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9/11 'Truthers' uncovering disturbing anomalies

Vancouver Courrier | June 18, 2007
Geoff Olson

They're "nutcases" to Vancouver writer Terry Glavin, "gibbering idiots" to British author and Guardian columnist George Monbiot, and "conspiracy nuts" to U.S. political writer Alexander Cockburn. They're promoting "crap," says David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation. They're trafficking in "pure fantasy" that is "rotting peoples brains," says Canadian military analyst and author Gwynne Dyer.

They're opponents of the Bush administration who reject the official story on 9/11. And their most vocal critics hail not from the right, but from North America's progressive left. Ignored by mainstream media, and vilified by the alternative press, the so-called "9/11 Truth movement" probably wouldn't exist without the Internet. A huge online presence, with thousands of blogs and websites, has inspired the creation of films, DVDs and the organization of international conferences. The movement has chapters across North America, including in Vancouver.

According to its press release, the Vancouver 9/11 Truth Society "will host an international conference to expose the realities, myths, omissions and distortions of the official narrative of the events of Sept. 11, 2001," from June 22 to 24 at the Vancouver Maritime Labour Centre.

Among the speakers are Professor Michael Chussudovsky of the University of Montreal, Professor Peter Dale Scott from Berkeley, Canadian journalist Barrie Zwicker, and Robert Hordon, a former U.S. air traffic controller.

Never mind Islam and Christianity-for a culture clash closer to home, you only have to contrast the marginalized 9/11 conspiracy touted on the Internet to the authorized 9/11 conspiracy advanced by government sources and traditional media. These contending belief systems might as well be from parallel worlds. As a media observer, I have never witnessed a greater cultural divide. It's safe to say that the nonofficial viewpoint is far from fringe, at least in numbers. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, from October 2006, only 16 per cent of Americans think the government is telling the truth about 9/11 and the intelligence prior to the attacks. A Scripps-Howard poll determined that one in every three Americans believe their government aided or abetted the attacks of 9/11. This signals a profoundly deep cynicism and suspicion among Americans about their own government.

Of all the anomalies they cite, 9/11 activists believe they've found their Rosetta Stone in Building Number 7 of the World Trade Center complex, which collapsed hours after the twin towers came down. Michael Hey, secretary for the Vancouver 9/11 Truth Society, writes by email that there was a "sudden and total disintegration, symmetrical, at a speed of near free-fall_ to date we know of only one way to achieve this effect, and it does not involve flying airplanes into buildings." He adds, "Of course, no airplane actually hit World Trade Center 7."

"Hundreds of physicists, architects and structural engineers have spoken out about the fact that the official explanation simply defies the laws of physics." One of them is Professor Steven Jones, a retired professor of physics at Brigham Young University, and a guest speaker at the Vancouver conference.

The 9/11 Truthers find it noteworthy that the collapse of WTC 7 was not mentioned in the Kean Commission's 9/11 report. U.S. and Canadian media haven't paid much attention either. A search through a database of Canadian newspapers yields only a half dozen reporter mentions since 9/11.

A news clip from Sept. 11, 2001 has been making the rounds on YouTube, of a BBC reporter announcing the news of the collapse of the Salomon Brothers Building, aka WTC 7. As she repeats the information from her sources, the Manhattan skyline can be seen behind her, with WTC 7 clearly visible-more than 20 minutes before its actual collapse.

Expatriate American author and political essayist Gore Vidal has expressed his puzzlement that jets were not scrambled immediately on the morning of 9/11 to intercept the planes heading for Washington and New York. In Toronto recently, he qualified his position, pegging himself as a "conspiracy analyst" rather than a "conspiracy theorist." In a Globe and Mail interview, he rejects the notion that Bush launched 9/11: "Clearly he didn't because it was beautifully executed."

As for the rest of the progressive left, an attitude adjustment is in order. When Monbiot, Dyer, Cockburn and co. shout down a significant fraction of the public as "gibbering idiots" and "nutcases," this is hardly the language of reasoned debate. It's the rhetoric of Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, shock jock Don Imus and the Moscow show trials.

A few minor errors noted:

Chossudovsky is not from the University of Montreal, but rather Ottawa, and he will not be speaking this conference, but is featured in the documentary Shadow Play (which will be screened at this conference) but he does support the conference.

It's Robin Hordon, not Robert

Not sure that I like being identified as part of the progressive left either, as I for one am not a leftist (though i have been called worse things.) and it's not a left vs right issue. It's right vs wrong.

Otherwise a very nice article and the author Geoff Olson is to be commended, as is the Courier for a fair piece on 9/11.

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