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'Risking Their Freedom'

A gathering of feckless conspiracy "experts" unearths the real reasons for 9/11: bureaucratic lies, Israeli conspiracies and disintegration rays.

WASHINGTON — After you sent in your $180 registration fee, and after receiving your own secret code and calling the secret phone number that came with it, the hidden location was finally revealed.

The "galaxy of internationally renowned scholars and journalists," those brave souls who have "Risked Their Freedom to Bring Truth to the World," would be meeting at the Holiday Inn on The Hill.

There, amid families on budget trips to the American capital, some 120 people who do not believe that the Holocaust occurred gathered in June to swap dark tales of conspiracies and cover-ups. It was, in the words of The Barnes Review that sponsored it, "a history-making event" — a view not shared by most of those familiar with Review founder Willis Carto, a veteran anti-Semitic extremist.

As usual, there was a whole host of government lies and other iniquities to clear up — the purpose of this "Authentic History" conference was, after all, "To Bring History Into Accord With the Facts," as the Review's subtitle has it. But none was so pressing — or, truth be told, so sexy — as what really happened Sept. 11.

Ted Gunderson, the former FBI official and Satanic conspiracy fabulist who chaired the 9/11 panel, said "there was proof in a Las Vegas newspaper" that "the government knew beforehand" about the terrorist attacks.

Eustace Mullins, author of Adolf Hitler: An Appreciation, said U.S. and Arab intelligence agencies were both incapable of carrying out the attacks, leaving only the Israeli Mossad.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Benton Partin, an aging architect of key militia conspiracy theories like the idea that there were actually two or more Oklahoma City bombs, sounded a bit confused as he spoke, but concluded on a note that all could agree on.

"It's all conspiracies," Partin stated.

House "journalist" Christopher Bollyn, who works for Carto's anti-Semitic American Free Press (a new incarnation of his Spotlight newspaper), said he knew something was fishy thanks to a friend in Denmark who taped 1,200 hours of news coverage of the attacks — much of which was later edited out by news services with a secret agenda.

One of those tapes showed "someone coming out of the towers" who said "he was hit by a bomb in the building. But then the FBI took him away."

The government, Bollyn added, sold the World Trade Center to "a [Jewish] strip club owner and he then insured the buildings quickly for $3 billion and now he wants $7 billion. ... So for $100 million in borrowed money he gets $3 billion."

Bollyn also objected to the use of an Iranian engineer to examine the collapse of the Trade Center's towers. "Don't they have any American engineers?"

And then there was one "Gregory Douglas," with his top-secret German document proving conclusively the Bush Administration and Israel knew about and likely orchestrated the attacks.

"Israel is always involved in everything!" he said.

That certainly got the attention of the attendees. Except, as a sheepish Bill White noted on his "libertarian socialist" Web site later (White had initially hailed the document as revelatory), it turns out that Douglas is an accused forger.

Veteran European journalist Gitta Sereny has written that Douglas forged a document that he told her was proof that the Americans and British had helped two Nazi war criminals escape Europe in 1945. Douglas' later book on one of them, Gestapo boss Heinrich Muller, was, she wrote, "filth" that was as "fake" as the earlier document.

From there, it got weirder still. In a question-and-answer period following the speeches, Bollyn suggested that the Trade Center towers might have been zapped with a "disintegration ray." The fine dust would be the logical outcome of such a ray.

Partin chimed in, saying it actually would have taken two disintegration rays to do the job.

Arizona Reform Party official Russ Willenburg said he had personally surveyed the Pentagon after Sept. 11, and there was no evidence that any plane had crashed there — he could find no metal with the airline's markings on it.

"A criminal regime," Willenburg concluded as his audience nodded their agreement, "has taken control of the government for the last 100 years."