Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
GOD SAVE HRC, FROM REALITY — Jeffrey St. Clair on Hillary Clinton’s miraculous rags-to-riches method of financial success; LA CONFIDENTIAL: Lee Ballinger on race, violence and inequality in Los Angeles; PAPER DRAGON: Peter Lee on China’s military; THE BATTLE OVER PAT TILLMAN: David Hoelscher provides a 10 year retrospective on the changing legacy of Pat Tillman; MY BROTHER AND THE SPACE PROGRAM: Paul Krassner on the FBI and rocket science. PLUS: Mike Whitney on how the Central Bank feeds state capitalism; JoAnn Wypijewski on what’s crazier than Bowe Bergdahl?; Kristin Kolb on guns and the American psyche; Chris Floyd on the Terror War’s disastrous course.
Truthers Slog On

Conspiracy in Theory

by FRANK GREEN

San Diego.

The 9/11 conspiracy movement, seemingly the most hopeless of causes when it emerged years ago, is still nibbling at the edges of the mainstream. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a seasoned conspiracist on this issue, has appeared on "The Larry King Show" on CNN casting doubts on conventional 9/11 thinking. In December, truTV will air an episode of Ventura’s "Conspiracy Theory" featuring allegations that the 47-story World Trade Center skyscraper, aka Building 7, was actually felled by pre-planted bombs placed strategically inside the structure by the network of schemers.

Ex-U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel is likewise agitating  to place initiatives on the 2012 ballot in California and other states mandating a thorough investigation of the 9/11 disaster, including alleged manipulation of the country’s air security system just prior to the disaster
.
Here in San Diego, the so-called San Diego 9/11 Truth Group – one of the most hardcore of the 9/11 conspiracy organizations – claims its monthly meetings in the San Diego area community of Hillcrest routinely attract up to 200 seekers, reflecting a steady increase in attendance in the last several years.

The 9/11 conspiracy push has been dismissed by both liberals and conservatives as a preposterous set of scenarios conjured on a mythic scale.

Some leftists have compared the campaign to the workings of the Christic Institute, which in the 1980s charged that the U.S. government had for decades sponsored a secret team of operatives involved in everything from the murders of journalists to the bombings of dissidents in such countries as Nicaragua. Never mind that a 1985 lawsuit inititated by the institute under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was dismissed by a judge prior to trial, with the organization ordered to pay defendants about $1 million in damages.

However, such considerations have hardly fazed the determination of a core group of 9/11 true believers dedicated to proving that traitors within the federal government colluded to bring on the momentous disaster with the intention of fostering heightened world tensions and empowering various elite economic groups, such as the vast U.S. military-industrial complex.

"Our message is gaining traction," said Dwain Deets, a retired flight research engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who now edits the 9/11 Investigator newspaper.

Deets, a member of the San Diego 9/11 Truth Group as well as the liberal Progressive Democrats For America, will be among the guests on Ventura’s "Conspiracy Theory" 9/11 segment next month.

He stood last Thursday in front of a sprawling 9/11 exhibit on a walkway near North Harbor Drive during a Veterans Day celebration.

The impromptu setting included a dozen or so booths manned by members of Veterans for Peace and kindred groups and entrepreneurs.

A block away, a parade honoring U.S. servicemen featured military marching bands and politicians like liberal Rep. BoB Filner (D-Calif.).

Deets pointed to oversized photographs mounted on easels depicting Building 7′s demise on 9/11 in second-by-second sequence – a train of events he said indicates that the skyscraper was bombed from the inside.

The National Institute of Science and Technology "had recordings of explosions in the vicinity (of the structure), but withheld this evidence until well after issuing their final report," Deets claims, adding that the account did not even mention the possibility of explosions.

Sceptics of the 9/11 conspiracy line have been especially critical of accusations that longtime Republican officials like Cheney could have been a part of such widespread intrigue involving hundreds  of connivers.

Indeed, news of such subterfuge would likely destroy the conservative movement for good, as well as bring down a long list of military contractors and associated firms and interests.

Deets nevertheless noted that the World Trade Center housed such tenants as the Department of Defense, the Securities and Exchange Commission and various other federal agencies. "The SEC was investigating Enron," he suggested, emphasizing that the company would have benefitted from the World Trade Center carnage.

Deets stressed that the 9/11 coverup is being facilitated not only by Republicans, but by their Democratic counterparts.

Democrats "are stonewalling any investigation" in 9/11, he said. People attending the Veterans Day festivities who walked by the 9/11 showcase displayed a mix of emotions, from bafflement to mild agreement, as they viewed the hazy, black and white photographs of the deadly onslaught.

"Maybe there’s something to it … Nothing would surprise me these days," said Marita Bardoni, whose brother recently returned from a two-year military stint in Iraq. "It is odd that everything has changed for the worse since it (the 9/11 attack) happened."

But World War II veteran William Hemmings was having none of it.

"If any of this were true, Cheney would be lynched from the Washington Monument in a minute," Hemmings said. "A conspiracy supposedly this big could never be kept secret. Somebody would have stepped forward by now."

FRANK GREEN is a veteran journalist and lives in the San Diego area. He can be reached at fjkbgreen@cox.net