When did they know? 36 Truth leaders on how they awakened to the 9/11 lie
By Craig McKee
Myth: Most “conspiracy theorists” thought 9/11 was an inside job from day one, because these types of people always imagine elaborate conspiracies even though the evidence rarely backs them up. Most are paranoid and obsessive.
Reality: Many if not most of the members of the 9/11 Truth movement took months or years to begin doubting what we have been told. Those who have become leaders of the movement tend to be intelligent and well educated, and they were open-minded enough to consider evidence that we hadn’t been told the truth by the government or the media.
I decided to pose a question to some of the most notable members of the movement to find out exactly when they twigged that 9/11 was an inside job and not a terrorist attack perpetrated by fundamentalist Muslims. Here’s the question I sent them:
“When did you come to believe that the 9/11 official story was false and that 9/11 was an inside job – and what piece or pieces of information convinced you?”
For the purpose of this article, I’m defining “truth leaders” as being people who have been active in the movement in some visible way – spreading the word either by organizing activities or by researching and writing about or making films about 9/11 to raise awareness. It does not connote an endorsement of their various positions on 9/11.
I was fortunate to receive responses from the majority of the best known truth activists I wrote to. These included David Ray Griffin, Barrie Zwicker, Barbara Honegger, Mike Gravel, Rob Balsamo, Cynthia McKinney, and 30 others listed below. All responses are original and were sent to me by the respondents with the exception of Balsamo’s, which he offered from a previously posted statement.
As you will read, the respondents’ backgrounds run the gamut. There are academics, authors, pilots, engineers, chemists, architects, journalists, politicians, musicians, filmmakers, lawyers, soldiers, and citizen researchers and activists of all kinds. There is a former U.S. senator, a former congresswoman, a high-level NASA executive, a policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
It’s an impressive group to say the least. In assembling it, I deliberately did not restrict myself to people I most agree with – or who most agree with each other. I sent the question to as many members of the Truth movement as I could. I’m not interested in entertaining criticism that one person or another should have been excluded. I think it’s much more interesting to read responses from people with disparate views. The length of the answers varies greatly, and cuts were kept to a minimum.
Here are the participants in this order:
David Ray Griffin, Barrie Zwicker, Cynthia McKinney, William Veale, Barbara Honegger, Mike Gravel, Craig Ranke, Rob Balsamo, Cindy Sheehan, Niels Harrit, Shelton Lankford, James Fetzer, James Hufferd, Adam Syed, George Ripley, Adam Ruff, Sheila Casey, Bruce Sinclair, Elizabeth Woodworth, Josh Blakeney, Aldo Marquis, Frances Shure, Maxwell C. Bridges, Anna Yeisley, Mark Gaffney, Giulietto Chiesa, Paul Zarembka, Ken Freeland, Jonathan Mark, Dwain Deets, Jeffrey Orling, Massimo Mazzucco, Nelisse Muga, Matthew Witt, Simon Shack, Graeme MacQueen.
And here’s what they said:
David Ray Griffin (Retired theology professor; past nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for his 9/11 work; founder, Consensus 9/11 Panel; author of 10 books on 9/11)
In the fall of 2002, one of my students at the Claremont School of Theology told me that a visiting professor said that 9/11 was an inside job and asked if I wanted to meet him. I said yes, and after talking with him, I told him that his theory certainly seemed plausible, given all the things the U.S. government had done (I was working on a book manuscript on U.S. imperialism), but that I would need to see evidence. I studied the evidence he emailed but concluded that it was not persuasive, so I went back to my work on U.S. imperialism
But early in 2003, another colleague from another institution sent Professor John Cobb the URL for a short version (provided in Paul Burks’ WantToKnow) of Paul Thompson’s “Complete 9/11 Timeline.” It took only a few hours to realize that its reports of stories contradicting the official story that had appeared in the mainstream press – but usually only once – was of utmost importance. I then obtained books on the subject, starting with Gore Vidal’s Dreaming War, which led me to Nafeez Ahmed’s War on Freedom.
Barrie Zwicker (Journalist, filmmaker and author of Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11)
I knew before noon on 9/11, because I realized that for the USAF to fail to turn a wheel until it was too late, during a drama in the sky of almost two hours was, simply, impossible.
So there had to be a USAF stand-down, which means an inside job.
Cynthia McKinney (Former congresswoman and presidential nominee for the Green Party in 2008)
Immediately after the tragedies, I called for an investigation of what happened in an Op-Ed piece that appeared in several newspapers. I noted that airplane crashes, train wrecks, and other accidents always routinely result in exhaustive investigations – why not with the tragedies of 11 September 2001?
Instead, both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney were actively obstructing any investigation with lame-brained excuses that didn’t make any sense. Eventually, a tightly controlled victims’ compensation fund was established that restricted legal inquiry by victims and survivors into the tragedies.
As my last legislative act before being expelled from Congress by the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., I introduced legislation to nullify the rule forcing victims to choose between accepting financial help from the fund and knowing the truth.
We were never told the truth by the Bush Administration. Secretary of State Colin Powell promised a white paper to the people of the U.S. detailing what happened and who the culprits were; the white paper was never forthcoming. Instead, Tony Blair issued a report with an advisory that the contents could not be construed as evidence in a court of law. So, to this day, we all know what we saw, but we don’t know officially what happened. In the absence of truth from the government, the people must, themselves, find truth.
