Two MSM Stories on the TORONTO HEARINGS
The truthers are out there: Toronto Hearings on the events of September 11
Matthew Sherwood for National Post
Matthew Sherwood for National Post
Megan O'Toole Sep 9, 2011 – 6:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Sep 8, 2011 11:09 PM ET
As people across Canada and the United States publicly remembered the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this week, a small group at Ryerson University were examining another angle altogether: the “myth” of 9/11. The four-day Toronto Hearings kicked off Thursday with a trio of experts and academics offering their opinions on why the official narrative of 9/11 as a terrorist attack is flawed. The Post’s Megan O’Toole looks at the day’s highlights.
THE LEGAL ANGLE
Though the Toronto Hearings have so far played out more like a conference than a legal hearing, organizers referred to each of the three experts who took to the podium as “witnesses.” No lawyers were there to cross-examine them; instead, a panel of three academics and an Italian judge peppered the speakers with friendly questions. The panel, which will ultimately draft a report on the matter, may address the question of whether another state-sponsored inquiry is needed to help answer all the lingering questions about 9/11. “We know that the official story does not fly,” organizer Graeme MacQueen said. “It’s full of holes.”
Florida State University professor Lance deHaven-Smith, who addressed the panel first, came right out and said it: “Maybe [9/11] was an inside job to advance a war agenda.” He cited evidence that the collapse of New York’s twin towers resulted from controlled demolition, a theory popular among the so-called 9/11 Truth movement. “What is more disconcerting in some ways is that this was not investigated,” Mr. deHaven-Smith told the mostly older crowd of about 100 people. By labelling such views as conspiracy theory, the U.S. political elite “silences and stigmatizes” legitimate questions, Mr. deHaven-Smith said. He drew a parallel between 9/11 and a host of other historical U.S. “state crimes against democracy” — or SCADs, for short — including the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, the 2001 anthrax scare and the disputed presidential elections that put George W. Bush in the White House for two successive terms.
SUPPRESSING THE TRUTH, PART I
The official report from the 9/11 commission is replete with glaring omissions, said speaker David Ray Griffin, who wrote the book 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed. “There were continuing signs the Bush administration didn’t want the truth of 9/11 to be discussed,” Mr. Griffin said, pointing to the appointment of Bush crony Philip Zelikow as the commission’s executive director. “The commission was the White House investigating itself.” The resulting report failed to include relevant information about the alleged hijackers, including the revelation that some were still alive after the attacks, he said. In addition, Mr. Griffin questioned the discovery of alleged ringleader Mohamed Atta’s will in a suitcase that was supposed to be on the plane with him. Why put your will in a plane destined to crash, Mr. Griffin asked.
SUPPRESSING THE TRUTH, PART II
Kevin Ryan, co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, was similarly critical of a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) into how and why the twin towers, and a third building in the World Trade Center complex that was not hit by any plane, collapsed in the fashion they did. “A steel structure does not collapse suddenly when attacked by fire,” Mr. Ryan said, noting the NIST report “distorted many important facts.” The fires raging in either tower were not hot enough to melt the steel structure, he said, nor would the plane crash have created sufficient force to pull the building’s exterior columns inward, as the NIST report suggested had occurred. “This is the opposite of science,” Mr. Ryan fumed.
In addition to dozens of guests, speakers and experts, a number of amateur filmmakers were on scene to record the Toronto Hearings, while security posted outside the door ensured anyone entering had an appropriate badge. Critics have questioned the timing of the hearings, coming when so many people are grieving their losses. Mr. MacQueen, however, said the goal was not to delegitimize their mourning, but rather to sift through the “myth and deception” surrounding 9/11. Attendee Bruce Sinclair, a member of Pilots for 9/11 Truth, said the purpose of the event was not to point fingers. “I would hardly describe us as conspiracy theorists in the pejorative sense,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is find the facts.”
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For truthers, 9/11 was an inside job
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
A small but vocal and intractable group of dissenters has long believed the 9/11 attacks did not happen as the U.S. government says they did. Truthers, as they are known, suggest the role of al-Qaeda has been overstated or invented. They point fingers at shadowy state forces being involved in a massive cover-up – or complicit in the attacks themselves.
More related to this story
As the 10th anniversary approaches, more than 100 truthers from around the world are holding a four-day “inquest” at Toronto’s Ryerson University, beginning Thursday. Speakers who suggest the official 9/11 record is incorrect will aim to sway a panel that includes an Italian judge, an anthropologist from the University of Toronto, a psychologist from McMaster University and an urban planner from the University of Tennessee.
The Globe spoke to event organizer Graeme MacQueen, a religious studies professor retired from McMaster.
What’s the point in holding a 9/11 truth conference on the 10th anniversary?
I believe there was a massive deception. Some of us thought it was important to have a skeptical voice on the 10th anniversary, saying, “Are you sure you know what happened on that day?”
There is a group called al-Qaeda. They had 19 hijackers. They commandeered planes. They smashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
No. There was never strong evidence for what you just said.
How is this even questionable? The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed says, “I did this.”
Khalid Sheik Mohammed was suffocated by water over 180 times. What do we know about what he really said?
Al-Jazeera had him on TV a year before his capture, saying, “I’m very happy about this operation.”
Well, I would have to see the interview.
You don’t accept al-Qaeda did it?
Who is al-Qaeda? The term wasn’t used very much before 9/11. There are a lot of questions about who al-Qaeda is and who they work for.
Do you accept that planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
Large planes obviously hit the World Trade Center. We have them on video. We have many eyewitnesses. The Pentagon is very complicated – let’s not even go there right now.
If not al-Qaeda, then who?
A very good question. We’re not going to try to solve that in these hearings.
Wouldn’t that be the obvious question?
Of course. Obviously 9/11 was the result of a conspiracy – by somebody. You think it was al-Qaeda that conspired. I think it was one or more states, or state agencies, involved in this.
What government would kill its own citizens?
Oh, come on – there’s governments all over the world that kill their own citizens all the time.
People are going to have this perception it’s a bunch of whackos convening in Toronto. Are you a bunch of whackos?
You have a lot of PhDs here. The panel includes the honorary president of the Supreme Court of Italy. This man doesn’t fly off from Italy because of some whackos. He thinks it’s important.
Don’t you get accused of being insensitive to the victims?
Yes, we get criticized. But we reject that completely. It was a horrific crime. That’s why we want to solve it. We also have the support of some 9/11 families.
What was your reaction when U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden?
If it happened the way they said it did, it was a political assassination and probably unnecessary. The other possibility is that it didn’t happen at all the way they said it did. I’m very skeptical of intelligence agencies.
Stephen Harper told CBC the No. 1 threat to Canada is “Islamicism.” Do you accept this?
The idea that “Islamicism” is the greatest threat to the West – that shows where Canada is stuck right now.
We’re facing ecological catastrophe, a financial meltdown … and this man thinks the Islamic threat is something we should be worried about?
This interview has been condensed and edited.