By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
"But still, I just kind of deplore heavy-duty political rhetoric at a memorial. Why today? Why?" he demanded. "Right now I'm still dealing with survivor's guilt. How about giving us a hug rather than stamping in our face?"
The 9-11 Truth squad protesting outside Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC.
photo: Sarah Ferguson
"Why isn't the media asking these questions?" demanded retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman, who has become one of the celebrity skeptics because of his credentials as a former interceptor pilot who helped direct the Star Wars program under Carter and Ford. "Where are the tapes of the Pentagon hit? Where are the tapes of the conversations between NORAD and the air traffic controllers? Why are they hiding them? If our government had done nothing and just let normal procedures happen, those planes would have been intercepted and thousands of people would still be alive. It's treason," he insisted. "Bush and Cheney should be impeached."
But the Grey Lady didn't even blink, with not so much as a reporter poking a head out of one of the windows.
Many in the crowd seemed shocked that more New Yorkers had not joined them. They pointed to a Zogby poll taken last summer that showed half of all New Yorkers believe the U.S. leaders had "foreknowledge" of the attacks and "consciously" failed to act.
But that word "consciously" is slippery, and could just as well refer to what people can now read in the media: that Bush, the NSA, CIA and FBI on down had information that a big attack on America was about to happen.
Undaunted, the protesters marched through the canyons of Midtown, shoveling leaflets at bewildered shoppers as they chanted things like "Figure it out. It's not hard. Nine-11 was an inside job!" and even "Remember New Orleans!"as if anyone could forget. They passed by the headquarters of FOX, NBC, Time Warner, and CNN, pausing to shout at the media for ignoring them as a few police officers looked on.
Choking Victim inciting the masses to "Fuck World Trade" on 9-11.
photo: Sarah Ferguson
According to organizers, it took a team of three lawyers to swing the permit past Parks Department officials, who reportedly didn't like the timing and theme of the concert, nor the fact that the lead singer of Choking Victim is also the singer of Leftover Crack, whose last concert sparked a melee between police and bottle-throwing punks last November.
But this time, the police seemed virtually nonexistent as Choking Victims' myriad fans sang along to lyrics like "Kill the cops," "Fuck America," and "Fuck world trade."
Onstage, lead singer "Stza Crack" preached more conspiracies. "George Bush's brother Marvin Bush was head of security at the World Trade Center up until 9-11, and they were doing nefarious things," Crack told his drunken fans. "They wanted another Pearl Harbor to install the Patriot Act and take us to war. Don't listen to the media; the media is there for maximum securityto tell you lies!"
As the band broke into their hit anthem of alienation, "Born to Die," a young punk in bleached hair and mod sunglasses dashed to the mike and shouted: "Kill George Bush! Or we're all going to die!"
Unlike at Ground Zero, the folks here seemed not to mind such giddy provocation. Josh Copeland, a 21-year-old Rutgers student sporting a heavy chain and padlock around his neck, said he didn't buy the conspiracy angles voiced onstage but supported more dissent about the "social and economic" causes of 9-11. "This is really for the sake of acting out. You see there's a huge turnout for this. People are really very angry and they don't know what to do. Protest is losing its power."
"Yeah," said one of his beer-addled female companions. "The only thing left is drinking, drugs, and suicide."