Running in Circles:
2006 9/11 Truth/Impeachment Congressional Campaign Report
From Beginning to End, and Where Next?
by Carol Brouillet
November 28, 2006
There are few public positions these days that arouse more animosity and disgust than that of politicians, who are generally assumed to be greedy, power-hungry, corrupt criminals. Who in their right mind would aspire to act like one or become one? Going to Washington, DC, to challenge the policies and legitimacy of the Bush Administration certainly was never one of my childhood dreams. I probably never would have thought of running for public office had it not been for the unique set of circumstances that came together in 2004 and 2005.
I had marched on my Congresswoman’s office many times, met with her staff, lobbied her on a range of issues, and encouraged her to do the right thing. Publicly she supported Bush, signed the Patriot Act, got on the House Intelligence Committee, co-sponsored the Intelligence Transformation Act (which would expand the Intelligence Agencies), said the 9/11 Commission Report was “bipartisan and thorough,” wouldn’t touch impeachment, and ignored the fact that elections were being stolen. At a candidates forum in 2004 the League of Women Voters refused to voice my written question about the 9/11 Commission, dismissing it as a “partisan issue.” All three candidates were supporting the “War on Terrorism” and the “9/11 Commission Cover-Up Report.” I stood up and challenged them all verbally, until the League of Women Voters forced me to leave the room. A year later when an active Green Party Council member asked me if I would consider running for Congress, the thought of being legally able to raise taboo issues at the next candidates forum made me consider whether it might be worth the effort.
First I wrote to my Congresswoman asking for a meeting and for her to rethink her position on 9/11 and impeachment. She made it clear that she would not touch impeachment and would champion the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations (and in her subsequent campaign she has been pushing for creating a new Counter-Terrorism Cyber Czar position).
The Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance, as well as a larger group of 9/11 Truth activists who gathered at a strategy meeting in December 2005, encouraged me to run on a 9/11 Truth/Impeachment platform.
After attending my first Santa Clara Green Party Council meeting in San Jose and a California Green Party plenary at Davis, I felt that I would get some support from the Green Party. I also wrote a strategy paper on “Why the Green Party Should Champion 9/11 Truth,” which I passed out at the plenary and sent to Greens nationwide. I have been a registered Green ever since it became an option. I have also been a champion of local currencies, opposed to the expansion of corporate power, the WTO, IMF, World Bank, and militarism since I became politically aware. The Greens took a better public position on 9/11 than the Democrats and the Republicans, and they had the advantage of not being complicit in the crime and the cover-up.
My utter lack of political campaign experience didn’t daunt me; I figured that it would be a learning experience and my chance of winning the election was very slim, dependent on whether the country woke up to 9/11 Truth and favored impeachment. I wanted to challenge Eshoo on “Real Security versus Fake Security,” challenging the military paradigm with the “green paradigm” that respects life and recognizes that real security comes from healthy relationships in a healthy world.
On January 15th, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (the anniversaries of our earlier marches demanding an investigation of 9-11, pre-emptive impeachment, and repeal of the Patriot Act), I organized a rally where people spoke out for truth, peace and justice, and I announced my intention of running for Congress. We produced a DVD of the rally for television before I realized that you can’t actually air political rallies on community access stations; we did post it later on the internet @ http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4413722349927598466&hl=en .
By sheer luck, a wealthy relative gave me a couple of generous financial gifts which helped me to hire a young, enthusiastic Stanford grad to be my campaign manager and set up a website during the first months of the campaign, when I easily gathered enough signatures to get on the ballot with the help of some volunteers.
For 14 years I have struggled to balance mothering with activism, and it was a challenge to add running for office to my daily routine. The kids and my husband were less than enthusiastic; they have developed an aversion to politics. As far as the kids were concerned, the worst thing that could happen to us, as a family, would be if I were elected to office and away from home more than I already had been (due to my activism, meetings, conferences, and rallies). In the wake of 9/11, I began a weekly Listening Project in Downtown Palo Alto, until we break the myth about "the war on terror" and expose it as a "war of terror," I will continue to "Listen" each Wednesday.
I was more comfortable with my “mom” and “activist” hats than playing the “candidate” role. When the bank account began to run dry, I told my campaign manager that we had to get out a letter announcing my candidacy and asking for financial support from my friends, family, and the huge number of contacts that I had developed over the years. Without donations I couldn’t continue to hire him. His response was that I should phone all my friends and hit them for donations, and then he suddenly quit working for me. Unfortunately, as I really hate asking for money, the letter never went out. Instead I just slipped back into my usual activist mode, organizing and publicizing the upcoming “International 9/11- Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming the Future” conference in Chicago.
In May and June the 9/11 Truth Movement was suddenly in the news, on television, and in the pages of the New York Times. NBC even called me up, spent 45 minutes interviewing me at my home, and aired a short segment, which actually won people over to the side of the 9/11 Truth Movement (according to my son, who witnessed discussion of the TV coverage in his Criminal Law class). A Zogby Poll showed that a growing number of Americans, nearly half, doubted the official 9/11 story and believed there should be a new investigation. Just over half didn’t know about a key fact--the collapse of a 47-story steel framed building in New York in the late afternoon on September 11th, which hadn’t been struck by a plane. We clearly were entering “stage four--the take-off stage of social movements” (as outlined by Bill Moyer in his excellent book Doing Democracy). The Chicago conference and subsequent 9/11 Truth symposium in Los Angeles were successes. Uncontested in the primary election, I garnered 100% of the Green Party vote.
Over the summer I traveled to Canada for our regular family visit. For our family, it felt like the last summer together, before my eldest son left for college. I planned to do civil disobedience, flyering, when Stone's film- World Trade Center premiered, but supportive theaters eliminated that possibility, and instead I tabled in the lobby of the Grand Lake Theater. Theater owner, Allen Michaan, placed "WAS 9/11 AN INSIDE JOB?" on his marquee, and drew coverage from local television stations.
The kids, an antiwar-rally, as well as publicizing and organizing a string of 9/11 Truth events in September, took up all my free time, energy, and attention, and the campaign was put off indefinitely. One of my big hopes had been to have a “Green Party party” to network and activate local Greens, but a bug in my computer devoured 30,000 of my emails in early August, including all my campaign volunteer information. My other hope was to publish a “Conception Dollar” for my campaign with websites and art promoting solutions. I had successfully published and distributed 6,000,000 Deception Dollars, exposing the problems with the official 9/11 story, the stolen elections, and the media. Unfortunately, the artist working on the Conception Dollar lost the use of his computer for two months, and I finally had to give up on it because we were so backlogged with orders for our regular Deception Dollar.
In September our 9/11 Truth events were successful in terms of attendance, but the challenge was to receive coverage in the independent media, as well as in the mainstream media. We helped premiere “9/11 Press for Truth” in Oakland, as well as Ken Jenkins’s new film featuring David Ray Griffin, “9-11 The Myth and the Reality.” Griffin and 9/11 Truth were also featured in an excellent cover story in the Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz Metro newspapers. Pacifica and KPFA held a great event entitled 9/11 and American Empire--which drew a full house and was filmed by C-Span--which included David Ray Griffin, Kevin Ryan, Peter Dale Scott, Peter Phillips, and Ray McGovern. A book by the same title also came out and provided a perfect rebuttal to the outrageous attacks upon the 9/11 Truth movement by the “Left.”
By October, having about $1,000 in my campaign coffers, it seemed like the most strategic thing to do, with so little money and time, was to hold a 9/11 Truth event in my district and try to break the issue into the local press, and hopefully into the national press as well. The Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance voted $2,000 for me to premiere “9/11 Press for Truth” locally. I was also able to do a couple of candidate statements for television. A Green Party forum in Mountain View received surprisingly good coverage from Channel 2 TV, including a sound bite from me. The only mention of my candidacy in the local weekly paper was a brief statement that I was running against Eshoo, which included my campaign website, her government website, and omitted the Libertarian and Republican candidates entirely.
Despite all of our efforts, most of the press ignored the “9/11 Press for Truth” showing, which included the hero of the film--Paul Thompson (who created the Complete 9/11 Timeline and authored The Terror Timeline (HarperCollins 2004)--and Peter Dale Scott, who wrote Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (2003), edited 9/11 and American Empire (2006), and wrote The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (to be published in 2007).
