New York INN conference: How the world changed after 9/11

INNIn Septem­ber 2010 I was invited over to New York to speak at a tele­vised 2-day sym­posi­um organ­ised by the inde­pend­ent TV and radio sta­tion Inter­na­tion­al News Net (INN).  The top­ic under dis­cus­sion was “How the world changed after 9/11”.

Speak­ers were invited from around the world to par­ti­cip­ate in pan­el dis­cus­sions focus­ing on dif­fer­ent areas that have been notice­ably degraded and cor­rup­ted since 9/11 in response to the end­less “war on ter­ror”: civil liber­ties, the rule of law, intel­li­gence, polit­ics, eco­nom­ics, and the media.  Some of the dis­cus­sions fea­tured aca­dem­ics, pro­fes­sion­als and sci­ent­ists ques­tion­ing the asser­tions of the offi­cial US gov­ern­ment account of 9/11 itself — the jus­ti­fic­a­tion for so many ensu­ing hor­rors.

NYC_Sept_2010_on stageI was on the same pan­el as Ray McGov­ern (army vet­er­an and long-time CIA ana­lyst), Coleen Row­ley (FBI whis­tleblower), and Dr Kath­er­ine Albrecht (digit­al pri­vacy cam­paign­er).  The title of the ses­sion was “Good­bye Fourth Amend­ment”.  As I poin­ted out at the begin­ning of my talk, at least the US has a writ­ten con­sti­tu­tion to shred — some­thing the UK nev­er quite man­aged to pro­duce.…

Here’s the film of my ses­sion. DVDs of this and all oth­er pan­el dis­cus­sions are avail­able from INN.

Upcoming New York Conference: how the world changed after 9/11

INN

Look­ing for­ward to speak­ing at this con­fer­ence next week­end!

A timely and neces­sary debate about the vital, but increas­ingly fra­gile, state of our demo­cracy and basic civil rights.

And what a great line up — well done to the organ­isers! 

Some of the oth­er speak­ers are old friends I’ve worked with before, some I look for­ward to meet­ing for the first time.

New Film by Ryan JW Smith

I had the pleas­ure recently of work­ing with a tal­en­ted film maker called Ryan JW Smith, and his partner/producer, Bri­anna. 

Bri­anna is an artist by train­ing, and also a mean hand at pro­du­cing. Ryan seems a bit of a renais­sance man — film maker, poet, writer, act­or.  In fact, he wrote a play called “New World Order” in, I believe, iambic pen­ta­met­er, and per­formed it to packed audi­ences at the Edin­burgh Fringe a couple of years ago, and recently had a short film called  “Army Strong” screened at a Pol­ish film fest­iv­al.

Any­way, they are in the middle of mak­ing a fea­ture-length film about the post-apo­ca­lyptic, post-9/11 world we all share — the lies of intel­li­gence and gov­ern­ment, the illeg­al wars, the erosion of our demo­crat­ic rights.  Just the sort of light mater­i­al that I like to work with — and cer­tainly what I think is of vital import­ance. 

I’m work­ing on help­ing to pro­mote the film later this year, and organ­ise some screen­ing tours for them across Europe and North Amer­ica.

I think it’s going to be a very power­ful wake-up call to us all.  Watch this space for more news.

Here’s a trail­er Ryan and Bri­anna cut from my inter­views with them called “Using Her Intel­li­gence”.  I like:

Vers la Verite, Paris, October 2009

VV_Graphic_Paris_2009So the Vers la Ver­ite events in Par­is earli­er this month were a great suc­cess.  I’ve organ­ised a few inter­na­tion­al tours and events in my time, but this was one of the most con­cen­trated series of dif­fer­ent hap­pen­ings I’ve been involved in.  Thanks go to Debora Blake for all her work in situ in Par­is, and also to the ReOpen posse, who offered a lot of prac­tic­al sup­port and were major spon­sors of the week­end.