William Veale (Lawyer for April Gallop, legal spokesman for the Consensus 9/11 Panel)
I was shown A New Pearl Harbor (by David Ray Griffin) in 2004. As a trial lawyer, it is always the amalgamation of evidence that convinces. It is rarely one piece of evidence, especially not in the face of a strong case for the opposite proposition. The fact that Griffin presented a compelling case over the entire range of possible evidence put me well on the way to being convinced. When I read Omissions and Distortions, and it was clear that the government would not, and could not respond to so many specific assertions, there was virtually no doubt remaining. It is my experience that people with explanations of damning evidence are hard to shut up. That is why evidence of silence in the face of an accusation of wrongdoing is admissible in court.
Now that we have the finding of nano-thermite, there is no room for questioning the inside job theory at all. Nano-thermite is the equivalent of DNA in a criminal case.
Barbara Honegger (Journalist, former policy analyst in the Reagan administration, and author of The Pentagon Attack Papers)
On the morning of 9/11, I was watching a split screen on television with Bush sitting in the Florida classroom after Card whispered in his ear (which we were later told was that a second tower had been hit in NYC and the nation was under attack) on one side, and innocent victims jumping to their deaths from those very towers on the other, and knew something was terribly, terribly wrong. My first thought was that Bush had foreknowledge and was intentionally being seen by the whole world as not being in charge and therefore not ‘responsible’ for what he knew was about to happen.
Mike Gravel (Former U.S. senator who helped leak the “Pentagon Papers”; founder, Citizens 9/11 Commission)
It took me three days to overcome the impact of the consequences of 9/11. My whole public life was a battle against the military Congressional industrial complex. 9/11 was the MCIC’s lock on the world. A book by Seven Story Press A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man’s Fight to Stop It details my experiences.
It was only in 2010 that I developed an appreciation of the fine scientific work done by the 9/11 Truth Movement, David Ray Griffin and others, to disprove the government story line. What followed was my suggestion to go to the people via direct democracy at the state or federal level to bring about a new citizens’ investigation commission.
Craig Ranke (Independent journalist; co-founder, Citizen Investigation Team)
I was immediately suspicious that something fishy was going on just because I knew that whatever was happening would be used as a pretext for war. However those suspicions went into hibernation the very next day as reports of cell phone calls started coming out and the barrage of propaganda regarding Bin Laden began. It seemed believable to me at the time, so I basically went right back to “sleep” so to speak.
I didn’t really question it again until I started researching vote fraud online after the 2004 U.S. presidential election. In the course of doing that, I came across information about 9/11 which made me take a second look. There were a lot of different pieces of information that, when taken together, led me to reject the official story, including information pertaining to the demolition of the WTC.
At the Pentagon, the fact that the damage seemed inconsistent with the impact of a 757 led to serious doubts and questions in my mind, and ultimately inspired our investigation. Needless to say, the evidence we uncovered proved my suspicions (and the suspicions of millions of other people) justified and gave me an even greater level of certainty that 9/11 was a false flag operation.
Rob Balsamo (Co-founder, Pilots for 9/11 Truth)
In May 2006, I was watching Glenn Beck’s show on CNN. The Department of Defense had just released the infamous “5 frames” of stop-action video of the Pentagon attack. Beck showed the frames and commented, “You can see a 757 in 10 seconds flat! Either that or a naked Michael Moore heading for the buffet! This should put all those conspiracy theories to rest”. While watching it, I’m thinking to myself, “I can’t see any 757.” And I’m asking myself, “Are there still unresolved questions regarding 9/11?”
So I started poking around on the Internet trying to find anything I can to back up the government’s story, because I didn’t want to believe our government might have had something to do with 9/11.
Early on, I came across Operation Northwoods. It blew me away that elements of our government had seriously planned acts of terrorism inside the United States to justify invading Cuba. Consider that 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean had said, “The greatest failure of 9/11 was a lack of imagination,” yet just under 40 years prior, elements of our own government imagined perpetrating such an event!
In 2006, I co-founded Pilots for 9/11 Truth to more formally conduct research on the aviation-related aspects of 9/11. In August 2006, Pilots received from the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) a copy of the Flight Data Recorder data of Flight 77, which, according to the official account, hit the Pentagon.
We analyzed the data and announced our conclusion on 3/26/07 that “The information provided by the NTSB does not support the 9/11 Commission Report of American Airlines Flight 77 impact with the Pentagon.” Much more information about this can be found in our video documentary and our press release.
So now, a year after I began looking into the events of 9/11 and having devoted a lot of time and effort researching those events, I’m frustrated because we haven’t been able to find anything to confirm the government’s story. And what’s worse is that the FBI and NTSB refuse to even discuss with us the many obvious problems we found in the Flight 77 FDR.
Cindy Sheehan (Anti-war activist, radio host, author)
I came to believe 9/11 wasn’t what it seemed when George Bush said he didn’t want to “hear any crazy conspiracy theories.” I don’t know with 100% certainty which parts are false and which aren’t, but the “official” story comes from a pack of known liars.
Niels Harrit (9/11 researcher; associate chemistry professor, University of Copenhagen)
By accident, I saw Building 7 go down in 2006 on a DVD somebody had sent to my wife. Since that moment, there has been no way back.
Lt. Col. Shelton Lankford (U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, retired; member, Pilots for 9/11 Truth)
Even before 9/11/01, I closely followed the actions of the administration and the rhetoric they employed to get the nation and its institutions aligned toward their PNAC (Project For a New American Century) goals. When they began the so-called War on Terror, it smacked too much of exploiting a created opportunity. It was my reading of Michael Ruppert’s book Crossing the Rubicon that turned my initial misgivings about a stolen election (2000) into alarm about what kind of people had hijacked my country, and to what purpose.
David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor took me past the point of no return. I joined Pilots for 9/11 Truth in 2006. I have devoted several hours a day for the past eight years or so keeping up with newly discovered facts and conversations about the 9/11 events. The actions of the FBI regarding the Moussaoui case, pre-9/11, the unconvincing official story of Flight 77, and finally the CIT evidence of a deliberate murderous deception at the Pentagon removed the last shreds of doubt from my mind.