Both Paul Thompson and Daniel Pearl had graduated from Stanford University. Pearl worked at the Palo Alto Weekly before he went to work for the Wall Steet Journal and went to Pakistan, where he was killed while investigating the I.S.I./Al Qaeda links. Peter Dale Scott had spoken brilliantly in Berkeley on How the FBI protected Al Qaeda’s 9/11 Hijacking Trainer- New Revelations about Ali Mohamed. Ali Mohamed, a top Al Qaeda operative involved in the '93 WTC bombings, the African Embassy bombings, and 9/11 was also working for the FBI, CIA and the military and is currently under a "witness protection program." Both Paul and Peter raised some critical questions on the relationship between the US government and the terrorists. Ali Mohamed also lived for years in Santa Clara, so it seemed like our event, "the story" was local, national, and of great international importance, but the mainstream press wasn't touching it.
We received a cover story in the Stanford Daily, a write-up in the local high school online newspaper, and someone posted the Question and Answer session that followed the film online, but that was it.
The same weekend as our event, I went to Colorado to emcee two events organized by Colorado 911 Visibility entitled “Research on 9/11: Why the Official Story Cannot Be True -- Scientists Find Overwhelming Evidence of Controlled Demolition” featuring Dr. Steven E. Jones, Kevin Ryan, and Kevin Barrett, three heroes of the 9/11 Truth movement. It was a great experience; they gave outstanding talks and received fairly decent local news coverage.
When I returned, a scant week before the election, I still couldn’t resist going to San Francisco for an impeachment rally at the office of Nancy Pelosi on Halloween, which the press also ignored.
The most attention that I received from the print media involved their solicitations for advertising money; otherwise they ignored me and the key issues completely. KPFA ignored me as well; I got more radio coverage from non-local stations, which did not really help to raise awareness about the race in my district.
The press also ignored the one and only candidates forum, organized by the League of Women Voters. I was shocked by the positions that the incumbent, the Republican, and the Libertarian took and glad that I was able to voice a challenge to all of them. I had hoped that I could at least get a video copy of the forum and have it shown on local community access television and the Internet, but the audio quality was terrible. It was painful to listen to, and I didn’t even try to post it online because I didn’t think most people could endure more than a few minutes of it.
So I never got out a mailing (for my campaign), or produced any serious amount of campaign literature--no buttons, no bumper stickers, none of the usual lawn signs (except three hand-made ones, and my treasurer made about a hundred simple black-and-white ones with Brouillet for Congress- Impeach the Terrorists! and put them up all over the district just before election day.) There were a few tiny mentions of me in a few papers. My film- Behind Every Terrorist- There is a Bush was shown several times on Free Speech TV and posted on the Internet. I had cameo roles in several 9-11 Truth documentaries, books, articles, and television clips. I received just over 2% of the vote--just over 4,000 votes (but probably from dissatisfied voters who simply voted Libertarian in the last election to protest the Democratic and Republican choices).
What did I learn from this campaign? (a) I need to be better organized. (b) Campaigns require a tremendous amount of time, energy, and~ to be successful ~money. (c) All efforts to raise human consciousness and engage people in the political process are worthwhile, even if immediate results aren’t tangible or measurable.
I still believe truth is the most powerful lever we can use to engage people and inspire them towards active participation in determining our collective future, as a nation and as a species. We must organize resistance faster than the Republicans and Democrats, working together, can organize repression. There is a greater need than ever to organize an alternative to the two pro-war, pro-corporate parties. Granted, there are some small “d” Democrats and probably Republicans who don’t have party backing and might run for the stated ideals of their parties, but they are quite rare. There were perhaps a dozen or so 9/11 Truth candidates in the last election; I hope there will be hundreds of grassroots candidates in 2008 (if needed to challenge or roll back the policies of these past five years.)
I have little faith in the Democrats to hold the current Administration responsible for its crimes or to significantly alter policy directions. (Actually, I believe the Democrats are better at masking their worst legislation to make it more palatable to those who should vigorously oppose it.)
In September I was invited to join a group of radical candidates that called themselves the Longhouse Coalition, which called for Impeachment, as well as a number of other reforms. In October I joined them and they added a 9/11 Truth plank to their platform. With all the new communications technologies, we should be able to organize ourselves into an effective political force in solidarity with similar movements around the world. Opposition to corporate oligarch-sponsored candidates is sweeping through Latin America, for example.