Vers la Ver­ite was a gath­er­ing of cam­paign­ers and act­iv­ists from across Europe and North Amer­ica, who met to dis­cuss “geo­pol­it­ic­ally incor­rect issues” (as Debora likes to call them!), such as the illeg­al wars in the Middle East, media spin, intel­li­gence manip­u­la­tion, the erosion of our civil liber­ties in the name of the unend­ing “war on ter­ror” — and the need for a new, inde­pend­ent enquiry into the tra­gic events of 9/11, the nex­us of so many of these issues.  It was fant­ast­ic to see so many old and new friends in Par­is — what a show of com­mit­ment to mak­ing the world a safer and more equit­able place.  It gave me hope.

Speakers_Paris_2009We were also priv­ileged to have cam­paign­ers of the cal­ibre of the 2008 US Green Party pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Con­gress­wo­man Cyn­thia McKin­ney, journ­al­ist and  recent MEP Giuli­etto Chiesa, Pro­fess­or Niels Har­rit of Copen­ha­gen Uni­ver­sity, and French act­or and dir­ect­or Math­ieu Kas­so­vitz at the events. 

Press_Conference_Paris_2009The week­end star­ted with a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day 9th Octo­ber at the Mair­ie of the 2nd arron­disse­ment in Par­is, kindly hos­ted by the May­or, him­self a Green Party politi­cian.

Procope_Paris_2009In the even­ing, while the act­iv­ists met up at the all-night water­ing hole, Café L’Etincelle on the Rue de Rivoli, Cyn­thia was the guest of hon­our at a spon­sors’ din­ner at the fam­ous Le Pro­cope bras­ser­ie.  This is the old­est res­taur­ant in Par­is, and has hos­ted Ben­jamin Frank­lin (who reputedly worked on the draft of the Amer­ic­an Con­sti­tu­tion there), as well as Voltaire.

Brunch_Paris_2009The Sat­urday was the main day of events, start­ing with a light lunch for  inter­na­tion­al act­iv­ists at Les Halles des Olivi­ers at La Bel­levil­loise, with impromptu music from Dr Jazzz.  In the after­noon we con­vened for a plan­ning ses­sion, fol­lowed in the even­ing by a pub­lic meet­ing.  Debora ably hos­ted the event with Cyn­thia McKin­ney, Giuli­etto Chiesa and Niels Har­rit and myself as the speak­ers, dis­cuss­ing dif­fer­ent aspects of gov­ern­ment cov­er-ups and lack of account­ab­il­ity, all drawn from our own exper­i­ences.  The film “Zero”, dir­ec­ted by Giuli­etto Chiesa, was screened, as well as excerpts from “Amer­ic­an Black­out” fea­tur­ing Cyn­thia, and the work of won­der­ful French comedi­an and cam­paign­er, Jean Mar­ie Bigard.

Kassovitz_Paris_2009A sur­prise and very wel­come attendee was Math­ieu Kas­so­vitz, who suc­cess­fully bid in the auc­tion for the collector’s edi­tion of the excel­lent “Glob­al Out­look” research pub­lic­a­tion, signed by Cyn­thia.

The week­end wrapped up with a demo on Sunday morn­ing, march­ing from Place de la Repub­lique to Place Bastille — two res­on­ant loc­a­tions — before an inform­al farewell Parisi­an lunch.

It was fant­ast­ic to meet so many inspir­ing people, who are com­mit­ted to chan­ging the world for the bet­ter. Thank you all for tak­ing the time and trouble to get to Par­is for the
week­end  — it was great to see so many old and new friends!

And thanks once again to Debora, AtMoh, Marc, Jean Marc, Chris­tophe (x2!), Arno and the rest of the Par­is posse. Also to Cyn­thia, Giuli­etto and Niels for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism, ded­ic­a­tion and sheer joy, all in the face of adversity. 

The Canadian Tour

OK, so I’m a crap blog­ger — but I have to say that my access to the inter­net was severely lim­ited dur­ing my travels across Canada!  And then I had to go back to the UK, then NL.…

Vancouver_posterCanada was great — the first nation­al speak­ing tour organ­ised by the country’s  9/11 groups.  And before you roll your eyes, these are cit­izens’ groups that are call­ing for a new enquiry — in response to a moun­tain of evid­ence from hun­dreds of cred­ible experts around the world, who ques­tion the offi­cial account peddled by the 9/11 Com­mis­sion. 