James Fetzer (9/11 and JFK researcher; founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth)
When I watched the “collapse” of the Twin Towers on 9/11, I was convinced that something was terribly wrong, but I never imagined I would ever be in the position to do anything about it. Not until 2005, when David Ray Griffin wrote to me to suggest we might collaborate on a book on JFK and 9/11, where I wrote the part on JFK and he the one on 9/11, however, did I become drawn into doing serious research on the subject. I founded Scholars for 9/11 Truth in December of that year, where my first study would be, “Thinking about ‘Conspiracy Theories’: 9/11 and JFK,” which would be published in the first book from Scholars, The 9/11 Conspiracy: The Scamming of America (2007).
James Hufferd (Founder, 9/11 Truth of Central Iowa; co-ordinator 9/11 Truth Grassroots Organization)
I had determined by 9/11 or early on 9/12, as soon as the basic OCT (official conspiracy theory) started to appear basically fully articulated, with pics and data about all the “hijackers” and their roles and that Osama bin Laden was at the bottom of it, only a couple of hours after – and maybe before – the collapse of Building 7, that the whole story would have to have been written to release in advance. There just hadn’t been enough time to have more than barely begun to carry out the extensive investigation that would have been required. And I knew they wouldn’t have left it up to a gang of rag-tag little more than teenagers to pull off.
Adam Syed (9/11 Truth activist; member, Cincinnati 9/11 Truth)
Certainly by 2004, and particularly with the release of Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, it was painfully clear how corrupt the Bush administration was. While Fahrenheit didn’t go there with inside job evidence, it documented the stolen 2000 election, and how the administration exploited 9/11 in the worst possible ways. It became clear at that point that even if the administration didn’t orchestrate 9/11, it seemed to be a wet dream come true for them.
2005 was my tipping point though. The revelation of the Downing Street Memos, which were extensively covered in Britain but kept mostly on the hush-hush in the U.S. media, was key. Combine this with DRG’s May 2005 Madison WI lecture, which was broadcast on C-SPAN, along with the release of the documentary 9/11 In Plane Site by Dave von Kleist, and I was a full blown truther by the summer of that year. While many better documentaries have been made since In Plane Site, it was nonetheless the best offering at the time, and one for which it was clear that even if 30% of the film was accurate, 9/11 was certainly an inside job.
George Ripley (Steering committee, Citizens 9/11 Commission campaign)
My first step into the rabbit hole came the day my housemate at the time, Jose Rodriguez, returned from the Chicago 9/11 convention where he had helped his close friend Gabriel Day, one of the conference organizers.
It was important for me to have a close friend present the information to me. Jose brought back papers describing the near free fall collapse and synapses began firing across the breadth and depth of my mind. It became suddenly clear to me. On some level I was a bit dismayed that I hadn’t seen it before because it was suddenly all too obvious that the buildings could not have collapsed in the manner they did without being blown. Nothing I have ever learned or thought since then has changed my mind in the least. Indeed, it has only strengthened the conviction. However, it wasn’t until I learned about the thermate that I was able to be open to all my friends and family about the facts of the matter.
Although I had been an ardent activist for social justice and had even been arrested in Philadelphia at the GOP convention before Bush ever stole his first presidential election, it did not really occur to me that a “domestic” enemy might have purposefully orchestrated such a diabolical act. I suddenly realized they had. It was a life changing moment. The “ton of bricks” had hit home.
Adam Ruff (9/11 truth activist and researcher)
I started to question the official story in early 2002 because of the “Hunt The Boeing” website and the accompanying photos of the pentagon damage. After getting a copy of Thierry Meyssan’s book Pentagate and reading it in one sitting I knew the official story was a lie.
I didn’t start to suspect the demolition of the towers until later when I looked back at the videos and saw the squibs with my own eyes. Shortly after that period 9/11 In Plain Sight came out and confirmed my suspicions about the Pentagon and about the tower demolitions. From 2002 onward I have been doing my own deep research into 9/11 and other state sponsored terror events such as 7/7, Operation Gladio, and the Oklahoma City bombing. My eyes are definitely open now to what is really going on behind the smoke screen put out by the corporate media.
Sheila Casey (Independent journalist, member DC911truth)
In August 2007, I Googled “impeach Cheney” and ended up on Paul Craig Roberts’ website. Reading through his essays, I saw the line “9/11 didn’t happen the way we were told,” and a recommendation for the book A New Pearl Harbor (by David Ray Griffin).
I got on the Internet and soon saw the seven-second collapse of Building 7. That convinced me to look further, so I went to the library that same day and checked out Griffin’s book. I read that book over the next two days, and when I finished, I was full-on MIHOP (made it happen on purpose).
But I was in the peculiar position of still believing that conspiracy theorists were looney tunes nut jobs, even as I had just become one! So it took me five months to go to my first DC911truth meeting – I was apprehensive about meeting “real” conspiracy theorists, believing that I myself must be some kind of anomaly. (Of course I found out that I’m not.)
Bruce Sinclair (Core member, Pilots for 9/11 Truth)
“Hunt the Boeing” got me going (in early 2002)! Also, it seemed very fishy that the government had it all figured out by the next day…
Elizabeth Woodworth (Co-founder, 9/11 Consensus Panel; collaborator with David Ray Griffin)
I watched a Vision TV program in December, which as I recall had Barrie Zwicker interviewing Michael Ruppert. I found it very persuasive and telephoned my brother to tell him about it. Then I went back to my life, until, in April 2006, a former neighbour, a psychologist, handed me a book called The New Pearl Harbor, by Dr. David Ray Griffin.
