Shepard Fairey, street artist and Obama iconographer, questions “validity of 9/11 story”


On November 4th, 2009, a year after the election of Barack Obama, artist Shepard Fairey was at the University of Southern California for a conversation entitled “Art, Culture, Politics.”  Fairey lent the Obama campaign his artistic design skills by creating the imagery and layout of the “Hope” and “Progress” posters.  This iconographical work, which now resides in the Smithsonian, was a crucial visual vehicle in Barack Obama’s mega-cultural ascendancy.


Fairey had been recognized as one of, if not the most prominent street artist in the United States, if not the world.  His “Obey” poster campaign, featuring the image of Andre the Giant, drew its terminological inspiration from John Carpenter’s dystopic propaganda-critiquing film “They Live.”  To some, it was an intriguing and/or irritating irony that an inherently suspicious street artist, who made his name on an art campaign drawn somewhat from a film quite distrustful of politicians and their words, would offer up his art to a banker-backed front-man involved in corporate-party politics.


The conversation at USC travailed swaths of his artistic work and included many of his opinions about the current political moment.  Both during the Q+A and at the signing table afterwards, Fairey was open to talking about a whole array of topics including his approach to two-party politics, his take on the Obama Joker poster, and his own questioning of the validity of the 9/11 story.  He also graciously and gratefully accepted information from the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and was willing to autograph a glossy of his Andre the Giant “Obey” image, “To the 911 Truth Movement.”




On the Obama Joker poster as propaganda:


I’m definitely familiar with the Joker poster...  And, I said, though I don’t agree with the politics of the Joker poster, it was really effective. I mean, it’s like, good propaganda works on anybody. You know, you don’t have to be smart to figure out that Joker poster [chuckles]. It’s simple.



On 9/11 Deception Dollars:


I hadn’t seen that but it sounds awesome.



On his responsibility for using his art to propagate and propagandize for Obama:


With Obama, the way I feel is the best possible step for a two party political system that is inherently flawed, I think, was for Obama to be in office.


So I don’t look at it like, well, “should I be mad now that, you know, I did something that supported Obama and he’s president?”


Or should I take a, you know- feel a little bit more comfortable that things aren’t even worse{laughs}, which they would’ve been with McCain.  I mean McCain’s  far more of a hawk than Obama.


Obama, I think, really rooted for Afghanistan because if he didn’t he would’ve been- people would’ve have seen him as very naïve on national defense.  I know some of the people involved in his campaign and I think, you know, the reality is he definitely wanted to get out of Iraq right away.  But everyone’s saying “Oh, but your going to destabilize the country.” Like, well, we’re the ones that destabilized it in the first place. And Afghanistan, he’s obviously having some second thoughts about.


You know, I’m trying to make images now that Obama’s in office that push issues that I care about.  I mean I made posters already that were like the Vietnam POW/MIA logo, but it’s Guantanamo, it’s “POW USA.”  And I’m still making stuff to try to get Guantanamo closed down. And, you know, if-- I’m not Obama’s cheerleader. I’m not going to support everything Obama does that I don’t agree with. Obama was just a step in the right direction.


I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.  You know, that’s an unrealistic proposition really, getting Ralph Nader elected.  So, there’s a lot of things that if I were the one controlling things, you know, I’d change, but, you know, I’m not. So, I make art about things that I think I can make a statement about.



On why he supported Obama after voting for Ralph Nader in 2000:


SF: Alot of people during the time that I was suppor--—during the campaign, said “Oh well Obama’s gonna turn out to be just like anybody else.”  Well that’s what I said in 2000, and that’s why I voted for Nader. And we would have been in much better shape if Gore had been president—


JWR-K: He was president. The-- the Supreme Court…


SF: Right, right, exactly.  But, you know let’s just think about, let’s just think about, you know, the 8 years of Bush and how different things might have been.  They might not have been great under Gore, but they still would’ve been better.




On Obama’s continuity of Bush 9/11 lies, running cover for torture criminality and the political pickle of his presidency:


SF: I’ve seen some footage that definitely made me question the validity of the 9/11 story, but--


JWR-K: You mean the one that Bush told us?


SF: Right, yeah, exactly.  But at the same time, as a, you know a person that-- I have a healthy skepticism about everything. You know it’s easy to manipulate video footage and, so it’s like I wouldn’t say that I have a definitive opinion about it. I think that knowing Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, I wouldn’t put anything past them. But I also, you know, think that we—it’s good to be suspicious, but you can’t change the paths-- the past, so you can only change the path going forward. And my—you know, I’m already trying to make work that changes people’s sort of, yeah, ridiculous stereotypes of Arabs.  So that’s really what I feel like I can do. I don’t--


JWR-K: I can understand that.  Because 9/11 is the lynchpin for why-- it activated all the anti-semitic, in terms of anti-Muslim, stereotypes that American people have.  So--and you’re right we can’t always go back, but crimes are solved and people are put in prison because of the facts of the past.