Bear­ing in mind how the issue of 9/11 has been used and abused by our dear gov­ern­ments to jus­ti­fy the end­less “war on ter­ror”, the use of tor­ture, the wars in the Middle East and the erosion of our freedoms at home, I think any con­cerned and respons­ible cit­izen should, at the very least, keep an open mind about this issue and do their own research.  Espe­cially as the 9/11 Com­mis­sion was, in the words of its two chairs, Keane and Hamilton, “set up to fail”!

But back to the tour.  Huge thanks go to Patrick, the nation­al organ­iser of the tour, who had the vis­ion and com­mit­ment to pull the whole thing togeth­er, as well as sort out all the logist­ics and arrange a con­stant flow of media inter­views for me, of which more below.  And of course to the organ­isers of the events: Eliza­beth, Ruk­shana, Mark, JF, Michael, Adam, Adnan, Graeme, and all the oth­er act­iv­ists — too many to name indi­vidu­ally.

I had to fly to Van­couver via Chica­go O’Hare, which spooked me to begin with.  I’ve been through that air­port before and it has, in the past, lived up to its well-deserved repu­ta­tion for power-crazed immig­ra­tion officers.  How­ever, I got a real sweetie — we ended up hav­ing an inter­est­ing chat about the nature of demo­cracy, before he cracked a smile and waved me through.  

In com­par­is­on, Van­couver air­port is a Zen exper­i­ence — all nat­ive art install­a­tions and water­falls.  As I emerged blink­ing into the late after­noon sun­shine (it was about 3am by my body clock), I was greeted by the Van­couver posse and whisked away in the Truth Bus to food, wine and anoth­er radio inter­view

Georgina_photo3I did a series of radio and news­pa­per inter­views the next morn­ing (thanks, Rukshana’s mum for the use of the phone!), before being whisked off on a tour of Van­couver by Ruk­shana and Geor­gina.  The city blew me away with its beauty — moun­tains up close, parks, sea and arty quar­ters.  If it wasn’t so
damned close to the US bor­der, I would be ser­i­ously temp­ted to move
there. 

At the end of the after­noon, I had a fab time being inter­viewed on Van­couver 1410 CFUN driv­e­time radio, before one more tele­phone inter­view and a well-earned glass of cham­pagne at Geor­gina and Darren’s.

After this day of recov­ery, I was then invited onto the Bill Good Show the next morn­ing.  Bill is the grand old man of BC media, and he was a excel­lent inter­view­er.  I had half an hour with him, and the show went out to over a quarter of a mil­lion people.

Vancouver_photo2The meet­ing that night was a great suc­cess — I could feel the energy and interest of the audi­ence as I spoke for 1 1/2 hours, and then had over an hour more of ques­tions.  I think it’s wrong for the media to say people are no longer inter­ested in polit­ics — they’re just not that inter­ested in the estab­lished polit­ic­al hier­arch­ies and sys­tems.

If I had thought Van­couver lovely, the scenery was even more beau­ti­ful as I took the ferry down the bay to Vic­tor­ia, past small wooded islands.  Of course, that was the moment my cam­era decided to pack up…

I had a lovely couple of days in Vic­tor­ia, pampered by Eliza­beth and Bri­an, shown the beau­ties of the island and meet­ing a num­ber of act­iv­ists.  I also had the pleas­ure of meet­ing Row­land Mor­gan, (co-author with Ian Hen­shall) of the excel­lent best­seller, “9/11 Revealed”

I’d done a num­ber of inter­views before arriv­ing on the island.  The Vic­tor­ia event was very well atten­ded and I had a stand­ing ova­tion at the end.