The writing was crystal clear and the layout of the evidence was so logically compelling and strongly documented that there was no escaping the conclusion that 9/11 had been permitted to happen by forces within the United States.
The certain knowledge of this through the concrete detail that was presented changed me over a period of about three days, as I adjusted to it. It penetrated my world view of American politics in a new way, such that I was unable to endure hearing the words, so oft repeated within minutes of turning on the radio or television, “Ever since 9/11….” without doing something about the preposterous fantasy that had descended upon us and was so frequently reiterated.
So I wrote a book review of The New Pearl Harbor for the New York Times, and I contacted its author about a question pertaining to the review, and that led to correspondence in which Dr. Griffin asked me to proof-read a chapter from his then current manuscript, Debunking 9/11 Debunking. That was five years ago, and we have now worked on 7 books and perhaps 20 essays together.
Joshua Blakeney (Freelance journalist, staff writer at Veterans Today, and member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth)
I participated in several anti-war demonstrations in London prior to emigrating to Canada in 2005 and was thus enamoured with the anti-imperialist struggles of those in the Middle East from a relatively young age. By 2006 I was enrolled in post-secondary education at the University of Lethbridge studying Sociology and in 2007 enrolled in Prof. Anthony J. Hall’s Globalization Studies classes. Prof. Hall was at the time I met him revisiting the literature on 9/11, such as David Ray Griffin’s exceptional books on the subject, and was incorporating certain questionable aspects of 9/11 into his Globalization Studies curriculum. He and I befriended each other, discussed 9/11 at length, shared links, exchanged notes, etc., which led us both to conclude that the official story of 9/11 is false. WTC Building 7 is one obvious example of the falsity of the official story. Al-Qaeda, even if it exists as a coherent and autonomous non-state actor, could not possibly have planted explosives in WTC 7.
One of the main political issues I became involved in during my undergraduate years was the Israel/Palestine conflict. In 2008, my Palestinian friend and I founded a chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at the University of Lethbridge.
Initially, I compartmentalized the Israel-Palestine cause and the 9/11 Truth cause in my mind. But as I explored the subject of 9/11 I began to realize that the Israel-Palestine conflict and the events of 9/11 are not two separate subjects. Rather, it appears that they are tightly interwoven. Thus, my main political objectives in recent years have been to encourage the 9/11 Truth movement not to shy away from dealing with the Israeli dimension of 9/11 whilst concurrently pressuring the pro-Palestinian movement to recognize the reality that Israel’s crimes extend to 9/11.
I often tell my comrades in the pro-Palestinian movement: “Imagine if the Afrikaners had, out of desperation, killed 3,000 Americans and blamed it on the ANC, wouldn’t the anti-apartheid movement have been foolish not to have capitalized on this to demonstrate the rapacity of the ethnic nationalist regime in South Africa?”
It is clear to me that the only way to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict is for the citizens of the United States to empathize with those inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank who are being subjected to Israel’s genocidal policies. If we tell the citizens of the U.S. that Israel killed 3,000, or even 3 million Arabs, many will not give a damn because Arabs and Muslims have been dehumanized by the Western media.
If we inform the people of the United States that nearly 3,000, mostly Caucasian, Americans were slain on 9/11 with the complicity of Zionists, they might begin to pressure their government to end the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Thus, topics like the five Mossad agents arrested on 9/11, the Israeli security companies running the airports implicated on 9/11, Larry Silverstein’s close relationship with Israeli politicians, the role of Israeli citizen Dov Zakheim in the Pentagon, the Israelocentrism of the neoconservative movement, etc., ought to be spoken of widely. This might help to bring an end to the Israel/Palestine conflict which, after all, is a microcosm of the broader “war on terror.”
Aldo Marquis (Independent journalist; co-founder, Citizen Investigation Team)
I first became aware of problems of with 9/11 back in 2002-03 after I watched 9/11: The Road to Tyranny by Alex Jones. I was completely floored by the alternative news stories shedding a whole other light on 9/11. I fully immersed myself in researching these claims and others. In doing so, I learned there was much misinformation and disinformation floating out there, although there were still enough unanswered problems with the official story to keep me digging.
Soon, I turned my attention towards the Pentagon attack, as it was the most controversial and most challenging aspects of 9/11. I realized that the only way I can truly know what happened is to actually go out there and interview witnesses to the event obtaining key details about what they saw and where they saw it.
I went there prepared to be proven wrong about everything I believed about the attack and was open to the official version of events. Once I learned for myself that the plane flew on the north side of the gas station, I absolutely knew that 9/11 was an “inside job” orchestrated by powerful forces within our government, military and intelligence communities. Once I had enough corroboration, there wasn’t a doubt left in my mind. It was an inside job.
Frances Shure (Co-founder of Colorado 9/11 Visibility and a peace and environmental activist)
In the fall of 2001, I viewed Michael Ruppert’s documentary Truth and Lies About 9/11 several times and began the process of shifting my worldview by studying that DVD and conferring with friends about it. At that point, I was on the borderline of LIHOP and MIHOP. In the summer of 2002, I read Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s War on Freedom, studied it and wrote a summary, which I hand delivered along with a copy of the book to Representative Diana DeGette’s executive director in the course of an appointment with him, at which time he took this information very seriously.
It was all of the evidence taken as a whole in Ahmed’s well-documented book that gave rise to my great concern, along with Barrie Zwicker’s documentary, The Great Deception, on the air defence failure and other false flag operations in history.
In 2004, I became aware of the near free fall acceleration of the Twin Towers. That was the coup de grace for any theory but MIHOP. I have also studied theories and documents which advocate for the official account of 9/11 and have found nothing anywhere near as convincing as the evidence which supports the alternative theory.