SF: Well, you know, I think Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, they basically created legal torture legislation and now that their behavior is being—you know, that behavior is being defined as torture, they should be in jail, you know. And a lot of other people that knew that what was going was—really was torture, that water-boarding and sleep deprivation, all these things are torture.


JWR-K: And as long as Obama’s running cover for their crimes, then he becomes part of it, don’t you think?


SF: Well, what I think is that he doesn’t want to expend his political capital on that issue.


JWR-K: On enforcing the law?


SF: Well it’s, I mean, on the one hand, I completely agree with you. But on the other is, if he’s going to stir the right-wing base to action and they are going to be mobilized against other things he wants to do like health care reform or the climate change bill, then was that the right move?  And, you know, that’s why he’s in such a pickle in his presidency.


Because he’s got, you know, the people on the left that are progressive that he’s not doing enough for and they’re disappointed.


And then there’s the people on the right that are like, “this is the most socialist, outrageously progressive president we’ve ever had,” you know?


So he can’t please anyone really.


So, I’m, you know-- rather than focusing on like Obama being the savior on any of these issues, I’m just looking at how I can create popular support for things where—

You know FDR said something “If you want this to happen, make me do it” ... Let’s make people make Obama do the stuff we want him to do.



On his disagreement with Obama Joker poster politics:


SF: 1st of all, like the socialism thing, is like, it’s ridiculous.


JWR-K: But that’s a play on your thing saying that he was presented as-- he has a socialist front.  The other ones say “fascist.” Because what he’s doing-- the bad things he’s doing are fascist, but he’s got this leftist cover.  And that’s the danger I would say is in progressives giving him cover.


SF: Yeah you could say that.  I just don’t think that Obama—I think the aspects of Obama’s presidency that are problematic are less significant than a lot of other things that I think are going on, such as corporate influence over legislation, lobbyists.  Follow-- Look at the problems and follow the money is what I think. Sure, I have issues with Obama, but there’s other things that I think are more important to focus on.



On receiving Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth information, hearing 9/11 once again described as a fascist version of horrific situationist art meant for live TV with buildings being blown up with living humans in them and then it blamed on Arabs, and reacting to the assertion that undoing the propaganda of the 9/11 act itself is crucial to ending the 9/11 wars:


The interesting thing is, you know, I didn’t have this perspective on it, but I definitely realized that the moment that Bush started talking about Iraq and, you know, the Axis of Evil, and weapons of mass destruction and all that stuff, I was like “He’s leveraging 9/11 and the fear, you know, that the country is dealing with to start a war that when people are thinking rationally, they would not agree to.”  I knew that right away…


I understood 9/11 as a tool. I just didn’t understand it was, you know, pre-emptive. I thought it was, you know, reactive.



From videos produced by Paul Wittenberger:

Part 1)

Part 2)



Good work Jeremy and Paul!!!

DJ Green Arrow say

have him sign the petition on, if you can tell him personally... if you want to send me his email, I can have the site coordinator contact him.


I have the deepest respect and admiration for Jeremy. His questioning is always to the point and non confrontational while he educates the audience at the same time...Honestly...I wish he would lead a work shop on formulating and asking questions...

I would love to see Jeremy find a way to follow up with Shepard..I could see them (privately) talking for hours on various topics.

Yes Jeremey is excellent, as usual

Yes Jeremey is excellent, as usual, but Shepard is half-hearted. I'm thrilled that another publicity-worthy public figure has surfaced for 9/11 Truth, albeit in a typically, frustrating measured way.

He said "I have a healthy skepticism about everything. You know it’s easy to manipulate video footage and, so it’s like I wouldn’t say that I have a definitive opinion about it"

He's raising the possibility of VIDEO MANIPULATION to just kind of wave off the whole thing? Give me a freaking break! If you're going to pretend to be a 9/11 Truther, at least have the courage to say "9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB".

He's either hedging his bets or not as smart as he's supposed to be, in either case it pisses me off. Wake up Fairey, the hour is running late, we need your voice, but quit the grevious waffling. You're either all in or go away.


i have been wanting to see this for a while, thanks jeremy for taking the initiative to ask shepard fairey these questions. hearing his perspective on obama and 9/11 it is clear that he is just very naive. he is completely warped in the two party system and has no idea what the hell he is talking about. manipulating video footage on 9/11? is he talking about the truth movement potentially manipulating footage or the government? "you cant change the past" he says, but we can become AWARE of the TRUTH and try to CHANGE the future to prevent horrendous events like other wars and other false flag events! shepard fairey is reinforcing the left right paradigm in a dangerous way and has created a false culture of hope... THANK YOU JEREMY you guys kick serious butt~

Shepard .

has "Strong Skepticism" about information that is not put out by the establishment...too bad. He responds to the questions with answers that sound so familiar. that left right false paradigm sure is a tough thing to break away from.

Great job Jeremy!

Google "Shepard Fairey plagiarism"

This is not an ethical person. He has made millions stealing other people's work.

It's fitting that "his" imagery helped propel Obomber to the presidency.