Hicks is the author of The Big Wedding: 9/11, The Whistleblowers, and the Cover-Up; The Breaking Manager: 3 Plays; Cash Cow and Artanimal; and the editor of Where To: A Soft Skull Anthology. He is also the owner and editor of Soft Skull Press, former-lead singer of the punk rock band White Collar Crime, and a former Green Party candidate from the state of New York. He owns the Brooklyn, NY coffee shop/bookstore Vox Pop. Hicks was in Southeast Pennsylvania for the showing of Able Danger, a film-noir whose 9/11 Truther protagonist is based on him.
We showed up for the 9:11pm showing of Able Danger, then at 11, walked over to the Free House bar for a discussion. One of the first things Hicks said to the dozen-and-a-half or so onlookers was his doubt that 9/11 was an “inside job” in the classic sense of the 9/11 Truth movement’s definition. In a short sense, the “9/11 was an inside job” line of thinking is as follows: Terrorists were not behind 9/11, the American government was.
It was assumed that everyone in the audience was familiar with 9/11 Truth conspiracies, most of which are available for viewing through movies made by several conspiracists who’ve made their names on the internet.
1. US Neoconservatives
The Project For A New American Century, a neoconservative think tank, needed – according to their own website – a “New Pearl Harbor” to mitigate the war they wanted against Iraq. Members of the think tank included, but were not limited to: William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, William Bennett, Dan Quayle, Paul Wolfowitz, Steve Forbes, and (cue the evil music) Dick Cheney. On January 16, 1998, the group sent a letter to then-President Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein using U.S. power. They stated, “we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections" and "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.” The idea then goes, George W. Bush was the perfect puppet to get elected, put PNAC members in his cabinet, and enact the plan for US hegemony and world domination.
2. Multi-Family World Domination
Another theory relies on neo-anti-Semitic theories of world domination for the explanation of 9/11. As seen in Illuminati: Bloodlines of Power and Zeitgeist, 9/11 and operations like it have been planned for centuries by the ruling powers of every age. Private banks fund world wars. Federal banks initiated wars to keep countries afloat, funding both sides and charging interest on their investments. Wars are brought about not just for profit, but for the creation of joint-country world powers. World War I produced the League of Nations. World War II: the UN. Smaller wars, like Korea and Vietnam – from the US side at least – are mainly for profit, but also test the population. If the civilian uproar isn’t strong enough to actually stop the illegal wars, government gets closer to tyranny, the overarching goal. September 11th and its following wars are meant to again scare people into multi-nation joint ventures which will provide the global blue print for a one world government.
The film Loose Change is the most popular of these internet phenomena, with three separate versions, the first alleging not only was 9/11 an inside job, but the planes that hit the World Trade Center shot missiles from their noses milliseconds before hitting the buildings. Loose Change: Final Cut moves away from theories and provides just solid fact, providing insinuated evidence that Rudy Giuliani may have helped plan the attacks and that the ensuing sickness from the World Trade Center dust was covered up. The movie also shows an interview with Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center, who says, “[The firefighters in WTC building 7] were not sure they were going to be able to contain the fire. I said, ‘you know, we’ve had such terrible loss of life, I think the smartest thing to do is just pull it.’ They made that decision to pull, and we watched the building collapse.” The quote, of course, leads one to believe that World Trade Center 7’s demise was a controlled demolition. Silverstein later said “pull it” referred not to demolishing the building, but to pulling all human beings out of the building and letting it burn. Final Cut also contains footage of BBC correspondent Jane Stanley speaking of WTC 7 collapsing. However, the time of her report was 13 minutes before the building even fell. WTC 7 is actually seen standing in the skyline behind her left shoulder in the report.
3. Alex Jones Theories
Alex Jones also attributes his 3-hour Austin, Texas-based radio show to such theories. He claims in his latest film Endgame that liberals have created global warming as a way to enact a world tax paid by all citizens, to the UN – its first real test of global hegemony. Jones believes that the “global elites” have found a way to live forever and will use those chips implanted in us (and in the future, our children at birth) to murder 80% of the world’s population. Those who resist the New World Order and global tyranny, their microchips will shut down their bodies on demand. The New World Order will come out of the Bilderberg Group, a yearly private meeting of the world’s elites – politicians, entertainers, businessmen, bankers.