Maxwell C. Bridges (Blogger and frequent contributor to “Truth and Shadows” under the name Señor El Once)
My detractors will peg me with “a track record of gullibility,” because I had open-minded and tolerant tendencies developed well before 9/11 that allowed me to objectively consider viewpoints and evidence that ran contradictory to “steamrolled” mainstream media views (e.g., punk rock, international news, art & foreign films, world music). I did not actively pursue alternative theories of historical events (e.g., JFK, RFK, MLK, OKC), but would hear them out when presented and was astute enough to see where they supplied a plausible missing piece of the puzzle.
The year 2001 was part of an era when I read the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) daily, listened to NPR, and obtained more and more news from the internet. The political theater of George Bush being appointed president by the Supreme Court in 2000 had my cackles up about the neo-cons and rightfully suspicious of each and every one of their endeavors. As real-time as reputable newspapers can get, the CSM informed me in the summer of 2001 of the coordinated assassinations via diverse covert means but similar global agenda-advancing outcomes of various tribal Taliban leaders.
Before noon (MST) on September 11, 2001, I saw the first Internet versions of the towers’ pulverization. From my education in engineering, I understood that this required a massive and strategically controlled influx of energy in order to account for the thoroughness, symmetry, and speed of their extermination. In fact, these features flagged major flaws in the extremely efficient operation: coincidence and overkill that would be unnecessary for achieving the alleged goals of “outside/foreign terrorists” and would be next to impossible without inside access and extensive preparation time within the towers.
The “bi-partisan” and overwhelming passing without reading of the massive, fully fleshed-out, waiting-in-the-wings, and dubiously named USA PATRIOT Act by Congress in the weeks following 9/11 – weeks that contained D.C. snipers and Anthrax attacks to further heighten the fear to get public submission – were what clued me by November 2001 that the 9/11 official story was false and that 9/11 was an inside job. These were underscored by the persistent “America Under Attack” and “America at War” propaganda slogans of media and by the overly patriotic (and un-Christian) sentiments that blindly and vengefully advocated ruthless bombing and invasion of Afghanistan (and then Iraq). Too many coincidental dots that formed trend lines that later (and unearthed earlier) Bush Administration’s dots also aligned with.
Anna Yeisley (Member Tea Party Patriots for 9/11 Truth and Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth)
From the beginning I was confused as to how a bunch Afghani rebels were able to take down two buildings without damaging any other buildings. If you were an Islamic extremist who hated America so much you would commit suicide why wouldn’t you plan to take out as many buildings as possible? It was obvious to me that the attack was planned to create as little damage as possible except to the twin towers, so I was confused. Another early question was the amount of paper littering the streets outside the towers. Why didn’t the paper burn up?
I didn’t question the official story until 2006 or 2007 when I stumbled upon Loose Change on YouTube and heard “nano-thermite” for the first time.
I tried to connect to others who also questioned 9/11 by starting a meet-up group but found few interested. I didn’t become a 9/11 activist until I signed an AE911 petition online and volunteered to organize a press conference in front of Congressman Wittman’s office in Sept 2010 and attended DC Press Conference with Richard Gage.
Mark H. Gaffney (Author of The 9/11 Mystery Plane and Black 9/11: A Walk on the Dark Side)
I became convinced in Dec 2006 after conducting a very exhaustive review of NIST’s 2005 report on the WTC collapse. I posted a paper on this in, I think it was, January 2006. Then a year later I posted a revised version. Here are the links (below). The only error in my research that came to light was a typo.
Giulietto Chiesa (Italian journalist, producer of the 9/11 documentary Zero)
Immediately after having seen on TV the events while they were happening… It seemed to me, at first sight, that it was a huge TV show. And I argued that only a group of Western people, accustomed to the modern TV, could conceive of such a show.
You have to keep in mind that I was visiting Afghanistan in January that year, and I came back and wrote the book Afghanistan Anno Zero (Afghanistan Year Zero), which was in Italian book shops just three days before 9/11.
I was in Genoa in July that year during the tragic G-8 where a young man was killed by Italian police, and I wrote a book about that, which just about to be released with the title Genoa/G-8. In that book the picture of international relations had become a very worrying one.
This means I was, in a certain sense, “psychologically prepared” to consider the possibility of an event of that kind. Frankly speaking I was waiting for something similar. In Afghanistan Anno Zero I had written, quite prophetically, that a war in Afghanistan was really possible in the short term.
In any case I remember that that evening I began looking for more detailed information, and I was overwhelmed by the contradictory explanations. I believed this was normal during a chaotic situation like this, but I realized something very strange was happening behind the headlines and photos.
Only later, three or four days after the event, my suspicions began to take shape, and I began working systematically on the subject.
Paul Zarembka (Economics professor, State University of New York, editor of The Hidden History of 9-11)
My serious questioning about 9/11 began with Michael Ruppert’s talk at the University of Toronto in January 2002. He showed about 10 times that portion of the Zapruder film of Kennedy’s assassination with the thrust of Kennedy’s head going backwards, so that the fatal shot could only come from his front. Ruppert thus indicated the role of the U.S. state to have us believe otherwise.
Since my Marxist understanding of political economy helps me to perceive that a capitalist state is controlled by that class, I realized that I had an obligation to know from evidence if the 9/11 event was based inside the U.S. state, rather than being a foreign act that we are led to believe.
Since then, it has been an unending process of learning more and more about 9/11 with many issues not fully solved. And there has been an accumulation of evidence pointing to the operatives in the U.S. state, not one or two most telling pieces. The total inadequacy of the 9/11 Commission Report is telling.
Ken Freeland (Citizens 9/11 Commission; member, Houston 9/11 Truth)
It’s hard for me to answer this question because in truth, I think I never fully accepted the government’s account. The question would then be, what piece of information was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, and convinced me that the government was definitely not telling the truth.
