Conversations with fellow jurors, 2007 and 2010.
Originally posted here:
2007: We’ve all sat down in the jury room for the first time to begin deliberating, and we decide to go around the room and introduce ourselves by name, and then each of us will say something brief about him or herself.
This leads to nice introductions and short but interesting conversations, as everyone’s pretty friendly and open.
When it gets to an older lady with glasses and short curly hair, she speaks energetically and intelligently, seeming well-informed, thoughtful, and sane. Everyone’s listening respectfully. She’s speaking about her interest in local government.
Then she says, “They’re watching me through my computer!”
You could almost feel the air go out of the room.
Someone asks, “Who’s watching you?”
She shrugs. “Intelligence, government, the people who do that sort of thing. I’m a ‘person of interest.’”
People are fidgeting and sighing a little. Someone else asks, “What do you mean they’re watching?”
She says, “They read my emails, look at my web browsing habits. They can see it all remotely.”
“Why would they watch you?”
“Well, it’s just what they do. Anyone who gets involved, gets vocal, speaks up, they can expect it.”
The conversation moved on and after that, no one listened to her as respectfully again…myself included.
In 2007, I still thought 9/11 couldn’t even slightly resemble an inside job….the idea just floored me. 28-Year CIA Veteran Bill Christison was ahead of me on that one.
I certainly didn’t think anyone was peeking at old ladies through the toobz.
Now, not so sure.
Sitting in the hallway outside the courtroom, we’re all waiting to go in and hear the case. None of us know each other well and a few of us begin chatting.
I’m sitting on a bench with two people. We introduce ourselves and chat a little. One is a 40-something woman with long tawny hair, green eyes, and a fabulous skirt. She looks fabulous. I wish I looked as fabulous as she did—boots, purse, the works. She’ll be my inspiration during the trial to keep appearances up and not slide into schlumpiness. However, we won’t be talking much during the case, probably because of the conversation we’re about to have. Anyway, she’s very pretty, married, with a small child. Husband has an income that must be at least comfortable. She ran a business out of her home which she’s now selling, which involved selling baby clothes (I’ve met several young mothers who got into selling baby clothes and baby stuff online, for some reason). She’s much more friendly than I am and initiates the conversation.
Another person is a 20-something tall skinny guy with sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a really cute face. He looks like he’s not cracked 17 yet—to me, he looks like a young, young, young kid. He’s an actor-waiter who works at the Hard Rock Cafe in Universal City. He’s kind of shy-ish but cool.
So as we’re talking more about the world & stuff, I think what the hell, because I’ve become really curious about what people think about 9/11….so I ask them….”Do you guys know about the Building 7 controversy?”
They both shake their heads no.
I tell them it’s one of the questions about 9/11 that’s circulating the Net and it has to do with the skyscraper that fell down without being hit by a plane.
They haven’t heard of it.
I tell them a few things, just that it was one of three towers, the other two being the twin towers, and that it fell down the afternoon of 9/11 at about 5:20 pm. The problem with Building 7 is that it fell down really quickly, I tell them—it wasn’t hit by a plane, and there’s no apparent damage that would cause it to fall down, at least not that shows up in photographs from that day.
I describe how the building fell straight down in about seven seconds, 47 stories of it, fell flat down onto its foundation. “It’s all over YouTube,” I tell them helpfully. “Lots of videos, because lots of people were carrying cameras that day and documenting whatever they could.”
I wouldn’t say the air went out of the conversation as fast as it did with the “they’re watching me” lady, but the air definitely went out. As I sensed this happening I stopped talking and just looked at them.
“Lots of people have watched the videos,” I finally said. “Millions.” (At least, according to YouTube’s counts, some of which have mysteriously revised themselves downwards since that time.) “If you’re curious,” I said, “You can check it out online.”
I should say that the job I do has helped make me immune to skepticism of this sort. Just the fact of sorting through daily events for years and years is educational, in that you begin to pick up patterns, pick out themes, pick out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Crackpots get discredited eventually, and unlikely mysteries do exist, and they assert themselves. Secrets do get kept—consider the Manhattan Project with bases in some 13 different locations and thousands of employees, kept secret for all that time; and consider the numerous things people generally don’t know because the news doesn’t tell them–the depleted uranium causing birth defects in Iraq, for example, or the ongoing melt-through situation at Fukushima that’s getting zero play at all. These things are realities, regardless of whether or not they’re televised.
And one reality of 9/11 is that we were shown the faces of 19 men purported to be hijackers, then we went to war, and that’s all we know about it. The idea that the case has been solved and understood doesn’t seem swallowable at all to me—what, for example, does the money trail say? Who was responsible for those remarkable put options on American and United, for example? Well, we never got answers to those questions—so, to my mind, 9/11 has never been properly solved, not even the tiniest bit. But I do forget it’s not like this for everyone. And in this conversation I was about to get reminded how that works.