I think the challenge is to overcome the paradigm of fear, apathy, and cynicism that is so dominant today. We need to encourage, inspire, and empower larger numbers of people to become engaged and to genuinely oversee our electoral process. Elections have been stolen for decades and only the oversight and involvement of people at every step of the way will win us the right to vote. Probably more important than voting is being able to communicate directly with one another via the Internet, community-access television, and through our own events, rallies, and media--overcoming the censorship of critical analysis and information by the corporate press. Even the CIA has figured out that instead of organizing the usual military coup, it’s easier to steal elections and engineer “popular coups,” by managing popular opinion through pseudo-polls and clever marketing ( November 21, 2006, Coup d'Etat in Venezuela: Made in the USA).
I hope to help develop activist directories to improve communications within the movement so that people can communicate with one another more directly for freeway blogging, street actions, and other projects without having to endure meetings or go through a bunch of hoops trying to find others to work with them on specific projects. I think we have the people, the resources, and the vision; all it takes is a bit more organization and improving our activist communications infrastructure.
There is an excellent new book on the emerging social technologies being created to empower social movements titled Momentum- Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age by Allison H. Fine. There is also a tool, available at www.issuecrawler.net, that helps map out networks that are working on various issues, such as media reform. Richard Rogers, who developed the tool and offers it for free to NGOs and activists, wrote Information Politics on the Web (winner of the 2005 Best Information Science Book of the Year), which argues that the Internet should be, and can be, a "collision space" for official and unofficial accounts of reality. His tools capture the relationships between sources and contribute to understanding the competition between the official, the non-governmental, and the underground, in getting their story out to the public.
The 9/11 Truth movement is still in the “take-off stage” and the goals at this time are as follow:
Creating a new nationwide grassroots-based social movement.These goals are being achieved in cyberspace, and in various cities, with the production and dissemination of films, books, and all sorts of media. Various other movements that are intersecting with and evolving beside the 9/11 Truth movement.
Putting power holders’ actual policies in the public spotlight and on the agenda.
Creating a public platform from which the movement can educate the public.
Creating public dissonance by showing two distinct views of reality--the movement’s and the power holders’.
Winning public sympathy and majority public opinion.
Becoming recognized as legitimate opposition.
Recently I was invited to join a “circle” and I couldn’t resist the invitation, because circles can be very powerful experiences. Native Americans have traditionally formed circles, passing a talking stick and speaking from the heart, to draw from the collective wisdom of the group to solve problems. Circles respect everyone’s ability to contribute and participate meaningfully. The most productive, meaningful gatherings that I’ve participated in have used circle processes; when they grow large, sometimes they give birth to many new circles. I see the spread of circles--concentric, overlapping circles everywhere--as people make more and more connections between the personal and the political, as the unconscious becomes conscious, and as light is cast upon the darkest shadows of our collective experience.
We are needed to midwife the transition from a dying “dominator paradigm,” where large institutions and governments hold power and legitimacy, to the “peaceful paradigm” where individuals and small groups with courage, integrity, truth, and heart will begin to shoulder greater responsibility for pointing a way through the rapids of change, to avoid the rocks, the whirlpools of economic collapse, endless war, and the unleashing of the latest wave of bio-terrorism attacks.
Did the anti-war movement win the recent election? Is the Baker/Iraq study group just a mask for the fascists to hide behind, as they lick their wounds and retreat? The proposal to create a North American Union--a more draconian expansion of NAFTA that asserts control over Mexico’s energy resources--allows for the super-exploitation of labor and the environment and guarantees profits to the major players with the costs to be borne by people and planet. A few Congressmen have put forward a resolution condemning and drawing attention to the plan. The idea will be vigorously opposed at the grassroots level. After a suspicious election, the legitimacy of the Mexican government remains questionable. Repression, rebellion, and murder in Oaxaca have sparked solidarity protests in many American cities and other countries as well. The Global Justice movement, set back by the events of September 11th, is reviving and again challenging the most visible dominant institutions that exercise the most obvious power over most countries.
There needs to be a strategic educational effort to expose the history of state-sponsored terrorism worldwide, to curb the use of it today, and to reduce the artificial support for “engineered wars.” The ousting of the right-wing leader of Spain after the Madrid bombings should be an example to all people everywhere. There can be no peace and justice without a strong Truth movement. Until the worst leaders can be held accountable for their crimes against their own people and their wars of aggression, necrophiliacs will continue to entrench themselves within the most powerful government and corporate circles to serve the few at the expense of the many.