I think perhaps it was learning that bin Laden denied involvement in the events of 9/11. It really makes no sense to go through this much organizational planning and risk taking for a spectacular terrorist act for which you then deny responsibility. What’s the point? This never made the slightest sense to me, and is at odds with the track record of great terrorist events (except for those for which our own government is suspected of involvement).
Jonathan Mark (Founder FlybyNews; founder, 9/11 Teleconference Group)
At the time of September 11, 2001, I was involved with a campaign to stop offensive weapons from entering outer space. The twin towers crumbling before my eyes initiated a free-fall on many levels in our civilization. I wasn’t sure of anything at first, and even Osama bin Laden seemed like a candidate. The free fall of our civilization was that 9/11 was used to justify the horrendous “war on terror,” pre-emptive war, loss of justice, habeas corpus, human rights, bill of rights. Everything was going down, fast, and after six months notice, President Bush axed the ABM Treaty and started putting offensive weapons in space.
The campaign to prevent this from happening to help reverse the arms race failed, and 9/11 was used as justification for such extreme measures. So I started reporting articles looking into the events with more depth. The January 17, 2002 issue included an article by William Rivers Pitt, “Hell to Pay.” Slowly the facts built up to a strong case of government abuse and involvement in crimes against humanity. Without the facts of what really happened on 9/11 and beyond, there will be no truth, justice, or peace. 9/11 justice is key. FN’’s archives on this issue is posted from this title: New 9/11 Investigation vs. New World Order.
Dwain Deets (Former senior NASA executive; member, Pilots for 9/11 Truth)
I didn’t suspect anything was amiss the first couple of years. In early 2004, I became quite concerned about limitations on future energy supplies. I started following Michael Ruppert’s “From the Wilderness” website. Based on a recommendation on the site, in Aug. 2004, I attended a financial planning workshop “off shore” in Mazatlan, Mexico. Ruppert was one of the speakers, and that motivated me to read his upcoming book Crossing the Rubicon, published Oct. 2004. That gave me the big picture from a strategic positioning of U.S. military in order to secure energy supplies well into the future.
On the fourth anniversary, I wrote “I’m completely convinced it was a LIHOP.” In early 2006, I found out how difficult it was to speak out in public with this contrarian view. I was the editor of a newsletter for a local “skeptic” group. The group is called San Diego Association for Rational Inquire (SDARI). I found this group would entertain no views about 9/11 other than the official story.
I attempted to publish an article in the newsletter of which I was the editor, a letter which I considered neutral on AAL77, rather than adhering strictly to the official story. When I was unable to publish this article, I sent a letter to the parent organization (Skeptical Inquirer) resigning as editor.
On the sixth anniversary, I wrote “I see that 9/11 was a ‘False Flag’ operation.” I also wrote, “I’ve become more and more amazed at the sophistication of 9/11. Not just in pulling off the operation, i.e., the mechanics of it, but even more impressive in a sick way, the duping of the American public.”
I went to hear Richard Gage speak when he was in San Diego (Oct. 2007), and joined AE911Truth shortly thereafter.
Jeffrey Orling (New York architect, 9/11 activist)
The first hint that something was wrong was how soon they identified the hijackers and how they managed to take over these planes. WOW, and they weren’t able to prevent these slackers from getting on the planes or intercept them? We have spent several trillion dollars on defence and spying and surveillance, and four commercial flights were just floating around the skies all morning… something was really fishy.
And as the story emerged told to us by media – the mouthpiece of government – it seemed more and more implausible: found passport… no black boxes… where was the plane wreckage at the pentagon… why were the vids not released immediately? Everything seemed to be a manufactured story from the get go… the phone calls from the planes.
I was surprised that the three towers fell as they did… but I didn’t suspect controlled demos. I knew the towers were a very weird erector set design… but I didn’t understand how they collapsed until I drilled into the details of the structure. Still not sure that they were intended to look like collapses but had some devices planted or delivered by the planes.
By the time the official story came out in the 9/11 Commission Report it was clear that it was a cover up… The more I study the event the less obvious it is what exactly happened… whose idea it was, who engineered the entire think and how they managed to pull it off.
Massimo Mazzucco (Filmmaker, journalist, and 9/11 researcher)
In August 2001 I was watching the news and I heard that in Afghanistan the Taliban had totally frozen poppy production. I remember turning to my wife and saying: “I wouldn’t be surprised if soon we’ll find a very good reason to attack Afghanistan.”
A few weeks later I was watching the twin towers collapse on television, and I simply said. “Here we go.”
At that point obviously I had no idea of how exactly the 9/11 operation had been carried out, but it was already clear to me that it could not have been done by the same people who were about to suffer some major consequences from it.
Then the information on the Pentagon attack and the twin tower demolitions started to circulate, and it all fit perfectly with the original idea of an “inside job.”
Nelisse Muga (Activist and co-founder of San Diegans for 9/11 Truth)
I began my search for 9/11 truth when I had a friend call early on a Sunday morning in April 2005. She insisted I turn on the TV to C-Span, so reluctantly I did. Someone named Dr. David Ray Griffin was talking about 9/11/01 and questioning the 9/11 Commission Report that had recently been published. He was very convincing and simply asked his audience to look a bit closer into what might have happened. Did the official report really make sense? I quickly realized it did not.
It turned my world upside down. Originally I believed it was “blowback,” – and since that day I have been, I guess you would say obsessed – with finding the truth and living long enough to see justice. Not that we could ever make up for the lives we have destroyed. I have always had empathy for others, especially when I believe that injustice is involved.
