Debriefing: 9/11 Truth-ish Conference in Chico

I should probably mention that this recap is from my own observations and thoughts and in no way, necessarily, reflects the thoughts of the CSUC Peace Institute, or the Chico 9/11 Truth group, or their members, or those associated with them all, directly or indirectly, all presented in my indelible writing style, if I may be polite toward myself.

The week-long 'conference' in Chico was a success. Perhaps a minor success, but that's okay right now. It would have been a major success if we had had more people attend. That was the only real disappointment, imo.

There were two events each day, first a documentary film and then a presentation, held on the CSU Chico campus, except for Saturday, which was a single-event documentary film at the local small alternative theater. The average attendance was about 30 people, with a couple of events only getting about 20, and two events getting about 60.

The highlight of the event was Friday's Richard Gage multimedia presentation, both for me personally, and many others who were lucky enough to be there. We were all very happy to have his presentation be one of the 60-attendee events. I'll start with Monday first and go through each day.

Monday was kind of the "anti-9/11 Truth" day, if you will. In a compromise with the "Official Story" zealots (yes, you read me correctly) who are associated with the CSUC Peace Institute (luckily they seem to be in the minority there, if not society in general), Monday's film was changed from "9/11 Mysteries" to "Screw 9/11 Mysteries", which some attempted to promote as "Guide to 9/11 Mysteries". (I think with an obvious agenda as to why the name change, but that's only a guess on my part) This was ostensibly to have a "balanced" festival. There were less than 30 people at this "documentary". We were concerned that S911M wouldn't display well being projected on a large screen off of low-res online Google Video, but the projection system was really nice, so it looked pretty good.

I started creating a response to S911M to hand out, but it was already two pages by the first 5 minutes, so I decided to forget it. It's not really worth spending much time on it, anyway. For the record, the title of my response was "Screw 'Screw 9/11 Mysteries': A Guide to the Disinformation, Deception and Shoddy Research and Analysis in the So-Called 'Critique' of the Documentary Film '9/11 Mysteries — Part 1: Demolitions'". I think that title aptly states what I think about S911M, except to say that it is one of the most poorly done pieces of crap I've ever wasted my time watching. (but, you know, "Know thy enemy", and all that Sun Tzu stuff)

The second Monday event was a presentation by a CSUC professor in the Civil Engineering Dept. about the so-called pancake theory as the reason why the Twin Towers fell. It was based on a presentation he made in 2002 (or thereabouts) and did not include anything about WTC 7. I missed this presentation, which was the other 60-attendee event, although most of those people were supposedly the professor's students, possibly attending for support, and/or there was talk of extra credit. Most of the 9/11 Truth people were unimpressed, and thought the professor came across as egotistical and patronizing, especially during the Q&A. Most questions posed were not really replied to, and with an air of "who are you to question me?" attitude. (at the beginning of the presentation, which I caught a little of, he seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time lauding his degrees and accomplishments and credentials and such, which is typical of academia and academics) So I don't think I missed much. (for the record, the professor refused to have Richard Gage, or any other 9/11 Truth person (or event?), on Monday, and refused to debate any 9/11 Truth people, as well — interpret that as you will)

Tuesday was "Oil and War Day", and I unfortunately missed both of those presentations, as well. Most seemed to like the film, "The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror". (http://www.theoilfactor.com/ and online at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1130731388742388243 — narrated by Ed Asner)

The Tuesday presentation was titled "American Hiroshima", from the book of the same name, by author David Dionisi. (up from the Sacramento area, I believe) Everyone seemed to really like his presentation and had high praise for Dionisi and the information he provided. (he sounds like a "Ray McGovern"-type — http://www.americanhiroshima.info/ and http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22american+hiroshima%22+dionisi&h...)