Kevin Barrett, one of the great heroes of the 9-11 Truth movement, said in a talk entitled “A Folklorist Looks at 9/11 ‘Conspiracy Theories’”:
I am heartened by Barrett’s words, but at the same time sobered by the realization that if the world’s population was reduced to 100 representatives, only one would have a computer, or have attended college, and he would have more wealth than all the others and be from the United States. While 70 percent of American homes may have access to the Internet, they are not representative of the world. However, an enlightened American people would be a grave danger to the advancement of the American Empire. We are uniquely responsible and able to thwart or advance the aspirations of the US oligarchy.
(Folk meaning “the people,” as opposed to the “rulers and the press” who in the past have authoritatively defined “event/reality.”)
Marshall McLuhan’s famous line “the medium is the message” could describe the way the 9/11 Truth movement is an artifact of the Internet, and the radically-enhanced folk-communications it has brought. Thanks to digital audiovisuals, email and the world-wide web, the folk are now a leg up on their would-be manipulators, those well-paid professionals in corporate media, public relations, marketing, and psychological warfare or psy-ops, whose collective job is to reify and manipulate their fellow human beings.
It is one thing for the content of informal, non-institutional, “folk” communication to subvert institutional authority. It is another and more significant thing for the very medium of folk communication to radically shift in a way that empowers the folk and disempowers the institutions. And that is what has happened. The world has been turned upside-down as the old oral-transmission grapevine has gone digital…
Today’s digitally-enhanced subversives and skeptics can spread large numbers of copies of audio, video and photographic evidence, along with an unlimited amount of writing, for pennies. This digital awakening may turn out to be our second post-Gutenberg revolution in half a century. Its importance may rival the emergence of writing, which created hierarchical societies of kings, priests and scribes; with the invention of the printing press, which created the kind of mass-literate societies we call “democratic”; and with the invention of television, which McLuhan suggests created a global village of creeping Orwellian fascism. 9/11, in this view, was the last gasp of television as a means of mind-control via mass hypnosis, while the 9/11 Truth controversies may represent the birth pangs of the new, digitally-enhanced democracy.
The grand strategy of all social movements is for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the people, and to get them to exercise the “people power” that resides within them. In Doing Democracy, Bill Moyer notes:
Political and economic power ultimately rest with the majority population; the power holders in any society can only rule as long as they have the consent or acquiescence of the people. Exposing the lies is perhaps the easiest part of social change; winning over, involving, inspiring people to work to change policies and power-holders at the personal and at the institutional level are the hard part. Slowly but surely, the population is waking up, with each revelation, each act of courage, each technological advance that benefits the “folk” and helps to expose the institutions and the disparity between “the stated purpose of the institutions” and their actual policies.
For substantial changes to occur, the public must be won over three times. First they need to realize that there is a problem; next that the current power-holder policies are undesirable and need to change. Finally, they need to believe that there is an acceptable solution or alternative to current policies.
9/11 Truth- Our Best Hope
Truth = Justice = Freedom
While it may seem obvious to me and other activists that the world would be better off if we redirected resources from killing, controlling, and wars towards healthy human relationships and biosphere rescue work, we must continue to pursue the educational work of introducing such ideas to a public that doesn’t realize that the press might be lying to them, or at least failing to convey important information, about the most critical issues and events that affect our lives.
Just as birth is feared and desired by parents, we need to reassure people that the frightening, painful part of learning/birth is part of a greater process that ultimately will bring us joy and happiness. We need to be able to see that 9/11 Truth will bring all of us and future generations true peace and freedom that comes from knowledge.
When 9/11 Truth is realized, humanity can spend less energy on the unnecessary war on terrorism, and more resources on health, education, and better living standards for everyone.
9/11 Truth means eliminating fear, terrorism, war and the growth of healthy, harmonious relationships between all people.
We are not alone in this effort. A European 9/11 Truth group is working on a European 9/11 Citizen's Jury. There are plans for another national 9/11 Truth Conference in Arizona this February with a focus on strategy for genuine accountability. The convergence of movements, including the impeachment movement, is prompting some of the worst administration officials to resign. A tremendous number of creative actions and organizing is taking place across the country and it is becoming easier and easier, and more fun, for people to join in the larger movement for truth, peace, and justice.
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