Then it was back to Van­couver for anoth­er hour-long inter­view on Co-op Radio and a pot luck sup­per with the act­iv­ists, before fly­ing off to Ott­awa for the east­ern leg of the tour.  I arrived at mid­night to be greeted by the lovely Mar­jor­ie and Cam, who hos­ted me for a couple of nights.  My sleep was all too brief, as I had to get up at 4.30 to make a 6am radio inter­view.

The Ott­awa event was smal­ler (I would say it was an extremely rainy night!), but per­fectly formed.  Des­pite this, the group seemed very enthused about put­ting on future events.

The next day brought a Grey­hound bus ride up to Mon­tréal.  Such moments in life are when you wish you’d put Simon and Gar­funkel on your I-pod.  My 18 hours in Mon­tréal were hec­tic — and we only just made it to the meet­ing on time, what with an excel­lent din­ner and ter­rible traffic.  The meet­ing was really vibrant.  After­wards, when every­one else was head­ing out to party, I had to slink back to my bed for a brief 4 hours sleep, before get­ting a train at 6.30 to Toronto.

Adnan_on_TVI hit the ground run­ning, with a lunch­time inter­view, then a peace demo in the city centre.  Clin­ton and Bush Jr were in town, giv­ing a talk to 5000 of the faith­ful who were flush enough to cough up between $200 and $5000 to hear their bien pensees.  Inde­pend­ent media did a couple of good inter­views with me.  Shame­fully, the Stop the War Toronto group only man­aged to rustle up about 1,000 pro­test­ers out­side the con­fer­ence centre, and then refused to give a plat­form to Split­ting the Sky, a Cana­dian peace act­iv­ist who had attemp­ted to arrest Bush for war crimes when he vis­ited Cal­gary in April, and who had him­self been arres­ted for his pains.  How­ever, some oth­er peace act­iv­ists had some good cov­er­age!

The next day, hav­ing caught up on some sleep at last, I had an excel­lent time at the Toronto uni­ver­sity radio sta­tion, where we had a lively hour-long inter­view, before head­ing off to my event at the uni­ver­sity. 

Next stop, Water­loo Uni­ver­sity, where I did a round of inter­views accom­pan­ied by the journ­al­ist and cam­paign­er, Bar­rie Zwick­er. The format that night changed to an inter­view on stage con­duc­ted by him, which worked really well.  

Spyinggame003The final stop of the tour was Hamilton where, after anoth­er all-too-brief night, I had three morn­ing inter­views — 2 on radio, and one recor­ded for the TV even­ing news.  A lovely Lebanese lunch with a group of pro­fess­ors from the uni­ver­sity fol­lowed, and then a much needed chance to sleep it off, before head­ing out to the final gig, organ­ised by Pro­fess­or Graeme Mac­Queen and hos­ted by Mohawk Col­lege.  Well, they always say the last one is the best — and I had an amaz­ing even­ing.  Over an hour of talk, fol­low­ing by 1 1/2 hours of ques­tions from an inter­ested and informed audi­ence. 

So a great time in an amaz­ing coun­try.  Thanks once again to all who made this tour such a suc­cess, and good luck with your future plans!

Canadian Speaking Tour, May 2009

Vancouver_posterOn 22 May I shall be start­ing my very own nation­al speak­ing tour in Canada.   Fol­low­ing my vis­it to Cali­for­nia last year, the Cana­dian 9/11 Truth groups have pulled togeth­er a 7-event tour, where I will have the chance to dis­cuss the intel­li­gence world, whis­tleblow­ing, going on the run and the issue of 9/11, par­tic­u­larly focus­ing on its reper­cus­sions around the world: the end­less “war on ter­ror”, the illeg­al wars in the Middle East, and the erosion of our demo­cra­cies in the West.

The Cana­dian Truth Move­ment tire­lessly cam­paigns for a new, inde­pend­ent inquiry in the tra­gic events of 9/11, and has in the past hos­ted speak­ers such as Pro­fess­or Dav­id Ray Griffin  and archi­tect Richard Gage.

More inform­a­tion about the tour can be obtained from: directors@vancouver911truth.org or elizwood@shaw.ca.  See you there!

