Academics give a scholarly stamp to 9/11 conspiracy theories

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In recent months, interest in September 11-conspiracy theories has surged. Since January, traffic to the major conspiracy Web sites has increased steadily. The number of blogs that mention "9/11" and "conspiracy" each day has climbed from a handful to over a hundred.

Recently, 500 conspiracy theorists descended on the Embassy Suites in Chicago for a conference called "9/11: Revealing the Truth — Reclaiming Our Future." It was the most substantial gathering of the "9/11 truth movement," as the conspiracy theorists call themselves, to date.

The first keynote address was delivered by Alex Jones, a radio personality from Austin, Tex., who has developed a cult following by railing against the New World Order. He is a bellicose, boyish-looking man with a voice that makes him sound like a cross between a preacher and an announcer at a cage wrestling match.

"It energizes my soul at its very core to be here with so many like-minded people," he began, "defending the very soul of humanity against the parasitic controllers of this world government, who are orchestrating terror attacks as a pretext to sell us into even greater slavery."

"If they think they're gonna get away with declaring war on humanity," he thundered, "they've got another think coming!"

The audience was a mix of rangy, long-haired men with pale complexions, suntanned guys with broad arms and mustaches, women with teased bangs, serious-looking youngsters wearing backpacks and didactic T-shirts, and elderly people with dreadlocks. But everyone seemed to get behind what Alex Jones had just said. In fact, they went absolutely wild with cheers.

Alex Jones then plunged into a history of what he called "government-sponsored terror." In this category, he included the Reichstag fire of 1933, the sinking of the USS Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and a shadowy, never-executed 1962 plan called Operation Northwoods, in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved false terror attacks on American soil to provoke war with Cuba.

Then he got to matters closer at hand. He mentioned the Project for the New American Century, the think tank of prominent neoconservatives that wrote a report in 2000 called "Rebuilding America's Defenses," which includes a line that many 9/11 Truthers, as they call themselves, know by heart: "The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor."

To Alex Jones and to those in the audience, this was as good as finding the plans for September 11 in the neoconservatives' desk drawers.

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Peter F. Hollings - 6/26/2006

Ed --

I will mention several academics whose work was presented in Chicago and which I can recommend.

Steven E. Jones, a Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University, presented a paper: "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" (

Morgan Reynolds, Economics Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University, George W. Bush's former Chief Economist at the US Department of Labor 2001-2, and former Director of the Criminal Justice Center at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, presented a video that is available on the event's website, .

Also, David Ray Griffin, retired professor of philosophy of religion at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, brings a logician's skills to the task of dissecting alternative "conspiracy" theories about the events of 9-11. His paper "Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93: The 9/11 Commission's Incredible Tales" (
I can also strongly recommend another paper of his, "The Destruction of the World Trade Center:
Why the Official Account Cannot Be True" (

Incidentally there was a similar conference in Los Angeles and another one is coming up this September in Charleston, which should be convenient for you.

Peter Hollings

Edwin Moise - 6/26/2006


Did you mean to say that the volume is made up, in whole or in large part, of papers that were presented by scholars at that conference? The conference was held from June 2 to June 4, 2006. The hardcover volume is already in print (the British branch of says the publication date was May 10). That would be moving pretty fast, for publication of papers from a conference.

If you meant to say only that the sort of scholars who published articles in that volume were also at the conference, I would be grateful if you would mention the names and disciplines of a couple of scholars who presented papers at the conference.

Ed Moise

Paul Zarembka - 6/26/2006

An intelligent analysis of the Chronicle article on 9/11, entitled "Mobbing 9/11; Gravois as Screech Owl" appears at

A colleague in another discipline wrote me, "I was reminded of McCarthyism by the article's firm commitment to establishment thinking which it counterposes to the 'paranoia' of these threatening, hairy, outrageous people... And behind it all is an implicit warning: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT."

In fact, the front page of the Chronicle is even worse than the article itself: university administrators read the Chronicle and the threat to careers is openly suggested to anyone taking serious look at 9/11.

Scholars looking into 9/11 are doing no more than a purpose of HNN : "to deflate beguiling myths".

Paul Zarembka, Professor of Economics, SUNY at Buffalo, and editor, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11-2001, Elsevier, 2006.

Peter F. Hollings - 6/26/2006

Edwin --

While the Chronicle may not have identified the academics participating in the 9-11 conference, they were in fact there. Several of their articles have been collected together in Research in Political Economy, Volume 23, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11-2001
(Published by Elsevier and edited by Paul Zarembka, State University of New York at Buffalo) (See for further information).

A number of other scholarly articles are also available at . I would particularly recomment those by Professors Griffin and Jones.

Peter Hollings

Edwin Moise - 6/25/2006

I must object to the use of the headline "Academics give a scholarly stamp to 9/11 conspiracy theories" on an article that does not mention a single academic, or even anyone close to being an academic, who supports the conspiracy theories in question.

Steven R Alvarado - 6/23/2006

to know that nuts from both the left and Right can finally agree on something.