MUJCA Coordinator Responds to NY Times Journalist
An open letter to Alan Feuer, author of a New York Times article on the recent 9/11 truth conference in Chicago.


Dear Alan,

Thank you for your lively and well-crafted article on the Chicago 9/11 conference I helped organize. I enjoyed meeting you, and recognize that you are a talented writer and a person of decency and integrity.

In a spirit of fellowship—for I appreciate good writing of any kind, and 9/11 truth coverage of any kind—I offer the following critique of a few aspects of your article that, in my view, are problematic from a standpoint of fairness and accuracy.

The first and biggest problem is the fault of the headline writer. This was not a conference for “conspiracy buffs,” a term that ordinarily refers to marginal people who are obsessed by minute details of various events that they, but very few others, view as conspiracies. First, there is no question about 9/11 being a conspiracy, since no one person acting alone could have committed the crime. Second, half of New Yorkers (probably more than half by now) believe top US officials committed high treason by conspiring to enable the 9/11 attacks; forty percent of US adults believe the official version is a cover-up; and a clear majority of Americans is calling for a new investigation focused on the possibility of official complicity. Thus the agenda of the Chicago conference attendees is mainstream, not marginal. Finally, the Chicago conference was focused on activism, not “comparing notes” about what may have happened. Of the more than fifty events, around forty were specifically geared towards activism, while fewer than ten addressed education about the evidence. The phrase “conspiracy buffs comparing notes” is therefore highly inaccurate, perhaps even defamatory, and an apology from the New York Times would be appreciated.

The egregious headline overshadowed other inaccuracies and questionable statements. Allow me to take them one by one.

Fourth paragraph: “Such was the coming-out for the movement known as ‘9/11 Truth’ …” This event was not a “coming out.” There have been other, similar conferences in San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington D.C., and I believe this fact came up in our conversation. This one, however, may have been the biggest and best, suggesting that the movement is growing, and I appreciate that you grasped this point and expressed it with an only slightly inaccurate phrase.

Eighth paragraph: The problem is not that “the air defense network did not prevent the attacks” but that it failed to respond to them in a manner remotely resembling standard operating procedure. The failure to make any attempt to protect Washington, D.C. more than an hour after it was clear that multiple hijackings were in progress, and more than half an hour after the two WTC impacts, elicited three radically different and increasingly implausible explanations from the military, as David Griffin shows.

Eighth paragraph: The 9/11 Commission did not find the pre-9/11 short-selling boom “innocuous.” It simply found no link between this extremely suspicious activity and al-Qaida—which is hardly innocuous, especially given the ongoing shroud of secrecy around the question of exactly who made these highly profitable and exceedingly unusual put options, and the evidence implicating associates of a Bush-appointed high CIA official, “Buzzy” Krongard.

Tenth paragraph: “…that the Towers did not collapse because of burning fuel and weakened steel, but because of a ‘controlled demolition’ by pre-set bombs” is not the “sin qua non of the 9/11 movement.” You could easily render that sentence accurate, simply by changing “the Towers” to “the Towers and especially World Trade Center Building 7.” Everyone in the movement, and virtually everyone who watches the WTC-7 implosion and Larry Silverstein’s inadvertent confession, agrees that WTC-7 was obviously “pulled”—while some are still not sure about the Towers, as the Chicago workshop by Nick Levis demonstrated.

It is WTC-7 that is the sin qua non of the 9/11 truth movement. The failure to even mention it in your story, and in almost all other New York Times stories—and Times’ failure to investigate the fact that WTC-7 is not even mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report itself—is by far the biggest reason why you, as a New York Times reporter, were viewed as “wearing horns” by some of the many deeply frustrated and increasingly angry people at the conference.

The view that WTC-7 was destroyed by explosives is not “directly contradicted in the 10,000-page investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” On the contrary, the deeply-flawed—some would say ludicrously flawed—NIST report admits that it cannot explain the WTC-7 collapse, and that no cause for collapse can be put forward (“absent the obvious one” is left unstated) except those with “a low degree of probability.” Thus this passage in paragraphs ten and eleven is the most misleading one in your article, and it needs to be corrected in print.

Thirteenth paragraph: None of the “9/11 truthers” I know are “dogged, at home and in the office, by friends and family who suspect that they may, in fact, be completely nuts.” That certainly has not been my experience. I am a folklorist and Arabist-Islamologist, and my extremely public and visible 9/11 work has obviously put my professional reputation on the line. If I could not distinguish between garden-variety conspiracy legends and solid 9/11-revisionist historiography, I would hardly be a suitable candidate to teach Folklore at one of America’s leading public universities, as I did last fall. Likewise, if my arguments that the “Islamic terrorist threat” is fabricated, that “al-Qaida” is really al-CIA-duh, that the “Bin Laden confession video” is ludicrously phony, and so on, were viewed as crazy, I would hardly have been chosen to teach the introductory courses on Islam at both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College of Madison next fall.

After two and a half years of very public 9/11 truth work, which included bringing David Griffin and Morgan Reynolds to wildly successful, officially-sanctioned events at U.W.-Madison, I have yet to hear a single negative word from a single colleague or administrator. On the contrary, I have received widespread support and encouragement from my colleagues, most of whom at least tend to agree with my interpretation of 9/11 but prefer not to say so in public. (One who has gone public is my Edgewood College Religious Studies colleague James Goulding, a MUJCA endorser.)

To sum up: While well-written, your article contains some serious inaccuracies and questionable statements, especially the glaring WTC-7 omission, and fails to grasp the seriousness of this historic issue. Given what hangs in the balance, if there were even a 5% chance that the 9/11 truth movement is right, this issue would be so overwhelmingly important as to merit a front-page New York Times headline every day until it is resolved. Unfortunately, those who have bothered to research this issue know that the odds are closer to 95% than to 5%. The bemused, borderline-patronizing tone of your article, given the ongoing implosion of the Times’ credibility as our nation’s newspaper of record, conjures up the image of someone saying “what a cute, amusing little kitty” as he approaches a man-eating tiger. It is time for the Times to ride the tiger and restore its credibility, by launching the biggest investigative effort in journalistic history and exposing the truth of 9/11.


Kevin Barrett

Coordinator, MUJCA-NET:
Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth