other side, where none is warranted. Of course explosives brought down the towers (and WTC 7). One only needs to look at the videos on YouTube to know that the towers were blown to pieces. That is why explosives expert Van Romero knew on September 11, 2001 that explosives were in the towers just by the nature of their collapse.

The question of explosives in the WTC is not open to DEBATE. It is a fact. Therefore debating is self-defeating, and a waste of time.

Debating means the topic being debated is still up in the air. Really! Instead of debating explosives in the towers, the 9/11 Truth Movement should be aggressively pointing out that the videos of the towers CLEARLY show the towers are exploding.

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief
Washington, DC

Agree, the challenge is getting people to look

at the information.

“Almost every architect and engineer we show this information to agrees with us that these are controlled demolitions. If we can get them to look at the information, because obviously the implications of a controlled demolition are dark for our country, because that means somebody besides Al Qaeda was involved, because these have to be easily three of the most highly secured buildings outside of the Pentagon.”

Richard Gage, AIA on KMPH Fox 26 interview in May, 2009

Arms Length

I'd rather watch a lecture by Gage at a convention/university then watch Gage debate. The former venues are the best and most economical way to get the truth out, without giving the sociopaths on the other side a platform to spew their paid-for propaganda.

Look, those “experts” who debate Gage KNOW what happened on 9/11, therefore they are sociopaths. Gage should keep them at arms length!

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief
Washington, DC

Clearly defeating all debate helps our cause

Most people who are rational enough to consider the facts of 9/11 will agree that the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings is fairly obvious. So any one entering into debate with enough integrity to look at the facts and then keep arguing against them is probably a disinfo agent.

But we should debate such people not to convince them, but to convince the many viewers of the debate who are on the edge, or not clear on the facts, or just blindly believing what they are told. Clearly defeating each of the bogus attempts to obscure the facts will serve to push more people over the edge, to make it clear to them what the facts really are, and to wake up more people who will then help us wake up even more people.

Spreading the 9/11 truth is not just about espousing and defending what we believe is true, but also exposing and attacking what we believe is false. We certainly don't know everything about what happened, but we know the official story didn't happen and we know some of what must have happened.

So we should welcome the debates as a great opportunity. In fact, we should challenge more people to debates. The facts are on our side, so we will win.

Intentionally aggravate the Moslem world


I find such debates disgusting. The persons we are debating are worse than Nazi (the Gestapo didn't use sex in its torture methods; an American pilot shot down over Germany simulated having sex with his female handler with the Gestapo right outside the door. The Gestapo heard the sounds and waited outside the door! The pilot escaped. Looks like we Americans use the NKVD method of torture, which, of course, is regressive. Much has been learned in the past fifty years on the use of non-violent interrogation and the getting of information. Looks like we Americans deliberately use outdated and immoral torture techniques to intentionally aggravate the Moslem world.).

Folks, any military organization knows one doesn't use torture to learn what the enemy is up to for a very good practical reason (practicality not to be confused with morality). Why? Well, because one has to assume the enemy is feeding you false information. The informants we pay to tattle on innocent individuals are no friends of America. Therefore, we would know that the so-called innocents could be a part of a ruse.

A good example of this is the Zulu War of 1879. A Zulu commander on the field ordered several of his Impi warriors to allow themselves be captured and tortured by Lord Chelmsford's Army, with the instruction to feed the British with false information of the whereabouts of the main Zulu Army. It worked (see the movie Zulu Dawn)!

A lesson to be learned by the 1879 Zulu War: It was the last offensive war fought by the British before Britain attacked Iraq in 2003, casting a blotch on Great Britain for its disastrous results (the British pulled out of Zululand, leaving death and famine), while making the world feel sympathy for the Zulus! Britain's moral claim of a Pax Britannica was stained.

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief
Washington, DC

One need not even go into

One need not even go into what type of, how much, who put them there, how they put them, or detonated them... One only has to demonstrate that there is no such thing as "global collapse" from locally weakened or damaged structure... and that failing buildings take more time and buckle and joints fail asymmetrically when they do fail. Fire cannot cause enough weakening of the steel in such a short time, it's not hot enough to melt it and the steel act like a heat sink conducting it away from the fire.

You cannot reproduce the destruction witnessed from fire.


Excellent review

Thanks Adnon and Adam. This is quite helpful!

Richard Gage, AIA, Architect