He often cites a 1996 interview with Audubon Magazine, where media mogul Ted Turner states: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal." He also cites a National Security memo dated April 24, 1975 titled “Implications of world wide population growth for U.S. security & overseas interests.” The memo quotes Henry Kissinger as saying, “depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World” because “the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less-developed countries...Wherever a lessening of population can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resources, supplies and to the economic interests of U.S.”
4. David Icke/Reptilian Shape Shifters
Many theories go even further, such as those by British author David Icke, who is known for saying government leaders and international bankers across the globe are all descended from the British royal family. At some point, this family mated with lizards from outer space (specifically the star system Alpha Draconis) to create a race of super beings. They maintain their control through fear and negative emotion, which along with blood, is their food. They achieve their control by manufacturing wars. Icke says on his website, “The parahuman Serpent People of the past are still among us. They were probably worshipped by the builders of Stonehenge and the forgotten ridge-making cultures of South America.” These beings, “reptilian humanoids,” often “shape shift.” Supposed evidence of this is often documented on slow-motion YouTube videos posted by others who believe the conspiracy. These videos show prominent faces morphing and changing eye color. Famous humanoids include, but are not limited to: The Bushes, the Clintons, the Kennedys, Barack Obama, and the late Princess Diana, who reportedly told her confidant Christine Fitzgerald (according to Ms. Fitzgerald) that the British Royal family are reptilian aliens and could shapeshift. Icke claims the “global elites” and humanoids have begun and funded world atrocities such as The Holocaust, The Oklahoma City Bombing, and 9/11.
Alex Jones has stated that be believes “99 percent” of what Icke believes. The 1 percent likely refers to the reptilian shape shifters.
5. Zionist “Banksters”/New World Order
In Illuminati: Bloodlines of Power, the narrator states that international bankers, such as the Rothschild family and the Rockefeller family funded the Holocaust as a way to test global tyranny and the human response. They felt the extermination of European Jews was necessary because these Jews, most of which were from Poland, weren’t descended from the same elite, Zionist families as those in the global elite. The film also makes claim that Adolph Hitler’s father Alois Hitler was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber and Baron Rothschild. In essence, Hitler was a British agent, and “chosen” by the global elites to begin World War II. Icke claims that Churchill, Mao, and FDR were blood relatives (and part of the Rothschild family) and practiced Satanism in their secret societal Freemasonry meetings, which is in part why FDR put Freemason symbols on our currency. Charles Darwin, according to Alex Jones, was a eugenicist intent on creating a race of supermen and gave Hitler his ideas that the German race could achieve global dominance because of its genetics and exterminate the lower classes of Jews.
I got a pamphlet at 9/11 Truth Night for the Philadelphia Rally To End The Fed (past; November 22, 2008). It lays claim that the Fed is a privately-owned banking cartel, owned by foreign interests, creates a secret tax (inflation), and in essence stops citizens from saving their money, since currency is always worth less than it was a moment ago. At the bottom of the pamphlet is a quote from Mayer Rothschild, the founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty (born poor in the 1700s in the ghetto of Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany) which says, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” Mayer is ranked as Forbes Magazine’s 7th (of 20) Most Influential Businessmen Of All Time. Mayer had ten children, four of which founded the Rothschild banks of four European countries.
The Fed was created in 1913 after Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act and President Wilson signed it into law. The act was written in secret on Jekyll Island, Georgia, with the help of several prominent bankers, including the Morgans and Rockefellers. It was at first opposed by Democrats and favored by Republicans, led by Senator Nelson Aldrich, who visited Europe on a fact-finding mission of centralized banking. Aldrich reportedly went to Germany opposed to the idea, but came to embrace it. After much meandering between parties, the final act was supported by most Democrats, opposed by most Republicans.
