Carol Brouillet: In the wake of the passage of the PATRIOT Act, I thought it was important to exercise our First Amendment Rights, before they were gone, forever. I was inspired by a woman from Colombia who did a "Listening Project" there to defuse violence. I set up tables, chairs, banners, have free food, free literature, and educational materials on the tables. But mainly I try to get people to respond to 3 questions which haven’t changed in 4 years: "What do you think/feel about the events of September 11th and the U.S. government’s response? How could we defuse terrorism? How could we create a safer/better world for our children and all children?" I write down their responses, and usually by the time they have answered those questions, I have some idea of how receptive they will be to the information, ideas that I would like to share with them. Sometimes people come to help me, as listeners, or just to engage in discussions with people attracted to the table. Sometimes, I launch rallies or marches from my spot in Lytton Plaza. I do recruit volunteers who have helped me immeasurably to table at anti-war rallies, organize other events. Just to create a weekly time and place for serious discussion on the political issues that we find most important, I believe is my own idea of "public service."
Responses vary dramatically from the rare obscenities shouted by a passing SUV to intense, powerful hour-long conversations from which lasting friendships have been born. A friend would like to write a book, chronicling the notebooks filled with the varied responses to the questions. Some people have no clue as to what is happening and what they could do. Some people are very well informed and have brilliant ideas about solving the problems we face. Generally responses depend on where people are getting their information from; I do feel we are on the cusp of a media revolution, as the corporate press is rapidly losing whatever credibility it once had.
It is very noticeable how consciousness has risen over the past four years and I do feel my work is very much appreciated by the public, in general. At the last big anti-war rally, there were so many volunteers, that I was able to take a microphone and banner and actually participate in the whole march, while six or seven people minded the table. Now, the donations go into the Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance account, the group meets twice a month and democratically votes on where to put our time, energy and resources; there is a 9-11 Truth community and I am glad to be a part of it.
TF: You wrote in a March 6, 2005 article that "only in 1992, after seeing the film JFK, did I begin to wake up, began researching the CIA, and became an activist." What did you discover by researching the CIA and do you think U.S. anti-war movement activists should be demanding that the CIA be abolished?
CB: I discovered Chomsky and Peter Dale Scott’s work. Between terrorizing Third World countries and installing brutal military dictators and trafficking in drugs; it is fairly clear that the CIA is basically a ruthless criminal organization and deserves to be abolished. At least, there is an effort to shut down the School of the Americas. Frank Dorrell’s Addicted to War comic book is the best tool we have to unmask the CIA and the US’s dependence on a "War Economy."
TF: You also wrote that "for years I focused on `the global economy,’ changing the monetary system, challenging the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO." Do you think there are any lessons for U.S. anti-war activists from the pre-September 11, 2001 street protests against the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO?
CB: I believe that 9-11 was, in many ways, a reaction to the success of the Global Justice Movement. 9-11 was an act of fear by a global elite who saw themselves losing power, who decided to use "terror" and "war" to maintain their power and frighten or silence dissent by re-labeling those opposed to government or corporate policies, "terrorists." Awful as the PATRIOT Act was, it was mirrored in the UK, Canada, countries throughout the world. Homeland Security, "the surveillance/security industry" is booming, mainly outside the US. The corruption, hypocrisy, Orwellian language is more flagrant than ever. But more people than ever are seeing through it and organizing opposition to it.
TF: In your March 6, 2005 article, you wrote that "those of us in the 9-11 Truth Movement hope that by exposing the truth about -9-11, we can end the `War Game,’ once and for all." What led you to conclude that the Bush Administration’s initial account of what actually happened on September 1, 2001 was false and how did anti-war activists go about creating the 9-11 Truth Movement?
CB: A friend of mine, Dave Ratcliffe, wrote a book called "UNDERSTANDING SPECIAL OPERATIONS And Their Impact on The Vietnam War Era:1989 Interview with L. Fletcher Prouty." In the film, JFK, Prouty "Mr. X" was played by Donald Sutherland and he patiently explained to the investigating attorney, Jim Garrison, how he thought the assassination of JFK bore all the "fingerprints" of a special operation. The same "fingerprints"- violation of standard operating procedures, the stand-down of the defenses of the US military, the quick cover story, the destruction of evidence and the cover-up, all point to the whole thing being a "black op." After receiving many emails, especially the ones by Michel Chossudovsky which viewed Al Qaeda as a CIA asset, and doing research on my own, listening to Michael Ruppert, it seems the most logical, feasible explanation of what happened.
