'Terror Timeline' author raises questions about 9-11
Talk included film marathon critical of U.S. government
Sunday, September 10, 2006
BY ELIOT BROWN OF THE JOURNAL STAR
PEORIA - With the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 fast approaching, a series of films critical of the U.S. government's official version of the disaster were shown Saturday at the Peoria Public Library.
The film marathon, which attracted about 60 people, featured a talk by Paul Thompson, author of "The Terror Timeline," a book that pieces together news stories and government documents to raise questions about the government's possible prior knowledge of or involvement in the attacks.
After the talk was a screening of the recently released "9/11: Press for Truth," a film based on Thompson's book that also chronicled the campaign of four Sept. 11 widows who pushed for an investigation into the attacks, an effort that culminated in the 9/11 Commission report.
"We're just wanting to put the facts out there," Thompson said before his talk. His book and the related film question, among other things, whether and how the federal government ignored multiple warning signs to the attack.
Thompson pointed to numerous warnings from outside governments and within the U.S. government, including a memo generated for President Bush in August 2001 titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," and which Thompson believes should have received more attention.
"How is it that all these things came in ... and yet when the Bush administration was asked, 'What did you do?' they couldn't point to a single thing," Thompson said.
Fueled in part by Web sites and videos on the Internet, many conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 are gaining some following across the country. A Scripps Howard poll conducted in July that surveyed 1,010 adults found that 36 percent considered it "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that the federal government either participated in the Sept. 11 attacks or took no action to stop them "because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East," according to Scripps Howard News Service.
Among the theories is the notion that the World Trade Center's twin towers were taken down by explosives, rather than collapsing on their own after two hijacked planes struck them, and the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile rather than a Boeing 757 aircraft. These and other theories have been featured on the popular Internet video "Loose Change," a film that has been heavily criticized for fact errors.
The "9/11: Press for Truth" film shown Saturday did not focus on any specific conspiracy theories, though it questioned the generally accepted conclusions about the terrorist attacks. Many who attended the film said they were skeptical of the government's involvement in Sept. 11 before seeing the video, and they found the subject matter interesting.
"There's a huge number of unanswered questions," said Jay Meinrich, a Peoria resident who said he believes the federal government was involved in the attacks.
"The main thing was the very quick targeting of Osama Bin Laden," he said of his initial reasons for being skeptical. "It seemed like a quick rush to judgment."
The video screening will continue at the library at 4 p.m. Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Eliot Brown can be reached at 686-2114 or email@example.com.