The Fed system, since America came off the gold standard, is a confusing entity, with some sources believing the Fed lends money to the US government, who in turn lends it to the people. And after this, all parties owe interest on the money they’ve been lent – all but the Fed since they’re the ones printing it. This, according to opponents of centralized banking is one of the reasons Thomas Jefferson also opposed the formation of a Central Bank upon the founding of the United States, saying, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
Centralized banking not only, according to its opponents, gives the government final say over monetary wealth, but creates an increasingly apathetic public, who will eventually surrender to a one world government because centralized banking promotes the welfare state. Even the most left wing liberals will find the New World Order a lesser evil when the time comes. (With a one world government, there are no two governments to go to war with one another, which at first will keep the anti-war crowd happy.) 9/11 Truthers believing in the New World Order idea often cite a speech George H.W. Bush gave on September 11, 1990 in which he said, “[The Gulf War is] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times...a New World Order can emerge.” He also mentioned the New World Order in speeches on March 16, 1991, and March 6, 1991. Pat Buchanan often cites President Bush’s use of the term “New World Order” to explain why he was defeated in 1992.
All Of The Above
Some believe all these theories are correct, each a significant piece of the puzzle
The 9/11 Truth Movement is unorganized -- because of these theories. It all depends on how “hardcore” you are about it. The most “hardcore” (in my opinion, the reptilian theory) are, to the average reader/viewer, laughable. The stuff about bankers working for world control, that at least makes sense. (Conservative website Little Green Footballs entertainingly refers to believers as “Troofers.”)
Able Danger, The Movie
Much of Able Danger (starring Adam Nee and Elina Lowenshohn) was filmed at Hicks’s Brooklyn coffee shop, Vox Pop. Spout.com probably said it best when they called the film, “9/11 conspiracy for hipsters.” The movie centers around computerized data that was said to have been destroyed, which provided evidence that Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11 masterminds, was a well-known terrorist well before 9/11 and was actually living with FBI agents. After his friend is killed, Flynn is tracked and followed by shadow-government employees, police, and German spies, believing he has the Able Danger material.
The NY Times has called it “modeled on Noir and executed on acid” and New York Magazine said it “effectively mixes pseudo-Hitchcockian theatrics with a hefty dose of contemporary lefty paranoia.” I’d say it achieves all you’re looking for in its 86 minutes. It’s a movie for conspiracists as well as film geeks. Casual moviegoers and box office regulars. Its dialogue is smart and witty. It’s shot in a hip 21st century Darren Aronofsky-Quentin Tarantino film noir crime drama sort of way. It’s like Chinatown for the inner-city generation that made thrift shops, coffee houses, and brewpubs their homes away from home.
It isn’t necessary to be aware of the Able Danger effort before viewing Able Danger the movie, but it does help.
Able Danger, The Government Operation
Able Danger, according to former Republican Congressman Curt Weldon, was a “small, highly classified military intelligence unit" which identified Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid Almidhar, and Nawaf Alhamzi, as “likely members” of a Brooklyn cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States more than a year before 9/11. All four were 9/11 hijackers. Atta became the posterboy for Muslim extremism after the attacks. But, according to sources, Atta was not an extremist in the slightest. He was a womanizer and, according to Hicks, “a cokehead.”
Weldon told The New York Times on August 15, 2005, that “In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” In Weldon’s book, Countdown To Terror, he describes personally handing an Able Danger chart to then-Deputy National Security Advisor Steven Hadley days after the attacks. The chart had been constructed more than a year earlier and included a picture of Mohammad Atta.
Able Danger information was destroyed and not included in the final 9/11 Commission Report. The Inspector General’s final report insists that Able Danger didn’t identify Mohammad Atta or any of the 9/11 hijackers prior to the attacks. Weldon also changed his story later on. According to filmmaker Paul Krik, he’s extended an invitation to meet Weldon for breakfast, but Weldon has yet to respond. His film makes the assumption that not all Able Danger material has been destroyed.
