What do last year's Constitutional Party gubernatorial candidate Mary Starrett and the largely left-wing 9/11 Truth Alliance have in common? A surprising amount, actually.
Starrett, 52, is the first to admit that she is full of contradictions. She's an anti-war, pro-life Christian, who refers to President Bush as “a joke.” The beer drinking, gun toting, vegetarian ex-smoker also has some controversial views on the U.S. government's alleged complicity in the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.
Starrett was the guest speaker at this week's 9/11 Truth Alliance meeting. She explained that she lost her job at KPDQ Radio in part because she asked tough questions about what really happened that September morning. (She says the Christian station was ruffled by her repeated criticisms of President Bush, in addition to her interviews with white separatist Randy Weaver and survivors of the 1993 Waco Siege.)
Her presence caused some headaches for the 9/11 Truth Alliance, which found their guest was unwelcome at their usual venue. The meeting was moved at the last minute from Laughing Horse Books to the Lucky Lab on SE Hawthorne, but was well attended by at least 50 people. (Look for more information about this in next week's paper.)
Starrett sat down to chat with Hot Action about conspiracy theories, government lies and finding common ground.
WW: What do you think happened on September 11, 2001?
Mary Starrett: I can tell you what didn't happen and I can tell you that a bunch of disgruntled fanatics did not take box cutters and fly planes into major targets in the United States. I think it would be really stretching the suspension of disbelief to say that that happened. I believe that if you look at all of the evidence regarding the ballistics, regarding the science evidence, regarding even just the basic stock market manipulations that went on, nobody who has done any cursory research on this can come to the conclusion that this was not either allowed or provided for. In other words, do I think it was an inside job? I don't see how it could not have been allowed to happen.
WW: During tonight's Q and A, you indicated that you do believe it was more than just allowed to happen.
But when you want to take that one step further to people who say, “How could it be an inside job?” you have to then say, “Could this not have been allowed to happen?” What is that the natural progression of? If yes, it was allowed to happen then it was an inside job. However you want to use the term and however inflammatory it is to say, a lot of people knew this was going to happen.
WW: At this event tonight, you spoke about a lot of other events in the past which had led you to believe in government conspiracies before 9/11, such as Waco and Ruby Ridge. What connection do you see among all of these events?
Well, the connection among all of those events is not necessarily a thread that you can say all of these things happened for one particular reason. The fact that they have happened tells us that they can happen again. I suggest you look at the Gulf of Tonkin, which was the justification for the Vietnam War. That was a lie. The Pearl Harbor information—that's common knowledge [that] there was foreknowledge there. I defy anybody to disprove that. These are not theories anymore. They have been proven.
WW: So what happens in a group like this when you get off the subject of 9/11 or the Iraq War and there's a lot of places where you disagree?
You know, I don't think I know any living human being that I agree with 100% on everything. Within the circle of people that I agree with mostly, we're going to have disagreements. In any group, you're not going to have consensus on everything because you have individuals with individual knowledge and experience. So, iron sharpens iron. I'm in a room full of people who do not share the same political persuasion as me. We are not the same on political issues. What does that mean? We agree on some things. We agree that this war was propagated on false information, that 9/11, by anybody's account, was a lie. So, what difference does it make? We don't agree on everything, but we do agree on some stuff.
WW: There may be people here tonight who are part of a gay couple, who came together with their partner. Do you feel like you could effectively discuss 9/11 with them, knowing that you probably disagree on a lot of fundamental issues around gay rights?
I have had and do have many people in my life who are gay. I cannot then say that because they are my friends I can approve of their lifestyle. I don't approve of people who eat meat, but that is their choice and that is their right and that is not up to me to judge. I embrace everybody, but what I do say is, this cannot be something that we then try to paint as acceptable, normal behavior. I don't think it's so, and it goes back to my spiritual beliefs. But do I judge? Do I cease to embrace? I love everyone enough to say, I don't think this is a good lifestyle, but I would never judge.
WW: How do your Christian beliefs inform your views on 9/11?
My Christian beliefs say you've got to tell the truth and the truth will set your free, but before it does, it'll piss you off. And so, if we're always looking for truth and we don't compromise the truth, then we never have to worry what lies we told.
WW: People who have these views that you have about 9/11 tend to get dismissed as freaks or wackos or fringe. What do you think it will take to change that?
Nothing. In the beginning, everybody who has a novel idea takes the heat, takes the slings, takes the arrows. Galileo was considered a crackpot. People who said the earth is round, any major, major change [like] developing the light bulb, a car, any new, innovation is considered insane at the time and then, gradually, people come around when it's safe to do that. JULIE SABATIER
Check out Hot Action, WWire's weekly post about activists, demonstrations and other hot political action in and around Portland every week.
UPCOMING HOT ACTION EVENTS:
Saturday, March 3
Screening: China Blue
Shot clandestinely in China, under difficult conditions, this is a all-access account of the struggle behind a “Made in China” clothing label. Chinese language and English with English subtitles. 1:15pm, 3pm and 4:40pm at the Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. $6.
Sunday, March 4
International Women's Day Celebration at PSU
Portland State University is celebrating International Women's Day four days early with an all-day event including a presentation by Winona LaDuke, performances by Mishkin, a Zine-focused art room and a self defense workshop. 10am-4pm at PSU's Smith Center Ballroom. Free, donations accepted.
Monday, March 5
Reading: Not Buying It
Not Buying It
is a cold-turkey confession by award-winning journalist Judith Levine that follows her progress — and inevitable relapses — over an entire year of not spending. 7:30pm at Powell's Books on Hawthorne. Free.