It was shortly after this that I began our local group, San Diegans for 9/11 Truth, with Ted (Nelisse’s husband and a retired pilot) and another good friend who I had met in the Kucinich campaign in 2003. Dr. Griffin was the perfect messenger for me to begin my journey. We have read all of his books and have had him as our guest presenter down here on several occasions – lucky us!
It’s funny how Ted and I never discussed 9/11/01 until that day when we saw David on C span. He said he became suspicious in 2002 when KPBS-Nova came out with the Pancake-Theory. Ted’s degree is in structural engineering, and he knew there was no such thing. It’s much like the “domino theory” we all learned about during the Vietnam war. That was another term dreamed up by our propaganda machine to keep the public in their comfort zone. It’s now time for all of us to become very uncomfortable.
Matthew Witt (9/11 author and researcher, associate professor of Public Administration at University of La Verne, CA)
I cannot recall a particular “A ha!” moment, but there were distinctive turning points. One thing is certain: I was not an early adopter. When the towers were hit and for three years or so later I did not question the official story.
But gut level ambivalence started right away, beginning with the PATRIOT Act. It came too quickly, with virtually no debate considering the sweeping consequences of its measures. The PATRIOT Act seriously compromised the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978) and fudged the line in all matters pertaining to search and seizure protections under Constitution. There was something way too convenient about the 9/11 incident for such sweeping, doctrinal shift in civil liberties.
From around spring of 2004 for the next three years, I was working on and off on a piece of my own that would eventually be published in an academic journal after long odyssey of rejection, finally published in the journal Administration & Society as “Conjuring the Holographic State: Scripting Security Doctrine for a (New) World of Disorder.” Lance deHaven-Smith drafted the Coda section of that piece. According to the journal managing editor, it sailed through review and was pushed ahead of queue for publication because the premise really grabbed the editor (former army military and eventually major figure in the public administration academia as one of what is known as “The Blacksburg Group”).
The piece used the Matrix film epic as narrative structure for analyzing the global war on terror. The plot point and characterizations struck me as eerily close to what the PATRIOT Act built up from its premise of “lone wolf terrorism.” Finally published in 2008, the piece suggests but does not go so far as to say 9/11 was an inside job. There is no way, still, to do so in an academic journal. This work forged close association with deHaven-Smith, who had published in 2006 a major statement to the field about elite theory in re-conceptualized under rubric “state crimes against democracy” (SCAD); a really power heuristic for staging new thinking about 9/11.
At some point during 2005 I started poking around Amazon.com for what I could find and came across Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s deeply probing The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism. I credit this work with being the first major lifting of weights from my eyes. About the same time I read one of David Ray Griffin’s early books, an edited volume with Peter Dale Scott, 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, Volume 1. Steven Jones’s piece in that book was a major turning point for me. How, indeed, could buildings fall nearly at the speed of gravity without being imploded?
By early 2007 I was firmly convinced that 9/11 was an inside job. The spectacular number of coincidences – Bush’s kin (cousin, I believe) owning the security company with contract for the towers, and on and on and on – defied probability of anything other than the deepest state involvement.
Among other conspiracy related work was Jim Marrs’ Rule by Secrecy, which promised to link the very weird and troubling matter of 9/11 with near and ancient esoteric societies. Marrs does a solid job with documentation, and his conjecture is mostly pretty grounded and reasonable.
I have never written anything directly about 9/11 and do not consider myself a 9/11 scholar. I started my academic career wanting to help build greener cities, with bike paths and the like. My odyssey away from that began with my inquiry into how race has shaped public institutions in America. From there onward, I realized that there were too many institutionalized obstacles to even the most basic good ideas for planning cities. Then along came 9/11 and the world we had changed forever in a heartbeat.
Simon Shack (Creator of the 9/11 film September Clues)
Like everyone else, I was shocked on 9/11 2001 by the TV news reports of four commercial airliners being simultaneously hijacked by 19 suicide hijackers armed with box-cutters crashing into the twin towers and the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania marshland. Like everyone else, I was shocked to read in the newspapers the next day, that “20,000” people had died (yes, I’ve saved copies of such dramatic newspaper headlines). And like most people I immediately had serious doubts about the veracity of this most outlandish Hollywood-smelling tale.
Within 48 hours of the event, a purported “amateur video” was aired on TV (credited to Michael Hezarkhani). It showed the alleged Flight 175 effortlessly penetrating World Trade Center 2 – without as much as an aileron breaking off… I instantly jumped up from my couch and shouted: “That’s just ridiculous! Physically impossible !!!”
For some reason that I’m quite frankly unable to fathom, I did not act upon that first reaction of mine – and as many as five more years went by before I started analyzing the available imagery of that day. I guess that, like everyone else, my mind was incapable of processing the extent of human wickedness necessary to enact such a massive hoax upon mankind. As I put together my September Clues documentary, I felt almost ashamed that it took me so long to act upon (and expose) the utter absurdity of these planes seen on TV – integrally disappearing into steel frame buildings as if they were made of Jell-O.
Of course, we now know that the news media aired an entirely pre-fabricated “made-for-TV Hollywood movie “ – complete with “airplane crashes” and “pyroclastic, top-down tower collapses”. Not only did we see computer-animated images of planes striking the towers – the collapses themselves were as digitally crafted as the Empire State Building seen collapsing (TOP-DOWN!) in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day.
The collapse imagery – all of it – as well as the images showing people jumping from the towers – has by now been proven fake (digitally animated) in every imaginable way. Unfortunately, the bulk of the 9/11 “truth movement” has been hoodwinked into holding these phony, collapse animations as “proof of controlled demolition.”