Curt Weldon was ousted from his suburban Philadelphia House seat by the Democrats’ 2006 congressional sweep after the FBI raided his daughters’ house a week before the election, amid allegations of his lobbyist ties. Neither Weldon nor his daughter were found guilty – nor indicted – of any wrongdoing, though it took until after the election for his innocence to come out. His election opponent was former Vice Admiral of the Navy Joe Sestak, the highest-ranking military officer currently serving in congress.
After the credits rolled, I shuffled out of the theater, following a small, mustached, ponytailed man into a corner bar around the block, knowing there was a scheduled meet-up after the showing. I turned to him inside the bar, and he raised his finger, signifying we’d be headed upstairs. “The stairs are in the back,” he said. We walked past an army of brown-jacketed yuppies and their trophy suburban blondies, sipping their pale ales and red, fruity drinks. At the top of the stairs I asked, “Where should we sit?” noticing an amp and microphone set up on a small table. “Anywhere,” he said. I turned to him. We shook and exchanged names.
In what was probably a white lie, I insinuated I wasn’t very familiar with the 9/11 Truth Movement. (While I’d never been to a meeting of Truthers before, or attended a rally at Ground Zero, or openly embraced many of their ideals (In December 2007, I wrote a piece for OpEd News, titled “9/11 Truth: Let’s Get This Straight” where I basically write that the 9/11 Truth Movement is not only wrong, but hurts the left; OpEdNews commenters were not happy with this assertion), I have watched their internet movies, and am quite familiar with the beliefs of Alex Jones and David Icke and have conducted research for my own entertaining purposes.
The mustached man’s friend, a 40-something likely-married father, sat down in the booth across from me. We shook hands. I told him, too, that I was new to the 9/11 Truth Movement. “I’m still learning,” I said. He mistakenly believed I was an engineer. I told him I wasn’t, but later on he said, “Being an engineer, you would probably be interested in Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth [a scientific evidence-based sect of the truth movement, focusing on the way the towers fell].” I shrugged. “How did you guys get started in this sort of thing?” I asked.
The mustached man said his friend in California started emailing him shortly after 9/11 with things she was reading on the internet. Following her advice, he read up on the subject and the history of terrorism before he came to the conclusion that 9/11 was a US government operation. The other man claimed he read the book, The Truth Shall Set You Free by David Icke in the summer of 2001. He read with interest Icke’s descriptions of false flag operations (the Reichstag Fire particularly, in which Adolph Hitler’s men burned down the Reichstag Building in Berlin on February 27, 1933, then blamed it on Dutch communists; the incident was influential in getting Hitler elected as the Fuhrer, and, ultimately, pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany.) Just a couple months after finishing the book, on the morning of 9/11, he had no doubt the American government was responsible.
Sander Hicks grabs the microphone when everyone is seated. He’s a tall, wiry man with a mop of shaggy black hair on his scalp. He’s got an easy-going way about him, unlike the majority of truthers in the media. Most 9/11 Truthers are all about 9/11. Hicks is about democracy, grassroots operations, and engagement. He also happens to have conducted enough research to believe the American people have not been given the truth about what happened on September 11th – again, not that Bush planted bombs in the building, just that we haven’t been given the whole truth.
Hicks’s book The Big Wedding, published in 2005, is a government expose which makes the claim that the CIA, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (which has ties to al-Qaeda) were all involved in a pre-9/11 relationship, which is related to the Able Danger cabal Curt Weldon investigated before losing his House seat.
“I’m not so certain this is all controlled,” he says, referring to theories in movies like Illuminati: Bloodlines of Power and Zeitgeist and their “men behind the curtain” theses. “I don’t think the state is superpowerful. The ruling classes are actually losing right now [because of movements like 9/11 Truth],” he says.