The 9-11 Truth movement was born in many minds, in many places, but most visibly manifested on the internet. The march I organized on Senator Feinstein’s office demanding a Congressional Investigation of 9-11, got some press coverage, and my indymedia article got a lot of attention; I began getting hundreds of emails a day on 9-11. Radio-journalists, Barrie Zwicker, who had done the first televised challenges to the official narrative (aside from Alex Jones who predicted it and tried to prevent it)–We all began to communicate with one another via phone calls, and to link our sites.
The "Deception Dollar" was the best tool we came up with for public outreach and to promote the best 9-11 websites, and to fund the webmasters and research. There was very strong, clear sense of shared purpose amongst the 9-11 truth activists, a spirit of cooperation and community; there was a healthy sense of competition, people wanted to be able to contribute pieces to the incredibly complex puzzle that we were trying to put together.
The media censorship was so extreme. People were being terrified by the press. Politicians continually tried to scare us by guaranteeing another horrific attack. Research was being done all over the world; there were several areas of great disagreement and controversy, but most researchers agreed that "9-11 was an inside job." Nicholas Levis organized the first major 9-11 conference in Berlin. I organized the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9-11 in San Francisco. Barrie Zwicker and Ian Woods organized the Toronto Inquiry, they all helped bring people together, face to face, nurture cooperative relationships, build a movement in a very organic way.
TF: You also noted that "last year we organized the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9-11 Phase One." What was this event like?
CB: For three days we met at the San Francisco War Memorial Building, which holds the historic Herbst Theater, a beautiful theater that holds over 900 people, where the charter to the UN was signed. On the second floor there are numerable meeting rooms which we also had for dialogue, discussion, tabling, socializing, and we also made "studios" for the numerable documentary film-makers to interview people and hold panel discussions. We had over 150 registered participants, as well as over 750 daily event passes purchased by the public to view the main presentations and join in the parts of the Inquiry that were designated "open to the public." There were also about 30 members of the press. So much was happening simultaneously, that no one person had the same experience as anyone else. But we did create the space for public dialogue and examination of the key 9-11 issues, and a forum to challenge the "Official Cover-Up Commission" before they issued their final report. We did get some press coverage and forced a response from the White House that was very lame, indeed.
What was really great was for people, who had only known each other via e-mail or phone, to actually meet in person. I think all of us felt that we were doing something historic by coming together and publicly challenging the official story the way that we did. There were a number of 9-11 books in existence at that time; David Ray Griffin’s book had just been published, but others- Paul Thompson’s book- The Terror Timeline, Michael Ruppert’s- Crossing the Rubicon, Webster Tarpley’s- 9-11 Synthetic Terror- Made in the USA were yet to be published. Webster actually met his publisher at the Inquiry, so the whole thing bore a lot of fruit.
TF: You wrote in your March 6, 2005 article that "we also struggled to challenge the official Cover-Up Commission and their flawed recommendations, which would expand the `National Security State’ into a `Global Security State’ and give even greater power to the architects of 9-11." In what ways do you think the U.S. government’s 9-11 Commission apparently acted as a "Cover-Up Commission," in a way that was similar to how the Warren Commission apparently acted as a cover-up commission following the JFK assassination?
CB: Joyce Lynn spoke at length on who the Commissioners were and what their conflict of interests were. At least the Warren Commission did publish enough information that researchers could find the blatant contradictions between the evidence and the conclusions. The official Commission continually refers to classified documents that no one has access to, so it conceals far more than it illuminates. Also the parameters of the Commission was basically to substantiate the "official version of events and conclusions" without really challenging them. Whenever a "Commission or Inquiry" is run or directed by those who should be investigated, a serious cover-up is taking place.
TF: Following the 2004 election, you also wrote that "the blatantly stolen election evoked great outrage, and, at the same time, discouraged people, who had worked to re-defeat Bush and felt doubly betrayed." Do you think U.S. anti-war activists will be able to prevent the GOP from stealing the 2006 Congressional elections or again stealing a U.S. presidential election in 2008?
CB: It depends on how outraged and organized we are. I was impressed by Cynthia McKinney’s "Get out the Vote" speech prior to thr 2004 election when she said that if people hadn’t mobilized to defeat Bush in 2000 that they wouldn’t have found out that the election was stolen. More people have to really learn how democracy has been stolen from us, and to challenge the criminals who have illegitimately seized power. We need to make our voices heard and create or have some control over the means of communication to seriously challenge our "proclaimed leaders."
