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[Australian]Trades Hall president Kevin Bracken calls 9/11 ‘conspiracy’; Prime Minister responds

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by Shannon Deery, Stephen McMahon
October 20, 2010
HeraldSun.com.au

[RELATED POLL:
"Do you think Kevin Bracken's comments were reasonable?"]

UPDATE 7.51pm: JULIA Gillard has dismissed as “stupid and
wrong” a senior union official’s belief that the 9/11 attacks were a conspiracy
but has refused to discipline him.

Kevin Bracken.  Picture: Mike Keating  < title=Source: HWT Image Library” align=”right” hspace=”5″ vspace=”5″>Kevin Bracken, the president of the Victorian Trades Hall and secretary of
the Maritime Union of Australia, sparked anger this morning after claiming the
attacks were not the result of terrorist activity.

“I believe the official story is a conspiracy theory that doesn’t stand
up to scientific scrutiny,” Mr Bracken told ABC talk-back host Jon Faine.

“In my mind the buildings were imploded.”

Faine initially thought the call was a hoax.

“I challenge you to a public debate,” Mr Bracken said to Faine.

“Aviation fuel doesn’t get hot enough to melt steel and no high rise steel
frame building before or after September 11 has ever collapsed due to fire.”

* Audio: Listen to Kevin Bracken on Jon Faine

Faine described the claim as a “nutter theory”.

The Federal Opposition seized on the comments in Parliament today, with Victorian
MP Josh Frydenberg asking Ms Gillard what action she would take against Mr Bracken
“to send a message that such remarks are unacceptable”, The Australian
reported.

“Obviously I don’t agree with the remarks, obviously they are stupid
and wrong,” Ms Gillard said.

“The Labor Party is a large organisation, people join it as individuals
— we don’t dictate what people think.”

After being accused by Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne of not answering
the question on discipline, Ms Gillard said: “If it is the intention of
the Leader of the Opposition to expel every member who says something stupid,
I’ll start sending him a weekly list.”

In Victoria, Shadow Attorney General Robert Clarke said Mr Bracken’s comments
were a direct insult to Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

“It strikes at the very heart of the West’s struggle against terrorism
and it is a disgrace that while Australian soldiers are serving and dying in
Afghanistan that Mr Bracken make these wild claims that undermine the very reason
for their presence in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr Clarke called on Premier John Brumby to condemn these comments in the strongest
possible terms and for the outspoken union leader to be disciplined.

“The Trades Hall Council needs to consider Mr Bracken’s future as its
president and the MUA needs to consider his future as their secretary,” he
said.

“These comments can’t stand they need to be condemned in the strongest
possible terms.”

Trades Hall secretary Brian Boyd said Mr Bracken did not speak on behalf of
the organisation.

“The official Trades Hall position is not to entertain that theory,”
Mr Boyd said.

“We had almost 3000 working people killed in that terrorist attack. It
was a terrorist attack, and we condemn it.”

Mr Boyd said Mr Bracken’s views had caused many debates behind the walls of
Trade Hall.

“He is welcome to his views and we’ve discussed his theories,” he
said.

“But I totally disagree.”

Mr Boyd said he stood by his colleague despite his extremist views.

“99 per cent of the time Kevin’s a very good president,” he said.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin distanced the union from the comment,
releasing a statement saying its position on the attack was “unambiguous”.

“The 9/11 tragedy was a result of a terrorist attack by international
terrorists who claimed responsibility,” he said.

“It is the MUA’s position – one that I passionately support as national
secretary – that this attack is one of the greatest affronts and abuses of human
and civil rights in contemporary history.”

This is not the first time Mr Bracken has voiced his controversial opinions
on the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon.

In 2006 he told The Australian he believed the attacks only worked because
the US Government was in some way involved.

“If they want to stop terrorism they’ve got to look at who was really
behind September 11,” Mr Bracken said at the time.

“It couldn’t have happened unless there was participation from key elements
of the American military and government and security services. I am not saying
the whole lot were involved. But I believe the official story for September
11 doesn’t stack up.”

Mr Bracken said in 2006 his views on the terror laws and September 11 were
his own, and he was not speaking on behalf of the union.

- with Ewin Hannan



Union rejects official’s 9/11 comment

From AAP
October 20, 2010
Heraldsun.com.au

THE Maritime Union of Australia has distanced itself from comments made by
one of its officials who says the September 11 terrorist attacks on America
were an “inside job”.

MUA Victorian branch secretary and Victorian Trades Hall Council president
Kevin Bracken told ABC Radio the 2001 attacks were not properly understood.

“In my mind, the buildings were imploded,” Mr Bracken said today.

“Aviation fuel doesn’t get hot enough to melt steel and no high rise steel
frame building before or after September 11 has ever collapsed due to fire.”

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin later today distanced the union from the
comment, releasing a statement saying its position on the attack was “unambiguous”.

“The 9/11 tragedy was a result of a terrorist attack by international
terrorists who claimed responsibility,” he said.

“It is the MUA’s position – one that I passionately support as national
secretary – that this attack is one of the greatest affronts and abuses of human
and civil rights in contemporary history.”

Mr Crumlin said during the aftermath of the attack, the MUA gave its sympathies
and support to those affected by the tragedy.

“Any other view, by any member of the MUA, is an individual or personal
view and not that of the organisation,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also labelled Mr Bracken’s comments “stupid
and wrong” when she was quizzed on his comments during parliamentary question
time.

“Obviously, I don’t agree with the remarks. Obviously, they are stupid,”
she said.