Wednesday was "9/11 Truth" day #1. The film was David Ray Griffin's "9/11 Myths and Realities". The panel discussion was okay, but I was a bit disappointed. It wasn't really a panel or in panel format. (compared to others I've attended at various events, where each panelist made a statement and then Q&A followed) Since the original "Official Story" panelist, who was one of the people who wanted the conference to be "balanced", refused to be on the panel, and/or bowed out, it was a true 9/11 Truth event, with two professors at the university presiding. One was from the Philosophy Dept. (Tom Imhoff) and the other is a Professor Emeritus in the Music Dept. (Bob Bowman — both from the CSUC Peace Institute)

The event started with a bulleted overhead projection presentation about "Critical Thinking" (which he teaches, and which, imo, is sorely lacking in depth, breadth, understanding and usage (especially in a formal sense) by pretty much everyone I meet and talk to, inside and outside of the 9/11 Truth and Justice Movement — hey, don't shoot the messenger) However, before he could get to page two (which was my disappointment), the event kind of degenerated into people making comments and asking questions about 9/11 Truth issues. (which ranged from newbie questions to überParanoid NWO'ers and the like — the full spectrum was represented) There was a "debunker" there, as well, who kind of irritated the rest of us, but it wasn't too bad. (and you have to admit he had guts) I ended up talking to him for awhile and thanked him for coming and participating and shook his hand goodbye. I think he's misguided, and mistaken, like all the rest, but they do help to 'keep us real' (a la Bill Maher), point out our occasional faux pas, and keep us on our toes. So, inevitably, it's all good. The second panelist eventually made his statement, after which there was more Q&A and commentary. Although it all worked out in the end, and was valuable and interesting, and I think people enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, I just would have preferred to have more structure and to have finished the Critical Thinking stuff as a review for everyone.

Thursday was "Veteran's Day", and was better than I thought it was going to be, so I'm glad I was able to attend. The film was "The Ground Truth" (subtitled either "Soldiers' Stories" or "The Human Cost of War"), a documentary about Afghani and Iraqi war-action veterans. I think this film should be required viewing by every American citizen. As much as I already knew about the subject, it opened my eyes wider, and it brought tears to more than one person's eyes. At less than 20 viewers, there weren't enough people in attendance. (http://thegroundtruth.net/ and http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5331341694256689189)

The Thursday presentation was titled "Soldier's Tale", by Vietnam vet and past veteran's counselor Les Orme. I've talked to a lot of vets of different eras and wars, but each story is so different, even though they are all basically the same, that it's always interesting. So, even though it was sad, as it always is, people seemed to enjoy it and Mr. Orme did a great job. He was particularly instrumental in helping people understand exactly what PTSD is, why people suffer from it, and why no one should ever be put in a position to have to do what they are required to do in time of war. I think his point that the current war vets are probably going to be even more messed up than from other wars is unfortunately too prophetic. (partly due to the type of war actions (urban) and the forced multiple and extended tours)

Friday was "9/11 Truth" day #2. We were worried that the attendance would be low because the students clear out early on Friday and the campus is pretty empty. Although it seemed like not a lot of students attended any of the events, anyway (percentage-wise), so that probably didn't matter in retrospect. The film was "Improbable Collapse: The Demolition of Our Republic".

The big event that many were really looking forward to was the Friday multimedia presentation by architect Richard Gage (from the S.F. Bay Area) titled "9/11: The Three Largest Structural Failures in History — Re-examining the World Trade Center High-rise 'collapses'". And we were not disappointed. All sixty of us. His story is that he became convinced that "9/11 was an inside job" and began discussing it with the other architects at his firm, who thought he was "crazy". (my interpretation — we've all been there) At which point he created a presentation, presented it to them, and they all changed their minds. It was that presentation, which has evolved to what it is today, that we saw that night. Most people stayed for the extended session, which ended up going over an extra hour, past 10:00 pm, with a great Q&A to cap it off. He has started a new group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and their website should be up soon. (http://www.ae911truth.org/) Note that his story is pretty much "the standard story" as we know it, perhaps with some new info and insights, but it is nice to see it laid out logically from A to Z the way he does it.

I was hoping that the Saturday film would cap off the week with a large attendance, but we only got about 30 people. The film was "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out", with four filmed speaker-authors who contributed to the book of the same name (including David Ray Griffin and Kevin Ryan) and hosted by Ray McGovern.

So, all in all, it was worth all of the time and energy (and some money) we put into the implementation and promotion of the event as a whole. Thank you to professors Tom Imhoff and Bob Bowman of the CSU Chico Peace Institute, the other members of the CSUCPI board, the members of the Chico 9/11 Truth group, the presenters, and the festival attendees. (also, we apparently got a nod from Alex Jones about the event, so thank you for that)

Our next project is to get Dr. Bob Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret. (not the same person as the Peace Institute professor of the same name) to come to Chico for his Patriots Tour in June. (http://www.thepatriots.us/)