Searching For 9/11 Answers

Part of group believes government planned attacks

Paul Deslauriers, of West Stockbridge, right, said the Berkshire 911 Truth Movement believes the terror attacks were an inside job. From left, group members Frank Tolopko, Renzo Del Molino, and Sean Van Deusen listen. Photo by Stephen Rose / Special to The Eagle


By Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Monday, February 19

STOCKBRIDGE — As much as "mainstream America" might wish it, the local members of the 9/11 Truth Movement say their organization is not going away anytime soon.

"(An alternate theory of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, is) a scary thing for people to contemplate," said Renzo Del Molino. "And I understand that. The realization that people in power are trying to hurt us, and not help us, is very frightening to them. It's frightening to me."

The local version of the 9/11 Truth Movement began about two years ago, and now has perhaps 30 core members and several hundred people on its local mailing list, according to Paul Deslauriers of West Stockbridge.

Nationally, the 9/11 Truth Movement began soon after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the plane crash in a Pennsylvania countryside.

The organization itself is not completely united in its request. There are several levels of inquiry. Some in the group believe the principal issue is that the government had some knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and did nothing to prevent them. This is a hypothesis that, according to a 2006
Scripps-Howard poll, about 36 percent of Americans believe is "possible" or "very possible."

Many members of the group, however, believe there was a different scenario: The collapse of the buildings in the World Trade Center and the destruction of the Pentagon were orchestrated by one or more government agencies.

"We want people to do what we're doing right now," said Frank Tolopko of Otis, a retired computer engineer, who hosts a radio show on local station 97.7. "That's talk about it. Talk about it in a rational, respectful way. Let's have a national dialog about this."

There is, in fact, some question about the quick collapse of the towers. Many structural engineers have expressed some surprise that the towers seemed to come down quicker than structures of their bulk and size should have. In addition, the eventual collapse of WTC Building 7, a smaller structure adjacent to the World Trade Center, has, to date, stumped many structural experts.

"You had two planes and they brought down three buildings," said Sean Van Deusen of Alford, another member of the group. "That is unprecedented in engineering history."

Members of the group believe that, in addition to being struck by planes, the buildings were brought down by internal explosives. This hypothesis is based on their study of engineering principals.

"That (controlled demolition) theory is at least as plausible as the theory that this was all planned by a guy in a cave," said Tolopko, referring to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

"We believe this was an inside job," said Deslauriers.

The issue, say critics of this hypothesis, is that planting several hundred pounds of explosives, in buildings that each house several high security corporations, and then arranging to set the explosives off remotely, would take weeks, and possibly months of covert activity.

"I am of the opinion that we don't know everything," said Del Molino. "That there are parts of this that we have not been allowed to see. I want to see what these things are."

Some members of the group also believe that the Pentagon was not struck by an airplane, but by a high-speed missile. The local members conceded that one of the problems with this scenario is that the passengers aboard that flight are dead, and that the plane crashed somewhere.

"We don't know (what happened)," admitted Van Deusen. "But that's why we'd like to see a third-party investigation."

The movement itself includes supporters of both political parties, pacifists, conservatives, Green party members, anarchists, libertarians and other groups. It has supporters in academia and the alternative media. Stories about the organization have appeared in Time magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and on the New York Times Web site.

"This is really not about politics," said Deslauriers. "We are asking for an independent, third-party investigation into this event. We believe there are some significant omissions in the 9/11 Commission Report."

The group, said Deslauriers, meets every two weeks. They have sponsored or co-sponsored movies and other "special events" such as a recent re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party at Boston Harbor, where replicas of the 9/11 Commission Report were thrown into the harbor.

"People are fearful of asking questions," said Del Molino. "I have friends and family, people that I love, people with good hearts, who do not like to talk about this. They are afraid of what they might discover. The hardest thing we've encountered is trying to get this information out there."