In reality, the towers were of course demolished (although most likely behind a smokescreen) – but there simply is no photographic record of those brief events. Electronic jamming devices routinely used in modern warfare were most likely in place as an extra “safety-measure” to impede any private cameras from capturing the morning’s events on film (and yes – I have a few credible testimonies to this effect). This is no science-fiction tech: For just $790, you can buy a consumer device which de-activates any video camera within a range of 70 meters. (Do a Google search for “Spymodex video jamming”). Now, imagine what the Pentagon might have!
So, once you ensure that no private camera can capture the morning’s events, you just release a smokescreen to obscure the WTC complex from public view – and bring it down with perfectly safe and reliable conventional explosives.
Anyone familiar with our longstanding and ongoing collective research at cluesforum.info (summarized and condensed at septemberclues.info) will also know that the various 9/11 victim memorials are a bunch of laughably phony, absurdly inconsistent and blatantly counterfeit databases – by now divested of any credibility. On the strength of what we know today, there is simply no more rational reason to believe that anyone died under the 9/11 “attacks” (In fact, only 405 people in the entire state of New York are listed as deceased in the official death records of that day).The whole operation was a massive simulation – as is, indeed, the entire “War on terror,” which the mainstream news media (on the payroll of the ruling goons of this world) keep selling, on a daily basis, to the unsuspecting public.
Graeme MacQueen (9/11 researcher; founder, Peace Studies program, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.)
I guess I became aware in 2002 that not everyone bought the official story of 9/11. I had naively assumed it was probably true before that, although I was aware that we’d never been given proof of the truth of this story. (In fact, I was quite troubled by the video of Osama bin Laden supposedly found in Afghanistan: I never accepted the video as genuine, and I wondered why they would find it necessary to produce a fake if OBL was actually guilty of the crime.) Over the next couple of years I got more and more intrigued by the questions being raised but I was too caught up in resisting war to look into the issue properly—of course, I now blame myself for this.
Like most people, I often look to journals, thinkers and groups that I respect when I’m trying to decide whether or not to take a claim seriously. After all, none of us has the time to look into every claim, so we sort of “delegate” investigation and judgment to others. As a peace activist and as someone on the political left here are a couple of the people I listened to:
Noam Chomsky – Sometime in late 2002 or very early 2003 (it was certainly before the March, 2003 invasion of Iraq) two of us brought Chomsky to my university, McMaster. He and his wife Carol stayed for about a week and we had a good time and lots of great discussion. Some of Chomsky’s comments were made into a documentary film, which came out in 2003: Noam Chomsky: Rebel without a Pause. A brief description of the film can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368083/plotsummary The film itself can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv4IBJmzulM
I had long respected Chomsky’s views and had spoken to him several times years earlier (as far back as the 1970s). It became clear during his visit to McMaster that Chomsky did not take very seriously the claims of the 9/11 truth movement. In fact, I accompanied him to an interview with Vision TV while he was here, and Barry Zwicker was the interviewer. Barry got to the 9/11 events pretty much right away, and Noam dismissed the issue and clearly did not want to talk about it. Later, after he left McMaster, I discussed 9/11 with him (Chomsky) by email. He continued to express disbelief, but I never felt he was contemptuous of me for raising these questions. (I think his views have hardened since then.) At the time I felt he was probably right to doubt the truth movement, but I continued to put anomalies in my files and continued to have an open mind on the issue.
Johan Galtung – Johan is a major figure in peace and conflict studies, and we brought him to McMaster sometime, as I recall, in 2002. He said with respect to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job: “Possible, but unlikely.” He has essentially maintained this position, although he has become increasingly open to the inside job theory. Anyway, I was teaching in the field of peace and conflict studies and had been greatly influenced by him—in fact, I’d helped him when he gave workshops with Afghans in Pakistan in February, 2001. So when he called the inside job theory “possible, but unlikely” it shaped my own views. I decided this was a reasonable position to take, and, in fact, it may indeed be a reasonable position if a person hasn’t taken the time to look into the issue.
To make a long story short, I did eventually decide to look into it for myself. As far as I can recall this happened in 2005. I had yet another encounter with a male, aging anti-war thinker on the left (easy to see who influences me!), Ralph Schoenman. Here’s a video of a talk Schoenman gave around 2008 in case you’ve never encountered him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aci9PD6jNlg
Anyway, Mr. Schoenman and I met a couple of times after his talk at my university and we ended up getting into a heated debate. 9/11 wasn’t the major hot issue (the major hot issue was oil and the question of how much of it was left in the earth), but 9/11 did come up and Ralph pretty much said this was an obvious false flag attack and there was no excuse, this long after the event, for my continued ignorance of the basic facts. This is when I finally took up the challenge of looking into the matter for myself.
I quickly discovered Ralph was right. I don’t remember which particular publication convinced me, but I read David Griffin’s first book (The New Pearl Harbor), and the work of Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan—as well as Barry Zwicker’s work, of course. In any case, I remember the issue that finally ended my doubts. It was the “collapses” of the twin towers. I’d considered these collapses mysterious for some time, and as I read one analysis in 2005 I realized that the official account wasn’t just fishy but absolutely impossible. I can remember the precise instant when I felt this. In that instant I went from suspicion to certainty.
Ever since then I’ve put a lot of time into the issue of the destruction of the buildings. It seems to me that we can talk all we like about suspicions we have about the 19 hijackers, the long history of US involvement in false flag incidents, and so on, but there is a big difference between having suspicions (even if they are strong suspicions grounded in evidence) and being able to prove a thing to be false. In the case of the building collapses (1, 2 and 7) we can prove the official story to be false. Why not seize this opportunity?
I’m grateful to all of these accomplished activists and scholars for taking the time to respond to my question. I look forward to reactions and comments to anything or anyone mentioned above. I’ll have follow-up analysis of the answers in a future post. —Craig McKee