Wednesday, September 19, 2007

9/11-denial author coming to Columbus, promoted by Mayor Coleman advisor Al-Akhras

“It is already possible to know beyond a reasonable doubt one very important thing: The destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists.” — David Ray Griffin
Having just passed the sixth anniversary of America’s Day of Terror, some of our local extremists are bringing to town prominent 9/11-denial author David Ray Griffin, the foremost academic of the movement, who will be speaking at the First Congregational Church on East Broad Street next Tuesday, September 25th. Notwithstanding Griffin’s use of research from Holocaust-denial groups and individuals (discussed below), one individual promoting Griffin’s visit is Mayor Coleman’s close advisor, Ahmad Al-Akhras, a member of the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

In a critical review of Griffin’s book, The New Pearl Harbor, Chip Bertlet describes some of Griffin’s views:
  • The U.S. government caused or deliberately allowed the attacks of 09/11/01 to take place.
  • The collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was caused by a controlled demolition (bombs planted in the buildings prior to the planes striking the buildings).
  • The Pentagon was not struck by American Airlines flight 77 or any commercial jet, but was hit by a guided missile.
  • The commercial jet that crashed in Pennsylvania was hit by a heat-seeking guided missile launched by the government to silence the hijackers who could have exposed government complicity.
  • Bush knew in advance that the attacks would take place because after the attacks began he stayed talking to children in a classroom.
Even though most of Griffin’s bizarre claims have been thoroughly refuted (for instance, see NASA research scientist Ryan Mackey’s nearly 200-page rebuttal of Griffin, “On Debunking 9/11 Debunking”), the professional theologian has taken on in his most recent book the 2005 Popular Mechanics 9/11 myth-busting special report, “Debunking the 9/11 Myths”.

Scientists vs. retired liberal theologian: you decide.

What is most disconcerting about Griffin’s conspiratorial views is that he frequently relies on individuals and publications involved in the Holocaust-denial movement. For instance in his article published in Tikkun earlier this year, in his footnotes there are several references relying on such sources:

[24] A photograph taken by Terry Schmidt can be seen on page 63 of Eric Hufschmid’s Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (Goleta, Calif.: Endpoint Software, 2002). According to Schmidt, this photo was taken between 3:09 and 3:16 PM, hence only a little over 2 hours before Building 7 collapsed. It shows that on the north side of the building, fires were visible only on floors 7 and 12. Therefore, if there were more fires on the south side, as some witnesses have claimed, they were not big enough to be seen from the north side.

[25] Quoted in Christopher Bollyn, “New Seismic Data Refutes Official Explanation,” American Free Press, Updated April 12, 2004. For several more examples, see the subsection labeled “Molten Steel” in my chapter, “The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True,” in Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, or the discussion of molten metal in Chap. 3 of Debunking 9/11 Debunking.

[56] See Ted Twietmeyer, “Judicial Watch Caught Pulling a 180 on Pentagon Footage,”, May 21, 2006
The items I have placed in bold above should be noted. Eric Hufschmid is a prominent Holocaust-denier; the American Free Press is the publisher of The Barnes Review, founded by neo-Nazi Willis Carto and perhaps the largest Holocaust-denial publication in the US, which has recommended Adolf Hitler for a Nobel Prize (ADL has published a report on AFP/Barnes Review and their role in the 9/11 denial movement); and is a site that promotes the cause of neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel. Even many in the 9/11 denial movement are loathe to associate or rely upon the research of these individuals and organizations. But not David Ray Griffin. Just last week one of his events in Ireland was cancelled after protests from local Jewish organizations.

Notwithstanding Griffin’s bizarro conspiratorial worldview and his reliance on Holocaust-denial researchers, he has already found enthusiastic supporters here in Columbus. One of the first people to announce Griffin’s upcoming Columbus appearance was none other than Mayor Michael Coleman’s close advisor, Ahmad Al-Akhras, who sent out the following email to a CAIR-OH listserv a few weeks ago:

From: Ahmad Al-Akhras
To: “cair ohio”
Date: Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:43 am
Re: FW: David Ray Griffin talk, Sep 25 7pm

Prominent theologian to speak in Columbus

David Ray Griffin will be in Columbus for a talk at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 25, at the First Congregational Church, 444 East Broad Street.

Dr. Griffin is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, and codirector of the Center for Process Studies.

He has written four books on the subject of 9/11, including “The New Pearl Harbor” (2004), “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions” (2005), “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11” (2006), and “Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory” (2007).

He is co-editor with Peter Dale Scott of “9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out” Vol. I (2007), which bears this note from Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the US Treasury and editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal: “This is the most important book of our time. Distinguished national and international scientists and scholars present massive evidence that the 9/11 Commission Report is a hoax and that the “terrorist attack” has been manipulated to serve a hegemonic agenda in the Middle East. The book’s call for a truly independent panel of experts to be empowered to bring out the true facts must be heeded or Americans will never again live under accountable government.”

The following commendation of Griffin’s work is from the late Reverend William Sloan Coffin: “Professor David Ray Griffin has a well-deserved reputation for the thoroughness of his research. All Americans who love their country enough to dig into the facts of these critical times will be well rewarded for examining his books. 9/11 truth is a very important issue — one with the power to bring lasting change to our country.”
Speaking as someone who lost a friend and colleague on 9/11 (on American Airlines Flight 77, which Griffin says didn’t hit the Pentagon), it sickens me that six years after the fact that crackpots and nutjobs like Griffin continue to receive a hearing and are welcomed in our area. They are not being heard because of the weight of their arguments, but the virulence and venom of their ideas, much like Nazism in post-WWI Germany.

It isn’t surprising that Ahmad Al-Akhras and CAIR are involved in such filth; in fact, a CAIR-OH forum held back in April listed Columbus 9/11 Truth as one of their associated groups (see my FrontPage article, “Ohio State Profs Go ‘Truther’”. What is surprising is that they are still received and defended by the political power-brokers in Central Ohio and the Columbus establishment media.