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Scholars for 9/11 Truth:  The Madison Conference: 3 - 5 August 2007


Madison Science of 9/11Conference: Unity in Diversity
 

The American motto e pluribus unum, “out of many, one” sums up the accomplishment of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth conference The Science and Politics of 9/11: What’s Controversial, What’s Not, held last weekend at the Radisson Hotel in Madison, Wisconson. The conference achieved many media successes, including breakthrough appearances by James Fetzer on Air America radio and a live broadcast on revereradio.net, and left the participants feeling energized and optimistic.

Despite their lack of unanimity on the most contentious research issues, participants agreed that prosecuting the 9/11 criminals, thereby stopping the 9/11 wars and achieving justice for the victims, is everyone’s highest priority. International law expert Alfred Webre summed this up in his call for the implementation of the 9/11 Independent Prosecutor’s Act through a 9/11 War Crimes Tribunal. Kevin Barrett added that we need to prevent or counteract the next 9/11 if we are to survive long enough to achieve a 9/11 War Crimes Tribunal, and urged conference participants to stockpile and distribute INSIDE JOB signs—a plea that Webre echoed in his closing remarks. [More than 300 INSIDE JOB signs, which come on plastic roll banners, were distributed to conference participants.  For more information, see: http://www.mujca.com/insidejob8_1_07.htm

Many conference participants discovered that those espousing controversial positions on various research issues—including some who have suffered personal attacks from within the 9/11 truth movement as well as from its enemies—are not the bogeymen they sometimes have been made out to be. Many participants lamented the phenomenon of “internet lynch mobs” comprised of angry emailers and bloggers demanding that this or that researcher be banished for heresy. Often these internet lynch mobs are made up of people who have not carefully studied the research issues that they so confidently pronounce on. Barrett urged those who find controversial research issues a distraction from 9/11 activism to either study those issues with an open mind, or ignore them and focus on activism. The worst thing to do is waste time and energy on fruitless infighting. 

Dave Von Kleist, director of the well-received 9/11 Ripple Effect, exemplified this change of heart. In his opening presentation, Von Kleist stated that the 9/11 truth movement was infiltrated by disinformation agents, implying that those who disagree with his controversial analyses of anomalies in the videos of the South Tower strike may have less than honorable motives. At the end of the conference, Von Kleist admitted that after hearing from people who disagree with his analysis, he had to admit that their arguments were neither illogical nor baseless, even if they were wrong. While sticking to his guns—Von Kleist remains convinced that photographic and video evidence strongly suggests that a military aircraft struck the South Tower—he added that this conference had convinced him that rational, sincere, and well-informed people could disagree with him. “We all have a right to be wrong,” Von Kleist said. 

The diversity of opinion on controversial research issues was considerable. Kevin Barrett and Barbara Honegger argued in support of the value of Steven Jones’ research on possible use of thermite/thermate in the World Trade Center demolitions, while Judy Wood answered with a lucid, informative presentation focusing on features of the demolitions that could not be explained by thermite/thermate. James Fetzer, the conference organizer, spoke in favor of a “mixed causation” hypothesis, suggesting that he will continue his recent trend of de-emphasizing his well-known disagreements with Steven Jones—disagreements that many have long held to be more semantic than substantive.  (Dr. Fetzer’s recent de-emphasis of his disagreements with Dr. Jones is evident in his recent hour-long nationally-broadcast Air America interview, archived at http://911scholars.org). 

Many conference participants, including some who had previously been skeptical of the value of Judy Wood’s work, said they were extremely impressed by her presentation. While some expressed disagreement with one or more of her interpretations, the audience left her talk convinced that, at the very least, she was raising critically important questions. In fact, of all the issues raised at the conference, the one that generated the biggest conversational buzz was Dr. Wood’s surprisingly (to some) strong presentation.  

