Less-cited scenarios include Sino MIHOP, claiming the attack was a first strike in the inevitable conflict between China and the West. Scientologists have suggested a Shrink MIHOP, imagining evil Thetan psychologists as culprits. In the postmodern battle of paranoid narratives, we get to choose our terror dream, identify our own evil genius.
4. Inevitable MIHOP
“For me, MIHOP was inevitable, because the more you know, the more you know,” says Les Jamieson, a friendly, eminently reasonable 51-year-old from Brooklyn who remembers the moment the scales of Official Story hallucination fell from his eyes.
“I read a story in Newsweek, which said these generals were told earlier that week not to fly. Obviously, someone knew. My reaction was, ‘Holy shit.’ This process has been one holy shit after another.”
Father Frank Morales’s conversion was more dramatic. Raised in the Jacob Riis Projects, Morales, who if not for his priest collar could be mistaken for an East Village hipster, is a longtime Lower East Side hero, primarily for his work with local squatter communities. The day after 9/11, the diocese asked if he’d go to ground zero to perform last rites. “They said be prepared, because ‘we’re not talking bodies, Frank, we’re talking body parts.’ ”
“I could feel myself getting madder and madder, not the way a priest is supposed to feel,” says Morales. Sitting with a fireman, Morales called out, “If I had somebody in this mess, I’d wanna get those motherfuckers.” It was then, Morales says, that the fireman whispered, “Hey, that’s not it. You wanna know something? Bush and bin Laden have the same banker.”
It was everything that happened afterward, the Patriot Act and Iraq, that turned him into a 9/11 Truth activist, says Morales, who likewise sees little alternative to MIHOP.
“To me,” Morales says, “this is about history. History and truth, the nature of truth in a not particularly truthful age.”
“We’re like the minutemen of Revolutionary times, prosecutors in the discovery phase for a trial that is sure to come,” says Jamieson, who on Saturday afternoons can often be found at ground zero holding up a banner proclaiming that 9/11 was AN INSIDE JOB.
As 9/11 Truth advocates know well, the veracity they seek is unlikely to meet the ontological standards of Saint Anselm. They’ve got people on their side like the “WebFairy,” who runs a site “proving” the towers were not hit by planes but holograms, or “ghost planes.” Still, the truth movement wields one irrefutably puissant weapon in its struggle. As Nick Levis says, “Would you believe anything George W. Bush told you?”
5. A Fast-Moving Meme
Google “911 conspiracy” and the bytes bury you. The first great conspiracy theory of the Internet Age—imagine JFK assassinationology with the Web!—9/11 Truth is a fast-moving meme. The thicket of “truth” sites is myriad. There is “911truth.org,” 911forthetruth.com,” “911truthla.org,” “nakedfor911truth.com,” “911truthemergence.com,” “911citizenswatch.org,” “911research.wtc7.net,” “911review.com,” and hundreds more.
It can be argued that a whole new kind of politics is being waged in the 9/11 Truth assault. Apocalyptical survivalists and extreme Bush-haters are equally attracted to the movement’s blanket J’accuse. Be you a Starbucks-window breaker or John Bircher, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way Thomas L. Friedman and his globalist windbaggery blows.
This is not a movement that takes its Nagra tape recorders to document Dealey Plaza acoustics to ascertain which bullet came from what angle. When 9/11 Truth “researchers” cite “the physical evidence,” they usually mean the referred reality of photographs or videos posted on the Net. Paul Thompson, whose 9/11 timeline has become the undisputed gold standard of Truth research, does all his work on the Net. “I don’t have to be any particular place to do this,” says Thompson, who for a while moved to New Zealand so it would be easier for him to concentrate.
Yet it is difficult to deny the allure of this movement. The conspiracist has always relied on a degree of magical thinking. As Marshall McLuhan would swear if he weren’t dead, there has never been a more conspiracy-ready medium than the Net. It is an exhilarating serendipity that every surfer has felt: the glorious synchronicity in the way one link handshakes the next, the sensation of not knowing how you got there but being sure this is the right place. Such miraculous methodology cannot simply be random. For the moment, it feels like Truth.
“There’s reality, and there’s illusion,” says William Rodriguez. “When illusion becomes reality, that’s a problem; 9/11 is a giant illusion.”
Coincidences are rife. What is to be made of reports that prior to September 11, parties unknown purchased the domain names “nycterrorstrike.com,” “horrorinnewyork.com,” and “tradetowerstrike.com.” Was this Mohammad Atta’s idea of a cyberjoke?
Consider Pammy Wynant, protagonist of the novel Players, by Don DeLillo. Published in 1977, the book describes how Pammy, working for a firm called Grief Management Council, which has its offices in the World Trade Center, at first thought the WTC was “an unlikely headquarters for an outfit such as this. But she changed her mind as time passed. Where else would you stack all this grief?” Later, DeLillo writes, “to Pammy the towers didn’t seem permanent. They remained concepts, no less transient for all their bulk than some routine distortion of light.”