The New England 9/11 Symposium: Recap (Updated 5/26)
This story has now been updated with new information from Symposium organizers.
The New England 9/11 Symposium, held this past Saturday (5/17/08) in Keene, NH, was a tremendous success. We had a great turn out and received local and, of course, independent media coverage.
First, the morning began at 9:45 a.m. with Bob McIlvaine’s heartfelt speech, which is a reminder that, as Jon Gold put it, what we feel is nothing compared to what family members like McIlvaine feel. The part of his remarks that stuck out to me the most was when McIlvaine detailed his experiences researching 9/11 on his own and described his utter disgust with the 9/11 Commission. While speaking about the Commission he mentioned the day that Condoleeza Rice testified about the August 6th, 2001 PDB. To him it was obvious that Rice was spinning, lying, and not directly answering any questions posed to her by the Commissioners, who’s questions were light as it was. He talked of how outraged he was when, after Rice testified, family members were rushing to shake her hand. The deception was so blatant how could the others not see it? I, as well as many others, believe that Bob is very strong and very brave.
Next up was acclaimed Canadian media critic and author, Barrie Zwicker. Zwicker offered his excellent take on the media’s unwillingness to cover this issue. I had seen his presentation before in 2006 but it was watching Zwicker take the editor of The Keene Sentinel (a local, but widely circulated paper in New Hampshire) to task in a meeting the day before the conference for outright refusing to cover many 9/11 related events right in their own backyard, that made his presentation really hit home this time around.
Following Zwicker was investigative journalist, author ( The Big Wedding ), and publisher (Fortunate Son, American Assassination: the Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone ), Sander Hicks. Hicks gave a knockout presentation on the death of Dr. David Graham, the first 9/11 researcher to be assassinated. Graham met two of the alleged hijackers in Shrevesport, LA prior to 9/11 and even warned the FBI that he suspected that they were planning acts of terrorism within the United States. The FBI was completely uninterested in his evidence and turned him away. After 9/11, Graham released his information which he appropriately titled, the “9/11 Graham Report.” In 2004, shortly after releasing his findings, Graham was poisoned. Sander’s take on the situation was both informative and frightening. I would point those who say, “well if what you people (the 9/11 Truth Movement) say is true…why are you people still alive?” to information regarding the death of Dr. David Graham.
At 12:30, activist and researcher Jon Gold took to the stage and gave an excellent speech detailing the suspicious behavior of the Bush Administration in regard to the inquires that we’ve had into 9/11. I loved the way he wrapped it up by explaining that in the “Post-9/11 World” we are encouraged to report suspicious activity because you never know where a terrorist may be lurking. “Does anyone have a cell phone?” he asked. ” I’d like to report some suspicious activity. I think there may be terrorists in the white house.” That brought the house down.
After lunch, State Department Whistleblower J. Michael Springmann shared his information with the crowd. Springmann joined the state department in 1986. As chief of the Non-Immigrant Visa Section at the CIA controlled U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 1987-1989 he was forced by his superiors to issue visas to unqualified applicants and people he suspect were involved with terrorist activities. He later discovered that the people he was forced to issue visas for were being sent to the United States to be trained to fight and then were sent to Afghanistan to fight the Russians. His presentation was explosive because it completely blows open the CIA’s role in the creation of what later became Al Qaeda. Defenders of the official account will often deny that the CIA had any direct role in creating Al Qaeda; however, Springmann’s information proves otherwise.
9/11 family member Michele Little gave her presentation next. Little lost her brother, FDNY Firefighter David M. Weiss, at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Little described the need for a new investigation into 9/11, the need to do what we can to help the 9/11 First Responders, and showed footage captured by Penny Little on 9/11/2007. The footage showed city workers pull up in a truck only an hour or so after the family members put flowers into the reflecting pool, step into the reflecting pool, and heave all the flowers into the back of a dump truck. The footage was disheartening and made me angry. I think that Little’s presentation was perhaps one of the most moving I have ever seen. Sad, yes, but very empowering.
Following Michele was perhaps the most interesting speaker of the entire event, investigative journalist and author Daniel Hopsicker. Hopsicker is the author of Barry & ‘The Boys': The CIA , Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta and the 9/11 Cover Up in Florida , the Mob , & America’s Secret History and filmmaker of the documentary “Mohamed Atta & the Venice Flying Circus.” Hopsicker’s research into the real identity of Mohamed Atta was the primary topic of his presentation. Essentially, Hopsicker discovered that the activities of Mohamed Atta, his associates, and other terrorist pilots in Venice, Florida, prior to 9/11 have been the subject of a massive cover up by the FBI. He also spoke of the fact that the owners of the flight schools where Atta and the other future hijackers trained were involved in drug trafficking and had ties to the CIA. Lastly, Hopsicker showed a video interview with Amanda Keller, Mohamed Atta’s American stripper girlfriend. She described Atta as a very westernized man who loved alcohol, women, and cocaine. Her description of Atta certainly did not fit the mold of a radical terrorist preparing for a suicide mission. Many people who research 9/11 are what I call “gatherers,” in that they gather the research of others and talk about that. Not that there’s anything wrong with this approach, but it’s people like Daniel Hopsicker and Sander Hicks who have done some really important investigative reporting and have proven themselves time and time again to be invaluable to our efforts.
Lastly, Korey Rowe filled in for Jason Bermas and showed the first 15 minutes from their upcoming film, “Fabled Enemies.” The movie looks at a lot of evidence pertaining to the involvement of foreign governments (i.e., Israel, Pakistan, etc.), with which we are friendly, in 9/11. I think that the film, when completed, will be an excellent addition to their already stellar catalogue of films.
The symposium wrapped up with a panel discussion featuring all of our speakers as well as Kyle Hence, the founder of 9/11 Citizens Watch, an advocacy group that monitored the activities of the 9/11 Commission. Audience members were able to ask their questions and the discussion developed into quite an informative session. The goal was to hold an stimulating and informative symposium on aspects of the 9/11 cover up that are not discussed as often as they should be and I think that the speakers, organizers, and audience members all share my sentiments when I say that the symposium was a tremendous success.
With that said I’d like to thank the following people who were instrumental in the organization and success of the symposium: Jon Gold, Betsy Metz, Michael Berger, Janice Matthews, Jason Bermas, Daniel Sunjata, Michael Wolsey, Jon Elinoff, John Jackman, Mayor Blastos, the Monadnock 9/11 Truth Alliance, Cheshire T.V., Beth Hansel, the Keene Free Press , Kyle Hence, William Rodriguez, Flyby News, and 911blogger.com. Below is all of the available media from the symposium. Soon the DVD of the entire conference will be available through http://www.sst911.org/ . Thanks to Betsy Metz and Jon Gold for uploading these videos…