They both looked at me sort of doubtfully and after a moment the juror with the great threads said to me, “Well, some people don’t believe in the moon landing…”
By which I think she meant, “Do you believe in the moon landing?”
So I told her I did, but that my opinion on this has evolved differently.
The young man (I can’t remember either of their names) said, “I’ve never heard of any of this before.”
The way the conversation ended up, what they expressed to me was this–and they were at least polite and respectful, and at the end of it all I held out some hope for the young guy, at least:
They didn’t really believe me, because if what I was saying were true–that a building fell down all by itself on 9/11, without being hit by a plane, and there were serious questions about why it fell down, they would have heard about it from somewhere besides me.
“It would be impossible to keep it a secret,” said the guy. “That many people couldn’t keep a secret, but besides, if that actually happened, I really think we’d have heard about it on the news.”
Our other companion agreed with him. Both of them were fairly certain, without being jerks about it, that if there were really serious questions about 9/11, they would have heard about it on television or radio, or read about it in newspapers.
It did not make much difference to them when I told them I had been working in radio news since 1994. Neither were NPR listeners, though they recognized the Santa Monica station’s call letters when I told them where I’d been working for most of the time since. They were excited that I was a person on the radio. But they still didn’t believe me–that such an important matter could go unreported, unexamined in the media, if it were really important.
Both of these people were reasonably intelligent and thoughtful people. But I found myself at a loss as to how to answer them, as to why questions about 9/11 have not been aired publicly. To their minds, a Building 7 controversy would be irresistible fodder for news organizations—which, they figure, would be racing each other and falling over each other to get the news out to the public, the news that all might not be kosher–the building wasn’t hit by a plane! And surely, surely the video makes for some really compelling TV—as you can see on YouTube over and over again, the damn thing just falls down flat in seven seconds flat.
The government’s official explanation is that this was caused by office fires. The government also alleges that a big chunk got torn out of the building by flying derbris; however, that damage has never been shown in photographs. There’s also the little matter of Barry Jennings, a New York Housing authority honcho (and all the other witnesses) who heard explosions in Building 7.
The point is that there are verified, researchable facts about Building 7 which bring up really interesting questions, but the fact that news organizations haven’t pursued the truth is enough to discourage people from doing so themselves. This is not their job, they reason; others have it covered.
It reminds me, a little, of what a colleague said when I told him that the architect of Reactor 3 at Fukushima said the meltdown might not be stoppable. (This was last month, and since then Arnie Gundersen’s said he thinks the melt-through is under control –for now.)
He said, “Oh, I thought that was all taken care of!”
This is a thoughtful, intelligent and often insightful person, who said this.
I told him: “It’s not taken care of. It’s a huge disaster. They can’t even get within 100 feet of the nuclear stuff because it’s so hot, they can’t even see what it’s doing. They’re doing it by temperature and other measurements. It’s going to take years to get it under control.”
“Oh,” he said, turning back to his computer. “Well, I’m sure that people who know what they’re doing are studying it and working on fixing it.”
And that was the end of his concern. He seemed completely confident that others will take care of things.
This is why, despite the hope of Occupy and the growing understanding that we are not being represented by our representatives, I don’t actually feel very hopeful lately. Maybe I should say I go back and forth. Because I do. But the reality is thus: These guys are totally typical. They are mostly what’s out there. Here at my job (in media) it’s the same way. Information is immediately judged by its source, and the Three-Lettered-Networks carry great sway over what’s considered broadcast news. That means it works out to Lindsay Lohan, whatever the Mayor’s doing or saying, whatever the Congress is fighting about (or pretending to fight about) and what movies grossed what at the Box Office last weekend. The latest numbers from the Big
Casino Apple also make it in there (along with the California Lotto numbers).
The fact is this: Anyone can go look at Building 7 falling down, in YouTube, and ask, “Why?”
Because it’s stunningly simple.
Steel-framed skyscrapers do not fall down in seven seconds.
Never have before, anyway.
This one, however, did. It’s on tape.
The tape can be compared to numerous videos of controlled demolitions, and it looks exactly like a controlled demolition.
Likewise, it’s easy to verify that it did happen. It’s on the tape. It’s in the official records. No plane hit the building.
These facts alone should make people question, regardless of news coverage–facts they can verify with their own eyes.
The fact that people are willing to trust news organizations over the evidence shown by their own eyes and ears, is what kills the hope.
I’d really like to believe evolution’s not at a dead fucking end…I would.
But the more I think about it, the only reason we’re still here today and not vaporized stardust is little more than an insane wisp of luck, drifting in a cold universe.
So we may as well party, while we still can!
Credit: Harris and Ewing Studios
This cake was served at a Washington party November 5, 1946 to celebrate the success of the atomic testing program and the disbanding of the Joint Army-Navy Task Force Number One which organized and oversaw the first postwar atomic test in the Pacific.