By Jen Gerson
He’s an atheist and a skeptic. He supports the search for extraterrestrial life and believes 9/11 was an inside job – but don’t call him a conspiracy theorist.
“It’s not that there is no such organization as Al Qaeda. It’s not that U.S. foreign policy over the last 50 years has been so bloody and hypocritical that there are a lot of people really, really pissed off. All those things are true,” says Barrie Zwicker, while motioning for a waiter on a sunny afternoon at the Baton Rouge.
In the dim Yonge Street restaurant, Zwicker eagerly discusses his lingering questions about Sept. 11 “When the events of [9/11] remain perfectly suited to be such an advantage for the [economic] elite, that’s when you have to be suspicious,” says Zwicker as he scans the lunch menu.
Zwicker was a professor at Ryerson in the ’70s, teaching courses on media and society and media ethics and law. Since the tragedy of 9/11, Zwicker has been collecting information about the American government’s official story and compiling anomalies.
While he denies being a leading researcher in the field, Zwicker has actively tried to get the public to question America’s complicity in the tragedy. For 15 seasons, Zwicker has run a segment called the Eye Opener (no relation) on 360 Vision, a weekly current affairs show on Vision TV.
The cable channel is one of the only multi-faith, multicultural channels in the world. Over his career Zwicker has written for the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Province, Toronto Star, Sudbury Star and the Detroit News. Currently, Zwicker is writing a book about the Media and 9/11 tentatively titled: 9/11 and Our Future; Connecting the Dots. Zwicker’s research for the book has left him convinced that the American Government has deceived the public about 9/11.
“I don’t know it in the sense that I have a memo from [current American President] George Bush saying, ‘let’s do this thing, let’s have the fighters stand down.’ That evidence, if it exists at all, is extremely unlikely,” says Zwicker moving his cycling gloves and helmet off the table to make room for a plate of beef stroganoff.
“On the very morning of the events, as this went on and I’m hearing there are other planes heading for the White House, I was thinking, where are the jet interceptors? It’s just about impossible that with 26 U.S. air bases in the region, where this drama took place, six of those bases on full alert 24 hours a day, able to scramble within two and half to six minutes, that no plane would have turned the wheel until it was too late,” says Zwicker, who angers at the suggestion that the incompetence of the air force could account for the lack of interceptors.
“I’m really pissed off at anybody in the whole world who doesn’t look at that and say that is very, very fishy,” he says, reaching for and then taking a sip of his specialty beer.
Zwicker also has issues with the initial reaction of President Bush on 9/11 . On the day the towers fell Bush’s published itinerary took him to an elementary school in Florida.
According to several reports obtained by Zwicker, Bush stayed in a classroom listening to a student talk about her pet goat between eight to 25 minutes after he heard about the attack. ”
It is massive and overpowering evidence that the official story is a crock. There are so many holes in it that if it were a Swiss cheese, there wouldn’t be any cheese,” says Zwicker.
He also claims the 9/11 attack on the pentagon was actually a camouflaged missile or military plane that hit the base. His argument is based on photos, comments made by U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and 19 witness statements Zwicker has collected.
Zwicker says suspicious stock market movement prior to the disaster is also proof that 9/11 was an American-made attack. According to Zwicker, a large amount of investors sold American and United Airline stock just days before 9/11.
“Somebody knew exactly which planes were involved and they knew how to make money on the planes of both airlines involved,” he says. “The people who accept the official story should be the ones who are answering these questions.” With his main course nearly devoured, Zwicker acknowledges his theories are tough to swallow, but according to him, faking an attack on one’s own country is hardly a new military strategy.
He says manufactured invasions began in the days of Ancient Greece and have been a popular strategy with many corrupt governments, including the Nazis.
“Possibly the biggest player in the game of war triggering deception has been the United States of America,” says Zwicker, clarifying deception, in this case, to mean deception of one’s own people. “Not only is [faking an attack on your own country] not unprecedented, in U.S. history there’s only one war (the war of 1812), in which the U.S. has not engaged in deception,” says Zwicker.
According to Zwicker, a key question that must be asked when trying to uncover who is responsible for the events of Sept. 11 is: Who benefits from the tragedy?
“The benefactors of 9/11 are not the environmentalists, not social programs, not stability & not democracy, not civil liberties, not good will … the beneficiaries are the big oil companies & the extreme right-wing, people who hate,” says Zwicker while hovering over a long-stem glass of a recently ordered strawberry-topped ice cream.
On the second anniversary of the attacks Zwicker will be a featured panelist at the Bloor Cinema for the worldwide screening of Aftermath, a documentary poking holes in the U.S. Government’s official 9/11 story. On Sept. 12 and 13, he will speak to the Canadian Islamic Congress.
While Zwicker claims he has received an overwhelming amount of support for his work on 9/11, he suspects the RCMP may have him under surveillance. According to Zwicker, a 30-year-old radio he keeps above his toilet makes inexplicable noises prior to his public appearances. He claims a similar sound emanates from his computer speakers. However, because of his public status, Zwicker feels he is not in immediate danger.
Zwicker acknowledges the events of Sept. 11 were tragic, but says the public’s automatic acceptance of the U.S. Government’s explanation for the attacks is an even greater tragedy.
“Terrorist who boozed it up the night before? Muslims who have only taken training at little puddle jumper flying schools – and then didn’t pass – flying 757s? I’m not saying there weren’t Arab terrorists involved but that’s a different thing than saying that they planned it and did it all by themselves and caught the whole U.S. political-military establishment totally off guard,” says Zwicker, motioning toward the waiter for his bill.
“That is a conspiracy theory.”