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Thread: Sept. 11 Skeptics Growing In Numbers

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    Jan 2005

    Sept. 11 Skeptics Growing In Numbers

    Sept. 11 skeptics growing in numbers

    By: GORDON GLANTZ, Times Herald Staff

    I love the movie JFK.

    It's No. 4 on my all-time list - behind such luminous flicks as The Godfather, Rocky and The Godfather II - and that's saying something.

    I'm such a harsh movie critic that Roger Ebert would be ashamed for giving thumbs-up to some of the drivel he considers worthy.

    I don't like Caddyshack and never saw, nor want to see, Animal House. I think Forest Gump and Silence of the Lambs were overrated.

    But JFK ... now there's a movie.

    Innovative editing and stirring performances by an all-star cast - along with my speed-watching technique of fast-forwarding through all the Sissy Spacek scenes (loved you in Coal Miner's Daughter, honey, but you weren't needed here) - keep the viewer riveted through what could be redundant historical subject matter.

    JFK as history? Well, that's another issue.

    It is an extreme version of the truth, countering an "official version" of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas that was riddled with inconsistencies but neatly packaged for consumption by the masses.

    Intrigued by Stone's magnificent movie, I embarked on a frustratingly hollow search for the truth of the JFK assassination.

    My quest to prove or disprove the role of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman helped me formulate a core belief that will follow me to the grave: When it comes to perspectives on right and wrong versions of the truth, reality is almost always somewhere in the middle.

    Yet, shoddy versions of the truth are often accepted as fact.

    Unfortunately, it is the entity best able to better package the message in an edible platter for the masses to consume that usually wins the tug-of-war for possession of our souls.

    Our government has the leverage in this area, and the average citizen seeks his or her nourishment from Uncle Sam first.

    But "the man" has a long track record of feeding us poisonous helpings of half- and non-truths.

    And this brings us to Sept. 11.

    With the tragedy's five-year anniversary looming and the nation's numbness to it wearing off, a new breed of conspiracy theorist are emerging.

    There are some literally climbing out of little holes in the ground and being re-fitted with aluminum foil hats, but others have raised legitimate questions.

    They would have no ammunition if the 9/11 Commission version of events held up better under closer scrutiny.

    A recent Zogby poll reveals that there is growing distrust from the American public about the official version of events.

    And most of us are now wiser to the ways of the world. Maybe it is the legacy of eye-opening movies like JFK, not to mention All the President's Men.

    And there is plenty of fuel - the type not controlled by the big oil companies - to add to the fire.

    There is a low-budget documentary called Loose Change - available mostly for Internet viewing -pushing the theory that there was probably more to that fateful day than 19 terrorists from the Arab-Muslim world acting at the behest of a guy with bad kidneys in a cave in Afghanistan.

    In terms of cinematic achievement, Loose Change ain't no JFK.

    And the inferences that the terrorists may have had help from within our own government are, more or less, fantastical.

    Loose Change aside, I find the whole Flight 93 story suspicious. Since the early evening of Sept. 11 until the present day, I believe the plane was shot down - probably to stop it from doing further damage in the nation's capitol - in an area of rural Pennsylvania where the least amount of casualties would be incurred.

    Although I'm admittedly heavily influenced by a must-see movie called Wag The Dog, I'm convinced the feel-good tall tale - all the "Let's Roll" stuff - was concocted later to keep second-rate screenwriters from working at Starbucks.

    I often wonder if the convenient audiotapes of the flight's final minutes are real. I find it odd that the terrorists on those "tapes" would talk to each other in broken English, as opposed to Arabic or French, adding to my little theory that much of the Flight 93 story is a myth.

    But that doesn't mean that shooting the plane down - assuming it was shot down - wasn't the right thing to do. It doesn't mean al-Qaida operatives swearing allegiance to Allah didn't hijack it. It doesn't mean those on board weren't innocent victims who were not brave in their final moments of life.

    It just means that the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, was altered because it is believed that we can't handle the truth.

    But we at The Times Herald don't subscribe to that belief.

    In the newspaper business, we strive to take varying versions of the truth and work toward the middle area that usually is home to the hidden reality.

    Taping into the groundswell of public sentiment, we ran an in-depth story about some alternate Sept. 11 theories in last Sunday's paper.

    Feedback is a newspaper's best friend, and we gladly received an inordinate amount of it.

    However, the spirit of the feedback itself was a little disconcerting. Some readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions while conspiracy theorists were lauding us for having the bravery to print their side of the sad Sept. 11 story.

    They are all missing the point. We were neither championing nor debunking any myths surrounding Sept. 11.

    We were just trying to give you something to think about - other than the fading accepted version of Sept. 11 events - on a Sunday morning several months before somber remembrances will overshadow the lingering questions.

    As a paper, we were not endorsing any theory.

    As a person, I don't think the president's puppeteers planned - or ignored information of - the terrorist attacks. They were merely asleep at the wheel and then exploited that day more insidiously than a pimp does a blonde-haired, blue-eyed 14-year-old runaway at a Greyhound bus terminal.

    But that's just me.

    We'll leave the heavy lifting to Oliver Stone, who is reportedly working on a Sept. 11 movie.

    I hope it's as provocative as JFK.

    I love that flick.

    E-mail Gordon Glantz at
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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    MikeJr. Guest

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