Conspiring to Inquire




The Truthers are out there ...In March 2010 people attended the annual meeting in the tiny Cheshire County town of Richmond. The town hall is idyllic: wood-paneled floors, wooden benches and a small stage. This year voters cut $63,000 from the town budget and rejected a motion to make the part-time town police chief position a full-time one. They also voted against spending $50,000 to start a new library and denied the local Winchester Learning Center’s request for $1,000 in funding.

Then Richmond became the first town in New Hampshire and only the second in the country to call for a “new and independent investigation” into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The vote was tight, winning 48-45 after debate lasting into the morning.

Supporters of the cause believe the physics of how the World Trade Center buildings fell just don’t make sense. Some go further and allege government and financial leaders planned the attacks as a way of making money and giving an excuse to go to war. Of course, Congress did look into the matter with its own hearings and President George W. Bush organized an independent bipartisan September 11th Commission to look into why the attacks occurred and who was to blame. This commission looked at 2.5 million documents and interviewed 1,200 people in 10 countries. Their report concluded that it was the work of Al Qaeda and their leader Osama bin Laden.

Before the March town meetings, a group of doubters formed Vote for Answers New Hampshire. They got some higher profile endorsements, including former Keene Mayor Michael Blastos, who told the Union Leader, “I think it was a cover-up ... There’s just too many unanswered questions.”

The group put up a Web site and compelled 12 towns to hold a vote. Of the eight towns that have voted so far only Richmond passed the measure calling for their U.S. Representatives to ask for another investigation. The proposal failed in Nelson, Hollis, Marlborough, Exeter, Chesterfield, Swanzey and Harrisville.

In Barnstead, where petitioners are active to get it on the town warrant, a selectman told the Concord Monitor, “It’s a rehash of all the conspiracy theories.”

But since when did Granite Staters shy away from a good conspiracy theory? In 2007, during the height of the presidential primary, there were several good conspiracy theories with a sizable audience. There was the “9/11 truth” crowd. The Plainfield couple Ed and Elaine Brown stood off with federal marshals over their refusal to pay taxes because, they wrote, the IRS and the federal income tax were simply a Freemason conspiracy to control the country. Presidential candidates were routinely asked about the construction of a 12-lane “NAFTA super highway” from Mexico to Canada via the American plains states with the overall goal of leading all three countries to form a “North American Union.”

Some presidential candidates helped out. Republican candidate Ron Paul argued it was “not a conspiracy theory, but a conspiracy fact” that the Federal Reserve aimed to centralize financial power for the powerful elite. Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich said he believed in UFOs.

Conspiracy theories are not just limited to New Hampshire, but here we get to put them up for a vote. NH

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