Some still can't,or won't, believe
What really happened on 9/11?
Marin Independent Journal | September 19, 2006
By Paul Liberatore
On the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks, do we really know?
Some are convinced we haven't been told anything even remotely close to the true story.
A Scripps-Howard poll of 1,000 adults, conducted last month, indicated that more than a third of Americans - an astonishing 36 percent - believe the Bush administration had something to do with the attacks, either by allowing them to happen or actually carrying them out, so the United States could go to war in the Middle East.
Somewhat grudgingly, Time magazine acknowledged this week that the so-called "9/11 Truth Movement" is "a mainstream political reality."
If that's the case, these tens of millions of Americans cannot all be crackpot conspiracy theorists or wackos with Internet connections and too much time on their hands.
They are people like Dwight Loop, the 54-year-old owner of Cobalt Sun, a gallery and performance space in Sausalito.
At 7:30 tonight at his waterfront theater, Loop will be screening "9/11: Press for Truth," a documentary based on the HarperCollins-published book "The Terror Timeline" by Paul Thompson.
"Press for Truth" tells the stories of three women who lost loved ones on 9/11 and their demands for answers. It's being advertised as "the film the government doesn't want you to see É a courageous and powerful indictment of our government's cover-up of the truth about 9/11."
Loop, a baby boomer who describes himself as "a history buff," said, "I've been interested in things in U.S. history that have been unexplained. I was 11 when (President John F.) Kennedy was killed. That had an effect on my life."
Asked if he accuses the government of a role in Sept. 11, he doesn't hesitate to say, "Oh, absolutely. What happened afterward was even more of a giveaway - the administration's lack of willingness for an investigation, stonewalling an investigation for so long. Things like that pointed to the suspicion that they were covering up something."
The 9/11 tragedy has spawned a cottage industry of documentaries, videos and books on various conspiracy theories and mysterious facts contradicting the official account.
One of the new documentaries, "9/11: The Myth and the Reality," will have its world premiere tonight at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland.
"9/11: The Myth and the Reality," is by Ken Jenkins, a 59-year-old San Rafael video producer and editor. Jenkins videotaped several talks and lectures, including one at the prestigious Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, by David Ray Griffin, author of "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11," and "The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions."
Both of Griffin's books present evidence that purportedly indicates that members of the U.S. government were behind the attacks.
Jenkins has illustrated his documentary with hundreds of graphics and clips. He will be on hand for a Q&A session after tonight's premiere.
He admits that he was skeptical about the various conspiracy theories floating around in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. He thought 9/11 was merely "blowback" - terrorists lashing out at U.S. policy in the Middle East.
But he began to question the official story after reading the mounting evidence of a cover-up - not in the mainstream media, where that kind of opinion is generally ridiculed and discredited - but on the Internet, where the 9/11 Truth Movement was born and where it continues to flourish.
"I wasn't, quite honestly, paying that much attention," he recalled. "But I kept reading information that countered the official account, and I thought, 'There's something not right here.' I investigated the Kennedy assassination, and this looks similar. There's an official story and a bunch of stuff that doesn't add up."
Jenkins said he believes the war on terror is a replacement for the Cold War, and that 9/11 was the work of a small number of government officials in key positions, directing events and pulling strings behind the scenes.
He refers to 9/11 as "a false flag operation" - making it look like another group is behind the attacks - or "state-sponsored terrorism."
"State-sponsored terrorism as a way of manipulating populations to support wars is very common," he said. "It is almost the only way any wars are ever done. They are always based on some kind of lies, deceptions and false-flag operations. I didn't know that at first. It took me weeks to understand it. Now that I know that, in retrospect, it all seems obvious."
It was obvious from the beginning to Byron Belitsos, owner of Origin Press, a 10-year-old publisher of books on spirituality, health and lifestyles in San Rafael.
In 2004, the 53-year-old Fairfax resident produced a conference called "The 9/11 Truth Convergence" at College of Marin. It featured speakers such as Jim Marrs, who wrote the conspiracy book "Inside Job," which Belitsos published. It has just been republished as "The Terror Conspiracy."
As an early and impassioned conspiracy theorist, Belitsos was viewed as something of a kook. He points out that, unlike the Bush administration's official conspiracy theory, he has nothing to gain by promoting what he feels is the real story - that "a rogue element" within the government worked behind the scenes to make the attacks happen.
"Why would someone like me, who has been respected in Marin, who is a publisher of books on spirituality and health, why would I get in trouble with everyone I know, lose a girlfriend and generally cause a mess in my life because I can see this other conspiracy theory?" he said with obvious emotion. "Where is my motive? Let's compare motives. They had a lot to gain. I had nothing."
Lately, though, as the 9/11 Truth Movement gains momentum, Belitsos feels less and less like a lone voice crying out in the wilderness.
"In the last few months, it's become popular," he said brightly. "It's the fastest-growing thing. It's astounding what the polls are saying."
The polls are reflecting the opinions and feelings of people like Wendy Tanowitz of Ross, a 60-year-old progressive political activist.
She doesn't consider herself an expert on the subject, but she says she "was always a little suspicious of the official story about 9/11 and has since concluded that the attacks were an inside job perpetrated by some in our own government.
"This is something most people will find difficult to accept," she said, "but the weight of the evidence is overwhelming."
Tanowitz sums up her belief with bumper sticker wisdom: "I love my country, but I fear my government."
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