One major non-controversy was the question of Flight 77’s alleged strike on the Pentagon. Every speaker who addressed this issue evinced extreme skepticism toward the government’s story, and suggested that the preponderance of evidence shows that no 757—and certainly not Flight 77 piloted by the ultra-incompetent Hani Hanjour—could have struck the Pentagon. Barbara Honegger’s presentation, which focused on evidence that one or more bombs exploded in the Pentagon just before 9:32 a.m., well before the alleged plane strike at 9:37, was most informative in this regard. 

Surprisingly, the presentations on depleted uranium by Doug Rokke and Leuren Moret were at least as controversial as most of the 9/11 presentations. Scientists in the audience, while agreeing that DU is a horrific threat, questioned Rokke and especially Moret on some of their reported data.  

Bob Fitrakis, the Ohio political scientist and celebrated investigator of election fraud, presented some of the evidence he has uncovered suggesting that the US military and/or related quasi-private entities are recklessly developing extremely advanced, extremely dangerous high-tech weapons without any oversight from congress or the public. He concluded his presentation by asserting that the hard evidence he has discovered of the existence of advanced directed energy weapons suggests that the hypothesis that DEW may have been used on 9/11 should not be rejected a priori. 

Jerry Leaphart, J.D., author of a Request for Corrections submitted to NIST, discussed the rather bizarre, ambivalent initial response he received. He argued that top NIST consultants including DEW defense contractor SAIC were in fact suspects in the case, and that their participation in the NIST study of the destruction of the World Trade Center constituted a blatant conflict of interest.  

The most controversial presentation, and the most colorful one, was by Dr. Morgan Reynolds, the former Bush Administration insider behind such classic 9/11 truth lines as “the Towers were blown to kingdom come” and “come out of the White House with your hands up!” Dr. Reynolds, a self-styled “Ron Paul with balls” who is never one to mince words, presented his case that no big Boeings crashed on 9/11. Reynolds illustrated his argument that any Boeing that hit the WTC would crumple, shear and fall to the ground in pieces, rather than melting seamlessly into the building leaving a plane-shaped hole in the steel columns as shown in the videos, by whacking together an aluminum tube and a sledge hammer. While his argument left many unconvinced—an avalanche of dissenters almost buried the Q&A microphone—some who had been skeptical or hostile toward Dr. Reynolds recognized that he is arguing rationally (if colorfully) from evidence, and that his case is stronger than many had realized. 

Ace Baker followed Reynolds’ talk by presenting his research on the alleged live South Tower strike videos—research that seems to show that at least one “live news video” of the South Tower strike is a special-effects “cartoon” not an actual video of a plane strike. (See Baker’s argument, Eric Salter’s rebuttal, and Baker’s response to Salter.) 

Jim Marrs, the well-known investigative journalist and bestselling author of books on the JFK and 9/11 conspiracies, made the welcome observations that whatever our opinions on controversial research issues, the most pressing task is not to resolve those issues, but to convince ordinary people that the investigation needs to be re-opened. When introducing new people to the topic, Marrs said, we should use such non-controversial topics like the destruction of WTC-7, the apparent confession of its owner “Lucky Larry” Silverstein, and the BBC’s premature report of the building’s demise. 

The Madison Conference was a tremendous success in bringing together people with various research perspectives, and helping them accord each other a respectful if sometimes skeptical hearing. Dr. James Fetzer is to be congratulated for his tremendous job of almost singlehandedly organizing such a complex and potentially contentious conference, and making it a major success. While Dr. Fetzer’s brash, occasionally abrasive manner has alienated some 9/11 truthers, it is past time to admit that he is brilliant, tireless, eloquent and (usually) personable scholar who has made and is continuing to make a tremendous contribution to the 9/11 truth movement. This conference was not just rich in informational content, but also had an almost palpable electricity in the atmosphere that stemmed not from any directed-energy weapon, but from the brilliant and fascinating exchange of ideas in a key of congeniality.  Those who stayed away because they do not want to hear arguments they disagree with missed an amazing experience. 



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