The second-floor room at Free House is noisy, ringing with acoustic guitars and everyman bar songs coming from the main downstairs bar. The bartenders and servers around us do their best to pretend they can’t hear the microphoned conversation they’ve evidently become part of. Though, as the conversation turns to the “microchipping” theory, and a bald, skinny man with a mustache screams out, “They’re chipping babies,” the bartender can’t help but to smirk, playing it off as if he saw something on Sports Center that amuses him.
Sander Hicks admittedly doesn’t keep up with the microchip dilemma, and tells the audience so. He passes the microphone off to a brunette woman who sits with her husband at a booth, and asks the rest of the audience, “How do you know people aren’t microchipped?” The same woman makes claim that the fluoride in our drinking water is there to keep us indifferent to tyranny. Earlier in the night, she picked up a bracelet at a table in the theater that read: “9/11: We Know The Truth.” As the conversation becomes more peculiar, Hicks takes the mic back and jokes, “Fox News is more dangerous than microchips.” Most of the audience seems to agree. Hicks then tells the audience of his experience becoming paranoid while researching The Big Wedding, but his ultimate belief that the government is not preparing for a New World Order or a tyrannical police state. “Government surveillance is there as much as you are willing to believe it’s there,” he says, casting doubt on Beijing-style cameras secretly on every city corner. He describes conducting interviews from a Long Island residence years ago, when one day, his phone just stopped working. “I totally freaked out,” he says, believing for a moment the FBI was tracking him. After regaining his composure, he realized he’d accidentally hit “Line 2” on the phone’s keypad and only one line existed.
Hicks does, however, believethe FBI and CIA have been responsible for several atrocities, including the murders of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Jr., “and probably Malcolm X,” he says.
And although he is a member of the Green Party and cast his vote for Cynthia McKinney, he seems optimistic about the upcoming Obama presidency despite “disappointing cabinet appointments” such as Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Change comes, Hicks says, from nonviolence, which is among the reasons he believes the FBI took out MLK and the Kennedys. Likewise, he sees Barack Obama’s ascendancy as a nonviolent change in the American psyche. He stresses that this new era we are on the verge of can be our moment to get the US to renounce violence. “If the Democratic Party won’t embrace the radical call to peace and nonviolence of Gandhi, King, Jesus of Nazareth, Dorothy Day, and others, then it’s up to us,” he says.
In the end, what sets Hicks apart is that most 9/11 Truthers believe there is too much dishonesty in the world, and no coincidences. Global conflicts result not from revenge or religion, but from two sides agreeing to make a profit, using their civilian armies as props. Though their ideas vary, many believe it is impossible to win against the men behind the curtain. Good men throughout history have failed to fight the New World Order and have ruined careers and lives because of it (Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara immediately come to mind.) Every human action, they believe, is pre-conceived and is what “they” want us to do believe. Medicine is meant for profit and mind control. Wars are for profit and to test our willingness to believe their lies. Protesting wars is led by government agents to get liberals to think highly of one world government. The public school system is meant to keep us just dumb enough to give into their tyranny. Water is poison. Sports and celebrity gossip are a New World Order invention of distraction.
Sander Hicks, however, is different. He has a genuine faith in people to do the right thing. “[The same government agencies that hid Mohammad Atta before 9/11] can’t accomplish anything if we don’t allow them to,” he says. “There is an inner light in all of us, and I believe the root of all religion says this. Just look at the Book of Revelation. It was written specifically against empire.”
And while I remain unconvinced of a great lie behind 9/11, I know it is healthy to cut into what the government feeds us with independent research from independent sources. Sander Hicks’s research led him to believe the FBI knew about and housed Mohammad Atta before the attacks. Alex Jones believes the New World Order is going to eliminate 80% of the world’s population with microchips. David Icke believes President-Elect Obama is part-alligator. Whatever. You’ll find few people in favor of tyrannical World Empire these days, and however you choose to fight it, that’s your decision. Wherever your research takes you, that’s up to you. Because if what the people at the Wayne, PA Free House are talking about exists in some form or another (“hardcore” or not), it has to be fought. And, as Hicks believes, research, evidence, writing, and nonviolence is undoubtedly the best way to go about it.