Friday, September 10, 2010

Vancouver truth seekers question 9/11

this article was originally published here.

Darren Pearson is still on a crusade with his Vancouver 9/11 Truth Society.
By Carlito Pablo, September 9, 2010

Darren Pearson makes a point of being at Vancouver’s Robson Square on the 11th of every month.
He and his colleagues have been setting up shop at the downtown plaza for more than three years to distribute leaflets and DVDs commemorating an event that changed the world: the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.

But more than just remembering the almost 3,000 people who perished, including 24 Canadians, Pearson’s group is asking the question that refuses to die in the minds of many: was 9/11 an inside job?

According to the founding member of the Vancouver 9/11 Truth Society, being involved in such a cause involves some serious challenges.

“I guess alienating myself from some people that may have been friends at one time—that certainly becomes a part,” Pearson told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “And even family members, for that matter.”

But it has its rewards. According to Pearson, he has received notes from people who feel that they’ve been enlightened. “I feel that I have been recognized by individuals who have said that I have changed their lives,” he said.

Largely ignored by media and shunned by other activist groups, 9/11 truth societies have managed to keep their crusade alive. That’s largely because of the Internet and social media, according to Mario Canseco, vice president of communications with Angus Reid Public Opinion.

“We need to remember that it’s easier now to tell a story than it ever was because of social media, because of blogs, because of Twitter,” Canseco told the Straight in a phone interview. “It’s never been as easy as it is now to deal with ways to get your message across. Not only that, it’s not just putting something out there but actually connecting with people who feel the same way you do.”

About two years ago, Canseco’s company conducted a survey on public perceptions of 9/11. The results showed that 34 percent of Canadians believed that the U.S. government “let” the attacks happen. While 29 percent thought that the administration of then–American president George W. Bush had no prior knowledge, 16 percent of Canadians believed that the U.S. “made” the attacks, and 21 percent were undecided.

“We’re basically talking about almost one in four Canadians who think that the collapse of the World Trade Center was a result of a controlled demolition,” Canseco said.

According to SFU history professor Mark Leier, it’s a “natural human thing” to have theories that events like 9/11 or the 1963 assassination of then–U.S. president John F. Kennedy or even the car accident that caused the death of Princess Diana in Paris in 1997 are the handiwork of powerful people in government.
“They are so out of the ordinary and so surprising that they push people to try to find explanations that make the whole thing somehow fit into a pattern that they can get their hands around,” Leier told the Straight by phone. “And so for a lot of people, the idea that, say, George Bush would engineer the attacks on the World Trade Center is somehow more plausible to them than the idea that people could be extremely angry at America for its actions in other parts of the world.”

Lee Moller of the B.C. Society for Skeptical Enquiry has one quick response to claims that 9/11 was perpetrated by the American government.

“The government is made up of tens of thousands of people, and they’ve all got different motivations, so it’s almost impossible to imagine that the government could pull off something like this and have nobody find out about it,” Moller told the Straight by phone.

But for Pearson, looking for alternative answers is a quest for “justice, I suppose, on some level”.
On Saturday (September 11), Pearson’s group won’t just be giving out leaflets and DVDs. They’ll have a full-day event starting at 10 a.m. in Room C225 at UBC Robson Square, featuring live speakers, conversations via Skype with famous 9/11 truth seekers like American architect Richard Gage, film showings, music, question-and-answer sessions, a raffle, and a silent auction.

Do you think the U.S. government played a role in the 9/11 attacks?