TF: In your March 6, 2005 article, you wrote: "The United for Peace and Justice National Conference drew 500 activists from across the country to vote on proposals, strategy, and direction for the movement. 9-11 truth activists tried to pass a proposal which would expand the goals of the peace and justice movement to include the truth about 9-11; while winning on round one, the vote was delayed until the last day of the conference, when fewer people were around, and the proposal was defeated." Are the United for Peace and Justice leaders still against expanding the goals of the peace and justice movement to include the truth about 9-11?
CB: In general the anti-war, peace leaders have been resistant or frightened of the 9-11 issue. I think they don’t want to "scare" people away from the movement by letting them know how bad our "government" actually is, so they don’t even try to shatter the biggest lies, but focus on smaller facets where they might have "some affect" but don’t seriously threaten the system.
TF: Given the U.S. government’s past history of covering-up what actually happened in
the Gulf of Tonkin prior to its Vietnam War escalation in 1965, why would the United For Peace and Justice leaders be against exposing the full truth about 9-11?
CB: With the media, we wonder sometimes whether they are "assets" or "assholes". With the leaders in the Peace Movement, we also wonder that, but I think it is mainly fear, and they do track public opinion and fear losing all their "credibility if they say anything that seriously challenges a majority of the American people’s worldview.
TF: A few years ago you began distributing "Deception Dollars" to people around the globe. What kind of response have you received from your "Deception Dollars" project over the last few years?
CB: We printed 1,500,000 last December, so there are now over 5,500,000 in circulation and over 6,000,000 in print. People love them. I’ve sent over 100,000 to the UK. They have been photographed by Reuters and AP, and listed as some of the most emailed photos. They are fun to give away and it is the easiest act of activism- to just pass out a flyer. One woman wanted to give Bush 87 billion "Deception Dollars", rather than US dollars to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We made a special Billion Dollar note for her (the most ecological option) which she passed on to her Congressman- Jim McDermott. He made a poster of the bill and presented it on the floor of Congress along with a speech against giving Bush the 87 billion which he had asked for. The "Deception Dollars" have inspired all sorts of art projects and have been featured in short films. The donations that we have received from them have helped to finance the movement, and our events. They have also been added to the collections of four museums in four countries- the US, Canada, Cuba and Spain. They have inspired a cottage industry in Cuba, where a woman varnishes them onto a piece of wood and sells them for $5.
TF: Now that the majority of people in the U.S. are against the war in Iraq and many more people than previously seem to be questioning the truth of the U.S. government’s official version of what happened on September 11, 2001, what do you think can be done in 2006 to finally bring peace and justice to the United States and the rest of the world?
CB: John Leonard, publisher of The War on Freedom by Nafeez Ahmed and 9-11 Synthetic Terror- Made in the USA by Webster Tarpley, recently came up with an idea for a Global Peace Week, beginning on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) and concluding with Veteran’s Day November (11th). November 5th also happens to be Barrie Zwicker’s birthday, and this year the 400th Anniversary of the day Fawkes was caught trying to blow up the British Parliament Building. Barrie wrote an Op-Ed piece about it that should be published this year, this weekend. Fawkes was one of the first "patsys" set up to take the blame for an incident, incited by powers that wished to provoke a war between Britain and Spain. We hope that, if we can educate people about the true history of war, the fabricated incidents that have been used for centuries, including Pearl Harbour, Gulf of Tonkin, the babies thrown out of the incubator story used to sell the first Gulf War, and 9-11, that they will refuse to participate in or support wars which serve the few and harm the vast majority of us and the world. My hope is that we will be able to raise consciousness as soon as possible to rein in the real terrorists. I hope that in January there will be a number of Congressional Candidates from Green or other parties challenging both Democrats and Republicans on 9-11, the phony war on terrorism, the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, challenging the reigning military paradigm and showing how false it is. I think there is hope and that truth, peace and justice will prevail, though what route we have to take, I cannot foresee. I think we all have to be louder, show more courage, use humor, truth, art, music, all our wit and wisdom to win over public opinion and erode any support that they have. When everyone realizes the "truth," these guys won’t find anyone to "serve them breakfast," let alone invade more countries. Then we will finally be able to redirect resources away from those who seek to kill and control people to mending, healing relationships, lives, and remediation for the severely damaged ecosystems upon which so much life depends.
Note: If you check out Brouillet’s website at www.communitycurrency.org, you’ll find that her blog provides great updates on what’s going on in the world of grassroots U.S. anti-war and 9-11 Truth activism.
Bob Feldman is an East Coast-based U.S. anti-war Movement writer-activist.