Victoria_poster


Tour dates:

Fri­day 22 May — Van­couver

Sunday 24 May — Vic­tor­ia

Wed­nes­day 27 May — Ott­awa

Thursday 28 May —
Mon­tréal

Sat­urday 30 May — Toronto

Sunday 31 May — Water­loo

Monday 1 June — Hamilton

9/11 Hero in London

RodriguezLast week 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez was back in Lon­don, speak­ing at the Glob­al Peace and Unity Con­fer­ence in London’s Dock­lands. Wil­li­am is invited every year, and addressed an audi­ence of thou­sands last Sunday.

Wil­li­am was the last sur­viv­or to leave the Twin Towers on 9/11. He sur­vived being bur­ied alive by the col­lapsing North Tower after he ran from the build­ing and dived under a firetruck. After he was pulled from the rubble, mira­cu­lously with few injur­ies, he was imme­di­ately inter­viewed by CNN, before return­ing to help with the res­cue effort. Since then, he has become a spokes­per­son for the fam­il­ies of the vic­tims and the sur­viv­ors.

Wil­li­am is recog­nised in Amer­ica as a nation­al hero. He had one of the few mas­ter keys to the WTC com­plex, and repeatedly re-entered the North Tower after the attacks to unlock secur­ity doors and help the fire­fight­ers res­cue trapped people. For his bravery he has been recog­nised at the White House.

He was instru­ment­al in lob­by­ing for the 9/11 Enquiry and, when the com­mis­sion failed to address a wide range of evid­ence and ques­tions from the sur­viv­ors, eye­wit­nesses and fam­il­ies, he began cam­paign­ing for a new, inde­pend­ent enquiry on behalf of these groups.

He now travels the world doing inter­views, meet­ing politi­cians and heads of state, and recount­ing his amaz­ing story of sur­viv­al and hope. He also cam­paigns against the overt politi­cisa­tion of the 9/11 tragedy, which has been used and abused by gov­ern­ments to jus­ti­fy the wars in the Middle East, the unend­ing war of ter­ror, and the res­ult­ing roll-back of our freedoms and civil liber­ties. His is an amaz­ing story and acts as an inspir­a­tion to many people.

Over the last 2 years I’ve organ­ised three nation­al and inter­na­tion­al speak­ing tours for him across the UK and much of Europe — sadly not yet reach­ing Ire­land des­pite reports to the con­trary! — and his exper­i­ence has touched thou­sands of people, both at the events them­selves and via the extens­ive media cov­er­age he has received. On this vis­it to Lon­don I arranged inter­views for him on Sky News and Press TV.

The Elephant in the Room

In Septem­ber an award-win­ning inde­pend­ent doc­u­ment­ary, “The Ele­phant in the Room” was screened at the Por­to­bello Film Fest­iv­al in Lon­don.

The film, made by Brit­ish dir­ect­or Dean Puck­ett, had already won “Best Doc­u­ment­ary” at the Lon­don Inde­pend­ent Film Fest­iv­al earli­er this year.  At Por­to­bello, Dean won the “Best Dir­ect­or” award.

The film doc­u­ments Dean’s per­son­al jour­ney and response to the tra­gic events of 9/11.  In Octo­ber 2001 he vis­ited New York with his fath­er, who was run­ning in the mara­thon.  As a bud­ding 19 year old film maker, Dean recor­ded images of the trau­mat­ised city and his per­son­al response to the events, and includes this early foot­age in the film.

He then goes on to meet act­iv­ists in the UK and Europe who ques­tion the offi­cial account, and inter­view 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez and US Pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Cyn­thia McKin­ney, amongst oth­ers.  He also deals sens­it­ively with the first respon­ders who are ill and dying because the US gov­ern­ment lied about the safety of the air in NYC after the attacks.  These people are gen­er­ally ignored and giv­en little help or sup­port.

I helped Dean in some sec­tions of the film, and he accom­pan­ied Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez on the European leg of the speak­ing tour I organ­ised for him last year — I’m chuffed to have an “Assist­ant Pro­du­cer” cred­it!

The film can be down­loaded and watched here.