Skeptics debate 9/11 events
Truth Movement members expound conspiracy theory

Rachel Meador
Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harlan Dietrich, co-owner of Brave New Books, takes a call in the bookstore Wednesday afternoon. Brave New Books is stocked with books and videos that address Sept. 11 conspiracy theories.

Sept. 11 conspiracy theories are widespread — some seemingly outrageous, others eerie and perhaps persuasive.

The U.S. government knew it would happen.

The U.S. government planned for it to happen.

The trade centers were rigged with demolition explosives. American Airlines flight 77 never actually hit the Pentagon. The planes that struck the Twin Towers and the

Pentagon were remote-controlled. The U.S. issued visas to the hijackers, despite warnings that they were terrorists.

Rallied around the 9/11 Truth Movement, celebrities, ex-CIA members, scientists and victims’ families continue to ask questions and seek justice.

“It’s incredible the totality of evidence we have on our side,” said Harlan Dietrich, co-owner of Brave New Books, a store on the Drag dedicated to suppressed information and open discussion. “We don’t have all the answers, but we’re trying to ask the questions.”

UT associate history professor Mark Lawrence said an argument can be made that attacks have been staged in American history, but he considers it irresponsible to say that Sept. 11 falls in that category.

“You can look at cases like the Gulf of Tonkin, and you can argue that they were set off by small incidents that were to some degree provoked by the United States, but that’s not the same as a terrorist attack,” Lawrence said. “There’s a point there, but they use it too loosely. The difference is so significant that the generalization doesn’t hold.”

Although anything is possible, Lawrence said, declaring Sept. 11 an inside job gives too much credit to the government and policymakers for pulling all the strings. He considers the attacks and the aftermath a record of jaw-dropping incompetence and lack of foresight and forethought, not of deviousness or cleverness.

Evidence that Dietrich and others point to ranges from pools of molten metal outside the Trade Center that theorists say could not have formed from a plane crash to how impossibly fast the buildings fell. The ever-growing list of evidence can be overwhelming, confusing and misleading, and advocates of the Truth Movement want to help people distinguish between fact and speculation.

“Believe me, I don’t want this to be true, but I can’t keep drinking the Kool-Aid. I can’t keep going along with the Hollywood story,” Dietrich said. “If we’re going to give up the way we live as Americans, we need to understand.”

Internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and radio host Alex Jones is a prominent member of the group and a firm believer that Sept. 11 was an inside job. He said the facts of history combined with the solid evidence that the attacks were staged are irrefutable.

“We are not making this up. This is really happening,” Jones said. “These people are not playing games, and I do not take it lightly going up against them. I am doing it because I am a person who stands up for liberty and justice, and I am honored to do it.”

Although Jones draws criticism for his outspokenness, many of his interviews have become a topic for mainstream media. Jones said he continuously receives letters accusing him of exaggerating, but plays things down because people just find the whole truth too hard to believe.

“Do not believe Alex Jones, but do not believe George Bush or Barack Obama,” Jones said. “I beg my fellow country-women and men to do the research. It’s more scary to let this continue unless we face it.”