Paul Russell: Who dares to question the 'Big Lie of 9/11'?
October 04, 2008
What exactly happened on Sept. 11, 2001? Did the Twin Towers fall because of terrorism or have we been duped by the “Big Lie of 9/11”? An avid debate on that question broke out on our letters page last week, in reaction to the dismissal of Lesley Hughes, a Liberal candidate and 9/11 skeptic. Some readers sided with her.
“Numerous military, intelligence and government insiders have gone on record rejecting the official account,” wrote Inge Hanle. “So have firefighters, veterans and scientists. With several U.S. senators now daring to take on the issue, it’s high time for the Post and other media cogs to open your eyes to the lies.”
Adding weight to the skeptics’ side was Anthony J. Hall, a University of Lethbridge professor. In a letter published last week, he noted, “We are living in the toxic fallout generated by the big lie of 9/11.” That statement was flatly rejected by other readers.
“So, Anthony J. Hall thinks that 9/11 was a big lie,” wrote Roy Weston. “He’ll have to take a number and wait behind those who believe the moon walk took place in a movie studio. Piecing together a series of coincidences doesn’t result in a fact ... so far Anthony Hall and his ilk have produced only innuendos, possibilities and probabilities.”
In a follow-up note to the Post, Prof. Hall defended his position through his engaging essay, “A Clash of Conspiracy Theories” (available on the Web). While it may not convince readers to join the 9/11 conspiracy crowd, it does present a cogent argument for why the public should be more receptive to alternative views about that pivotal day.
Prof. Hall opens by assuring readers that he does not side with Ms. Hughes’ “factually wrong and ill advised comment” that Israel knew in advance about what would happen on 9/11; “ ... we must strive to prevent ethnic or religious prejudices from colouring our interpretations of, and responses to, the assaults on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon seven years ago.”
He then notes that “this Canadian election, taking place during the seventh autumn following the events of 9/11, offers a crucial opening to begin ... a rational debate on our most fundamental issue of public policy to arise in this decade Š. [C]itizens are waking up to the terrible implications of constructing public policy based on conspiracy theories rather than on clear assessments of the evidentiary base, however partial and imperfect, that is beginning to suggest the real nature rather than the fictional mythology of the events of 9/11.”
This “mythology” includes what happened to Tower 7, “a 47-storey building that miraculously fell neatly and symmetrically into its own footprint at 5:30 in the afternoon without being hit by any airplane.”
But Prof. Hall always brings it back to what’s currently happening in Canada. “I think it appropriate to pose a simple question of those who made the decision to disqualify Lesley Hughes from running as a Liberal candidate,” he states. “Now that a line has been drawn in the sand on conspiracy theories and 9/11, I think it fair to ask if there is any public space remaining for serious political debate on this matter. In this season, when we are called upon to entrust some politicians with the high responsibilities of public office, how are we to discuss in a civil fashion the contested events of 9/11?”
As he wraps up, Prof. Hall notes: “In the long run, one of the most devastating effects of the lies and crimes of 9/11 may reside in the prospect of alienating independent-minded young people, who have decided to invest themselves wholeheartedly in the push for 9/11 truth. What lessons
should these young people derive from the removal of Lesley Hughes from her effort to represent a Winnipeg constituency under the Liberal banner? ... Is she really a reprobate not fit to serve in the House of Commons? Or does the push to relegate her back to the political margins speak to issues that are not being fully and honestly addressed by the politicians and professional pundits of all stripes?”
Paul Russell is letters editor at the Post.